Wednesday, September 23, 2020

School Committee Meeting - Recap of Sep 22, 2020


  • The Superintendent's Report was detailed and covered a whole host of areas around the re-opening of schools, issues with bandwidth, equity of materials and class sizes, acknowledgement of communications issues, etc. See the Twitter thread for details.
  • An overview on the hiring practices was provided and the 'comprehensive' personnel report was lacking in that it did not fully account for the 104 (or 103) notifications. This is really an elementary level math problem and it is disappointing not to get a resolution (yet).
  • Resources attempted to being into the system (additional counselors, digital learning specialists, curriculum personnel...) have had their needs raised due to the requirements of delivery education in this pandemic period (hybrid or remote).
  • A preview of the District Improvement Plan and goals for this year, including an update on prior year accomplishments was provided. Approval of the goals is up for vote at next meeting.
  • The Community Relations Subcommittee will met again (their absence could have helped with the above communication issues). The Facility Analysis Subcommittee has a meeting Sep 30 to pick up where they suspended work during the summer. The Policy subcommittee has been busy. The Budget Subcommittee will be scheduling a meeting.
  • The meeting was to go to executive session and return but given the uncertainty for when they would return, I left the meeting when they entered executive session.

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.
The Twitter hashtag can be found online #SchCom0922

  • Real time reporting underway for the #Schcom0922 meeting. (They should wait a minute once allowing entrance to Zoom before starting)
  • Moving to superintendent's report: update on reopening, ongoing support for PD, metrics, transition to hybrid, update on chromebook, etc. #schcom0922
  • See text of report on #schcom0922 page when posted Weds AM (will share link when available. Meeting being broadcast via zoom (link in agenda doc), Verizon/Comcast and Town of Franklin live stream (
  • Another Professional development day scheduled for Friday per calendar #schcom0922 COVID metrics slightly higher for Franklin over last several weeks still in good stage, hybrid a go so far
  • Still looking to accelerate the hybrid date for FHS (is currently end of first Q marking period) #schcom0922 4,000 chromebooks and germicidal implementation benefit the schools from COVID funding coordinated with Town
  • Grant used to support technology integrationist along with others (see the personnel update for details) #schcom0922 (will spend more time on this report later in meeting)
  • Apologies for info flow to families on virtual academy, not what she would have preferred, hybrid has been a challenge to plan for. Has been working hard on the virtual program, with separate staffing model. #schcom0922 still coding students into the learning system
  • Supplies pickup scheduled for next week for virtual academy, more details coming; some chromebooks coming next week, more in Oct. Details to be provided, tech dept working on issues. Internet bandwidth has supported this far, researching minor issues here/there #schcom0922
  • Demand on video driving the issues, closing in on a solution. #schcom0922 digital integrationist holding events for families on remote learning. There are families without internet, hard to quantify, can provide access.
  • FHS sports won the Boston Globe Dalton award 2nd year in a row. (Shared on FM previously) #schcom0922 Req to bring in example of enhanced learning being used to meeting. Req to teachers principals re: lingering issues SchCom should know pls be specific
  • Discussion on teachers supporting both in person students and online (remote) students; looking for monitors and ESPs for assistance in this manner. #schcom0922 sounds like teachers need to be like a circus ring master keeping students engaged in person and remote at same time
  • Talk about how to apply and address SEL in this environment. #schcom0922 SEL Committee will also be spending time on this as they get started this school year. Q - Hearing things being worked on during taskforce but not being used now? May reconnect with members of task force
  • So much work to be done, maybe it feels like too much work to be done. Difference in and among the 6 elementary schools and now the 7th with the virtual academy. Curious on the differences and why? Not to resolve now, but need to be addressed. #schcom0922
  • Material difference, class size difference between hybrid and virtual, will virtual be separated in line item budget? #schcom0922 is the equivalence among the students and schools including virtual? What is special ed alignment for virtual vs. hybrid?
  • #schcom0922 central office does spend time on where to be consistent vs local i.e. individual school direction. It is a tension and discussed. Work last year on consistency did get halted due to pandemic. Resources are being looked at, building principals can supplement
  • Hybrid does become challenging because you have two cohorts and the high needs students. Virtual is not to be separate reporting, per DESE requirements. Virtual will participate with building teachers for consistency and also among virtual #schcom0922
