Jenny's Recap of the January 13th School Committee Meeting
The ninth School Committee meeting of the academic year was held on January 13, 2020.
Superintendent Edouard-Vincent reported that Dave MacGilvray, a Medford native, spoke to both middle schools last month. She also commended Lou Mandarini, Local 22, and students for their work to collect and compile holiday gift baskets and thanked Local 22 for their $1400 donation to the effort.
She noted that they are exploring the possibility of making use of 2-hour delays for weather conditions in the future. Medford does not currently use 2-hour delays and I hear people ask about this often. There are impacts to our busing practices and how school days are organized to be considered. I am thrilled that they are exploring this and look forward to the report.
Superintendent Edouard-Vincent also reported that in our February meetings (Feb 3 and Feb 24) we will be discussing the Middle School Lottery and Kindergarten Registration. You haven’t missed anything yet on these topics, but stay tuned in February.
Separately, we received some requested reports. One report confirmed that all middle school teachers have appropriate supplies to support the new Math Curriculum by our Supervisor of Mathematics, Faiza Khan. We also received a report that outlines requested conference days by educators and administrators across our district. The report confirms that no requests have been denied this year but lists 26 Elementary School and 56 Middle/High School Requests.
Health Services Update
We received a report by Toni Wray of our Department of Health Services highlighting some of the work being done across the district by our talented nursing staff. The report highlighted Early Vision Screening, efforts to stem the use of medications (such as Tylenol), various approaches our nurses are using to address anxiety issues with our students, and education on items such as flu prevention. She also talked about activities by the nurses that are really case management-oriented activity. This includes helping connect families to appropriate local PCPs to meet the needs of the family, and working with families where students have ongoing and complex medical needs. She also did say they are working on ways to share these best practices across their team. Next time you chat with a school nurse, thank them for their hard work!
English Learner Update
We received a report on our English Learner department from Paul Teixeira, our Director of English Learners and Title 3. Our EL population remains fluid and not necessarily level across all grades. As of January 9, 2019 our number of EL students is 193, which is a 44 student increase over last year at the same time.
He provided data regarding our results on ACCESS 2.0 testing. ACCESS 2.0 is a state mandated test that measures students’ language proficiency in Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Students in grades 1-12 participate in the testing which is mostly on-line with the exception of grades 1-3 who take the writing portion of the test on paper. Our 2019 ratings indicate that we are meeting all targets established by the state.
He also provided an update on the implementation of a co-teaching model. This began as the Middle School redesign of the program. This is Year 2 of the redesign. We are implementing a co-teaching model in Math Science. In addition to the new co-teaching model, these teachers are also learning a new curriculum in Math. The results speak for themselves. In 2019, our ACCESS scores at McGlynn Middle school increased 10.8%, which exceed our targets. At the high school, co-teaching is occuring in Geometry and Chemistry as well.
Notably, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has begun work to create a blueprint for English Learner Success. Paul provided input to the program and talked about the work of our redesign. DESE is planning to come see the program in action as a potential model for their blueprint. How exciting!
The annual Credit for Life Fair will be held on April 3, 2019 from 8:45-12:45 for ALL 11th grade students. The fair is really a simulation of real life and teaches students about saving, spending, and budgeting based on a host of career choices and lifestyle decisions. Students will each select an occupation from 200 choices and will then navigate the fair based on the parameters of the career. The program is made possible by a grant funded through the Division of Banks. For the first time this year, the program is mandatory for all 11th graders and the group is seeking volunteers from the community to assist at the event. If you are interested in participating reach out to Lisa Evangelista (firstname.lastname@example.org). There will be a volunteer training on 3/13 as well!
The Medford Community Fund awarded $125,000 in community fund payments to worthy non-profits across Medford. Medford Public Schools is thrilled to be the beneficiary of many grants including those to:
MHS and MVTHS PTO
Medford Education Foundation which awards grants to classroom teachers for innovative ideas and programs
MEEP program which will infuse music therapy into its programming
Medford Family Network who will expand offerings of English language classes at the Beginner and Intermediate levels
4 Elementary School PTOs via the Citywide Elementary Alliance Collaboration. Associate Superintendent Diane Caldwell noted that the Elementary School Principals are giddy with excitement about new chromebook carts for each Elementary School
The School Committee adopted a schedule of Committee of the Whole meetings to review budget plans for the 2020-2021 school year between now and May. There will be a preliminary Committee of the Whole on February 3rd from 5:30-7 where we will discuss request and plans as an input to the work the departments will do prior to presenting according to the attached schedule. All meetings will be held in Room 207 at City Hall and the Committee passed a unanimous motion that all will be recorded. The schedule for the subsequent meetings and departments for each session can be found here.
There are a series of new requirements related to the Student Opportunity Act regarding the budget process that we are still working through, so understand that these dates may change. If that happens, I’ll do my best to get updates to you in a timely fashion.
Your call to action: Think about which budget sessions you plan to participate in and put them in your calendar. They are always informative. Please also share this blog with friends and neighbors who want to be informed about our schools. Subscribing to the newsletter will ensure you receive these updates as I post them.