Natick School Committee February 5, 2024
Updated 8 days ago

School Committee February 5 2024

Captions
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We're gonna get started.
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Good evening, everyone. Tonight.
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This is the February 5th meeting of the school committee.
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I'll start with roll call Ms. Brunel.
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Here.
Mr. Brand Present. Ms. McDonough? Yes. Ms.
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Goeth here. And then Ms. Collins, can you hear us?
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No. Okay. She there. She was in Zoom. Okay. Well I'm here.
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So we have a quorum.
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We can now stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Please
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Pledge allegiance to the flag
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of the United States of America
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and to the republic for which it stands,
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one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty
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and justice for all.
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Thank you for joining that moment of silence.
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We take that moment to honor those
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of sacrificed for our country.
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Are there any announcements that we need to provide
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or we can do announcements afterwards.
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I don't know if there's anyway there.
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As I said last week, we went to the state house to lobby,
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Sorry.
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We went to the State House last week to lobby
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with the legislators for funding for the macro program.
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The governor's budget has it level funded,
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and so the advocacy is actually for 33 million, which is
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increase not level funding.
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And it was really well attended by the legislators
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and representatives from all the districts.
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And it, I was very pleased at the presentation
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that Representative David Lidsky did and,
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and a shout out to our district in,
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in our participation in the program.
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So just to let you know that that is the advocacy point.
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Great. I actually also have an announcement
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from Spark Kindness.
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They have a wonderful program next week,
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February 14th, Valentine's Day.
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The program is called Real Self-Care,
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A revolutionary approach to taking good care of yourself,
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how to Shift, shift Self-care from a task on your to-Do list
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to a value-based practice of setting priorities.
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And it's a talk with Dr. Puja Lachman.
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And again, it's through Spark Kindness.
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If you wanna register, go to spark kindness.org.
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This program is actually at noon of February 14th,
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so you can participate
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and still have Valentine's Day plans in the evening.
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Any other self-care?
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Any other announcements?
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So with that, I'll, I'll make a motion
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to enter into executive motion, specifically
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to conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations
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with non-represented personnel, permanent superintendent,
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and to discuss strategy with respect
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to litigation if an open meeting may have a detrimental
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effect on the litigation position
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of the public body and the chair.
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So declares and I do,
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and I'll take a motion, I'll take a second.
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Second and I'll take, I'll do a roll call. Mr. Brunell?
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Yes. Mr. Brand? Yes. Ms. McDonough? Yes. Ms. Gors? Yes.
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And is Ms. Collins online? She should be Ms. Collins.
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Can you hear us?
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I guess it's lost feed for a little while. I think so.
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They state.
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Okay. Amma.
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Yes, we can, we'll meet her in executive session.
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She has the Google meet.
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So with that, we are in executive session now.
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We'll return at approximately 6:30 PM
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and we will go with the teacher representative,
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Ms. McKinney McKinney.
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Hi. So I don't have anything in particular
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to report out on the teacher front.
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Staff front. So no comments tonight.
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Well, thank you for being here
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and student representatives.
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And I see both Kendall and in queue.
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Oh, we just lost her, but Kendall's still here.
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There you are.
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Hi. I hope everyone's doing well.
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So, pa this past week we started the flower drive
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for Valentine's Day and it's going pretty well so far
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and we'll be selling them up until the end of this week.
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And it's just a really good activity leading up to break
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because I know a lot of people have a lot of tests
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and homework crammed in before the break.
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So it's good to have a stress reliever.
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And I know in Yang was gonna just mention how the musical
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was put on last weekend and it was a really good success.
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I know there was a great turnout from the audience
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and I went to watch it and it was really interesting
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and I loved the plot and yeah,
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it was just overall really good.
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Great. Yeah, we heard great reviews.
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Thank, thank you so much.
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I'm actually gonna jump now to the end of the agenda
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to do the approval of the permanent superintendent contract.
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So I wanted to give a quick background.
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As people probably know,
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the school committee engaged in a seven month process to
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search and identify a, the next permanent superintendent.
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In our January 12th meeting, we voted
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to enter into negotiations with Dr.
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Melissa Bash, who is currently the deputy
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superintendent of Lawrence.
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We engaged in negotiations on the contract
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and we are pleased to say that
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the negotiating team and Ms.
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Dr. Bash reached a contract which the rest
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of the committee has access to.
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And we voted on it in the next set of session.
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And I will take another vote in open meeting as well.
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So this is a vote to approve the contract
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for the permanent superintendent. So moved.
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Second.
Any questions or discussion?
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Ms. Brune? Vote. Oh, vote. Sorry. Yeah. Yes. Roll call.
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Yeah. Yes. Ms. Brunell. Sorry. Mr. Brand? Yes. Ms.
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McDonough? Yes. Ms. Gorses? Yes. And Ms. Collins?
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Yes.
And I'm a yes.
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So the motion passes
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and I'm very excited now to announce
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that our contract is now approved
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and we will be welcoming Dr.
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Pash starting July one, officially to our district as our,
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the, the new superintendent of the Nick Public Schools.
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Though we've been in touch with her
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and she may make appearances earlier in the district
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before her contract formally begins.
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So congratulations everyone.
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Next we'll talk about the formation
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of a calendar task force.
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So again, I why don't you just provide some background
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to contextualize the conversation.
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So over the, probably like two years maybe
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the school committee in various conversations, the
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policy subcommittee
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and then the committee itself has had conversations
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and decisions made regarding the calendar in order to
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be more inclusive and accommodate the growing number of
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religious holidays represented in our DIC mosaic.
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We did already vote, I believe it was last meeting
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for the 20 24, 20 25 calendar that is set.
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And that is already online, I'm assuming.
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But given the changes, we wanted to have more
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of a long-term planning process for how
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to set the calendar in the future.
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So I believe it was last year we made, we passed a motion
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to form a task force that will be comprised
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of not only school committee members,
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but also of members of the teaching staff as well
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as the community to look into
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what the calendar should look like in future years.
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So a group of us met to plan that out.
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And actually Julia, think
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we talked about having you presented? Yeah. Okay,
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So, so the motion as it was last spring
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and then was to form, it was actually, it was
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to form a working group
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and it was comprised of school committee members,
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administrators, teachers
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and staff, parents, guardians, caregivers and students.
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So that's the motion as it was.
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And the work was supposed to be done in the fall.
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We delayed it till the spring
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after we had done the superintendent search.
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So here we are
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and we just need as a committee to determine
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how we are going to identify those members
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and if there's any additional folks that we would want
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to add different than the motion was,
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I guess it was in February actually.
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So, so that's where we are.
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So we, we can appoint school committee members
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or we can decide if there's additional people
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that should be on the TA and the task force.
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I think that the thought is
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to have this actually be a task force with posted meetings.
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Kind of like the superintendent search,
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but not, not like that exactly.
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But that it would be a task force so
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that meetings would be posted, people would,
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the community would know we were talking about it
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and have the opportunity to participate.
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Do you wanna just read the members, the participants
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that we voted on last February?
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Would that be helpful to the committee
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to just remind everyone?
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So I do you mean?
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I just said, so I think it was the five bullets I have here
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our school committee members, administrators, teachers
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and staff, parents, guardians, caregivers and students.
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Yes. Yeah, yeah. Are there additional
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members for this task force?
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Well, so there are, there's ideas for
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that we can present the idea that we had. I can,
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Can you remind me what that idea was? Yeah,
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I, I have it upshot.
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You have it up.
So again, we, one of the things
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we talked about was learning from the superintendent search
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and we thought that it worked really well
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that we asked the groups
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that we're gonna participate in the superintendent search
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to nominate their own members.
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So that's one suggestion that our, that we came up with to,
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to follow that same process again.
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And so then turning to those groups, for example, parents,
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you know, whether or not that's the PCC
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or PTOs, just ensuring that we have every level of
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grades incorporated.
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So about three parents, we suggested having
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two from unit A
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and perhaps one from the Administrative Assistance Union.
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Since the administrative assistants are
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so frequently dealing with absences and holidays
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and calendars and all of that,
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we felt like they had a really good
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understanding of the calendar.
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The suggestion was to have also one from the central office,
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one principal, three students
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and two school committee members.
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The last two, I'll say that for having three students,
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we felt like the calendar is, is an opportunity
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to get more student voice.
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And in the, in the superintendent search, I think our stu
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student rep was fantastic.
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I also think it would be beneficial for students
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to have a peer in the group when they're in a group
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of a bunch of adults.
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So that's our recommendation to involve more students than
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what we had in the superintendent search.
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So I don't know if we need to a formal vote
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'cause we already have the motion.
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Oh yeah.
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So I just have a question. Sure.
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So in terms of the timeline for conducting the work,
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would this start before or after Dr.
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SP joins us and can kind of weigh in on
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where she thinks this work might need to go?
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So the plan was to start this as soon as possible
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and have that work be done over the spring
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with recommendations back to the committee in May so
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that we can decide.
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So to answer your your question, this would be before Dr.
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SP comes.
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So then I guess I would want to know what sort
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of the scope and the remit was of this task force.
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I mean, I can start it and others,
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I've lost the thread since last Yeah, exactly
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What
We had intended to do. I
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Feel like this would be a combo of last February
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and then the work that we've done.
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Right. That's the scope.
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Is that what you're gonna talk about?
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Yeah. 'cause in some ways we already voted on
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what the scope was last February.
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Yeah. It's basically developed a long-term plan
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for the calendar for future calendars
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determining which holidays, how, you know,
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what days are gonna be off.
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How do we balance that with learning?
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I would say, you know, one of the things we talked about is
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this task force would define what are the values
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that we want to focus on.
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So for example, you know, we know we want to be inclusive,
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we know we wanna be respectful of students
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and families, religious cultures and traditions.
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We also want to make sure
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that the calendar supports academic learning
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and reduces disruptions to academic learning.
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We want, we wanna make sure everyone is able to comfortably
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celebrate their holidays without
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feeling penalized in any way.
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So these are gonna be all values that the,
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this task force would discuss
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and based on those values develop, set of recommendations.
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And again, I would just to echo what Ms.
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Brunell said, the, the original idea was actually to kind
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of do the superintendent search first,
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which is why we delayed it to the spring
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to learn from the process.
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What I would think we probably all agree was a very
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successful process and use similar steps.
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So have the task force formed, just like, you know,
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much similar to the screen committee
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that we had for the superintendent.
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Have them decide on how to collect data.
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So focus groups and survey that, that would be,
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they would determine that based on that they would
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have the conversation about values
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and based on that make specific recommendations,
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which will then come to the committee.
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Okay. Thank you.
Mr. Bru, would
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You, just to add, so last, last year we voted on
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the bullet points were community impact of changes
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to the school calendar, the impact of changes
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to the school calendar on the consistency,
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sorry, of educational.
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Thank you. Yeah, the consistency of educational programming,
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the needs assessment of specific communities related
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to the school calendar through discussion groups,
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focus groups, town hall
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and other community engagement methods
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and additional background
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and specific information on religious and cultural holidays.
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So that, that's was from last spring. Thank you.
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I'm up to speed now. Thank you.
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Yeah. Mr. Brand.
Can, can those who are part of it,
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what is the actual, assuming that we come to some
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agreement on the makeup of this task force so people know
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what is the actual time commitment?
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So the, the, I like, I like the idea
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of having more than one student.
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It's not gonna be like the superintendent,
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I'm assuming it's not gonna be like the superintendent
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screening committee where it's meet every day
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for a short amount of time.
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And that's a big commitment for a student,
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particularly if the meetings at night.
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So I just to, if it seems like it's a pretty,
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I don't wanna say it's not aggressive compared
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to the superintendent screening committee,
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but it's a, it's now until May.
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So it's not that much time.
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And just should probably put in the heads of the people
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what time commitment might be.
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Do we know that or is that what we're discussing now?
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Well, our suggestion was that it would start in March
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with a meeting to sort of,
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so no it wouldn't be nothing near the
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superintendent search committee.
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But so in the spring we're talking about having meetings
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to bring everybody up to speed on all the research
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that had already been done, a values conversation
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around any scenario.
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Then time spent on focus groups,
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which I don't think members would have to be there present
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for, they would just need to be able
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to interpret the data from those
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and, you know, culmination meetings.
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So I would think maybe four or five at the max.
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We also didn't wanna like be too prescriptive
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because we wanted the task force itself to be able to turn
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to determine what they thought the process should be.
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But when we were mapping it out that that's
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what we thought might be helpful.
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Yeah.
Mr. Just the other other question and,
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and this is perhaps sensitive, I, I am of course biased
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because I think the screening committee process went really
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well and I love the idea
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of individual groups choosing their own members.
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Is it, was there discussion, do we think it's valuable
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to make sure in this somehow, I don't know
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how in the selection of these folks that
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there is religious diversity
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and how do we ensure that without any kind
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of discriminatory anything?
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I think you ask, just say that you're looking for
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some religious diver religious diversity.
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So I, I think so I, I I agree.
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I just, one of the things that we did
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with the screening committee is we said to the EAN
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for example, send us whomever you'd like,
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try not to be too prescriptive, wink wink.
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Hopefully we get people from all different levels, right?
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So maybe it's the same thing.
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So my recommendation would be
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to actually follow similar steps, which were
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to vote first on the two school committee representatives.
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One of them can be assigned chair,
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but either way, both school committee members doing as well
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of a job as Ms.
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Brunell. And you did to possible to,
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to to to do the invitations.
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To do the outreach and invitations and, and the con
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and that communication along with what Mr. Lewison,
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I think Tim
Had a comment. Yeah,
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I would just be nervous about,
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about picking participants based on their religion.
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Very different than picking them based on their
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grade level or, right.
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I mean, so I just wanted to be, wanna be careful with
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that rather, you might wanna say,
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we just wanna make sure we have
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input from all the populations of folks
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that this is gonna affect somehow.
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And that's, that's the balance that I'm trying to
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figure out, right.
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Which is how to get those diverse viewpoints without
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explicitly saying we want one person from this religion
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and another person from that religion.
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You know what I'm saying? It's tricky.
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But it does seem like the remit that you have is really
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to gather data about the impact of the calendar.
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So you don't necessarily need to have, what you need to do
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is ensure that when you're going out there
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with your focus groups, that you're attracting
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people from all these groups.
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Right. I don't, not sure
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that the representation on the committee has to
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perfectly match what your focus groups are gonna be.
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You just need to make sure you're gathering it.
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Yeah. Ms. Wong,
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I, I appreciate the intention that you're describing.
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It may be as good to invite experts
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to come into talk to the committee
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and to, for those kinds of perspectives.
