a liaison meeting that had been planned for earlier that week.
Jones said several board members had conflicts that night, but he also felt that “listening to anonymous gripes from employees” was not a legitimate use of a liaison meeting.
“If you have a question, you should stand up and ask it,” he said. “We don’t believe in anonymity.”
Kane said liaison meetings had always permitted anonymous questions, and retired teacher Joe Chmiola agreed, stating he had attended liaison meetings since the mid-1990s and the format had always included anonymous questions.
Dean said he had been unaware that that had been the usual practice until three days earlier and that had he known, he’d have recommended against anonymity.
Kane said anonymity is necessary to protect employees against retaliation, and in the future, CEA officers will take questions from their membership and submit them under the officers’ names.
Kane also asked how much the district had paid for a new decorative rock at the front of the secondary campus. Gorham said it cost $5,000, and the Lock-In Committee composed of volunteer parents had donated $2,000 of that total in honor of the class of 2017.
Also during public comments, Lori Rozitski, a high school math teacher, expressed concern about the loss of five minutes from each class period this year in order to add an extra class period to the school day.
“You would think it would mean nothing because it’s just five minutes,” she said, but “on a daily basis, the bell is ringing and I’m still talking.” Another teacher noted the loss of five minutes per day adds up to a total loss of 20 class periods over the course of the school year.
Rozitski said her primary concern is that “historically underperforming students” don’t have enough opportunity to get extra help. Her 42-minute class period must include remediation for those students and SAT preparation as well as the regular curriculum, she said.
She said she is concerned because the state School Performance Profile score “took a little dip from last year,” and she wants to see changes in order to bring that score back up. The extra class period offers students more electives but doesn’t include academic content that will help raise test scores, she said.
Joseph Rasmus, assistant superintendent, said the recent teacher in-service day focused on using data-driven solutions to identify students’ weaknesses and help target remediation. He also noted that at the seventh-and eighth-grade levels, students now have a double class period every other day in their three core subject areas of math, science and English/language arts, and teachers are being trained in how to use those double periods to the greatest effect, including targeted remediation.
He said high school teachers should see improvement when current middle school students move to the high school level because some of their deficits will have been addressed earlier.
Gorham and Rasmus agreed with Rozitski that is it beneficial to use data to figure out where students need the most help, and Rasmus encouraged continuing a dialogue between administration and teachers to address concerns.
“What you’re explaining is a real concern,” Rasmus said, noting administration is discussing next year’s schedule but hasn’t made any decisions yet.
Also during the public comment period, Janice Ciavarella, Crestwood Education Association vice president, asked the board to address technological problems with reporting in-service hours that teachers are required to document. Rasmus said the problem would be addressed within a few days and he would communicate the results to teachers.
The board also:
Appointed professional substitutes Kendra Koontz, Barbara Goode, Patrick Rushton, Maureen Lisman, Amey-Katerine Wert, Debra Bolus and Karen Zapotok.
When this item came up for discussion, an audience member asked whether these individuals would be serving in the new preschool program at Rice Elementary. Gorham said they would not necessarily serve there, but he explained that there will indeed be an 18-seat preschool program starting in January at Rice, and Crestwood is initiating this program because another district couldn’t fulfill the obligations required to accept the state funding. According to the terms of the state grant, the program is open to income-eligible students and is a full-day program.
After the meeting, Gorham said next semester’s preschool program would offer the district an opportunity to assess community interest and begin making plans for a larger preschool program the district intends to start at both elementary schools in the 2018-19 school year.
Approved Bill Thomas as the Wilkes-Barre Career & Technical Center Joint Operating Committee representative for a three-year term.
Recognized three students: Evie Williams, who won the District 2 AAA girls’ golf championship, and Brayden Fenwick and Aaron Kleger, who attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Fenwick’s project involved designing and executing new landscaping for a local church, and Kleger installed a half-basketball court at Christ United Methodist Church.
Appointed Jenna Robbins-Dymond as part-time custodian at the secondary campus and David Myers and Charles Paisley as substitute custodians.
Approved family medical leave for Samantha Wenner and Grace Huntzinger.
Approved spring semester student teachers Kelli Mickowski and Erin Marie O’Day from Misericordia University and Nicole Farrell from Wilkes University, pending clearances.
Approved unpaid leave for Megan Mitchell.
Terminated an unnamed nonprofessional employee.
Hired coaching staff: Tony Caladie, varsity baseball head coach, $5,024; Adrienne Bannon, varsity softball head coach, $5,024; Scott Lenio, varsity boys’ tennis, $3,586; Rob Moulton, varsity boys’ track, $5,024; Ryan Arcangeli, varsity girls’ track, $5,024; Mike Williams, varsity boys’ volleyball, $3,958; Russ Kile, varsity girls’ lacrosse, $3,558; Brian Zabroski, varsity boys’ lacrosse, $3,558.
Approved Mary Leo as senior high dramatic arts advisor.
Announced the next meeting at 6:30 p. m. Dec. 7.