School Committee Meeting Summary

March 17, 2022

Recognitions

Walpole High School students Cara Morris, Chloe Bindon, Colleen Finn, and Ariana Korentis submitted designs for the new Master Plan Steering Committee logo. Cara’s design was selected as the official new Master Plan logo and will be permanently linked to this master plan. The logo will be used around town and will become part of Walpole's history. Chloe Bindon’s design took second place and tied for third place were designs by Colleen Finn and Ariana Korentis. Congratulations to all!


Dr. William Hahn, Assistant Superintendent, was recognized for obtaining his doctoral degree from Boston College. The School Committee remarked how extremely proud they are of Dr. Hahn and recognized his dedication to being a lifelong learner and setting the example for professional development and investment in education. Congratulations Dr. Hahn!

Walpole High School Student Report

Grace R., Walpole High School student representative to the School Committee, was present at the School Committee Meeting. Grace indicated there has been a lot going on at the high school in the last few weeks, which include the following:
  • Students are halfway through the third term. Term III progress reports were released on March 7th.
  • Over the next two weeks, registered students will take the National French, Latin, or Spanish Exams.
  • Winter sports have officially wrapped up! Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball and Hockey teams put in hard work this year and all qualified for playoffs. Girls’ Hockey lost in the first round, Boys’ Hockey lost in the eighth round, Boys’ basketball lost in round sixteen, and Girls’ basketball lost in the round eight.
  • Indoor track and field also had several individual athletes and relay teams compete at Nationals this past weekend.
  • Congratulations to all winter teams and athletes!
  • The spring sports season begins with tryouts this Monday, March, 21st.
  • Walpole High School Drama had their wonderful winter show of the Brothers Grimm last weekend.
  • The National Honors Society is selling blue and yellow ribbons to support Ukraine. All proceeds will be donated to the Sunflower of Peace organization, who make medical bags for medical workers on the front lines.
  • Walpole High School Dance Company continues to prepare for their show on April 1st and April 2nd.
  • Student Council is currently planning for all spring activities including a pep rally, spring dance, and senior activities.

New Business

Out-of-State Field Trip Request: The School Committee unanimously approved an out-of-state field trip for the Walpole High School Robotics Team to Houston, TX from April 19, 2022 through April 24, 2022.


Strategic Plan: Dr. Hahn provided an update with respect to the Walpole Public School's Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan is an inclusive, hands-on planning process designed to build district and school capacity and coherence while also building community understanding and support. It establishes a long-range direction for the district and provides a clear focus for future pursuits by identifying priorities for improvement. This plan includes a multi-year improvement plan and annual action plan priorities for implementation. Strategic planning supports Walpole Public Schools to think and act strategically, develop effective strategies, clarify future directions, establish priorities, improve organizational performance, build teamwork and expertise, and deal effectively with a rapidly changing environment. Ultimately, the strategic plan is intended to be a broad document to inform:


  • School Improvement Plans
  • Leadership Council Goals
  • Educator Goals


This year the Walpole Public Schools Strategic Plan committee is comprised of administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, students, and community stakeholders who all met virtually on March 8th. At this virtual meeting, the Committee summarized the progress from last year’s priorities and outlined new priorities, objectives, and action plans. The School Committee will be provided with an updated Strategic Plan in the near future.

Unified Arts Curriclum Update

Mr. Braccini, Walpole High School Unified Arts Department Chairperson, reviewed the Unified Arts grades 6-12 curriculum.


The grades 6-8 Program includes:


  • Grade 6 - Introduction to Technology & Computer Programming Concepts
  • Grade 7 - More Sophisticated Computer Programming Concepts
  • Grade 8 - Robotics and Engineering Concepts - Lego SPIKE Prime Kits


All grade levels and abilities are represented in all courses and are available to students in grades 9–12 for enrollment. The Program includes Mr. Braccini and 7 full-time teachers.

Course offerings are constantly being reviewed and revised to reflect student interests.

Unified Arts courses currently available at the high school can be found in the Walpole High School Program of Studies here (see under the Table of Content items “Business” and “Engineering and Technology”).


Mr. Braccini thanked the Administration and School Committee for recent technology and equipment updates. He also mentioned Walpole is the recipient of a $15,000 financial literacy grant. This grant will allow expanded access to meaningful finance literacy and preparedness for all students to effectively navigate the many challenging financial decisions that await them.


Mr. Bracinni went on to describe the Walpole High School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy. The STEM Academy is a 4-year certificate program offered at Walpole High School. Students interested in the program apply at the end of 8th grade. Students in the program must complete:


  • 20 Credits in Technology/Engineering in addition to all required Math and Science courses.
  • Participating in STEM based Clubs (i.e. Robotics Club, Science Olympiad, & Math Team;)
  • Sophomore Field Trip - Community Based
  • Junior Shadowing Project
  • Senior Capstone Project - Solve a problem at Walpole High School or in Walpole Community


Lastly, Mr. Bracinni gave an overview of the Robotics Club at Walpole High School. The Walpole Robotics Team, led by Mr. Brian Gaffey, is made up of thirty-five students who design and build a new robot each year to take on a unique challenge. This year’s robot design will be able to traverse uneven monkey bars and launch 9.5” tennis balls into a goal 8.5’ in the air. The team will be competing against eighty teams from all around New England in two upcoming tournaments with the goal of qualifying for the New England Championship and the title of Best in New England.

Assistant Superintendent Report

Dr. Hahn provided a COVID update. The most recent COVID-19 data for Walpole shows a 2.25% positivity rate. There were 5 positive cases reported for the period 3/6-3/12/22; down from 23 positive cases the week prior. 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:


Bird Middle School – 69%

Johnson Middle School – 69%

Boyden Elementary – 54%

Fisher Elementary – 69%

Elm Street School – 62%

Old Post Road School – 65%

Walpole High School - 85%


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

Middle School Building Project

The School Committee indicated that the project is progressing towards hiring a construction company for the new middle school building. The Design Development package is scheduled to be submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority on April 1, 2022. Another Community Forum is being planned. Details will be provided once the meeting date is determined. 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.