  • Are tracking expense for virtual separately and will allocate back to each school they came from for end of year reporting #schcom0922 helpful to NOT think of virtual as a 7th, communications still the issue that rears its head, difference creates confusion
  • Bergen: it is a learning curve, an enormous one, always adjusting, it goes across all levels. Q's first line is to principal, SchCom is not to get into day-to-day issues. #schcom0922 understand the respect and complexity of what we're doing
  • What we have asked for before in budget and couldn't get; these are still needed even more so today: curriculum consistency, digital learning integrationist... Look at all the awards across, DECA, Mock trial, music, we have a lot to be proud of #schcom0922
  • Lisa Trainor, HR for schools is present to get into the details on the personnel report. #schcom0922 usually a hiring season in spring, onboard in summer and we go in September, some adjustments during but not the scale we see now
  • In competition with other districts for a variety of staff to help now. #schcom0922 start with hiring process. Respect and experience of candidates whether hired or not is key for process. Interview team for teachers and some positions. Lesson planning, reference checks
  • #schcom0922 a rigorous process to ensure a right fit. Usually a large pool to draw from, this time around smaller choices. 6 resignations due to non renewal where they went elsewhere before could recall. Accommodations made where possible.
  • Page 2 of memo outlines budget process positions, #schcom0922 increase in counseling at Parmenter due to partner not participating this time due to pandemic but services still needed. Page 3 pandemic positions building subs was six, up to ten today
  • More updates on lifelong learning coming in future meetings. 104 notices given. 87 returned. (#s still not adding up) Milford Daily News reporter talked to Superintendent today resulting in article updated late today #schcom0922 chap 70 funding related insights helped
  • Unsung heroes all over Central Office, #schcom0922 21.6 open positions includes all. Principal at Keller was teaching art (and doing it well) LPNs needed. Q on long term sub vs. new teachers. Teachers on salary schedule, mentor works with staff usually but assigned to subs too
  • Moving to District Improvement goals #schcom0922
  • DESE pilot interrupted per pandemic. #schcom0922 vaping focus for substance abuse taskforce via grants, support for staff and families for SEL will be focus this year building upon work started last year.
  • Working to create a feeling of safety when approaching the building. SEL team did continue through the school closure to meet virtually and work on the "I can" statements #schcom0922 data from summer surveys to be incorporated in work
  • Principal to do building based survey to get input from teachers and staff, #schcom0922 resources from health care/plans made available as well. This is a preview of the DIP goals, to be voted at a future meeting.
  • Expanding with SAFE Coalition per local funding for counseling, portrait of a graduate coming this fall. #schcom0922 Ron Taylor mentioned in regards to tweet thread about expectations
  • #schcom0922 assessment of skills and address accordingly, leverage portrait to build curriculum, MAPLE one item to come off list as one to take off plate (from earlier meeting)
  • Identify support for academic enrichment, instructional practices for hybrid and digital environment #schcom0922
  • Q on homework program that had been cancelled, when? Special consideration for homework during remote, work would shift and trying to distinguish independent work vs work outside if school day #schcom0922 increase awareness of bias in materials for example
  • Awareness of bias is also work being done in some of the curriculum studies; Q on transition back to FHS and middle school; screening would be building based #schcom0922
  • Priority to build relationships over curriculum with students, Community spirit among staff, #schcom0922
  • Moving to discuss/action items #schcom0922 first based on MASC with progressive consequences; also MA general law re: idling in a vehicle in or around a school building - motion to move to 2nd reading, second, passes 6-0 (1 absent Pfeffer)
  • #schcom0922 MASC delegate appointment for Denise Spencer Moved, second, passes 6-0 (1 absent)
  • Budget Subcommittee coming next week TBD, MASC 10 resolutions to be scheduled for review over the two Oct meetings before the conf in November, FEF fund raiser at La Cantina 9/30, Community relations TBD, facilities mtg scheduled 9/30 #schcom0922
  • #schcom0922 joint PCC met recently, Judy did attend will have notes next time, looking at PCC resources, officers, etc. Event planning underway for social and racial justice, TBD. Y gave out 175K food packs, 3K to Franklin
  • Consent agenda up Motion to approve, second, passes 6-0 (1 absent) Motion to go to executive session to return to open meeting #schcom0922 passes 6-0 (1 absent)
  • That will be all for me for this tonight, catch you next time #schcom0922
The agenda for the meeting can be found
The written version of the Superintendent's report was added to the meeting packet folder
Additional photos from the meeting and used with Twitter posts are available here

Superintendent Sara Ahern making a point during meeting 9/22/20
Superintendent Sara Ahern making a point during meeting 9/22/20

No comments:

Post a Comment