School Department technology lease approved

Jul 13, 2017 by

Published in the July 13, 2017 edition.

By MARK SARDELLA

WAKEFIELD — The School Committee last night authorized School Business Administrator Michael Pfifferling to enter into a three-year, tax exempt municipal lease for computer equipment at a budgeted cost of $86,000.

“The purpose of this budget line increase was to initiate the third phase of the Wakefield Public Schools leasing of student and teacher devices,” Pfifferling told the School Committee at their meeting Tuesday night.

He provided a list of devices that School Technology Director Jeff Weiner identified as necessary for the Wakefield Public Schools to continue the path to technology independence. The devices include:

• 310 Grade 5 student Chromebooks and carts

• 325 Grade 4 student Chromebooks

• 150 Grade 2 student Chromebooks and carts

• 50 WMHS student Chromebooks

• 35 district spare Chromebooks

• 20 teacher laptops

• WMHS PC lab (25 devices)

• WMHS Mac lab (25 devices)

In addition to teacher and student devices, the Wakefield Public Schools will also purchase eight Samsung Galaxy Tablets for use by the building custodial staff. While the intent is to include these devices in the proposed lease, Pfifferling explained, School Transportation and facilities Director Maria Serrao has identified $800 from Equipment Maintenance Budget Lines to contribute each year for the next three years above and beyond the $86,000 in Instructional Technology Budget Lines.

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The School Committee approved Superintendent Dr. Kim Smith’s proposal to increase a Moderate Special Needs (MSN) position at the Dolbeare School from .8 full-time equivalent to a full-time position.

“This budget-neutral move will ensure an equitable co-taught learning environment for students in all grades,” Smith said.

“Grades 1, 3 and 4 each have a 1.0 MSN co-teacher to support rich inclusionary classrooms,” Smith explained. “Grade 2 currently has a .8 MSN co-teacher, prohibiting a fully supported inclusion experience in both reading/writing and math on a daily basis. Increasing the .8 MSN position to 1.0 will create the equity we seek and advance our work toward excellence in inclusion, a key initiative of our district strategy.”

Smith said that an anticipated increase in the FY18 IDEA grant will fund any additional cost.

“The MSN position is already a benefitted employee, so there will be no additional cost to the town,” Smith said. “In the event that we do not receive the anticipated increase in the IDEA grant, we have carried over a sufficient amount of this two-year grant ($23,625) to cover the cost of this move.”

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At the suggestion of School Committee member Anne Fortier, the Policy Subcommittee will explore ways to have a member or members of the Student Advisory Committee take a more active role during School Committee meetings.

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The School Committee voted to appoint Superintendent Smith to the Board of the SEEM Collaborative. In a separate vote, the School Committee renewed the SEEM Collaborative’s lease of the Yeuell School

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Smith updated the School Committee on the progress of the searches to replace the principals at the Walton and Dolbeare Schools. Smith said that a panel of teachers, administrators and parents interviewed candidates at the Walton yesterday and candidates would be interviewed at the Dolbeare School today.

Smith said that more than 20 candidates had applied for the two positions.

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Dr. Smith reviewed her proposed “delegation of authority” chain of command in the event that she is absent at any time during the coming school year.

“Should I be unavailable, Douglas Lyons, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, will assume authority in my stead,” Smith said. “Should both Mr. Lyons and I be absent at the same time, school/central office leaders will work in concert to assume leadership responsibilities for the district.”

Those school/central office leaders include School Business Administrator Michael Pfifferling, High School Principal Rich Metropolis, Special Education Director Lyn O’Neil, Greenwood School Principal Deborah Collura, School Transportation and Facilities Director Maria Serrao and Galvin Middle School Principal Adam Colantuoni.

The next School Committee meeting is scheduled for Aug. 8.

 

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