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SC Meeting: April 2, 2019

Discussion items at the 4/2/19 meeting included a presentation by Principal Tamatha Bibbo and members of Pollard Middle School Council on the school’s 2018-2021 Improvement Plan. The School Committee also heard from Principal Aaron Sicotte on the proposed changes to the elementary, middle school and high school handbooks.

School Committee Updates

The School Committee invites members of the Needham community to an Open House on Saturday, April 6th from 9 am to 10:30 am at the Pollard Middle School library. The purpose of the Open House is to encourage the community to interact informally with the School Committee, particularly with regard to the draft of the “Portrait of a Needham Graduate” competencies. A  formal presentation of the “Portrait of a Needham Graduate” competencies will be made on Tuesday, April 23rd.

Superintendent’s Comments

Superintendent Gutekanst offered congratulations to several NHS and Pollard students who received accolades from Scholastic for their writing.

Bus registration for the 2019-2020 school year is now open on the Needham Public Schools website. The deadline for registration is May 15th, but spots fill up early. The superintendent encouraged families to register as soon as possible to ensure their child(ren) receive(s) transportation.

NHS Senior Julia Cuddy was presented with the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for founding the Boston chapter of The Shoebox Project, which provides personal care items to women experiencing homelessness in the Boston area.

Pollard Middle School School Improvement Plan

Principal Tamatha Bibbo and members of the Pollard School Council presented highlights of the 2018-2021 School Improvement Plan. Among the issues discussed were:

  1. The transition of the curriculum to meet the 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Science Framework

  2. The audit of the current Middle School mathematics program

  3. The school’s ongoing work with cultural proficiency and culturally responsive practices

  4. The development of a new schedule which will reflect student population growth as well as the ideals and competencies generated in “Portrait of a Needham Graduate”

Proposed 2019-2020 Elementary, Middle School, and High School Handbook Changes

NHS Principal Aaron Sicotte commented on changes to the various school handbooks, with particular focus on middle and high school dress codes, and the transition from a weighted to a non-weighted grade point average for Needham High School students beginning with the Class of 2023.

Action Items:

The School Committee voted unanimously to not participate in the School Choice Program  for the 2019-2020 school year due to programmatic and space limitations.

School Committee Comments:

SC members highlighted a number of upcoming events:

  • Tuesday, April 9th -- Townwide Election. Please VOTE!

  • Tuesday, April 9th -- SEPAC presentation on student stress (Broadmeadow, 7pm)

  • Tuesday, April 23rd -- Fundraiser for Needham Steps Up, a 15-year old program in NHS that mentors students through the college application process. This organization is predominantly funded by community contributions. For more information, visit

  • Wednesday, April 24th -- The REAL Coalition Forum on Racial Equity will provide an update on their progress in the hopes of engaging community partners in their work. (NHS, 6-8pm)


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