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10 Takeaways from the 12/7 School Committee Meeting

1. School Council Rep Ranai Elouai started the meeting with updates from TMHS. Winter sports are up and running, and some games have been played. Auditions for the winter theater production were held on Nov. 21. Today and tomorrow students are participating in Challenge Day, a program that stresses connections and empathetic relationships by allowing students to be more vulnerable and talk about their feelings, what’s happening their lives and the hardships they’ve been through.

2. IT Director Jason Stamp gave the committee the TPS Privacy Audit Report. The audit was done at the request of Superintendent Brenda Regan, to see how well the district is protecting student data and learn if there’s more we can do. The audit was done by K-12 Privacy Consultant Steve Smith, who concluded that the district was above average and its weakest link is unintentional actions by people.

Smith has some recommendations for the district. First is awareness of the need for privacy and how to ensure that is happening. There were also suggestions to update some consent forms, the district website, the student handbook and finally to do some updates in regards to communications and messaging to eliminate human error, like a cloud security system that will pop up a message asking if the sender meant to include potentially private information in the email.

Jason Stamp updates the committee

3. Athletic Director Ron Druin shared that the NHL reached out to him about the TMHS hockey team playing the Frozen Fenway exhibition at Fenway Park. Tewksbury will be playing a teaM from New Jersey on January 4 from 5 – 7 p.m. There will be a limited number of tickets available, and more details will be coming.

4.Superintendent Regan’s report included that the district will be received a $50,000 Innovation Pathways grant to teach children considering technology careers. This will expand the UMass exploratory program to 8th -10th graders.

The Wynn fall play, Presenting Puffs for Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic, will be showing Dec 16, 17 and 18. Regan reminds families that December 22 and 23 are early release days, and January 3 and 4 are additional days off this year.

5. Lori McDermott’s Assistant Superintendent report mostly involved giving in the schools. An entire van full of 300 pounds of food items were collected for the food pantry at the Thanksgiving powderpuff game. A nonperishable food item was the cost of admission. In addition, the Dewing collected 503,484 food items for the pantry, and the those who collected the most items were able to throw pies at staff members Mr. Waldron, Mr. Finneran and Mrs. Bosworth.

Access testing for ELL students is happening now. This testing gives ELL students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. The results of that assessment help the district track progress, determine appropriate support and sometimes allow students to test right out of the program.

The district is also looking to replicate it’s Dewing integrated preschool program at the Heath Brook.

6. Dave Libby had an update on the school move. The Administrative wing has moved in, and library materials have been moved. Most move materials have been sent to schools, and lots of crates have been packed already. It seems like people are in a good place in regards to packing.

Next week at Ryan will be a trial of the new drop-off pattern that they and the new Center Elementary School will be using.

There were field trips this week to a marionette show at TMHS to allow packing time for teachers. On December 19, 20 and 21, there is a trip planned for kids and teachers to go see the school. On December 28 & 29, the bulk of North St. and Trahan will move. There will be tours that evening for parents and current students only.

January 3 and 4 are teacher workshop days, where the new school staff will be participating in orientation and unpacking.

7. Subcommittee Reports were next on the agenda.

Keith Sullivan gave the ESBC update. The Center Elementary school has a temporary occupancy permit, which allows staff to move in. The final permit is coming after some punch list items are completed. The project is still on time and on budget.

On Jan. 19 the SEPAC is holding a Basic Rights Workshop.

The Wellness Committee just met today and is working on updating their policy. They are looking at other districts’ polices and getting guidance from DESE. School nutrition lead Deb Mugford is working with her nutritionist to find a fun way to talk about nutrition during School Nutrition Week in March. The committee also discussed vaping at the Wynn Middle School and TMHS. They will be talking to health educators about educating students.

Last night the North St. and Trahan School Reuse Committee presented their recommendations with the Select Board. Committee member Kayla Biagioni-Smith shared highlights. The recommendations were based on community feedback, which showed that residents really want parks and usable space for the community. The committee also recommends holding onto the North St. site for potential use for a lower elementary school at some point in the future. There is also hope that that property can be connected to the Frasca field with a boardwalk.

8. Policy revisions are still ongoing.

Policies for consideration for revision, first reading:

  • EB-Safety Program
  • EEB-First Aid
  • EBC-Emergency Plans
  • EBCD-Emergency Closings
  • EC-Buildings and Grounds Management
  • ECA-Buildings and Groubds Security
  • ECAC-Vandalism
  • EDC-Authorized Use of School Owned Materials
  • EEA-Student Transportation Services
  • EEAA-Walkers and Riders
  • EEAE-School Bus Safety Program
  • EEAEB-Drug and Alcohol Testing for School Bus and Commercial Vehicle Drivers
  • EEAG-Student Transportation in Private Vehicles
  • EEAJ-Motor Vehicle Idling on School Grounds

Policies for consideration for revision, second and final reading, that were unanimously approved:

  • BDG-School Attorney
  • CA-Administration Goals
  • CB-School Superintendent
  • CBD-Line and Staff Relations
  • CHA-Development of Procedures
  • CHCA-Approval of Handbooks and Directives
  • CHD-Administration in Policy Absence

9. The committee discussed naming of key areas of the Center Elementary School. There is a desire to memorialize both the North St. and Trahan schools in some way. It was decided that the Media Center will called the Trahan Library/Media Center, with acknowledgment of the lineage of the name somewhere in the media center. A corridor, to be determined later, will be called North Street.

10. Last up was matters of interest. Congratulations were given to the girl’s volleyball team, which clinched the state championship. The committee wishes everyone happy holidays. The PACs are hosting some fun winter events. The new Center Elementary PAC was voted in last night, and new boards were created for the Heath Brook and Dewing PACs.

Upcoming meetings:

  • 1/11: School Committee budget workshop and regular meeting
  • 12/8: ESBC
  • 3/1: Wellness Committee

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