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SC Meeting: April 7, 2020

On April 7, the School Committee met via Zoom to discuss the district's new Remote Learning Plan. Presenters included Assistant Superintendents Terry Duggan and Mary Lammi, as well as school principals Greg Bayse, Tamatha Bibbo, and Aaron Sicotte.

Superintendent's Comments Remote learning is a work in progress right now. NPS are striving to make it right for all families. Some families think the schools are not doing enough and other families think the workload is too much. The district is trying to provide equitable access to resources, nutrition services, and learning opportunities. The goal is to provide staff with flexibility while defining parameters for remote instruction; collaborate with one another in service to our students and families; and learn and grow from this experience.

Remote Learning Plan

Detailed information can be found in the meeting packet and NPS Remote Learning Plan.

  • Curriculum — NPS needs to keep the content accessible and manageable for all students. Essential concepts have been identified for new learning. Everything in the remote learning plan aligns with the Portrait of a Needham Graduate.

  • Special Education — DESE has provided guidance to schools, acknowledging that schools may not be able to replicate IEP services during remotely. NPS is creating Remote Service Support Service Plans to guide teams. Special educators are reaching out to families and holding IEP meetings as needed. NPS needs to figure out how students can be supported with homework, services, and providing consultations.

  • Student Support Services — NPS is also providing support to ELL families, Metco families, low-income families. All of these families need access to every available resource. 49 Chromebooks were delivered to Boston families so they can access curriculum and stay connected to school.

  • Elementary School — Curriculum and schedule are the same across all five schools to ensure equity. Teachers are checking in weekly with students, and following guidelines for appropriate time on daily learning by grade. Synchronous Learning is limited.

  • Middle School — Advisory check-in three times a week. There number of initiatives to help students feel connected, including morning announcements, a student and staff survey, and a virtual talent show.

  • High School — Teachers are providing lessons that take about two hours per week, and offering a minimum of one office hour per week. Assignments are shared on Mondays.

Questions and comments:

  • High school students are worried about the workload they received this week and grading of term 3. Mr. Sicotte clarified that Term 3 ends April 9, but grades will not close until April 30 to give students additional time to make up or finish outstanding work.

  • Principals should be reaching out to families to make sure all families have access to a laptop and wifi.

  • Parents with concerns are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher and/or principal.

  • The district's website is full of resources and links for parents.

Revised NPS Calendar for 2019-2020

The school committee approved the following changes to the 2019-20 School Calendar:

  • Cancel April vacation (four days: April 21–24)

  • Last day of school will be June 19.

  • No school Good Friday, Patriot’s Day, or Memorial Day.

  • Keeping two early release days for staff (May 20 and June 3)

Appoint Executive Director of Special Education

Julie Muse-Fisher, currently serving as Interim Director of Special Education, was appointed to the permanent position.

Additional Action Items approved:

  • Education Collaborative Agreement

  • Delegate Signature Authority for School Warrants to Chair of the School Committee (vice chair if that person is not available)

  • Naming of the Sunita L. Williams Sensory Garden – The Andrea Wright Thornton Sensory Garden


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