North Middlesex, Lunenburg still in merger talks

Full story: Nashoba Publishing

The Lunenburg School District and the North Middlesex Regional School District have enough in common for the state to suggest a merger.

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Louise

Harvard, MA

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#1
Aug 13, 2010
 
This deal makes me very nervous. We closed 2 schools in the NMRSD to save money and now they are both reopened. It seems that Peter Fitz is a central location for the central offices but not for the preschool which got moved to Squanacook. Why didn't the central offices move there? We moved Pepperell K-2 to a building that needs many changes to make it safe for children of that age when we had a school that was perfect for them. The preschoolers are in another building that is not age appropriate and the playground is notsafe. What actually is going on in our district??
not their priorities

Hollis, NH

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#2
Aug 13, 2010
 
Louise wrote:
This deal makes me very nervous. We closed 2 schools in the NMRSD to save money and now they are both reopened. It seems that Peter Fitz is a central location for the central offices but not for the preschool which got moved to Squanacook. Why didn't the central offices move there? We moved Pepperell K-2 to a building that needs many changes to make it safe for children of that age when we had a school that was perfect for them. The preschoolers are in another building that is not age appropriate and the playground is notsafe. What actually is going on in our district??
You raise some good points, Louise. Regrettably, education and safety of our students don't seem to be the real priorities in this district, and the superintendent and a majority of the school committee members, who endorse every unrelated proposal or "wild idea" she puts forth, are to blame.

If they were, we wouldn't have witnessed the following:

1) a superintendent who didn't know there would have been a loss of $850K in state reimbursement to the town had Peter Fitz been officially "closed"; 2) a superintendent who splits her time between two districts, with problems in NMRSD still unresolved (just see NMRSD less than stellar student performance on MCAS scores); 3) a valued administrator and top teacher, who were suddenly "recruited" by the Quabbin district, once shared services was approved by the renowned school committee; 4) the loss of two popular school principals, a headmaster and business manager, who abruptly decided to abandon ship and either retire or move to another district; 5) a 1st grade student who walks away from VBS with no explanation to the public--where was the school staff this student was entrusted to? 6) a proposal by the superintendent to cut the music program for grades 4-8--the one and only program which has gained statewide acclaim for student performance (after public protest of this outrageous idea, administrators offered a concession of one day without pay!) 7) time wasted by the school committee members and superintendent on a merger idea, which will go no where due lack of money, public support and decreasing state funding for regional transportation and special ed. Meanwhile, there is no effort to develop any long term budget plan to prepare for the coming fiscal crisis. 8) no long term planning--move students to Squannacook, move central office to Peter Fitz, talk about building a new high school, though two school have been closed but could accommodate students.

Exactly, Louise...what actually is going on in this district?
Grover Pillsbury

Fitchburg, MA

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#3
Aug 13, 2010
 
This is because (with the exception of 2 members) the SC members are on a power trip and are not doing this for the children. They need active community members to run against them upon re-election. When you approach the school committee and only two even take the time to contact you there is something wrong with the picture. When MM's contract come up for renewal let your representative know that we need to let her go and get someone who actually cares about the children have the job. The next meeting is 8/22 show up and let them know that you are going to hold them accountable for this.
Nottrue

Haverhill, MA

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#4
Aug 13, 2010
 
Grover Pillsbury wrote:
This is because (with the exception of 2 members) the SC members are on a power trip and are not doing this for the children. They need active community members to run against them upon re-election. When you approach the school committee and only two even take the time to contact you there is something wrong with the picture. When MM's contract come up for renewal let your representative know that we need to let her go and get someone who actually cares about the children have the job. The next meeting is 8/22 show up and let them know that you are going to hold them accountable for this.
The SC members are NOT on a power trip, they don't know any better. It is best described as moths that fly too close to the light and can't turn away....
They don't understand that the supt works for them and the SC is ultimately responsible for the District...
It gets even funnier

East Hartford, CT

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#5
Aug 13, 2010
 
Go check this out if you haven't already.Everybody's getting copies emailed or on Facebook.

