Monday, March 8, 2010

School Council Notes - March 2010

What is School Council?

The Francis Wyman School Council is comprised of the principal, two teacher representatives, two parent representatives and one community member. The purpose of School Council is to provide guidance and support to the school principal and to share in shaping the policies and programs of the school. Teacher volunteers and the community member are selected by the principal. Parent volunteers are elected yearly through the PTO. Any parent can run for this position. Furthermore, parents are always welcome to attend school council meetings as observers, even if they are not on the council. Please refer to the links below for more information on School Councils.

Current School Council Members:

Susan Astone, Principal
Carolyn Gennaco, Technology Specialist
Kim Cook, Kindergarten Teacher
Michelle Gillis, Parent
Barbara L’Heureux, Parent
Kathy Brine, Community Volunteer

March 2010 Meeting

March’s School Council meeting was held on March 2, 2010. Principal Susan Astone started off the meeting by alerting the School Council of an important upcoming School Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 9th at 7:30 in the school committee room in the Burlington High School. At this meeting, the School Committee will be reviewing and making decisions regarding the elementary schools budget for the 2010/2011 school year. Due to difficult economic conditions, the schools are required to operate on a very strict budget. However, there are a few critical personnel needs that Francis Wyman needs addressed.

Fifth Grade Teacher

Francis Wyman is requesting that the School Committee authorize the hiring of an additional classroom teacher for fifth grade due to increased enrollment. Currently, there are four 5th grade classrooms. In order to maintain acceptable classroom sizes, we need to add a classroom and hire an additional teacher. If this additional classroom teacher is not approved the fifth grade next year will each have approximately 25 students per classroom.

We are asking all Francis Wyman parents to attend this crucial school committee meeting to demonstrate the support of the parent community for this important addition to the school budget. This is our best opportunity as parents to advocate for reasonable class sizes. The decision could affect classroom sizes in the future as well. Please plan to attend this meeting on Tuesday March 9th at 7:30 pm in the school committee room at Burlington High School.

Other personnel requests

Francis Wyman is also requesting additional math tutoring time and a half-time reading specialist. Currently, Francis Wyman has one full time reading specialist and we would like to increase that by another .5 reading specialists. Reading truly is fundamental and we need these extra services to insure that all our Francis Wyman students are able to achieve reading proficiency. The math tutoring situation is just a critical. We would like to increase our math support to 2 full time tutors.

Technology Needs

In addition to these personnel needs, the School Committee will also discuss technology needs. The long term plan for Francis Wyman’s technology needs includes one “Bobcart” per classroom, one portable laptop classroom set up for every grade level and a Smartboard (or equivalent technology) for every classroom.

What’s a Bobcart?
Good question! Named after the technology specialist who designed and built the first Bobcart at Pine Glen, the Bobcart is a four station computer station on wheels. Currently, Francis Wyman has one Bobcart per grade. The goal is to eventually have one in each classroom.

What can you do? Attend the school committee meeting and make your voice heard!

Writing Club update

The Francis Wyman writing club is launching on Thursday, March 4th and 32 students are currently enrolled. The students, guided by teacher Tina Sosnowski and two other reading specialists, will be working on a school newspaper. Watch for more news from this exciting enrichment group in future updates!

Introducing Math Club!

Susan Astone announced at this school council meeting the formation of a second math club at Francis Wyman. The Math Club will be open to fourth and fifth graders of all abilities and will focus on fractions, decimals and percentages (oh my!). The tentative plan is for the club to meet on Monday and Tuesday afternoons under the direction of Math Coach Carrie Fortunato. There will be a fee of $50 per student for 12 sessions. Watch your child’s backpack for more details!

RTI update

Council members discussed the RTI implementation. It was agreed that the implementation went more smoothly for grades one through three. RTI implementation in grades four and five is more complex as it involves many factors such as integrating subjects, learning styles and motivation.

Susan Astone told the Council that the plan is to hold grade level meetings at the end of the school year to project RTI groupings for next fall, with the understanding that some adjustments will still be needed in September/October, especially in the lower grades.

Francis Wyman is growing - - - plants, that is.

Susan also informed Council members of an initiative headed by the Science Center’s John Papadonis and community volunteer, Peter Coppolla. These two gardening enthusiasts are working to plan and raise funds for a gardening project at Francis Wyman. The details of the project are still being worked out but students will be involved. Stay tuned for more news in future School Council updates!

Picnicking in the playground?

The Council also discussed plans for a social event in the new Francis Wyman playground. The details are not yet worked out, but we envision a fun, relaxing social event for FW families to socialize together in the new playground. We will keep you informed as plans progress.

Get involved!
If you would like to be involved in any of these initiatives, if you have a comment or concern, or if you wish to suggest a topic for a future School Council meeting, please contact parent representative

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