Dover School Board discusses IB, arts
by Lauren Harkawik
Jul 18, 2017 | 2637 views | 0 0 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dover School Board members peruse paperwork, from left, Rich Werner, Jollene Mahon, and Laura Sibilia, while Joe Mahon looks on in the back.
Dover School Board members peruse paperwork, from left, Rich Werner, Jollene Mahon, and Laura Sibilia, while Joe Mahon looks on in the back.
DOVER- On Tuesday, a second vote was held regarding a school district merger with Wardsboro, due to a wording error in the original warning regarding the merger, which Dover voters approved at Town Meeting. Following an announcement of the election results, in which Dover voters again approved the merger, members of the will-be board for the new district comprising the two towns held a discussion. Prior to election results being announced, the towns’ existing school boards met separately.

The two separate school board meetings were warned for 6:30 pm, and because voting was still occurring in the main space at Dover Town Hall, the Dover School Board held its meeting in Dover Town Hall’s kitchen. The Wardsboro board opted to meet outside.

In a relatively short meeting that principal Matt Martyn was unable to attend, the Dover School Board largely talked about what issues they will discuss at their next meeting when Martyn is in attendance.

Vice chair Laura Sibilia said that in light of recent staffing changes, she wants to make sure that she understands the plan for staff support in the new school year and that the path forward for the school’s International Baccalaureate program is clear.

“I just want to note that I’m looking for Matt and (superintendent) Bill (Anton) to help us understand the support plan they have coming together for our unique staffing block situation,” said Sibilia. “It’s something that I had highlighted and I would really like to hear about that at a board meeting.”

Regarding IB, Sibilia said she hoped for an update on whether the school is still on track in terms of timing.

“And if we’re not, we should adjust our expectations,” said Sibilia. The Dover School has been gearing up for official IB designation for several years by engaging in extensive staff training and by implementing IB approaches in teaching. Werner said as of the last update he received, IB representatives were set to visit the school in October to evaluate the school’s application.

Board member Johnny Cleanthes, who has been heading a committee overseeing a new pre-K playground that will be installed this summer, said he will be reviewing bids for the project with Martyn on July 20.

“When they are ready to ask us to approve a bid, we’ll have a special meeting to do that,” said Werner. “We want to try to get the playground in before school starts at the end of August, so it’s going to be a really tight schedule.”

Parent Christine Levy inquired about the process that will unfold to put an art teacher in place for the 2017-2018 school year. At the board’s June 6 meeting, the board acknowledged, following an executive session, that Barbara Childs would not be returning to her previously-held fine arts position next year.

“We’ve never had an art teacher,” said Werner. “We’ve had a fine arts program, and the administrator has always brought a person in to do that program. We decided instead of having a teacher who was there forever, we could have a variety of things. So in the past we’ve had photography, ceramics, mosaics, and it allows us to bring someone that has expertise in a certain area to come in and do something for a few years.”

“Do we know what the plans for next year are?” Levy asked.

“No, we don’t,” said Werner. “That’s a question you would have to ask Matt.”

“But it will be fully up and running when school begins?” asked Levy.

“It’s always been a residency program that starts a month or so into school,” said Werner.

“But when we did our budget, we allocated money for an art program,” said Sibilia.

“And if you have suggestions or know of someone who you know does something unique that would be really interesting and fun, talk to Matt about that,” said Werner.

The board’s next meeting was to be August 7. However, following discussion between future board members for the new merged board for Dover and Wardsboro, the Dover School Board may opt to hold its next meeting in Wardsboro on August 1 instead. The board also plans to schedule a special meeting regarding playground bids, at which it may discuss other issues as well.

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