Jenny's Recap on the March 9th School Committee Meeting
The twelfth School Committee meeting of the academic year was held on March 9th, 2020.
Superintendent Edouard-Vincent congratulated our winter athletes for their hard work and winning records.
The committee took a brief moment to congratulate Associate Superintendent Diane Caldwell on her upcoming retirement. She has spent decades with us at Medford Public Schools and will be sorely missed.
The school calendar for the 2020/2021 school year was approved. According to the schedule, school starts on September 1st for grades 1-12 and September 9th for Kindergarten.
The committee approved the Superintendent's recommendation to formally opt-out of the statewide school choice program. This selection ensures we can focus our budget dollars on servicing Medford students.
A playground advisory committee was created by the School Committee to help the district implement the grants received from the Community Preservation Commission to resurface the Brooks and Columbus playgrounds and to perform a design study at the McGlynn complex. Dr. Peter Cushing will put out a call for applications soon.
A parent and friend, Maureen Ronayne, spoke about Dyslexia and the actions our district is taking to improve our early literacy outcomes. She acknowledged that the district's focus on implementing early screening efforts would undoubtedly help some of our current, and all of our future students. She also expressed her concern that we have many many students in our system today who will not be helped by these early screening efforts. We voted unanimously to create an ad hoc committee to focus on this issue.
The committee voted to table the approval of the Curriculum Subcommittee's recommendation to support changes to the middle school health curriculum to align to national standards. I was not pleased to see this delayed for a variety of reasons. Ms. Rachel Perry has since provided the committee with the requested materials so we can move forward with the vote. Medford has not complied with national standards for too long. More importantly, we are not teaching sex education in middle school, and our students deserve better. Under Massachusetts law, all parents have the right to opt-out of this material if we teach it. I look forward to voting on this measure again soon. You can see the details of the Curriculum subcommittee meeting here.
Items that have since changed (dramatically)
It feels like our last meeting was a few million years ago. We all have our children at home now until at least May 4th as our state, and frankly, the entire world, figures out how to battle COVID-19. There were several topics that I'm not going to go into depth on, because for one reason or another, the conversation from several weeks back simply doesn't apply.
Update on COVID-19 from the City. No need to elaborate here!
Student Opportunity Act (SOA) update. We are awaiting guidance from DESE about updated reporting requirements. One important thing that hasn't changed is that Medford is only slated to receive $138,000 from the SOA in next year's budget. This number is a small fraction in comparison to our anticipated increased payments to charter schools, which stands at an additional $500,000+.
The school committee voted to cancel the scheduled field trip to France for 38 Medford High Seniors. The discussion was lengthy and focused on everything from health concerns to a lack of refunds for trip costs despite holding trip insurance. We asked MPS's attorney to pursue further remedy to the lost deposits. Additionally, I requested that the Rules, Policy, and Equity subcommittee review the trip insurance protocols in place for our students to prevent future issues like this. This motion passed unanimously.
The middle school lottery was postponed from its originally scheduled 3/26 date. Stay tuned for more details.
Your call to action: Stay home, and wash your hands! 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.