Friday, March 26, 2021

FM #500 - School Committee Meeting - 03/23/21 - P3 of 3 - Discussion action items to Closing

FM #500 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 500 in the series. 

This session shares part of the Franklin, MA School Committee meeting held on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2021. 

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: some of the School Committee members, Central Office personnel, and key guests were in the Council Chambers; the remainder, along with the public, were remote via conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

I’ve split the just almost three hour meeting into three logical segments:
  • First - covers the school budget public hearing (approx. 1 hour and 27 minutes)
  • Second - pick up the regular meeting and Jefferson presentation (approx. 43 mins)
  • *** Third - from the discussion action items through to the end of the public meeting (approx. 39 minutes)
The show notes contain links to the meeting agenda and to my notes. The meeting packet folder will hold the other documents released for the meeting.
Let’s listen to this segment of the School Committee meeting of Mar 23, 2021



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The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

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FM #500 - School Committee Meeting - 03/23/21 - P3 of 3 - Discussion action items to Closing
FM #500 - School Committee Meeting - 03/23/21 - P3 of 3 - Discussion action items to Closing

FHS' Boys and Girls Hockomock League Hockey All Stars - 2021

Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Boys and Girls Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league. Here are the Franklin selections and the links to each of the boys and girls list for the complete Hockomock League  list.

Boys Hockey

Rocco Bianculli, King Philip

Dylan Marchand, Franklin
Conor O’Neill, Franklin
Declan Lovett, Franklin

Girls Hockey

Emma Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames

Gabby Colace, Franklin
Amanda Lewandoski, Franklin
Libby Carter, Franklin
Lindsay Atkinson, Franklin 

Boys listing

Girls listing

FHS' Boys and Girls Hockomock League Hockey All Stars - 2021
FHS' Boys and Girls Hockomock League Hockey All Stars - 2021

Bishop Feehan XC | Track thanks FHS Track for contribution to AJsArmy

Bishop Feehan XC | Track (@rocksxctrack) tweeted on Wed, Mar 24, 2021:

@AJsArmy10 has some new members. Special thanks to Coach Paul Travato and the @FranklinHS Track Team for the $1,000.00 donation in support of the Quetta family. A great group of young athletes caring for another. #ajsarmy #goshamrocks

Shared from Twitter:

Bishop Feehan XC | Track thanks FHS Track for contribution to AJsArmy
Bishop Feehan XC | Track thanks FHS Track for contribution to AJsArmy

"ultraviolet technology proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19"

"Sharing a great article highlighting Facilities Director, Mike D'Angelo, & the COVID-19 killing UVGI technology being installed in Town of Franklin buildings & schools. We are grateful for his incredible work & dedication to keeping our community safe! "

"Franklin may be first in Massachusetts"

"An ultraviolet technology proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is being installed in Franklin public schools and town buildings, and it could be one of the state's first communities to use it on the local level. 

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) technology was first installed at Franklin High School in May and is making its way through the rest of the district and other town buildings with a goal to finish this summer, said Franklin Director of Public Facilities Mike D'Angelo."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required) 

This was presented at the School Committee meeting Feb 23,2021. You can listen to the presentation here

Photos from the meeting including slides from the presentation on the UVGI system

"ultraviolet technology proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19"
"ultraviolet technology proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19"

"Vaccination of homebound residents set to begin"

Vaccination of 25,000 homebound residents set to begin 

"GOV. CHARLIE BAKER indicated on Thursday that he is interested in so-called vaccine passes that could be used for travel or to gain access to public venues, but he said he would prefer to see the federal government take the lead.

“It’s a conversation worth having for all kinds of reasons but I would rather have the feds give us a framework to begin with,” Baker said at a State House press conference. “Having 50 states doing 50 different things on this could get pretty complicated.” 

Continue reading the article online

Gov Baker's press conference

Commonwealth Magazine: "Duxbury Dragons and death camps"


"Almost more shocking than the news of Duxbury High School’s football team using terms like “rabbi” and “Auschwitz” for its line-of-scrimmage audible play calling is the fact that it apparently was not a new thing. 

