Dudley - The highlight of last week's Dudley-Charlton Regional School Committee meeting (July 13) was the awarding of trophies to the Dudley Elementary School Poetry Idol champions. Third grader Elizabeth Gunsalus was the school’s overall winner. Annaka Lindstrom was the 2nd grade winner and Hayden Wildes was the 4th grade winner.
Each student wowed the school committee and the audience with their creative, original poems, which they recited from memory. The performance was the culmination of a three week celebration by the school of National Poetry Month.
Students were not the only people to receive kudos at the meting. Both Jeffery Keay and Pamela Boyle were recognized as the Quo Vadis Club’s “Outstanding Teacher of the Year.” The award is given in recognition of excellence in teaching in the Dudley-Charlton Regional School District. Superintendent of Schools Sean Gilrein expressed his pride in these two teachers and offered his congratulations.
On the business side of things, the plans to reduce issues during life-threatening emergencies were discussed. Due to the implementation of Michael’s Law, the schools will be actively working on things like getting contact information and phone numbers for students in the event of emergencies during school hours.
Also discussed at length was the request that the school committee vote to allow the high school’s show choir to schedule a trip to Florida to compete in a FAME festival March 14th through the 18th next year. The date of the festival would require show choir members to miss two days of school. Connie Galli, teacher of visual and performing arts at Shepherd Hill High School, made the plea to the committee. A number of parents also discussed the great benefit of having the show choir attend these festivals, as well as mentioning the fact that the school offers an extraordinary work-study program for students who do not have the means to pay for a trip such as the one to Florida. After all was said and done, the school committee voted to allow the trip to go on as requested.
A slight snafu in the awarding of a contract to reclaim and pave the Shepherd Hill parking lot was rectified when William Trifone, the finance director, stated he had “employed the wrong methodology when determining the low bidder” for the job. He had erroneously awarded the contract to A.F.Amorello and Sons. After using the total cost method “(Base Bid plus Alternative #1)” he determined that the winning bid was, in fact, Murray Paving and Reclamation. The committee, at Trifone’s request, voted to rescind the original award to A.F.Amorello and Sons and award the contract to Murray Paving and Reclamation for a savings to the district of $2,064.
As the meeting drew to an end, budgetary issues were raised. Most important was the balancing of the budget which included a vote to let one math teacher go. This brought the number of teacher “reductions” to thirty this year. Some concern was raised with regard to class size, but superintendent Gilrein assured the committee that only one class would have a substantially higher student count of around 26 or 27 students. All other classes would remain in an acceptable range. Also as part of the budget changes was the acquisition of $42,000 in grant money from the department of education for professional development. Mr. Gilrein pointed out that this money represented enough savings to keep one teaching staff position. A reconfiguration of the secretarial staff, a one-time early retirement, and a few other minor changes rounded out the budget cuts of $225,475 to balance the budget. All of the requested changes were unanimously voted to be accepted.
The meeting concluded with the middle school and high school making changes to both of their student handbooks. Addressed were issues with electronic devices, dress codes and the leaving of school grounds without permission. Changes included allowing teachers to determine whether electronic devices could be used in the classrooms, allowing for the possibility of E-reader usage and the like. Dress codes were changed to address the inappropriately short skirts, shorts and dresses that are now being worn, in addition to items like bandannas, hoods and sunglasses. And finally, the current punishment for leaving school grounds is an out of school suspension, which teachers believe is exactly what the students who leave without permission are hoping for. The new rule will respond to these incidences with an in-school suspension, which will give the student time to work on school work instead of rewarding them with another day out of school.
- Wednesday, 20 June 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News