School Committee Meeting Summary

March 31, 2022


Johnson Middle School Grade 6 student Catarina Miranda was recognized for demonstrating compassion and leadership in seeking ways to ease the transition for students who have moved to our schools from another country. She has embraced opportunities to serve as a peer support for other students who have immigrated into the country. In addition, she is currently spearheading a local drive to collect books written in Portuguese and Spanish, to be donated to the Walpole Public Library, in order to create a multilingual collection for the community. We are very proud of Catarina's accomplishments thus far and look forward to supporting her future endeavors. Please see flyer for donation information.

Walpole High School senior Margaret Mahoney has been named a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship. As a finalist, Margaret will be considered for the National Merit Scholarships to be offered this year. Additional Walpole High School Seniors Ajay Bhagavatula, Christian Brownsword, Scotty Cameron, Tejaswi Makkena, Liam McCarthy, Sindhuja Moorthi, James Narag, Kyle Schmottlach, Margaret Singer, Katherine Soule, and Siddharth Vandrangi have been named as Commended Students. These students were commended and recognized for their exceptional academic achievements. These students are among the top scorers on the 2020 PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Walpole is proud of each of these students’ academic achievements and pursuit of educational excellence.

Principal Steve Morgenweck indicated Johnson Middle School received a generous donation of $3,000 from Charlotte’s Litter, a program supported by the Charlotte Helen Bacon Foundation. This Foundation honors the memory of Charlotte Helen Bacon, an avid dog lover, who sadly lost her life during the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. This donation will be used in the training and expenses for Willow, the Johnson Middle School therapy dog in training. In addition to the grant money, Charlotte’s Litter will be donating 15 copies each of their two children’s books, Good Dogs, Great Listeners and The Dogs of Newtown. Mr. Morgenweck expressed his gratitude from all of Johnson Middle School for this donation.

Walpole High School Student Report

Grace R., Walpole High School student representative to the School Committee, was present at the School Committee Meeting. Grace gave a report as follows:

  • Term III ends on Friday, April 1st, and the last term of the school year on begins on Monday.
  • Course selection progress has started, and students are currently planning for next year.
  • The Spring sports season has officially started as tryouts wrapped up last week Practices and scrimmages have continued through this week. Next week, teams have their first games.
  • Dance company has their production this Friday and Saturday.
  • The women’s self-defense club are planning self-defense events for next year.
  • The Film Festival will take place in early May, and the crews are currently finishing filming their movies.
  • Mock Trial has been working hard and hoping for a win in their next competition.
  • Speech and Debate remains busy and has proven successful with their past two meets. Two weeks ago, WHS Speech and Debate placed sixth at March Merryness tournament.
  • Student Council has been busy planning events for the Spring. They are hosting a pep rally next Friday, April 29. The pep rally typically is hosted on the day before Thanksgiving every year, but was postponed this year due to COVID.
  • Student Council is also organizing the annual powder puff football game between senior and junior girls on April 15th. Student Council is also planning a new tradition with volleypuff for a volleyball game between senior and junior boys.

New Business

Out-of-State Field Trip Request: The School Committee unanimously approved the following out-of-state field trips:

  • Bird Middle School/Johnson Middle School day trip to Canobie Lake Park, Salem, New Hampshire during the week of June 13, 2022
  • Bird Middle School/Johnson Middle School day trip to The Music Mansion in Providence, Rhode Island on May 26, 2022

Technology Update: Mr. Thomas Reeve, Director of Digital Learning, provided the School Committee with a technology update. Mr. Reeve's full presentation can be viewed here at time marker 22:30.

Superintendent Report

It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the fourth quarter of the 2021-2022 school year. In addition to getting into classrooms, Dr. Gough commented that it has been especially rewarding to see the return of our extracurricular activities. This last week of March marked many WPS events, such as the WHS Speech and Debate competition, the JMS production of The Snow White Variety Show, the middle school Unified Basketball Games, the WHS Spring Concert, and the BMS Spring Musical Into the Woods. The week concludes with the WHS Dance Company Production. With the start of our WHS Spring sports teams and the many end of the year events fast approaching, please check your calendars.

Dr. Gough provided a COVID update. The most recent COVID-19 data for Walpole shows a 2.06 % positivity rate. There were 13 positive cases reported for the period 3/20-3/26/22. 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 vaccination rates for the schools have leveled off

Bird Middle School – 69%

Johnson Middle School – 69%

Boyden Elementary – 55%

Fisher Elementary – 69%

Elm Street School – 62%

Old Post Road School – 65%

Walpole High School - 84%

At times, numbers will fluctuate as students move in and out of the district.

WHS Artists Featured in Exhibit: At the annual Art in Bloom exhibit, student artwork from Walpole and Norwood High Schools will be displayed, along with floral interpretive arrangements from the Norwood Evening Garden Club. The exhibit will be held at the Morrill Memorial Library, 33 Walpole Street, Norwood, MA on Saturday, April 2 from 10 AM - 5 PM, and Sunday, April 3 from 2 - 5 PM. Public is invited and admission is free!

Dr. Gough also mentioned that the "300th Anniversary Committee" needs input from the Walpole community about making 2024 a year to remember. The Town of Walpole is planning a year-long calendar of events and activities and has created a survey to gauge interest in several community celebrations. Please consider taking a few moments to fill out the survey to help Walpole celebrate. Click on this link for the survey:

Middle School Building Project

Mr. Breen reported the School Building Committee recently voted to submit the Design Development to the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The School Building Committee will meet again on April 5 to vote to recommend the selected Construction Manager at Risk firm to the Select Board. A 10th Community Forum is being planned for mid-May. Details will be provided as soon as possible. To find out more information please visit the Middle School Project webpage here.

Any questions or comments can be sent via email to the Middle School Project at