Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August Board of Ed: Southbridge

Russell Johnston on Southbridge
Wulfson: he'll be giving the same update at school committee and town council
and we have a PP here, too that isn't online...
"if I'm a new third grade teacher in this district, would I know what to teach?"

  • a lot of work on curriculum
  • a lot more access to technology
  • a need for more leadership and support for ELL students
  • ELA curriculum units done this summer
  • school improvement plans worked on this summer; "principals own it at the school level"
  • budget improvements make this summer

FY17: Southbridge is 61% state funded; 22% locally funded; 10% grant funded

practice had been a lot of decentralized purchasing; "not following best practices"
DESE support on reconciling FY17 budgeting; training to improve business practices
"high rate of turnover of the business officer"
put out a bid for a contractor to manage the business and finance functions
finalizing contract now with an outside contractor

Receiver search: community input on qualities and characteristics needed on new receiver
emphasis on quality over speed
Chiefs for Change is funding a project manager to oversee recruitment of new receiver
have created a structure where current model can continue as long as necessary; additional personnel in central office

looking for greater involvement of school committee; looking to re-instate curriculum and budget advisory committees
similarly want union to be in cooperation
anticipate ratification vote later this month with teachers
teacher career ladder in place for the first time; "a lot of interest and a lot of appeal"

new teacher orientation week: will include time on buses to spend time with community
parents, business leaders "the strengths of our community"
teachers start on the 22nd; "real emphasis on school-level change"
starts on August 28

about 70 teachers who are new (in response to Q from Stewart); district is 175 teachers
Morton: town reaction?
Johnston: concern. parents have asked that particular initiatives would continue
relief for stabilization

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