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School Committee’s Ambitious Agenda Unfinished

November 14, 2019

Chair Stacey Raffi called the School Committee meeting to order promptly at 7:00 PM.  The Committee voted and approved minutes from the October 10 Public Forum School Start Times meeting, the October 24, regular meeting, and the October 24, executive session.

During the Communication section of the agenda, student representatives Aine Powers and Mary Devoe listed both past successes and future events.  Among these were: the Senior Gala and auction, the play Momma Mia! to be presented November 21, 22, 23 at 7:00 PM, with a dress rehearsal and dinner specifically for senior citizens on Wednesday, November 20, sponsored by the National Honor Society.  They mentioned the Friday night football game as well as the girls’ soccer team that is going on to finals on Sunday, 1:00 PM at Milford H.S  The Trick or Treat project benefitting the Pantry Shelf, and a student project (from class Service Learning) that targets help for local veterans.

Individual members of the School Committee shared as well.  Andy Morton thanked Town Clerk, Liz Greendale, for presenting Open Meeting training for members of Holliston boards and committees.  Cynthia Listewnik, along with others of the Committee, attended the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) conference last week and felt it had been informative and helpful.  Joan Shaughnessy added that at this conference she had spoken to several people from other towns about their school start times and many of them were on their way to changing or had already changed theirs.  She added that the Grade 9 Football team was undefeated in their conference.

Lisa Kocian attended the Wellness Council last week and found that the students were a great addition, as they shared good ideas and ways to get their ideas going.  Anne Louise Hanstad commented that the Senior Gala and Auction had netted nearly $10,000.  Dawn Neborsky reminded all of the Adams Middle School One Acts on Friday and Saturday, November 15-16, at 7 PM.

Superintendent Dr. Brad Jackson met with senior citizens on November 4 at the Senior Center.  He was impressed by their engagement and curiosity.  He said he would like to make this an annual event for him.  Assistant Superintendent Peter Botelho attended a conference on elementary computer science and applauds the work done here in Holliston at Miller in teaching students to code and the dynamic ways of teaching computer technology used at Adams School.

During public comment, Holliston resident Malini Rao requested the Committee consider adding Diwali festival to the school calendar and presented a short and informative explanation of Dawli. Jackson requested further information from Rao. As this was shared during public comment, no action was taken at this time. 

In Policy news, Cynthia Listewnik presented Policy IHBAA, Observations of Special Education Programs that had been amended with the Director of Student Services.  A motion was made and the revised policy was passed unanimously. 

Old business began with Jackson’s review of progress being taken in preparation for 2020-21 School Start Times.  Jackson presented the results of his meetings with administrators and the extended day supervisor.  Additionally, Jackson shared a preliminary estimate for a traffic study. Members discussed the differences between a traffic study and a transportation audit. Following this discussion, members evaluated ten additional suggestions relating to School Start Times.  As discussion ran until 10PM, Raffi asked that members move to time-sensitive items on the agenda.

A request by HHS hockey coach for a field trip for 25 members of the Holliston High School hockey team on December 6-7, to Hyannis, MA, was approved by vote of the Committee.  Six warrants were approved. 

A meeting of the School Committee has been set for Monday, November 25, at 7 PM in the HHS Library.  The Committee adjourned at 10:12 PM.

Yvette Cain

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