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SC Meeting: November 5, 2019

At the 11/5/19 School Committee meeting discussion items included a presentation about student substance use from the groups SPAN and SALSA, and an update on Math Programming.

School Committee Update

Heidi Black presented an update on Minuteman Regional VocTech High School:

  • There is a high demand concerning enrollment for incoming 9th graders.

  • A number of grants have been secured that will allow for 100% new equipment in the new building, which was not the original expectation.

  • According to representatives from Minuteman, it is considered a model district based on conversations during organized outreach with leaders from other districts.

Susan Neckes reported on efforts between the School Committee and Permanent Public Building Committee to assess infrastructure needs.

  • A lot of work has been done in the last few years including the Sunita Williams School and expansion at Needham High School.

  • Discussed areas of concern and explored a plan for moving forward.

  • Working with Dore & Wittier to assess the needs of each individual school and begin to formulate a plan of action.

  • This effort is being done in tandem with overall assessment of the town’s infrastructure needs.

Superintendent Updates

  • Dr. Gutekanst ttended and praised the recent Great Hall Concert Series, and in particular the opening act by students at Needham High School in the Traditional Music Ensemble. During the performance, he was presented with a $5,000 donation from the Great Hall Foundation to benefit the Needham Public Schools’ music program

  • The student trip to Washington DC began earlier in the morning, and he will be joining the group for the remainder.

Presentation by SPAN and SALSA

  • Substance Prevention Alliance in Needham (SPAN) presented findings from a recent student survey on substance use.

  • Karen Shannon provided an overview of the SPAN program, and reviewed primary statistics and findings from the MetroWest Adolescent Survey.

  • Needham High School students Reese Murphy, Luca Mancino, and Caitlin Sullivan presented an overview of the Students Advocating for Life without Substance Abuse (SALSA) program and survey results regarding vaping awareness.

Math Programming Update

Over the last four years, the mathematics department at the middle school level has incorporated a number of recommendations that resulted from the review of their program. John Shea, Needham High School Math Department Chair, and Tammy Ghizzoni, Middle School Math Curriculum Leader, provided an update on the results of these changes, an overview of the equity work they are now collaboratively leading at the secondary level, and some potential possibilities for the future direction of the program. There is very detailed information and data provided in the packet (pages 49-71).

Action Items:

  • Approve 2019-2020 Superintendent’s Goals: The Superintendent requested an extension to report on goals at a later School Committee meeting. The request was approved (7-0-0).

  • Adopt Fuel Efficient Vehicle Policy: Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, that the Needham School Committee approved the item as submitted (7-0-0).

  • Adopt Energy Reduction Plan: Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, that the Needham School Committee approved the item as submitted (7-0-0).

00:01:23 - School Committee Updates

00:05:45 - Superintendent Comments

00:08:40 - SPAN & SALSA Presentation

01:07:53 - Math Programming Update


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