Thursday, March 11, 2021

School Committee recap - March 9 meeting - Keller puts on a show before budget and reopening updates

Quick Recap:
  • Keller kids helped to put on the showcase of what's happening at the school this pandemic year.
  • Plans for the Davis Thayer transition to Keller underway, more updates as the work progresses
  • First pass on the school budget reviewed. Time line shared for next steps as it develops. Numbers to be filled in as they come available.
  • Reopening status updated to share the bringing back o in person, effectively doing away with hybrid. Working on bringing in the hybrid folks. Some flexibility at elementary level, more at middle school and less at high school for parents/students who are remote to come back in person. 
  • Pool testing commenced across the district, still time to sign up for it. All negative results ts far. Contact tracing results also showed no in person transfer of COVID-19.

Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one 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  #schcom0309

  • I am getting ready for the School Committee meeting tonight at 7. Are you ready? Agenda doc has details and connection info #schcom0309
  • All the options for watching, listening and/or participating tonight summarized here #schcom0309
  • Over 100 in Zoom session to start this meeting. #schcom0309
  • The zoom session is working for me but not the live stream. Anyone else an issue? Any trouble with cable? #schcom0309
  • Up to 190+ on the Zoom session. #schcom0309 DT and Keller transition underway, 1st meeting last week, lots of familiarity amongst team to work on draft to share later. Ah - an update via the live stream, there is video!
  • Superintendent's report (fully published after the meeting, in some cases several days) #schcom0309 touts Sen Spilka's forum coming Mar 19. Links to be shared when available. Next up the Keller presentation
  • The Keller presentation doc was shared before the meeting, you can follow along with this #schcom0309
  • Announcement to start the day helps at Keller #schcom0309
  • Special edition in November recognized local veterans on Veterans Day. #schcom0309 tech helped extend the celebration beyond the 4 walls
  • Work this year continues to develop the core values #schcom0309
  • Grade level meetings when students are remote done regularly. #schcom0309
  • Multiple students chimed in to share their thoughts as the presentation continues #schcom0309
  • #schcom0309 more slides for more of the Keller kids to talk to
  • Good last slide to share gratitude #schcom0309
  • BTW up to 210+ via Zoom (also only 6 of the 7 members present tonight - D'Angelo absent) #schcom0309
  • Now moving to the FY 22 budget update, first time to view the budget for next year. #schcom0309 doc to be posted after meeting (I.e. sometime Weds)
  • Budget assumptions to start with #schcom0309
  • Level service proposal would be close to Supt recommended amount, second slide gets into the investments required #schcom0309
  • Digital learning integration would be part of going forward required #schcom0309
  • BTW up to more than 220 via Zoom now. Cyber position would be split between town and schools #schcom0309
  • With Dr Edwards retirement taking opportunity to fill and add role for curriculum for elementary and middle levels #schcom0309 (for district our size, long overdue) some funding for the facility master planning work to begin (perhaps redistricting)
  • Expectations for staffing as it evolves on elementary level #schcom0309 watching carefully for population and class sizes
  • Decline in enrollment has also resulted in teacher reductions over the years mostly incorporated as part of the annual moves/leaves/retirement etc #schcom0309
  • Returning to full in person for 1700 students at FHS will be a budget issue, staffing in particular. #schcom0309
  • #schcom0309 where would the revenue come from? Mostly State; Town to be filled in over next 2 weeks. Otherwise some further adjustments required. "It is a process"
  • What's next for the budget? #schcom0309 slide depicts the timeline
  • #schcom0309 classrooms instructional, change year to year? Not clear. No ELA curriculum across at elementary level, question if bandwidth. Math pilot to be expanded next year and then we could get to ELA. Q on tiered support for catching up re: COVID. To be packaged 4 next time
  • #schcom0309 if 2 people replace Joyce and it is budget neutral, what about everything else she does? Under review, planning to include position and descriptions for next time. "If considered on per pupil basis, 75% if the districts spend more than we do... Are we ok with that?"
  • "How do we get on a journey to get more to the average?" #schcom0309 The budget reflects our values. Did I share the pie slide? There is very little room in this for finding money to save.
  • Also reflect on the changes in roles required to support education today. This is not your father's classroom. And oh by the way 40 some teachers were cut due to the decline in elementary enrollment over the years #schcom0309
