Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Franklin Public Schools: FHS Update #2


Hello- Here is an update that Principal Light is sending to FHS families. The students at FHS returned to class at about 9:30. Teachers processed the incident with students and counselors were available for those students who needed additional support. All students were safe and law enforcement officials  were exceptional in their response. Thank  you for your patience and assistance.

FHS Families,

Thank you for your patience and understanding during what was a difficult morning at FHS.  The purpose of this email is twofold: to update you with additional information about the incident this morning, and to confirm that tonight's curriculum open house is happening as planned.

I will review the information regarding today's incident with interested families from 5:45 until 6:15 tonight in the school auditorium, but below is a synopsis of the events of today as they unfolded.  This is the same information that I will share with families tonight at 5:45.

I know our faculty are eager to showcase what they will be doing with students throughout the year, so I ask that if you have questions about today's incident you either attend our session in the auditorium tonight at 5:45, or I, or another member of the school administration would be happy to speak with you one on one regarding any questions or concerns you have.

Thank you in advance.


Peter Light



Today's Incident:

Early this morning, I received an email that made a threat against the high school.  I immediately notified the Franklin Police and the Superintendent of Schools who in turn reached out to state law enforcement officials.  The threat was immediately deemed not credible, but after consulting with Franklin Police, we requested a full sweep of the building by the state police.  By the time initial communications with law enforcement had occurred and we had developed an understanding of the situation, students had already boarded busses and had begun to congregate outside the school. 

Initial estimates were that the full sweep of the school would be complete prior to busses arriving.  Based on this information and because students had started to arrive at school or had already boarded busses, we made the decision, alongside law enforcement, to begin school as scheduled but have students start at the Horace Mann Middle School.  At this time we notified parents of an ongoing issue at the school which would necessitate us starting the day at Horace Mann Middle School.

Faculty and staff escorted our students as they arrived on campus to locations within the Horace Mann/ Oak Street complex.  At no time did students enter FHS prior to the start of the school day.  As we worked with law enforcement in the early part of the school day, we thought we could return to the school shortly after the scheduled opening.  We then received information that this would be delayed until approximately 9:00AM, and then shortly after 9:30 AM we were given the final "go-ahead" to bring students back into the school.

By 10:00 AM, all students had reported to G period classes and teachers were provided information about the morning's incident to share with students.  Faculty were also briefed on how to monitor students who may need additional support and counselors were available to meet with students as needed.

As the Franklin Police noted in their press release, not all details of the threat are able to be shared as this is an ongoing investigation, and we do not want to hamper the investigation into this matter.  Throughout the morning, school administration worked with local, state and federal authorities to insure the safety of students and to provide the authorities with information necessary to conduct the investigation.  We will continue to monitor the investigation as it progresses, but want to insure all of our students and families that FHS continues to be a safe environment.

Some questions I have received:

Q:  I only received the call this morning to my home telephone.  Why wasn't this sent to email and to cell phones?

A:  This situation unfolded very quickly and when the message was sent, I accidentally selected a feature that only placed the call to home telephones.  Because I was immediately pulled into monitoring students and working with police, I was unaware this was sent only to home telephones.  Now that I am aware of this issue, I will make sure this does not happen again in the event of an emergency.


Q:  The message this morning said only that there was an "issue" at the building, but made no reference to a threat.  Why?

A:  Based on the information we had available and after consulting with law enforcement authorities, it was determined that this was the best course of action at the time.  The situation this morning unfolded very quickly and while it was determined early on that student safety was secured, information about the incident, the timeline for resolution and our work in ensuring students could move to Horace Mann Middle School in an orderly fashion all impacted how we distributed information.  As with all situations, we will review our response and use information gathered to make the best decisions in the future.


Q:  Why were students held at the middle school so long?

A:  Initial estimates were for a much faster resolution to the incident, however, the size of the school impacted officials' ability to complete the sweep of the building as quickly as initially expected.  As the situation unfolded, we reacted to information as it was made available to us.  It is unfortunate that students had to wait so long before returning to the high school, but it was out top priority to ensure that the school was safe.


Q:  Is the school safe now?

A:  Yes, the school is safe.  Once we returned to the school and classrooms, we resumed all school and extra-curricular activities as scheduled.  The investigation is ongoing, but the school has been cleared by law enforcement.


Thank you for your time and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Peter Light


This e-mail has been sent to you by FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT.

Franklin Public Schools: FHS Update


Early this morning, FHS Principal Peter Light received an email that contained a threat to the HS. The Franklin Police and Fire Departments were immediate contacted and they in turn, reached out to the MA State Police to bring in additional resources. The threat was not immediately believed to be credible, but law enforcement and administration wanted to take all necessary precautions to ensure a safe environment for students and faculty. As faculty was already in the building, students had begun to arrive, and busses were enroute, we decided to move all students and faculty to the Horace Mann Middle School. Law enforcement officials with the assistance of administration and faculty did a sweep of the building. We anticipate students will return to the HS at approximately 9:00.

