Comments from the Public
No individuals requested to speak during the public comment period.
Approval of the Minutes
Board member Ruth Kaplan requested an amendment to page 9 of the minutes.
On a motion duly made and seconded, it was:
that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approve the minutes of the April 29, 2008 regular meeting, as amended.
The vote was unanimous.
Update on Randolph Public Schools
Deputy Commissioner Nellhaus said the Board voted to designate the Randolph Public Schools as an underperforming district at its November 2007 regular meeting. At its February 2008 meeting, the Board voted to accept the acting commissioner’s recommended actions and benchmarks and to defer action on the question of chronic underperformance and state receivership for 120 days. The acting commissioner appointed a District Support Team after the February 2008 Board meeting to work with local school, municipal, and community leaders to define actions to be taken over the next 24 months and to assist in a community-wide, consensus-building effort.
Associate Commissioner Lynda Foisy gave a brief report on Randolph’s efforts to develop its Turnaround Plan, which will be submitted to the Department by May 31, 2008. Randolph officials will present the plan to the Board at its June 24, 2008 regular meeting. Ms. Foisy said it appears the community has made good progress to date, and she noted that the school committee and selectmen unanimously approved the Turnaround Plan the previous evening. Ms. Foisy said the successful override vote in Randolph in April helped to bring people together.
Board member Harneen Chernow asked whether there was anything learned in Randolph about bringing together constituencies that could be helpful to other communities. Ms. Foisy said that the Department will learn more about this process during a more formal debrief with the district team and others. Associate Commissioner Juliane Dow said the Department purposefully placed a professional facilitator on the district team since the communications problems were significant. Ms. Dow said the structured approach to conversation provided by the facilitator was essential.