YourArlington

 
Arlington advertisers:  Hot August traffic hits record
 

YOUR VIEW: This site's only blog

  • School vision logo

    New school year -- old educational questions

    Education. We pretend it begins for youngsters in September, when the leaves turn, but it continues through all of our season, every minute of every day, for everyone. Learning persists for two reasons -- human curiosity and technological change (you can't stop either one, but notice which is first). Shouldn't a third factor be classroom teachers? Good ones can have a lifelong effect, but our curiosity is the best guide, as technology draws us, often in too many directions, in the classroom that is everywhere. As Arlington schools open Tuesday, Sept. 2, what happens there is sliver of the educational story, albeit a key one for residents. Still, let's take a quick look at the new school year -- and then peer more broadly beyond it. ...

  • Pondering Our Future logo

    Spaced out? Many artists, but resistant owners

    Does Arlington have the imagination to embrace co-working? The town is trying to find out and held a forum in June attended by about 30 people. Read a summary of comments from some of the attendees here >>  See what properties in town may be available here >> Following publication, Eric Love, present at the forum, provided a brief critique. His LARP Adventure Program, aims to spur imaginations. ...

  • Arlington election logo

    Primary letters -- all welcome -- 8 ask you to vote for Berwick

    YourArlington welcomes letters to the editor from Arlington residents for all Massachusetts candidates whose election would have an impact on the town. Email them to sprague.bob at gmail.com. Here are eight supporting Don Berwick, who is seeking to be the Democratic nominee after the Sept. 9 primary. Send letters supporting any candidate in the primary. 'It's not just talk' Don Berwick, Democratic candidate for governor, speaks boldly about values and making Massachusetts a beacon for the nation. It’s not just talk -- he has met bold goals throughout his career.  Don is a creative leader with wise judgment and deep executive experience in complex bureaucracies, including as President Obama’s head of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that vast $800 billion federal agency.  His vision includes single-payer healthcare for Massachusetts, and he is the one candidate who understands how to make that happen; and, why it must happen, as rising healthcare costs consume o ...

  • Film reviews logo

    Review, ‘Life of Crime’: Leonard’s crew back at shenanigans

    This review by Tom Meek, a writer living in Cambridge, was originally published at Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner, and is republished with permission. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in The Boston Phoenix, The Rumpus, Thieves Jargon, Film Threat and Open Windows. He is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere. You can follow Tom on Twitter @TBMeek3 and read more at TBMeek3.wordpress.com. Elmore Leonard, the beloved master crime and western novelist, transcended seamlessly the divide between pulp and celluloid. His career is littered with great novels that became great movies (“Get Shorty,” “Jackie Brown” and “Out of Sight” to name a few), a smattering of original screenplays (“Joe Kidd”) and even took a few turns as producer. Cormac McCarthy might be his only peer. ...

  • Image of leaves

    Searching for an Arlington poet laureate: YOU?

    Are you a poet -- and you do know it? What have you written? Anything published? Inquiring minds want to know. Rumor has it that Arlington could have its own poet laureate, perhaps next year. Could that be you? ...

  • Arlington election logo

    8 ask you to vote for Berwick; letters for others welcome

    YourArlington welcomes letters to the editor from Arlington residents for all Massachusetts candidates whose election would have an impact on the town. Email them to sprague.bob at gmail.com. Here are eight supporting Don Berwick, who is seeking to be the Democratic nominee after the Sept. 9 primary. Only candidate to oppose casinos   I write in support of Don Berwick for governor. I support Don because he is the only candidate for governor opposed to casinos. In a strong field of likable candidates, this is decisive for me. I saw the Detroit casino pull the life out of the Greektown neighborhood there, so that it looked like a bombed out war zone. ...

