Martha’s Vineyard high school committee tackles super’s review

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) committee began a mid-year evaluation of superintendent of schools James Weiss at a meeting Monday night. The committee is using the new Massachusetts Educator Evaluation System as mandated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

Last May, Mr. Weiss set professional practice, student learning, and district improvement goals for the 2012-2013 school year. His review period started on January 1 and runs through January 1, 2014.

At Monday’s meeting, Mr. Weiss provided documentation in support of his goals, such as meeting notices and reports on visits with principals, for the school committee’s review. David Rossi of Edgartown, school committee representative on the personnel committee, asked the members to review Mr. Weiss’s documents and bring documentation of their own for discussion at their next meeting, on June 10.

In other business, Mr. Weiss provided an update on the state budget and how much local aid the high school district may receive for fiscal year 2014 (FY14) for Chapter 70 funds, regional school transportation, and charter tuition reimbursement. Mr. Weiss said the house of representatives passed the budget that Governor Deval Patrick proposed with several amendments. The Senate is expected to release its version on May 15.

Based on an FY13 cherry sheet estimate released last Friday, Mr. Weiss said it is likely the MVRHS district will net $2 million to $2.3 million. Mr. Weiss said that school districts are still waiting to hear about the possible impact on funds for Title 1 programs and special education grants as a result of federal budget cuts known as “sequestration,” and that they probably won’t find out about dollar amounts until September.

In this month’s “Student Spotlight,” Mason Jeffers and Nicklas Kent dazzled the school committee members with a demonstration of a three-dimensional printer that builds objects drafted with computer-aided design software out of plastic.

Principal Steve Nixon reported that an on-site evaluation of the high school last week in connection with the New England Association of Schools and College’s (NEASC) accreditation process went very well. A full report will be available in September.

The school committee voted to accept a letter of retirement from long-time educational support professional (ESP) Tony Lombardi and a letter of resignation from ESP Heather Thurber, effective at the end of the school year. Mr. Lombardi said he plans to devote his energies to his other full-time job as the director of the YMCA’s Teen Center. Ms. Thurber is pursuing a degree in massage therapy.