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SC Meeting: September 17, 2019

SC met on September 17th at Broadmeadow Elementary School. Topics included a discussion with the School Resource Officers, an update about the start of school, information about another incident of anti-Semitic graffiti at the high school, the new Needham High School student sitting on School Committee, and an overview of the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey and its relevance to the Needham Public Schools.

The school committee welcomes Needham High School Junior Aidan Michelow to the committee! Aidan will represent the student voice in a non-voting capacity.

Superintendent Updates

  • Needham High School was named a Special Olympics Unified Champion School for the school’s athletic programming which includes students of all backgrounds

  • 25 Needham High students have received a National Merit Commendation and another 7 students are National Merit Semi-Finalists.

  • The Needham Community is welcome to an Open House at the new Sunita L. Williams School on October 19th from 9-10:30 am.

  • The new school year has begun smoothly with new modulars in place and working well at Mitchell, Full Day Kindergarten also operating smoothly, and the New Sunita Williams school open with fewer traffic problems than anticipated. Dr. Gutekanst thanked the School Committee, Needham Police Department, and SWES school administration and staff for their foresight in anticipating many potential traffic problems.

School Resources Officers

The chief of police introduced two School Resource Officers, RJ Poirier and Adrienne Anderson.

Racist Graffiti at Needham High School

Dr. Gutekanst addressed the second graffiti incident at Needham High this school year. Students found swastika’s etched into a bathroom stall and reported this to the administration. Students and families were notified. Dr. Gutekanst stated that this is a challenging issue to handle and that speaking out about it and discussing it publicly is preferable to keeping silent.

MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey

Assistant Superintendent Mary Lammi presented the results of the most recent MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey. This survey occurs every other year and targets students in the Metro West area in grades 6-12. Approximately 95% of students respond.

The 2018-19 Survey noted the following emerging trends:

  • An increase in vaping

  • High levels of stress and anxiety

  • High levels of social media use outside school.

Needham schools plan to address these problems in three ways:

  • Expand awareness of issues among students, staff and families

  • Expand existing programs such as: - Anti-Bullying - Socioemotional Learning - Student led groups such as SALSA and SAFE

  • Continue the districts work towards “supporting positive inclusive school cultures”

More detailed information can be found in the packet and presentation.


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