|By Levon Kinney|
WILBRAHAM In recent months, the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District (HWRSD) School Committee has adjourned into executive session to discuss how schools can maximize the safety of each child while still making each school an institution for learning.
At the Dec. 11 School Committee meeting Chairman Scott Chapman read a press release explaining their discussions of safety protocols, risk assessment, and security safety issues.
"As the school year began," Chapman stated. "The nation was shocked by a series of school shootings. These events highlighted the need for our school district to insure that every reasonable effort to address school safety was assessed."
The press release further states that no district can ever be 100 percent secure unless we build a fortress around our schools. We do not want to make our schools into a military fortress, yet we also need to balance the continuing concern of school safety and security.
The School Committee will be meeting with both towns' Board of Selectmen to review the safety protocols, to receive input, and to continue to assess building safety.
Beth Regulbuto was interviewed by the committee for director of financial operations position.
Superintendent Dr. Paul Gagliarducci introduced Regulbuto as having a background in budgeting procedures, being a team player, and having strong interpersonal skills.
"Why do you think you want this position?" Chapman asked.
"I don't consider this as big of a difference as going to a non-regional school district," Regulbuto replied. "The regional schools are like a business with budgets and finance issues."
"What are your hopes for this position?" Peter Salerno, vice-chair asked. "In other words, if you could look back after three years in this position what would you be happiest to say you accomplished?"
"This opportunity provides many things to learn," Regulbuto said. "In whatever capacity we can help change this district for the better, that will be my accomplishment."
Marianne Desmond, member of the committee thanked Regulbuto for her enthusiasm.
"During a previous interview," Desmond said. "Your enthusiasm came through to Scott and I as someone with commitment. We are glad you are here to meet with the rest of us."
The districts' Early Childhood Development Programs' tuition received an increase from $2,000 to $2,100.
"Our early childhood program located at Mile Tree and Green Meadows Schools is for students who need additional support before coming to public schools," Gagliarducci explained. "It is mostly for students who need help developing the mental skills required for our schools."
A report was given by Assistant Superintendent Donna Scanlon on curriculum review and an update on technology.
"It is focused on increasing access to new hardware for teachers," Scanlon explained. "We still have schools with machines that are seven or eight years old."
Salerno asked what updates would be made to the health education curriculum.
Scanlon replied that a strong abstinence program is being developed.
The calendar for the 2007-2008 school year was approved and passed by the committee.
"Since 2007 will be an odd numbered year and no elections will take place we will go back to an in-service day for Veterans Day," Gagliarducci said. "In 2008, election day will be the in-service day."
Gagliarducci explained that it was very helpful to the principals of each school that the in-service day was on the day of elections.
Salerno is asking for the members of the community to join him in the making of policies for the district.
"If the public wishes to take part in a sub-committee involved in making policies for the district," Salerno said. "If there are none than the School Committee will form its own sub-committee."