The PTO Cultural Council is at it again with its next artistic endeavor to beautify Rochester Memorial School, this time with a large-scale painted mural.
RMS Principal Derek Medeiros told the Rochester School Committee on May 10 that artist Todd Woodward would be painting one of the walls in one of the outside courtyard areas located off the library media center.
“This is something that the cultural committee came together to [accomplish],” said Medeiros. “I think they were inspired by the one that was done at the junior high.”
Woodward was that artist who painted the mural at the junior high.
“I saw the one at the junior high and it was beautiful,” said School Committee Chairman Tina Rood.
Medeiros said the theme of the mural would be daffodils, but that was quickly corrected when Medeiros provided an illustration of the proposed mural to the committee members who promptly pointed out that the flowers were poppies, not daffodils.
“Oh, that’s beautiful!” said Rood. “That’s gorgeous!”
In light of his misidentification of the flower, Medeiros admitted that it was “Mrs. Medeiros” who tended the garden at home.
“There’s not one doubt,” Rood said as the committee laughed.
Woodward will begin the mural the first week of June during the school day. Although students do not regularly enter the courtyard space, access to that area will be blocked off.
In other business, the committee agreed with Superintendent Doug White’s recommendation that the school again forego School Choice for another year.
Although it has been some time since Rochester Memorial School opened its doors for School Choice, the state mandates that a school hold a public hearing on School Choice annually to opt out of the program.
White told the committee why it should vote to opt out again for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year – current class size and space availability, “…And the ability to meet the needs of our current students and not necessarily be able to look at additional enrollment in our buildings,” White stated.
“We built a budget based on our current enrollment figures,” White said. “From my perspective, our class sizes are in a good place where learning definitely is a focus and we can meet the needs of all of our students.”
White said it would be unwise to consider opening its doors to additional students, asking, “…And if we did, where would those spaces actually bebased on our current status?”
“It’s been status quo for a while, and I don’t see anything changing dramatically that would change my mind on where we are currently on that,” said White.
The committee closed the School Choice public hearing, and with a unanimous vote, kept its doors closed to School Choice for another school year.
In other matters, in light of the assault and battery charges against a RMS teacher for inappropriate physical contact with a number of students, Rood publicly addressed the issue.
“This has been a very difficult time for Rochester Memorial School,” said Rood. She thanked school officials for their “open communication with our families.”
Rood said professionals were present that week to support students and answer parents’ questions.
“In times like these, we are glad you are with our children and supporting our school,” Rood said.
The next meeting of the Rochester School Committee is scheduled for June 14at 6:30 pm at a location to be determined.
Rochester School Committee
By Jean Perry