Saturday, October 31, 2020

School Committee meeting Oct 27, 2020 - Recap

Quick Recap:
  • An extended discussion on the re-opening update from Superintendent Ahern as the schools transition from remote to hybrid. Issues acknowledged around communications (i.e. notifications), technology, developmental appropriateness for K-1-2 students, among items discussed.
  • SchComm member (Keenan) spoke in citizens comments (as a parent) to raise issues with the COVID-19 communications protocol around who gets notified about what.
  • Presentation on the Davis Thayer facility analysis touted as '20 minutes with time for Q&A' goes for 1 hour and twenty minutes and initially leaves out parent/community Q&A. 
  • The report is more than what was asked for as Davis Thayer was the initial question but once started, other questions arose to be addressed. Multiple options were laid out. Many questions remain to be addressed by the School District and the DT subcommittee. It is likely the study could result in a short term proposal from the DT subcommittee and a longer term plan with another committee formed to address the long term issues raised by the report (excess under utilization of facilities).
  • Next set of MASC resolutions addressed. Update on the Oct 1 enrollment provided. Further update coming from McKibben on the demographic study he prepared for the DT analysis (time TBD).
  • SchComm entered executive session and did not return to open meeting.

Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in the album


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  #schcomm1027 

  • Real time reporting underway for the School Committee meeting #SchComm1027
  • Meeting agenda doc can be found on the Schools page #schcomm1027
  • Meeting packet folder is on the schools page #schcomm1027
  • #schcomm1027 Committee member speaking as a parent wants to review the current COVID Communications protocol as not being very helpful to parents. Will share link to current protocol
  • #schcomm1027 brief updates from the FHS student representatives 
  • A parent pair adds they wanted to address the citizens comment section: will kids be allowed eventually to return in person, what metrics would govern that. Parent for 1st grader also adds desire for discussion
  • Another parent of 2 K students with request to consider the hybrid, ask for input, explore change of days kids are remote #schcomm1027 kids in this age are dependent upon parent or caregiver to allow student to participate. Need to make day easier for students; + another parent
  • Finally continues with the superintendent report after set of comments. #schcomm1027 acknowledges principals and their effort to make things happen, Oct month of principals. Working Herculean hours to make things happen in School these days
  • Photo of school hallway marked for direction, 2 examples of elementary classroom #schcomm1027
  • Middle school photos #schcomm1027 instruction has changed and takes longer, many challenges with the in person setting. Chromebook shipment distribution this week
  • #schcomm1027 budget update, Gov Baker's refile of the budget provides cautious hope, appears to avoid the major cuts feared, FY 22 will be a challenge. Metrics for re-opening, trend of increase in cases, still under the red line, would continue to bring FHS students in
  • #schcomm1027 acknowledges the comments made earlier, doesn't want to speak off the cuff, wants to take it back and review with the staff before bringing info back. Thanks for input in feedback. CDC guidance changed recently, awaiting further clarification from DPH and DESE
  • Acknowledges keeping privacy in place (in regards to Committee member comment opening the meeting) #schcomm1027 full day of professional development scheduled for Nov 3, election day. Teachers will have choice of remote or in person
  • #schcomm1027 looking to provide more planning time for middle and high school teachers for planning time, would have
  •  students in more asynchronous time. Q - To what extent do the space limitations make the 5 day in person not happen for younger grades?
  • Q - on why not participate in a town Council budget Subcommittee meeting? A - would generally get an invite. Do participate in joint budget Subcommittee meetings #schcomm1027 discussion on comms per COVID cases, contact tracing covers those cases. There are no easy answers
  • #schcomm1027 BTW, we were at about 74 participants earlier, now at 89. Another 10 via the live stream. Digital learning integrationist will do a demo Weds (info to be shared on that later). Pressure on technology across board (town and schools) to address issues timely
  • Will need to further address in FY 22 budget cycle, did add another layer of remote tech support via contracted service to help now. Some of the demo Weds will cover some of this. #schcomm1027 Illustrative math program highly rated
  • Moving to presentation and report on the facilities Analysis #schcomm1027 hold questions for after report, approx 20 mins presentation copy =
