School Committee Notebook for June 11 Meeting
Bake sales during school hours banned, another finalist named for interim superintendent position.
- Cheshire, Conn. resident David Cressy has been named a finalist for the interim superintendent position. Cressy has worked in public education for over 40 years, 30 of which as superintendent in three districts. He is looking to relocate to the area to be closer to family and views the position as a great way to get to know the community and let the community get to know him. The finalists, which also include Steven Hiersche, Christopher Martes and Michael Malone, will be interviewed starting 5:45 p.m. Wednesday at Norton Middle School.
- Despite much debate, the School Committee approved the new wellness policy that would bring Norton to national and state standards in nutrition and physical fitness. While Norton is already incorporating most of the standards, such as eliminating sugary foods and beverages, School Committee members Beth McManus and Phillip Lynch questioned how far these standards are going. Bake sales and candy bar fundraisers would be prohibited during school hours and food as incentives would be discouraged. Barry Nectow, director of operations and finance, noted that the school gets significant reimbursement for complying with the standards. The committee will reevaluate the policy next year with the director of food services.
- Evan Dasilva and Bryce McCarthy came before the School Committee to talk about the organization’s accomplishments, particularly at the National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah April 27 - May 3 in which 16,000 students competed. McCarthy, who is completing his first year in DECA, was named a finalist in the Principles of Hospitality and Tourism category, but did not make it in the top 10 of the final round. He was the first finalist in about five or six years for Norton when Dasilva’s brother made his mark on the competition.
- It was made official that current assistant principal Meghan Lafayette will be taking over for Raymond Dewar, who will be leaving his principal desk in Norton for one in Barre.
- Bobby Portway, a sixth grader at Norton Middle School, showed off his flight simulator skills, just as he did at the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Expo May 24. Students had to write an essay on why they should go to the expo, and Portway was chosen from his science class. Thirty Norton Middle Schools attended the event with 10 from each grade. They got the opportunity to partake in hands-on activities such as learning the power of wind, building marshmallow structures, making putty and more. The goal was to expose students to STEM fields and recognize their interests in them as careers.
- A technology survey was distributed to Norton High School students in grades 9 through 11. The results showed that out of the 69 percent of students who have their own computer at home, 88 percent of them have access to internet. Ninety-three percent of students share a computer with up to eight family members. The goal of the survey was to determine how close Norton is to moving from textbooks to online resources. “We’re close, but not there yet,” said committee member Deniz Savas, also noting that desktop computers should be discounted since they are not portable.
- Deborah Marai of Pinck & Co. and Steve Roman of W.T. Rich gave an update on the high school building project, noting that construction is underway. The first steel beam is set to be in place around June 25. The goal is to do the most noisy construction during the summer so that classes will not be disrupted come September. The project is slated to be finished December of 2013.
- Nectow gave a report on the state of the fiscal year 2012 budget. Though $200,000 remains, a portion of that will be encumbered to replenish supplies. There is also additional funds encumbered for custodial needs. Nectow expects the budget to be fully spent by the end of June.
- Award bids have come in for the various needs in Norton schools, such as HVAC, an electrician, pest control and others. While some rates came in higher, some were lowered.
- The Norton Public Schools have been cited in audit for not having a written municipal expenditure agreement. The district is in compliance with standards, but there is no documentation. They may either determine expenditures by adopting the state average or working out the numbers specifically for Norton. The subject was tabled until the fall when further research and discussions have been made.
- Though there is not a teacher available to teach the course yet, a new book has been approved for next year’s AP Physics class. The cost for 25 textbooks, online components and shipping and handling is $3,417.70.
- Four middle school students from Susan Segaloff’s eighth grade enrichment class gave presentations on sacagawea and General George Custer. “They worked for the sake of learning,” Segaloff said of her students who took on the extra curriculum during their free ICE block.