School Committee Meeting Summary

May 14, 2020

Per Governor Baker's order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c.30A sec. 20, the public is not be allowed to physically access this School Committee meeting. Members of the Public will be able to view this meeting on Walpole Media Cable Access the following day. Citizens with a question or comment should email mmortali@walpole.k12.ma.us. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.


All votes taken by the School Committee in a remote participation meeting are done via roll call.


To view the full recorded meeting, click here.

School Choice Vote

The School Committee voted that Walpole not become a School Choice District for School Year 2020-2021. Many factors contributed to this decision including budgetary constraints and class sizes.

Recognition and Student Report

Darci C. is the graduating School Committee (SC) representative. We appreciate her commitment to provide the SC and community with valuable updates on student body events. Darci was recognized for her many contributions over the past several years. We wish her well in the future at Salve Regina, where she will be majoring in nursing.


Darci also gave her last SC report remotely. Darci reported that:

  • Following the Governor's decision to continue remote learning for the remainder of the school year students were informed in how grading will be for both quarter 3 and 4. Quarter three was a numerical grades based on assignments from January 23rd through March 13th. If a students quarter 3 grade was lower than their semester 1 average then that became their grade for the term. Quarter 4 is March 16th through June 19th and seniors final day will be May 21st. The fourth quarter will be pass or fail based on if students have demonstrated 60 percent proficiency. Assignments will be graded as complete or incomplete. Progress reports will be released on May 15th. All semester 2 classes will be pass fail and there will be no final exams.

  • Students have begun taking online AP exams this weeks. The transition to taking these test online have come with their challenges but students have been adapting.

  • Registration is open for fall sports. Students should check enotes for more information about Impact Testing this summer.

  • Student Council has elected the 2020-2021 executive board. Congratulation to all elected. Class representative elections will take place once school begins in the fall.
  • Lastly there has been lots of ideas in consideration for planning graduation and possibly other senior events. Mr. Imbusch sent a survey to senior students and parents about what option they think are best about what type of graduation and when it should be held. Over 20% of students and parents said they could not commit to a later date so it will be held on June 7th at 1 pm. The majority of people also said to wait until May 18th and see if and what restrictions are lifted. A car parade and graduation are being considered as well because the priority is to keep students and their families safe.

Citizens Comments

Citizen Sonia Malik emailed the following comments/questions:


Thank you for the opportunity to be heard during these are unprecedented times. I appreciate that the town and school administration is working hard to give our seniors the send-off they deserve while keeping them safe. Based on partial information received from WHS administration, here are some specific issues I’d like addressed:

  • When will the senior/parent survey results be shared?
  • How are the survey results going to be used to determine the senior activities plan?
  • When can we expect to have clear communication from the WHS with specifics on ALL activities planned short-term and later in the year?
  • Are there any traditional senior activities that are not being considered for the class of 2020?

She indicated she understands that the guidelines are a moving target and any plans made are contingent upon state and health board approvals. However, clear communication and transparency would really help alleviate some of the angst being expressed by the parents and students in town. Also, please know that the parents of Class 2020 are happy to help coordinate and organize any activities post-school closure if needed.


The SC, Dr. Gough and Mr. Imbusch, were able to respond to the questions posed.

Superintendent Report

Dr. Gough reported that:

  • The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released information for families regarding the Department's ongoing guidance. This document provides support for parents as they work to support their children at home during this ongoing closure sequence. She reminded parents to contact their building administrators or her office with any questions, concerns or if further support is needed.
  • Dr. Gough thanked everyone who completed the remote learning survey. As a result of the survey, middle school principals and staff have collaborated and developed great enrichment programs for the middle school students. The link to these enrichment programs can be accessed here.
  • A reminder to please complete the 2020 Census. An actual count in each community makes a difference in school aid and funding which can impact the quality of services offered to all students.
  • Tuesday an email was sent with regard to 2020-2021 bus registration. Based on feedback, several accommodations were made to better serve families given the current challenges that many are facing. In the event that your family needs assistance with the current payment schedule, a payment plan can be arranged with the School Business Office. The priority is to get an accurate count of riders in order to design the most effective routes. Please register for the bus regardless of whether a payment is included at this time. The $25 late fee is being waived for the 2020-2021 school year. Special thanks to both Mike Friscia, School Business Administrator and Kim Poirier, Transportation Coordinator for acting so quickly on this bus registration issue.
  • On Monday, May 18, we anticipate the Governor will provide updated guidance for the gradual reopening of various businesses and industries across Massachusetts. We will use this guidance, in collaboration with DESE, to continue our planning for end-of-year events and educational summer programming. All decisions will be communicated in a timely fashion.
  • Dr. Gough informed the SC and Community that Accreditation was awarded to WHS from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEAS&C). NEAS&C Accreditation is a globally recognized standard of excellence that provides assurance of a high-quality learning experience as well as an effective, time-tested methodology for school improvement and growth. We are all very proud of WHS and especially would like to thank Principal Imbusch and the staff for their commitment and tremendous amount of work involved in accreditation.

Dr. Gough indicated the following with respect to graduation of our WHS senior class:

  • A survey was conducted and the results were shared with the senior students and parents via X-2.
  • Most would like to see some form of graduation ceremony in June, and others would like to have a rolling rally celebration. Some would like to do both if possible.
  • The survey indicated that 28% - 31% of students may not be here in July or August. Therefore, in order to accommodate all students, the graduates will receive their diplomas in June.
  • We are waiting until Monday, May 18th to hear the Governor's announcement to determine what we will be permitted to do. Once we have more guidance, we will work with the Board of Health and the Walpole Police on a graduation event.
  • Principal Imbusch participated in this SC Meeting and reiterated what Dr. Gough explained with respect to graduation. Mr. Imbusch also addressed the induction ceremony for the National Honor Society (NHS), the WHS Drama production, Film Festival and the Prom. The NHS induction will be held virtually to celebrate new inductees and graduating NHS seniors. WHS Drama is looking to possibly hold a virtual production as well. It is looking doubtful for the Prom this year unfortunately. Film Festival options are still being investigated. Students would need to enter WHS for approximately 2 - 3 weeks in order to wrap up their films. Since we don't know when this will be permitted, it is difficult to plan.
  • Dr. Gough wanted to be sure the community understands that even though this past Tuesday the Board of Selectmen voted to hold Town Meeting on June 20th on the WHS football field, it is important to note that the state has made exceptions for Town Meetings and elections only - not graduations. Legislative bodies are exempt from the limitation of gatherings of 10 or more people.
  • The SC expressed that they are empathetic and sensitive to the students and parents. They too want to celebrate the students. They are so very proud of each of the students.

Old Business/Subcommittee Activity

MSBA Update - Session 2 of Visioning will be held on Friday. The MSBA will participate in this virtual Visioning session as well. On Tuesday, May 19 a Designer Selection virtual meeting will be held with the MSBA.


Curriculum Subcommittee Meeting held May 5, 2020 - A summary of the Curriculum Subcommittee Meeting held May 5th was provided. The Subcommittee talked about remote learning and the SC provided feedback. Strategies going forward were also discussed to support our families, students and staff.