School Committee Meets Remotely

The School Committee met Thursday night in the privacy (somewhat) of each member’s home, voting once again to conduct business remotely during Holliston’s stay at home advisory. 

Chair Stacey Raffi called the meeting to order, and members made quick work of approving meeting minutes from April 2 (regular session), April 7 (special session), and March 26 (executive session).   During opening comments, the Chair and other members recognized and thanked all involved in the Remote Learning Lessons:  from teachers and students to administrators and paraprofessionals. 

Superintendent Dr. Brad Jackson recognized and congratulated Placentino principal Dr. Jaime Slaney, who recently completed her doctorate at Boston College.  Additional comments included shares by Dr. Jackson (“Blow the Man Down,” by the HHS T-Tones here) and Assistant Superintendent Peter Bohelho’s recommendation (HHS Art Saves Lives site here). 

In “old business,” Dr. Jackson had no further updates for the School Start Times Implementation, but shard COVID19 School Closure updates about the Remote Learning Plan.   Data is being collected surrounding students’ access of on-line lessons.  Dr. Jackson will follow this data as it is updated on a weekly basis. 

As of last Friday, 3 grade 9; 11 grade 10; 10 grade 11; and 9 grade 12 students had not connected. These students have since been contacted through the guidance department. Additionally at HHS, Principal Nicole Bottomley reported that 80% of students were attending the live remote sessions. 

At Robert Adams Middle School, all but 3 students had connected, and these were contacted over the weekend.  The school is tracking assignments turned in:  as of 2 weeks ago, 33% had turned in all of their work.

Miller School is measuring connections.  They have a 97-99% participation in the Zoom sessions.  Students completing at least one assignment:  60% of grade 3 students; 62% of grade 4 students; and 87% of grade 5 students.  It is of note that grade 3 and 4 students are just beginning to access Google Classroom, whereas grade 5 students have been using this platform all year.

Placentino School has 96% participation in Zoom calls.  At least one assignment has been completed by 81% of the students. 

Dr. Jackson has heard concerns of parents about the credit/no credit grading of HHS semester 2 and term 4 classes.  He said, “As the Remote Learning class work is not equivalent to usual classroom learning, all are dealing with unique circumstances.”  SC members discussed issues of both sides of the topic.

In New Business, Anne Louise Hanstad provided members with an update of work done within the SC Budget Sub-committee.  The sub-committee meets weekly with liaisons from the Finance Committee and Select Board member Tina Hine.  SC member Andy Morton said the work between the two committees has been a “very collaborative process.” This week FinCom chair Ken Szajda shared Governor Baker’s update.  A 10-15% local aid reduction is expected due to changes in MA income from several routes, including the MA State lotteries. 

Chair Raffi reported paying warrants in the following amounts:  school warrants for $345,116.16, and cafeteria warrants for $5,204.98.  Additionally, Raffi recommended adding another meeting of the SC on April 23 at 7 PM.  The agenda will include a COVID19 update and a FY20 budget update.

The meeting adjourned at 8:22 PM, to meet in executive session.  Members would not have far to go to return home for the evening!

Yvette Cain

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