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10 Takeaways From the August 17 Tewksbury School Committee Meeting

1. The TMHS Girls Softball team was recognized at tonight’s meeting for being state finalists in the MIAA Division 2. Athletic Director Ron Drouin and Coach Brittney Souza were on hand to share highlights of the girl’s season.

Before the team left Superintendent Regan shared that Drouin was the District 4 MIAA Athletic Director of the Year, and that he’s up for athletic director of the year for the state of Massachusetts.

TMHS Athletic Director Ron Drouin

2. Regan began her superintendent report by discussing the joint School Committee and Administration workshop earlier in the day; she anticipates am audience-ready format of the document before school starts.

She shared that Drouin and business manager Dave Libby worked closely with fall coaches on a newly mandated training program to ensure proper safety training. Regan said “topics like compression protocols, hazing and other safety issues are included in this online training. And there’s a certification upload process for our coaches, with many new coaches and assistant coaches.”

Central administration will be resurrecting the district security team, which is a partnership between the police department, fire department and representatives from the school administrative team. They intend to clarify emergency procedures and plan for the drills that will happen in the first weeks of school. Member Rich Russo offered to be the School Committee member on this team and was unanimously approved.

The district has also updated its MERP (medical emergency response plan) for all schools to represent the current school and district leadership team.

On Thursday, Regan, Libby and new assistant superintendent Lori McDermott will meet with the move manager for the Center Elementary School to plan the relocation to the new school in January. And finally, she noted that meals are free for all Massachusetts students this school year.

3. McDermott also had some updates for the committee. This school year, grades K-6 will be piloting two new reading resources, and recently 35 teachers had three training sessions on these new programs.

Professional development has been planned for the first two days back, and that information has been shared with staff. Regan and McDermott held their first meet and greet with parents. McDermott felt they were asked great questions and the session had a real community feel. They will hold more of these meet and greets during the school year.

4. Libby had some security updates. The entry vestibule at the Dewing has been completed; it was the last school to have one. Security cameras have been upgrade at TMHS, and there was security film added to vestibules at the Heath Brook, Ryan and Wynn schools.

Bus routes will be posted this week, and any issues or concerns should be addressed to Libby. There are two new parents apps pertaining to transportation. First, grades K-4 will have a new app where you can update pickup information if something changes during the day. This will make it easier for parents to get in touch with staff. This app was piloted at the Dewing last year. The second app allows parents to see the location of their child’s bus as it approaches; you can set a warning when the bus is at certain mileage from your stop.

5. Next up were sub-committee updates. Member Keith Sullivan had the Elementary School Building Committee update. Sullivan shared that parking lot, in place of the old Center School, is almost done. The project remains on time and on budget. The current substantial completion date is October 28, and final completion is expected on December 12.

Per Nick Parsons, the next TSEPAC meeting is September 15.

Rich Russo’s only update for the Wellness Committee was the next meeting date of October 5. He expects to be able to deliver more updates at the next meeting.

6. The committee is still in the process of updating policies. All revisions can be found in the School Committee packet, here. Anyone with questions about any policies or changes is encouraged to reach out the to School Committee, Regan or Libby.

Tonight the committee approved the following polices, which had no changes:

  • BA School Committee Operation Goals
  • BAA Evaluation of School Committee Operational Procedures
  • BB School Committee Legal Status
  • BBAA School Committee Member Authority
  • BBB Board Member/Elections
  • BBA/BBB School Committee Member Qualifications/Oath of Office
  • BBBC School Committee Member A=resignations
  • BBBE Unexpired Term Fulfillment
  • BCA School Committee Member ethics
  • BDA School Committee Organizational Meeting
  • BDB School Committee Officers
  • BDC Appointed Committee Officials
  • BDD School Committee-Superintendent Relationship
  • BDDA School Committee Request for Information
  • BDDB Adequate Information to Precede Action Policy
  • BDE Subcommittees to the School Committee
  • BDF Advisory Committees to the School Committee
  • BDFA School Councils
  • BDFA-E-1 School Improvement Plan
  • BDFA-E-2 Submission and Approval of the School Improvement Plan
  • BDFA-E-3 Conduct of School Council Business
  • BE School Committee Meetings
  • BEC Executive Sessions
  • IJOC School Volunteers

The following polices have some had some updates, and the final revisions will be presented at the next School Committee meeting:

  • BBA School Committee Powers and Duties
  • IMG Animals in Schools (now Dogs in Schools)
  • IJOA Field Trips
  • JJH Student Travel
  • JJH-R Student Travel Regulations
  • DD Fundraising Proposals and Applications (now Grants, Proposals and Special Projects)
  • DIE Audits
  • EFC Free and Reduced Price Food Services

The following polices are on their first reading, and the revisions are being recommended for approval at the next meeting:

  • DA Fiscal Management Goals
  • DB Annual Budget
  • DBC Budget Deadlines and Schedules
  • DBJ Budget Transfer Authority
  • DEC Federal Funds Supplement Not Supplant Policy
  • JKAA Physical Restraint of Students

And the following had their second and final reading and were approved as revised:

  • BDEH Public Comment at School Committee Meetings
  • BJ School Committee Legislative Program
  • EFD Meal Charge Policy (now Charge and Collection of Payment for School Meals Policy)

7. Regan asked for a revised legend on the back of the calendar. The update will change the early release time for K-4 elementary schools from 12:10 to 11:55. This change would eliminate a lunch period on early release days and add in more instructional time, so the lower elementary schools are in line with the other schools in district. The K-4 schools will instead provide a grab-and-go lunch.

8. She also noted there are currently seven open teaching positions. Two will hopefully be filled by the end of the week, based on interviews this week. There are four more interviews scheduled.

9. There was an Open Meeting Law violation reported by two residents. The complaint was that the School Committee violated OML at the February 9 meeting when people were removed from the room. The finding was that the committee did violate the law; they were ordered to comply with the law in the future and notified that similar future violations will be considered evidence of intent to violate. This complaint is considered resolved by the Attorney General’s office.

10. Finally, Regan updated the committee on her Superintendent’s Entry Plan. She reminded the committee that she participated in the new superintendent induction program with the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. She noted that the district has some core values: a “broad-based instructional program, expectations and academic rigor, provide a safe and healthy school culture, the rights of all members are respected as individual differences to ensure that all students will have opportunities for success and foster a sense of social responsibility and community service.”

Her entry plan details how she plans to achieve these goals. She intends to engage in a lot of listening and learning with all stakeholders, so her first phase is two-way communication and data collection through conversations with individuals, group surveys and classroom visits. She’ll then tap district and school leaders to assist her in analyzing all the data that represents a critical lens on how to identify trends and themes.

When this analysis in completed it will be presented publicly to the School Committee and the community. The data will be used to develop a plan to address key learning objectives. Once these have been identified, there will be a comprehensive plan that targets three to five objectives with action steps.

The strategic plan will include the entire district leadership team. That team will play an integral role in development and implementation in the next school year. This has the added benefit of McDermott really getting to know the district.

The next School Committee meeting is September 21.

Julie Naughton
Julie Naughton

Julie likes coffee and covers education and all things concerning the Tewksbury Public Schools, along with other topics, for the Carnation. Contact her at: attn Julie N.

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