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And depending on someone who's a member to speak for
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and be objective voter.
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It's just a thought.
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Yeah. And part of what we talked about last of what work,
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you know, again, the lessons learned from the superintendent
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process is that between the focus groups
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and what we call, not a fee, not a survey,
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but feedback form.
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'cause survey implies that we're surveying everyone in the
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survey results kind of dictate,
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but this is more getting feedback from people.
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So feedback form and focus groups is the way
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to list the different perspectives.
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And so the idea is how of the, the goal
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of the task force is not to represent all views in the task
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force, but rather figure out how to collect the data
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that gets us the range of views.
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Sounds good.
So
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is there any other questions or comments?
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So one of the things that would be helpful,
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I don't know if anyone is ready to do this tonight,
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but is for us to identify those
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two school committee members.
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If anyone knows now that they're interested in being one
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of the two members, it'll be helpful to know.
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And if not, we'll just have to see
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who draws the shortest straw.
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Yes, I am interested because I made this motion.
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I think it's really important that we do this work.
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So I am gonna volunteer.
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Great. Yeah, I'd be happy to join as well.
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Well, so, so there's two spots. We have two candidates now.
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Anyone else is interested
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and we can always check in with Ms.
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Fathers who couldn't make it tonight.
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So we can make it official next time.
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But if there's no other interested individuals, then we can
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say thank you so much to you both.
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So
You lost, you lost Kathy too? She's
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No longer. Oh.
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Just so you know, one woman
00:22:43
At night.
00:22:44
Okay. So there's two members.
00:22:46
So I can check individually with them
00:22:48
and come back next meeting
00:22:50
and we can vote next time. We can vote next time.
00:22:52
So if we were to start soliciting groups
00:22:56
to nominate members, could we start that?
00:23:00
Oh, I don't
Think what,
00:23:02
No, but I mean like when you did that as the school,
00:23:05
do we need to post a meeting that would say, we're now going
00:23:08
to talk about like, so how we're gonna get the members?
00:23:11
So the way we did it was we voted.
00:23:16
We voted Yeah. On the school committee members. And then Ms.
00:23:19
Brunell and I worked on the
00:23:22
outreach to the different groups.
00:23:24
But it wasn't until after we voted to, to officially
00:23:28
make it a thing.
00:23:31
I mean I I I hate to,
00:23:35
I'm not opposed to voting on it now.
00:23:37
I mean the meetings happened, we, when is the next meeting?
00:23:38
We don't like, not until the 26th. Oh right.
00:23:40
'cause of school vacation. So in the spirit of the timeline,
00:23:45
yeah, I'm not, like, I would,
00:23:51
I wouldn't mind making a motion and voting now, but
00:23:53
Like Yeah, bruell.
00:23:55
So I mean, one thought is
00:23:56
that the letter could come just straight from the chair
00:23:59
inviting these groups
00:24:01
and we could just, the hope was
00:24:03
to have this task force formed
00:24:05
by the 26th at the next meeting that perhaps the EAN
00:24:09
and central office could come back
00:24:11
and the students could come back with members
00:24:14
that might wanna be, you know, on the task,
00:24:18
task force by the 26th.
00:24:20
So I think if we wanna be like, do the letter by the law,
00:24:22
I think the letter could just go out by, from Shai
00:24:26
as the chair of this committee.
00:24:28
The only thing I'm, we talked about the parents, whether
00:24:31
or not it should go back to the PCC, is that, you know, is
00:24:35
that how we wanna solicit the parents?
00:24:39
'cause right now we didn't really come to a decision about
00:24:42
how the parents would get involved.
00:24:46
Can you, either of you
00:24:48
or both of you speak to the experience
00:24:51
of soliciting parents from, how did it go?
00:24:54
'cause I know, and obviously with the,
00:24:56
with the superintendent search, you specifically went
00:24:58
to the PCC to METCO and to CPAC.
00:25:01
But I'm curious what that experience was like.
00:25:04
Was it easy for them to find volunteers?
00:25:06
Yes. I, I would say it.
00:25:09
I think it was, and I think that the leadership in,
00:25:12
in all three of those organizations, they knew parents
00:25:17
who had been interested in, in the topic.
00:25:19
And so they reached out specifically,
00:25:21
you know, to those parents.
00:25:23
I, that's my understanding of what happened.
00:25:25
And the PCC didn't actually have somebody
00:25:27
who was on the PCC serve on the superintendent search
00:25:30
committee because they decided to delegate that outward
00:25:34
to somebody else who had to,
00:25:36
to Bella's point who had experience.
00:25:38
She was like an expert in the education.
00:25:40
So that's, in some ways it's, that's seems
00:25:45
to be a good group to go to.
00:25:48
The one I agree with all that.
00:25:50
The one caveat was that like the EAN,
00:25:54
it didn't meet right away.
00:25:57
So we, the sooner that we can put this out to people so
00:26:02
that they can plan, so they can have meetings
00:26:04
or do whatever they need to do the better.
00:26:06
So to wait until i, I like the idea of whatever,
00:26:09
whether we vote tonight or not, if we like the makeup
00:26:14
of the task force putting some sort of communication out.
00:26:17
So groups that have an opportunity to meet, have time
00:26:19
to do it before the work needs to get started.
00:26:22
So my recommendation, if everyone is okay with this,
00:26:24
is as a chair, Ms.
00:26:27
Corset as vice chair and Ms.
00:26:29
McDonough as a clerk can put together a letter together
00:26:31
and send it out
00:26:33
and then next time vote on the school
00:26:34
committee members. Yeah.
00:26:35
Why are we waiting to
00:26:36
vote on the school committee members? Just trying to,
00:26:38
Just because there's two members who are missing.
00:26:40
I mean, we have a court, we can
00:26:42
Vote.
00:26:43
Oh, okay. Okay. Okay.
00:26:45
Just it, I I know it was covered in the last meeting
00:26:49
and you know, it is work that we all agreed to last spring
00:26:53
to then delay it till the, this spring.
00:26:55
So, I mean, I don't know.
00:26:58
No, well the vote is just
00:27:00
who should be the school committee.
00:27:01
Yeah. Okay. So I think we're all in agreement
00:27:03
that there will be a task force 'cause
00:27:04
that is already agreed upon based on the previous motion.
00:27:08
But does that work? We can start sending the letters
00:27:10
right away Yeah.
00:27:11
For the sake of time. And then next time,
00:27:14
unless there's any objections from anyone have vote
00:27:17
for the two of you to be the two members.
00:27:19
Okay. Yeah. Still left.
00:27:23
Just I, I do have a comment before you move on from this.
00:27:25
Sure. But I wanna make sure you guys
00:27:27
are done with this conversation first.
00:27:29
I think so. Is everyone okay with that plan? Just,
00:27:31
Just to clarify, the parents are,
00:27:33
are we gonna reach out again to metco, PCC
00:27:35
and CPAC as those three organizations
00:27:39
to spread the parents across those
00:27:40
three constituencies?
00:27:45
It did. It, it was,
00:27:48
everyone had came with different perspectives.
00:27:49
So I think it builds in diversity if you reach out
00:27:52
to more than one parent group.
00:27:55
And we have the proposal is for three parents.
00:27:58
Yeah. So yeah,
00:27:59
This would be the advantage of doing the vote now
00:28:02
I think is that then the school committee members
00:28:06
who are on the task force could
00:28:09
figure out the different out.
00:28:11
Like there's decisions that need to get made right about,
00:28:14
So I'm happy to take a motion if, but
00:28:16
I'm just gonna make a motion.
00:28:18
How about I make the motion, okay.
00:28:19
I move to appoint Ms McDonough and Ms.
00:28:22
Gor goeth, sorry, to the calendar working group
00:28:27
as the school committee representatives.
00:28:30
I would call it a task force, maybe
00:28:32
School committee task force.
00:28:35
I dunno,
You can't make this stuff up.
00:28:37
Second,
Is your comment
00:28:39
related or should we keep going? Okay.
00:28:42
And do either one of you want to be the chair?
00:28:46
I think the task force selects the
00:28:48
Chair. That's a great idea.
00:28:49
All right. Gonna find no.
Great.
00:28:52
Okay, so we have a motion. Any discussion on the motion?
00:28:57
Did
Someone second, if we don't have anyone on line,
00:28:59
so we can just do a regular vote. Are those in favor?
00:29:03
Yeah, we can. Right? She's not back, right.
00:29:05
Oh, those in favor. Anyone against any abstentions?
00:29:08
The motion passes. Congratulations.
00:29:11
Thank you. Do we need to vote on the makeup
00:29:13
or is that what, like so that, that the,
00:29:17
the rundown of number of people? Or is that not,
00:29:20
I don't think so.
00:29:21
Okay. So we, we did vote on the makeup. Well,
00:29:24
Not as details.
00:29:25
We didn't vote on the details as we have it,
00:29:26
but I think Do you wanna,
00:29:30
Do you think it needs that detail?
00:29:33
I think you have the makeup from the last time.
00:29:35
I think you're, you're probably fine.
00:29:36
Yeah. I mean the two are consistent. It's
00:29:38
More general.
00:29:39
Yeah. Yeah.
But it was,
00:29:41
it does cover all the groups that,
00:29:45
Okay.
00:29:46
Okay. And still off,
00:29:49
Since you're talking about calendar,
00:29:51
I have some good news and I have some bad news.
00:29:54
And the, the good, the bad news is that for all
00:29:57
of the vetting that we did of the calendar
00:29:59
and all of the cycles that it went through,
00:30:02
somehow we didn't catch
00:30:03
that there were actually 30 days in April rather than
00:30:06
29 days in April.
00:30:08
So the next meeting, you're gonna see a new calendar
00:30:11
that goes before you that actually has the
00:30:13
appropriate number of days in April.
00:30:14
And the good news is that the school year will be reduced.
00:30:18
This is for 24, 25.
00:30:19
The school year will be reduced by one one day. Oh
00:30:22
Good.
00:30:24
That covers the sleepaway camp. That's it.
00:30:28
Situation. Knock on wood.
00:30:29
No snow. No snow.
00:30:32
Thank, that's a good thing that April has 30 days
00:30:38
the poem in one of them.
00:30:41
Okay. So I think we're good with the counter item.
00:30:46
Should we do quickly the, I know we have people waiting,
00:30:48
but can we do the quickly the consent agenda move rule
00:30:50
of the consent agenda second.
00:30:54
All those in favor? Any anyone against any abstentions?
00:30:59
The consent agenda passes.
00:31:00
And with that I'll pass things to Ms. Wong
00:31:03
for the superintendent's report. Thank
00:31:04
You.
00:31:05
So we had several presenters lined up
00:31:07
and we're gonna submit some modification to the schedule.
00:31:10
So we were expecting to do the student global travel
00:31:13
with Jason Floyd, but he wasn't able to make it tonight.
00:31:16
So that would be postponed to another time.
00:31:19
But our output was to have a bit of a global theme.
00:31:23
So that was student travel.
00:31:25
But we do have two of our three presenters.
00:31:28
We, we lost his admin.
00:31:29
I was saying that we're drop the mic flies in terms of
00:31:34
whatever cold virus related, like things been seasoned.
00:31:39
But we have, we have Tim Love, deputy superintendent,
00:31:43
Joseph Blocker, high school principal
00:31:46
who accompanied me along with other educators to
00:31:50
educators served by hel talent along with
00:31:52
Karen's not able to attempt to make.
00:31:55
So they have some slides they prepared to share with you
00:32:01
their experience and what they've learned from it.
00:32:06
Share this via Zoom with the audience as well.
00:32:10
Try to,
00:32:16
Okay.
00:32:17
So I don't think that's the beginning yet.
00:32:22
Okay. Yep. You wanna kick it up? Sure.
00:32:27
Hi everybody, I'm Josepha Blocker,
00:32:28
the principal at Natick High.
00:32:31
And we had the good fortune of being able to join a group
00:32:34
of educators who went on a learning trip to Finland
00:32:37
and Estonia, Finland
00:32:39
and Estonia are two of the countries
00:32:41
that are ranked highest in the PISA exam scores,
00:32:44
which is an international test of students across the world.
00:32:49
And so we were very intrigued by what processes
00:32:52
and educational strategies they are using in their schools
00:32:55
to be able to achieve these results.
00:32:56
And so we can move I guess to the next one.
00:33:00
So we were a group
00:33:02
of 16 educators across six different
00:33:05
Massachusetts school districts.
00:33:07
Harvard, mass, Lincoln, Sudbury, Natick, Needham,
00:33:10
Wayland, and Wellesley.
00:33:12
Four of us were lucky enough to join from Natick,
00:33:15
including Tim and myself as well as Bella
00:33:18
and Karen Gani from Benham.
00:33:20
There was a union leader from Needham who joined us as well
00:33:24
as elementary
00:33:25
and secondary principals from many
00:33:28
of those districts I mentioned.
00:33:30
And some educational consultants, student services directors
00:33:32
and other superintendents.
00:33:34
So it was a really well-rounded group, which made
00:33:37
for really rich conversation on various perspectives
00:33:39
as we moved through the trip.
00:33:41
And just a great thank you to the school committee for,
00:33:43
for allowing us to take this travel.
00:33:45
That was fascinating and hopefully we'll bring some great
00:33:47
benefit back to Natick in the near future.
00:33:50
So we visited five schools while we were there.
00:33:54
They were in urban, suburban and rural settings.
00:33:56
All from K to 12 varying sizes.
00:33:59
We also visited a teacher training school, which was a jewel
00:34:03
of the trip, I would say most, I would say most
00:34:08
teachers all joined a teacher training school as part
00:34:11
of the process to become certified as,
00:34:13
as teachers in, in Finland.
00:34:15
And so that was fascinating to see them kind
00:34:17
of working under master teachers
00:34:19
and then learning the skill in the trades as, as in the,
00:34:21
in the educational environment.
00:34:23
We also visited the Ministry of Education, which is similar
00:34:25
to Desi in Finland
00:34:28
and engaged in four different professional development
00:34:30
sessions on both finish
00:34:31
and Estonian education with our, with our partners
00:34:33
to consultants from the work we had.
00:34:37
One of the best parts about the trip I think is kind of,
00:34:39
you know, establishing these learning partnerships
00:34:42
with the colleagues that we, we went with,
00:34:44
we met in January again just recently
00:34:47
and we processed takeaways.
00:34:48
Thank you Bella, for supporting that, that process.
00:34:51
She's been wonderful in making sure that we stay connected
00:34:53
and continue the conversations
00:34:55
about the learning that we had.
00:34:57
There is a beginning of a high school
00:34:58
instruction and learning
00:35:00
workshop. Do you wanna talk about that a little bit?
