The lack of use of the fields for both recess and sports at Rochester Memorial School was discussed at the Rochester School Committee meeting held on Thursday, December 6.
With pride, Rochester built their elementary school under budget by approximately $900,000. Coming in under budget saves Rochester residents tax dollars. But, with any major building project, glitches occur. One area discussed was the condition of the school recess and sports fields, which are now off limits to students.
“The fields need to be fixed,” said Committee Member Timothy Scholz. “They were seeded, perhaps at the wrong time and didn’t take…and weather didn’t help. We have not accepted that portion of the contract and the landscaping will be addressed, so we have to wait to have that resolved.”
Scholz said that the Building Committee is working to resolve the landscaping issue and will report on it at the next meeting.
In other news, English as a Second Language specialist Tia Mizzoni addressed the committee and spoke about the 2016 requirement that all teachers and staff that interact with students whose primary language is not English, must get training.
Mizzoni provided a listing of the various languages that students in the tri-town speak at home, including Arabic, Ethiopian, Portuguese, Spanish, Indonesian, Chinese, Hindi, Creole and Vietnamese. Special training in working with the students will soon be mandatory so that children of other cultures who speak other languages can assimilate into American culture smoothly.
Elise Frangos, Curriculum Director in the district stressed the importance of early intervention in getting the young students into language transition for success in their education to assure confident adults who speak English successfully.
With English as a Second Language, students are tested to qualify for special instruction.
The school lunch program was discussed in light of the 2012 legislation requiring that certain healthy foods be included in the daily offerings.
“We are in compliance with the legal requirements,” said Caitlin Meagher, Food Services Director. “We have revamped our recipes and worked on our grain serving size and have a larger variety of fruits and vegetables. We now serve beans once a week.”
“But are they eating them?” asked Scholtz.
Meagher responded and said that over time, children become adjusted to change and will, most likely, comply and eat what is offered…as that is the goal to reduce obesity and poor eating habits.
RMS Principal, Dr. Moira Rodgers discussed a new guide for parents whose children will enter kindergarten.
“It’s a road map for those who are new to education in Rochester and how it works,” said Rodgers. The draft of the guide will be reviewed at the February school committee meeting.
Dr. Rodgers discussed a collaboration with the Plumb Library and RMS in support of the 2013 summer reading project. RMS librarian Lucille Morris and Rochester town librarian, Lisa Fuller deemed the summer theme to be “Dig into Reading”.
“We’re planning some interesting and motivational ideas to get students to keep up their reading skills during the summer,” said Frangos.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry