By Steven Hoffman
Educators see summer school as an effective way to get students who are not yet reaching proficiency levels to maintain the progress that they've made during the last school year and to get off to a good start for the next school year.
At Monday night's Kennett School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Barry Tomasetti talked about the benefits of the district’s summer school programs, especially for students for whom English is a second language. The federal No Child Left Behind program requires that all students, including those in disaggregated groups, reach 100 percent proficiency in core subjects.
“These children can learn,” Tomasetti said, “they just need more time.”
The superintendent said that federal funding cuts in the last few years have reduced the number of students that the district can provide additional help for, but the staff has been working hard to maximize opportunities for students.
This summer, Tomasetti said, 120 students in grades 1-3 will be attending summer school at the Mary D. Lang School, while 140 students from grades 1-5 will be attending summer school at Greenwood Elementary School.
In an effort to be able to expand the offerings to students who need some additional help, Tomasetti said that he wants to schedule meetings with legislators State Sen. Dominic Pileggi and State Rep. Chris Ross to update them on the district’s progress and to discuss funding opportunities that might be available.
Also at Monday night's meeting, the Kennett School Board approved a revamped organization chart, with the electorate, of course, positioned at the top as they collectively select the school board members. The school board then has the duty of selecting and evaluating the job performance of the superintendent.
Perhaps the most significant change to the organizational chart is the status of Mark Tracy, whose job title changes from Director of Business Administration to Assistant to the Superintendent for Business Affairs. The Director of Construction and Facilities, the Manager of Transportation, the Manager of Accounting, the Supervisor of Technology Services, and Food Services staff follow on that branch of the organizational chart.
“We have been operating without an assistant superintendent and we will continue to do that,” Tomasetti explained. He added that the new job description for Tracy matches his skills. There will be some additional responsibilities for the well-respected Tracy.
“It’s a reflection of what Mr. Tracy has been doing all along,” said school board president Douglas Stirling.
The school board formalized the change in Tracy's status by rescinding his previous contract, which ran through June 30, 2015, and approving a new contract with the new duties that will be effective from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2018. There is no impact on the budget as a result of the title change.
The school board approved a list of fees for various events and activities for the 2013-14 school year. Tickets to the high school musical will range from $8 to $18, while the middle school musical tickets will be $4 for students and $6 for adults. Tickets for the senior class play will be $5 for students and $8 for adults. To attend dances, students will pay $5 for regular dances, $7.50 for holiday dances, $ 5 for tickets purchased in advance of the Homecoming dance, and $7 for tickets for Homecoming purchased at the door. Middle school dance tickets are $3. Tickets for athletic events are $3 for students and $5 for adults.
The money that is raised from these ticket sales goes back to support the activities.
The school board agreed to a request from the Study Buddies program to have the district donate used iMac desktop computers to the non-profit organization. The computers, which are all eight years old, have limited resale value—less than $100 per computer. Study Buddies provides Kennett students in grades K-5 with homework help and guidance with communication skills.
Initially, officials from the Study Buddies program were hoping for five computers to use, but the school board will be able to donate as many as 25 to the program.
The school district also agreed to continue providing extended bus transportation service to five local licensed child care centers. The agreement will allow children attending local child care centers to be transported to their residential elementary school even though the child care center is located outside the attendance area. The licenced child care centers will reimburse the district for the actual cost of the extended bus service.
The school board does not have a meeting scheduled in August so the next meeting will take place on Monday, Sept. 9 at the Kennett High School.