00:35:01
Yeah, definitely.
00:35:02
So the principal of Needham High, Aaron Kott reached out to
00:35:06
the Wellesley High principal, the Wayland high principal,
00:35:09
the teaching and learning director in Lincoln Sudbury
00:35:13
and the,
00:35:15
and me as well to see if we wanted
00:35:17
to form a high school working group to
00:35:19
continue our conversations about teaching and learning.
00:35:22
I don't think we would've forged
00:35:23
that partnership if we hadn't had so much concentrated time
00:35:25
to talk about pedagogy while we were there.
00:35:28
But we're gonna talk about sort of teacher
00:35:30
exchange workshops because we have different PD half days
00:35:33
across our different districts
00:35:34
and start to really think about what it looks like
00:35:37
to have excellent instruction across Metro West.
00:35:40
And I think these are some good districts
00:35:41
to partner with around that work.
00:35:43
So I was excited to be included in that process.
00:35:46
And we're beginning meeting next week
00:35:48
to talk about some next steps towards
00:35:50
realizing that goal. So,
00:35:52
And here there's also an article from Need Our
00:35:54
counterparts there who did a presentation
00:35:56
to their school committee and their school administrative
00:35:58
teams on what they learned from the, from the
00:36:01
adventure I will call it.
00:36:02
And feel free to read that. It's a fantastic article.
00:36:06
Just a quick kind of map, you can see where Helsinki
00:36:08
and talent is at the base of the map.
00:36:10
We had most of our days in Helsinki, then we
00:36:14
crossed over the Baltic Sea into into Talon
00:36:17
for the second part of our trip.
00:36:20
The population of Finland's around five, 5.5 million
00:36:23
as you can see here, I would say eight,
00:36:26
8.5% have a foreign background.
00:36:28
So it was very diverse. You can see in
00:36:30
that bottom right slide, the country of origin there,
00:36:34
you know, in Finland, many former Soviet Union,
00:36:39
Estonia and Somali and Iraq, China, Vietnam, Turkey,
00:36:42
Afghanistan, India, former Yugoslavia.
00:36:44
And so there there's a variety of of different
00:36:47
diverse folks in the, in the areas that we went to.
00:36:52
You'll see Estonia is about 1.3 million
00:36:55
and you can see the the kind of ethnic composition of
00:36:57
of Estonia where many are.
00:37:00
Belarusian, Ukrainian, Finnish.
00:37:03
And again it's a variety of folks.
00:37:05
The capital of in largest city in Estonia's Talon.
00:37:09
And the really cool thing about Talend when we got there,
00:37:12
and I didn't realize this either, is that much
00:37:14
of the infrastructure that that is there was built
00:37:17
around when the Soviet Union was in the Olympics, the one
00:37:22
that was, it wasn't held right?
00:37:24
It was, it was. And
00:37:26
and they had, they had built it up
00:37:27
for the sailing competition in the, in the Olympics
00:37:30
because it was part of the, so you need the time.
00:37:32
So it was wonderful to see that in the city.
00:37:38
Yep, sure. So when we were in Finland, a lot of
00:37:41
what they talked about was this idea of a lot
00:37:45
of trust put in educators.
00:37:46
So teachers designing assessments,
00:37:49
really versatile methods allowed to teachers
00:37:52
for implementation of standards
00:37:54
and teachers being allowed to de decide
00:37:56
what their own success criteria looked like.
00:37:59
And so you'll see that as sort of a through line
00:38:01
as we talk about what our experience was like
00:38:03
in the various schools.
00:38:07
Finland as a country has one school district.
00:38:10
So they have one teacher's contract for the entire country,
00:38:13
which leads to people generally working in neighborhood
00:38:16
schools and a lot of community investment.
00:38:18
So if the educators have the same pay and the same standards
00:38:21
and the same sort of process existing,
00:38:24
no matter which school they work in across the country,
00:38:26
then people tend to stay within
00:38:28
communities that they live in.
00:38:30
There's also very little ranking
00:38:32
or competing amongst schools.
00:38:34
And so it is sort of a very freeing type
00:38:38
of environment there for educators in that
00:38:42
educators are sort of all part of one big group that is part
00:38:46
of one big school group for the whole country.
00:38:49
So they talked a lot about the
00:38:54
Finnish way while we were there.
00:38:55
And so the homogeneity of the country in terms
00:38:59
of demographics really allows them to have this focus on
00:39:03
what culture means in terms of the Finnish way.
00:39:05
And even the folks who are immigrated
00:39:07
to Finland largely are folks who are coming from Sweden
00:39:11
and who are coming from other areas in the Baltic.
00:39:14
And so that type of homogeneity allowed them
00:39:17
to talk about sort of what it means to be Finnish in a way
00:39:21
that, you know, possibly is
00:39:22
not transferrable to the United States.
00:39:24
'cause it's sort of antithetical to American,
00:39:27
the American diversity of experience.
00:39:29
And yet there are some things
00:39:31
that we're gonna talk about at the end
00:39:32
that we feel are transferable.
00:39:34
But within that finished way is a highly
00:39:36
integrated form of instruction.
00:39:38
So they really focus on a few key skills
00:39:40
around reading and writing.
00:39:43
And then everything else is around integrated learning.
00:39:45
And teachers have a lot of fluidity on how to instruct
00:39:49
and when to instruct on these other topics.
00:39:52
There's a high level of trust in in educators
00:39:55
and that goes multi-directional.
00:39:57
There's a high trust from teacher
00:39:58
to student and student to teacher.
00:40:00
There's high trust going from teacher to leader.
00:40:04
There's a high trust going back and forth in that direction.
00:40:07
Same with parents to school
00:40:09
and same with parents and their children.
00:40:11
And so all of that high trust
00:40:14
gets exhibited when you walk into the school environment.
00:40:17
One of the things that struck me immediately walking in
00:40:19
is that the phones don't ring.
00:40:21
There were, I did not hear the phone ring at all in the
00:40:25
offices while I was there
00:40:26
because the kids are where the kids go
00:40:29
and the teachers are where the teachers go
00:40:31
and there really isn't a lot of, there's just a lot
00:40:34
of acceptance that things are going to go as they go.
00:40:38
They also had this idea
00:40:39
of a home cooked meal essential to their culture.
00:40:41
And so kindergartners through 12th grade
00:40:44
all had an open buffet.
00:40:46
They could go back as many times as they want.
00:40:48
It was always paid for by the school.
00:40:50
They had plates, forks, knives, glasses,
00:40:53
and it was just a very, you could see that that idea
00:40:57
of creating home permeated in the culture, there's a lot
00:41:01
of flexibility in the curriculum.
00:41:02
There's also very highly qualified teachers.
00:41:05
The acceptance rate for their teacher colleges is about 10%.
00:41:08
It's very highly competitive
00:41:10
and it's a very sought after field.
00:41:12
And they also do a lot of looping.
00:41:14
So kids will have sometimes the same teacher from
00:41:17
first grade through third grade.
00:41:18
And so that teacher will know that there are standards
00:41:21
that they need to achieve,
00:41:22
but they may choose to do a certain thematic union
00:41:26
unit in second grade versus in first grade when they get
00:41:29
to know these, a certain group of kids
00:41:30
and they have a lot of flexibility knowing
00:41:32
that these are gonna be their kids for a long time.
00:41:38
I think we all, we always ask about, you know,
00:41:40
what do you do with kids who have have different needs
00:41:42
and do you have a system in place to be able to evaluate?
00:41:45
And similar to special education in the states
00:41:47
and they do, they call it a diagnosis and support plan.
00:41:50
They have three levels of support, obviously teachers
00:41:54
and they have what you call their student welfare group,
00:41:56
which is, you know, positions like your nurse, psychologist,
00:41:58
social work and principal.
00:42:00
And then they have some outside consultation services too.
00:42:03
But essentially they have basic support for all students,
00:42:06
similar to our tier one type of instruction.
00:42:08
And then kind of intensified support, which is not yet kind
00:42:11
of a special ed process, but just additional supports based
00:42:14
on where they see kids' needs.
00:42:15
And then they go into a similar model to us
00:42:18
where they call it special support,
00:42:19
which is much more intensified.
00:42:20
So those three levels of support.
00:42:21
So there certainly are students with disabilities.
00:42:25
We did not get to visit any actual special ed schools.
00:42:28
That's one of the things
00:42:29
that we wanna do at at some point
00:42:30
if we ever get a chance to go back.
00:42:33
But, but we did visit some from students with special needs
00:42:37
or with that special support
00:42:38
and they certainly seem like they were integrated into the
00:42:40
classrooms and, and part
00:42:42
of the community, which was wonderful.
00:42:43
Let's see this one, yeah, so this is kind of the structure
00:42:48
of, of the education system.
00:42:50
There are no grades, there are are years essentially.
00:42:54
So you can see this early years in education care
00:42:57
and essentially that's your,
00:42:58
your your young, your young ones.
00:43:00
And I believe that is, is that free?
00:43:02
I don't remember if that was free for families
00:43:03
or not for that.
00:43:05
Yeah, yeah it was. Yeah. I dunno
00:43:07
If that was, I think it is free.
00:43:10
And then also the teachers are required
00:43:12
to be licensed. That's right.
00:43:14
That's right. So then once you finish that side though,
00:43:17
you have, you have 10 years, right?
00:43:19
So you're in year one, year two, year three
00:43:20
and then you're basic education when you hit year 10,
00:43:24
you then go on one of two different pathways.
00:43:28
One is to either your vocational side of things
00:43:33
or your academic side of things.
00:43:35
And this is actually the first time you see any kind
00:43:38
of assessment that we, that we see in, in Finland at all.
00:43:40
And that helps understand which,
00:43:41
which way the students will, will go.
00:43:44
Now just know that the vocational piece is really, really,
00:43:48
it's, it's a large portion probably was it 46% or so?
00:43:51
I think 45% or so of students.
00:43:53
And they value that just as highly as they do
00:43:56
the academic side of things.
00:43:59
And once you get the vocational piece
00:44:01
and into that kind of upper secondary training school,
00:44:04
you then also still have the pathway to go
00:44:06
to a academic college
00:44:07
or to some kind of a polytech
00:44:10
bachelor's degree if you want to.
00:44:12
And they, they, they value both sides incredibly.
00:44:16
Some of the, the schools that we,
00:44:18
that we saw at the upper levels were also
00:44:21
theme based, right?
00:44:22
So if we went to visit a school
00:44:24
and it was all based in music for example.
00:44:25
And so if you went to an academic school,
00:44:27
you could actually choose the theme
00:44:29
of the school that you wanted to go to.
00:44:31
One was based in art, one was based in, in, in the music
00:44:36
interestingly enough, the athletic piece, none
00:44:39
of the schools run any athletics.
00:44:41
'cause we'd asked, Hey, is there athletic based one?
00:44:43
And nope, actually all the communities do the athletics
00:44:45
and the schools don't touch it at all.
00:44:48
So it was a really fascinating kind of a,
00:44:50
a system that they go through.
00:44:52
But again, they're not even looking at any matriculation
00:44:55
examinations until after you get past that 10.
00:44:58
That year 10. Which is amazing
00:45:00
because we test, test, test, test, test.
00:45:02
Right. And and they do not. So you wanna add to that?
00:45:07
Yeah, I think
00:45:08
that the apprenticeship program is also
00:45:10
really interesting to hear about.
00:45:12
And in addition that that early sort
00:45:15
of preschool kindergarten experience,
00:45:17
it wasn't compuls compulsory,
00:45:19
but they said I think about 80% of the people opt into it
00:45:21
and it is available and free if people want it.
00:45:24
But that almost all the kids start first
00:45:26
grade reading either way.
00:45:28
Which we, I also found really fascinating
00:45:31
'cause we know that's not necessarily the case here when
00:45:33
kindergarten is compulsory.
00:45:40
So they have a national core curriculum similar to
00:45:42
how DSI has standards per state here.
00:45:46
And that part of
00:45:47
that core curriculum is school culture missions and vision.
00:45:50
And so they do give this sense of guidelines
00:45:53
around assessment and guidelines for support
00:45:55
and welfare of students, which I think comes through in
00:45:59
how they write their standards.
00:46:00
We'll talk a little bit about their transversal competencies
00:46:02
that they talk about a little bit later,
00:46:04
but they do talk a lot more about the whole child
00:46:08
and the whole student in terms of
00:46:10
how they expect education to run there.
00:46:12
And it really is integrated
00:46:14
and woven throughout that national curriculum in ways
00:46:16
that were really profound.
00:46:21
So the transversal competencies,
00:46:23
everything is based on these competencies.
00:46:26
So if a teacher, you know, I mean there's
00:46:28
so much autonomy for the teachers.
00:46:30
They're pretty much told to say, Hey,
00:46:32
here are your competencies, these are the things
00:46:34
that we want you to work on in your classroom.
00:46:36
And they are then, you know, charged with doing so.
00:46:39
So things like thinking
00:46:40
and learning to think, you know, these are all things that,
00:46:42
you know, we have envisioned in our profile
00:46:44
of a graduate here in Natick.
00:46:45
Obviously similar things,
00:46:47
but they have brought it to life in,
00:46:49
in everyday work that they do.
00:46:50
And each teacher's classroom is doing it a little bit
00:46:52
differently and we'll get into it later.
00:46:55
But many of the administrators really don't know what
00:46:57
that looks like or what that might be.
00:47:00
And that's because of the, the autonomy teachers are given.
00:47:02
And I think it's also important to say, you know,
00:47:05
the teachers are put on the level of, you know,
00:47:08
doctor or lawyer, right?
00:47:10
As a profession, they're not paid as well.
00:47:12
So that's certainly a, still still a significant concern,
00:47:15
but they're given that autonomy to to, to take this,
00:47:19
make the curriculum they think is gonna meet the needs
00:47:21
of the kids and then follow through with it.
00:47:23
And it, it's amazing because then you see the scores
00:47:26
on the pizza and they are, they're very,
00:47:28
very high. So yeah,
00:47:30
They have these transversal linked to standards.
00:47:32
Similarly how we would have our, you know,
00:47:35
our English classrooms tied to ELA standards for, you know,
00:47:37
grade 10 and 10th grade.
00:47:39
But there are also, within each standard, one
00:47:41
of these transversal or more than one is also linked to
00:47:43
that academic standard.
00:47:45
So teachers really do ha see no, no separation.
00:47:49
They see that there's equal importance in term of, in terms
00:47:53
of teaching self-care
00:47:55
and managing daily life versus teaching and academic skills.
