Last week, we told you that the Beech Street School was awarded a seven thousand dollar grant by the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. Curious about the specifics of what the grant would be used for, we asked and found the answer interesting enough to share. While we did not receive the grant application, as requested, we were forwarded an excerpt from the grant which reads as follows:
The two specific needs we seek to address are the lack of male centered materials, and creating a well-rounded poetry section including local and modern poetry.
The unanswered requests from many of our students are for current sports books, superhero subjects, and comic books (including titles similar to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and graphic novels).
Additionally, we are requesting funding for purchasing poetry books for our library. Currently, poetry titles account for a meager 1.75% of our collection. The average publication date for our poetry titles is 1980, without a wide variety of poetry forms available. This coming March, we will be visited by Children’s Poet, Ted Scheu, awarded by a Children’s LIteracy Fund grant. To honor this occasion, the administration would like the library to be the center of a schoolwide, month-long poetry investigation unit. It will be the first exposure to this genre for most of our students.
Proposed Materials Budget: $ TOTAL 7,000
Having received the grant as requested, the school will spend twelve hundred fifty dollars on Graphic Novels to obtain one hundred thirteen books on civil rights, myths/legends, superhero and multiple copies of single fiction titles, two thousand dollars on Sports Titles to obtain one hundred books on how to play, teams and individual player biographies, seven hundred fifty dollars on Superhero Subjects to obtain fifty copies of single fiction titles, and three thousand dollars on Poetry Titles to obtain one hundred fifty books.
The Manchester Board of School Committee will meet tonight starting at seven o’clock in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall. On the agenda is a revision to the district’s policy governing student athletes. Policy makers decided to revisit the district’s eligibility requirements after we reported that Ayei Akot, a sixteen year old freshman at Central High was allowed to play on the varsity basketball team. Among other issues, Akot was slated for an expulsion hearing at the beginning of the school year. The hearing wasn’t held because Superintendent Debra Livingston, without notification of or consent from either the Student Conduct Committee or school board, entered into an agreement with the federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to reinstate Akot, despite his violent conduct, on the grounds the district had failed to provide an interpreter that spoke Dinka, the native language of the Sudanese refugee. That action led to the resignation of three of the committee’s five members. Despite, and maybe because of our reports regarding Akot’s fluency in English, and that of his family, the district refused to release the settlement, claiming it would compromise student privacy. Frankly, the new policy doesn’t look that it tows a much harder line than the old one. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with it at tonight’s meeting.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Bizarre berating babble. That’s the only way to describe the furious fallout in Derry following the town council’s vote to reduce the municipal budget and tax rate. Normally, we wouldn’t bring the social media tsunami of criticism against the council to light, but there are some things here that are of concern that need to be brought to light.
Opponents of the cuts have accused the four councilors who voted in favor of the cuts, which included the shuttering of one of the town’s four fire stations, of violating the state’s Right to Know Law. After the Attorney General’s Office responded to their inquiries advising them of the proper process to file a Right to Know complaint, they thought maybe the state’s Fire Marshall would get involved and somehow order the town to reinstate funding to reopen the fire station, restore the eliminated positions, half of which were vacant, and restore the reduction in overtime. No dice there, either.
Their proof of Right to Know violations, by the way, were camera phone shots of Councilor Mark Osborne, who’s borne the brunt of very personal and nasty attacks, including shots at his mother, at a local restaurant with Councilor Albert Dimmock and his wife. Then another picture, apparently from another restaurant of Dimmick with Councilor David Fischer. These have been posted to Facebook, along with the allegations.
Anyway, it would appear as if former Town Councilor and current State Rep. Brian Chirichiello is fanning the flames of discontent by brazenly accusing the council’s majority of violating the Right to Know Law while advocating a course of action that would be an absolute violation of that law. With specific reference to the elimination of the assistant town administrator position, which doubles as the town’s HR Director, he wrote that when he was on the council, they would discuss the elimination of positions in non-public session and then come out and cast their votes. Um, can’t do that, unless discussing the termination of a specific employee. He’s had some choice other words, but the open advocacy of eliminating positions in non-public session is something we thought we should bring to everybody’s attetion.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!