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5 Takeaways from the June 21 Shawsheen Tech School Committee Meeting

1. The first point of business was a DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) Tiered Focus Monitoring report; this is a review that is required from every district every three to five years. Per DESE, it’s working with the school to develop a CIMP (Continuous Improvement and Monitoring Plan) pertaining to special education and civil rights. DESE adds that all standards are either implemented or partially implemented.

The full CIMP can be found in the School Committee packet.

2. Dr. Brad Jackson gave his final report as superintendent. He will be replaced by Tony McIntosh at the end of this month. Jackson stated that the school maintained low COVID numbers throughout June following a spike in May that coincided with April vacation and a statewide spike. Jackson also reported that Shawsheen Tech sent 11 students to the Skills USA competition.

Picture from @ShawsheenSkills

3. A new special education/ELL (English Language Learner) teacher was hired. This fall, for the first time, the school will have students who require one-on-one ELL instruction, and that position will be heavy on ELL this year. Jackson said he believes this will make Shawsheen Tech more accessible. In his opinion, eliminating the cut score for admissions directly led to these students attending Shawsheen. He said that the cut score, which used to be below 60 of 100 possible points, made it more difficult for children with low English language proficiency to be accepted into the school.

Jackson also anticipates budget requests for additional ELL resources in the future, since there will most likely be a need for a full time ELL teacher. He warned there will need to be some training for freshman shop teachers to make sure the shops are safe for students with limited English.

4. Jackson notes that during his tenure, which began July 1, 2020, Shawsheen had more in-person instruction than any of the districts that students live in, and possibly the entire Merrimack Valley. The school has begun a transition to a co-teaching model, adjusted its admissions system to come in line with DESE regulations and had a significant increase in mental health support. Using COVID money, the school is about to have one-to-one devices for the students, and the administration signed a memo of understanding with the Billerica Police Department that clarifies the role of the School Resource Officer. All of this was accomplished on top of numerous state reviews.

5. The next meeting is September 27, and will begin at 7:00 p.m. There will be a summer retreat on July 8 at 9:00 a.m. June’s meeting can be watched here.

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