00:48:00
So for example, we went to a school that had a theme for,
00:48:04
for instruction for about eight weeks
00:48:06
and then they would turn over to a new theme
00:48:08
and they were talking about, you know,
00:48:10
appreciating the human body.
00:48:12
And so part of that was how do I take care of my body?
00:48:15
How do I manage that in my daily life?
00:48:17
And part of that was going to science
00:48:19
and really, you know, mapping out all the bones.
00:48:21
And then they would read a book on how bodies are different
00:48:24
and talk about cultural competence around how all
00:48:27
of our bodies are different and
00:48:28
what do bodies look like in different homes
00:48:30
and what do families look like
00:48:31
with different bodies in different homes.
00:48:33
And so they managed
00:48:34
to take these different transversal competencies
00:48:37
and weave them through thematic instruction,
00:48:39
which was really fascinating
00:48:41
to watch in various different places.
00:48:43
Do it different ways. But it was, it was fascinating.
00:48:50
So I talked about a little bit
00:48:52
of high trust and teacher autonomy.
00:48:54
So as you can see on this slide, you can read that, right?
00:48:57
There's no teacher evaluation system,
00:48:58
there's no high stake tests,
00:49:00
there's no teacher recertification.
00:49:02
In fact, you know,
00:49:04
and this will go, this is, this is both in Estonia as well.
00:49:07
So I'll, I'll kinda share it here.
00:49:08
I remember seeing and, and talking
00:49:10
to some teachers in Estonia and similar in Finland.
00:49:12
And we said, so, so how does the teacher evaluation work?
00:49:14
You know, are the administrators ever in your room?
00:49:17
And they looked at us like we, you know,
00:49:19
like we had two heads.
00:49:20
It was like administrators,
00:49:21
why would they ever go to your room?
00:49:23
Right? So there's, there's no evaluation system at all
00:49:26
that trust has put in the teachers to, to complete the tasks
00:49:28
that, that are given to them.
00:49:30
And you don't know how do,
00:49:34
there's no assessment of the kids outside
00:49:36
of the teacher assessing the kids themselves
00:49:38
before they move them on.
00:49:40
So there are no high stake tests, which also lead to a,
00:49:42
a reduced impact on social emotional difficulties.
00:49:47
I don't think any kid there felt stress.
00:49:51
That's, that's how I felt when I, when we talked
00:49:52
to the kids, you know, and that was amazing.
00:49:55
And again, no teacher recertification as well.
00:49:57
So that system of of, you know, giving the autonomy
00:50:01
to the teachers and the kids, the ability to,
00:50:03
to be the kids in the classroom led to a, a,
00:50:06
a non-stress environment all the way through. Yeah,
00:50:09
It, it was really interesting, you know, one
00:50:11
of our colleagues while we were there said,
00:50:12
what do principals do here?
00:50:16
You have no teacher contracts,
00:50:17
you have no evaluation system, you have no testing,
00:50:20
you don't go see people teach.
00:50:22
You're not doing athletics, you're not doing.
00:50:24
And so they said that they really do work a lot on school
00:50:27
culture and on getting to know the kids
00:50:29
and on, you know, the budgets.
00:50:31
They do have to do that piece.
00:50:32
And, but it, it was an interesting sort
00:50:35
of brain flip from all the things that we are focused
00:50:37
so much on as educators, our guide who
00:50:42
did a tremendous job helping us understand culture
00:50:44
and giving us PD there said, you know, this is sort
00:50:48
of the picture they paint and it does sound very utopian
00:50:51
and they're of course like anywhere else is variability.
00:50:54
So he would say like, you know, did I feel like all
00:50:56
of my kids' teachers bat at a thousand all day long?
00:50:58
Not always, but I, he did feel, you know, a strong sense
00:51:02
of confidence that his kids were getting a good
00:51:04
education all the way through.
00:51:05
So, So they,
00:51:10
they talked a lot about differentiation.
00:51:12
'cause we asked, we said, you're a very homogenous
00:51:14
population, you know, what does it really look like in
00:51:16
classrooms when kids learn at
00:51:18
different speeds and different rates?
00:51:19
And so they showed us this math class
00:51:22
and there are these two books sitting on the table,
00:51:24
which if you looked quickly,
00:51:26
you would not have seen them as different.
00:51:27
But one of them has a little e there
00:51:29
and these are the pages
00:51:31
where the teacher's teaching this lesson.
00:51:33
And you can see that one of them has tons of steps laid out
00:51:37
with boxes to really guide students.
00:51:40
A lot of scaffolding and one doesn't,
00:51:42
but the teacher is teaching the same lesson to all,
00:51:45
and it's just highly differentiated.
00:51:46
And it's two different books
00:51:47
and not immediately apparent
00:51:48
to the students if they aren't really looking
00:51:50
to see who's doing what.
00:51:51
But it allows everybody to access the same
00:51:53
content at the same time.
00:51:55
Which, you know, I think that it was, it was powerful
00:51:59
to watch how somebody, how another country
00:52:00
does it all in the same room.
00:52:07
Oh, before you go to Estonia. Yep.
00:52:10
So, so in Finland you might say, well
00:52:12
how do they know it works that that one time they do have
00:52:15
that test scores at, at the end of 10th grade.
00:52:18
They are, they find that no matter where you're in Finland,
00:52:21
that the results are, are very similar.
00:52:24
So that's one of the reasons why people go
00:52:26
to visit Finland is their sense of equity
00:52:28
and equitable outcomes.
00:52:29
So that's, that's the other piece there,
00:52:32
Right?
00:52:33
Their gap between socioeconomic groups is really small.
00:52:43
So
00:52:46
Estonia too small to fail.
00:52:50
Countries like Estonia are wild
00:52:51
animals constantly on the alert.
00:52:53
You are forced to innovate to do something
00:52:55
that nobody else does.
00:52:57
So as you can see in this tree, it,
00:53:01
it's actually a very similar model to, to Finland in
00:53:05
that way where they do have a vocational
00:53:08
and they do have a upper secondary tier
00:53:11
that is more academic.
00:53:12
However, I think it was a much smaller percentage
00:53:17
of students that would do vocational work over there.
00:53:19
And I don't know if we have that in the next slide here,
00:53:21
but there were certainly fewer students heading
00:53:26
to the vocational side.
00:53:29
I think what, what you saw in Finland was very similar
00:53:32
otherwise to Estonia.
00:53:35
I think that the, the culture in Estonia was one that was,
00:53:41
you know, we saw a tremendous amount
00:53:44
of things like we saw here for example,
00:53:46
things like UDL we're gonna work on now we're gonna work on
00:53:49
on different ways to, to provide access to kids
00:53:52
reading programs.
00:53:54
You name it, it was, it was there,
00:53:58
They're a little more tech
00:53:59
focused I think than Finland was.
00:54:00
They relied a lot more on technology
00:54:02
because people are spread out
00:54:04
and they wanted to make sure all kids have access.
00:54:07
There was also a certain sense of urgency
00:54:10
and pride over being able to be autonomous right now
00:54:14
and just wanting to take advantage of that
00:54:16
because of their history of being taken over a lot.
00:54:18
So they were talking about like, we have control
00:54:20
of our schools now and we're gonna do it while we can.
00:54:23
And so there was an interesting sort of,
00:54:27
I don't know whether it was more of like a, a drive
00:54:30
and a fight that came with that, that need to sort
00:54:33
of have self-determination while they can,
00:54:36
that accompanied their sort of desire to educate kids.
00:54:40
They also had similar challenges to us in terms
00:54:42
of migration, right?
00:54:45
So it was interesting.
00:54:47
So we had been talking about kids coming over from Ukraine
00:54:50
possibly to, to the US and they're right there.
00:54:53
So they had a substantial amount of kids come over.
00:54:55
So this is similar issues when they,
00:54:57
they're bringing kids on and also the fact that they speak
00:55:00
so many different languages, the languages
00:55:02
of students coming into school were,
00:55:04
were certainly impactful for them as well.
00:55:05
So they're some of the similar challenges that we have here.
00:55:10
So highlights. So,
00:55:12
and I think many of these things are the same.
00:55:15
You know, the technology piece,
00:55:17
I think Josepha just talked about.
00:55:19
There's the 90% of vocational, 10% in Estonia.
00:55:24
I think I like the safety and wellbeing
00:55:26
and the happiness one the most with, with Finland.
00:55:28
Yeah. It showed in every, everywhere we went.
00:55:31
There's one elementary school that we went to
00:55:32
and you'll see pictures, you know, we went in
00:55:34
and we took our shoes off as we walked in the door
00:55:37
because every kid took their shoes off
00:55:39
as they walked in the door and it was very comforting
00:55:42
and they had a very small cafeteria
00:55:43
with tables and flowers on them.
00:55:45
I'm not sure if that was just for us or not,
00:55:46
but it sure seemed like it was their daily
00:55:48
piece. It was really lovely.
00:55:50
Yeah, I mean the safety piece is also notable
00:55:52
that they don't do afterschool childcare
00:55:55
after first grade that the kids just, we trust.
00:55:57
It's that high trust. So we would see kids walking on the
00:56:00
street and taking city buses who are seven and eight
00:56:03
and there is just this general sense of safety
00:56:07
and shared community and we take care of our country.
00:56:10
Our country takes care of us.
00:56:13
They allot the number of positions
00:56:15
and universities tie to the expected needs
00:56:17
of the job market in 10 years.
00:56:20
So they have this sort of, my country takes care of me, me
00:56:23
and now I'm gonna go do something my country will need.
00:56:26
And so that just
00:56:27
that sense was very pervasive from everything from
00:56:31
childcare to the bosses.
00:56:33
If I could underscore that.
00:56:34
So the vocational tracks here, people follow,
00:56:38
we say follow your passion what you like,
00:56:39
but there they, the tracks that are created
00:56:43
will end up in jobs there, there are tracks to jobs
00:56:48
that they need employee. So it's different.
00:56:51
Yeah. You wanna talk about your stuff
00:56:55
Here?
00:56:56
Yeah, so, so these are just a couple of pictures
00:56:59
that I just found sort of captured the experience for me.
00:57:02
So it was all the kids with their, their socks on
00:57:04
and you know, we were all with our socks on.
00:57:06
Our socks were just unbelievably clean at the end.
00:57:08
We could not believe how immaculate these schools were.
00:57:11
And everybody always had their shoes off. I'm
00:57:14
Really glad I wore my good socks.
00:57:15
I know, right? I'm like, do I have a whole,
00:57:17
nobody warned me about this.
00:57:19
And there were just tons of little things like this foosball
00:57:22
table that's just out
00:57:23
and we trust the kids not to leave class to play it
00:57:26
and it's just gonna sit there
00:57:27
and everybody has their backpacks.
00:57:29
You can't quite see on that locker area,
00:57:31
but just hanging in the hall
00:57:32
and we trust that nobody's gonna take our stuff.
00:57:34
So kids were leaving computers like in backpacks,
00:57:36
on hallway shelves and just again, like the plates,
00:57:40
the knives, the forks,
00:57:42
and how much we think about kids like injuring
00:57:44
themselves on those kinds of things.
00:57:45
And they don't have any thoughts of that.
00:57:48
They're just like, we're gonna trust the kids
00:57:49
to be responsible. I
00:57:52
Don't think we actually ever saw any
00:57:53
paper, anything, anything at, right.
00:57:55
Just, that's another piece of it at all. Right?
00:57:57
It was all glassware, silverware.
00:58:00
It's a very integrated sense of sustainability.
00:58:03
Yes. That I was a sign on the bathroom in
00:58:09
a a 4K to five school
00:58:11
and I just found it to be profound that like, that type
00:58:15
of symbolism is just there
00:58:16
and integrated into how they do school.
00:58:20
And the kids were, this was sort of an open area
00:58:23
and some kids were sitting on couches working
00:58:25
and some were in classrooms working
00:58:26
and they would just say, we're doing these things now
00:58:28
and we just go work where we like to work on them
00:58:31
and then we come back when we want to.
00:58:33
And they really did have a lot of control
00:58:37
and autonomy within the spaces they were given.
00:58:39
And it was, it was just really neat to witness.
00:58:46
Yeah.
So these were more high school classrooms
00:58:49
and they felt a little more traditional
00:58:51
because these were also schools where, you know,
00:58:53
there was already stratification around who tested and where
00:58:56
and what people's interests were.
00:58:58
So they did look a little bit more like
00:58:59
what you would envision a
00:59:00
traditional classroom to look like.
00:59:03
We were, we had student guides
00:59:04
and in the upper schools that we visited
00:59:08
and their English was striking.
00:59:10
I almost forgot that we weren't in
00:59:13
an English speaking country.
00:59:14
And then they started to talk
00:59:15
to us a little bit about their world language learning
00:59:17
trajectory about, you know, in your early grades,
00:59:20
if you come in speaking fluent finish, you're going
00:59:23
to either start in first grade learning Swedish
00:59:25
or Estonian in Finland,
00:59:27
and then in third grade you'll learn the, the third,
00:59:29
whichever one you haven't done yet.
00:59:31
And then in sixth grade you'll pick up a fourth.
00:59:34
And so they leave learn having fluency in almost in three
00:59:37
to four languages at least, largely
00:59:40
because they need them to be able to get around the country.
00:59:42
But if you build that, those neural nets during
00:59:45
that critical zone of development around how
00:59:47
to learn language, I would guess that it would be easier
00:59:50
to learn a third
00:59:51
and fourth if you already have those pathways built.
00:59:54
Learning the first and second through that process
00:59:57
of early language acquisitions.
00:59:58
So that was another really interesting thing to note
01:00:00
as we visited the secondary schools, just how easily
01:00:03
and fluidly they'd be talking to us in English,
01:00:05
they'd go talk to a friend and finish and come right back.
01:00:07
And like it was, it was wild to watch them switch. So
01:00:13
This, this actually a picture on the left, I, I believe
01:00:15
that was Estonia we went into, it was a middle school,
01:00:19
well that wasn't middle school.
01:00:21
It was upper, upper 5, 6, 7, 8 level.
01:00:26
The kids were prepared with questions for us.
01:00:29
And I think the most telling question was,
01:00:33
we don't understand in the US why
01:00:38
and how you deal with these school shootings.
01:00:41
Like why are there school shootings in the us?
01:00:44
And it was a really difficult thing.
01:00:45
We gave it to the principal from Wellesley school, I think
01:00:47
to answer that question to Jamie.
01:00:49
Yeah, but it was, I mean, they don't, they don't have those,
01:00:52
they don't have those concerns that,
01:00:54
that we do around safety here.
01:00:56
And it goes to the culture, I think,
01:00:57
and it goes to their belief system.
