Sunday, August 20, 2017

End of School Year status update provided on School Improvement Plans

Catching up to share the summary for the School Committee (SC) held on Tuesday, August 8.

The School Committee heard updates from all the schools and the Central Office on the progress made on the Improvement Plans during the 2016-2017 school year. The updates were provided by the school principals. The presentation docs are shown below. You can follow the links to my notes recorded during the meeting for other details of the conversation. The full video of the meeting is available for replay by Franklin TV and that link is also found below.

After the schools provided their update, the Central Office, Superintendent Sara Ahern and Assistant Superintendents Peter Light and Joyce Edwards provided a preview of the District Improvement Plan for the coming school year. An offsite planning session was planned for Aug 16-18 during which the plan would be discussed, reviewed and refined to bring back to the SC for the Aug 22 meeting.

Note: the presentation docs include the status updates also provided at midyear. If you have seen those, you can skip to the end of year details listed for each school.

Middle Schools and High School

Elementary Schools

District Improvement Plan preview

the ball fields at FHS were getting water earlier this week
the ball fields at FHS were getting water earlier this week

Meeting video available for replay on demand by Franklin TV

Franklin Police receive grant to get impaired drivers off the road

The Franklin Police will increase the number of impaired driving patrols on local roads after being awarded a special grant from the Highway Safety Division (HSD) of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). The Franklin Police department will join more than 200 local police departments across the state and the state police in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement mobilization.

This year’s campaign will include the impairment marijuana causes in drivers – and the exponentially increased impairment caused when alcohol and marijuana are combined.

Drivers who have had too much to drink or ingested marijuana are a menace to everyone on the road with them. “This grant funding will allow us to add patrols to specifically target impaired driving, with the goal of increasing the safety for entire community of Franklin” said Chief Thomas J. Lynch

“There is clear evidence that drivers who have used marijuana, especially in combination with alcohol, are significantly impaired,” said Jeff Larason, Director of the Highway Safety Division. “We are urging motorists to plan ahead for a sober ride home by using public transportation, a ride-sharing service or a designated driver. Do not put yourself and each person in the car and on the road with you at risk.”

Massachusetts Data

  • Marijuana or marijuana-type drugs were the most prevalent types of drugs found in people killed in crashes from 2010 to 2014.
  • From 2013 to 2014, alcohol impaired driving fatalities increased 14 percent (125 to 143).
  • From 2010-2014, 77 percent of impaired drivers in fatal crashes were men.
  • From 2010-2014, 46 percent of all alcohol-related driver fatalities were ages 21 to 34.

National Data

  • NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reported that drugs were present in 40 percent of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result, almost the same level as alcohol.
  • NHTSA’s 2013–2014 roadside survey found drugs in 22 percent of all drivers both on weekend nights and on weekdays.
  • Drivers using marijuana demonstrated decreased car handling performance, increased reaction times, impaired time and distance estimation, sleepiness and decreased motor skill coordination (NHTSA).
  • Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own (NHTSA).

Franklin Police receive grant to get impaired drivers off the road
Franklin Police receive grant to get impaired drivers off the road

This was shared from the Town of Franklin Police Dept webpage

Franklin Almanac Episode 10 (YouTube)

Franklin Almanac Episode 10 with Host Polikseni Manxhari was originally broadcast on Aug 14, 2017.

  • Introduction- 00:00-00:36
  • Sara Ahern, Superintendent of Franklin Public Schools- 00:37-09:52
  • Franklin Cultural Festival-09:53-15:17
  • Operation Chill-15:18-21:00
  • DARE Program-21:01-27:05
  • Final Thoughts-27:06-28:30

Note: you might recognize someone as he talks about letting "magic happen" at the end of the Franklin Cultural Festival segment

Electric Youth and Future Shock please the crowd
Electric Youth and Future Shock pleased the crowd at the Town Common
on the opening night of the 3rd Annual Cultural Festival

"Several factors led to the growth in the industry locally"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"When the Hendler brothers opened Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham six years ago, they started small, selling growlers to go and quickly added bottled beer .
Two years later, however, the business exploded when the state legalized taprooms, allowing Jack’s Abby to pour beers for their customers. 
That spurred a huge increase to Jack’s Abby’s customer base and bottom line. The Hendlers have since moved from Morton Street and opened a large beer hall and restaurant, as well as the Springdale Barrel Room, on Clinton Street. With the expansion, the company went from less than 10 employees to more than 100. 
Local breweries are a growing industry in MetroWest and the Milford region, which is now home to 10 breweries and brewpubs with two more on the way. And many local brewers say beer fans can expect more breweries in the coming years."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

A Favorite Poem Project - Oct 25

The Franklin Senior Scribblers' Writers' Group is hosting A Favorite Poem Project. It is scheduled for October 25 at 10:00 AM at the Franklin Senior Center.

My Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating and encouraging poetry's role in the lives of Americans. Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, started the project in 1997. 

He believed that poetry needs to be read aloud. "Reading a poem silently is like staring at a sheet of music." The reader of the poem does not need to be the poet or a skilled performer. "One of the beautiful things about poetry," says Pinsky, "is that the medium is a voice, not necessarily the poet's voice. When you read a poem by Shakespeare, Dickinson or Langston Hughes, your voice is the artist's medium."

