9/24/15 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes


Georgetown School Committee

Thursday, September 24, 2015 7:00PM

Town Hall 3rd Floor Meeting Room

Regular Session Minutes


Barbie Linares, Chairman

Pamela Lundquist, Vice Chairman

 Michael Hinchliffe, Clerk

Suzanne MacDonald


In Attendance:

Barbie Linares             Superintendent Jacobs                        Donna Straight            Peter Lucia                  Julie DeRoche

Michael Hinchliffe      Margaret Maher                      Joan Liporto                Mike Murphy              Wes Vaughan

Pamela Lundquist       Anne Blythe                            Cheryl Lachendro       Wes Vaughan              Doug Dawes

Suzanne MacDonald   LiXin Olsen                            Mr. & Mrs. Winer       Sheila Ruth                 Linda Witz

Virginia Bergson         Stephanie Thompson   Susan Terban


Chairman Linares called the meeting to order at 7:04PM.  All recited the Pledge of Allegiance.


Consent Agenda

Chairman Linares read the items included in the Consent Agenda for September 24, 2015, which were Regular Session Minutes of 9/10/15, Public Relations Minutes of 9/15/15, Acceptance of Warrants #13V16, #12P15 and Communications.


MOTION: Pam Lundquist (S. MacDonald second) to approve the consent agenda as presented.  So voted (4-0).  Motion carried.


Documents Referenced:  Regular Session Minutes of 9/10/15 & Public Relations Minutes of 9/15/15.


Student Representative

Chairman Linares introduced newly elected student representative Maggie Noelk to her first School Committee meeting of the year.  Maggie reported that the school year is going well so far and she’d never seen so many people at the new turf field.  Teachers are great as always.  Junior varsity and varsity soccer teams are doing well.  The football team has had a tough couple of games and never stop fighting until the end.  They play Manchester/Essex this weekend.  Maggie and the VP Ashley Hogan will rotate attending meetings.



Anne Blythe of 4 Pillsbury Lane came forward to speak on behalf of School Committee candidate Cheryl Lachendro.  She spoke as a mother and former School Committee member and about the first time she served on the Committee and met Cheryl, which was shortly after the first override failed.  Mrs. Blythe continued with her history with Mrs. Lachendro as a mother and the experience that her sons had with her.  She often spoke with Cheryl to gain her perspective on working in the district.


LiXin Olsen of 9 Hillside Drive came forward to also speak on Mrs. Lachendro’s behalf.  Mrs. Olsen stated that her daughter was her student for two years and she is the type of teacher you can hope for your child to have.  Her first impression was when she met her before the start of the school year.  She shared her philosophy of challenging the child at their level and continued to say that she’s a warm and disciplined teacher.  Mrs. Lachendro is a strong thinker and always looks at things in different ways to get the best from the student.  It will be beneficial to have her on the Committee as she is able to work with families.


Virginia Keeley-Bergson of 5 Rainbow Ridge Way spoke about Cheryl who was Ms. Walsh at the time.  She was amazing and had very thorough and diverse lessons which she will bring to the Committee.  She will be very resourceful.  Mrs. Lachendro is tireless, generous with her time and she saw first-hand the dedication she gave to her students.  She is also a very thoughtful negotiator, being able to hear both sides of the story in a calm manner.  She is vested in the community, having worked here and her son will soon enter kindergarten in the district.


Susan Terban of 13 True Lane came forward to speak on Cheryl’s behalf and also put her thoughts in writing.  Her reputation of 20 years in the district speaks for itself.  It was a difficult decision to make to stay home with her son.  This just goes to show that she still wants to work in the district in this capacity.


Stephanie Thompson of 25 Searle Street spoke about Cheryl’s great teaching reputation in the district and her ability to compromise in negotiations.  Her insight will invaluable to the Committee.


Linda Witz of 4 Davis Lane spoke about her 3 children having had Mrs. Lachendro as their teacher.  The Committee will benefit greatly with her expertise and she is committed to education, be it as a parent and teacher.


Sheila Ruth of 5 North Street came forward to express her interest in filling the open School Committee seat.  She wasn’t able to attend the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday so she is appearing tonight to talk about her candidacy.  She is an accountant as well as substituting in our district and is an adjunct professor.  She has negotiation and conflict resolution skills.  Her son’s education is of the utmost importance to her which is why she applied for this position.  She will be continuing her education to teach at the college level.  She has lived in Georgetown for 5 years where she fell in love with the area.  She spoke of the small town feel of Georgetown.  She was asked “why now is it the time to join the Committee” was asked by Chairman Linares.  She learned about the position and has the time and desire to become more involved in the community.


She was asked about her interest in other Town Boards.  There are two aspects to this, one being her finance background and zoning is a personal interest of hers.  She reiterated the importance of her son’s education.  She was asked if it were her intention to run for the seat when it opens in May and she stated that she would if things worked out.  She was asked if her intention was to make changes to how things are done now.  She does not have any complaints and intends to make changes, but to make improvements always.  There is no personal agenda involved.  In substituting in the district, she does see how difficult it is to be a teacher these days.


Ms. Ruth was asked about the common core and she stated that she does not like the common core, but it is a mandate.   What makes her happy about the district is that we far exceed the minimum standards and our standards are much higher, which is extremely important.


There is a lot of collaboration and work in subcommittees within the town and with other communities.  She was asked to give 2-3 adjectives that would describe her.  She is fair, exacting and helpful.  She became a teacher because she always helped people and it turns out that she loves to teach people.


