School Committee Meeting Summary

June 11, 2020

Per Governor Baker's order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c.30A sec. 20, the public is not be allowed to physically access this School Committee meeting. Members of the Public will be able to view this meeting on Walpole Media Cable Access the following day. Citizens with a question or comment should email mmortali@walpole.k12.ma.us. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.


All votes taken by the School Committee in a remote participation meeting are done via roll call.


To view the full recorded meeting, click here.

Moment of Silence

The Meeting began with a moment of silence for WHS student Hannah McClark. Hannah was a bright light with a contagious smile and a giving, joyous heart. She enjoyed singing in the Walpole High School Treble Chorus and Concert Chorus, playing field hockey and throwing shotput for the Walpole High School track team. She left footprints on the hearts of all who knew her.

Recognitions

A special recognition for our Walpole High School Class of 2020. Speech excerpts were played from this commencement video. Walpole is extremely proud of each and every one of our graduates. To say the least this year has not been easy or conventional in any way and each graduate faced many challenges. We wish you all well in your future!

Student Report

Brendan M.., Walpole High School (WHS) Student Representative to the School Committee (SC), gave a report remotely to the SC. Grace R., and upcoming new WHS Student Representative, also virtually participated in the meeting to shadow Brendan. We look forward to Grace's presentations in future meetings. Brendan reported that:

  • This past Sunday, June 7th, WHS held the first drive through graduation in Walpole history for the class of 2020. These ceremonies included students and their families driving up at the high school and receiving their diplomas, and then embarking on a parade throughout Walpole, in which people lined the streets to cheer on the graduating class. It was a great showing by the Walpole community to support a group that has lost so much during their final year of high school. This ceremony was broadcasted live on local television, and the traditional speeches that were pre-recorded were released earlier this week online for all to see. I wish the class of 2020 all the best on their future endeavors!
  • As the year is winding down, teachers are assigning final class papers or assignments. Overall, online learning went well, he feels as though teachers as well as students did an excellent job adjusting. Clubs at Walpole High School are also wrapping up with final activities for the year. Brendan is looking forward to what next school year may bring, if classes, sports, and other activities may resume. Members of the student council, including himself, met with school committee members earlier this week to discuss the current debate regarding our school mascot the Rebel.
  • Fall sports registration is now open. WHS is now using FamilyID to register athletes for sports teams. All athletes must register through FamilyID. Parents can still opt to pay their fees via check.
  • He thanked all members of the SC, administration, and staff for making the best of an unprecedented year. It was a true showing of the resiliency of Walpole, and he is truly grateful for all that was done to salvage this year.

New Business

FY '21 Budget - The SC voted to approve the tentative FY '21 budget in the amount of $46,858,876.


Non-Union Compensation - The SC voted to approve a 2% cost of living increase for non-union employees.


Resolution for Full State Funding for COVID-Related Expenses - The SC adopted a resolution to be sent to Governor Baker, Secretary of Education James Peyser, Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Robert DeLeo as well as Walpole Senators and Representatives requesting full reimbursement for COVID--19 state mandated expenses.


Approval of Superintendent Evaluation - Dr. Gough's summative evaluation was presented at the May 28th SC Meeting. As required by law, the SC voted to publicly approve this evaluation.


Process for Walpole High School Rebel Name Discussion - The School Committee is committed to listening carefully to our community and our students on the matter of the Rebel name. A virtual community forum is scheduled for next Tuesday, June 16 at 6:00 p.m. An email was sent to parents, students in grades 8 – 12 and staff. This communication included a link to both a recent press release and to a document for comments and registering to speak at the Community Forum. Those who wish to speak live at the virtual community forum or provide written comments, should complete this form and indicate your preference of communication. The deadline for completing this form is 12 noon on Monday, June 15th.


The SC indicated that this discussion is focused solely on the "Rebel" name. It does not have anything to do with the "Porker" name. They strongly encourage the community to fill out the form. The volume of comments and emails received is too great and will not be read out loud at the Community Forum, however, they are all taken into consideration. Thank you to all citizens, students, parents, faculty and the community for their thoughtful and respectful communications.


The following are the requirements for those that would like to speak at the forum:

  • Participants that want to speak must complete and submit the entire form
  • Participants name on the form must be the same (match) as the name on the Zoom login for identification purposes
  • All statements must be 3 minutes or less
  • Each participant will be emailed a specific time/window to login and will be put in the “waiting room” before speaking. Once his/her name is announced, the participant will be invited into the live Zoom session. The participant must turn on his/her camera. S/he will be unmuted to speak.


This forum is important for both listening and speaking. We urge all participants to listen for the whole session and to speak respectfully. The entire community forum will be available through Walpole Media TV Cable channels Comcast channel 12 and Verizon Channel 29 as well as live on Walpole Media TV YouTube.


After receiving and thinking about all sides of the issue, the School Committee currently plans to hold a vote on the matter during its meeting on Thursday, June 18. Again, please fill out the form if you would like to speak or make a written comment.

Superintendent Report

Dr. Gough reported that:


  • On Sunday June 7 the Walpole community celebrated our 146th commencement ceremony to honor WHS's graduating senior class of 2020. Needless to say, this year's graduation ceremony was unique. Graduates were accompanied by their families as they drove through the decorated WHS lot before finally receiving their diplomas as their names were read over the PA system. Dr. Gough was incredibly proud of our seniors as they moved their tassel to the other side of their graduation cap. Parents and close friends shared in the celebration and joy of an important accomplishment of each graduating senior. The entire community shared in the celebration by rallying around our seniors with a memorable and historic parade.

  • Dr. Gough thanked all of the staff and volunteers who made this a special occasion. The day took meticulous planning and she is grateful to Principal Imbusch for his leadership and the entire school staff for their hard work to ensure this was a great day. A special thank you to the Walpole Police Department and Walpole Fire Department for their support with this event. Neither the ceremony nor the graduation parade would have been possible without them. Most importantly, thank you to the Class of 2020. These last few months have presented us with many challenges but you continue to rise to the occasion an represent our community with pride and integrity. It is her great honor to celebrate you.

  • A link to the graduation parade and 2020 Graduation video can be found here. This video includes speeches by our graduates and announcements of award recipients. This class will be memorable for all of us. It was an honor to congratulate or seniors and give them the recognition they deserve. We wish them well as they embark on a journey filled with new opportunities and new challenges.

  • Dr. Gough reported that guidance was received from DESE regarding proposed safety requirements and protocols for potential opening of school and special education summer programs. The guidance we received is to be used for supply purchasing and ordering planning. It is not to make and broad-based judgments about what models of learning might look like in the fall. We expect to receive more comprehensive guidance in the coming weeks. We will continue to communicate to SC throughout the summer as official guidelines are put forth by the state.

  • Walpole Public Schools has already shifted planning for the 2020-2021 school year. DESE has formed a working group to develop a reopening plan which is scheduled to be released by the end of June. Dr. Gough is working with the Leadership Team and local Massachusetts superintendents to ensure we are prepared to implement the guidance when it becomes available. We have formed our own grade-level advisory teams to study four major areas: Physical and Virtual Environments, Teaching and Learning, Operations and Business Services, and Behavioral Health/Social Emotional Learning. When DESE officially releases a plan, we will be in a great position to respond to the changes and prepare for reopening throughout the summer.

  • Dr. Gough discussed a virtual art show created by the art teachers this year. She thanked these dedicated teachers for their hard work on such a wonderful undertaking. This virtual art show can be accessed here.