01:00:59
So that was a fascinating thing on the right,
01:01:01
you can see one of the, one of the upper level schools
01:01:04
that had an art focus.
01:01:05
And so there's beautiful art everywhere in that school.
01:01:08
And it was wonderful to see kids who,
01:01:10
and kids get a, get a choice for the most part of
01:01:12
where they want to go and what theme they wanna do.
01:01:14
So if they have that passion already,
01:01:16
they enter those schools and,
01:01:17
and can create some amazing things
01:01:19
along with their academic work.
01:01:23
So some key takeaways, right?
01:01:25
The, the power of a really calm, clean learning environment
01:01:29
and how much that impacts kids' sense of self
01:01:31
and kids' self-worth, right?
01:01:33
You could see how much the kids felt ownership over their
01:01:35
environments, the impact of high trust between parents,
01:01:39
kids in school, and how much that governed everything there.
01:01:42
The power of focusing on executive functioning
01:01:44
and life skills really early.
01:01:47
I remember Karen, who, who isn't here with us right now,
01:01:49
but she, she said, I just came away reaffirmed.
01:01:52
If I can get them to read, write,
01:01:55
and manage themselves,
01:01:56
then they will learn everything else when they leave me.
01:01:59
And we say, yes, that is true.
01:02:02
And the idea that there's no dead ends, the integration,
01:02:06
the early learning of second
01:02:08
and third languages, they're heavily centralized system.
01:02:13
And interestingly enough that if you took Massachusetts,
01:02:16
which is a similar size to Finland, and you took just us
01:02:20
and we compared ourselves against Finland,
01:02:22
we would be on par.
01:02:23
Massachusetts is doing something right,
01:02:25
even if the whole data
01:02:27
for the United States doesn't look great compared
01:02:29
to Finland, we in Massachusetts are doing
01:02:32
something that's worth noting. So yeah,
01:02:34
Back in, I think it was
Calming
01:02:36
2014, 15, it sounds about right.
01:02:40
They did a piece, did a study
01:02:41
where they actually assessed certain kids in the US
01:02:45
and different levels and,
01:02:47
and Natick actually participated in, in these PISA tests
01:02:51
for some of our kids, as did
01:02:53
other districts in Massachusetts.
01:02:54
And our scores definitely rivaled, which was impressive.
01:02:58
So we've been much better from there since. So that's great.
01:03:02
Yeah.
So then we,
01:03:04
we talked a lot about what's in our locus of control.
01:03:08
So they're a very different society than we are.
01:03:10
And so what is within our locus of control here
01:03:13
that we could transfer?
01:03:14
And so the idea of a consistent focus on building trust
01:03:18
within our sphere of influence within our schools,
01:03:20
within our district is something that we can aspire
01:03:23
to regularly, even if it's not the culture
01:03:25
of the whole world around us.
01:03:28
We talked about multidisciplinary learning in earlier grades
01:03:30
and, and and increasing collaboration across disciplines
01:03:33
at the secondary level.
01:03:35
We talked about world language earlier
01:03:38
and how our profile of a graduate really
01:03:41
looks a lot like those transversal
01:03:44
and how if we were to be able to sort of connect them
01:03:47
to standards that exist from dsi, would we be able
01:03:50
to have something similar?
01:03:52
So we started to flush out some of those ideas.
01:03:55
And also just this idea of how of kids rising to the,
01:03:58
I increased autonomy
01:03:59
and agency, which is part of what UDL espouses in terms of
01:04:03
how that type of learning is,
01:04:05
is geared more genic learning for kids. So
01:04:09
Some self-determination, right?
01:04:11
Yes.
So social emotionally, obviously, you know,
01:04:16
shared leadership to support everything in school for kids,
01:04:21
the more opportunity for agency
01:04:22
and the self-determination as we discussed,
01:04:25
we have been working on this, right.
01:04:27
And something to continue to work on.
01:04:28
But we saw there that
01:04:30
executive functioning was supported everywhere.
01:04:32
Especially the transportation thing blew me away.
01:04:34
Just kids jumping on the, on the local trains.
01:04:37
And I mean I, we would never, never see
01:04:40
that here the way it was there.
01:04:41
And at young, young ages, like they did some of 'em travel
01:04:44
On their own up to hour to get to school.
01:04:46
Yeah,
01:04:48
That's wild.
01:04:49
And there is no, there are no school buses.
01:04:51
I don't know if we said that. Did we say that? Yeah.
01:04:53
Buses, there are no school buses, buses, no transportation.
01:04:55
So it's either you're biking to school,
01:04:56
you're jumping on the local rail train, adding vocational
01:05:01
and life skills even earlier to support the whole child.
01:05:04
Normalizing the vocational training
01:05:06
as a career pathway, right?
01:05:07
I mean there were days and,
01:05:09
and not so much, so many more I think,
01:05:11
but there were days when vocational was
01:05:12
kind of a bad word, right?
01:05:14
And I think we've gotten way past that
01:05:15
and the, the vocational schools have increased their rigor
01:05:19
and, and kids are very successful in both the vocational
01:05:21
portions and the academic portions when they're there.
01:05:25
Reduced distractions and the sensory input.
01:05:27
I mean I think that just goes
01:05:28
to the, the environment itself.
01:05:30
I mean I think it might be a,
01:05:32
a difficult start if we ask all the kids
01:05:34
to take the shoes off when they came into school.
01:05:37
We could try and I love the investing,
01:05:41
the idea there were no dead ends.
01:05:42
Definitely. Can I just say too,
01:05:46
and this would be a really cool opportunity,
01:05:48
now you can do this if you want, if you want to,
01:05:50
and this would be a conversation with the aem
01:05:51
and I was talking to you a little about this today,
01:05:52
but wouldn't it be really neat to pilot a, you know, three
01:05:55
to four year pilot where we took three
01:05:58
to four educators in their classroom, said, Hey listen,
01:06:00
we're not gonna evaluate you for three to four years
01:06:01
and we're gonna have some kind of an agreement
01:06:03
and let's see what those results look like afterwards.
01:06:05
You know, you create the instruction, you be you.
01:06:08
And let's see what that, what that kind
01:06:10
of comes out at the end.
01:06:12
Just a thought process that might be deep.
01:06:16
Yeah. And just finally thank you.
01:06:18
I mean this was really a life changing experience.
01:06:21
I'll say for me as a new principal to be with a large group
01:06:25
of secondary principals from the area,
01:06:26
it was really a profound professional learning experience
01:06:29
and really helped me think a lot about
01:06:33
what education can look like if you sort of
01:06:36
for forego all the things you think of
01:06:38
as the norm and the necessary. So
01:06:41
It was a lovely trip and I really
01:06:42
appreciate you sending me along.
01:06:43
I know Karen really appreciates it well
01:06:45
and she wish she could be here tonight,
01:06:46
but thank you very much.
01:06:47
I think if Karen was here, she might say she was struck
01:06:51
by the way they scheduled.
01:06:52
So in the elementary especially, there'll be instruction,
01:06:54
but there's built in basically playtime
01:06:57
all throughout the day.
01:06:59
And so that, that she appreciated that.
01:07:02
The other is just a comment about the geopolitical climate.
01:07:06
We just, we arrived on ten seven
01:07:10
and it was interesting to be away from here while
01:07:14
that was happening, but also to see how that news was,
01:07:20
I don't know, processed over there.
01:07:22
So it's, it's probably significant to note that both Finland
01:07:26
and Estonia, their independence really wasn't
01:07:29
until like 19 17, 19 20.
01:07:31
They are new countries formerly dominated by Russia.
01:07:36
And so their allegiance to self-determination
01:07:40
is just really profound.
01:07:42
And the just being able to take care of one another,
01:07:45
but really appreciating being in an environment in peace
01:07:49
and what that means.
01:07:51
The other thing that might be interesting is
01:07:52
that Finland is 70% Lutheran.
01:07:56
And so it's very homogenous in terms of the primary religion
01:08:00
and who is part of the,
01:08:01
but Estonia is decidedly they categorize,
01:08:05
they'll say this percent is agnostic,
01:08:08
this percent is areligious.
01:08:11
Pretty much like subcategories I didn't really ever think
01:08:14
about about not being religious.
01:08:18
So the but their dedication to, to
01:08:23
outcomes through education kind of transcends.
01:08:26
They're very different perspective on religion.
01:08:31
And so then next trip this fall
01:08:34
I'm looking at going to Ireland.
01:08:37
This was was before the conflict resolution
01:08:40
that's now happening in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
01:08:43
But the, the interest in going
01:08:45
to Ireland is really about how they teach reading.
01:08:48
So the decision to go to Ireland actually was chosen
01:08:50
before this latest debate across the country.
01:08:54
Actually Ireland has been adhering
01:08:56
to a more phonics based instruction
01:08:58
while England was adhering to a more balanced literacy.
01:09:02
So it's interesting how it's come out.
01:09:04
Their PISA scores were strong
01:09:06
and the last PISA score
01:09:08
around Ireland finished second and in ELA.
01:09:12
So anyway, I hope Native will send educators to Arla maybe.
01:09:18
And I was really glad that that, that you were able
01:09:22
to send Tim and Karen and Joseph up.
01:09:27
You have any questions for us? Cool.
01:09:30
Thanks for going and learning
01:09:32
so much and bringing all that back.
01:09:33
You're welcome.
01:09:36
Any questions from the committee?
01:09:38
Yeah, course Seth.
01:09:40
So I just, I mean that was really fascinating
01:09:42
and thank you so much for sharing that with us.
01:09:44
And I guess I just have to give a little plug
01:09:46
for like the little mini experiment at Lilja
01:09:49
where you do have looping and a lot of the,
01:09:53
and having had a child who went through that with Ms.
01:09:57
McEnany, you know, a lot
01:09:58
of the experiences you described in elementary school are
01:10:01
things that happened in that, in that classroom
01:10:04
and it really did have a profound effect on,
01:10:07
and I had a little control group
01:10:08
of two kids who didn't do that.
01:10:10
So, you know, you could really see
01:10:12
how just their very small tweaks.
01:10:14
So I, I love the idea of doing more, you know, sort
01:10:19
of pilots of different aspects of this
01:10:21
that we could easily implement. So exciting
01:10:23
For people that don't know what looping is,
01:10:25
it's having the teacher, the same
01:10:27
teacher more than one year.
01:10:29
It's, it is very powerful experience for those
01:10:31
who are able to do it.
01:10:33
I think Brookline and their K to eights does
01:10:35
that quite a bit where they'll have one teacher
01:10:38
for like first grade
01:10:39
and then the teacher follows 'em
01:10:40
into second and then goes back.
01:10:42
I, I actually had the opportunity to loop with ninth
01:10:45
and 10th graders in science.
01:10:46
So biology and chemistry
01:10:48
and I, I can say that when you start the second year,
01:10:51
you just hit the ground running 'cause you know them and,
01:10:54
and there's such a high level of trust
01:10:56
and knowing students you really take personalized learning
01:10:59
to another level when you have a second year.
01:11:04
Yeah. Ms. Brunell,
01:11:07
Well first I was wondering
01:11:08
if school committee members could
01:11:09
Go next year,
But one thing
01:11:14
that this makes me really excited about our next strategic
01:11:16
plan, because it strikes me
01:11:19
that your values are then put forth in actual decisions
01:11:23
that are made for the school.
01:11:25
So even like what you shared about like the, the, not the,
01:11:29
you know, the silverware and the plates like sustainability
01:11:32
all through that, or students coming with shoes off
01:11:37
just to create like a more homelike feel not,
01:11:40
and I can see that as like a buzzword in like a,
01:11:43
an article like, you know, students
01:11:45
with shoes off in school, right?
01:11:46
But if you, if you dig underneath it, it's like, what, what,
01:11:50
what's the why there and what is it?
01:11:52
How does it impact students?
01:11:54
So I really appreciated this presentation.
01:11:56
I'll be honest, when I saw 32 slides, I was like,
01:11:58
oh gosh, 32 slides.
01:12:00
But talk fast.
01:12:01
No, I really, I'm fascinated by this
01:12:03
and I really appreciate the thought to sort of
01:12:09
get out of our own comfort zone
01:12:11
and for you to think about education
01:12:13
in a totally different way,
01:12:16
Honey should mention.
01:12:17
So the first trip I went to Helsinki in 2013,
01:12:20
Dorothy Presser joined us
01:12:22
and at that time she was on the school committee.
01:12:24
Oh, I wanna say Linfield, is that right? Yes.
01:12:28
I'm just volunteering.
Should we vote now?
01:12:31
Sometimes legislators have come with us
01:12:34
and so Alice Pech was on that first trip in 2013
01:12:37
and you see Jessie's work on early childhood
01:12:41
and it really is really from her bringing that to, to Desi
01:12:46
and trying to make that happen.
01:12:50
Yeah. I
01:12:52
Have a super quick comment and you might,
01:12:53
maybe you covered this when I had to step out,
01:12:55
but I was just curious about the length of the school day.
01:12:58
Did you say anything about that? Is it longer?
01:13:00
Did I miss that? I have a shorter
01:13:01
Day and less homework.
01:13:03
Yeah.
01:13:04
Interesting. Yeah,
01:13:05
like I was just wondering about the commutes
01:13:07
and I, you said some people, the kids travel an hour.
01:13:10
I'm like, are they there from nine to four?
01:13:12
Are they there a short amount
01:13:13
of time? Interesting. No, they're not
01:13:15
Staying for after school sports.
01:13:17
Well, and in, in some cases they set their schedule even
01:13:19
at the younger levels, right?
01:13:21
So they'll come in and they'll, they'll set their schedule
01:13:23
to go to this class and then they'll have a break in the
01:13:25
middle and they could even go home in that time.
01:13:26
I think it's almost like a free period.
01:13:28
Oh cases. Oh, for lunch maybe? Yeah.
01:13:29
If they can and they'll set their schedule based
01:13:31
on what they, what they need.
01:13:33
Hmm. Interesting. Well if there's anything,
01:13:35
the second thing would be if there's anything the school
01:13:37
committee can do to continue to support this sort of work,
01:13:40
happy to consider it.
01:13:42
'cause it feels like it was very exciting for you
01:13:45
and fulfilling professional.
01:13:46
Yeah. Professionally.
01:13:48
So I would be happy to continue
01:13:50
to support that type of work.
01:13:52
Great. Yeah, I'll just echo that
01:13:54
because I didn't get to go to Finland
01:13:57
but did get to travel to Kennedy Middle School
01:14:02
when we're doing the superintendent site
01:14:06
visits and the high school.
01:14:08
But I was just very impressed with what we have
01:14:11
and including, you know, some of the innovations
01:14:14
that were built into Kennedy
01:14:16
and to a certain extent to the high school.