The third candidate Mr. Valentine wasn’t able to attend this evening.  Chairman Linares reiterated what she said at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday.  She commended all of the candidates for seeking the position and for answering the questions.  The Board of Selectmen asked that the School Committee return to their meeting on 10/5/15 to return their recommendation.  The number of votes will determine the filling of the seat until May 2016.  The discussion continued with individual members discussed their thoughts on the candidates.


Member Hinchliffe spoke of being mindful of the mix of having a current/former teacher on the Committee was taken seriously.  You want to make sure you have a look from all angles.  There is an issue of accountability, etc. and he offered his support of Sheila and Don.


Chairman Linares spoke about when looking at all three candidates, any one of them would be a great addition.  The process of negotiations in the school system that worked here would be difficult.  Looking at Mr. Valentine having been a vice president of a union could be a conflict of interest.  Those are a few of the things to be mindful of.


Vice Chairman Lundquist spoke about the dedication and leadership qualities of Cheryl Lachendro and someone who has a deep sense of where we want to go is someone we want on our team.


Chairman Linares spoke of the decision to move forward with Cheryl Lachendro as the recommendation to the Board of Selectmen for the open School Committee seat.  Chairman Linares again thanked the three candidates for their interest in filling the seat and serving on the Committee.


Documents Referenced:  Credentials of three candidates.


Camp Kieve 6th Grade Trip Approval

Superintendent Jacobs reported that this trip is earlier than in previous years and the bus cost has remained the same from last year.  There will be some fundraising done to help offset the cost.  The principal’s account may be used as well.  The parent information meeting will take place on 10/1/15.  The 7th grade will continue to have Camp Kieve visit the school and the 8th graders will still go to the camp.  Next year, the goal is to implement a more environmentally focused program.


MOTION:  Pam Lundquist (M. Hinchliffe second) to approve the 6th grade trip to Camp Kieve from November 16-20, 2015 as presented.  So voted (4-0).  Motion carried.


Document Referenced:  Field trip approval form.


Old Business

2015-2016 School Calendar Change Approval

Due to the delayed opening of GMHS, the school calendar has been adjusted using professional development days in order to make up for the 3 lost days at the beginning of the school year.  The second option and the most favorable for staff would be to find a way to have all schools end on the same day.  In order to accomplish this would be to shift the professional development days to no school for elementary students and half days for GMHS students so that the day counts as a full day to meet time on learning requirements.  The three full PD days will have the GMHS students come in the morning only which will count for a day of school and teachers will do PD until 4PM.


MOTION:  Pam Lundquist (S. MacDonald second) to approve the updated 2015-2016 school calendar as presented.


Document Referenced:  Updated 2015-2016 school calendar.


Georgetown was rated #62 in the Boston Globe Magazine article today.


New Business

Start Time at GMHS

Chairman Linares brought this item forward for discussion.  She is looking for the Committee to take a look at this issue.  She has spent some time looking at other districts that have researched and implemented this initiative.  There are several districts that have already changed to a later start time.  She cited prestigious organizations that children benefit from a later start time.  Another option is to have specials earlier in the morning.  She is recommending the creating of a committee to look at this topic.  There are all kinds of factors that impact the decision from interferences with work schedules and sports conflicts.  Maggie Noelk was asked her opinion about the start times.  Her peers like to sleep in whereas she doesn’t.  MASC and MASS are both looking at this initiative.


Subcommittee Reports

Chairman Linares reported that the Budget/Finance Subcommittee will meet on 10/2/15.


Vice Chairman Lundquist reported that the Governance Subcommittee me yesterday and discussed the physical restraint policy, the security cameras in school policy, the medical emergency plans policy, the CORI/Fingerprint policy and the transportation.  There will be a transportation forum on 10/14/15.


Chairman Linares reported that we will be negotiating with GESA this year.  Supt. Jacobs is expecting a letter from the union to commence negotiations very soon.


Vice Chairman Lundquist reported that the Public Relations Subcommittee met on 9/15/15 and discussed the new district website which will launch on October first.  Grade quick parent portal pages will also go live in October.


The Safety Subcommittee met this morning and discussed the roadwork going on in town.  Bus counts were shared from NRT bus and they are certainly being utilized.  The Penn Brook pick up/drop off procedure seems to be working better.  Speed bumps may be installed in the road to keep speeds down.  The Elm Street Access road is really only an emergency road.


Vice Chairman Lundquist reported that the School Building Committee met on the 16th to discuss the Penn Brook School, specifically the soil.  There is an excess of soil to be stored and of the five options, a place was determined.  There will be trees to be removed.  At GMHS, the bleachers issues were discussed and of the three options, each option has issues.


Superintendent Jacobs gave an update on the rugs.  They are on back order right now and the tiles on the third floor are being ripped up.  The sub-flooring was affected by the flooding over the summer.  The library carpet and the tiles will be done over Christmas vacation.


New Business

Strategic Plan Priorities

Superintendent Jacobs reported that it is time for her to create another three year strategic plan.  The focus area will most likely remain the same and represents the work that we have been doing.  She is looking for the top 3-5 priorities that the Committee would like to see in the plan.  She would like to get this process started in the beginning of October.  Members were asked to send their priorities before the next meeting.


Approval of STEM Coordinator Stipend

Superintendent Jacobs reported that discussions with GEA resulted in the creation of this new stipend for a Coordinator to oversee the district STEM initiative.  It’s a club in the respect that they would be working with students.  There is also the option of brining others into the classroom.


MOTION:  Pam Lundquist (M. Hinchliffe second) to approve the $1,400.00 stipend for the STEM Coordinator position as presented.  So voted (4-0).  Motion carried.


MOTION:  Barbie Linares (P. Lundquist second) to adjourn at 9:24M.  So voted (4-0).  Motion carried.


Respectfully Submitted,



Laura Markarian, School Committee Secretary