Thanks to the rapid response of law enforcement official students and staff were not in any danger. We will be working with forensic technology experts to locate the source of the threat and we will cooperate with law enforcement official to see that those responsible will never perpetrate this type of threat again.

We want to thank our faculty and students for the way they conducted themselves during this situation. Also we want to thank the administration and faculty of HMMS and Oak for their assistance.


Maureen Sabolinski, Superintendent of Schools

Peter Light, FHS Principal

This e-mail has been sent to you by FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT. To maximize their communication with you, you may be receiving this e-mail in addition to a phone call with the same message.

Gifts can no longer indicate who they were donated by

Sharing this via a couple of requests. This is another instance of something happening at a meeting and folks find out about it or understand the implications of it after the fact.

What is the gist of the issue?
"Gifts may not have any endorsement, advertising or any placards/nameplates from the donor/organization"

(Note: for those receiving this via email, the posting embedded from Facebook will likely not render properly. You'll need to click through to the Franklin Matters webpage to view it fully)

screen capture of the Facebook page for the Graci gift
screen capture of the Facebook page for the Graci gift

There may be room for a compromise. As it is a 'policy' and recently changed, there is a chance it could be changed again. The policy does get vetted through legal so I wouldn't want to speculate on the likelihood of a change.

There may also be an alternative. Franklin does have a new Sculpture Park. Would the piece be good for an outdoor setting? I don't believe there are such restrictions that would apply at the Sculpture Park.

Note: I do want to take some time to dig through the prior meetings to provide the specific agenda and meeting video links to see what was discussed at the time of the policy change.

Regular readers should be aware that the meeting agendas for Town Council and School Committee are shared here in advance of each meeting. I report from as many of the meetings as I can make. There is also a video replay of the meetings posted to the Franklin webpage.

The School Department has a subcommittee reviewing all their policies to ensure they are current and appropriate. There are two readings of a policy document before it is voted on. Public comment is open. For most meetings that I attend, it is rare to find someone else in the audience.

The archive of meeting notes can be found here

Franklin Library: Halloween Craft

During the Harvest Festival on Sunday, stop by the Library to prepare a spider or pumpkin to decorate your room for Halloween.

Yes, the Library is now open on Sunday's from 1:30 - 5:00 PM from September through May.

Halloween craft - Sunday, Oct 5th
Halloween craft - Sunday, Oct 5th

This was shared from the Franklin Library page here

You can find more about the Library on the Franklin website here

The map of all the vendor booths and musical performances at the Harvest Festival can be found here

FHS Sports - Results Monday - 9/29/14

Hockomock Sports reports that the FHS girls soccer team shutout King Philip 2-0.
Coming off a draw against North Attleboro on Thursday, Franklin coach Tom Geysen was told that his team looked tired, so he added a day off for the players to rest and regroup. 
The tactic had the right effect as the Panthers bounced back with one of their most complete games of the season to shutout King Philip 2-0 on Monday afternoon. Taylor Cogliano and Alexis Stowell provided the goals in the first half for Franklin. 
“We did things today offensively that we haven’t been doing for several games,” said Geysen. “I thought we controlled the ball well for most of the game. Especially on this field, being able to control the ball shows the kids what they’re capable of doing when they’re playing well.”
Continue reading the article here

FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

Boys Soccer

King Philip, 1 @ Franklin, 2 - Final - Franklin's Austin Kent opened the scoring in the 22nd minute on an assist from Billy Dorion. King Philip leveled the match in the 34th minute behind Andrew Allen's 10th goal of the season. Dorion scored the game winner in the 67th minute on an assist from Adam Moessing.

Field Hockey

King Philip, 0 @ Franklin, 7 - Final - Junior Kelsey McPhee scored a hat trick for the Panthers and junior Julia Jette netted her first career goal. Junior Samantha Jones recorded her third shutout in net.


King Philip, 3 @ Franklin, 1 - Final

Read all the results of Monday's action across the Hockomock League here

MassBudget: Local Data on Earned Paid Sick Time

If you click through to see the full report, you will find that the listing for our area is:

Greater Franklin (includes Norfolk and Wrentham) = 27%

So one in four employed in the Greater Franklin area do not have paid sick time. If they are sick and can not work, they go without pay.


Regional and Local Access in Massachusetts
Access to earned paid sick time improves the economic security of working people and families in communities in every region of our Commonwealth. MassBudget's new fact sheet Earned Paid Sick Time By the Numbers: Regional and Local Access In Massachusetts provides data on the percentage of the workforce that currently lacks earned paid sick time in different cities and towns.