The Boston Herald reports that “the use of anti-Semitic and other offensive language by Duxbury players and under the purview of the coaching staff has been going on for multiple years.” Yet nothing had been done to stop the practice of teenage quarterbacks barking out the name of a death camp where 1 million Jews were slaughtered until officials from Plymouth North High School blew the whistle following their team’s March 12 game against the Dragons."

Continue reading the article online

Boston Herald article on Duxbury

MA State News: wind energy and commission report on special taxes

Mariano pledges to turn South Coast into ‘hub of wind energy’ 

"MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE SPEAKER Ron Mariano on Thursday pledged to make major investments to turn the South Coast into “a hub of wind energy for the region.” 

Mariano, in a virtual speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, envisioned using the nascent offshore wind energy industry as a way to create jobs in Massachusetts while positioning the state to be a leader in a growing field."

Continue reading the article online

Commission raises flags on film, alcohol, Fidelity tax breaks
"A COMMISSION ESTABLISHED to review the effectiveness of special tax breaks issued by the state of Massachusetts raised serious concerns in its initial report about measures benefitting the film, alcohol, and mutual fund industries.

The Tax Expenditure Review Commission, in a first-of-its-kind report, tried to rate the effectiveness of 26 of the more than 200 tax breaks that in some cases have been on the state’s books for decades and never been subjected to any scrutiny even though they represent billions of dollars in foregone revenue."
Continue reading the article online

Nieman Lab: "The first challenge is data... The second is money"

"Social media disinformation discussions are going in circles. Here's how to change that."

"On Thursday, the CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter will testify before Congress about online disinformation. Even before the gavel bangs, we can predict what will happen. Some members of Congress will demand that social media platforms do more to stop viral falsehoods from damaging democracy and triggering violence. Others will warn of needlessly restricting speech and say it could even inflame fringe elements and drive them to less-governed spaces.

This same argument repeats itself after every crisis, from Christchurch to QAnon to COVID-19. Why can’t we break the impasse? Because the debate about countering disinformation can itself be a fact-free zone: long on theories, short on evidence. We need better expertise, and that means empowering experts."
Continue reading the article online

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Olena Poliakevych/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Olena Poliakevych/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Thursday, March 25, 2021

You can help us by confirming information on the non-profit listing

As announced earlier this week on March 29, 2021, we'll gather together the non-profit organizations serving Franklin, MA to 

  1. create awareness of the work and services being provided by each org 
  2. to improve the referral capability for each org 
  3. to share best practices among the orgs
The group will be called the Franklin Area Non-profit Network, or FANN, and hence it will be a fanntastic group!

In preparation for the work of this fanntastic group, we'd like your help in confirming and updating the information we have for the non-profit groups serving Franklin. Our first pass of this listing is shown in the PDF file. You can help us by
  • review the listing, or send it to someone in an organization you know should be on this
  • if your organization is on it, good. is there information to add or change? (please use the form provided)
  • if your organization is not on it, please add it, (please use the form provided)
  • if you know of an organization outside of Franklin serving us, please use the form to add it

Form to ADD or UPDATE ->

You can help us by confirming information on the non-profit listing
You can help us by confirming information on the non-profit listing

Recap - School Committee meeting - Mar 23, 2021 - school budget presented, Jefferson Elementary provides highlights

Quick Recap:
  • School budget shared in public hearing, insightful questions from 5 members, one with no questions makes negative comment, one School Committee member absent. Budget returns to SchComm for vote in April
  • Jefferson Elementary provides highlights of their pandemic school year
  • One policy approved, one moved to second reading
  • Re-opening plans underway for in person education for those who are hybrid and choose to change from remote only
  • FHS graduation date confirmed for Jun 4 outside, with a rain date of Jun 5. Car parade planning also underway. Additional details to be shared as they are firmed up

