School Committee Meeting Summary

MAY 12, 2022

RECOGNITIONS

1. Fisher Art Student Recognition - Fisher School grade 1 student Patrick M. has been selected to receive the President’s Choice Award from the National Art Education Association. Patrick is among 15 elementary school students from Massachusetts to be recognized at the National Art Education Conference this year! Congratulations to our Fisher artist!


2. Walpole High School Robotics Team - Members of the Walpole Robotics Team were recognized for an exceptional season that demonstrated tremendous teamwork, determination, and innovation as they applied science, technology, engineering and math skills in various competitions. The Team recently competed in the FIRST Robotics World Championship Competition in Houston, TX, finishing 11th in their division. Thank you to all of the mentors for their dedication and commitment to this valuable program. For an informative Walpole Media interview with the Robotics Team please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PExrCLy-g9w


3. Walpole High School Graduating School Committee Representative - Scotty C. is our graduating School Committee representative. We appreciate his commitment to provide the School Committee and community with valuable updates on student body events over the last four years. Entering the University of Connecticut, Scotty plans to major in mathematics. Congratulations!

Walpole High School Student Report

Scotty C., Walpole High School student representative to the School Committee, gave a report as follows:


  • The high school has been incredibly busy this past month with the end of the school year approaching.
  • Boys Lacrosse is currently battling hard with a 6-5 record, and their next game is Friday vs. Needham.
  • Girl’s Lacrosse is continuing their success from last year only losing one out of their 11 games, and their next game is also against Needham at home.
  • The baseball team is swinging for the fences with a record of 7-6, with their next game Friday at Bird Middle School.
  • The softball team has a game on Friday at home, where they hope to continue their almost perfect season record of 10-1.
  • The track teams are both winding down their seasons, as the girl’s finished Wednesday night’s senior night as Bay State Herget Champions.
  • The boy’s track team fell just short, runners up to the title, but still had an exciting last home meet Wednesday.
  • AP testing wraps up Friday.
  • Friday morning is the Senior Breakfast, where seniors will enjoy a breakfast outside before school starts.
  • The Student Council has also planned multiple fun events these past few weeks, including a hypnotist event and the annual pep rally.
  • Upperclassmen are excited for prom this weekend!
  • The National Honor Society has their first in-person induction in over two years at the high school next Tuesday, where they will celebrate their year of service.
  • The film festival is having its second, and final, premiere of the movies tonight.
  • Walpole’s Pop’s Concert will take place next Friday (5/20).
  • Seniors have many more upcoming special events, such as the Senior Walk and their last day of classes less than two weeks away.
  • Scotty finished his report by thanking the School Committee, Administrators and Staff for their dedication and commitment. He stated being a School Committee Representative has allowed him to see just how complex the school system is. It showed him it takes the whole community, parents, administrators and students and he is incredibly grateful for his Walpole High School experience.

New Business

Out-of-State Field Trip Request - The School Committee unanimously approved an out-of-country trip request for Walpole High School students to travel to Thailand from February 14, 2023 through February 25, 2023. This community service trip was initially approved by the School Committee in 2019 but postponed due to the pandemic.


Art Curriculum Update - Ms. Sandy Allison and Mrs. Joanne Hirschfeld provided the School Committee with an Art Curriculum update. This presentation can be viewed here at time marker 28:50.

Superintendent Report

Dr. Gough provided a COVID update. The most recent COVID-19 data for Walpole shows a 7.61% positivity rate. There were 52 positive cases reported for the period 5/1-/5/7. We are seeing an uptick and as a reminder, masks are available for students and staff. Cases are updated every weekend and can be found on the WPS COVID Data Dashboard.


