Wednesday, September 9, 2020

School Committee Recap - Sep 8, 2020: midpoint of professional development, communication issues acknowledged, budget remains a concern

The School Committee meeting of Tuesday, Sep 8, 2020 can be summarized as follows:

  • The Franklin school district is at the midpoint of the professional development period before schools re-open this month. Teachers in buildings preparing, work on air quality and circulation continues. 
  • Communications to parents  on cohorts and teacher assignments acknowledged as a problem. A combination of technical glitches and fluid situation. Additional communications coming this week
  • Handbooks and associated policy changes approved for distribution. The number of pages for handbooks surprised one school committee member. A video presentation to highlight what to expect with the new school operations in this pandemic period is in development. 
  • The Early Childhood and Development Center reviewed their plans and operational adjustments.
  • The school budget remains a major item. While there are some savings being realized, there are additional costs, and concern over some of the COVID-19 funding that may expire before the pandemic is done.

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 #schcomm0908 

  • Ready for the real time reporting of #schcomm0908
  • Right into the superintendent's report, Midpoint of professional development for school staff, comms on cohorts going out, tech glitches acknowledged, more coming later this week, presentation in development #schcomm0908
  • Work on increase of air flow during and after school day, units got preventive maintenance done during summer, filters changed, CO2 filters adjusted, air transfer adjusted, about to bid project for further improvement, To be completed in Dec, fans in exhaust mode #schcomm0908
  • Flu vaccine is a requirement, exception will need to be supported by documents from nurse/doctor for medical, parent for religious reasons
  • #schcomm0908 no mandate for staff vaccine, day to be scheduled for staff to make it easier
  • #schcomm0908 Q on COVID-19 cases Communications, to be handled with privacy in mind, please be generous and kind with notifications, pls avoid stigma and harassment. Health dept to maintain contact tracing
  • Q on FHS could they come in early? Open to it but want to focus on getting underway first and then relook at bringing students in, #schcomm0908
  • Kelly Kelly provides an update for ECDC presentation similar to that made to parents Aug 5, classes are integrated (sped and peers), task force worked on, core values and mission important to keep in mind #schcomm0908 present doc not available on FPS page (will share when avail)
  • Note prior tweet should be Kelty Kelley (auto corrected wasn't overridden, oops) #schcomm0908 additional cleaning between sessions added, already did quite a bit given nature of program
  • Will be using outside space where possible, tent in place, easels ready, fencing to be added, drop off changed #schcomm0908 some students pay tuition, some recieve as part of IEP, some may not get peers all the time in order to get services
  • Some tuition based students are not returning, most folks did get first or second choices; if they do go remote (due to health reasons) would need to relook at tuition #schcomm0908 short personal visit with teachers before starting via Google meet planned
  • Sep 16 family orientation scheduled, 16-17-18 remote option welcome sessions planned with team members, a parent teacher conf via Google meet also scheduled to help with transition to first day of school Sep 21 #schcomm0908 approx 100 students this far
  • Playground off limits (as good as it is) due to complexity of cleaning after sessions. Being creative with the spaces they do have, will be able to use the garden when harvested and play with dirt. #schcomm0908 if guidance changes, they'll relook at it.
  • Discussion/Action items up now; #schcomm0908 comms back to family on mask non-compliance an issue of privacy/confidentiality. Plexiglass only in certain areas of high frequency close contact motion to approve, second, pass 7-0 via roll call
  • Handbooks up next  #schcomm0908 process to review/revise began in Jun, built terminology and framework as a team before getting to details. (Kudos to that approach!!!)
  • Some of the policies already were approved during the year by #schcomm0908 section 3 new this year, section 2, section 1 school specific, middle schools have an FAQ section, all this non-COVID; school Council was leveraged during spring and currently for Communications
  • COVID specific sections, some across schools, some for both remote and hybrid, Google enterprise adding features to help management, need to set expectations and how to support them #schcomm0908 what can teachers, family and admin do to support process
  • Visitors limited even more so in these COVID circumstances, stopped for questions; Judy shocked by size of handbooks, 100+ pages for Davis Thayer. #schcomm0908 printed copies only upon request. Presentation on over view, monumental approach. Impressed by bully section
  • Handbook info to be included in presentation being put together, assistant principals were key to this effort. #schcomm0908 motion to approve second, passes 7-0 via roll call
  • Discussion only; annual report draft for #schcomm0908 for review, Dr Bergen for SchComm, Superintendent, unaudited FY 2020 budget figures. 
  • Budget update  shared via link
  • Many leaves and retirements being covered by substitutes, hence a cost savings, transportation cost savings due to 45 days less than normal as well as less students (only 30%) reduction in fees for transportation also could be a revenue hit, along with sports/activity fees
  • Lifelong Learning getting hit with revenue drop, can't cover health costs. Will stay within constraints of bottom line budget (something will give but no indication yet of what) #schcomm0908 tents funded through Cares act
  • Tim: we were in a budget shortfall and will be still in the future. Judy: concern about folks not funded after Dec. There is some favorable numbers but we'll make decisions based upon info at that time. #schcomm0908 "budget situation unlike previous years"
  • Davis Thayer, ready to schedule meeting to resume work. Other subcommittees will resume as school reopens. #schcomm0908 mental health issues sky rocketing, looking to DESE and other state agencies for funding help
  • Next meeting: preview of district goals, hiring process explained, update on total staff retired, riffed, leaves, cafeteria, etc.
  • Judy - request for comments, should be part of agenda, was looked at previously and not included #schcomm0908 status of chromebooks
  • Consent agenda, motion to approve, seconded, passed 7-0 via roll call
  • Motion to executive session, not to return to public meeting, passed via roll call 7-0  That's all for tonight, catch you next time!! #schcomm0908

Photos taken during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one folder

ECDC Principal Kelty Kelley
ECDC Principal Kelty Kelley

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