School Committee to Vote on School Reopening Proposal Monday

The School Committee (SC) reconvened Thursday evening following an executive session. District and building administrators were in attendance.  Following almost three hours’ discussion on the proposed District Reopening Plan, the vote was delayed until Monday.   

Noting adjustments to the order of the agenda, Chair Stacey Raffi introduced Travis Ahern, new Town Administrator, to the members of the SC.  The School Committee then moved to the New Business item, the District Reopening Plan.  Interim Superintendent Dr. Susan Kutska introduced HHS Principal Nicole Bottomley to clarify some details of the HHS plan.

Bottomley used slides to illustrate the scheduling of two cohorts (A and B) that alternate remote and in-person times.  (See graphic above.)  A daily bell schedule illustrated the students’ days.  The same bell schedule will be used for both remote days and home days for students.  Bottomley explained that instructional practices (i.e., content, discussion, practice, and feedback) will be the same whether remote or in-person learning. 

Speaking to Wednesday’s rotating cohorts, Dr. Kustka explained that the teams working on the plan agreed that having in-person experiences for students on this day was “much better than other districts,” who opted for remote Wednesdays. 

Additionally, Bottomley provided a list in response to several questions she received about the HHS plan.  (See graphic below.)  To review, the high school has not eliminated any offerings or classes; courses will be graded (as opposed to the pass/fail method of evaluation), and these grades will factor into a student’s grade point average (GPA); outdoor spaces may be utilized; clubs and activities will be held remotely; information forthcoming from the MIAA (MA Interscholastic Athletics Association) will determine athletics; and all protocols in the District for health and safety will be followed by the high school.

Following Bottomley’s presentation and comments from members of the Committee, Dr. Kutska reviewed her plan of action:

  • Reexamine the 2-week “staggered start times” opening for students;
  • Move the “Disclaimer” statement from page 14 of the plan to “front and center”;
  • Add the COVID visual (The visual, seen below, created by Johns Hopkins University, illustrates the “COVID 19 Positivity Level” of each of the 50 States.  MA’s position is noted in the visual with a green arrow. States in the green section have maintained a positivity level equal to or below 5% for 14 days or more.)

No action was taken this evening on the plan.

The full plan can be accessed here:  District Reopening Plan

Dr. Peter Botelho, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, is developing a leadership team for a study of Equity and Anti-Bias.  The Team consists of Dr. Botelho,  Karen Archambault, Principals Dr. Keim, Dr. Jordan, and Dr. Slaney, a parent from each school, a community member, and 2 HHS students.  The team will inform curriculum work and identify the most critical next steps.  Botelho received several summer curriculum proposals from HHS, Adams, and Miller teachers.  He is also meeting with Diverse Holliston next week.

In other business, the 2020-21 School Year Calendar, updated to reflect the first 10 days of the year as Professional Development days, with a school start date of September 16 for students, was approved unanimously. 

Chair Raffi reported warrants signed included school bills of $67,189.11, $120,464.30, and $113,378.05, a cafeteria bill for $4,790.22, and an activities account for 11,038.80.

The SC will discuss and vote on COVID-19 Health and Safety Monitors and receive the financial impact from the Budget Sub-committee and vote on the District Reopening Plan at their next meeting on Monday, August 10, at 9:00 AM. 

Yvette Cain

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