Ipswich School Committee Newsletter
Volume 3; Issue 5, June 2022
Comments from the Chair
As we approach the last few weeks of school, I want to reflect back on what was yet another unique year for our students and staff. Our kids were fortunate to have a more traditional school environment this year than they had during the previous two years. Keeping kids learning in school was a priority of our district this year and we need to recognize the outstanding work of the entire school community (parents included) that made this a reality.
It was great to see our school grounds full of activity again. Having the opportunity to watch the incredible music and drama performances in a packed Performing Arts Center and at the elementary schools, along with being able to attend our kids’ sporting events and cheer from the stands were welcomed changes this year. Overall, while certainly challenging at times, the 2021-2022 school year was a success. As our schedules fill up with year end concerts, performances, moving up ceremonies and graduations, let’s keep in mind how lucky we are to have these opportunities to recognize the hard work of our kids. Their achievements and perseverance cannot be overlooked and should be celebrated.
As you all know, just last month voters approved an operational override for the school budget. This override will provide the schools with the resources needed to continue moving our district forward in the years to come. Thanks to all who supported our efforts to educate the community about the financial challenges our schools face. It was satisfying to see that work lead to a positive outcome for our students and staff. The responsibility to manage the budget falls squarely on our central office staff along with current and future school committees. I can assure you we all take that responsibility seriously.
Finally, on behalf of the School Committee, I want to give a special thanks to those in our school community who have decided to retire at the end of the year. We are grateful for your years of dedication to the kids of Ipswich and we wish you the best of luck in the years to come.
I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing summer. Let’s hope the sun is out and the greenheads come and go quickly so we can all enjoy the outdoors. Summer never seems to last long enough!
Save the Date! Listening sessions on the future elementary school building project
On July 26th and August 1st there will be community listening sessions on the future elementary school building project. There will be one session in the late afternoon and another in the evening on each of the 2 days, for 4 sessions total. We are also discussing a 5th session which would be a remote option. They will be in person and open to the entire community, and the public is welcome and strongly encouraged to attend a session. They will be held at neutral locations in town in an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible. There will also be a survey available for those unable to attend.
This first set of sessions will be led by an outside facilitator and include a quick recap of some facts from the last project, an update on the current state of the elementary school facilities, and a discussion around community values with some focusing questions. There will be another set of listening sessions in late summer and early fall based on feedback from the first sessions, with discussions focused on possible paths forward. These will also be led by a facilitator.
The School Committee is committed to facilitating a transparent and inclusive process, and hopes the community will bring their ideas and enthusiasm about what a future elementary experience might look like for our youngest learners.
District Enrollment study by NESDEC
Earlier in the school year the School Committee solicited an in-depth demographic study from New England School Development Council (NESDEC). NESDEC is a non-profit organization that helps school districts with a variety of projects including community demographic profiles for those districts needing additional background data as a context for enrollment projections. The purpose of this study was to give the School Committee and community of Ipswich a greater understanding of enrollment trends and how they might inform a future elementary building project. NESDEC gathered and analyzed demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census, The Warren Group, Banker & Tradesman; Ipswich Public Schools, the town planner, local realtors, and the building department. Public school enrollment data for the past 10 years was analyzed, with particular attention to the anticipated “student yield” of housing under construction. NESDEC’s overall 10-year projections do not support a sustained increase in enrollment above roughly 700-720 students in K-5 in Ipswich. Details of the study and the NESDEC full report can be found here.
Feoffees Annual Distribution
The Feoffees Trust is an invaluable resource to the Ipswich School district. Each year, the Feoffees make a distribution to the schools to be used for “enhancement and enrichment” within the district. It was announced at a recent School Committee meeting that the 2022 amount will be $942,242. A portion of that total ($14,925) represents a distribution from the Manning Fund to benefit our school libraries.
The Feoffees Trust was funded in 2012 from the proceeds of the Little Neck land sale. The Little Neck property was put into Trust in 1660 by William Paine to benefit the Ipswich Public Schools. Originally a field where farmers could bring their cows to graze, it eventually became a summer home community where homeowners paid monthly rent that was collected and managed by a group of Trustees (Feoffees). In 2012, a deal was made to allow homeowners to buy their land from the Feoffees. The proceeds from these sales make up the assets currently held in the Trust and are overseen by a committee (New Feoffees) appointed by the Select Board, Finance Committee and School Committee. The School Committee is thankful for the generosity of William Paine and of the excellent stewardship of the Trust assets by the current Feoffees.
The impact of the grants can be felt in all of our schools. William Paine Enhancement Grants focus on district-wide initiatives while the Traverso-Weatherall Innovation Grants focus on needs in the classrooms. Stay tuned for more details on which grant requests were approved during the spring cycle.
School Committee Meeting Highlights
Winter Sports awards
NESDEC Demographic Study presentation
IPS Social and Emotional Updates
Overnight Field Trip request to England, Spring 2023
Superintendent End of Year Evaluation
Town Meeting/Election debrief
New member welcome
FY 24 School calendar
Feoffees Disbursement amount
Upcoming District Events
June 5: Graduation
June 8: Honors Night
June 16 (rain date of June 17): Crane Beach day
June 17: Moving Up ceremony (IMS)
June 21: 5th Grade Graduation at Winthrop, Moving On ceremony at Doyon
June 21: Last day of school - Happy Summer!