Monday, May 30, 2011

With Thanks and Gratitude

Tomb of the Unknown
Memorial Day 2011

In memory of all service men and women killed in all American wars.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Parent Advisory Councils (PACs)

For over two decades, parents of children with disabilities in Massachusetts have made significant contributions to improving the education of their children through PACs.  Since 1986, Massachusetts state law has required all public school districts to maintain a Parent Advisory Council open to all parents of students identified as eligible for special education, as well as other interested parties. 

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides guidance to PACs so that each and every PAC will have access to knowledge of what the law allows them to do.  The guidance document updated in March of 2010 provides:
  • A clear, concise description of the basic requirements that apply to PACs;
  • the key components to address in meeting those requirements;
  • and some options for practices, activities, and resources that might assist a PAC in making positive contributions to special education in their community.
Interested persons may view and download a copy of the guidance document here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Response to the Extended Day RFP

Harrington Extended Day is a great program and Rose Culkins a cherished program director, as all three of my children thrived in the program and have memorable experiences.

School facilities fall under the care of the School Committee and our stated goal is to support quality afterschool programs at an affordable cost to all families.  The extended day programs are leased at cost by LPS and not for a profit.  Because of the stability a multi-year lease provides, an RFP must be issued every three to five years to ensure our stated goals continue to be met.

I understand the anxiety the RFP process caused due to the two outside bids and the fact that parents were not permitted on the RFP Review Committee as it is a conflict of interest.  Two weeks before the RFP deadline, the School Committee received many emails from Board members and parents of extended day programs across Town; the emails expressed strong support for maintaining local control and urged not to go out of district for a provider.  After all extended day Board members were apprised that the Superintendent would be recommending that the contract go to Lextended Day, some Board members and parents continued to lobby for a separate program at Harrington, which wasn't possible under the provisions of the RFP.

With its majority vote Tuesday April 26, 2011, the School Committee instructed Dr. Ash to award a five-year contract to Lextended Day.  This action expands Lextended Day's program from Hastings, Estabrook, and Bridge Elementary Schools to Bowman, Fiske, and Harrington Schools.  

And now, we are in the time of transition.  

Lextended Day's transition plan is thoughtful and comprehensive, including many opportunities for parent and staff input, as well as in-service days to foster the care and conditions supporting as smooth a transition as possible.  I believe all afterschool programs will be strengthened as a result and that Harrington's program will continue to flourish.