The table below provides one example breakdown of the rates of workers in Central Massachusetts without earned paid sick time. To view data for your city or town in other parts of the state, please see full report available HERE.


BOSTON, MA 02108
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center | 15 Court Square | Suite 700 | Boston | MA | 02108

Monday, September 29, 2014

Franklin Public Schools: Upcoming Events


FHS Curriculum Night on September 30 

Follow your FHS students' schedule and experience HS all over again

Remington / Jefferson Challenge

2K or 5K road race and complete SPARTAN Obstacle CourseSunday 10/5 at 10:45  at Remington/Jefferson       Races begin at 11:00Two Obstacle Courses ( 1 for adults and 1 for children)Great snacks and food available
See Remington/Jefferson web site and click onto PCC

Downtown Harvest Festival Sunday October 5th 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Food, entertainment and fun- see Downtown Partnership web site for event schedule and sponsor list

JFK Ladybug Race

Kennedy School fun run on October 27th  at 9:30 a.m.See JFK PCC web site for details

This e-mail has been sent to you by FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT. To maximize their communication with you, you may be receiving this e-mail in addition to a phone call with the same message.

To save searching for the sites mentioned here they are:

Remington Jefferson Challenge
Remington Jefferson Challenge
Visit this page for more info and to register

Ladybug 5K Road Race
Ladybug 5K Road Race
Visit this page for more info and to register

The Franklin Downtown Partnership has more info about the Harvest Festival on their page here

How dry is it?

Please be advised that the Water Conservation Measures are still in effect until further notice due to the dry weather conditions.

How dry is it?

On the walk along the Parmenter Nature Trail, which winds its way along the stream coming from Spruce Pond.  There had been a good deal of water which attracted ducks.

On the walk along the trail this past Sunday, the area is completely dry. No water, no ducks. Any dryer and this will be a real fire hazard.

frozen surface in Jan 2013
frozen surface in Jan 2013

where is the water go?
where is the water go?

The Franklin website is the source for the water conservation notice

On a brighter day when the Story Walk was still available

And from deep in the archives of 2008

Franklin Library: Science Friday

Miss Gina returns to the Franklin Public Library on Friday, Oct 3rd. Exploring the night sky is the topic this time for kids in grades 1-4.

You can register online or at the Library. (Unfortunately, the Library is the best option in this case as they buried the link to register in the photo itself and I can't find it elsewhere on the Library web places.)

Exploring the Night Sky with Miss Gina
Exploring the Night Sky with Miss Gina

This was shared from the Library page here

FHS Soccer - top of the table

Both the FHS boys and girls soccer teams on sitting on the top of their division in the Hockomock League.

You can check out the posts on Hockomock Sports for the details

FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers





Sunday, September 28, 2014

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Agenda - Oct 1, 2014


– This meeting is being recorded by Franklin TV and shown on Comcast channel 11 and Verizon channel 29. This meeting may be recorded by Franklin Matters.

Eagle Scout
The Franklin Garden Club


- Franklin Cultural Council
Ian Kabat
Karen Wellerson Juhl



– Gary McCarraher, Fire Chief


1. Resolution 14-59: Dedication of Town-Owned Land Known as Fletcher Field Located on
Peck Street For Use As A Public Playground Or Recreation Centre, As Provided In G.L. Chapter 45, Section 14 and Authorization For Town Administrator to Execute Grant Agreement With Commonwealth Of Massachusetts And To Take Other Action To Enable Town To Construct Playground
2. ByLaw Amendment 14-741: Chapter 65, Collection Containers – 2nd Reading





– Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


Franklin Municipal Building, location of the town offices and site of the Town Council meeting
Franklin Municipal Building, location of the town offices and site of the Town Council meeting

You can find all the documents released with this agenda on the Franklin website here:

Note: I would spend some time reviewing the proposed bylaw on collection containers.

Walk to Break the Silence - Oct 18th

Voices Against Violence provides comprehensive services including a 24 hour hotline, crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy and shelter to more the 3000 victims and survivors in the Metrowest area every year. Voices depends on the generosity of the community to ensure that life-saving services remain free and accessible to all. 
The "Walk to Break the Silence" is an annual, family-friendly, 1/2 day rally and walk-a-thon event in downtown Framingham that celebrates the strength and courage of victims and survivors. The event includes powerful visual art displays, games and face painting for the kids, inspiration from our speakers, and a little exercise too! Registration is free and there are several ways you can lend your support - you can be a Team Captain, a Walker, or a Virtual Friend!

The "Walk to Break the Silence" flyer:

For additional information about Voices Against Violence you can visit their webpage

To register for the Walk to Break the Silence, follow this link

Register to Walk to Break the Silence
Register to Walk to Break the Silence

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda and documents for Sep 23 meeting

Due to a technical issue, the following info did not arrive until after the meeting that I already reported on last Tuesday. To complete the reporting, here is the full agenda and the associated documents.

