Personnel Subcommittee Meeting Discusses Funding New Positions

At last week’s Revere School Committee  Personnel Subcommittee meeting Revere Public School Superintendent Dr. Dianne Kelly presented the committee with a list of suggested positions that Revere Public Schools hoped to fill as part of the new budget.

At the meeting Kelly said that RPS did not get as much money as she had hoped for from the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) so RPS is a bit constrained from where it hopes to be in terms of adding new positions.

“We fortunately do still have our Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding, which we anticipated and planned to use over a couple of years time so that we could support the positions that we created,” said Kelly.

Kelly said through ESSER funding positions like health aides that have helped navigate the return from remote learning, parent liaisons who are assisting schools in connecting with parents and the community and a few other positions were created and RPS hoped to maintain through SOA funding.

“We started to work on moving some of the positions from the ESSER into the primary budget so that we don’t lose those positions going forward,” she said. “And with the money that is remaining we are hoping to support our equity work by amplifying programming for our English language learners students. One of the things that we’ve seen is our greatest growth in enrollment this year has been our English learner population. So if you look at the list of positions that I have proposed, you’ll see the vast majority of them are English Learner (EL) positions, including some administrative support for our EL director. These proposed EL positions are coming directly from the audit that we recently completed with the Department of Education. They’re recommending these positions.”

Kelly said there are a few other positions she has suggested to the School Committee such as hiring a new first grade teacher at the Hill School to reduce class size, which is currently slated to be over 26 for next year.

“There are also a couple of positions for interventionists, like at the Garfield Elementary School, where we are proposing one additional math interventionist,” said Kelly. “That would actually be funded through our Title 1 program. We want that position to be present as they only currently have one math interventionist where other elementary schools have more than a few.”

Other positions requested by Kelly include an assistant director of EL and an assistant principal for the Lincoln School.

“The Lincoln school enrollment is only 50 students fewer than the Hill School, and we feel that that’s a necessary increase in order to ensure effective educator evaluation and effective student and family engagement and support,” said Kelly. “We we’re looking for a couple of coach positions for our more experienced EL teachers to support their colleagues in implementing EL instruction in the general education classroom.’”

Kelly also suggested a Director of Fine Arts position as well as a Director of Comprehensive Health program.”

There were a few additional requests of a non-salary nature including a bobcat for the Garfield School, additional training for staff through the Making Student Teaching Visible program as well as an increase to mentor stipends as the number of new teachers increases.

Committee member Stacey Rizzo made a passionate plea for the budget to include funds to hire a Director of Fine Arts for RPS.

“Our teachers today are under a great deal of pressure to cover standards so that students pass a test that measures proficiency,” said Rizzo. “Our district believes in the deeper learning that can be achieved when our educators are empowered to design meaningful experiences for the students they serve. I have always believed that the fine arts is a large piece of the deeper learning that we embrace in Revere. Fine Arts encourages creativity, confidence and perseverance, which are essential to a child’s growth while also developing academic skills, motor skills, visual learning, and decision making, focus, collaboration and accountability.”

Rizzo pointed out that students are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement as well as athleticism.

“Why are students who may be creative be limited to finding their place?,” Rizzo asked. “Whether it’s music, theater, drawing, painting, or sculpture–these forms are what helped shape the children of our future and help them pursue what they love. It is important that these classes be taught and not be done in a half-performed way but with the right tools and the right teachers. The right tools start with a Director that can advocate for those educators, students and the arts. It’s just something I believed in and I will keep pushing for this.”

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