http://www.schoolspring.com/jobs/...
It gets even funnier

East Hartford, CT

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#6
Aug 13, 2010
 
It is pathetic really

Worcester, MA

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#7
Aug 13, 2010
 
It gets even funnier wrote:
Go check this out if you haven't already.Everybody's getting copies emailed or on Facebook.
http://www.schoolspring.com/jobs/...
This woman has unbelievable chutzpah. It's bad enough that she hired Sheila Muir to "replace" the late & wonderful Julia Bressler for a position that didn't exist. Now she's hiring Mentor Coordinators? Albeit part-time, but that should be taken care of by Sheila Muir or the illustrious HR director. Oh right, I forgot, we're saving $ by splitting her with Quabbin.
We're supposed to be saving money not spending more. The policy manual for this district has been lying fallow since MM got here. There are NO approved positions of Headmaster, Lower or Upper, never mind mentor coordinators. God knows what other positions she's made up since she came. She continues to make it up as she goes along and figures her SC is either too stupid or asleep at the switch to care (and I'm not including the 3 who actually challenge her on a regular basis).
How about her evaluation? The SC apparently started it in Executive Session, for reasons that are ambiguous at best, and Arnie made mention in a later meeting that they were going to finish it in open session? That was last fall and now it's summer. Oh, right...that would be taking responsibility and doing your job...we don't do that here. They can't even handle simple administrative responsibilities of being an SC member. I'm really dreading this whole regionalization process if they're going to leave it up to MM to tell them what they need to do!
ACCOUNTABILITY

Auburn, MA

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#8
Aug 13, 2010
 
Louise wrote:
This deal makes me very nervous. We closed 2 schools in the NMRSD to save money and now they are both reopened. It seems that Peter Fitz is a central location for the central offices but not for the preschool which got moved to Squanacook. Why didn't the central offices move there? We moved Pepperell K-2 to a building that needs many changes to make it safe for children of that age when we had a school that was perfect for them. The preschoolers are in another building that is not age appropriate and the playground is notsafe. What actually is going on in our district??
Bottom line Louise is that we have a half time Superintendent whose allegiance is to her home town where she had been superintendent previously. Why we continue to sell ourselves short is beyond me.
For The Kids

Auburn, MA

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#9
Aug 13, 2010
 
What's good for the kids, Rob, is that we focus on the district we have. That would be doing our real due diligence. Wasting time on something we know we can't afford when research shows bigger school districts do not improve education is not doing our due diligence.It's called drinking Marshall's kool-aide.
What a Waste

Auburn, MA

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#10
Aug 13, 2010
 
"Educationally we could be more powerful," said Marshall. Isn't that what it's really about, power.?
I bet Marshall told her friends at the state she could get Lunenberg on board with this. Marshall finally realizes that Lunenberg isn't a bunch of dopes like most of her school committee and now she 's trying to save face by admitting that it is probably not doable. Marshall needs to come up with the cost of her empire so we can vote on this and her valuable leaders can get back to educating our kids.(Or whatever it is they do.) What a big waste of time and taxpayer dollars to continue with something they know is not going to fly. Unbelievable!
Focus

Worcester, MA

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#11
Aug 14, 2010
 
Central Office moving/moved to Peter Fitz??? Say it ain't so. Moving to a larger, less central location will just promote a LARGER administrative headcount.

The SC should table any further merger discussion and focus on our education needs using our existing resources.
Green Thumb

Fitchburg, MA

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#12
Aug 14, 2010
 
It gets even funnier wrote:
Go check this out if you haven't already.Everybody's getting copies emailed or on Facebook.
http://www.schoolspring.com/jobs/...
It's a state law - the District must offer mentors who have had appropriate training to new teachers. They are complying with a law. No reason to get upset over this one.
consolidation first

Hollis, NH

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#13
Aug 14, 2010
 
Green Thumb wrote:
<quoted text>
It's a state law - the District must offer mentors who have had appropriate training to new teachers. They are complying with a law. No reason to get upset over this one.
Is it necessary to hire mentors in order to provide training for new teachers or can a stipend for this purpose be paid to a teacher(s) already on staff? Does it make sense to hire someone in a part time capacity for mentoring, or is posting this just a formality? Where does this expense fit into the existing budget?

