School Committee February 25, 2021 Meeting

The open School Committee (SC) meeting followed a lengthy Executive Session that focused on a request for early graduation and collective bargaining with the Holliston Federation of Teachers.  Chair Stacey Raffi called the remote open session to order at 7:31PM.

In the agenda item Communications, Business Manager Keith Buday reported the passing of Dr. James O’Connell, former Assistant Superintendent of Holliston Public Schools.  Buday said, “He will be missed by this entire school community.” Dr. Susan Kustka, Superintendent noted the successful safety drills this week at Adams Middle School and extended her appreciation to the Holliston Police Department for its assistance.

Raffi recommended newest SC member Catherine Sevard be appointed to the SC Policy Sub-committee, and all SC members were in agreement.  Sub-committee updates followed, beginning with the subcommittee on Policy, chaired and reported by Cynthia Listewnik.  Listewnik said that the subcommittee met and had made no changes to the face-covering policy.  They are, however, looking for more guidance concerning the fit of face coverings.  They will meet next on March 9 on Zoom at 1 PM.

Andy Morton, Chair of the Superintendent’s Evaluation subcommittee reported that he had contacted Dr. Kustka about this year’s evaluation.  Additionally, the subcommittee will meet on March 12 for discussion and to lay out a timeline.  A unanimous vote of support installed Dawn Naborsky as a member of the Superintendent’s Evaluation subcommittee. 

Dr. Kustka, in providing the HPS COVID 19 update to the SC, reported having on-going meetings with principals about how many students can be brought back into the schools.  On Tuesday, February 23, Governor Charlie Baker, along with Education Commissioner Jeff Riley, proposed that all districts open the schools to in-person learning 5 days a week by April. Kustka and the administrative team are examining ways to increase the number in-person learning days. Kustka touched on several points of concern, including the present 6’ distance model of HPS, the challenges of lunch periods, and parental support. Kustka asked the SC to request additional CARES Act funding of $100,000 to support pool testing as a mitigation strategy.  The SC voted unanimously to support this request. 

Dr. Peter Botelho reviewed the February 10 Professional Development ½ day.  HHS Assistant Principal Karen Archembault and other building administrators conducted sessions on equity and social justice, bias, and stereotypes.  March 19 is the last remaining Professional Development day this school year, and discussion on these topics will continue.

Raffi reported signing the following school bills: $308,433.42 ($173.90 COVID related), $179,491.30 ($367.29 COVID related), $35,925.58 ($8870 COVID related), and a cafeteria bill of $19,675.23 ($346.47 COVID related). 

The meeting adjourned at 9:08 PM. The next remote meeting of the School Committee is March 4, 2021 at 7 PM.

Yvette Cain

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