Saturday, November 27, 2021

Recap: School Committee hears update on MCAS results; votes to implement optional mask for vaccinated students; votes on MOU for FEA

Quick Recap:
  • MCAS performance declined during the pandemic, work ongoing to meet students where they are and bring them to the level appropriate for them
  • Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion job description approved. The position will be posted and anticipated to be hired for approx. March 2021 or July 2021 depending upon potential candidate and timing
  • Optional mask for FHS vaccinated students/faculty approval received from DESE (one of 11 districts thus far), plan for implementation approved by 4-3 vote; most voting against seemed to be looking to delay start until Jan 2022
  • Open Meeting Complaint acknowledged but no action required. Complainer alleged violation but meeting had been gaveled to a break and then returned to open meeting after the disturbance was resolved (my twitter notes acknowledged such a comment from a Zoom participant during the meeting in question)
  • Entered Executive Session and returned to ratify the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Franklin Education Association (FEA) by 7-0 roll call vote and close the meeting
As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter while I attended the meeting in the Council Chambers. 
The Twitter hashtag #schcom1123 can be found online The thread begins with

Photos captured during the meeting can be found in one album ->


Superintendent's report
  • no citizen comments this evening, next to Supt report, Mamma Mia was well done! kudos to the cast, crew, etc.  #schcom1123;  Congrats to fall athletic teams; football Thanksgiving vs. KP; robotics did well at WPI in soccer championship there
  • parent teacher conf happened recently; more in person at elem, more remote at middle, even more at FHS; 2nd round for elementary in March; acknowledge Critical Conversations event last Thursday - thanks to those participating #schcom1123
  • slides and resources to be shared soon, will share once available - #schcom1123 approx. 80 between online and in person. role of student representatives - per state law, ex officio and no voting; generally FHS students are student class officers
  • lucky to have the SAFE resource here in the community; #schcom1123 DESE offering some funding via grant for hate crime work, apps due 12/8
MCAS presentation
  • next up, MCAS presentation - doc shared earlier, putting it in context as this is not a 'normal' report  #schcom1123
  • internet apparently went out, still live via Franklin TV - should be back soon; meeting continues #schcom1123
  • student growth metric (SGP) is a concern; esp. in Gr 10 math where Franklin was lower than State (altho DESE says difference is insignificant) #schcom1123
  • "recording in progress" announcement says the system is back #schcom1123 areas of strength slide high participation rate (i.e. 95 to 100%) vs about 90% at state
  • areas for growth slide - achievement gaps being addressed, esp across all the high needs students #schcom1123 Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) an assessment system being used to help drive approach to meet needs of students
  • NWEA assessment tool piloted last spring, implemented in the fall for grades K-8  #schcom1123 working to ensure educators have the same base of understanding on the assessments and resources, tools
  • round of #schcom1123 member questions, comments; interested to see next years results - while participation was high, it was a decline from prior years; MAP = measurement of academic progress, learning math remotely was difficult, lack of manipulatives, etc.
  • Dr. Tina Rogers and Dr. Linda Ashley - first time before committee in roles created after Dr Edwards retired; the positions were budget neutral; Stokes acknowledging their working together as apparently evident in this presentation and collaboration #schcom1123
  • can you further expand on 'scaffolding'? gradual approach to support during the learning process at each grade level with the curriculum #schcom1123 just in time, providing support so they don't get stuck
Discussion/Action items
  • moving to Discussion/Action items - A. Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Job Description - "I recommend approval of the new position of Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as discussed. #schcom1123
  • job description approval allows for start of search, possible start for Mar 2022 altho may not be able to fulfill until Jul depending upon field, requirements, and candidate commitments #schcom1123
  • some of the work of the individual would be addressing individual equity actions, or policy changes within district, or perhaps recommendations for #schcom1123 action; restorative process is already in place and developing, would assist with this as well
  • motion and seconded, after discussion vote -> 7- 0 for  #schcom1123
  • next up mask proposal for FHS, numbers verified by vaccination records; #schcom1123 FHS has 35% of the district population, had 10 cases year to date; not socially distanced in some cases, nor masked in others; unvaccinated students are still req'd to wear masks
  • there are methods and stats to go back to masks if req'd #schcom1123 1 - attestation from parent/guardian, 2 - child is permitted to remove, 3 - permission granted to share info with faculty/staff; mask wearing does not indicate vaccine status; compliance through …
  • progressive approach; in Hopkinton, about 40% still work masks in their implementation period; #schcom1123
  • B. Proposal for Optional Mask Wearing by Vaccinated Students/Staff at FHS related to Policy EBCFA Face Coverings I recommend approval of the proposal for optional mask wearing by vaccinated students/staff at FHS as discussed.  #schcom1123
  • no plans currently for pool testing; only 26% participated last time; not enough to be effective for the work required to process; #schcom1123 positivity reported on Thur evening, could turn a pause on by Monday; Mr Hanna provides input on FHS 'feeling' …
  • comfortable with option based upon choice; Supt - mask compliance has wanned during the year; hard to enforce when it is so spread; #schcom1123 need to take care and be kind across the board
  • on compliance for those needing masks for those non-vaccinated; varies by case, starts with conversation; in a private setting; in rare case when the convo and call home didn't resolve, then escalation needed #schcom1123
  • there has been an uptick but not yet seen at FHS, #schcom1123 could consider postponing start until Jan 22 to get by holidays
  • only 11 districts with this type of waiver, comms among the 11 on what to do how to, etc. underway, Hopkinton was first and they have provided info; #schcom1123 DESE doesn't yet include boosters as part of the calc; may come on later (due to timing)
  • boosters only or 18+, hence not much part of the FHS students population; CDC hasn't changed definition of vaccinated yet either #schcom1123 data would be input into the system, and appear in faculty student lists and info
  • expressing concern on teachers taking on the added burden of mask enforcement; would be more comfortable with this after the holiday; students are traveling everywhere; #schcom1123
  • suggestion that trial period and policy start could get postponed if uptick continues; another leaning toward postponing to Jan 22; Hanna jumps into to advocate no pause on behalf of the students #schcom1123 we'll do what is asked of us
  • it could set us up in a confusing place; when there are too many changes, it is harder to keep the moment going #schcom1123 via roll call passes 4-3 (Bernstein, Charles, Whitmore voted no; Callaghan, McNeill, Spencer and Stokes voted yes)
Open Meeting Law Complaint Response
  • moving to discussion only items: Open Meeting Law Complaint Response - Ms. Denise Spencer - there is no transcript due to break in the meeting; hence no further action needed or required, copy sent to complainer, and to Attny General #schcom1123
new business
  • new business - workshop on finances; lifelong learning update; #schcom1123 
Consent agenda
Executive Session and return to open
  • motion to enter executive session, and to return in Open Session.  approved 7-0  #schcom1123
  • meeting re-opens at 9:56 PM - motion and second to ratify the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Franklin Education Association (FEA); passed via roll call vote 7-0. No details on memo provided. Motion to adjourn, seconded, passed via roll call 7-0

Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days

Recap: School Committee hears update on MCAS results; votes to implement optional mask for vaccinated students; votes on MOU for FEA
Recap: School Committee hears update on MCAS results; votes to implement optional mask for vaccinated students; votes on MOU for FEA

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