Summer Learning Program: We are pleased to be able to offer our free K-8 in person Summer Learning Program. The Summer Learning Program is a great opportunity for your student to engage in a fun review of essential content from the year and start to prepare for September. The program will offer weekly sessions at each grade level Tuesday-Thursday 8:30-11:30am from the week of June 28 to the week of July 14. Students may enroll in as many weeks as they wish, consistent attendance for each session is expected. As a reminder, the initial survey was to assess district wide interest in the program. Completing the first survey did not enroll your student(s) in the program. Please note that due to high demand and limited staffing, some grades and sessions may be limited to a first come first serve basis. Click HERE to enroll your current K-8 student(s) in the program. Please complete a separate form for each child you are enrolling. Be sure to pay attention when entering your student’s grade level and school. All enrollment forms must be completed by Friday, May 27. Enrolled families will receive further communication by the week of June 6.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact the program coordinators, Elizabeth Ryan (emryan@walpole.k12.ma.us) and Jill Masterson (jmasterson@walpole.k12.ma.us).


Equity Audit Family Survey: As a part of our equity audit partnership with Mass Insight, we will be distributing surveys to all school and district staff, students (Grades 4-12), and community partners. We also want to hear from you. Our partner, Mass Insight, is offering this 10 minute survey for family members and guardians in order to learn about your experiences and those of your child/children. Families may also receive a phone call in the month of May which should last no longer than 10 minutes. We value family and guardian input and hope you will participate and share your thoughts. Throughout this process, everyone’s participation is critical. A high response rate will enable us to confidently take the necessary steps to make Walpole Public Schools more inclusive and equitable for all. Please use the links below to take the survey in your preferred language. The survey will remain open until May 27th. Click HERE to take the survey.


Bus Registration 2022-2023 is now open: Register online at www.myschoolbucks.com. Registrations received after June 20th will be assessed a $25.00 late fee per rider and all registrations must be received by Friday July 8th as routes are mapped over the summer. Routes will be posted on the district website a week prior to the start of the school year. If you prefer not to register online, please complete the registration form and mail it to Walpole Public Schools, 135 School Street, Walpole, MA, 02081, Attention Transportation Office. Please make checks payable to the Town of Walpole. Students in grades K-6 who live over two miles to their attending school (list of eligible streets can be found HERE) and students who qualify for free and reduced lunch are eligible for free bus transportation. Registration is required for all students, including those who qualify for free transportation. If you have questions, please contact Kim Poirier, Transportation Coordinator, at wpstransportation@walpole.k12.ma.us or 508-660-7200, Ext. 5276


WPS continues to be busy with many end of the year transitions and events. The District Art Show was well attended. Next week is WHS National Honor Society Induction Ceremony, WHS Pops Night, and Boyden Spring Dance. Please be reminded that Kindergarten Orientation will be held at all elementary schools next Wednesday, May 18th at 6:30 p.m.


Finally, Dr. Gough was pleased to announce that the WPS budget was passed at Saturday’s Town meeting. The budget will take our students beyond what has been accomplished during the challenging times of COVID. We are proud of the work that was and is necessary to support and maintain in person learning, while at the same time managing protocols and maximizing safety of students and staff. We will be able to secure positions that support STEM fields, target support services, and fulfill our commitment to free full day Kindergarten. Aligning with the Strategic Plan, this budget builds on a strong WPS foundation, ensures a comprehensive curriculum, and provides equitable support services and resources necessary for all children to succeed.

Middle School Building Project

Mr. Breen reported that a virtual Community Forum was held on Wednesday, May 4th at 7:00 p.m. This Forum allowed the community to see the design schedule and the summer 2022 expected construction activity. To find out more information please visit the Middle School Project webpage here. Any questions or comments can be sent via email to the Middle School Project at middleschoolproject@walpole.k12.ma.us.

High School Renovation Information

Mr. Buckley discussed the high school renovation currently being explored. Building Superintendent Don Anderson and School Business Administrator Mike Friscia are waiting for HVAC quotes to add air conditioning to the older parts of the building. Once quotes are received, information will be shared with the School Committee. If HVAC units are installed, the project would qualify to receive an incentive rebate from Eversource. Mr. Buckley indicated that ARPA funds are also available for use on these potential high school HVAC renovations. As more data becomes available, the School Committee will work with the Town Administrator to secure funding.

School Nurses Day

A special thank you to all of our exceptionally wonderful school nurses! Happy Nurses Day/Week!