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9 Takeaways from the Sept. 20 School Committee Meeting

This month’s quick meeting touched on the start of the school year and transportation issues.

1. Resident David Chou was the only speaker tonight at Citizen’s Forum. Chou started by noting that Massachusetts now has free lunch and breakfast, which prompted him to look at the town’s offerings on the Food Services website. He thought there was great info on website regarding nutritional information.

He shared that a protein-rich breakfast was best for learning, but based on his analysis of the breakfast offered at the Center Elementary School, the Wynn Middle School and TMHS, breakfasts are mostly carb-based with a lot of sugar. He is concerned that this could lead to future issues with diabetes. He did say he is not condemning food service, which is just following rules out forth by the USDA, but does think that as a community we can do better.

2. In Brenda Regan’s Superintendent’s Report, full district goals are now on the district website. Tewksbury Public Schools have a new Facebook page. August 28 was opening day for staff; things were a little different, with staff starting in their own schools instead of together at TMHS. Regan also asked the community to refrain from using school grounds during the school day unless you are there for school business.

3. The Assistant Superintendent Report from Lori McDermott also touched on opening day. This was the first year Professional Development was split up by building, so staff didn’t all have the same training, and programs were more tailored to individual needs. DIEBLS testing is underway.

Standards-based report cards are still in the works; there will be an information night for parents on October 26. One additional change with the new report cards is that the district will move to three trimesters for grades 1-12. Kindergarten will continue with twice a year report cards. However, there will be a new special education progress report for kindergarten students in November. 2023 MCAS results are out; overall, impact across the state is positive.

See our breakdown of Tewksbury’s MCAS scores here.

4. Business Manager Dave Libby’s update focused on transportation. Libby shared that the major issue with buses is a driver shortage. Right now, Tewksbury Transit has brought two drivers up from Connecticut and is housing them here. Several candidates unsuccessfully attempted the driving test, and the bus company is trying to recruit. They are offering sign-on and perfect attendance bonuses currently.

The district has looked at rerouting and may be reducing the number of buses due to the driver shortage. They have a plan in hand. Libby will meet with TTI tomorrow and they will decide if they want to reroute.

The company has also been working on communication and has hired an office manager so someone is always available to answer phones. Eileen Osbourn is meeting with SPAC to see how vans are running for both in- and out-of-district students.

If you are interested in becoming a bus driver, you can find more info here.

5. Committee Member Reports:

  • Elementary School Building Committee: They are taking steps to disband, with the caveat that if any issues arise they can meet up again to discuss.
  • Tewksbury SEPAC: Their first meeting is tomorrow
  • Wellness Advisory Committee: They had their first meeting and have a full committee. They discussed their goals for the school year and finalizing a policy to be presented to the School Committee. Russo also said that he will be bringing the breakfast data presented by Chou to the next meeting.

6. Policy Sub-Committee (Changes can be found on page 21 of the packet):

Informal Reading, Polices Reviews and Recommended to Revise:

  • FA-Facilities Development Goals
  • HA-Negotiations Goals

First Reading, Policy Reviewed and Recommended to Revise:

  • ECE-TMHS Student Parking

Second and Final Reading, Policy Reviewed and Recommended to Revise:

  • IJNDD-Facebook and Social Networking Sites
  • JIC-Suspension

First & Final Reading, Policy Reviewed and Recommended to Approve with no Changes:

  • FCB-Retirement of Facilities
  • FF-Naming New Facilities
  • FFA-Memorials
  • LA-Education Agency Relations Goals
  • LB-Relations with other Schools and School District

First & Final Reading, Policy Reviews and Recommended to Rescind:

  • FI-Dedications
  • LBC-E-Relations withs Home Schools Application for Home Instruction
  • LBC-R-Relations with Home Schools

7. Current Enrollment Numbers

8. During School Committee matters of interest, Russo shared that he is the district’s new MIAA representative for baseball. Biagioni-Smith mentioned that Sunday was Public Safety Night. It was a great event and she commended TPD Officer Jennie Welch for running these town events, including the upcoming Safe Halloween. She is also excited about upcoming theater productions.

Garabedian notes that Special Town Meeting is October 3 at TMHS.

9. Future Meetings

  • 9/21-TSEPAC Business Meeting & Policy Sub-Committee Meeting
  • 10/3-Special Town Meeting, members will attend
  • 10/4-Wellness Advisory Committee
  • 10/11-Regular School Committee Meeting
  • 11/15-Regular School Committee Meeting
  • 12/6-Regular School Committee Meeting
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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