School Committee Meeting Summary
October 28, 2021
Walpole High School Student Report
Grace R., Walpole High School student representative to the School Committee and new student representative mentee Colin Mahoney were present at the School Committee Meeting. Grace gave a report as follows:
The first term is ending on November 5th. Students are preparing for term tests or other assessments in their classes.
Study interventions, which have become very useful for students, have ramped up over the past few weeks.
During their study hall blocks, students can schedule makeup work or get extra help from their teachers or a National Honor Society member. Students can also work with teachers after school.
Fall sports are wrapping up with playoffs to begin in early November. Teams continue to work hard to make the most of the remainder of their seasons.
Winter sports are beginning to hold meetings to determine interest and plan for tryout dates.
Congratulations to all new members of the WHS Speech and Debate Team who participated in a novice tournament virtually last Saturday where veteran members judged and helped out.
Many after school clubs have Halloween related events this week. UNICEF Club had a successful trunk or treat last Sunday with many children from the community participating. Best Buddies is hosting a Monster Bash Halloween party on Saturday with games and treats! The Student Council also has a candy drive planned for this Saturday to drop off candy to families in town.
The Student Council organized a cornhole tournament last Friday after school with proceeds going to the Jimmy Fund. It was a huge hit!
This week, the Student Council is hosting a Wall of Hope fundraiser where students can donate or buy a ribbon to raise money for Breast Cancer Research.
Lastly, Walpole families can now sign up for fall yard cleanups on November 6 and 7th to support the Student Council.
ELA Update - Lauren Culliton (WHS English Dept. Chair) and Shannon Findley (K-5 ELA Curriculum Coordinator) provided an English Language Arts update. The updates included MCAS results, Professional Learning Community (PLC)work, and curriculum maps/outlines. They reviewed 2020-2021 goals and instructional focus areas. Diagnostic assessments, curriculum tools, and next steps were also discussed.
Ms. Findley reflected on last year with the major goal being to launch a study in reading K-Grade 5. Units of study and readings were launched and core instructional materials have been purchased for teachers. Book rooms were created to support the units of study with authentic student materials. Professional Development (PD) has continued in partnership with Clare Landrigan, a leader in implementing best practices in the field of literacy. Last year, Ms. Landrigan worked remotely with Walpole to create professional development videos as well as streaming into classrooms and co-teaching lessons virtually. Ms. Findley continues to coach and collaborate with all teachers, and she has created instructional videos. She spoke about next steps in 2021-2022. Ms. Findley shared a video of students sharing what they like about reading. The video can be accessed at time marker 17:00 here.
Ms. Lauren Culliton, ELA Department Chair for Grades 6-12 indicated the ELA Department focus is on student engagement, differentiation approaches to writing and reading strategies in the middle schools. Ms. Culliton works closely with her staff and especially Mrs. Kerr, who has done extensive curriculum development and is working with the middle school ELA staff. Ms. Culliton indicated she meets weekly with each middle school staff on how to keep students engaged and involved. Additionally, Ms. Culliton discussed Professional Development at the high school level and elaborated on the PLC team work of sharing best practices, targeting areas where gaps exist, and creating action steps to close those gaps. A common grading practice has been implemented to ensure that expectations are aligned and that students in all sections have similar experiences with learning expectations, goals and objectives.
- The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner extended the mask requirement through January 15, 2022.
- DESE will continue to work with medical experts and state health officials to evaluate the mask requirement beyond January 15th. Dr. Gough provided the School Committee with recent COVID positivity rates and student/staff vaccination rates.
- The Town Health Department will administer a COVID Clinic for WHS students on Wednesday, November 10th from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the large conference room at Walpole High School. Please click this link to pre-register.
- Once vaccines become available for younger students, we will host another clinic.
- MCAS results were sent home to families, and results will be discussed at the November 18th School Committee Meeting.
- Thank you to the Walpole Town Meeting representatives and community members who attended the presentation last Tuesday at Bird Middle School. This was the final presentation prior to the Special Election Vote (November 2). Last Saturday, Walpole's Fall Town Meeting members voted 126 - 4 to approve the debt exclusion to appropriate the necessary funds to construct a new combined middle school, pending its approval in the November 2 election. For more information visit the project website. You can also find the October 19 presentation on this site under the Community Forum Tab. Have a question? Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lastly, Dr. Gough provided information regarding the John D. Langley Foundation. The primary mission of this extraordinary foundation is to fund requests for extracurricular and enrichment opportunities for children and teens with financial need or families in crisis. They partner with Walpole Public Schools in order to identify needs and to serve to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families in need. Dr. Gough provided background on John Langley. John was a college sociology and business major involved in urban community service and interested in social work. He attended Walpole High School, where he was involved in a multitude of activities. He was a high school student leader, and among the many leadership positions held, he was a student representative to the School Committee. We are so thankful for their partnership with Walpole Public Schools.
Middle School Building Project
Mr. Breen discussed the positive Town Meeting vote to allocate the money for a proposed combined new middle school pending approval on the November 2nd ballot. He is very appreciative of the Town Meeting Members and community members that came out to support this project.
Ms. Geosits said this proposed combined middle school is very cost effective and a really good solution to the aging middle school buildings. She, too, thought it was a wonderful endorsement of all the hard work done and recommended that anyone who still has questions, reach out to the middle school via email at email@example.com and read the information that's online here. There's a lot of information out there and informed voters are needed for this important November 2nd ballot.
Mrs. Gallivan mentioned that this is the last School Committee Meeting before the voters will decide on the middle school building project next Tuesday. She indicated that there is a great deal of information on the school website or town website. This process has secured $37 million of state funding to help pay for this project.