  • What isn't in the report? A whole lot of work to be done based upon this... #schcomm1027
  • Spacing for capacity based upon pre-COVID #schcomm1027
  • Flexibility built into the calculation with the range of capacity #schcomm1027
  • Utilization will change due to enrollment projections #schcomm1027
  • Underutilized middle schools today, will get worse (i.e.) more capacity not used overtime #schcomm1027
  • Educational adequacy calculated #schcomm1027
  • No school gets a perfect score. #schcomm1027 DT, Parmenter, and Kennedy ranked low for adequacy. Tech issue letting people into meeting from waiting room, backing up to the adequacy slide
  • #schcomm1027 one person (Craig) did the adequacy assessment to ensure consistency.
  • #schcomm1027 overall enrollment decline forecasted, slight rise in elementary, larger decline in middle, resulting in -12% national enrollment lines up with Franklin.
  • Any decision needs to be long term as the cohorts will move thru the system grade but grade. #schcomm1027 layered the school building age to the industrial ages
  • Explored multiple avenues to address decline in enrollment #schcomm1027
  • #schcomm1027
  • #schcomm1027 end of presentation
  • now Qs from Committee. Q calculation of adequacy 'customized' for Franklin. All recommendations based upon current districting. Redistricting not a consideration for simplicity sake could/should be done later as part of master plan
  • This does not cover costing of operation today. #schcomm1027 Q find it difficult to deal with the concept not adequacy. The Parmenter/Kennedy close option would require some redistricting of Parmenter students elsewhere to fit the remaining within Jefferson
  • Title I funding follows the students not school based. #schcomm1027 clarification of DT use of driveway vs use of it differently. No separate DT parent drop off as they follow the buses. DT a very challenging building. In ed today, less classrooms required, more other space
  • DT was renovated in the 70's and then redone later as the open space concept wasn't working. Piece of history not mentioned in report. #schcomm1027 highlight of Appendix B from report (not presentation) showing an example of how adequacy could be improved for older buildings
  • Looking for consistency across the elementary environment, the right spaces start but then the professional development needs to prepare the faculty. #schcomm1027
  • Will need to make some rational decisions going forward.
  • Immediate is your choice of timeline, closing the 2 gets to 85% adequacy. But all is the school Committee decision #schcomm1027 Q on what the charge for the DT Committee be? Changed? Expanded? Additional Committee?
  • Thinking long term after the pandemic and with a revised enrollment forecast with 2020 census numbers, did approach DT but to do it right did take the broader scope. #schcomm1027 there are other data points to gather, financial as well as Community input to do
  • More discussion to come on this topic. #schcomm1027 
  • a slip? Or oversight  But apparently there is No opportunity for Community question or input at this time.
  • Moving to MASC resolutions #schcomm1027 resolution 7 passes via roll call; resolution 8 passes via roll call; resolution 9 passes via roll call; resolution 10 passes via roll call; all votes 7-0 except for res 10, res 10 vote 6-1
  • Citizen comment/question on DT, seemed that the decision for DT and Parmenter could be separated. #schcomm1027 need to continue to follow the process
  • Moving to policies for approval, move to second readings
  • #schcomm1027 (thanks @DSpencerFSC for catching citizen input) needing separate votes on each policy to second reading #schcomm1027
  • Roll call votes for policies to move to second reading all passed via 7-0 #schcomm1027
  • Moving to discussion only items
  • Enrollment update  #schcomm1027 October 1 enrollment important for funding basis
  • Pre K enrollment usually grows during year, not anticipating it this year. Big bump in home school enrollment during Aug/Sep seen in other districts as well. #schcomm1027 (link to doc provides in prior tweet)
  • Budget workshop Nov 17, process and timeline to be reviewed, looking also for priorities for this cycle.
  • #schcomm1027 Community relations met Oct 20, MASC conf coming (using the resolutions) training Fri/Sat
  • Following process, gathering more input will prepare for a Community info session on Nov 4, meeting scheduled for Thursday 10/29, time for info session to be set at Thursday meeting #schcomm1027
  • Event held Oct 17 to showcase art and diversity of Community, well received, #schcomm1027 portrait of a graduate at a future meeting.
  • Consent agenda, move to accept, passes 7-0 via roll call
  • Move to executive session, seconded, passes 7-0 will not return to open mtg
  • That's all folks! Catch you next time #schcomm1027 
Superintendent's report

screen capture of one of the DT study slides
screen capture of one of the DT study slides

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