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SC Meeting: June 18, 2019

The June 18 School Committee meeting included the recognition of the KASE program, an update from the Race, Equity, Access, and Leadership (REAL) Coalition and the Portrait of a Needham Graduate.

School Committee Comments

  • Sunita Williams is 93%+ completed per Project Manager. Furniture to be delivered by end of June early July.

  • School will be ready for teachers to coming on August 19.

  • Project is under budget.

Superintendent Comments

  • Confirmed June 19 is officially the last day of school.

  • Visited Pollard today. School power out because of a transformer malfunction.

  • Modules were delivered and installed at Mitchell. School will be ready for full day Kindergarten in the fall.

Kindergarten After School Enrichment Program Recognition

Connie Leonard, Director of KASE shared some highlights and reflections of the program and expressed her gratitude to the Committee for their ongoing support throughout the years. Superintendent Gutekanst recognized the service provided by KASE, during the 26+ years in operation that impacted the 7,500 children that benefitted from the program.

REAL Coalition Update No. 2

Mary Lammi, Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services introduced Stephen Plasko, NHS Social Studies Department Chair, Guilia Rozzo, Needham Graduate 2019 and Chris Giancola, Middle School parent who shared their experiences about being part of the REAL Coalition.

  • Mr. Plasko remarks focused on creating a cultural responsive curriculum. Ms. Rozzo talked about her experience with SAFE (Students Advocating for Equity) and CORE (Courageous Conversations on Race), two student groups created to foster dialogue and reflection about race and equity.

  • During Q&A Alexandra McNeil, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources reported the creation of MALANA (a group Multi-Race, African-American, Latinx, Asian, and Native American) to support employees of color.

  • Dr. Gutekanst announced the drafting of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Police Chief and the Superintendent related to cultural proficiency training between the School Resource Officer and interaction with all the students on and off campus.

  • Conversations about race and equity have prompted conversations that transcend race (e.g. women, LGBTQ, differently abled people).

Portrait of a Graduate Update

Dr. Gutekanst reported on four FY20 priority actions:

  1. Goal: Every student engaged in student-centered learning with choice and voice in how they learn. Action: Collect data and assess current practices.

  2. Goal: Interdisciplinary learning at all levels and every student experiencing integrative teaching and learning. Action: Assess current interdisciplinary learning. Develop a framework for integrative teaching and learning.

  3. Goal: Flexible spaces and schedules for full engagement within school, and learning enhanced outside with local and global community and in partnership with families. Action: Develop plan for providing adaptable environments. Provide family education on Portrait.

  4. Goal: Have supports in place to make Portrait Plan a reality. Action: Develop and implement plan for funding. Build capacity for Portrait implementation.

Action Item

  • Superintendent Gutekanst made individual motions to approve the following: • Contracts for Legal Services • FY20 Revolving Fund Budgets • Change in Signature Authority • Non-Union FY20 COLA (cost of living increase) • Pollard Student Trip to Costa Rica

  • Michael Greis sought a motion to increase Superintendent Gutekanst’s salary by 3.5% and grant a merit award of .5%.

  • Board approved motions unanimously.


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