01:14:19
You know, we might be building a new elementary school soon.
01:14:23
So thinking not just, and it's
01:14:24
not just about the physical space.
01:14:25
The physical space was one of the things in, in, in some
01:14:27
of the pictures, the common space.
01:14:30
That was something I noticed at actually Kennedy was kids
01:14:33
working together outside
01:14:35
of the classroom in this really nice open space.
01:14:39
The kind of similar to, to your picture you had,
01:14:42
but bringing these ideas, I mean I think that's
01:14:43
how Kennedy was designed, right?
01:14:45
People going out to other countries, seeing
01:14:48
what education can be
01:14:50
and doing a nice job of saying what is transferrable?
01:14:52
What is not? 'cause we're not Finland.
01:14:54
We, we won't be Finland ever, right?
01:14:56
We don't wanna be Finland.
01:14:57
If we wanna be Finland, we'd go to Finland, right?
01:15:02
But what are things that are working that are transferrable?
01:15:06
I like the fact that there's kind
01:15:07
of like an MTSS thing going on in Finland, the three tiers
01:15:11
and the child study team.
01:15:12
It looks like there's something similar to that.
01:15:14
So I don't know who came up with it first, we or them,
01:15:17
but it's not competition.
01:15:20
What I, what I, what was also wondering about is,
01:15:25
is your thoughts about trust.
01:15:27
You said trust is such a huge theme.
01:15:30
How do you like having come from there and back here?
01:15:36
What are some, any ideas of how you build trust and, and
01:15:40
and like you said, trust in all relationships, right?
01:15:42
It's students and teachers.
01:15:44
Teachers, students, teachers and teachers.
01:15:46
Teachers and administrators.
01:15:48
It, it's such a huge question, right?
01:15:51
And I think about, you know,
01:15:53
in certain ways you build trust one person at a time, right?
01:15:57
And so I think that, and then there
01:15:59
and yet there's also ways that systems provide trust.
01:16:03
I think for, I think in the country, right?
01:16:06
Finland creates trust by this idea
01:16:08
that the government takes care of everybody.
01:16:10
Everybody has a pension, everybody has a place to live.
01:16:12
Every, we didn't, we I think saw one homeless person
01:16:15
the entire time we were there.
01:16:17
And that's how they build trust.
01:16:19
And so then people give back to that group thought, right?
01:16:23
I think here trust looks like a lot of communication.
01:16:28
It looks like people really believing
01:16:30
that you care about their kids
01:16:32
and want what's in their kids' best interest.
01:16:35
And that even if they don't agree with how you're doing it,
01:16:37
they understand why.
01:16:40
And I, I think it's something that
01:16:42
you always have to work on.
01:16:44
I think this country is built differently than Finland in
01:16:48
terms of sort of self autonomy
01:16:50
and the idea of entrepreneurship
01:16:52
and the individual is really resonant in,
01:16:54
in America it's part of our story.
01:16:56
It's part of our national story, right?
01:16:59
And so I think within that, I think that trust might be sort
01:17:03
of implicit there and it has to be earned here.
01:17:07
And so, you know, part of my entry process,
01:17:10
which you guys are gonna get sick of hearing from me,
01:17:12
so I have to do that next, but is a lot about
01:17:14
how do you build trust by listening to people
01:17:16
and reflecting back at them what you're hearing. But
01:17:20
I would also say, you know, if you're a, a parent
01:17:23
and a staff member, a teacher trust is built
01:17:28
by when your kid goes into school and they're not bullied
01:17:31
and they feel safe.
01:17:33
And I think here we have too many incidents of, of safety
01:17:37
and bullying that occur that might break trust
01:17:39
between parents and, and staff members and teachers.
01:17:43
Not that, you know, it's just kind of a nature
01:17:45
of where of where it is.
01:17:47
So kids go to school and they feel safe
01:17:48
and parents have no reason to question
01:17:51
that on a daily basis.
01:17:53
And I think with the, with the staff
01:17:56
and the administration, you know,
01:17:58
I mean there have been too many times, at least in the,
01:17:59
we'll just say in the US not just in in Natick where,
01:18:02
you know, staff might be evaluated in a way that's not fair
01:18:06
and not appropriate and you know, and
01:18:08
and evaluated based on high stake testing, right?
01:18:10
And all these kind of things that are, that, that, you know,
01:18:12
that aren't, aren't necessarily fair
01:18:14
and they don't have that issue there at all.
01:18:16
So there's those components as well.
01:18:19
I think Finland didn't really start from this place.
01:18:24
The, what you see in Finland is a result
01:18:26
of a 40 year educational reform.
01:18:29
Their, their results actually were very poor
01:18:32
and they as a country decided to get to, to come together
01:18:36
and develop educational policy reform for
01:18:39
what they feel they don't, they don't have big families.
01:18:42
So they really felt that the investment in the education
01:18:45
of the youth was just fundamental to the,
01:18:49
to the future of the country.
01:18:50
But also such a, they saw it as such a important asset
01:18:54
that they wanted to all come together to care about.
01:18:58
So yeah, 40 years of, of reform and doing that.
01:19:02
But Finland has set up a model which
01:19:07
it would probably do well for
01:19:09
other countries to think about.
01:19:10
They decided to make their educational policies apolitical.
01:19:15
They made a commitment that this is our sustainable plan
01:19:17
for five years, no matter who's in power.
01:19:21
We are committed to this.
01:19:23
So interestingly Estonia has taken that to the next level
01:19:27
'cause they, they are doing 10 year plans.
01:19:30
So they're educational,
01:19:31
they have like a 10 year long range plan.
01:19:35
If you think about in our country how,
01:19:37
depending on who's president,
01:19:38
how our educational policies have shifted.
01:19:42
So I, I would say that Finland should, should be noted for
01:19:47
making educational policy apolitical. Yeah.
01:19:51
And long term.
Yeah. Yeah.
01:19:55
Great. Well thank you so much.
01:19:58
This is such a fascinating presentation.
01:20:00
I'm gonna leave this here with you. Oh
01:20:02
Okay great help.
01:20:04
So we were trying to consolidate time. Yeah.
01:20:07
To make it convenient for Josepha.
01:20:09
So the first one was supposed
01:20:10
to be student high school global travel
01:20:12
and you have the Helsinki tale
01:20:13
and now Josea is here to talk to you about the findings
01:20:17
of her entry plan.
01:20:20
Alright, so, so I wanted to start out
01:20:25
and just talk through a little bit
01:20:26
about the entry plan process.
01:20:28
I'm guessing that most of you in this room know
01:20:30
what entry plans are,
01:20:31
but I'm guessing there may be people listening
01:20:32
who don't necessarily.
01:20:34
So for my entry plan, the purpose is really, you know,
01:20:38
anytime there's a transition it's a natural time
01:20:40
for reflection for a community.
01:20:42
So to give people time to do that, to, for me
01:20:46
to fully understand the culture's values, goals
01:20:48
and traditions that are inherent in the school community
01:20:50
already to build trusting collaborative relationships
01:20:55
where I start by listening
01:20:56
and making sure I really hear people's lived experiences
01:20:59
and the environment already
01:21:01
to do a deep dive into structures, policies
01:21:03
and decision making procedures so that I know
01:21:05
what people are accustomed to.
01:21:07
And then to build a comprehensive picture about
01:21:11
what the strengths and areas for growth are so
01:21:13
that we can build a school improvement plan
01:21:15
that works towards maintaining what's working
01:21:17
and addressing things that we want to change
01:21:20
for the betterment of the school.
01:21:23
So this was sort of my overall visual of exactly
01:21:25
how I was gonna do that.
01:21:27
Which we are at the end of now.
01:21:29
And I'll go through a little bit about
01:21:31
what each stage of that looked like.
01:21:33
But roughly it was
01:21:34
to visit I did probably a little bit more visiting than I
01:21:37
might have ordinarily given that the high school principal
01:21:40
and Anna were both leaving
01:21:41
and they were both such visible presences in the district
01:21:44
for a while that I felt like the high school staff needed
01:21:47
to see me a little bit more before they left for the summer.
01:21:51
And so I went to eighth grade step up night,
01:21:54
I spent days shadowing the deans and vice principals in May.
01:21:59
I went and presented the entry plan
01:22:00
to the leadership meeting in May
01:22:02
to make sure they understood
01:22:03
what it would be before they left.
01:22:05
And then also went to the last faculty meeting of the year
01:22:08
and presented it in June so that people knew who I was
01:22:12
and they'd seen me once outside of the interview process
01:22:14
before the summer and knew they could come
01:22:17
and talk to me in the summer if they wanted to.
01:22:19
And they could also choose to wait
01:22:20
until the fall if that was what was better.
01:22:25
Then during the summer I did one-on-one meetings
01:22:28
with everyone on our leadership team
01:22:31
and in our admin team as well as some of the central office.
01:22:34
And then opened it up to any staff
01:22:36
and parents who wanted to be part of that.
01:22:39
We did a deep dive into the data as as customary here
01:22:42
for State of the Union and then did a, a big survey push
01:22:47
for staff at that June faculty meeting.
01:22:49
I introduced it and then for families it was in August
01:22:52
and then for students it was when they came back.
01:22:56
And then the opening of school was really me having all
01:22:58
of my firsts along with the kids.
01:23:00
And so this ninth grade class is,
01:23:03
you know, we're freshmen together.
01:23:05
I kept telling them that and so got to meet the new staff
01:23:09
and said to them I was gonna
01:23:11
that they should just ask Zach Galvin all the questions
01:23:13
'cause he knew all the answers and I didn't yet.
01:23:16
But it was great just to have
01:23:18
live people and get to see people.
01:23:20
After doing all this learning about Natick in the fall,
01:23:25
we had just gotten that grant for the inclusive academy.
01:23:28
So that was really one of the first things was really
01:23:29
getting up to speed on instruction so
01:23:31
that we could be active in that implementation process.
01:23:36
And I just sort of did a deep dive into as many classrooms
01:23:39
and PLCs and clubs and activities as I could
01:23:43
and then started meeting with groups of kids
01:23:45
and families back to school night.
01:23:48
I also put out a survey for parents if they wanted
01:23:51
to sign up to meet one-on-one or in groups
01:23:54
or if they just wanted to leave me a note.
01:23:56
And so some people took advantage of
01:23:57
that if they had particular things they wanted
01:23:59
to talk about after that too.
01:24:00
So there was sort of a second round
01:24:02
with families at that point.
01:24:06
So chief takeaways from that process,
01:24:11
first in terms of academics, one of the first questions,
01:24:16
do your kids feel or do you feel appropriately challenged?
01:24:21
And largely they do.
01:24:23
I'm always curious about the people who are sort of in
01:24:25
that ambivalent middle, whether it means
01:24:27
I'm not appropriately challenged and that it's too much
01:24:30
or whether it's too little.
01:24:33
But there is a large group who definitely feel around 70%
01:24:38
in both parents and students
01:24:40
that they are appropriately challenged.
01:24:44
Again, a lot of these graphs look very similar.
01:24:47
So I'm again always curious if it's the same people in
01:24:50
that group three, but a lot
01:24:53
of folks are feel really largely confident
01:24:56
that their kids are prepared for post-secondary life
01:24:59
and fewer than 10% said that they weren't confident at all.
01:25:03
So that was actually very, very heartening.
01:25:08
Kids largely feel like academic help is
01:25:10
available if they need it.
01:25:12
So this was a student response
01:25:15
and so, so that was also positive to see academically
01:25:19
in terms of belonging.
01:25:22
That question about trusted adult always comes up
01:25:24
when we talk about belonging.
01:25:26
And I was interested whether the parents' perception
01:25:29
of whether the kids had trusted adults was the same
01:25:31
as the student perception and it largely was.
01:25:33
So the parent data tracks right along with the student data
01:25:36
that we probably have about, you know, 65 to 70%
01:25:41
of our kids feeling like yes I can identify that person.
01:25:44
And then a smaller group that's sort of in the,
01:25:47
in the middle where they aren't sure
01:25:48
and then groups that are pretty sure
01:25:51
that they don't have a trusted adult, which is is always
01:25:55
concerning and we wanna make sure we can identify
01:25:58
who those kids are and get them support.
01:26:00
And with a few of them they gave me their names in the
01:26:03
survey so I reached out to them afterwards
01:26:05
or found their guidance counselors and we went
01:26:07
and talked to them about what it was in particular
01:26:09
that was creating that barrier
01:26:11
for them for belonging.
01:26:14
I was curious about how families felt,
01:26:17
whether they felt a sense of belonging
01:26:18
to the school in addition to students.
01:26:20
'cause I think sometimes a family sense
01:26:23
of belonging can be tied to whether
01:26:25
or not their kid feels like they belong or
01:26:27
and also what activities that kid does.
01:26:29
If it's a, the type of activity
01:26:31
where there's like a game every weekend,
01:26:33
then you're gonna see the same people over and over.
01:26:34
But if not then you might not feel
01:26:36
as integrated into the school.
01:26:38
And so it was interesting to see that it was the same sort
01:26:42
of trajectory for staff, for caregivers and for students.
01:26:47
So, but there was I think a more notable one
01:26:52
to two area there than there had been
01:26:54
in some of the other graphs.
01:26:55
And so again, sort of wondering a little bit more about
01:27:00
who those folks are feeling cared for by staff.
01:27:05
So this one was, was pretty heartening that a large number,
01:27:08
a large percentage of kids feel like staff generally do care
01:27:11
about them as a person greater than 75%,
01:27:14
which is a pretty good margin there.
01:27:18
And then the last question which I ask the kids is do you
01:27:21
have at least one close friend at school?
01:27:24
And almost 90% of them said yes firmly
01:27:28
and it's less than 5%
01:27:31
that are saying either no or I'm not sure.
01:27:33
Which again, I thought was like a pretty good statistic.
01:27:38
I don't know what the data would look like in other schools,
01:27:39
but that actually gave me, that's a pretty protective factor
01:27:42
for kids in their mental health.
01:27:45
So really positive to see.
01:27:48
So then the interviews
01:27:50
and the open-ended questions, I tried
01:27:52
to synthesize those into some themes.
01:27:55
Oh sorry, two more quick graphs. The teachers love the PLCs.
01:27:59
They over and over again said that it was like one
01:28:01
of the things that kept them in NAIC in the interviews
01:28:04
and they're a really, really
01:28:05
important part of their practice.
01:28:08
And you can kind of see this on their,
01:28:09
the graph too and communication.
01:28:14
The caregivers and the staff felt similarly,
01:28:16
the graphs were identical, which I also think is interesting
01:28:19
'cause they received two different communication streams.