NM needs to examine consolidating responsibilities going forward--eliminating unnecessary positions through consolidation of responsibilities. If MM can loan herself out to Quabbin, it's because she has more than enough administrators in NM to cover for her.

If the district does draw from current staff to provide mentoring, let's hope they don't select any who were responsible for first grade students to serve as mentors...one student already managed to get away under "adult supervision."
Green Thumb

Fitchburg, MA

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#14
Aug 14, 2010
 
They are not hiring mentors. Mentors are chosen from teachers who are already in the District and have gone through the state mandated mentor-training program. NM is responsible for provviding mentors to all teachers who are new to the District. It is cheaper for the District to send someone for training in order to train the perspective mentors than to send all the perspective mentors to training outside of the District. They are merely hiring a person (in the District) to a stipended position of mentor trainer. The person they hire has to complete a training process for this position. I'm sure it only pays a nominal stipend at that. But, don't let the facts get in the way of a good argument.
Green Thumb

Fitchburg, MA

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#15
Aug 14, 2010
 
Oh, and this mentor training position already existed. It needs to be filled since the person who previously held it has accepted a position as a principal in another District.....not Quabbin either.
blackthumb

Lawrence, MA

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#16
Aug 14, 2010
 
Green Thumb wrote:
Oh, and this mentor training position already existed. It needs to be filled since the person who previously held it has accepted a position as a principal in another District.....not Quabbin either.
Mentoring is not the problem;
It is the department facilitators and department heads that are the problem. There are two superintendents in charge of curriculum that should handle these responsibilities. It has always been an either / or situation. This is just spreading the $ to keep people happy and in line. There are only so many principal opening in Quabbin to handout. Same with the custodian. Look at staffing levels..
consolidation first

Hollis, NH

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#17
Aug 14, 2010
 
Green Thumb wrote:
NM is responsible for provviding mentors to all teachers who are new to the District. It is cheaper for the District to send someone for training in order to train the perspective mentors than to send all the perspective mentors to training outside of the District. They are merely hiring a person (in the District) to a stipended position of mentor trainer. The person they hire has to complete a training process for this position. I'm sure it only pays a nominal stipend at that. But, don't let the facts get in the way of a good argument.
Did not assume a person new to the district was being hired for this position (maybe someone within the district instead)--just sought clarification on the posting and the payout for this position. I'd be interested to know just how many teachers are being hired that are new to this district. Unfortunately, I think we're going to be looking at potentially cutting staff in the coming year.

"It is cheaper for the District to send someone for training in order to train the perspective mentors than to send all the perspective mentors to training outside of the District." Did you mean, instead, that it is cheaper to send a prospective mentor for training than to send all teachers new to the district for training?
consolidation first

Hollis, NH

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#18
Aug 14, 2010
 
Green Thumb wrote:
<quoted text>
It's a state law - the District must offer mentors who have had appropriate training to new teachers. They are complying with a law. No reason to get upset over this one.
Btw, which state law dictates this--do you know?
Not the same thing

Worcester, MA

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#19
Aug 15, 2010
 
Green Thumb wrote:
<quoted text>
It's a state law - the District must offer mentors who have had appropriate training to new teachers. They are complying with a law. No reason to get upset over this one.
I don't have a problem with the mentor program, per se. We were losing quite a few good teachers because there was a disconnect between the veteran teachers and the newbies. Also between what was being taught between classes in the same grade. It's an attempt to make sure everyone is on the same page (though I gather at the lower grades, it's still an issue).

My beef is with the hiring of part-time mentor coordinators. The postings are gone now but I believe those where not internal postings but external. That's quite different and something that should be handled by existing staff and administration (i.e. HR director, department heads).
it gets funnier

East Hartford, CT

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#20
Aug 15, 2010
 
Facilitators, department heads, coordinators are not required by any laws. Teacher contracts may have mentors for new teachers, but Mass. laws don't require them. It's a nice idea, but when the Superintendent and school committee have been threatening programs and claiming that teachers are taking actual cuts in pay, it seems odd to be turning around and CREATING stipended positions that will benefit only certain teachers and all and all would seem to be, at the very least, tone deaf.

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