At their regular meeting Tuesday evening, board members authorized the negotiation of a contract with one of three final candidates for the middle/high school principal’s position. According to board members, there were 23 applicants for the position, a number that was eventually whittled down to just three, who were called back for a second round of interviews this week. “I think we were all in agreement on the decision,” said board member Phil Taylor, “but there was certainly a good lineup of candidates, and we had a hard choice.”
TVSB Chair Seth Boyd said that the supervisory union hiring committee had also reached a similar decision earlier this week on a candidate for the superintendent’s position, and he expected the supervisory union executive board to vote on the matter this week.
In other matters, the board discussed an inquiry regarding the availability of a pre-K program for 3-year-olds in the fall. Although next year’s budget doesn’t include funding a 3-year-old program, board members noted that the state has mandated that all districts provide either a pre-K program for 3-year-olds, or pay tuition to a private or public program.
Michelle O’Neil, the parent who asked about the program, said there is a need in the community for the program. She said it wasn’t a matter of day care, but a matter of child development and socialization. “Maybe it’s not a board issue but a community issue,” she said. “but this town really lacks stuff for the little ones. We don’t have a community center, bike paths or playgrounds we can use when school is in session. I drive 45 minutes so I can take my kids to a pool.”
O’Neil, who has a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old, said she wasn’t aware of the issue until she became a parent and learned that Dover has a program and her husband’s hometown of Greenfield, MA, has a program for 3-year-olds. “We need the support,” she said, “because it takes a village to raise a child. If you need any support from parents as to what we need moving forward, there are a lot of us out there ready to help, and looking forward to it.”
Fillion suggested the board create a committee to survey parents and determine their expectations and needs, as well as the number of students that would be attending. Board member Phil Taylor asked if there would be enough room at the school for the program. “We have to decide what program we want first,” said Fillion. “Then we’ll know how much room we need. We can make the space if we need to.”
Fillion noted that pre-school program rules and regulations currently fall under three different state agencies: the department of families and children, the health department, and the education department. She hoped the state’s implementation of the mandate would include some streamlining of the certification process and ongoing administration. “We almost need a director of early learning, or someone at the central office who can take this on.”
“That’s what I was thinking,” agreed superintendent Richard McClements. “If we could expand the EEE (Essential Early Education) position, she could do a lot of this.”
In their ongoing effort to consolidate and streamline Twin Valley Schools’ websites, the board heard from web developer Aaron LaMontagne, of FocusPoint Web Solutions in Walpole, NH. LaMontagne suggested the board consider using a content management site called Drupal.
LaMontagne said he could create a simple, neat, and easy to navigate website for the district, a design that would be uniform throughout the websites for each individual school. LaMontagne said Drupal would integrate well with the Google content teachers are already using, so teachers and students wouldn’t have to change what they’re already doing. “And it’s all open-source,” he added. “It’s established and it’s not proprietary, it’s not something that only we could maintain.”
LaMontagne also noted that a site built with Drupal would also include a mobile site, one that’s specially formatted for small devices like tablets and smart phones.
Noting there wasn’t any specific proposal regarding the design or content of the Twin Valley site, board member Adam Grinold asked LaMontagne if he would need more input from the board and school. “Yes, I’d need more input from you as to how you want stuff organized, then I’d establish a flow chart of the site, create a design mockup, and then we’d have the framework of what you’d like to import from the current site or what needs to be designed.”
Board members didn’t offer a motion to move forward with the development of a new site at the meeting.