01:28:23
So with a large portion saying like yes it's effective.
01:28:26
And then a smaller group in the middle
01:28:28
and trailing off at the end.
01:28:31
I'll talk a little more about communication later
01:28:33
but communication meant a lot of different things
01:28:35
to a lot of different people.
01:28:36
And so when some folks said yeah the communication is
01:28:40
effective, it meant something very different
01:28:41
from somebody else saying it.
01:28:43
And that came through in their comments.
01:28:47
So what's going well again, the faculty, they love the PLCs,
01:28:52
they love the, I think for faculty social emotionally it's
01:28:55
very protective that they feel like they have a sense
01:28:57
of belonging with colleagues that's regular and predictable
01:29:01
and that it also does impact the kind of teaching
01:29:04
that they are doing 'cause they have regular collaboration.
01:29:07
That kind of team time is really unusual in schools.
01:29:11
And I think for high school staff in particular, it was just
01:29:15
for me coming in it was eye-opening to see how much having
01:29:18
that time could impact teaching and learning.
01:29:21
So that was really neat. They generally feel supported
01:29:24
by administration, which you don't always hear.
01:29:26
And that was actually very positive to hear as well.
01:29:31
All three groups mentioned the diversity of opportunity.
01:29:34
So parents, students
01:29:36
and staff that they felt really proud of
01:29:39
how many extracurriculars and athletic teams
01:29:41
and the wide variety of courses
01:29:43
that challenge kids in different ways.
01:29:45
They also pretty universally talked about the facilities
01:29:48
and how beautiful the high school is
01:29:49
and how many innovative spaces there are.
01:29:52
And staff feel like they have the resources they need like
01:29:55
when they need materials, when they need supplies.
01:29:58
When in a lot of those open-ended conversations
01:30:01
and I could see it in the office
01:30:02
that when people came down they could get their needs met
01:30:04
and go back to doing teaching
01:30:06
and learning, which was notable positive.
01:30:12
The strong feel of the community is also really evident.
01:30:14
The number of people who go to Nat Chii
01:30:17
and their parents went to Nat Chii or live here
01:30:20
and teach here or work here
01:30:22
and their kids go to one of the elementary schools.
01:30:24
That type of community pride
01:30:26
and investment I think is one of those immeasurable factors
01:30:29
that impact school life to a degree that
01:30:33
you can't overstate.
01:30:34
And so it does create a very strong sense of pride
01:30:37
among students, faculty, and the community at large.
01:30:42
The staff like and respect each other
01:30:44
and they are really invested in the school success.
01:30:46
And I think that a lot of that does come
01:30:48
from that community feel.
01:30:49
'cause so many of their colleagues are invested,
01:30:51
they can't help but feel invested the staff like
01:30:55
and appreciate the kids, which all
01:30:57
of us would hope is a no brainer
01:30:58
but isn't, that isn't true everywhere.
01:31:01
And they really do like
01:31:02
and appreciate the kids they, when I talked about positives,
01:31:05
almost everyone said the kids, which was really fun to hear.
01:31:10
The kids generally feel like it is a welcoming and accepting
01:31:14
and inclusive environment.
01:31:16
I will talk a little more about that later,
01:31:18
but it's, it's not everyone that feels that way
01:31:20
but largely they do.
01:31:23
There is a dedicated highly qualified faculty,
01:31:26
a dedicated invested parent community.
01:31:29
The vast majority of kids really do feel like the school
01:31:32
cares about them and most
01:31:35
of them have an adult they can trust other positive factors.
01:31:39
Students and caregivers feel challenged.
01:31:41
They also talked about the fact that there's a mix of kids.
01:31:44
There isn't just one kind of kid at Nat High
01:31:47
and that they appreciated that as part of their,
01:31:51
their students' experience.
01:31:52
Parents mentioned that that kids who advocate
01:31:56
for themselves find what they need.
01:31:59
The kids love priv
01:32:00
and that they get a little sense of freedom there
01:32:03
and the majority of caregivers feel like they are prepared
01:32:06
for what they want to do next areas for growth.
01:32:11
So the communication piece,
01:32:13
that communication meant something different to everybody.
01:32:15
So for some people it meant the website
01:32:19
that they just couldn't find what they needed when they went
01:32:22
to the website to find it.
01:32:23
And so I heard that sort of in different sort
01:32:27
of little detail forms from people like, well I went
01:32:30
for this form or I couldn't find that form or,
01:32:33
and it was sort of like the technology not rising up
01:32:36
to meet them when they needed a thing.
01:32:38
For some folks it was about the newsletter
01:32:41
and how the newsletter goes out and when it goes out
01:32:43
and what format it takes
01:32:44
and whether it's linked or OneStream.
01:32:48
For some folks it was making sure they get the same info
01:32:51
that their kids have because they'll feel like stuff
01:32:54
isn't happening and it's
01:32:55
that their kids knew and they didn't.
01:32:58
And so they kept saying over
01:32:59
and over, please don't assume my child tells me anything.
01:33:03
We wanna know what they know when they know it.
01:33:07
And so I talked a little bit to guidance about that
01:33:10
'cause they do a lot in guidance stem so much
01:33:13
with the students when they have that term of guidance stem
01:33:17
and we really, you know,
01:33:18
in in secondary ed we talk a lot about the gradual
01:33:20
release of responsibility.
01:33:22
How we get kids when they are basically like, you know,
01:33:26
a touch older than eighth grade.
01:33:27
They're middle schoolers when they enter
01:33:28
and when they leave us, they're going to be adults
01:33:31
that can function ideally on their own in the world
01:33:33
and how big a gap that is
01:33:35
to take them from point A to point B.
01:33:38
And so trying to figure out what that balance is.
01:33:40
But we definitely heard a lot from parents as I was going
01:33:42
through the data around I need to know what my kid knows.
01:33:46
And then for some folks it meant like my kid was struggling
01:33:49
and I didn't know till it was too late.
01:33:52
And so I think for when people say like communication,
01:33:55
I think they mean all of those things.
01:33:57
And then for staff, when they say communication,
01:34:00
they wanna know about things that are happening
01:34:02
with their kids that they're teaching earlier.
01:34:06
If there's something personal
01:34:07
or if there's a major event that happens in school
01:34:12
with a particular child that they want to know earlier.
01:34:18
So in terms of belonging, there's a lot
01:34:21
that's working really well in terms of belonging.
01:34:24
But there are some notable places
01:34:26
where people said they would like more support
01:34:29
and a greater need
01:34:30
for mental health support is one of those places.
01:34:34
They said that we could do more
01:34:35
to educate students in preventing microaggressions,
01:34:38
especially related to race and antisemitism.
01:34:41
Some caregivers said they wanted more school-wide activities
01:34:44
in the earlier grades some caregivers expressed concern
01:34:48
that kids who are quiet or not exceptional can get lost
01:34:51
and can feel unseen.
01:34:54
And the staff wanted more social gatherings.
01:34:57
So we now have a functioning fund squad
01:35:00
that is planning things.
01:35:02
So that's very exciting.
01:35:04
A few other factors, some caregivers said they would like
01:35:08
more parent support with post-secondary planning.
01:35:10
I think some of that when I was hearing them
01:35:13
and then matching it to what I was seeing in guidance has
01:35:15
to do with the communication piece that it may be
01:35:18
that their kids are getting that information
01:35:19
but it's not translating to them.
01:35:21
And how we can triangulate
01:35:23
that communication stream I think
01:35:25
is gonna be important there.
01:35:27
Some kids said they wanted school to start later
01:35:29
and I did this survey right after we got the phone tree.
01:35:31
So they all told me they wanted their phones back,
01:35:35
but they're not still telling me that now, which is good.
01:35:40
And again, this sort of relates right back to
01:35:41
what we were talking about with Finland, but soft skills.
01:35:44
So both staff
01:35:45
and families mentioned
01:35:46
that their kids just need more support now in terms
01:35:49
of life skills, conflict resolution, financial literacy,
01:35:53
executive functioning, what does it mean
01:35:55
to know how to study?
01:35:57
And some parents put went so far as
01:35:59
to say you should have a mandatory class
01:36:01
that teaches those things.
01:36:03
And I think that there are some, there is another school
01:36:05
of thought that says we should integrate
01:36:07
and weave them through curriculum as kids are learning.
01:36:10
And I don't know if it has to be an either or,
01:36:13
but it was definitely something that came up.
01:36:16
And then behavior.
01:36:18
So it was notable how much behaviors came up,
01:36:21
but that they were different for each cohort
01:36:23
that the themes were really different.
01:36:25
So for staff it's kids wandering through the hall
01:36:28
or cell phones or respect when I intervene with a kid
01:36:31
or kids who aren't coming to school as much.
01:36:35
But for caregivers it was academic integrity
01:36:38
and possible incidents of bias.
01:36:41
And for kids it was bullying.
01:36:44
So the fact that those three didn't line up was really
01:36:46
intriguing to me that the staff aren't seeing the same thing
01:36:49
that the kids are and the kids aren't seeing the same thing
01:36:51
that the caregivers are seeing.
01:36:52
And so why is that
01:36:53
and what are we not seeing that is resonant for each other.
01:36:57
And then everybody said people vape in the bathroom,
01:37:00
which we've been doing a lot of work on, a lot
01:37:03
of partnership with Natick 180
01:37:04
around the potential solutions there.
01:37:06
And then also working with the vape detectors now
01:37:10
and trying to, we have staff now volunteering to do some of
01:37:13
that work in the hall during their, during their duty time
01:37:17
and making some inroads there already, which is good.
01:37:22
So summarizing this is an amazing school with a lot
01:37:26
of really good resources and offerings.
01:37:29
There's a highly dedicated qualified staff who are invested.
01:37:33
Many students and families feel a strong sense
01:37:35
of belonging and some may not.
01:37:38
There is support available, but not all kids access it
01:37:41
or know how to access it or maybe can access it.
01:37:45
We have a really explicit goal of being inclusive
01:37:47
and we still have some work to do to realize that
01:37:51
when I asked people what they needed from me,
01:37:53
they pretty uniformly said to be kind,
01:37:55
transparent and follow through.
01:37:59
We still need to work on soft skills and behaviors,
01:38:02
but we have to identify which behaviors I think are the most
01:38:05
salient to start with.
01:38:07
That mental health substance use
01:38:09
and vaping are issues for our kids
01:38:10
and need some attention
01:38:13
that communication practices generally serve folks.
01:38:16
But there are notable areas we could address
01:38:19
and that some caregivers need more support on the
01:38:21
post-secondary process.
01:38:24
And then I just wanted to end
01:38:25
by saying thank you for the warm welcome.
01:38:27
It's been really nice to actually get to know some
01:38:29
of you over the course of the last six months, especially
01:38:31
with the superintendent process.
01:38:34
And I've just been loving getting
01:38:36
to lead this amazing school.
01:38:37
So
01:38:41
Thank you so much for coming
01:38:43
and for not coming
01:38:44
to here tonight, but also coming here today.
01:38:46
I can thank you for presentation Ms. Gu.
01:38:51
Thank you. This is really interesting information. Yeah.
01:38:55
So I had a couple of questions. Sure.
01:38:57
So some of the, the things
01:38:59
that you've noticed like say say the vaping
01:39:01
and the substance abuse
01:39:02
and then like the, the stuff about studying
01:39:05
and sort of executive function functioning.
01:39:07
How much of that do you think I maybe this is,
01:39:10
this is a too difficult too a question
01:39:12
without an answer, just tell me that.
01:39:13
Yeah. But do you know if that's emergent at Natick high
01:39:17
or if that's being carried over
01:39:19
from, you know, middle school?
01:39:21
Oh, that's a tough question around onset, right?
01:39:24
I know they do Burt in middle school and in high school,
01:39:27
but we also aren't allowed to track
01:39:28
that data internally, right?
01:39:30
'cause that's supposed to be anonymous.
01:39:32
Kids also don't always volunteer that information.
01:39:36
And so, I mean I have some anecdotal stories from different
01:39:39
people, but I wouldn't wanna speak on themes without having
01:39:42
more info from the middle schools. Okay.
01:39:44
Yeah, no, no, fair enough. Thank you. Yeah.
01:39:48
Any other questions? Yeah, Mr. Brand,
01:39:51
I don't have a question.
01:39:52
I have a comment. Thank you for the presentation.
01:39:55
It's great. I just want to Share
01:40:00
feedback that I get as a parent.
01:40:02
Yeah. Of two high school students,
01:40:07
not from generally, not from my own kids,
01:40:10
but as a credit to you,
01:40:15
the communication in particular.
01:40:17
And I'm just re-looking at the, that slide, slide 21.
01:40:22
Every time you send one of those emails, like a newsletter
01:40:27
that is about something that is not great to hear about.
01:40:32
I will. And I, again, only speaking for myself,
01:40:35
I will regularly get texts from friends of mine.
01:40:37
Yeah. Unsolicited.
01:40:40
Did you see the email from the principal of the high school
01:40:43
and complimenting how well written it is.
01:40:46
Thank you. And how they feel really good
01:40:50
and informed from getting those
01:40:51
emails that are I'm sure, sure.
01:40:53
Not easy to write and not always easy to read.
01:40:58
So I just wanted to share. Thank you.
01:41:00
An appreciation as a parent over the last couple of years,
01:41:05
I've watched my niece, both of my daughters
01:41:08
and my nephew start and make their way through high school.
01:41:11
And so it's just nice to hear when you don't,
01:41:14
like I'm not going around town asking people, Hey,
01:41:16
what do you think of these emails?
01:41:17
And people are making a choice to like reach out.
01:41:20
And so I think you're doing a really great job. Thank you.
01:41:23
In a big, in in, in your first year.
01:41:25
And I look forward, I have a couple more years in the,
01:41:29
in the building, so let's keep it up. Alright,
01:41:32
Let's keep it up.
01:41:33
Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that.
01:41:34
It's hard to know sometimes how some of that gets received,
01:41:37
but thank you.
01:41:40
Did. Yeah. Yeah.
01:41:42
So I appreciated all that you did to try to get a sense
01:41:45
of the community and all the meetings and the surveys and,
01:41:49
and it was really, it was really clear that you were trying
01:41:52
to get a sense of what was happening, what are the things
01:41:54
that are good and what are the things
01:41:56
that we could improve upon?
01:42:00
What are the things that struck me that sort of crystallized
01:42:04
One of the the confusions I've been having is
01:42:09
when you talked about guidance,
01:42:11
because I've been feeling like, so in the newsletter
01:42:16
I will, they they have a very large
01:42:19
and informative newsletter.
