2020 Chair: Lizbeth DeSelm, Vice-Chair: Jen Razi-Thomas
Educational Programs and Personnel (EP&P) is a broad topic area and one that is largely driven by Melrose educational professionals at all levels, including the superintendent, her leadership team, and teaching and support staff. While the School Committee is an oversight board, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts makes clear that Committees employ oversight through the use of budget and policy, and are not expected to micromanage district decision-making. By virtue of state statute regarding duties of Massachusetts School Committees (which informed the Committee’s recently passed Policy #6208: Committee/Superintendent Relationship), the Melrose School Committee has three primary functions that usually fall within the Educational Programs and Personnel Sub Committee agenda:
Require and discuss reports of the superintendent concerning the progress of the schools in terms of achievement of pupils, teachers, and supervisors Present to the public community, in conjunction with the superintendent, recommendations for any significant adjustments of the educational activities of the district Consider and approve major school curricula, [and] major textbook and material adoptions
Administrators (or whomever the superintendent recommends) appear before the Committee and present assessment results (like the Massachusetts alternative to the federal government’s No Child Left Behind Report Card data, MCAS results, outcomes of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ accreditation process for Melrose High School, AP/SAT/ACT results, and the Coordinated Program Review).
We hear presentations by district personnel on curriculum topics, departmental updates, and the post-secondary plans of our high school seniors. We are also updated regarding programs for students with disabilities and English Language Learners. During these presentations we would be notified of any “significant adjustments of…educational activities.”
Presentations regarding school curricula, textbooks, and materials may be heard in EP&P or in one of the other two permanent sub committees, depending on the intent of the presentation. For example, if the superintendent recommends a new science materials and it has a budget impact, it might appear in the Finance and Facilities Sub committee. If she wished to recommend a comprehensive new learning strategy, for example, a revised and updated virtual and blended learning proposal, that presentation could be heard in EP&P.
In the area of personnel, we approve the hiring of selected positions, like the attendance officers, nurses, school physician, Civil Rights Officer, and School Resource Officer. We also approve a bi-monthly Personnel Report which is usually included in the Consent Agenda, but which may be removed for discussion should a member so wish. Personnel-related presentations by the superintendent or her staff that might fall into this sub committee include organizational charts; job descriptions; federal or state mandates such as the Educator Evaluation tool; and the recruitment, hiring, retention, and training of staff.