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  • Writer's picturejennygraham

Jenny's Recap of the December 9th School Committee Meeting

The sixth School Committee meeting of the academic year and a Special Education Subcommittee meeting were held on December 9, 2019.

Special Education Subcommittee

The Special Education Subcommittee met to recap its accomplishments for the year. The current Chair, Erin DiBenedetto, noted that this is her final meeting. If you see Erin, be sure to thank her for her dedication. For the last year this subcommittee has focused on two key objectives:

  1. Improving the experience of our students receiving special education services during out of school time. Specifically, the group focused on training efforts for the after school and summer fun camps. The Summer Fun director noted the impact of encouraging early dialogue with families and the training available to his staff. The group talked about additional opportunities for the upcoming year to promote early registration for all students so that staffing can meet the needs of students.

  2. Increasing disability awareness. The group highlighted the Disability Awareness professional development offered during this calendar year. Forty teachers took part in the training. The group plans to conduct an additional session of this class and to create a 2.0 version for the inaugural group.

The group talked briefly about possible goals for the upcoming year. Erin noted that the new chair will be appointed by the Mayor before goals and plans can be set, but recommended that the group continue to stay focused on one or two objectives going forward because the format worked well. There were lots of good ideas ranging from increased participation on the subcommittee to sports and physical education to curriculum goals. Stay tuned for details as the new subcommittee forms.

At the regular School Committee meeting, Superintendent Edouard-Vincent provided a brief report of notable happenings across the district.

Thanksgiving Events

  • Pre-thanksgiving event held at John Brewers sponsored by the Honeycutt family

  • Thanksgiving celebration at the Curtis Tufts school

  • Thanksgiving Day PEP rally at Medford High and Football Game.

  • McGlynn Elementary School’s Thanksgiving canned goods drive delivered more than 1400 canned goods from the school to worthy charities.

Other Events

  • CCSR hosted an 8th-grade assembly featuring Amanda Gorman, a senior at Harvard and the Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate who challenged students to a Poetry Jam.

  • Girls Rising held an assembly at Medford High to encourage girls to become game-changers. Medford’s own Kerry Kavanaugh and my friend Dr. Jaime Cheah! They spoke about the challenges of working in historically male-dominated fields.

  • The PALS program, a collaboration between Medford Public Schools and the Medford Police Department hosted lunch with an officer at the Columbus school.


  • Middle school winter sports began last week.

  • Athletes and coaches attended the MIAA Sportsmanship Summit, where those that make sportsmanship a priority were celebrated.

  • 436 students tried out for High School winter sports including; Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Boys Hockey, Girls Hockey, Co-Ed Gymnastics, Co-Ed Indoor Track, Co-Ed Cheerleading, Co-Ed Swimming.

Medford Gives Back

  • The Vocational school is creating food baskets for families in need. Donations can be dropped off at the Vocational Main Office.

  • Students preparing for a trip to Argentina are selling pashmina scarves to raise money for their trip.

  • Annual Mitten Trail is underway at the Medford Family Network. If you are interested in sponsoring a gift, check-in with the Medford Family Network to pick up a mitten, which will outline a small gift wish for a deserving student or family.

General Updates

The technology upgrade that began before Thanksgiving is nearly complete. This work will help prevent a myriad of security issues the district identified with its provider.

The School Committee approved an April 2021 field trip to see the National Parks of the Southwest. There was a discussion about the cost of the field trip at an estimated $2997. The trip is completely all-inclusive and will cover the Grand Canyon, Zion, Brice Canyon, Sedona, Glenn Canyon, where students will raft the Colorado River, and visits to a Navajo and Hope Reservation. Additional work will occur to fine tune the agenda and support fundraising efforts based on students interested in the trip.

Professional Day Recap

The administration provided a report of activity on the professional development day. Topics ranged from brain-based literacy to our new elementary science curriculum to content-specific questions for Middle and High school teachers. Dr. Bernadett Riciardelli noted that evaluation feedback was positive.

Community Preservation Committee Requests

Dr. Peter Cushing provided an update on Medford’s applications for Community Preservation Committee Funds to refurbish playground surfaces at Brooks, Columbus, and McGlynn elementary schools. The CPC previously awarded a grant to resurface the Roberts playground. In the case of the McGlynn school, the project is complex. The district, in collaboration with parents, requested a paid design study during this round. The study will determine how changes to the space can allow the district to:

  • Fix significant drainage issues on the playground;

  • Resurface critical areas around play structures;and

  • Reimagine the larger space entirely.

The design study represents a change in the request to the CPC based on collaboration between the district and families who felt that taking the time to discuss the use of the space, collect community AND student input, and consult with experts on modern play designs was the best course of action.

The Brooks and Columbus projects are more streamlined and will include repair of playground structure elements and resurfacing both play areas at the two schools. At this time, there will not be a redesign of those spaces requested. Dr. Cushing thanked parents who worked with the district to ensure the applications were submitted in a complete and timely way. I was part of this work, and I am also grateful to the people who participated and took the time to attend the CPC meeting to show the collaborative support our community shares for these three projects. Thanks to all who took the time to sign the collaborative petition across the three projects. Special thanks to Bailey Schendell, Nadia Purifory, Karey Cropper, Gareth McFeely, Iva Toudjarska, Kara Tierney, Ingrid Moncada, Abby Salerno, and Cristina McGorty.

New Business

A report of all subjects taught by non-licensed teachers requested. Finally, several requests were sent to the Rules Subcommittee to refine School Committee operations and processes.

Your call to action: Consider supporting one of the many ways our students are working to support essential causes this holiday season!

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