  • Chris Loreti, former Redevelopment Board member

    Loreti to seek Town Meeting article targeting assessors' fiasco

    Loreti The following opinion column by Christopher Loreti of Adams Street was first published in The Arlington Advocate, on Aug. 14, under the headline "It’s Time to Professionalize Arlington’s Board of Assessors." The full column, which includes a paragraph about YourArlington deleted from The Advocate's version, is republished here with permission. In January 2012, the state Department of Revenue provided to Arlington a “Town and School Finance Analysis,” which included several recommendations for restructuring town government. The report contained two recommendations related to the Board of Assessors. The first of these recommendations was that the town make the director of assessments position an appointment of the Town Manager instead of the Board of Assessors. The second was that the town consider changing the Board of Assessors from an elected to an appointed board. The actions of the Board of Assessors in recent months make it clear that the town needs to move forward w ...

  • Domestic-violence logo

    New law curbs domestic-violence reports: What about sexual-assault case?

    A new law, signed Aug. 8 by Governor Patrick, requires law enforcement to keep domestic-violence cases off public police logs initially, and the Arlington police department is complying. That means details about domestic violence reported to police are not immediately available to the media -- or to you. Had the law been in effect June 1, information about a sexual-assault case in East Arlington would have been delayed. Chief Fred Ryan reached out to area media outlets Aug. 12, alerting them about the law and asking for feedback. He explained: ...

  • 2014 Arlington Cal Ripken champs

    How about honoring this team, Arlington?

    The Arlington National U12 All-Stars baseball team did not win the 2014 Cal Ripken World Series, but the boys had one doozy of a ride. They had four wins in a row until they ran into a then-unbeaten Bronx squad and a heartbreaking, double come-from-behind 7-6 loss to a Florida team. No need to cry. What the team has done is remarkable. The town should recognize their on-the-diamond accomplishments, just as occurred in 2008, when an Arlington Cal Ripken team went to the Series. There was a parade down Mass. Ave. Officials spoke on the steps at Town Hall. It was August then, as it is now. You can read brief summaries about how the 2014 team played out in the Series here >> This is a story that The Advocate or Patch have yet to report. In the photo from left in rear are manager John Messuri, Coach Scott Jones, Spencer Friedman, James Santagati, Brendan Jones, Sam Theodore, Timothy Mazzei, Patrick Masci, Coach Rich Flynn; in front are Timothy Shaw, Jacob Ahern, Caden FitzPa ...

View more featured blog entries
 Tuesday Sept. 2, 2014 |  5:05:49 a.m.
Paid advertisement

School Committee logo

SEPAC logo, 2011

As a special-education group says Arlington is missing out because its search for a top administrator has failed, Superintendent Kathleen Bodie expressed frustration about the limited pool of candidates squeezed by 17 districts seeking heads of special ed.

"Regarding the recent search yielding no recommendation to hire from among the three finalists," Jerri Newman, who was speaking for SEPAC as its cochair, said during public participation Thursday, April 26, "we are disappointed and are concerned that there are flaws in the screening, search, and interview process which resulted in three finalists being selected and none found both suitable from the Superintendent's perspective, and willing to continue, from the finalist's perspective."

Newman asked the School Committee to appoint a neutral party to look into the process.

Bodie commented on a series of administrative positions that must be filled and three of the key searches that have not borne fruit but have had to be reopened.

As for the search for a director of special education, she said it began in December, initially drew few applications and was extended a month.

She noted that the three finalists had toured the schools in March and met the public. Their names have not been released.

Before deciding to reopen the search at a later time and have Kathleen Lockyer continue as interim director for another year, Bodie said a highly regarded applicant withdrew, a second had a contract renewed and the third was not made an offer.

Bodie said 17 districts in the region are seeking directors of special education.

Speaking about applicants for administrative jobs in general, Bodie said the "pool of people for these positions is not wide." She cited tightness in the market for school administrators that is expected to continue for the next five years.

Member Jeff Thielman asked whether a consultant may be need to aid in the current searches.

Bodie said one may be needed for the position of special-education director.

Committee members did not say whether they would follow up on Newman's suggestion for a neutral part to review school searches.

SEPAC cochair comments

The full text of Newman's comments:

"Regarding the status of the search for the director of special education, we have seen improvements in special education administration and team dynamics under the interim leadership of Ms. Lockyer, and speaking for myself personally here, I am very grateful for her leadership of the department. At the same time, SEPAC would have liked to have been able to move forward with several initiatives, which have been postponed in light of the lack of a permanent director of special education.