  • Motion and second on policy to second reading passes via roll call 6-0-1 ( no against, 1 absent). #schcom0309
  • Next up capital budget request for Town approval via FinComm meeting Weds. #schcom0309 Motion to approve, second, passes via roll call 6-0-1 (none against, 1 absent)
  • #schcom0309 next up, reopening and return to full and in person would look like
  • It was a year ago this week that we shut down due to the onset of the pandemic. #schcom0309 middle school due back by 4/28, high school still TBD, therefore hybrid to be phased out as an option. Leverage this time to plan for summer and fall.
  • Targeting to get a week in before the April break, also contingency to move furniture around, #schcom0309 are expecting 5 days fully in person; all this does depend upon some students to stay remote particularly at FHS
  • What is still required? #schcom0309
  • When both teacher and students masked, risk low... #schcom0309 other mitigations, pool testing, ventilation, air purifiers, etc.
  • #schcom0309 co2 was already monitored building wide.
  • #schcom0309 695 pool testing yesterday, all negative. Sign up by school per student, links available.
  • Based upon contact tracing all exposure occurred outside the school #schcom0309
  • #schcom0309 transportation guidance from DESE last month, bus windows about 2 inches for air exchange
  • Lunches will vary building to building, some districts have gone with a shorter schedule and an early dismissal for a grab and go lunch. Stay tuned for what will be here. #schcom0309 kudos to the VLA teachers and the remarkable work they are doing
  • No plan for another survey for elementary, if hybrid will come in, if remote will stay. Some classes remote are already large, so adjustments would be needed. Stricter attendance to be captured. #schcom0309 if space available may accommodate VLA students to come in
  • Were planning for Apr 12 (state now says Apr 28), will be less flexible for attendance as with elementary, if remote so; if in, need to be, can't slide to remote. If sick, of course wouldn't be doing it anyway. #schcom0309 will survey middle school for the plan #s
  • #schcom0309 (BTW still over 200 via zoom at this time) FHS has limitations with space, staffing, etc. 500 fully remote today, could bring some in but not all.
  • #schcom0309 in general expectation for staff to be in person, with process for accommodation or leaves as necessary. Possible hiring for tutors and lunch monitoring, maybe additional teachers (VLA)
  • Volunteer opportunities also. #schcom0309 most stored on site, some desks at DPW garage and these are all part of the active conversation.
  • #schcom0309 1100+ students responses for hybrid survey, FHS to be surveyed again on collapsing the cohort
  • Communications coming to VLA and others on how and where to make move if necessary. Reminder on class sizes. Can not accommodate 25 at elementary in class size with 3' distance. Not yet tracking teacher vaccinations, is covered by HIPPA and could be noted in summary
  • Q on an individual quarantine? Level of detail not quite ready to get to yet, discussion yes, decisions not yet. Planning an 'attendance summit' to work on details and consistency around tracking and reporting. #schcom0309 info on volunteer to be folded into comms
  • #schcom0309 discussion on furniture for use outside as the weather gets warmer. Tents, etc. The more pressure we can put to get vaccinations to distribute locally. Plan coming together, still need patience and grace.
  • It is a team effort, want to note the principals and asst principals and getting the work done. Thank you. It is precarious with the variants about. #schcom0309 bus transportation sign up available on FPS page
  • Q on MCAS, what about rumors about family opt out? New dates for elementary mid may to first week in June, 1 test day/subject/ day. Obligated to bring remote in for MCAS no remote options. It is a requirement, if they are absent, when the return they get tested #schcom0309
  • There is no opt out for families for MCAS. #schcom0309 with dates sliding there is less flexibility in case of further interruptions. District sanctions? Less than 95% participation level affects report card. Currently suspended for this year.
  • Info matters, budget Subcommittee video being worked on, meeting march 16 - 4:30; Legislative Forum last week, no next meeting yet #schcom0309 New business; budget hearing line item next time, more on reopening, position approvals as discussed earlier
  • Consent agenda, #schcom0309 motion to approve seconded and passes 6-0-1 (0 against, 1 absent) Motion to enter executive session, not to return to open meeting, seconded, passes 6-0-1 (0 no, 1 absent). That's all for tonight, catch you next time!


"If considered on per pupil basis, 75% if the districts spend more than we do... Are we ok with that?"
"If considered on per pupil basis, 75% if the districts spend more than we do... Are we ok with that?"

No comments:

Post a Comment