The agenda for the 4/24/18 meeting included NEF Spring Grants, the Pollard School Improvement Plan, and preparation for Town Meeting.
During the public comments, NHS student Dora Evans raised the issue of the state of disrepair of the high school auditorium, which includes issues with lighting, the sound system, and seating. She advocated for repairing this space in the near future so that it can be used by both high school students and the community at large.
Though SC does not usually respond during Public Comments, Dr. Gutekanst addressed the comments. He whole-heartedly agreed with Ms. Evans that the town has not maintained the facility as it does others, and stated he had just that day met with the facilities manager and the town manager to discuss renovations to be made over the summer to address some (though not all) of the issues raised. He will update SC on progress later this spring or in the fall.
Election of Officers
The Committee elected officers for the coming year: Aaron Pressman - Chair Michael Greis - Vice Chair Dan Gutekanst - Secretary
Needham Education Foundation (NEF) Spring Grants
The NEF presented six grants that had been awarded for the spring for a total of $32,125, including three professional development (PD) opportunities and also funding for five members of the Portrait of a Needham Graduate group to attend a conference over the summer. SC members were excited to see that the NEF is supporting PD opportunities, which can have a meaningful impact on students for years to come, and also help with staff retention.
Pollard School Improvement Plan
Principal Tamatha Bibbo was joined by parents, students, and teachers from the school council to present highlights from their 2015-2018 plan. (Full plan contained in SC packet.)
Student Feedback for teachers At least once a year, students will have an opportunity to provide feedback to teachers, which will then be part of the teachers annual evaluation.
Student Opportunities The Washington DC trip, community service requirements, and STRETCH program are all contributing to building community and reducing stress in students. The "Breakfast on a Cart" program has been a huge success. Available to all students, this program is an inclusive way to ensure students are not starting their day hungry (the payment system is same as lunch — pay by pin and financial assistance for those in need) , and has become a bit of a "hot spot" for kids to hang out in the mornings.
Digital Citizenship and Social Media Through an NEF grant, Dr. Jill Walsh has been hired to develop programming around social media use specific to Pollard students. The initiative includes curriculum development, PD for teachers, and parent education.
Coding The 7th grade technology classes have started using a program called CoSpaces to help students learning coding through drag-and-drop programming and virtual reality.
Accelerated Math Curriculum An audit will be conducted to assess new accelerated math program, getting feedback from students and families. They will be looking at HS performance and if current placement data points are working.
Town Meeting Preparation
In addition to overall school budget, funding will be requested for Mitchell modulars, Pollard improvement feasibility study, and supplemental NHS construction funds.
Changes to school policy approved
Adrienne Garrido Scholarship approved
A public hearing on school choice was provided — no comments for the public