Board reorganizes, hears about world languages, acts on requests

By Gail Callahan

In the wake of the successful vote on the 2013-14 Shelburne School budget, the Community School Board held its first regular meeting.

First up, Board members entertained suggestions and voted on panel reorganization. School Directors nominated and then unanimously voted for Russ Caffry to chair the Board again. Following that, Caffry, Kathy Stockman, David Connery, and Tim Williams suggested and all supported Bob Finn’s nomination to fill the Vice Chair’s spot and Williams also gained all votes as panel clerk.

Then, the Board nominated and voted for Caffry, Stockman, and Finn to be Shelburne’s representatives on the Chittenden South Supervisory Union panel.

Moving away from Board reorganization, the panel heard from Spanish teacher Meghan Kelley and French instructor Claire Deslauriers about the world language programs. Kelley noted that parents receive letters from the school, detailing course expectations and the importance of studying a foreign language and what selections are offered in the comprehensive program. According to Kelley, no one has been turned away from their first language choice because of heavy enrollment. “It’s all worked out,” said Caffry, who was told, along with other Board members, that about 50 percent of students select Spanish, while the other half pick French.

Kelley and Deslauriers told Board members that students who sign up for world language at the Community School generally must accept a three-year commitment to study their dialogue of choice. Occasionally, a change is made and students who successfully complete their program can move into a higher level in high school. Additionally, sixth graders who study a world language are in class four times a week; 45 minutes each session, while seventh- and eighth- grade students hit the books five times a week for the same amount of time each period.

Then, Deslauriers outlined what happens in the classroom with her French students. She told Board members about the learning opportunities in a recent class trip to Quebec City. She also showed Directors a completed project that taught kids anatomy and to explain how they were feeling.

Later in the evening, Board members got a policy review update. School Director Connery is Shelburne’s representative on the review committee. Connery’s fellow panelists are expected to vote on new guidelines at next month’s regular meeting, according to Caffry.

The Board also discussed ideas for upcoming Board’s Corners, a column that runs in the Shelburne News. The panel discussed penning one that thanked the community for its support for the budget vote, while bus transportation also might be an upcoming topic.

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