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  #schcom0323 

Budget hearing
  • Budget hearing opens, via roll call passes 5-0-1 (Keenan not present yet) (updated post-meeting D’Angelo not present although named called, recording has no response, nor acknowledgement of visual vote)
  • #schcom0323 presentation doc being shared 
  • Minimum aid district means not $30/student - noted but also because we have $11+m more than we should have received per the revised calculation. 2nd only to Boston across the Commonwealth. #schcom0323
  • Multiple slides matter (lines up and down) confused? What the town will fund is open but slide assume they will provide what is needed? Question remains how much of that will they? #schcom0323
  • More slides on teacher and enrollment status over the years by elementary, middle and high school #schcom0323
  • Davis Thayer to Keller transition and positions associated reviewed with several slides (see deck) #schcom0323 anticipate supporting Title I at Keller next year. Looking to bring some staff back (i.e. restoration) on a page of the adds to prior year. Not tallied but my math …
  • ... gets to just about $1m of the 3m increase. What is the other? #schcom0323 use of revolving funds always a problem.
  • Citizens will have time to ask questions on budget, Chair addressing comments by TC budget Subcommittee chair that were made in the the TC budget meeting last week where he was 'disappointed' when #schCom0323 wasn't there to talk to
  • Chair reading line items of the budget (per function codes for DESE accounting). Individual members can 'hold' an item for further discussion. Vice Chair keeping track of holds. #schcom0323
  • FYI  - 5 viewing live stream, approx. 68 on Zoom, and Keenan did arrive, see his name in listing now #schcom0323
  • If you do want to look at the budget details, check this doc  #schcom0323
  • Questions on replacement of Dr. Edwards and where those fall on the budget lines, Q on the use of legal advice, and on consultants (for the master plan and possible redistricting) Q on degree advancement (regarding steps and lanes per contract) #schcom0323
  • Q on sped decrease, covered by grants. Q on removal of travel stipend; used by one position, by adding another position travel not required. #schcom0323 contract for the 10GB line accounts for the increase.
  • Q on SPED out placements - all required per each student's level of needs, we are unable to provide within district. #schcom0323 interesting comment by one member saying it is not fair for the Town to give every dollar to the schools. (And yet she asked no Qs on budget)
  • Student enrollment decline as well as the DT cost savings are signs of adjustments over the years. DT closing results in a total of about $900K for staffing and expenses (which includes about $120k on town side) #schcom0323
  • Motion to close budget hearing passes 6-0-1 via roll call  (updated post meeting - Keenan is there, D’Angelo not even has named called out)
  • Now to regular schedule of meeting. #schcom0323 
FHS Student representatives
  • FHS representatives promoting SEL during remote, via "what's up?" Sections during day. GirlUp club discussion on Thursday at 6 PM
  • Touts DECA awards of 25 students to National. One acts coming Thursday. #schcom0323 FHS home football against Attleboro. 
Superintendent's Report
  • Superintendent's report shorter this week mindful of the budget and agenda, speaks to the acts of violence in Atlanta and Denver
Jefferson Elementary
  • Moving along to Jefferson Elementary for their update #schcom0323 Principal Sarah Klim leads the group
  • The Jefferson presentation doc can be found here #schcom0323 many thanks to many folks, stakeholders across the district. Kids excited to return Apr 5
  • Time for coloring let's kids light up #schcom0323 monkey fidgets have a little marble in the cloth pocket so it allows for fidgeting but quietly
  • More slides and good conversation / information supporting these #schcom0323
  • Staff slideshow at opening in September had photo of teachers/staff with and without masks #schcom0323
Discussion Action items
Discussion only = Re-opening
  • #schcom0323 Caution on maintain protocol, distancing, masks, etc. Participation in pool testing increasing, experience with positive tests. Will pool testing be continued after pilot? Maybe funded with relief funds after pilot
  • Custodian staff working Weds and weekends to move desks and reset classrooms to be ready, not anticipating challenges on accommodations either way for elementary, middle closes soon, FHS working numbers with info due in couple of days #schcom0323
  • Attendance memo coming to parents to reinforce in person and no slide to remote, need to be in person. Principals doing to work with the parents on Communications, etc. Also thinking about summer programs for ELA and math #schcom0323 possible summer school at FHS
  • A new beginning with students in 5 days at 3' playgrounds to be opened in near future, adjusting to travel advisory changes per Gov Baker's changes. 'Urge' to quarantine or test upon return. #schcom0323 vaccine changing circumstances for some teachers, etc.
  • Swampscott situation due to a post football game party, would handle due to circumstances call DESE, no set guidelines. #schcom0323 individual schools working the volunteer situations at each school 
  • Testing being set for Sept to help assess the starting point
  • FHS graduation will be first Friday in June, outdoor, rain date June 5, working on car parade which folks enjoyed last year. #schcom0323 budget meeting Apr 6, info for flyer using #s from video, Policy, meeting Apr 29, joint PCC amazing how much work these PCCs are doing
  • Looking at vaping and justice models to best address violations #schcom0323 to work with SAFE Coalition as well Sch wellness looking at fitness for summer
  • District improvement plan updates, budget vote, and how the return is looking.
Consent agenda to Closing (Executive Session)
  • Consent agenda, motion to approve, second passes via roll call 6-0 (I apparently missed Jen D'Angelo).
  • Motion to executive session, second passes 6-0 (no D'Angelo) #schcom0323 
  • That's all for tonight catch you next time!