Vision Statement
The Franklin Public Schools will foster within its students the knowledge and skills to find and achieve satisfaction in life as productive global citizens.

"The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law."

Franklin Public Schools - 'the key to learning'
Franklin Public Schools - 'the key to learning'

1. Routine Business

Citizen’s Comments
Review of Agenda
Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the September 9, 2014 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills Mr. Clement
Payroll Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
Correspondence: none

2. Guests/Presentations

a. Student Trip to China - Mike Walsh, FHS Students (Gabriela Blood and Haley Frank) (Note - the file size for this document is 26MB - quite large so it will take time to open - please be patient! It is worth opening and viewing.)

b. China Trip – Joyce Edwards, Jane Hogan

3. Discussion Only Items

Policy – First Readings:
1. GBGB – Staff Health and Safety
2. IJOC – School Volunteers
Collaborative Agreements – Maureen Sabolinski

Accept Collaborative

BICO Collaborative

Evaluation of Superintendent

4. Action Items

a. I recommend moving the following policies discussed to a second reading:
1. GBGB – Staff Health and Safety
2. IJOC – School Volunteers
b. I recommend approval of the Bi-County Collaborative Agreement.
c. I recommend approval of the Accept Collaborative Agreement.
d. I recommend adoption of the Superintendent Evaluation.
e. I recommend acceptance of a check for $847.61 from Target’s Take Charge of Education Program for FHS.
f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from Reebok Foundation for in-house enrichment at Keller Elementary.

5. Information Matters

Superintendent’s Report
School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
School Committee Liaison Reports

6. New Business

To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

7. Adjourn

My recap of the live reporting for this meeting can be found here

Note: Email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the documents attached.  

THE BLACK BOX - now open

After spending sometime at the dedication ceremony for the new Franklin High School last Sunday, I did stop in to see THE BLACK BOX. While the views of the theater are nothing in comparison to the new high school, the concept and opportunity is as great an event for Franklin.

THE BLACK BOX - 15 West Central St, Franklin
THE BLACK BOX - 15 West Central St, Franklin

Yes, the new 850 seat FHS auditorium is amazing. If you need convincing, listen to the first concert held there. I recorded this while sitting up in the back where the acoustics still allowed for the capture of every note.

inside THE BLACK BOX last Sunday, Sep 20th
inside THE BLACK BOX last Sunday, Sep 20th

So how is THE BLACK BOX as great an opportunity for Franklin?

Simply, it is a black box and while there is nothing terribly unusual about it, the greatness of a black box is the potential it presents. This theater in downtown Franklin is already scheduled to provide cultural opportunities not previously available.

Yes, the Franklin School for Preforming Arts will use it for some of their productions. Peter Pan coming in October is the first.

Tickets are available for Peter Pan
Tickets are available for Peter Pan
A series of events for children is scheduled with Franklin's Jamie Barrett scheduled to appear first.

The first scheduled for the children's series is Jamie Barrett
The first scheduled for the children's series is Jamie Barrett
A series of performances featuring local groups has the Brothers McCann lined up to appear in November

The Brothers McCann are scheduled for November 28th
The Brothers McCann are scheduled for November 28th
Tickets for most shows go on sale October 1.

For more information on THE BLACK BOX you can visit their web page here

The Young Democrats of FHS [feedly]

With the Massachusetts' state election approaching in November it is good to see some engagement among the high school youth as they prepare to turn 18 and register to vote. While sports and the performing arts also offer good after school programs, the Young Democrats of FHS is a great opportunity for the students to become aware of their civic responsibilities.

Now more than ever, young Americans are not politically engaged. According to a poll by the Harvard University Institute of Politics, fewer than 1 in 4 millennials under 30 “definitely” plan to vote in this year’s midterm elections in November. This same poll also found that more people between 18-29 years old identify as Democrats than Republicans. This means that election results do not match the political makeup of our country, so our representatives in Congress do not truly representative us. 
So, why should you care? As high school students, we are on the brink of turning 18, the time when we can have a voice in the country’s political system. Voting is more than filling in some circles on a ballot in the gym at FHS. It is utilizing your power to make change. 
Young people have most likely lost their desire to vote out of cynicism. We see and hear about what Congress is doing – or, not doing – every day. We have lost hope for the future, picturing a life riddled with college debt and a lack of jobs. We are not wrong for having these feelings, because our elected representatives do not reflect the young people’s interests. If you do not vote, you will not see change be made.

Continue reading the article at Pantherbook: http://pantherbook.org/student-life/2014/09/27/the-young-democrats-of-fhs/#sthash.PGrY1XQZ.dpuf

pantherbook article screenshot
pantherbook article screenshot

Pantherbook is the website or blog published by FHS students. If you want to see more of what they talk about consider subscribing to Pantherbook.org/