School Committee Meeting Summary

October 8, 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.

Recognitions

1. Staff Recognitions - The Walpole Public School staff is working diligently to provide our students with engaging opportunities for learning. They have adopted new approaches to instruction to maximize the engagement of students, whether in person or remote. The following staff have gone above and beyond to support not only students, but our teachers and parents as well:
  • Jed Stefanowicz, Digital Learning Coach, OPR
  • Kimberly Farley, Digital Learning Coach, Elm
  • Karen Wolff, Digital Learning Coach, Fisher
  • Nancy Carroll, Digital Learning Coach and Kristen Moses, Media Technician, Boyden
  • Tom Cochrane, Health Teacher, BMS
  • Allison O’Hara – Reading/Public Speaking, JMS
  • Nicole DeCastro – Math (Grades 6/7), JMS
  • Meagan Bramwell – Math (Grade 8), JMS
  • Lindsey Reichheld, WHS
  • Richard Sturges, WHS
  • Mike Donohue, WHS


2. John D. Langley Foundation - The John D. Langley Foundation provides funds for extracurricular and enrichment opportunities for children and teens. The Foundation grants are funded solely through donations and fundraising events.


The Mission of the Foundation is to provide remedial and enrichment opportunities to children in need. Educators, social workers and other people may make application is for grant money. Grants are available for school age children between the grades of Kindergarten and high school. Grants are awarded on the basis that the activity will enrich the child and that it is not currently available through the school curriculum.


This Foundation has granted the four Walpole elementary schools $5,000 each for the purchase of books for each classroom. The books encompass themes of resilience, perseverance, equity, and kindness to enhance classroom libraries. We are grateful to the Langley Foundation for this generous donation.

Walpole High School Student Report

Brendan M., Walpole High School student representative to the School Committee, gave a report as follows:


  • Week 4 of hybrid learning is almost in the books, Cohort B will be in school tomorrow while Cohort A is remote.
  • Due to Wednesday night’s storm, no students at the high school were marked absent on Thursday, because of many power outages all across the town.
  • Hybrid learning is working out well so far. Remotely, students are logging into class on time and teachers are meeting with their students to discuss and assign work. In school, teachers are teaching similarly to how they normally would have, the major difference is the pace of classes.
  • Teachers have been going through a lot of material in their classes of all levels to make up for only having these classes until the end of the semester.
  • The high school hosted a virtual back to school night last Thursday, which allowed parents to join Google Meets with their children’s teachers, so they could hear what their students were doing in class.
  • Last Saturday, Walpole High School hosted the SAT with a limited capacity of students.
  • Additionally, Walpole High School will be hosting the PSAT for Juniors on October 17, students must sign up for this ahead of time using the link in the email from Mr. Imbusch.
  • Overall, faculty at all levels have done an amazing job to make this year as normal as possible.
  • Last Tuesday, the Commission on Renaming for the Walpole mascot met to discuss the process of renaming the mascot. We decided that a good start would be sending out a survey to obtain ideas for a new mascot name, which was sent out all across the town on Friday, to residents, students and families, faculty, and more, to collect a plethora of different responses. Once the responses are collected from the survey on October 31st, the commission will meet again to narrow the name list down to about 5 or 6. Once those names are approved by School Committee, a ballot will be sent to middle and high school students, as well as high school faculty and Varsity athletics coaches. The name with the most votes will be adopted as the new high school mascot.
  • As for sports at the high school, sports have begun with varying regulations. Before each practice and game, athletes must scan a QR code and take a symptom checking survey. Also, the Bay State League has been split into pods, for contract purposes, and Walpole is with Braintree, Weymouth, and Milton. The records for sports are as follows:
  • Field Hockey: 1-0
  • Boys Soccer: 0-1
  • Girls Soccer: 1-0
  • Golf: 2-2
  • Swimming: 0-1
  • Boys and girls’ soccer, as well as boys cross country, competed against Milton today. Swimming matched up against Ursuline today at 3:00. Yesterday, boys golf and girls cross country competed against Milton.
  • Although there are many restrictions, sports are going well so far.
  • All clubs at the high school have begun their meetings virtually. The Photography Club held their first meeting on Monday.
  • This past weekend, the Speech and Debate team had their first competition, and they had many students place highly in various categories.
  • Best Buddies had our first chapter meeting on Monday, where we discussed the friendship walk and plans for the year. Normally we do the friendship walk at McCoy Stadium in Rhode Island, but this year the walk was turned to virtual, but following approval by administration, as a chapter we decided that we would try to have it in person socially distant with masks on October 31st. We will be holding it on the track, and we will have chapter members who have registered for the friendship walk come in waves to do their walk to promote inclusion.

