School Committee Meeting Summary

March 3, 2022

Moment of Silence

A moment of silence was held for Yasuko Noda. Yasu was a valued and loved employee of Walpole Public Schools in the School Nutrition Department. Yasu was a Nagaski, Japan bombing survivor. Yasu’s obituary stated that she was known to help others before she would ask for any help for herself and that she left this earth with an effect on everyone she met. Heartfelt condolences are sent to Yasu’s family.

Walpole High School Student Report

The Walpole High School representative, Scotty C., was unable to attend the School Committee Meeting. Scotty provided his report and Dr. Gough read it to the Committee. Scotty's report stated:


  • The math team just competed in their playoff meet Thursday. After months of hard work, they were previously seventh among many teams and hope to continue their success once the results from yesterday's meet are determined.
  • The National Honor Society finished their February service event where they partnered with Monster Mini Golf in Norwood to provide $7 for every game to the Medfield Animal Shelter. The total amount raised is not known yet but it was at least over $250.
  • This month the National Honor Society is also planning a bake sale to support a local Boston organization called Sunflower Of Peace. Sunflower of Peace mobilizes medical and humanitarian aid for the Ukrainians.
  • Best Buddies had their Inclusion Day Wednesday, where the Club had a banner that many members of the school signed to pledge to support inclusion.
  • After a hard-fought season, both the girl’s and boy’s hockey teams have their first playoff game Thursday night where they hope to continue the successes they have had throughout the season.
  • Boys and girls basketball teams have playoff games Friday night. Since both games are at home, they will be played back-to-back. There will be a strong student presence to support the teams.
  • The gymnastics team culminated an amazing end to their season finishing seventh in their Bay State Championship meet.
  • Winter track season has officially ended with the boys ending fifth in their division and the girls finishing third. Both boys and girls track are sending a smaller group of athletes to the New England Meet this weekend and Nationals next weekend.
  • Overall, the school has been lively as ever! As things continue to come back to normal, definitely one of the most exciting pieces of news was that the lunch tables returned to the cafeteria, so students can eat with all of their friends.
  • Lastly, Scotty thanked the School Committee and administration for everything they do to make Walpole Schools a place where students can continue to learn and grow not only academically, but with the countless activities, events, and clubs.

Recognitions

Charlotte Gray, an 8th grader at Johnson Middle School, won the Gold Key Regional Art Award for her painting that was submitted in this year's 2021-2022 Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Award program. Charlotte's art award is a remarkable achievement and her artwork was recognized by a panel of creative professionals as the most outstanding work submitted and exemplified the Awards' core values of originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal vision. Charlotte's Gold Key award-winning artwork was a personal artwork to tribute a family member passing away from COVID-19. This artwork will be advanced to a national level of adjudication for a second opportunity to win a second award on a national scale and her artwork will be exhibited in an online exhibition by mid-March.


Bird Middle School 8th grade student Dillon Needham represented Walpole as the Ambassador of Project 351. Project 351 is a community day of service where student volunteers from Massachusetts' 351 communities participate in a day of service. Project 351 challenges, motivates and supports young leaders to unite, act and lead at a celebration and serve day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Walpole Public Schools music students have excelled at many individual levels. Many high school and middle school students were present who have been accepted into various honor ensembles. These students had successful auditions and earned the opportunity to participate in a variety of music festivals. The festival consists of a day of intensive rehearsals on the first day. The second day consists of a dress rehearsal and a concert in the afternoon.


Walpole continues to be proud of our many talented students!

NEW BUSINESS

The following out-of-state field trips were approved:


  • Walpole High School Speech and Debate Team to the NCFL National Tournament in Washington, D.C. from May 26, 2022 through May 30, 2022
  • Old Post Road Hot Hoppers to Kittery, Maine on March 26, 2022
  • Old Post Road Hot Hoppers to Keene, New Hampshire on May 7, 2022

Foreign Language Update

Ms. Lisa Osborne, World Language Department Chair 6-12, provided the School Committee with a world language curriculum update. This presentation can be viewed here at time marker 27:07.

Superintendent Report

Dr. Gough provided a COVID update. The most recent COVID-19 data for Walpole shows a 3.7% positivity rate. There were no reports over the February school break. As of Thursday morning there were 20 positive cases. There were 76 positive cases reported for the period 1/20/22 – 2/5/22; 43 cases for the week of 2/6/22 and 15 cases for the week of 2/13/22. Cases are updated every weekend and can be found on the WPS COVID Data Dashboard, which also includes the Massachusetts Weekly Public Health Report. The following is the current student vaccination rates for the high school, middle schools and elementary schools:

Walpole High School – 87%

Bird Middle School – 69%

Johnson Middle School – 69%

Boyden Elementary – 51%

Fisher Elementary – 67%

Elm Street School – 60%

Old Post Road School – 63%

The Walpole Health Department reports that the positivity rate continues to decline. Walpole’s positivity rate for the most recent reporting period is 3.7%.


