By GAIL LOWE
WAKEFIELD — At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Dr. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen K. Zrike publicly recognized 19 school employees for their dedicated service to the community.
Last Friday, a luncheon was held at the Warrior Cafe at the high school to commemorate their service to the district, ranging from 20 to 40 years.
Topping the list was Eleanor Yessaian, who has worked for Wakefield’s school district for 40 years.
Other employees marking significant service milestones were: David Butler, Florence Martin, Trudy Delory, Joanne Tedeschi, Michael O’Sullivan, Michael Boyages, Beverly Elcewicz, Suzanne Hall, Barry Fitzgerald, Maryann DeVito, Frank Marino and Kathy Palumbo, 30 years or more; Kathryn Foley, 31 years; Jan Gately, Lea Terfry and Sheila Barry, 25-26 years and Brenda Stewart, 20-21 years.
Dr. Zrike said each member of the group, whether teacher, clerical worker or custodian, was given a small gift to take home.
Dr. Zrike announced at Tuesday’s meeting that the Wakefield school district received heavy mention about its Learning Labs in the “Educator Evaluation e-Newsletter” published in February by the Massachusetts Department of Education.
The text read: “In an effort to build a culture of collaborative teacher practice, teachers in Wakefield are establishing Learning Labs. Teacher leaders open their classrooms to colleagues interested in observing an instructional practice or strategy that addresses the shifts in the 2011Massachusetts curriculum frameworks.
“These Learning Labs promote peer observation and the exchange of ideas among teachers.”
First grade teacher Estelle Burdick said, “We intentionally stayed away from naming them model classrooms because the idea is that we are all learning and sharing with each other.”
Four other school districts that received mention in the newsletter were Leominster, Revere, Weymouth and Berkshire Hills.
The newsletter is published every month.
PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) testing will begin this month but all high school students are still required to take the MCAS test as a graduation requirement. No student, however, will be asked to take both MCAS and PARCC tests. MCAS testing dates are as follows:
Grade 10 English Language Arts composition Tuesday, March 24; English Language Arts Sessions 1 and 2 Wednesday, March 25; English Language Arts Session 3 Thursday, March 26; English Language Arts Long Composition make-up Thursday, April 2; Math Sessions 1 and 2 Tuesday and Wednesday, May 12 and 13 and high school biology Sessions 1 and 2 Tuesday and Wednesday, June 2 and 3.
Grades 5 and 8 students will be required to take the MCAS in Science as PARCC testing does not offer a Science (and technology/engineering) component. Testing will be from May 6 through 20.
A tentative agreement for a “side letter” between the school board and clerical employees represented by AFSCME, Council 93, Local 3117/AFL-CIO was reached on Monday, March 2.
The side letter (a collective bargaining agreement that is not part of the primary collective bargaining agreement) addresses grade levels for various jobs within the clerical unit. One example is that all elementary school secretaries in the clerical unit currently on grade 5 will move to grade 7, effective Jan. 1, 2015. (A retroactive increase will be paid in Fiscal Year 2016, no later than July 13.)
Other changes in grade levels are as follows:
• At the Galvin Middle School: Secretary in clerical unit currently on grade 5 will move to grade 6, effective Jan. 1, 2015.
• SPED full year and school year secretaries on grade 5 will move to grade 6. Retroactive increase to be paid in Fiscal Year 2016, no later than July 31.
• SPED director secretary currently on grade 7 moves to grade 8, effective Jan. 1. Retroactive increase applies.
• Reclassify retirement lookup position from stipend for hourly at 557-X (X being years of service/column of employee performing work) times 1.5 to accommodate for overtime.
• Reclassify Galvin guidance secretary to Galvin secretary and change to grade 6. (No harm to current clerical member; change will only occur upon hiring a new employee once current employee retires, resigns or accepts another position.)
• High school secretary will revert to grade 6 once current employee retires, resigns or accepts another position.
• Agree that clerical unit membership and administrative team will create a new evaluation tool on or before May 1, 2015.
• Retroactive payments will be made (in Exhibit A) regardless of actual hours worked. Clerical staff must be employed on June 30, 2015 in order to receive retroactive payment.
A field trip to Canobie Lake Park in Salem, N.H. scheduled for Friday, June 5 for students in grades 7 and 8 has been approved by the school board. Cost for each student is $50. Departure will be at 1:45 p.m.
As in past years, earlier in the day students will participate in the Great East Festival at the school and receive specific feedback for improvement on individual instruments/voice parts as well as group musicianship. Students will also observe other group performances and with the judges’ feedback will participate in listening to, analyzing and describing music. Students may elect not to participate in the Canobie Lake portion of the day.
The time spent together at the park is designed to celebrate the year and the day’s performance is a chance for the students to build relationships within the music ensembles.
METCO’s International Night will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 10. Music, dance and international cuisine will be part of the event, which celebrates 45 years of partnership between Wakefield’s public schools and the METCO program.
Dr. Zrike also mentioned at Tuesday’s meeting that 110 parents had enrolled in Parent University, set for Saturday, March 21 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Watch the School Department’s website for updated information at www.wakefieldpublicschools.org.