Franklin School Committee News

Edited by Denise Schultz, Vice-Chair

Message from the Chair - Dr. Anne Bergen


For the last few years, the Town Administrator, members of the Finance Committee, Town Council and School Committee have provided a fiscal forecast about which all citizens need to be informed. The cost of doing business affecting all of our town services is rising faster than our ability to keep up. As School Committee members we are committed to maintaining our high quality educational programs. But as costs rise in every area: busing, health insurance, tuitions for out of district placements, technology, new unfunded state mandated curriculum initiatives; the increased needs of students and families beyond academic instruction, we are struggling to maintain existing services. The pressures on our Parent Communication Councils to raise funds in support of invaluable enrichment for our students increase every year.

Over the last few years we have been forced to raise fees and cut programs. We must keep our schools strong, hire and retain our extraordinary teachers and principals and keep our schools competitive to secure bright futures for our students. They deserve the very best we can provide! As a community we need to be informed and involved. Public Schools are truly the foundation of a democracy. Please stay involved and informed. We will keep providing factual information to inform all decisions.

School Start Times Update - Dr. Sara Ahern

Last spring, the School Start Times Advisory Committee completed its charge, which was to study and put forward a recommendation to the School Committee related to adjusting School Start Times across the district. This team of educators and community members recommended changed start times so that middle and high school adolescents would be going to school later in the day, consistent with their natural, biological sleep patterns. The report of the Advisory Committee gained great attention and numerous stakeholders came forward sharing both their support and their concerns about proposed time changes.

During the 2019-2020 year, the District will be focusing on furthering the conversation about Start Times with the community, but will be pausing the analysis of different start times scenarios. Instead, the District has planned several education events designed to highlight the importance of sleep and factors that contribute to students’ sleep patterns. These events include:

  1. Social Media Education Night with a Panel of Speakers to include Mental Health Counselor, School Administration, Pediatrician, and Student Representative: October 21, 2019 at Franklin High School
  2. Sleep Education Night with Dr. Judith Owens, Director of Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital: November 19, 2019 at Franklin High School

Additionally, the District is implementing and monitoring new Homework Guidelines (found in School Handbooks), which are designed to make sure that homework is purposeful and balanced.

We also will be exploring the prospect of piloting a late start on a half-day at Franklin High School. This is proposed to occur in the spring (after inclement weather season).

We will be measuring students’ self-reporting of sleep at the end of the school year in order to monitor progress of these efforts. Additional information can be found in this Update Presentation from September 24, 2019.

Budget Updates

We have created a "fact sheet" about our current budget situation, which will help inform you as discussions about the formation of the FY21 budget begin shortly after the November elections. Please take a moment to read that document here.

Public Schools Advocacy - Denise Schultz

With the FY20 budget passed and implemented, and with the newly introduced Student Education Opportunities Act proposed, we are again in a waiting period for the Fiscal Year 2021 budget cycle. In anticipation of these potential budgetary changes, we are in the early stages of planning our 3rd annual Legislative Forum for February 2020.

We do hope you will watch this space for the date once it is confirmed.

Policy Update - Mary Jane Scofield

The Policy Subcommittee has been quietly tending to the review of the Policy Manual. Mary Jane Scofield, Denise Schultz, and Monica Linden have been meeting regularly with Supt. Ahern and Asst. Supt. Giguere to review all policies, and bring the Manual up-to-date. I would like to thank Denise and Monica for their tireless efforts on behalf of the students and staff of the District. Their input at meetings assisted in the development and implementation of, among many, the Homework, Dress Code and Social Media policies. While both are moving on, their presence will certainly be missed on the School Committee, and the Policy Subcommittee!!

Community Relations - Gigi Zub

The Franklin Harvest Festival is coming up on Saturday October 5 (rain date October 6) and members of our School Committee will be there!! Stop by to engage with us – ask questions and give us feedback. It’s a great event in the community!

The School Committee and Franklin Public Schools tables will be in the Rockland Trust Parking Lot!

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Update from Cindy Douglas - Davis Thayer Raised Garden Beds

The students at DT have raised beds on the side of the building. Beginning last Spring they turned the soil and planted tomatoes, parsley, squash, green beans, peppers and flowers. Over the summer volunteers watered the beds. In the fall of this year, beans, peppers, squash and tomatoes were found growing. The students weeded and picked the produce! Donations were given for garden tools and plantings. The excitement and enthusiasm from the students was overwhelming. We look forward to next year's crop!

See photo below of the garden in action!

Mrs. Renaud, Coordinator-Teacher

Cindy Douglas, Volunteer

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Monthly Business Meeting Dates - 7 pm, Franklin Town Hall (click title for link)

  • October 15
  • October 29
  • November 5, 2019 - Municipal Elections - Please vote!
  • November 12 - organizational meeting
  • November 26
  • December 10

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Any suggestions or requests for future newsletters please direct to:

Denise Schultz:

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