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SC Meeting: April 25, 2023

At the April 25 School Committee Meeting, the Eliot School Improvement Plan and proposed changes to the school handbooks for the 2023-24 school year were presented and preparation for the upcoming Town Meeting was discussed.

School Committee Chair and Subcommittee Updates

Andrea Longo Carter, the new School Committee chair, thanked Matt Spengler for his service this past year as the chair of the committee.

Liz Lee mentioned the new Substance Prevention Alliance of Needham (SPAN) newsletter regarding student mental health. Interested parties can subscribe on the SPAN website at

Superintendent Comments

Dr. Gutekanst thanked Matt Spengler for his service at School Committee chair this past year.

He also highlighted a number of Needham High School students who qualified for and will be participating in the national National History Day program.

Eliot School Improvement Plan

Principal Karen Bourn, two students, and various members of the Eliot school council presented the school improvement plan. During the presentation, Ms. Bourn and her colleagues discussed the Eliot school goals and how the school is using those goals to improve.

  • Create confident mathematicians

    • Implement Illustrative Math

    • Hold a yearly math night for families

  • Develop lifelong readers and writers

    • Use of structured literacy

    • Frequent data meetings across the staff to look at assessments as a tool to drive instruction.

  • Develop Eliot students to be responsible community members to empower them to make positive change.

    • Lessons are used to strength the school values of:

      • Be Kind

      • Be Safe

      • Be Curious

      • Be Responsible

  • Embrace the culturally diverse Eliot community

    • Staff engage in extensive professional development.

  • Create partnerships with families

    • Hold summer incoming kindergarten meet and greet sessions

    • Welcome new grades 1-5 families with tours, phone calls, Eliot t-shirts

  • Create and implement structures to support Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention in literacy and math

    • Implementing a pilot program called Eagle Block for 2nd and 4th grade students to provide small group supports for these students

Ms. Bourn mentioned that the biggest challenge at the school is figuring out how to teach in a way that is successful for everyone. The district has provided resources to give staff the opportunity to do quite a bit of professional development around this topic and she thanked them and asked that this continue.

Proposed 2023-2024 Elementary, Middle, and High School Handbooks

Mary Lammi, Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services, presented the minimal changes to the school handbooks for the next academic year. These changes will be voted on by School Committee at a future meeting.

Town Meeting Preparation

At Town Meeting on Monday, May 1, 2023, the schools and School Committee are involved in two main articles, one containing the school budget and one regarding the boiler replacement at Eliot and Broadmeadow schools. Andrea Carter will present a brief slideshow prior to the vote on the budget.

Next School Committee meeting will be Tuesday, May 9 at 6:30pm.


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