School Committee Meeting Summary

February 13, 2020

Official Meeting Minutes

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

Walpole High School Student Report

Darci C., Walpole High School (WHS) Student Representative to the School Committee, gave a full report on the academic, athletic and extracurricular activities at WHS. Darci reported that:

  • As February break is approaching, Friday will be half a half day. On this day seniors have the opportunity to participate in an in-school field trip called adulting 101 where they learn necessary life skills such as budgeting and ways to live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Wednesday, the boys’ and girls’ hockey team hosted an ALS awareness night. Chuck A Puck was a fundraiser where students, and other spectators could purchase a puck for $5 to be tossed during half time at both the girls and boys games, with the closet puck winning a gift card. Approximately $3,000 was raised. All proceeds went to “4 you I will Fight”. Students also wore red shirts to school to show their support in the fight against ALS.
  • In other sports, the wrestling team had their senior night yesterday night, and the girls basketball team celebrated their senior night on Tuesday night. The track team will compete at divisionals on Friday and the gymnastics team placed in the top 10 during their Baystates meet. The math team placed 5th out of 36 teams during their regular season and have officially qualified for playoffs.
  • Monday February 24th marks the beginning of the second annual March Prideness contest. It will run through April 3rd, and students will receive a ticket if they demonstrate one of the core values: Positivity, Respect, Integrity, Drive, and Empathy.
  • There is a donation drive in support of Bags of Hope. Bags of Hope is a community driven project founded by human trafficking survivor Jasmine Grace that helps victims find their voice along with getting toiletries and other necessities. Suggested donations include women’s socks, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, Chapstick and notes of encouragement. Donations will be collected now through February 27th and boxes are located in the Walpole High School lobby, cafeteria, and Walpole public library.
  • The Green Team met Thursday after school and will schedule their next meeting soon. New members are always welcome.
  • The Spanish club also held a meeting to discuss their upcoming events while enjoying snacks and refreshments.
  • The PM club will be traveling to Boda Borg a questing experience, this Friday. Any student that has paid their activity fee is welcome and can see Ms. Bacon with any questions. If you're curious what questing is, click here.
  • There will be a community service trip to Thailand in February 2021. Students will visit cool sights as well as participating in two service projects, see Ms. Wick for more information.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Steering Committee

The Walpole Public Schools (WPS) has a Preschool - 12 approach to social and emotional learning (SEL). The SEL program in the district is guided at the district level by the SEL Steering Committee in conjunction with Goal 2 of the Strategic Plan.

At WPS, the social and emotional well-being of our students remains a top priority. Through the guidance of our SEL Committee, our staff continues to promote skills and strategies that help students build self-awareness, resilience, and confidence. Our efforts around SEL continue to expand as we offer new programs, additional workshops led by trained counselors, and increased opportunities for student leadership.

Maura Garrity and Sarah Scales are part of the Steering Committee and presented on the following:

  • What is Social-Emotional Learning?
  • Reasons for Social-Emotional Learning at WPS including:
  • Creating a unified vision of SEL across all WPS
  • Gather feedback from staff and students in order to improve our understanding and practices of SEL
  • Develop competencies and standards to create common language and practices for WPS, at different developmental and grade levels
  • Core Competencies of SEL which, among other things, include:
  • Self-awareness
  • Social Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Relationship Skills
  • Responsible Decision-Making
  • Next steps
  • Vision Statement

New Business Items

Strategic Plan Goal 2 Update: Dr. John Queally provided the School Committee with an update to Goal 2 of the Strategic Plan. Goal 2 goals and objectives are as follows:

2. To foster and strengthen the social-emotional well-being of the school community.

2.1 Identify and provide professional development and resources.

2.2 Embed consistent social emotional learning practices across curriculum.

2.3 Engage, educate, and partner with families and community.

Special Education Programs: Dr. Queally gave a description of all special education programs available in the Walpole Public Schools. A list of all programs and descriptions can be found here.

First Reading - Healthy Resolution - The School Committee was provided with a draft of a Healthy Resolution to be reviewed as a first reading. This resolution is recommended by the Office of Health and Human Services in partnership with the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. It is to increase support for awareness and prevention to help reduce the number of individuals who experience sexual and domestic violence in their lives.

Superintendent Report

Dr. Gough reported that:

  • She continues to visit schools and classrooms. Principal goals will be the focus for the second half of the school year and how these goals will influence teaching and learning.
  • A meeting was held with Sheri Cohen, Program Coordinator for the Council on Aging (COA) to discuss ways to continue the district's partnership with the COA.
  • The MSBA voted last fall to invite the Town to conduct a Feasibility Study for the Bird Middle School with the consideration of Johnson Middle School for potential consolidation of grades 6-8. The Town is pleased to announce that the MSBA voted to appoint Compass Project Management, Inc. to be the Owner's Project Management (OPM) firm. Appointing an OPM is the critical first step of this process.
  • We held the district's Strategic Plan full day event on Thursday, February 6. Each year we review the district's progress toward achieving the goals, objectives, and action steps outlined in the Strategic Plan. School staff, educational leaders, town board members, students, parents and community members actively engaged in this review and provided a variety of perspectives. The focus was on three key points: (1) decisions we make should have an impact on the instructional core; (2) decisions should drive the systematic improvement of teaching and learning and (3) the Strategic Plan should be a written set of prioritized and deliberate actions a district choses to pursue in order to improve the academic and social emotional skills of all students.
  • This past Monday the School Department presented to the Finance Committee an overview of the FY '21 budget. We identified strengths of Walpole Public Schools and went into detail about the budget picture. Dr. Gough thanked the Finance Committee members for their time, patience, questions and feedback. The School Department will meet again with the Finance Committee in March.
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