a slide captured from the school budget presentation depicts local contribution to budget over time
a slide captured from the school budget presentation depicts local contribution to budget over time

Statement on Anti-Asian Racism from Superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern

March 24, 2021 

Dear Franklin Community, 

Last night, during the School Committee meeting, we observed a moment of silence as a result of the horrific event last Tuesday in Atlanta where eight people lost their lives in a violent mass shooting. Seven of the eight victims were of Asian heritage and were targeted because of their race. The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has been targeted in the last year because of the hateful stereotyping which blames the AAPI community for the Coronavirus. We acknowledge, as well, that this is part of a longer, painful history of discrimination. We extend our support to all AAPI faculty/staff members and families in our community and across the nation. 

We remain committed to honoring and protecting the rights and dignity of all members of our community. As leaders of the Franklin Public Schools, we denounce racism and embrace anti-racist actions. We want to make you aware of the following opportunity. On Thursday, March 25, the Asian American Commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be holding a virtual town hall on Anti-Asian Racism: 

Last June, we wrote, “Franklin Public Schools remains resolute in its enduring commitment to inclusive and equitable schools. Despite our greatest efforts, we are not immune to incidents of hate and bias. The painful incidents we have also experienced in our community are an affront to our core values. We will not tolerate, accept or condone acts or speech that are hateful, racist, anti-semitic, xenophobic, homophobic, or gender-biased.” 

Since June, we have established the Franklin Public Schools Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D, E, I) Committee composed of students, staff, and administrators from the district, totaling nearly sixty members. This committee is addressing our actions, policies, curriculum, instruction, activities, professional development, and other systems to ensure they are without implicit bias and promote equity and respect for all. This year, the Franklin Public Schools staff engaged in a series of professional development workshops focused on cultural proficiency and practical tools on speaking up against bias and addressing acts of bias in the moment. 

We are committed to this work in the future. The proposed FY 22 budget includes funding for the D, E, I Committee’s ongoing work, funding to support an Equity Audit to identify areas of growth for our district, and resources and materials for more culturally proficient literature for our school and classroom libraries. Franklin Public Schools is also proud to join invested community members as part of the Franklin Freedom Team, whose mission is to preserve freedom through unity in the community. The team is reactive, proactive, and retroactive in assessing and addressing hate and bias in the Town of Franklin.

We also want to provide faculty/staff and families with additional information. Many thanks to the MSAA/MIAA, who shared the resources below (originally compiled by the Lexington Public Schools). 


