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February 2019 - Posts
There is movement state-wide to update the method for allocating funds to school districts. If you want to find out more about it, please join state legislators, school committee members, and school superintendents for a Community Forum on State Funding to Public Schools. Click on the following link to see the details.

Community Forum Flyer
Posted by colbyl  On Feb 13, 2019 at 10:56 PM

The School Department is facing a significant budget shortfall for next year:

Requested School Budget      $17,440,595

Town Proposed Budget           $16,881,790 ($9,755,847 - State; $7,125,943 - Town)

Deficit                                     $ 558,805

After conducting a comprehensive analysis, school administrators came up with two options for reducing expenses: close Memorial School or keep it open. This evening the School Committee unanimously voted to close Memorial School beginning with the 2019-2020 school year.

This decision was not made lightly. The group considered many factors such as maintaining educationally sound practices, the impact of potential actions on the Middle School building project, grade restructuring, the capacity of existing buildings, and much more.

This action means that the Pre-K will move to the High School, grades three and four will move to the Primary School, and grade five will move to the Middle School. This could mean that staff may be reduced by up to 13.6 FTEs, and 24 stipends could be eliminated.  

By adopting this plan, our schools:

  • Maintain educationally sound practices
  • Enrich programming at each school, including adding STEM education for elementary students
  • Minimize transitions for students
  • Provide handicapped accessibility for all students
  • House all students on one campus
  • Provide more efficient transportation
  • Utilize staff in a more efficient and effective way
  • Keep all current programs in place

There will be one-time construction costs, and the Memorial School will be vacant in the short term. However, there may be opportunities to lease the facility to other educational organizations or businesses. Under both options, there will be a reduction in staff, but the impact will not be as great under this plan.

Over the next few months, the School Department will be working diligently to bring this plan to fruition with as little disruption as possible.

Posted by colbyl  On Feb 12, 2019 at 7:34 PM

During part 2 of the Visioning workshop on January 29,  the Educational Working Group created a list of “Future-Ready” learning goals consisting of the following items:

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving - Prioritize, plan, and manage for results, access and analyze data, conduct quantitative and qualitative reasoning, and master core academic content
  • Caring, Empathy, and Humility - Exhibit service, compassion, integrity, ethics, citizenship, develop digital, social, and civic competencies and cultural awareness, and engage in multi-generational community activities
  • Adaptability, Initiative, and Risk-Taking - Inspire curiosity, imagination, confidence, inventive thinking, wonderful ideas, and joy of learning
  • Growth Mindset - Learn how to learn, take ownership of learning through self-direction, ask good questions, realize that failure is a learning tool and use it to improve
  • Effective Communication - Strengthen literacy skills to enable effective written and oral communication, especially with digital media
  • Effective Use of Real-World Tools - Increase productivity and expeditionary learning (learning by doing), enhance career and college preparation, and learn to know, do, be, and live together in an increasingly digital world
  • Leadership and Teamwork - Exhibit leadership and collaboration, take part in a positive competition, and develop strong interpersonal skills.

Click on the link to see the slides that were used for the first workshop.

Visioning Workshop One - Slide Presentation

Posted by colbyl  On Feb 12, 2019 at 8:21 AM
Every week I meet with my staff and others, as needed, to discuss what is going on in the schools, communicate important items, solicit feedback, and plan for the future. Starting today, I will be publishing a recap on a weekly basis. Click on the following link to see the recap from February 8, 2019:

School Department Weekly Recap - February 8, 2019
Posted by colbyl  On Feb 11, 2019 at 3:15 PM

At the first Visioning workshop on January 29,  the Educational Working Group created a list of priorities and considerations for the design of the renovated or new school.

Summary of Priorities and Considerations

  • Innovation and Engagement - Space that encourages student engagement, fits the school’s climate and curriculum, and more project-based learning spaces
  • Shared Culture - Warm and welcoming, efficient facility, and vertical alignment of professional learning communities
  • Community Access - Community use of the building, accessible restrooms when the building is closed.
  • Agile Classrooms/Flexible and Collaborative Spaces - Efficient classroom adjacencies to minimize travel time for students, flexible breakout spaces, well equipped with technology and storage
  • Outdoor Spaces and Connections - Age appropriate and accessible playgrounds, access to outdoor classroom spaces, and more fields
  • Sustainability/Ease of Maintenance - Environmentally-friendly facility, efficient building that is easy to maintain, and reasonable cost without sacrificing quality
  • Safety, Security, and Ease of Access - Building check-in that is safe and welcoming
  • Parking, Drop-off, and Pick-up - Big enough parking lot with separate area for drop-off
  • Unified Arts/Performance and Display Spaces - Large enough auditorium to support the district’s commitment to the arts, along with plenty of space to show off student work
  • Sufficient Resources - Adequate resources: books, materials, and technology

Click on the link to see the slides that were used for the first workshop.

Visioning Workshop One - Slide Presentation


Posted by colbyl  On Feb 07, 2019 at 5:22 PM

Educational Working Group

The architects for the Middle School Building Project, Finegold Alexander, the School Building Committee, and Dr. Marilyn Tencza, Superintendent of Schools, are bringing together a group of people to develop an educational vision for the proposed renovated or new Middle School in Leicester. The educational vision will be developed in a series of three “visioning” workshops.

Workshop 1 - January 29

The goals of the first workshop are to: 

  • Share priority goals for Leicester Public School’s master planning process and the design of the renovated and/or new Leicester Middle School.
  • Discuss 21st-century teaching and learning strategies and identify learning goals as connected to current and future best-practices within LPS’s K-12 schools.
  • Assess Leicester Public School’s strengths, challenges, opportunities, and goals (SCOG) with regard to the development of its academic programs and school facilities.
  • Share visions for the future evolution and growth of the LPS K-8 schools.
Workshop 2 - February 5 The goals of the second workshop are to:

  • Review and expand upon the learning goals and SCOG analysis for Leicester Public Schools.
  • Explore and prioritize a range of architectural design patterns that will best support 21st-century teaching and learning within LPS’s K-12 schools.
  • Understand the role that guiding principles play in setting facility design priorities and intent.
  • Create a set of guiding principles and priorities for the design of Leicester Middle School’s renovated or new facility.
  • Share blue sky Ideas for the design of Leicester Middle School’s renovated or new facility.

Workshop 3 - February 26

The goals of the third workshop are to:

  • Review a compilation of notes from workshop two, including priority design patterns, guiding principles and blue-sky ideas for the renovated or new Leicester Middle School facility.
  • Generate a listing of key spaces and adjacencies for the renovated or new facility.
  • Engage in a bubble diagramming activity to identify important spaces and adjacencies within the renovated or new facility.
  • Identify key points to share with the community about LPS’s design priorities for the renovated or new facility.

The education of our children is the school district's top priority, and any facility should reflect that. This committee will develop an educational vision that will put teaching and learning at the forefront prior to the beginning of renovations or new construction. The next steps will be for Finegold Alexander to conduct meetings with parents, students, and community members to get their feedback on what they are hoping to see in the new school. All voices need to be heard in this process.

Posted by colbyl  On Feb 07, 2019 at 3:17 PM
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