WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock School Committee on Thursday OK'd a District Improvement Plan and a set of goals for the newly expanded district's superintendent.
The latter administrative document, the Superintendent Goals, are part of the standard against which the committee will evaluate Superintendent Kimberley Grady's performance.
Ideally, the document would have been approved some months ago, but it was delayed by the fact that the School Committee only was constituted for the first time after the November election. At that time, the newly elected seven-member committee took control of the district from an interim Transition Committee that governed the two-town district since Jan. 1, when it fully regionalized to PreK-12 following a November 2017 vote.
The committee held a special meeting just to approve the goals and improvement plan, adding to a meeting calendar that already sees the body assembling on Dec. 13 for its regular monthly meeting.
Grady explained the goals document and District Improvement Plan as mirroring, in part, the School Improvement Plans developed by the district's three principals and previously presented to the School Committee.
"The key action steps are outlined as well as my benchmarks," Grady said of the Superintendent Goals document. "The benchmarks are things I'll be producing for you."
Committee member Al Terranova, one of the four members of the seven-person panel to attend the special meeting, questioned whether the committee should be approving the documents with just a bare quorum present.
Vice Chairwoman Regina DiLego, who ran the meeting in place of absent Chairman Joe Bergeron, pointed out that all seven members received the documents in advance of the meeting and had the opportunity to express their concerns to the chair or Grady before the vote.
"The purpose of tonight's meeting was to go through the goals to get them approved and not tie up the whole regular meeting next Thursday," DiLego said.
Dan Caplinger agreed.
"I feel like this process has been pushed back further than is ideal for us and the superintendent," Caplinger said. "The superintendent has a job to do as we define it through these goals. The longer we delay it, the longer she has to do her job without the guidance we're responsible to provide.
"I'd ask the acting chair and superintendent if anyone has expressed thoughts in advance of the meeting … Hearing none, I'd be comfortable reviewing them and voting on them."
Grady outlined three broad sets of goals: "Develop a variety of district plans as a result of regionalization, to assure the district is aligning vertically and horizontally to meet the needs of all students Prek-12-plus;" "By June 2019, will have focused activities for faculty, students and families aligned to Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to increase positive relationships with families and members of the community at all three districts;" and "Using the new MCAS accountability system data will work with building Principals and Director of Pupil Services to engage faculty/staff, students and families, so that we have implemented action steps for students target areas not meeting target."
Each of the goals comes with a set of actions that Grady will need to document, like the creation of a Strategic Planning Steering Committee, providing professional development opportunities for teachers related to the ESSA and presenting "fiscally sound budgets that support all children's needs."
The School Committee will delve into the fiscal 2020 budget process in earnest starting in January, but Thursday's discussion of the District Improvement Plan touched on a couple of issues that likely will impact the budget.
"On the curriculum alignment goal … is it part of the plan to fill the curriculum coordinator position?" Caplinger asked Grady. "My understanding is it was [on the district's organizational chart] because there's a job description for it, but there's been a job description there for the last couple of years and it was unfilled. Is it time to fill it?"
"Absolutely," Grady replied. "We're going to bring the proposed regional positions to you before we begin the budget process."
In other business on Thursday, Grady introduced to the School Committee the members of the district's new Parent Advisory Council. With parents from each of the district's three schools, the new regional council takes the place of the old councils at Mount Greylock, Lanesborough Elementary and Williamstown Elementary.
"They play a big role with regard to special education programming in the region as well as providing input in the budget process," Grady said.
The Mount Greylock PAC's president, Amy Hane, is a parent at the middle-high school and a former president and vice president of the PAC at Williamstown Elementary.
"The PAC is formed per state mandate to serve as an advisory board to the School Committee," Hane told the committee. "We will update you and let you know how things are going. At budget time, we will spend time looking at the budgets related to students with special needs. We will be keeping a finger on the pulse of all three schools regarding how service delivery is going.
"It's a bigger endeavor to go from one school to a regional district, but I think we have formed a great committee and we're up to the challenge."
Hane is joined by three other parents from Mount Greylock, three from Williamstown Elementary and one from Lanesborough Elementary.
Grady also used Thursday's special meeting to update the School Committee on the progress forming another committee, the one that will help develop the expanded district's initial strategic plan. She said that group will start meeting in January with plans to roll out a plan that the School Committee can approve in September.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Greylock Insurance Agency Producer Earns National Designation
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Andrew Alcaro, a Greylock Insurance Agency commercial lines producer in the agency's Williamstown office, has earned a Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist designation from the Hartford School of Insurance.
"Andrew's accomplishments speak volumes to his character," Jay Marion, vice president, Commercial Lines Sales and Services, said. "We are proud to have a local team with so much knowledge and commitment to serve our business partners in North County."
The National Underwriter Company established the designation to highlight agents who demonstrate extensive knowledge in the areas of property and casualty insurance and have applied that knowledge in real-life case study exercises. The Hartford School of Insurance is authorized by the NUC to confer the designation.
Alcaro joined Greylock in March 2018 and resides in North Adams.
After the committee voted 3-0 to reverse course on the bulbs, much of the crowd broke out into applause and left the meeting, but not before several of the attendees praised the decision.
click for more
During the American Revolution famed French Gen. Marquis de Lafayette played a significant role as an ally by the United States.
So much so that President James Monrow invited him on a farewell tour of the nation in 1824, celebrating the country's 50th birthday. Lafayette traveled all 24 of the... click for more
DeCarolis and Gleason turned over the first sod — though not easily — and officials and board members took turns at the shovels as well. Gleason posed with a large sign with the date and plans to continue that practice to mark the project's progress.
click for more
The Planning Board Tuesday took a first look at a draft revision of the town’s lighting bylaw that seeks to “reduce unnecessary and obtrusive lighting.”
Backed by mounting evidence of the adverse health effects associated with too much artificial lighting and cognizant of the growing options for... click for more
The Police Department Tuesday moved into its new station on Simonds Road.
Town Manager Jason Hoch announced the move on Monday at the Board of Selectmen meeting, noting that while little in the way of infrastructure will be moved from the “old” station in town hall, the move required a lot of... click for more
After listening to two of the town's leading environmental authorities make arguments for and against joining, the board voted 4-1 to join a growing list of municipalities that have joined on to the bi-county initiative.
click for more