|TSC Permanent Minutes October 6, 2011
TOPSFIELD SCHOOL COMMITTEE
PROCTOR SCHOOL LIBRARY
OCTOBER 6, 2011
The regular meeting of the Topsfield School Committee was
held on Thursday, October 6, 2011 in the Proctor School
Library, 60 Main Street, Topsfield, MA.
Members Present: Jeanine Cunniff, Chairperson; Susan Archer
and Rosemarie Lucey
Absent: Gordie Spater and Joseph Quigley
Others Present: Bernard F. Creeden Superintendent; Steven
Greenberg, Director of Finance and Human Resources; Suzanne
Snell, TTT Reporter; Zillie Theodora Bhuju, TESPTO;
Katherine Carlson, Resident; Lyndsay Lantz, Allison
Andruszkiewicz, and Maureen Jordan, Teachers; Laura
O’Connor, Topsfield Educational Foundation; Kathy Curran
Telecaster; and Mary Farley, Recording Secretary
1. Call to Order: J. Cunniff called the meeting to order
at 7:35 p.m.
2. Remarks from the Public: None
1. Reports from Other Committees:
• Topsfield Educational Foundation (TEF): Mrs. Laura
O’Connor, TEF President, reported to the Committee. Their
first meeting was on Tuesday. They have a group of new
programs including Proctor School Chorus and the Writer’s
Club. They have ongoing programs; the Lego League, Band
Boosters, and they continue to support the Proctor School
Instructional Music Program, and Math League. TEF supports
many programs. It is a non-profit volunteer program which
supports the Topsfield schools and enriches the curriculum.
They met the other day with various groups interested in
It was noted that TESPTO will be here in November, and the
Playground Committee should be invited to come at that time,
• Math Curriculum Committee: The Math Committee is
looking at new programs; and piloting some. Additional
information is on the table tonight; the Singapore Approach
and Math Expressions. Dr. Creeden will forward information
electronically from C. Elliott about the work that has been
done. The Committee will be doing their final assessments
in January, and they will be looking at the financial
approach. Once the choice is made and we know what the
funding is, they will look at the rollout of the program.
This is being done throughout all three towns, gathering
data from all the people involved and sharing it.
• Educator Evaluation Study Committee: Dr. Creeden had
the first meeting with the Study Group on Tuesday. We are
still in the process of looking at the new regulations that
the Board of Education adopted in June. Educator Evaluation
applies to all people who have Educator licenses. We are
responsible for a developing a plan that we will propose to
the Department of Education for acceptance for the 2013/2014
school year. This year, we are studying all the
ramifications and next year it will involve implementation.
The Committee will be meeting on a monthly basis during this
year and will report back to the individual School
Committees on what is taking place. We are doing this as a
study group with members from all six schools. We need to
1.) understand the requirements, and 2.) implement the
2. Report of the Building Principals: Michelle Costa
reviewed her written report which was included in the
packet. Sarah O’Leary reviewed her written report which
was included in the packet. The Principals also reported on
a Parent Coffee they held to give parents more information
about the MCAS reports they were sending home. They also
provided families with some tools that are on the DESE
website. They also thanked TESPTO for providing a license
for iSucceed Math.
There was a two-day training for the Olweus Steering
Committee. The principals will be working very closely
together to plan how best to get this started. The next
coffee will be around the Olweus Program and more
information will be given out.
S. O’Leary met with B. Creeden, S. Lyons and Laura Powers
to discuss building usage and some different ways to look at
this regarding facilities.
The Data Team is looking at different sources to help to
better understand the students and community of learners;
what data is important to look at; MCAS, RTI, etc.
M. Costa met with B. Middleton-Cox to explore the option of
a five day kindergarten program without tuition. They
decided it is a good thing to explore. Middleton has a five
day program. They are at the very beginning stages of
looking at this. Five Day Kindergarten is not required at
the state level at this time, but we do not know what is
coming our way.
S. O’Leary and M. Costa have started a Steward School
Blog and got a response from a father who lives very far
away that he was very pleased with it and being able to
learn what is happening.
The Olweus Presentation from this morning will be put on
3. Report of the Superintendent:
• Dr. Creeden reviewed the October 1 enrollment
information which was included in the packet. There are
576 children K-6, 319 at Steward, 257 at Proctor plus 43
Preschoolers for a total of 619 students. Last year there
were 613 students K-6 and 42 preschoolers for a total of 655
students. We had a class of 93 – 6th graders who went to
Masco and we had 64 kindergartners come in this fall.
