2019 Superintendent Surveys: Lincoln

Superintendent Survey

Lawrence Filippelli – Lincoln School District

1. What’s the number one thing parents and students should know about this district this year?

The number one thing parents and students should know about Lincoln this year is our continued focus on educational excellence. We have hired three new top-notch administrators this summer. Each is focused on student achievement, collaborative leadership, and student-centered practices. Additionally, we are continuing with our $60 million high school renovation project and it is moving ahead on schedule. Students and parents can really see the new addition take form this summer. We are so excited for the completion in 2021.

2. What is the biggest challenge your district faces?

Like many districts, Lincoln faces some budgetary challenges due to rising costs of healthcare and other educational expenses.  That said, we have a very supportive town council, budget board, and educational community in Lincoln. Additionally, we have a strategic plan to reduce spending, manage our deficit, and come to the collective bargaining table with strategies that are both equitable and economical.  One of our prime focal points is to increase our RICAS test scores in our quest to be the #1 district in the northern part of the state. 

3. What is the vaccination rate for your district and what is your policy for opting out?  Have you seen a spike or decline in the number of parents opting out over the last two years?

We follow RIDOH protocols but like many districts, students can opt out for religious reasons.  We really have not seen a spike or decline in the number of parents opting out. I would have to check with RIDOH for vaccination rates at this time of the year. 

4. Some school districts in the state are banning electronic devices/cell phones. What is your current policy? Do you have plans to also ban electronic devices? If so, why?

This is a topic that is pretty close to me. I helped write state law around cyberbullying. That said, the proliferation of smartphones/electronic devices has grown exponentially in just the last 5 years. Lincoln does not have a specific school committee policy on electronic devices (other than our acceptable use, and filtering policies). However, each of those procedures around electronic devices is captured in the respective student handbooks. There are no plans to ban electronic devices as they can be a powerful educational tool with an appropriate BYOD (bring your own device) policy. As a long-time administrator, I can tell you it is nearly impossible to ban all electronic devices altogether.

They have become far too prolific in our society. Appropriate monitoring on the part of school admin and teachers is typically a better way to go about managing tech in schools. A full out ban can be a fool’s errand especially from a school safety perspective (another topic close to me). An all-out ban could prevent powerful communication ability, video ability, etc… in the event of a school emergency. A balanced approach would be my advice on this topic.

5. Tell us something nobody knows about your district.

What some people in the educational community know but most don’t is that I have spent the last year as the new super in Lincoln trying to build an incredibly talented, smart, and effective administrative team. In the last year, I have had the opportunity (through resignation, retirement, etc…) to hire 10 administrators in Lincoln. Each of those replacements has been of the highest caliber and quality. Thus, I have been able to handpick what I think is one of the best and most effective admin teams in the state of RI. With effective leadership, strong instruction by the teachers, and support from parents, student achievement will increase….. and that is the goal of any effective Superintendent.

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