top of page

SC Meeting: January 23, 2024

At the January 23 School Committee Meeting there was discussion of the Portrait of a Needham Graduate: Elementary Social Studies, an Athletic Department Report, and the 2024-2025 MS/HS Program of Studies. The School Committee also voted on the FY25 School Operating Budget Recommendation and IT Warrant Article.

Superintendent’s Comments

  • Dr. Gutekanst was a judge for the NHS Poetry Out Loud Contest. 10 finalists memorized and performed two different poems and the winner, Ben Fogler, will go to the State Finals. Merrett Hopkins finished 2nd and Isabella Barbera finished 3rd.

Portrait of a Needham Graduate: Elementary Social Studies

Brooke Kessel, K-8 Social Studies Department Head, along with Eliot 4th grade students and NPS teacher Brittani Laporte, presented about the Elementary Social Studies Program. They presented on the Investigating History Curriculum which is now being used throughout Grade 5 and piloted in Grades 3-4.


  • Curious students who ask their own questions about historical events

  • Make sense of images, texts, and artifacts from the past.

  • Connect their learning to real life issues and current events.

  • Program has been well received by both teachers and students and is a well-funded and resourced curriculum. 

  • Well aligned with the Portrait of a Needham Graduate Goals

  • Future Planning

Athletic Department Report

Athletic Director Ryan Madden and Assistant Athletic Director Richkaard Verrier presented about the Athletic Programs at NHS. Both are new to their positions this year.

  • Their mantra is “For the Students, By the Students.”  

  • They have created a Student Athlete Leadership Team (SALT). 

  • Goal is to have consistency of good experiences throughout all the teams. They want to make sure there is acknowledgment of the hard work of all of the teams, not just celebration of the championship winners.

  • Good sportsmanship is the priority.

  • Graphic Design Club students have created new logos for Booster Club stickers. They are working on a branding book for consistency and uniformity among Needham colors and logos for next year.

  • Actively seeking feedback from students and parents through student led surveys.

  • Video of highlights of the last year shown during the presentation. The video was created by NHS Junior Nate Ross.

  • AD Verrier visits Pollard frequently so students are aware of athletic opportunities at NHS.

2024-2025 Middle School/High School Program of Studies

Aaron Sicotte, NHS Principal, Tamatha Bibbo, Pollard Principal, and Jessica Downey, High Rock Principal presented the proposed 2024-2025 MS/HS Program of Studies for School Committee to review.

Some changes from previous years:

  • Middle School ELL supports are outlined more clearly.

  • 8th Grade students will have ELA choice electives.

  • Updated World Languages to include American Sign Language in 8th grade, can also elect to take an elective Culture class.

  • New HS course offerings: YA literature, Accelerated Jazz Band & new Jazz Lab course, Advanced Acting Study, Probability and Games, French 2 College Prep Course.

  • Expanding IP program in 9th grade to include option to take one Accelerated class.

  • NHS Course Selection for 2024-2025 due by March 15th.

School Committee will review the Programs of Study and vote on them at their next meeting.

Vote on the FY25 School Operating Budget Recommendation

Dr. Gutekanst presented on the FY25 School Operating Budget Recommendation in the amount of $97,517,926 as submitted in the packet. Dr. Gutekanst noted that Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick has amended the Town Capital Plan to include funds for the design work for Newman Auditorium in FY25 and construction in FY26. This is not part of the School Operating Budget.

Passed with a 7-0-0 Vote. 

Vote on the IT Warrant Article

Dr. Gutekanst presented a Warrant Article request for IT technology consolidation as discussed at last week's meeting.

Passed with 7-0-0 Vote. 

The Next School Committee meeting will be February 6 at 6:30pm.

bottom of page