• SC Minutes 05/11/2016



    School Committee Meeting

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    Sharon Middle School

    75 Mountain Street

    Sharon, MA 02067

    Present: Katie Currul-Dykeman, Jon Hitter, Marcy Kaplan, Laura Salomons (arrived at 7:53 p.m.), Emily Smith-Lee, Veronica Wiseman

    Also present:  Tim Farmer, Jahmal Mosley, Susan Fisichella, Robert Pomer, SHS student representative, current and former SHS students, and members of the community

    Open Session was convened at 7:05 p.m.


    SHS Student Representatives

    Recent happenings at SHS:

    • MCAS exams – May 17 & 18

    • Junior Prom – May 21

    • Relay for Life Fund Raiser – May 13

    • National Honor Society Car Wash Fund Raiser – May 14

    • Open Mic Night – May 19


    The following correspondence was received:

    • 13 letters re: athletic fees – majority of the letters were not in favor of revising the current athletic fee structure

    • one letter was in favor of adopting a fee for clubs as well as athletics

    • one letter in favor of reducing transportation fees

    • many letters (40+) were received – re: reduction of choral teaching position from .75 to .50 for the 2016-2017 school year. T. Farmer clarified that the position was reduced due to lack of enrollment.

    • letters were received from students, parents and community members

    • overwhelming endorsement from all constituencies to maintain the choral position at .75

    Open Forum

    A member of the community spoke about the necessity for the LEAP Program because she feels the dyslexic students in the Sharon Public Schools are under served and asked the S.C. to reconsider the vote taken on the LEAP Program at the April 27th meeting.

    Prior to hearing from the audience, who were present to express their opinions on the proposed choral teaching reduction, T. Farmer presented a chronology on how the high school administration arrived at the enrollment decision to reduce course offerings. Due to low enrollment, Chinese was dropped, and there was a reduction in the Social Studies and ELA departments as well as music. Staff members that are employed at .5 or higher, are entitled to full health/dental benefits.

    Music enrollment has been low over the past two years. Administration is open to examining all creative options to revitalize the music program (i.e. enhance through community education or choral teachers throughout the district). Courses, regardless of the discipline, cannot be offered if there are few sign-ups.

    Mr. Pomer, Director of Guidance, presented an overview of how students sign-up for the elective courses. Only forty students elected music offerings – 6 courses were offered.

    Members of the audience spoke on behalf of retaining the current music program, and, if possible, grow the program. At the very least, make no cuts to the current music teaching staff. Ideas/thoughts expressed:

    • Offer a music theory course

    • Offer an AP music course

    • Music and the arts should be a Strategic Planning topic

    • Are there other electives that have low enrollment?

    • Students should be encouraged to take electives – losing balance at SHS

    • Need more support for the drama department

    • Music should be a core subject not an elective

    • Academic pressure reduces ability for electives

    • Forge stronger ties with the community

    • Administration will set-up online access for their dialogue – J. Marcus will facilitate

    • Further discussion at a subsequent meeting

    • Lack of enrollment at SHS could be from lack of emphasis on music at the elementary and middle school level

    Following the Open Forum, there was a 5-minute break (8:40 p.m.)

    Open session resumed at 8:47 p.m.


    Consent Agenda:

    1. Approve Open and Executive Session Minutes (April 27, 2016)

    2. Approve SHS Math & Science Tournament Club – hold for 5/11/16

    3. Approve SHS Senior Trip to Newport, R.I. (6/1/16)

    4. Approve Future Medical Professionals Club – hold for 5/11/16

    5. Approve SHS Trip to Peru/Cusco (Machu Pichu through World Challenge Organization 2017 (16 day trip)

    6. Approve School Calendar Options for 2017-2018

    7. Approve the Release of March 23, 2016

    8. Superintendent’s Evaluation

    MOTION: (Smith-Lee/Salomons) Moved to approve consent agenda items #1, 3, 5 (minutes from 4/27; SHS Senior Trip; SHS trip to Peru; release of Exec. 3/23 min.) as presented: Yes vote: Currul-Dykekman, Hitter, Kaplan, Salomons, Smith-Lee, Wiseman

    Note: It was the consensus of the Committee to hold the vote on the two proposed SHS clubs (consent agenda items #1 and 4) and until the May 25th meeting.