Robert Pinsky believed that contrary to stereotype, Americans do read poetry; that the audience for poetry is not limited to professors and college students; and that there are many people for whom particular poems have found profound, personal meaning. This project seeks to give voice to American poetry lovers.

In April 1998, the My Favorite Poem Project was launched with a series of public poetry readings. In Boston, twenty-five Bostonians read their favorite poem. The readers included the President of the Massachusetts State Senate, a homeless Boston resident and a third grader. The audience was packed into the Boston Public Library. The Library President dressed as a cowboy to read a cowboy poem. Some readers recited poems in Spanish, Vietnamese and American Sign Language. As you see, Americans do read poetry.

A Favorite Poem Project - Oct 25
A Favorite Poem Project - Oct 25

If you have a poem you would like to read, please contact Faith Flaherty at

For more information on the Favorite Poem Project

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"A willingness to accept change"

Franklin has some of the ingredients that helped Hudson: 

  • The SNETT rail trail is located just outside of downtown
  • Local zoning was changed in 2017 to allow distiller, winery or brewery tasting rooms
  • The downtown renovation project was just completed in 2016
  • Local businesses and town officials are talking about what needs to be done

What remains to be done now?

"Downtown Hudson was quiet when Michael Kasseris stepped out into the late night air in 2012. 
Behind him was a Main Street space that had once housed a printing shop, a bagel shop and a gifting shop. 
His uncle owned the building. Kasseris and his two business partners had just opened Rail Trail Flatbread Co. -- a trendy new restaurant featuring wood-fired pizza and craft beer. 
He looked around. The downtown stores, tucked inside historic brick buildings, were empty. The parking spaces were empty. There was no foot traffic."
Continue reading the MassLive article about Hudson

It was the historic buildings and their curb appeal, the rail trail, the economy in an upswing, the streetscaping and a dozen little things that became big things.
"It was the historic buildings and their curb appeal, the rail trail, the economy in an upswing,
the streetscaping and a dozen little things that became big things."

Hat tip to Melanie for sharing the article!

"so many people don’t understand the way government works"

As Franklin gets to prepare for the town election this November, Franklin Matters will be sharing some of the basic information to help you cast informed votes. Interviews with the candidates are being scheduled. The results of those will be published here. Information on each of the committee and boards will be shared: what is their scope of operation? what do they do?

And coincidentally, in this article from the Milford Daily News (MDN), there is a movement afoot to have more education on civics. How does our government work? What does the Federal government do that the State doesn't? How does the State affect directly or indirectly Franklin?

"Recent studies show many Americans would struggle to pass a U.S. citizenship test, an exam that many states are adopting as a high school graduation requirement. 
Civics in the classroom 
High school students in 23 states need to pass a civics test before graduating, and there’s a proposal to bring the same requirement to Massachusetts. 
The Civics Education Initiative, a project of the Arizona-based nonprofit Joe Foss Institute, calls for high schools to require that students pass a test on 100 basic facts of U.S. history and civics taken directly from the United States Citizenship Civics Test, the exam that immigrants must pass when applying for American citizenship."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

There is also a sample US Citizenship test linked to in the MDN article 

The Downtown Improvement Project was the result of Federal fund administered by the State
and designed in collaboration with Franklin government and community participation

Franklin Almanac Episode 9 (YouTube)

Franklin Almanac Episode 9 with Host Polikseni Manxhari was published on Jul 24, 2017. It is available for replay on YouTube after being broadcast on the local Verizon and Comcast cable channels.

  • Introduction- 0:00-0:35
  • Franklin Legion 5k- 0:36-3:51
  • Housing Threshold- 3:52-11:25
  • Algonquin Pipeline- 11:26-18:54
  • Franklin Farmers Market- 18:56-23:51
  • Final thoughts and closing-23:52-25:20

two rows of vendors at the Franklin Farmers Market
two rows of vendors at the Franklin Farmers Market

Boys and Girls Youth Soccer Clinic - October 15

Presented by the Franklin High School Soccer Program

Instruction Provided by: FHS Soccer Team Members and Coaches

All skill levels welcome

Grades 1-6 boys 9-10:30 am Grades 1-6 girls 11-12:30 PM- Cost $25

The clinic will run rain or shine

Location: Franklin High School New Turf Field.

Content: The clinic will focus on skills and techniques for any level player.

Equipment: sneaker or cleats, shin guards and a soccer ball. 

Payment: Send the form with a check payable to Franklin Soccer Boosters by October 8, 2017: Kathleen O’Neil at 560 Coronation Dr., Franklin MA 02038. Email:

Boys and Girls Youth Soccer Clinic - October 15
Boys and Girls Youth Soccer Clinic - October 15

Train Excursion through the Blackstone Valley

For tickets,
call 401-495-1213 or
Join us for a scenic trip through the Blackstone Valley, and a day filled with fun autumn activities!

Enjoy a relaxing train ride, Putnam's Annual Pumpkin Festival, many antique and gift shops, a farmers' market, local restaurants, and more!
Last year's trip sold out! Get your tickets today!
Blackstone Valley Tourism Council | 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860

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