"Most recently we forfeited the spot reserved for parent leaders and two special-ed administrators from our district, to participate in a workshop offered by the Federation for Children with Special Needs, with support from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, on learning and applying collaborative leadership skills. In addition, we have not acted on an offer made almost a year ago for mediation and guidance from the Harvard Negotiating Team.

"Both of these valuable opportunities were offered to SEPAC and or the district free of charge.

"Regarding the recent search yielding no recommendation to hire from among the three finalists, we are disappointed and are concerned that there are flaws in the screening, search, and interview process which resulted in three finalists being selected and none found both suitable from the Superintendent's perspective, and willing to continue, from the finalist's perspective.

"This is the second screening and hiring effort which has resulted in no candidate among finalists, after many hours expended by staff and parents, at a time when we can ill afford to spend time that is not productive. We appreciate the Superintendent's efforts to include all stakeholders, but believe that the failure of these searches warrants careful analysis of the process to produce recommendations for changes moving forward.

"We respectfully request that the School Committee appoint neutral a party or parties, to be directed to solicit feedback from participants in the search and the meet and greet sessions, including parents and staff, and to solicit feedback from the finalists on the interview process, to expose any problems with the process that might have cost our district so much effort without producing a suitable candidate whom the Superintendent could present to the Committee.
Thank vou."

Updates about other searches

As for other searches, Bodie provided these updates:

-- AHS principal: Before calling off the search in February after it was extended a month and continuing Mary Villano as interim, she said the committee had no one it could recommend.

-- Stratton principal: Robert Spiegel, head of human resources, said 50 had applied. Among three finalists, Maureen Devlin, the top choice, was made an offer, which she considered and then said she had an offer from a private school in another state (here statements to parents is below). The search was reopened, and an ad was published in the Globe April 29. Bodie said she would appoint interim if this search is unsuccessful.

-- Assistant superintendent: The last of five finalists will meet the public April 30. A recommendation for one of those five is expected by May 4.

-- Director of math: Interviews of candidates continue.

-- Metco director: Steve Perreira is retiring in June after more than 30 years, and the School Committee voted, 6-0, in favor of a new job description.

Member Jud Pierce whether time after work hours could be arranged to meet candidates for any of these positions. Available times had been scheduled in the afternoon during work hours.

Spiegel called the request reasonable and said it is challenging to schedule times convenient for candidates and for the public.

"There are so few nights," Bodie said. "If interviews occurred at night, that would spread out the process." She expressed disappointment that few teachers had attended the sessions for assistant superintendent candidates.

In a statement to parents and guardians April 26, Bodie wrote:

"The result of the Stratton Elementary Principal search is that the position was offered to Maureen Devlin, whom we felt would be an excellent choice for Stratton.  Unfortunately, Ms. Devlin has informed us that she has chosen to accept an offer from a private school in another state and  I do not plan to offer the position to one of the other candidates.

"After much thought about what is in the best interest of Stratton, I have decided to re-open the search. My reason for re-opening the search is to be consistent with the way we conducted earlier searches this year, as well as to minimize administrative transitions. We extended the search time for another month both for the High School Principal and Director of Special Education. Unfortunately, the extra time did not result in a successful search, which may be the case for the reopened Stratton Principal search, though we hope for a different outcome.  Should we not find the right candidate for the position in this new search, my plan will be to appoint an Interim Principal for next year.

"The reopened Stratton position will be advertised in The Globe and other venues.  I hope that the members of the Search Committee will agree to continue their service on the Committee.  Should there be any openings, I will invite applications to participate on the Search Committee.

"My goal, as well as your goal, is to find the best person to lead Stratton Elementary School in the years ahead." 


This story was first published Sunday, April 29, 2012.

DAILY, TOTAL TRAFFIC

Web Traffic: Today 425 | This week 2731 | This month 2731 | Total 8631470 | Powered by CoalaWeb

CONTACT THE EDITOR