Jun 122015

Groton-Dunstable Superintendent Dr. Kristan Rodriguez announced the hiring of the new Middle School principal at the Wednesday June 10 meeting of the district School Committee. She told the committee that after reviewing many candidate applications, extensive backgrounds research, professional experience and on site visits to Concord, she was proud to announce that G-DMS now has a new principal — James Lin, currently the Assistant Principal at the Concord Middle School.

School committee member Stephanie Cronin brought some important new information to the committee. In April, Cronin attended “Charting the Course: An Orientation Program for New and Veteran School Leaders,” sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC). She brought back a big nugget of information — she told the board that according to Glen Koocher of the MASC, many boards, including Groton-Dunstable, may have approved student field trips “they had no business approving.”

Cronin learned that if a school committee approves field trips without having insurance coverage that extends to the field trip location and activities, it opens up the district to liability if anything occurs on that trip. Rodriguez confirmed with the MASC that Stephanie Cronin was correct. As a result of the MASC recommendations, the school committee will no longer approve field trips. Field trips plans will be presented to the school committee so that it can stay informed, but the actual approval of the field trips will shift to the superintendent.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Katie Novak presented the curriculum adoption plan for fiscal year 2016. She outlined the text choices of Eureka Math K-8, K-4 Writing Units of Study, and Grade 6 Social Studies: History Alive.

All committee members but Jon Sjoberg voted to accept the recommendations, but Sjoberg said he was not comfortable approving the adoption of the text without as knowing the actual costs. Leslie Lathrop was unable to attend the meeting.

Novak replied that he had not realized the actual cost was required because it was not clearly outlined in the administration’s procedure, but the cost was accounted for in the 2016 budget. The school committee members who approved, pointed out that the district’s teachers had evaluated the texts, performed pilots, and that a curriculum training course had already been scheduled for June 23 and 24. Committee members were told that the exact cost will be provided this week and is expected to be at or under what was budgeted for the new text.

Rodriguez presented a strategic plan update that triggered questions from school committee member Peter Cronin. He asked how the vision was formulated and from what sources the data was collected to ensure that the entire community contributed to the strategic plan. The committee has scheduled a special workshop meeting on June 15, 2015 to review and discuss the strategy development in the Prescott School conference room at 7 p.m.

Retiring Educators Thanked For Their Service

Superintendent Dr. Kristan Rodriguez acknowledged a list of staff members that are retiring after many years of service in the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District at the June 10th school committee meeting:
Lisa Bazzinotti — Teacher 29 years
Sandy Cook — Teacher 20 years
Gail DesBois — Teacher 21 years
Susan Dougherty — Teacher 29 years
David Drew — Custodian 35 years
Dot Drew — Café 14 years
David Dubey — Custodian 10 years
Rich Hamilton — Teacher 33 years
Cindy Iannacci — Para 10 years
Linda Maillet — Teacher 25 years
Jim O’Loughlin — Guidance 20 years
Deb Ricci — Admin Assistant 21 years
Patti Randazzo — Admin Assistant 28 years
Steve Silverman — Principal 8 years
Dennis Spiczka — Custodian 28 years
Kay Stidsen — Nurse 30 years

Rodriguez also acknowledged the years of service provided by former school committee members John Giger, Lou DeLoureiro, and Thomas Steinfeld.

“The meeting is a chance for all School Committee members to review the strategy work that has been done to date, to ask questions about the 5-year strategy, and to discuss what if anything more we would like to see going forward,” Committee Chair Jeff Kubick wrote in an email.

The school committee approved the formation of a Communications and Community Engagement Advisory Committee to the school committee. Kubick asked member of the public interested in increasing transparency and community collaboration to contact him at jkubick@gdrsd.org.

At the close of the meeting, which lasted until 10:30 p.m., Sjoberg announced that he will take the MASC “Charting the Course” training class again — “It’s been about six years since I took it and could always use a refresher.”