School Committee Meeting Summary

April 30, 2020

Chairperson Buckley noted that per Governor Baker's order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c.30A sec. 20, the public will 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.

Walpole High School Student Report

Brendan M., Walpole High School (WHS) Student Representative to the School Committee (SC), gave a report remotely to the SC. Brendan reported that:


  • Last Tuesday, Governor Charlie Baker announced that all schools will continue the remote learning for the rest of the school year. Although it is not preferable, the students and the teachers are making it work the best they can, so that the learning process can stay as normal as possible.
  • Administration and Student Council have been making an effort to meet to plan activities for the seniors in the coming months.
  • As of right now the grades are still complete and incomplete, but this as well as the status of final exams among other things are still up in the air at this time.
  • As for clubs, many clubs are doing virtual meetings to discuss activities for the rest of the year, for example, Best Buddies has been having virtual themed meetings such as a country music meeting and a bring your pet to Best Buddies meeting.
  • AP tests will be conducted online between May 11th and May 20th, and the National Spanish Exams are being taken this week online as well.
  • Though this transition to online learning has been new and challenging, Brendan said Walpole has done a great job all around to make sure the students are getting the best education possible during this time.








The SC and Administration is always grateful to Brendan for contributing via Zoom and for his participation in the full meeting.

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Superintendent Report

Dr. Gough reported that:


  • Governor Baker announced that school buildings in Massachusetts will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. While we are saddened by this news, we also recognize the seriousness of this pandemic and know that health and safety is our number one priority. Please know that although our buildings are closed, school is still in session. With this announcement, DESE released further guidance for school districts regarding our remote learning plan for students.
  • Much of DESE’s guidance is consistent with our plan and reinforces what Walpole Public Schools are already doing. A component of this comprehensive plan provides a focus on the prerequisite content standards that are critical for success in the next grade for math, English language arts, science, and history/social studies. Through the diligence of our curriculum leaders, content liaisons, department chairs, and administration, much of our work concerning learning standards is already consistent with these DESE guidelines. These professionals are currently working to provide more detailed guidance to appropriate grade levels and content areas.
  • In the coming days, parents/guardians will receive a link to a survey so we can gather system-wide feedback from families. This feedback is important to us, and this information will be used to guide our conversations and make adjustments as we move forward.
  • Walpole Public Schools and Walpole Food Pantry will continue to provide assistance to families whose children require additional food throughout this unprecedented period of school closure. Food packages will now be distributed out of the Walpole High School bi-weekly on Saturdays 10:00 AM -1:00 PM. The next distribution will be this Saturday, May 2nd and then again on Saturday, May 16th. Any family unable to travel to Walpole High School or needs food assistance may reach out to the Walpole School Nutrition Department at wpsnutrition@walpole.k12.ma.us or 774-315-5640.
  • As a reminder, INTERFACE Referral Service continues to provide noteworthy resources. A public event calendar that contains sessions to support groups (parents of teens, parents of middlers), children virtual lunch bunch, and workshops can be accessed here.
  • Dr. Gough realizes there are significant questions that remain unanswered. Our staff is working diligently to address the matters of grading, scheduling, school events (i.e. graduation), and how students will retrieve their belongings. Please be assured we are collaborating with many different stakeholders throughout this process, and building principals will communicate with families in a timely manner as decisions are made.

New/Old Business Items

Elementary Math Team Report - Dr. Anne Vera Cruz, Curriculum Specialist Consultant, Carolyn Kelly, Math Coach (OPR/Boyden), Brian Sullivan, Grade 4 Teacher (Elm) and Aimee Fredette, Grade 4 Teacher (Fisher), presented a Math Team report detailing curriculum characteristics, provided samples of work, cluster assessments, data reporting, remote learning and reported on where Walpole Public Schools is heading.


Mr. Hahn thanked the Math Team for the incredible work they have done and continue to do.


Remote Learning – Elm Street School teacher Lisa Rizzo, Johnson Middle School teacher Liz Smith and Walpole High School teacher Caitlyn Abela provided a remote learning snapshot from the elementary, middle and high school perspectives. There are many platforms being utilized to support our students and provide continuity of learning. Teachers and staff are collaborating often to create assignments and teach virtually. The buildings may be closed, but school is not.


Annual Appointments - The SC voted to appoint Dr. Gough to the Bi-County Collaborative (BICO) Board of Directors and to appoint Mrs. Gallivan to The Education Cooperative (TEC) Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 School Year.


Superintendent Evaluation - The SC is entering the formative and summative evaluation process of the Superintendent. Guidelines were provided to the SC. Dr. Gough will provide them with an update to her 2019-2020 goals to date.


Fee Reimbursement Discussion - The SC voted to reimburse bus, parking, spring athletic and Extended Day fees.


  • Bus fees will be reimbursed in the amount of $90.27. This figure was calculated by dividing the total fee by 180 days to get the daily rate and then multiplying the daily rate by the number of unused days.
  • Parents who paid Walpole High School spring sport athletic fees will receive a Google form by email with four options of reimbursement. These are: (1) reimbursement; (2) carry fee forward to a fall 2020 sport; (3) transfer amount to a sibling WHS fall sport; or (4) donate the fee to the athletic program.
  • Extended Day parents will receive a refund for the days not attended for the month of March. Options will also be available for Extended Day parents to (1) get a refund; (2) carry fee forward to the fall; or (3) donate the fee to the Extended Day program.
  • WHS student parking fees will also be refunded for days not used by calculating the fee paid divided by 180 days to find the daily rate and multiplying that amount by the unused days.


Furlough Discussion – Cafeteria Aides, Teachers’ Aides, Van Drivers and Extended Day Staff - Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and school closure, the SC voted that food services employees, van drivers, teacher aides and Extended Day staff will be furloughed for the remainder of the current school year. The furlough will begin on May 4, 2020, and will end on or about June 19, 2020, at which time the summer break begins. After the summer break, these staff will return and resume their normal duties.


  • The SC noted that a furlough is different in some ways from a layoff. A furlough is essentially a temporary leave of absence, whereas a layoff is generally a permanent separation from employment.
  • The SC and our entire school community wants to thank these employees for everything they do for us. The SC and administration regrets having to take this action, but it became necessary once it was decided that we would not be open for the remainder of the School Year.


MSBA Update - At present we are in the middle of the Designer Selection phase of this project. The MSBA’s Designer Selection Panel meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. A virtual Visioning Meeting was held on Friday, April 17th. This meeting was thoughtful and productive. A second Visioning Meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 15. A third will be scheduled in June. These Visioning sessions help to identify what the school building needs are from all stakeholders.