• K-12 Meeting – October 19: Dr. Creeden reported that
the K-12 Joint School Committees Meeting will be held at the
new Howe-Manning School and will consist of two tours, one
before the meeting and one after the meeting. The K-12
group will meet from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. The Masconomet
Committee will meet after that for their own separate
meeting. The Agenda will consist of discussion of the
Social Networking Policy, discussion of home-schooling
outreach and the tools we are using, and sharing
information. There will also be discussion about the
2012/2013 calendar. Masco adopted a calendar with a return
to school on January 2 which is a legal holiday.
The School Committee list-serve has been having some
discussion about eliminating the February and April
vacations and having one vacation for two weeks in March
There will be a discussion about facilities usage. Each of
the user groups is being asked to take a larger part of
upkeep of the facilities. We will continue with that
There will be some discussion about technology, the
infrastructure program and white boards. There are active
Technology committees in all three districts. People taking
the tour will be able to see new technology. We will also
discuss the tablet initiative at the high school.
• Tri-Town Union Meeting: This will be held on October 27
at Boxford Town Hall.
4. Report of the Director of Finance: S. Greenberg reported
that he has submitted the End of Year Reports to DESE. This
is a financial accounting of what the FY 2011 expenses were.
All the information is categorized by DESE and integrated
with the SIMS report. People can look at all the
information and related costs. It will be audited as
required by law.
Transportation has been relatively quiet. Rowley Bridge
Road is out of commission because of the bridge project.
Howlett Street has been opened after the bridge project.
Ridership – we have not changed the fleet. With low
enrollment, it appears we are in good shape. Ridership is
66-75 on the larger buses. Data on route times will be
coming around the first of November.
5. M. Costa reported that Cafeteria choices have been much
better; really impressive. “Thank you” to Mrs. Bodwell.
S. Greenberg explained that they are trying to up the
participation. Nutra-Kids is a wonderful program. S
Greenberg will confirm if participation has increased and if
Nutra-Kids is one of the reasons.
C. NEW BUSINESS:
1. MCAS 2011 Results Analysis Part I: The MCAS Part I
Results and History were included in the packet. Handouts
are available. This will be available on the website
tomorrow. The second part will come next month. Dr.
Creeden explained how they get the results.
Dr. Creeden reviewed and explained the MCAS Report and how
the Composite Performance Index (CPI) is calculated.
2. School Committee Planning:
• FY 2013 Five Year Capital Plan - The first draft is in
the packet. It explains part of our budget process. It
will be presented to the Committee and to the town. What
is included are multiple areas. S. Greenberg read all the
major areas. One of the big things we want to stress
tonight is that we are incorporating technology back into
the Capital Plan. Our ability to replace technology has
been minimal. Topsfield is behind compared to their sister
communities. We have had an audit done. The Technology
Committee is working on it to press forward to the
community. Technology for both schools is about $400,000.
We have not done anything in the past seven (7) years. We
have to look at how to integrate this: tablets, laptops,
cameras, SmartBoards, staffing, etc. The Committee has to
look at how they would prioritize this. Laptops are about
$1,500-1,700. Hardware must last seven years due to our
7-year replacement cycle, so we have to build in lots of
capacity and a 3-5 year warranty. Tablets - this depends
on where the curriculum goes. With tablets, we must look to
see what warranties are available. M. Costa stated that
researching the hardware is a huge undertaking. The
infrastructure is the most important piece. The Technology
Committee is researching that now. We cannot support any of
the new technology without the wireless.
They are not collecting Capital Plans from each department
this year. They did not want departments to be working on
individual request sheets. Dr. Creeden stated that the kind
of things the Town Accountant will be advertising for will
be for some type of master review study of the seven (7)
buildings and where they are in their life cycle, and how do
they consider funding for changes.
M. Costa and S. O’Leary stated that a Library automation
system in the plan. S. Greenberg stated that this could be
considered in the contingency. If you look at the previous
year’s budget, you will see that was is one of the first
things to go. If anyone has questions about this, call
3. School Committee Planning:
• FY 2011 Annual Report: J. Cunniff is looking for input
for the annual Report. Please send thoughts and comments to
her. The target date is to have it at Town Hall by October
14, 2011. We must explain our budget. In the last few
years, we have had extra funds from the ARRA Grants. This
funding will not be available in this year. This year we
will have the Edu-Job Grant funding to save jobs. The
School Improvement Plan gave the highlights of what we have
Suggested topics for Committee members were:
Community Gardens – Joe Quigley
Collective Bargaining – Jeanine Cunniff
Foundation and Writing Curriculum – Gordie Spater
Budget – Steve Greenberg
• District Goals 2011-2012: It was suggested that the
Committee take these home, read through and digest them.