Middle School Building Project

Dr. Gough presented on the Middle School Building Project. She reviewed the process to date including a review of the past community visioning session and the expectations from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which include the exploration of seven (7) possible solution scenarios.


The solution scenarios will then be shortlisted to 3 or 4 options which the School Building Committee will then do a more detailed study into.


Some of the questions looked at in the decision-making process are:


  • Does a solution/idea support educational goals, including student health and wellness?
  • What is the best location on site (approach, circulation, parking, access to fields, etc.)?
  • Which solution best supports community use?
  • Which solution is least disruptive to students during construction?
  • What is the impact on bussing, traffic, school programs, and the environment?
  • What would be the project costs?
  • What is the value of the solution added to both students and the community?


Public, parent, and community input is and will be sought for thoughts, comments, and suggestions.


Additional Public Forums will be held in the near future. For more information, please visit the District webpage here.


The public is strongly encouraged to be involved and send all ideas, suggestions, and comments to middleschoolproject@walpole.k12.ma.us.

New Business

Technology Report - Ann Arpin, Director of Digital Learning, discussed some of the new acquisitions purchased to enable rich learning experiences for students in a remote learning environment. These include:
  • New and re-purposed Chromebooks for staff and students include:
  • New iPads for Kindergarten and Grade 1 centers.
  • 200 document cameras that are also used as traditional document cameras to display live objects/demonstrations but also as a webcam for desktop computers
  • Some of the programs acquired and in use are digital tools to enhance remote learning, Edpuzzle, Newsela, SeeSaw, and Generation Genius (K-5 Science)
  • Ann discussed new infrastructure enhancements to support the additional devices and demand


October 1 Enrollment - Dr. Gough provided a summary of enrollments by school, grade and numbers of hybrid and remote learners.


Personnel Update - Dr. Gough provided information on new hires, which include long term substitutes. There are still several Education Support Professional (ESP) positions open as well as a couple of teaching positions, Title 1, and recess aide positions. These positions are posted on our website here. Qualified and interested applicants should reach out to our Human Resources at hr@walpole.k12.ma.us.

Old Business

Vote to remove item from FY '21 Capital Requests - The School Committee unanimously voted to remove the Walpole High School Sign Board from the list of capital requests for FY 21. The School Committee in collaboration with Town Administration plans to fund this item through an alternate source of funding.


Vote for Fall Town Meeting Allocation - The School Committee also unanimously voted to allocate the sum of $318,734 at the upcoming Fall Town Meeting as reimbursement for Medicaid, McKinney-Vento and Walpole High School parking fees.


Amendment to Policy EBCFA - Face Coverings - The School Committee voted to amend Policy EBCFA - Face Coverings to include the sentence: Gaiters, bandannas and masks with vents, holes or mesh material are not allowed for students in grades Pre-K – 12. This Policy will take effect as of Monday, October 19th.


Walpole High School Renaming Effort: Future Funding and Commission Updates - The Commission on Renaming has been focusing on the renaming of the Walpole High School mascot. In order to solicit feedback, this dynamic and diverse group of students, staff, coaches, alumni, and community members created a short survey form. They are looking for a name that will be unifying and inclusive, and that exemplifies our core values that all Walpole High School students strive for; positivity, respect, integrity, drive, and empathy.



  • Principal Imbusch thanked the 25 members of the Commission for their enthusiasm and passion. Everyone is very excited to be embarking on this journey to pick a new name. The Commission views this was an opportunity to move forward and to not look back.
  • The Commission task is “to explore and recommend several names for Walpole High School’s new mascot; and to recommend several names to the School Committee, who will then charge the current students of the Walpole High School to vote on the Commission’s recommendation…”
  • The plan is to solicit suggestions from the greater community and then choose 5 or 6 names for a final vote.
  • A survey was sent out in Mr. Imbusch’s eNotes last Friday to solicit suggestions from the community. Currently, there are 415 suggestions, and more suggestions are still being received.
  • It was decided that this form should be widely disseminated throughout the community through email, social media, newspapers and The Rebellion.
  • It was also decided to utilize a QR Code, as well as to design a uniform poster that can be posted around the town (for example in local restaurants, stores, the Walpole Public Library, and the Council on Aging).
  • The due date for the form has been set for October 31st.
  • The Commission has had a lengthy discussion regarding who should have the final vote. The consensus was for the following groups to have the final vote:
  • Current High School students
  • Current Middle School students
  • Current WHS staff
  • Current WHS Varsity Coaches
  • Once the name has been decided upon, we will discuss the possible design of a logo.