Friday, January 15, 2021

School Committee - Jan 12, 2021 - Meeting Recap

Quick Recap:
  • Excellent presentation and overview from Oak St on their in school learning. At least one parent said while that is rosy, the 'at home' situation is not so
  • Superintendent Ahern updated on new pool testing option available, sessions to explain further scheduled, need to respond back to DESE if we'd use it. Need to get a good (?) number to participate to make it worth while 
  • Recommends community #DoYourPart in following protocols esp. with long weekend, and Feb vacation breaks coming up
  • K-1 survey results revealed and discussion, situation summarized as a "dilemma" with no clear path forward other than more study
  • Student Opportunity Act (SOA) plan approved; a formality as there is no SOA money from the State, but DESE wants this, so be it
  • School Committee voted 5-2 to suspend athletics if district goes fully remote due to increase in COVID cases (how much more red than the red we are was not provided to trigger this move)
  • Hold the date for the next Legislative forum now scheduled for March 2
Photos captured during the meeting and shared via the Twitter thread can be found in one folder


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  #schcom0112

Citizen Comments/FHS Updates
  • #schcom0112 ELL teacher traveling between Jeff/Kennedy shares during citizen comments. FHS student updates: yearbook superlatives shared, diversity club active esp after Capitol incident; AP government doing a fantasy game on media coverage
  • Class of 2022 doing a flocking fund raiser, winter sports teams off to a good start. #schcom0112 
Superintendent's report 
  • superintendent's report - appeal to Community "Do your part" ; rumors/videos of additional parties, can't tell if FHS participated or they are current. Pls follow safety guides!
  • 2nd re: travel on weekends, re MA order, requires 72 hour window for testing upon return, or quarantine. If testing before, can't count that test upon return, you need another one. #schcom0112 weekend ahead, Feb vacation and April coming. Test 5 days after return
  • Hearing of cases thru contact tracing (which is good) but there is a lag in processing, if positive test please contact schools directly so action can be taken quickly. #schcom0112 image on pool testing. Note: participation up over 140
  • Explanation of pool testing process, cost of pool testing less than normal, first 6 wks covered by DESE then local funds would be applied however sourced #schcom0112 professional development day on Weds, hence half day for students.
  • Asked Q on time for logistics of admin for the testing, would seem to come from instruction, is DESE considering that relative to their interest in time on learning? #schcom0112
  • Item in report Dr Edwards is retiring at end of school year. Will be missed and plans underway to backfill. More recognition later this year as other retirement are acknowledged. #schcom0112
Oak St presentation
  • Oak St highlights for tonight's presentation, principal and others contributing for update #schcom0112 presentation doc link here =
  • Vice principal updating on SEL (2 avoid misspelling will add names later, they shd be recognized but I can't type that fast!) #schcom0112  (Added to this as promised: Principal: Brad Hendrixson; Donna Krikorian, Assistant Principal)
  • #schcom0112 how to greet by name and express feelings/emotions with a mask. (Catching up on slides, Principal in this batch) finding ways to partner students with remote and in person fostering learning
  • Sue Egan, REACH program at Oak (note Mrs Sherlock has subbed pre-COVID in this program) #schcom0112 appreciative if 10 days prep to put program together in COVID protocol to help the students, they came 4 days a week (only ones in building at that time)
  • Jenna Perro, first grade teacher, tells of take home bags put together on Weds (during prep time) for students to take home #schcom0112
  • Katherine Nayler, 4th grade teacher, speaks also of the value of the planning time on Weds as critical to what happens elsewhere in the instruction #schcom0112 developing a growth mindset, relationship building, in person and across cohorts
  • Google meet open during day so students remote can reach teacher, teachers are juggling between in person and remote. #schcom0112 one math game went well, so we'll students asked to play it again. Closing meeting includes a shout out from students, "they check on us a lot"
Discussion/action items
  • Moving to discussion action items, IF FHS needed to go remote, prepared action for vote if it were to occur, such that sports would not be interrupted by a delay in #schcom0112 vote
  • This vote would actually be allowing to suspend sports if necessary. Could move in or out of model based upon prior vote. #schcom0112 Q what is the metric to make this decision? Metrics available to go other way, but since we are red now, how red do we need to be?
  • Most cases are in family transmission, if found to be within school environment, that would be a criteria. #schcom0112 would be a pretty extreme circumstance for FHS. More risk now with rising #s, sports competition indoors (basketball, hockey, etc.) and higher risk