The health department is offering weekly clinics for ages 12 and up (Pfizer) and ages 18 and up (Moderna) on Tuesdays (3-5 pm) and Thursdays (4-6 pm) at the old police station (Stone Street side). There is also a clinic for ages 5-11 this Saturday. Please click here for more information. Future clinics will be scheduled for 5 years and older. Information will also be distributed through the principals in their weekly e-notes.


Late Friday, the CDC announced that, effective February 25, 2022, it is no longer requiring that masks be worn on school buses or vans for K-12 students and children in childcare programs. The updated CDC guidance is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/face-masks-public-transportation.html.


As a result of this announcement, effective this past Monday, February 28, masking is optional for all students when riding the school bus to and from school. As always, any individual who wishes to continue to mask should be supported in that choice. Community members should note that masking will still be required for any students and staff who need to visit the school health offices.


If you don’t feel well, please stay home and isolate yourself from others. Those who have COVID-19 symptoms are identified as a close contact, or test positive for COVID-19 should contact the school nurses for further information related to quarantine and testing protocols.


Strategic Plan Meeting: The District’s Strategic Plan meeting is virtually scheduled for March 8th. Participants have been sent an email with links to the group meeting and individual goal meetings. The Strategic Plan Meeting is to review the District’s progress toward achieving the goals, objectives, and action steps outlined in the Strategic Plan. School staff, educational leaders, town board members, students, parents, and community members actively engage in this review and provide a variety of perspectives with the purpose of prioritizing actions the District will pursue in order to facilitate the growth and achievement of all students.


Peer placement letters for the 2022-2023 Daniel Feeney Preschool year were distributed last week. Due to the volume of applicants and a limited number of spots, we will be using a lottery system. Since there is typical movement throughout the spring and summer, slots will likely become available. Those who wish to remain on the waitlist should notify Julie Martin, Preschool Director (jmartin@walpole.k12.ma.us; 508-660-7374 ext. 5681). It is our hope we can accommodate as many families as possible.


Information for families/teachers concerning Ukraine - Supporting Children During the Ukrainian Crisis: As the events in Russia and Ukraine unfold, they can have varying impacts on us as children and adults. Mr. Hahn and Dr. Gough thought it would be helpful to share some resources that principals can include in their e-notes at the end of this week. They recognize the importance of working together to provide stability and reassurance to all students.

Old Business

Budget Update - Dr. Gough and School Business Administrator Mike Friscia provided a FY ’23 budget update. They indicated that the School Department met with the Finance Committee on Monday, February 28 to review the proposed budget. The Finance Committee will vote on budget requests Thursday, March 10, 2022.


Solar Project Update - Mr. Friscia provided the School Committee with an update regarding solar projects at the following sites:

Fisher Elementary School, 201 kW Roof Top System

  • 1/5/2022, MA SMART Solar Incentive Program application filed with MassDOER
  • Application is under review and pending approval
  • 1/5/2022, Interconnect Agreement filed with Eversource Electric
  • Application is under review and pending approval


Old Post Road Elementary School, 146 kW Roof Top System

  • 1/5/2022, MA SMART Solar Incentive Program application filed with MassDOER
  • Application is under review and pending approval
  • 1/5/2022, Interconnect Agreement filed with Eversource Electric
  • Application is under review and pending approval


Robbins Road Parking Lot, 339 kW Canopy System

  • 2/10/2022, Site visit requested by Solect Energy
  • Project to be assessed for solar siting, structural requirements & grid connection options
  • Town Administrator, Highway Dept., School Dept. & Energy Manager have been invited
  • MA SMART Solar Incentive Program application on hold pending site visit
  • Interconnect Agreement with Eversource Electric on hold pending site visit

Middle School Building Project

Mr. Breen indicated that the School Building Committee is scheduled to meet next Tuesday, March 8, 2022. He also reminded the community that a virtual Community Forum is being held on Wednesday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. To find out more information and register for this event, please visit the Middle School Project webpage here.


Any questions or comments can be sent via email to the Middle School Project at middleschoolproject@walpole.k12.ma.us.