School Committee Summary

November 21, 2019

Official Meeting Minutes

Minutes are published when approved and voted on by School Committee. Click here for official Meeting Minutes.

Recognitions

Six of the thirteen members of Girl Scout Troop 69046 were recognized for earning a bronze award. The bronze award is the highest award that a Junior Girl Scout can earn between grades 4 – 5. A minimum of 20 hours is undertaken towards a project that addresses an issue in their local community. For their project, this troop focused on a school related issue. They met with the Principals from Fisher Elementary School and Blessed Sacrament, a Guidance Counselor, and the Walpole Police Department, Community Officer to discuss different topics facing the community. As a result of these meetings, the troop focused on how simple acts of kindness can go a long way in bettering our community.


The goal of the project was to reduce the incidents of bullying by changing the culture and environment of the school by becoming Kindness Ambassadors. The girls aimed to model kind, inclusive, and respectful behavior, stopping mean acts, and demonstrating an alternative approach. The girls believe that with a kinder school environment and more acts of kindness, people will be happier and more thoughtful to each other and their interactions will be more positive. With empathy and awareness of how others are feeling, we can influence this change and others will learn by example.


With help from the Fisher School Digital Learning Coach, Karen Wolff, the girls gave up their recess to create a video that was shown during the Fisher School Kindness Week in January 2018. The video showcased several skits pointing out unkind behavior and modeled how to be kind instead. The troop also invited a younger Brownie troop to a meeting to learn about how to become Kindness Ambassadors and to recognize when someone was hurt or needed some cheering up. The girls practiced how to show someone that you appreciate them and make them feel important. The girls also exchanged kindness rocks that contained uplifting messages of inspiration. You'll want to see this video at http://bit.ly/GSKindess


The girls used funds earned during their cookie booth sales to purchase a buddy bench for the Fisher Elementary school and dedicated it to Principal, Colleen Duggan, who retired at the end of the school year. The bench is engraved with the words “Be a Friend, Make a Friend” and is intended for those in grades K-2 who are seeking friends to play with during recess time on the playground.


The girls hope that through their efforts, others in the community will join them in becoming Kindness Ambassadors and spreading kindness through every day activities. The 13 girls from Troop 69046 were approved for their bronze award by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts in October 2019.

Walpole High School Student Report

Darci, Walpole High School (WHS) Student Representative to the School Committee, gave a full report on the academic, athletic and extracurricular activities at WHS. In addition to fall sport statistics, Darci reported that parent-teacher conferences were held on November 21 with a second session to be held on Monday, November 25.


Darci mentioned the Photography Club is running its annual photo contest. Students should submit any black & white photos to @walpolehs_photography on Instagram or email them to vitellib21@wpsma.org. The winner will receive a $25 is a gift card to Pizzeria Grande. Deadline is December 10th, 2019. Anyone can submit photos, you don't need to be in photography club in order to enter. Open to all!


November 27 is a half-day and also PRIDE Day at WHS. The Junior vs. Senior PowderPuff game will be held on November 27th. Also, Best Buddies is having a Friendsgiving dinner on Sunday, December 1st at WHS.


Thank you Darci for your insightful report and for staying and actively participating in the full SC Meeting.

Digital Learning Report

Director of Digital Learning, Ann Arpin, was present along with Digital Learning Coaches B.J. Burke, Nancy Carroll, Dave Cuzzi, Kim Farley, Jed Stefanowicz and Karen Wolff

Ann Arpin shared the Digital Learning Vision Statement which is:


Through continued and evolving access to digital resources, students are empowered to personalize their learning to master essential content and 21st century skills, both in and outside the classroom. Through the transformative use of technology, Walpole Public Schools creates an interconnected educational community to actively explore and design solutions to real-world matters.

It is crucial that our students are prepared to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape. Our Coaches are the Change Agents to empower teachers to create these student-centered learning environments.


The Coaches discussed how they establish productive relationships with educators in order to improve instructional practice and learning outcomes. They inspire educators and leaders to use technology to create equitable and ongoing access to high quality learning. Coaches provide the support and resources to educators in order to navigate through a continuous cycle of change.