  • Rather have it and not needed, than not have it and need it. #schcom0112 motion to approve plan as discussed, seconded, via roll call passes 5-2. Motion on SOA plan as discussed, seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call
  • Next up, personnel update #schcom0112 hiring issues as not a big available pool of candidates HR Director Lisa Traynor provides updates # of retirement increasing as it goes, hard to tell if normal or COVID specific
  • If anyone looking for nursing position, there are openings and can be filled right away. #schcom0112 K-1 survey summary presentation we all have a common goal, caution not to put parties against each other
K-1 survey summary
  • While dissatisfaction expressed with hybrid, there was recognition of great work being done by teachers. #schcom0112 detailed overview of survey results, work with other staff to get their feedback req'd, would also require negotiations with union. A dilemma ...
  • With in person returning eventually, and the work needed to be done on that, I read between the lines not doing more on this K-1 scenario. Priority maybe getting ready for return in person with vaccine. #schcom0112 Q what more info needed? Process needs to be followed
  • Distancing vs disruption is the challenge, discussion continues to be worked towards. #schcom0112 "I was hoping the results would be more clear but they are not" Issues with current hybrid can't be fully solved as is, never mind 'worsening' it with new scenarios
  • Newsletter out today to help provide support for parents to help teachers on literacy, i.e independent reading practice. Also on math work and SEL single biggest request was for planning time, grade level development planned to share resources across the schools #schcom0112
  • Responding to the planning time request is not going to be one and done, needs to be on going. #schcom0112 DESE just issued a webinar series for K-3 teachers. Have been cleared on learning time currently, i.e. meeting required hours.
  • #schcom0112 Q are we going to see a clear plan on how to move forward? There will be work done, plans to come forward, pool testing, vaccine distribution expected, there is a lot going on. There is inequity in the buildings and inequity in service delivery in some scenarios
  • rising case counts create added pressure, an increase in VLA would require additional hiring (which is already a problem) #schcom0112 suggestion, could use the data points collected this far to bring in those students 'behind' to benefit a 4 day in person?
Reopening status
  • Moving to reopening status #schcom0112 additional staff in quarantine due to either student cases or family members. 41 of the 128 had been in buildings in prior 7 days DESE #s will differ
  • MCAS testing changes this spring, staffing concerns covered earlier, FHS complex nearing completion on AC upgrade/purifiers, vaccine process starts for first responders on the 13th and 20th at the high school gym. #schcom0112 opening for public comment limited for 3 mins
Public comments
  • Donna Grady, K teacher and president of teachers union. I understand the frustration around not getting an answer. We are forgetting we are in the middle of a pandemic, even in school it is not normal, #s are down now because of hybrid. When they go, they will spread #schcom0112
  • "Educators do not do this to be first responders" #schcom0112 what is the overall goal? Bring back K-1, bring back all? Let's decide so it helps our discussion. Not clear on what info we need, what is it that is good for Franklin? Parmenter closed Monday, and now 4 rest of week
  • "we can't help our high needs students" #schcom0112 "we are doing our best" students are making progress, same as normal time, probably not. "Logistically it is a nightmare" "while I appreciate the rosy picture of Oak St, the at home experience is not so rosy"
  • "If we need to find additional planning time, don't take it from synchronous teaching time" #schcom0112 "a silver lining is that the school Committee meeting is virtual so I can participate" please continue. "Don't give up on finding a solution"
  • #schcom0112 "not comfortable about the shorter distances" multigenerational families "would rather have all stay alive and stay healthy" so we can be together again "there is a way to do this without being in 5 days a week"
  • #schcom0112 speak to the real effect on the staff. DESE as of Jan 6, 35/100k. 253/75k. A factor of ten more teachers with COVID per DESE #s in comparison to Franklin #s, " the numbers support their concerns" Budget Subcommittee 1/14, Community relations met last week
Information updates/closing
  • Legislative forum scheduled for March 2, will be virtual. Policy meeting next on 1/21. DT Subcommittee meeting 1/14 #schcom0112 why review of the agenda before the meeting? To review or change the order or take something off
  • New business, update on FHS, homework update, vote on next school year calendar. Consent agenda #schcom0112 motion, seconded, passes 6-0 (1 left early)
  • Motion to enter executive session, not to return to public meeting seconded, passes 6-0 via roll call. #schcom0112 That's all for tonight, catch you next time! 


School Committee - Jan 12, 2021 - Meeting Recap
School Committee - Jan 12, 2021 - Meeting Recap

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