    Separate votes:

    6. Approve School Calendar Options for 2017-2018

    MOTION: (Smith-Lee/Salomons) Moved to approve calendar options B & E as presented and discussed at the May 11th meeting and to approve forwarding the calendar options to the STA for their feedback.

    Yes vote: Currul-Dykeman, Hitter, Kaplan, Salomons, Smith-Lee, Wiseman

    7. Approve the Release of the March 23, 2016 Executive Session Minutes

    MOTION: (Salomons/Kaplan)  Moved to approve the release of the March 23, 2016 minutes. Yes vote: Currul-Dykeman, Hitter, Kaplan, Salomons, Smith-Lee, Wiseman

    8. Approve Superintendent’s Evaluation

    MOTION: (Kaplan/Salomons) Moved to approve the Superintendent’s summative evaluation as presented.  Yes vote: Currul-Dykeman, Hitter, Kaplan, Salomons, Smith-Lee, Wiseman


    Special Needs Mid-Cycle Review and Other Updates

    Susan Fisichella, Director of Student Services, updated the Committee on the recent DESE mid-cycle review. The DESE reviews selected special education criteria to determine a district’s compliance with special education laws and regulations. The review consisted of: district self-assessment, staff interviews, review of student records, review of documentation, and observation of instructional spaces. Sharon has responded to the DESE by implementing their recommendations.

    T. Farmer, on behalf of the administration, thanked Mrs. Fisichella for her quick and immediate response to student needs, which will afford all students the opportunity to be successful in the Sharon Public Schools.

    SHS Athletic Fees

    The topic of athletic fees has been discussed/vetted at previous School Committee meetings as well as budget subcommittee meetings. Following tonight’s discussion, and input from the audience, it was the consensus of the Committee to maintain the current athletic fee structure. It will be necessary for the operating budget to absorb the end-of-year deficit/balance as it has done in the past.

    SMS Track and Extracurricular Fees

    T. Farmer updated the Committee on the fees that have been collected for SMS track. The current balance of approximately $20,000 in the account will be used to purchase track equipment. There will be further discussion on the fee structure and how balances are handled in the future at a subsequent meeting. William Martin, Athletic Director, will submit a timeline for the purchase of track equipment.

    Council on International Exchange, Summer 2016

    T. Farmer informed the Committee that some teachers at SHS investigated, vetted/reviewed the travel opportunities for students through the Global Navigator Scholarship Program. Students will have the opportunity to travel under three different programs: Language & Culture; Service & Leadership; Global Discovery. The Program is funded by a private donation. Sharon received funding as a first-time applicant.


    Town Meeting generously voted/supported the School Department’s funding requests, which included the Heights Roof and the 1:1 technology initiative.


    T. Farmer recently attended a joint meeting of Sharon clergy, police department, and school administrator for a discussion on issues confronting the Sharon community.

    A new on-line registration program for new students entering the SPS and new hires is in the process of being implemented.

    All staff has been hired for the new LEAP program.

    CHARMS Collaborative will have a meeting to decide the future of the Program. T. Farmer will update the Committee at the May 25th meeting.

    Other Business

    There being no further business, V. Wiseman asked for a motion to adjourn Open Session.

    MOTION: (Smith-Lee/Kaplan) Moved to adjourn Open Session.

    Yes vote: Currul-Dykeman, Hitter, Kaplan, Salomons, Smith-Lee, Wiseman

    Meeting was adjourned at 10:06 p.m.

    Submitted on behalf of the School Committee by: Helen Campanario, Recording Secretary to the School Committee

    Back-up Materials for the May 11, 2016 meeting

    • copy of correspondence

    • copies of consent agenda materials

    • copy of SPED mid-cycle review response to DESE

    • copy of athletic fee proposals

    • information re: Council on International Education Exchanges, summer 2016

    • copy of all Superintendent Evaluation materials