Sara Ahern, Superintendent of Schools, on behalf of the Franklin Public Schools Leadership Team 


Superintendent Ahern's statement (the listing of resources is found in this copy)

Superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern
Superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern in a recent School Committee meeting

St Mary's Parish - Passion (Palm) Sunday schedule

Passion (Palm) Sunday, March 28
All Masses Live-streamed
  • Saturday Mass  4:00 PM
  • Sunday Mass  7:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:00 Noon
Palm and Communion outside on the Rocco Plaza
  • 10:30 AM until 12:00 noon
Palm is available in the Rocco lobby until 6:00 PM
Monday, March 29
Daily Mass in the Chapel - No live-stream - 7:00 AM
Tuesday, March 30
Daily Mass in the Chapel - No live-stream - 7:00 AM
Wednesday, March 31
Daily Mass in the Chapel - No live-stream - 7:00 AM

St Mary's Parish - Passion (Palm) Sunday schedule
St Mary's Parish - Passion (Palm) Sunday schedule

FHS Gymnastics' White named by Boston Globe to All Scholastic; Rudolph as Honorable Mention

FHS Gymnastics (@fhs_gymnastics) tweeted on Wed, Mar 24, 2021:
Congratulations to Junior Emma White who has been named both a Boston Herald and Boston Globe All Scholastic!  Your future is bright!  @FHSSports @FranklinHS @FHSPantherbook @FranklinMatters @fhsgymboosters  
Emma White
Emma White
Check out the photos of Emma =
Shared from Twitter:

Congratulations to Junior Kate Rudolph who has been named a Boston Globe All Scholastic Honorable Mention!  Your future is bright! @katerudolph17_  @FHSSports @FranklinHS @FHSPantherbook @FranklinMatters @fhsgymboosters  


Kate Rudolph
Kate Rudolph

Check out the photos of Kate =

Pantherbook wins SNO's Story Page Excellence Badge

Pantherbook (@FHSPantherbook) tweeted on Wed, Mar 24, 2021:
Pantherbook has won SNO's Story Page Excellence Badge!
Thank you to all the amazing writers that contributed to this achievement!

Pantherbook wins SNO's Story Page Excellence Badge
Pantherbook wins SNO's Story Page Excellence Badge

Google improves accessibility of content for those with hearing problems


"Google is expanding its real-time caption feature, Live Captions, from Pixel phones to anyone using a Chrome browser, as first spotted by XDA Developers. Live Captions uses machine learning to spontaneously create captions for videos or audio where none existed before, and making the web that much more accessible for anyone who’s deaf or hard of hearing.

When enabled, Live Captions automatically appear in a small, moveable box in the bottom of your browser when you’re watching or listening to a piece of content where people are talking. Words appear after a slight delay, and for fast or stuttering speech, you might spot mistakes. But in general, the feature is just as impressive as it was when it first appeared on Pixel phones in 2019. Captions will even appear with muted audio or your volume turned down, making it a way to “read” videos or podcasts without bugging others around you. And even better, Google says Live Captions works offline, too.


Live Captions can be enabled in the latest version of Chrome by going to Settings, then the “Advanced” section, and then “Accessibility.” (If you’re not seeing the feature, try manually updating and restarting your browser.) When you toggle them on, Chrome will quickly download some speech recognition files, and then captions should appear the next time your browser plays audio where people are talking. "
Continue reading the article online with this feature described

I was able to capture the screen display of the School Committee meeting Tuesday with the feature. The black box located on top of the Zoom participants displayed in front of Chairperson Anne Bergen. It does well in providing an accurate caption. It is NOT perfect. There are mistakes some humorous but most seen thus far can be made out phonetically if not spelt correctly in the caption.

One really cool and potentially useful feature is that the captioning works for audio or video EVEN if the system sound is muted.  

Google improves accessibility of content for those with hearing problems
Google improves accessibility of content for those with hearing problems