Students and educators are spending more and more time in the digital world, consuming and creating, commenting and collaborating, and engaging with people and places all over the world. As students’ digital presence continues to grow, digital citizenship is essential toward promoting safe and responsible use. Educator’s roles have shifted well past the introduction of password protection and safe searching. The Coaches explained how educators need to understand the intersection of students’ real-worlds with their digital-worlds and how that can look in their engagement with social media and cyberbullying, their understanding of digital literacy and their rights and responsibilities, and their potential to exercise and extend their voice to impact the world through technology.


Student experiences are being transformed as teachers learn the benefits of using many digital tools to create meaningful learning activities. Our Digital Learning Coach team has been working to model and support educators to design learning experiences to meet the needs and interests of all students.


The Coaches consistently model the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Students and the ISTE Standards for Educators, all the while identifying ways to improve our coaching practice. Being connected learners we expand the classroom walls for our teachers and their students. Being connected creates wider access to information, new technologies and innovations. The Coaches mentioned they attend and present at conferences which help them to deepen their expertise which they bring back and model for teachers/students.


Ann Arpin described the Fuse program. The digital coaching model at the high school is through the Highlander Institute Fuse program. This is Walpole’s 2nd Fuse cohort, and based on the more structured departmental configuration at the high school, has been a good fit and match for the high school. This model is designed to build internal capacity in each department by empowering early-adopters to develop classroom models, strategies and resources to support blended and personalized learning, and culturally responsive teaching.


Their presentation concluded with the following quote from George Couros – “Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers is transformational.”

Middle School Math Report

Julie Chin and Jill Masterson, Middle School Math Coaches, reported on math instruction, curriculum, and assessment. The Coaches discussed a diagnostic assessment tool (iReady) used to monitor student progress and drive individualize student interventions. They also demonstrated how they analyze MCAS data to drive instruction. They continuously collaborate with teachers to incorporate complex problem-solving opportunities for all students. Additionally, the Coaches showed a short video demonstrating how students worked through a given problem.

Superintendent Report

Dr. Gough gave an update with respect to:


  • MASC/MASS Conference held on November 7 and November 8. This is the largest annual gathering of education leaders in Massachusetts. The conference consisted of diverse professional development opportunities and an in-depth discussion of the critical education issues of today. It afforded her and SC Vice Chair Nancy Gallivan the opportunity to collaborate and network with other Superintendents and School Committee members across the state.
  • Dr. Gough commended the WHS Drama cast, crew, and musicians on their performance of the "25th Annual County Putnam Spelling Bee."
  • Dr. Gough has attended meetings with both WHS and JMS Student Councils. She will be meeting with BMS Student Council next week and also with the WHS METCO students.
  • Dr. Gough had the opportunity to meet with middle school and high school PAC chairs. The PAC Chairs have such a passion and dedication to our schools, and their continued partnership is greatly appreciated.
  • Dr. Gough attended the Action Together meeting, which consists of Walpole parents and community members. Among other things, a discussion was held about Spark Kindness and continuing a community effort to build a kinder, more connected and inclusive community. Many of the Action Together members are also interested in giving their time to become literacy volunteers.
  • Dr. Gough and her son served dinner to Senior Citizens on Wednesday night at WHS. These dinners are hosted monthly during the school year for local senior citizens. WHS School Nutrition in conjunction with elder services agency HESSCO work very hard preparing the food, decorating the lunchroom and ensuring these individuals have a wonderful dining experience.
  • Dr. Gough gave an update regarding the MSBA process. She indicated she, SC Members, Town Administration and School Administration visited the Kenney Middle School in Natick which is in the process of being built. It was helpful to look at the design and see how the process was working as the building is being constructed on the same property while the existing middle school is in session. More school/site visits will be planned and she hopes to have members from the School Building Committee and SC attend as well.
  • Lastly, Dr. Gough publicly thanked outgoing Health Director Robin Chapell for her many years of dedicated service to Walpole. Robin has been an incredible partner to the School Department as well as the Town of Walpole. We wish Robin all the best in her retirement.

Walk with the Supers

  • The second Walk with the Supers was held on Friday, November 15th. It was a nice time to listen to feedback and recommendations and to connect with the community.

Next Meeting

The next regular SC Meeting will be Tuesday, December 12, 2019 at Walpole Town Hall, Main Meeting Room.