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SC Meeting: September 20, 2022

At the September 20 School Committee meeting, there was a Human Resources report and a report on the 2021 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey results. Finally, the FY2024-2028 Draft Capital Improvement Plan requests were presented.

Consent Agenda – passed by unanimous consent

  • FY23 Budget Transfers

  • Disposal of Surplus Items

Human Resources Update

Dr. Alexandra Montes McNeil, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, presented an update on Human Resources and staffing within the district. The district is specifically trying to recruit diverse and qualified staff members.

  • The district has 438.3 Total Teacher FTEs, 98.8% of Teachers are Proficient, there is an 89.3% Teacher retention rate, 29 teachers attained Professional Teacher status this year, and 2 administrators completed 3 years of service.

  • BIPOC staff has increased in the district; in 2018, 51.2 of the district wide FTEs were filled by people of color, in 2022 that number has increased to 78.0 FTEs, a 53% increase in 5 years. Approximately 10% of district staff are BIPOC while 27% of students are. The district is trying to ensure that BIPOC staff is represented at all levels, including within the administration, and that the percentage of BIPOC staff continues to rise to more accurately reflect the student body population.

  • Some of the attractions of NPS to prospective staff are the Little Rockets day care program and the tuition reimbursement that NPS offers which not every district does.

  • Retention rates were high this year at 89.3%, but the feeling is that next year will be much lower as more staff than usual have left the district. Many are leaving to return to their home states or countries. COVID has changed people’s priorities and they are looking to move closer to family as a result.

  • The district is still looking to fill Teaching Assistant positions and is actively seeking qualified applicants.

  • A successful in-person orientation was provided to all new staff this year.

The district is working in several areas to promote staff retention and employee satisfaction.

  • Through participation in a teacher diversification pilot program offered by the state, NPS was able to identify 3 teachers of color and provide them with over $23,000 of tuition reimbursement.

  • Stronger Together was started last year as a collaboration between the Needham Public Schools and the Town of Needham, to address BIPOC staff needs and create a safe space for discussion.

  • A mentor program is available for teachers and staff, and HR provides many other support systems.

  • The district has made many enhancements to the HR system through PowerSchool including an updated records system, professional learning, and an online evaluation system.

  • Wellness in the Workplace is a priority of the HR department. In addition, a monthly newsletter is sent to all staff providing them with information regarding support systems.

2021 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey Results

Mary Lammi, Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services, and Denise Domnarski, Director of K-12 Wellness Program, 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 94% of middle school students and 83% of high school students responded.

The 2021 survey noted the following emerging trends:

  • Substance use has decreased or remained steady

  • Bullying and cyberbullying have increased

  • High levels of stress and anxiety, particularly due to certain issues: social issues, appearance issues, and physical and/or emotional health

  • Depressive symptoms, self-injury, and suicidality have also increased

  • High levels of social media use outside school.

Needham schools plan to address these problems in three ways:

  • Education and awareness

  • Expand and refine programs, supports, and interventions

  • Prevention and policy efforts

FY2024-2028 Capital Improvement Plan Requests

Anne Gulati, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations presented the plan to School Committee. It is similar to previous years’ requests, coming in at $7.9 million over five years.

As part of the budget development process, the school administration has discussed and identified capital items for submission. The capital list has been developed in collaboration with school and town staff members. The School Committee will be asked to vote on the Capital Improvement Plan requests at a subsequent meeting.

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

The next School Committee meeting will be October 4, 2022 at 5pm.


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