Dr. Creeden would like to finish this at the November
• School Improvement Plan: These should align with the
School Committee Goals. The District Goals are referenced
in the School Improvement Plan.
• S. Archer has some new ideas on the District Goals.
This is the most recent version that Susan edited. Dr.
Creeden will put the two versions together. This is the
last year of the goals. The Committee should be looking to
see if they should stay as is or be changed. Dr. Creeden
will send out an electronic version.
• School Committee Agenda Calendar: this is for
information and does not require any further discussion.
4. Policy Development:
• Homework Policy: Three different districts are looking
at three different sections of the Policy Manual. Homework
will appear in the District Goals. The current Policy is in
the packet. J. Cunniff stated they should be talking
about a Review or Development Committee as a sub-group of
the school committee as part of the District Goals.
Committee members are working in concert with the teachers
and administration. J. Cunniff stated that it is important
to start on this in order to incorporate it into the goals.
R. Lucey will start conversations with Dr. Creeden and the
Principals with her questions and then they can start
selecting a working group. All members can send a list of
topics they would like researched and then they can start to
put a group together. She has heard from many parents that
homework is a huge issue.
• Internet Use Policy: There are a few different Policies
in the packet. This will be a K-12 Committee discussion
item. The Technology Committee will also be looking at
this. We do not have a Social Media Policy. The Committee
will look this over and bring back their thoughts.
• Gifts to Schools and Staff members: These policies need
to be looked at. We will research some others that are out
there. The Ethics Commission has issued some new guidelines
on this. Gifts from an individual or family should not
exceed $50 in a calendar year. A gift from the class
should not exceed $150, but no information of who
participated shall be given. M. Costa wants wording in the
handbook that has been accepted. The Committee will review
the Ethics Commission Regulations.
• Health – Medication Administration: The Tri-Town
nurses work on this every year to bring it up to date.
There are a few things in the appendices that need to have
references put to them.
R. Lucey moved to accept the Policy with the revisions to be
made to the appendices. Second by S. Archer. Motion
5. Correspondence: The School Planning and Management
magazine and a magazine from the Rennie Center on the Impact
on Students Who are Moving were received. No discussion was
6. Other: Received a request from Mrs. Sandie Sienkiewicz
to home school her daughter, Sophie, during this school
year. She also included her home-schooling plan.
S. Archer moved to approve the home schooling request from
Mrs. Sienkiewicz and the home schooling plan as presented.
Second by R. Lucey. Motion carried 3-0-0.
Steward School Surplus Equipment: S. Archer moved to
declare the items on the list as surplus, plus two pianos
and one overhead projector. Second by R. Lucey. The items
should be advertised within the school community. Motion
D. CONSENT AGENDA:
1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting: Approval of the
Minutes was tabled due to the absence of the regular
2. Approval of Bills and Payrolls: R. Lucey moved to
approve the following Bill and Payroll Warrants in the total
amount of $411,263.97. Second by S. Archer.
Corrected BW#12-17 dated 9/13/11 in the amount of
BW#12-19 dated 9/13/11 in the amount of $8,078.10
BW#12-20 dated 9/22/11 in the amount of $30,343.13
BW#12-21 dated 9/28/11 in the amount of $61,779.53
BW#12-22 dated 9/28/11 in the amount of $4,052.65
BW#12-23 dated 10/6/11 in the amount of $6,296.05
BW#12-24 dated 10/6/11 in the amount of $48,640.00
BW#12-25 dated 10/6/11 in the amount of $4,646.32
BW#12-26 dated 10/6/11 in the amount of $1,314.49
TTU BW#12/05 dated 9/26/11 in the amount of $100.88
TTU PCard #1202 dated 9/26/11 in the amount of $39.80
Payroll (#7&4&2) dated 10/6/11 in the amount of
Motion carried 3-0-0.
E. ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, S. Archer
moved to adjourn at 10:25 p.m. Second by R. Lucey. Motion