School Committee Meeting Summary

August 27, 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.


The recorded School Committee Meeting can be accessed here.

Recognitions

The School Committee recognized the school nurses, custodians, Superintendent of Buildings, Don Anderson and Melissa Ranieri and Trish Fisher from the Walpole Health Department. During this unprecedented period of time marked with angst and anxiety we sincerely thank the school nurses, custodians, the Walpole Board of Health and the Walpole Superintendent of Buildings and his whole department. These groups are working tirelessly to assist with the safe re-opening of our schools. It is not easy work, and we are grateful to all of you for your dedication, commitment and hard work.


The School Committee also reviewed the 2020 Walpole High School College Acceptance List and indicated how proud of we are all are of our graduates and wish them all well in their future.

Walpole High School Student Report

Brendan M., Walpole High School student representative to the School Committee, gave a report on the opening of school, fall sports, freshman orientation and parking for Walpole High School. Brendan reported that:
  • Students in the Walpole Public Schools System are starting on the 14th of September under a hybrid model. Some families chose to have their students go fully remote with the Remote Learning Management System through Edgenuity for grades 6-12. This system will provide students similar classes to those offered at Walpole High, but they will be taught by other teachers not employed by Walpole Public Schools. For hybrid, there will be two groups of students, Cohort A and Cohort B, who will go to school on separate days. When students are not in school, they will be learning remotely. All students will be learning remotely on Wednesday. The High School will be following a four period rotating schedule for each semester, with periods 1-4 meeting semester 1, and periods 5-8 meeting semester 2. Full year classes will be completed in one semester, and half year classes will be completed in one term.
  • The MIAA released guidelines about Fall sports last week. Fall sports will all start on September 18th, but with different guidelines depending on the sport. The following sports will be allowed to practice and play against other towns: Golf, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, and Volleyball. The high contact sports that are only allowed to be practiced at this time and have what the MIAA called a “floating season” are football, and cheer. The floating season may allow for the sports only allowed to practice at this time to play against other towns in the future.
  • The level of participation in clubs at the High School is to be determined.
  • Freshman Orientation is planned for September 8 for Cohort A and September 10 for Cohort B. More information will be sent to parents when available.
  • Seniors received parking spaces if they applied over the summer, but due to the hybrid schedule, there are now opportunities for Juniors to park at the High School when they are in school. The cost for the application is $40.

Policies

The School Committee had a second reading of the following policies:


  • Policy ACAB - Sexual Harassment/Title IX
  • Policy EBC-S - Policy on COVID-Related Issues
  • Policy EBCFA - Face Coverings


Policy ACAB/Title IX has been revised due to a Federal Mandate. Policy EBC-S and EBCFA are a result of COVID-related issues. After discussion, the School Committee voted to approve these policies. The School Committee will review the COVID-Related policies again on or before February 1, 2020. These and all policies can be accessed here.

Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent Report

Dr. Gough reported:


  • To say that this has been a typical summer has been an understatement. We have been working round the clock all summer to prepare for the opening of schools.
  • With the help of the principals and Leadership Team, last week forums were held for preschool, kindergarten, elementary (1-5), middle, and high school, and staff. Thank you to our Director of Digital Learning, Ann Arpin, for her assistance in facilitating these forums. Dr. Gough also thanked Kathi Garvin, who was present at all meetings and has been extremely informative regarding the health and safety of our students and staff.
  • The principals are in the process of holding individual building forums to answer more specific questions.
  • It is important to be aware that the guidance frequently changes. We will provide DESE updates on the District website. Some items recently posted to the site:
  1. DESE Fall FAQ 8/26/20:
  2. Stop the Spread Press Release 8/20/20:
  3. Joint Guidance on Modified Sports Seasons for School Year 2020-21 8/18/20
  4. Guidance for Districts and Schools on Interpreting DPH COVID-19 Metrics 8/11/20
  5. Overview of Metrics from COVID-19 Command
  • In terms of PPE and materials, School Business Administrator, Mike Friscia, has done an excellent job securing the items and getting them set up at the schools. Ann Arpin, Director of Digital Learning has arranged to extend wi-fi outdoors as well. School Committee members were able to take part in building walkthroughs this week to see signage, clearing products, and classroom setup.
  • Central Office staff spent the better part of Monday and Tuesday contacting families to confirm the selection of hybrid or remote learning management programs (RLMP). Principals are working on the cohorts and those will be released ASAP. High School released cohort assignments (Cohort A - Last name A-J; Cohort B - Last name K-Z).
  • For those who chose the RLMP, we are in the cue to set up Edgenuity modules in grades 6-12 and are identifying staff to help manage and facilitate the system for K-5.
  • Dr. Gough asked that parents please recognize that working on both hybrid and RLMP is quite an undertaking. We are essentially building an entirely new school while trying to provide an opportunity for students to transition back and forth. It is important to remember that no one has opened a school district in this fashion. We talk about hybrid and full remote learning programs like they are our old friends, when in fact, we just met them. We learn from our experiences, get feedback, and become better based on our efforts. We are committed to doing just that.
  • Dr. Gough reviewed the letter Dr. John Queally recently emailed to families of students receiving special education services.

Mr. Bill Hahn reported on the new staff orientation held this week, staffing in general, and professional development for staff.


  • Mr. Hahn specifically thanked Ann Arpin for the technical training to new staff, and thanked Bailey Tighe, who provided a presentation on ensuring equity. Jill Masterson and John O’Leary presented on Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), a framework that helps educators provide academic and behavioral strategies for students with various needs. Sarah Scales presented on social-emotional learning and provided bullying prevention and intervention training. Mike Donahue, Social Studies Department Chair presented Understanding by Design (UBD, a framework that offers a design process for curriculum planning. Officer Hart trained the new staff in ALICE procedures. Mr. Dave Cuzzi, WTA Union President, attended the last day to welcome our new staff.
  • Next week we welcome the entire Walpole Public School staff back. The staff will have 8 days of professional development before the students return on Monday, September 14, 2020. Kathi Garvin and her team will provide safety and health training. The custodial staff will also review new safety and cleaning protocols. The staff will also receive technical training from Ann Arpin and her staff.

The School Committee remarked that on their visits to some of the schools to see changes made in response to COVID, they were very impressed with signage, direction, hand sanitizer everywhere, filters, fans (which were not loud as some parents were concerned about), tents and picnic tables. Everyone has done a great job and are doing the best in difficult circumstances.