01:42:21
You have to click in your newsletter to get to it. Yes.
01:42:25
And I didn't start clicking for like a while. Yes.
01:42:28
And then I started clicking
01:42:30
and I thought, oh my God, there's all this information.
01:42:32
So that's interesting to me that you say that
01:42:35
because I also don't hear anything about
01:42:38
what happens in guidance stem.
01:42:39
So that piece about making sure that families are either
01:42:43
right, getting a separate newsletter about guidance.
01:42:46
'cause really important stuff starts to happen
01:42:48
as they get up in the years.
01:42:52
But, and then maybe figuring out like
01:42:55
what is actually happening in guidance m So
01:42:57
that really struck me as something
01:42:59
that would be really important.
01:43:00
I feel like in from guidance, there's just a lot of videos
01:43:05
too, or reliance on virtual things.
01:43:08
And I, I I also wonder if maybe there's like a deeper
01:43:12
connection that could be created by having,
01:43:16
I know videos are great and,
01:43:18
and that creates a situation where everyone can access them.
01:43:22
But then are there in person things that might also
01:43:27
be a part of connecting people
01:43:29
to what's happening in guidance.
01:43:31
So, and then, I mean, I have to ask like
01:43:35
how this is now a separate topic.
01:43:36
Yes. That's my guidance piece.
01:43:40
Did did kids really say that about like a later start time?
01:43:43
Yes. So did they, that was in a,
01:43:48
in the survey or
01:43:49
Some of them met in the open-ended areas?
01:43:51
A few, some of them mentioned it.
01:43:53
There was enough of them that I felt
01:43:54
like I should put it as a theme.
01:43:55
It's fascinating. Okay. Well thank you. I appreciate that.
01:43:59
I will continue on my mission. All right,
01:44:03
Mr.
01:44:04
Brune,
01:44:05
Thank you for this.
01:44:06
Yeah. I'm so glad that you're here
01:44:07
and that you're finding a welcome here.
01:44:10
I know many of us hope that you feel welcome for many years.
01:44:15
So just real quick, what I've noticed just in my time here
01:44:18
on the school committee, that some
01:44:19
of our surveys at the high school were not always, well
01:44:22
there weren't great numbers on them.
01:44:24
So I was wondering, did you, did you feel like these
01:44:27
are representative of the 1600 kids?
01:44:30
It's a great question. 'cause you always
01:44:32
wanna look at that end, right?
01:44:33
How many are you actually getting?
01:44:36
So I was trying to decide whether I should ask a group
01:44:40
of teachers to have all the kids do the survey.
01:44:42
And I decided that doing that felt really forced
01:44:45
and that it might not have the same welcoming effect.
01:44:48
So I did have, I did sort of blast them a whole bunch
01:44:50
of times and I got about 250 kids when I looked through,
01:44:55
when I spot checked some of the names.
01:44:56
And when I spot checked some of the demographics,
01:44:58
it did cover a wide group.
01:45:00
There's no way for me to know if it was a representative
01:45:02
sample because I couldn't,
01:45:03
the names weren't attached to all of 'em.
01:45:07
So I, I don't know if that fully answers your question, but
01:45:12
Yeah, no, that's helpful and I Yeah, I appreciate that.
01:45:16
But, and especially
01:45:17
because you're saying that it, you know, it might be a,
01:45:20
a broad sample.
01:45:22
Yeah. A lot of these slides I saw from the
01:45:26
student perspective, it's like a 70 30 split, interestingly.
01:45:30
Yes. Yes. So 30%
01:45:32
of our high school is still 500 kids, right?
01:45:34
Yes. And so that's,
01:45:35
and I appreciated that you are not ignoring that number
01:45:39
that while there's se you know,
01:45:40
70% might feel like they are grooving
01:45:44
and they are, you know, they're on track
01:45:47
and feel appreciated
01:45:48
and feel like Nat High School is their, is their place.
01:45:54
You know, I think we all have work to do to make sure that
01:45:56
that number continues to go up.
01:45:58
Yeah.
01:45:59
It's the only number that matters if it's your kid. Right.
01:46:03
And so I think that that's, you know, I think
01:46:05
that the data tells us that a lot of systems work,
01:46:08
but it doesn't tell us the story of every child.
01:46:11
And I think that that's part of what you're saying too.
01:46:15
Yeah.
01:46:16
And I just like, one, one comment is, my hope not only
01:46:21
as a school committee member, but just
01:46:22
as a community member here in Natick, is that there is
01:46:25
some sort of consistency of experience
01:46:28
for our students at the high school
01:46:30
because I have found that there are kids that thrive
01:46:34
and then there are kids that
01:46:36
really, really struggle.
01:46:40
And that divide between the thriving
01:46:43
and the ones that are struggling so deeply is, you know,
01:46:47
it's just a, it's a loss for all of us
01:46:50
and it's a hardship on everyone.
01:46:54
And so I think that, I hope that those resources, we,
01:46:57
we can continue to bring resources
01:47:00
to students who are not thriving.
01:47:03
And I, at one point, I think I heard some mention
01:47:06
of us talking about trying to make the high school sort
01:47:09
of a, like a smaller experience.
01:47:12
I don't know how that will play out.
01:47:13
I I don't have any diagnostic
01:47:15
or, you know, prescriptive ideas for that.
01:47:18
But I, I do think of like study halls
01:47:21
where there's 80 kids in a study hall.
01:47:24
I would love to see some of that change.
01:47:26
Yeah. I think you're not alone in that.
01:47:29
I think if there was a way
01:47:30
to get kids into classrooms physically for study hall,
01:47:33
we would, you know, I think
01:47:36
after my interview process,
01:47:37
I spoke a lot about the house system
01:47:38
and how much, how every high school I have worked at
01:47:42
that is this size has some type of house structure
01:47:46
to make the bigger school feel smaller.
01:47:48
And that Natick, I don't think was this big
01:47:50
and then became this big.
01:47:51
And so it isn't an integrated part of the community.
01:47:55
And so what I've said to folks who have asked me,
01:47:58
alright, great, you have a job here.
01:47:59
Are you gonna put a house system in our high school?
01:48:02
Is that I needed to really look at
01:48:05
what the cost benefit would be
01:48:06
and if having such a system would fix the
01:48:09
actual needs we have.
01:48:10
And so if we were to look at doing that,
01:48:13
there would be some trade-offs
01:48:15
and there would be some things to really investigate.
01:48:16
But that is one way to make a big school feel smaller.
01:48:21
And just one last comment,
01:48:23
and maybe that's related to that.
01:48:25
The idea of like a student having a trusted adult I think is
01:48:29
obviously paramount.
01:48:31
But now that I, I am,
01:48:33
and this now I'm speaking mostly as a parent, now
01:48:35
that I'm three kids into the high school, there's a part
01:48:37
of me that wishes that there was a, a trusted adult
01:48:41
for the family as well.
01:48:42
Yeah. Because our kids, each one of my kids have connected
01:48:45
with different teachers
01:48:47
or have been different guidance counselors.
01:48:50
I, again, maybe this is anecdotal, this is anecdotal, I,
01:48:53
I wonder how many other people feel this way.
01:48:55
But you really like start to establish communication,
01:48:58
especially with a guidance counselor.
01:48:59
And then unfortunately in my experience, that has changed.
01:49:03
And so then you're built as a family,
01:49:06
you're also building a whole new relationship in
01:49:08
a very large high school.
01:49:10
Yeah, I do.
01:49:11
But I, you know, I heard recently that there were
01:49:14
so many PE parents that came to the eighth grade orienta
01:49:17
or the ninth grade orientation that you had to change rooms.
01:49:20
That was unbelievable.
What a great problem to have.
01:49:22
Right? Oh my gosh. So we have these parents that want,
01:49:26
they want to want connect connection.
01:49:29
So thank you. Yeah.
01:49:31
Good. Thanks. So a couple of things. So thank you again.
01:49:36
It's a great presentation. And not only the presentation,
01:49:39
but all the work that went to get this information.
01:49:41
It's just amazing.
01:49:44
One of the things that struck me is the one specific bullet.
01:49:48
It's students who advocate find what they need, which goes
01:49:52
to the self-determination issue.
01:49:54
Yes. That it, it doesn't say
01:49:56
all students get what they need.
01:49:57
Correct. It's those who advocate for what they need,
01:49:59
which connects to the soft skills, the, you know,
01:50:02
besides conflict resolution, financial literacy,
01:50:05
but it's also the self-advocacy.
01:50:08
And I'm just curious your thoughts about, you know,
01:50:10
are you thinking about ways of integrating, thinking about
01:50:14
how to build that kind
01:50:17
of self-determination advocacy skills?
01:50:20
'cause I think to Ms. Bruno's point might even close
01:50:23
that gap between those who succeed
01:50:24
and those who thrive, those who struggle.
01:50:26
If everyone can advocate for what they need
01:50:29
and they forget what they need.
01:50:30
Yeah, it's a great question.
01:50:33
And so I think that part of, you know, I have to give credit
01:50:37
to Sue Baloni for doing this Inclusive Academy grant.
01:50:40
She connected with me in April before I started,
01:50:42
and she said, apply for this grant for the high school.
01:50:44
Are you okay with that? And I was like, I'm going
01:50:46
to trust and say yes.
01:50:49
But it, it is a really wonderful opportunity.
01:50:51
I think Universal Design for Learning
01:50:53
or UDL really is the way to create learners who understand
01:50:57
what they need as learners
01:50:58
and can then advocate for
01:51:00
using those strategies in myriad settings
01:51:03
and to give kids some choice
01:51:04
and voice in terms of their learning.
01:51:06
And so virtually all
01:51:08
of our professional development this year has been focused
01:51:10
on UDL strategies, some at the departmental level
01:51:14
and some at the school level.
01:51:15
And so we're gonna be continuing to do a deep dive into
01:51:18
that over the next two
01:51:19
and a half years as we're part of that grant.
01:51:21
And you know, sometimes educators say
01:51:25
that they don't like pd that is one-offs.
01:51:27
And now we've done so much UDL, they're like,
01:51:29
are we moving on from UDL?
01:51:31
And I don't think we ever fully will ever get everybody,
01:51:34
you know, exactly in a UDL mindset.
01:51:37
But I do think that we are moving closer and closer to more
01:51:40
and more staff really understanding what it means
01:51:42
to give choice and voice.
01:51:44
And I think once kids are used to having that, they can
01:51:49
transfer it to other areas.
01:51:50
But it is definitely a process of how do you do
01:51:52
that in a classroom where there are myriad diverse needs.
01:51:57
And so we're, we're actively working on it. Yeah.
01:52:00
Yeah. Great. I'm glad that you're part of that academy.
01:52:04
Any other questions or comments?
01:52:06
Well, thank you so much of for coming
01:52:08
and doing two presentations of Yes.
01:52:10
Yeah. I just, I wanna say till you probably,
01:52:14
you may have understood this,
01:52:15
but having josepha blockers,
01:52:18
your high school principal is a, is a very coveted asset.
01:52:22
Thank you. Yeah. So coming to Natick
01:52:25
and hearing that Josepha was here, I heard from
01:52:27
so many people I've been trying to convince Josepha
01:52:30
to be a principal forever.
01:52:31
So kudos to Anna Nolan
01:52:33
and to Natick for being able to capture josepha.
01:52:36
Oh, thank you. It's been a privilege
01:52:38
and an honor for me always to work with someone who is
01:52:45
first in their first time experiencing their position.
01:52:48
So it's always an honor
01:52:49
and privilege to work with someone who's newly
01:52:51
coming to that role.
01:52:54
But it's been amazing. Thank you.
01:52:57
Working with Josepha, she has,
01:53:00
she has extraordinary instincts.
01:53:04
So, and, and also you talked about the communication,
01:53:09
whether Josepha is communicating to caregivers,
01:53:12
to the faculty, or just as a member of any of our teams,
01:53:16
somehow Josepha always holds
01:53:22
at her core when she's communicating
01:53:25
that there is a child. Yeah,
01:53:29
Thank
You.
01:53:30
There is a child in that is the root of the work
01:53:34
that we're doing, or the root
01:53:36
of whatever dilemma has been created.
01:53:40
So this is, so yes, you are lucky that you,
01:53:44
you, you captured Josepha here.
01:53:49
Thank you. There's something else I wanted
01:53:51
to say about your being here.
01:53:53
Oh my goodness. Anyway, it's, it's, I'll think
01:53:58
of it later, but it's been such a privilege honor to work
01:54:00
with someone new, but also someone like Josepha
01:54:04
and I, I she's completely novice
01:54:09
and we learn so much from her.
01:54:13
Yeah. So she extends our thinking in different
01:54:15
ways, just right.
01:54:18
Vertical, horizontal, every which way.
01:54:20
So it's been really wonderful to learn and work with Joseph
01:54:23
and support her in this.
01:54:24
So it's been, oh, I know, this is what I wanted to say,
01:54:28
that, you know what, every high school principal, no matter
01:54:31
what is navigating unknown territory, adolescence,
01:54:35
and post pandemic, everyone is, so
01:54:39
to have someone doing it
01:54:40
for the first time is also extremely extraordinary.
01:54:44
But it's, you are right.
01:54:45
It's kids figuring out, wanting to be independent,
01:54:48
all the things that you wanna do.
01:54:49
And it's natural to them with not necessarily the practice
01:54:54
and skillset that they might have had before.
01:54:56
And it just looks a little messier at, at times.
01:55:00
And it's great to have josepha with the sensitivity and,
01:55:05
and I think she has the trust of her,
01:55:07
her coworkers in this endeavor.
01:55:10
But I really do feel that she has said that the,
01:55:13
that the staff at the high school are committed.
01:55:15
They're committed to all the kids in the building. Yes.
01:55:18
Every, every which way that they are.
01:55:22
So testament to Joseph
01:55:24
and also testament to everyone at the high school
01:55:27
Thank you for your kind words.
01:55:28
It's been a, a privilege to learn from you as well.
01:55:31
And you got me to go on this trip
01:55:35
to Finland when I wasn't sure I could handle it my second
01:55:37
month, and it was really transformational
01:55:40
and I will always be grateful for that
01:55:42
and for all of your guidance.
01:55:43
So
You're much appreciated. Welcome.
01:55:45
One of it is, 'cause I did want her to be introduced
01:55:48
to these other three phenomenal high school principals.
01:55:50
Yeah. And that it would be, you know, some
01:55:52
of those things are just lifelong working relationships.
01:55:58
So, yay.
01:55:59
Great. Thank you. Thank you.
01:56:06
I'm gonna, I'm next. I'm gonna connect this and hope Yeah.
01:56:11
It didn't, maybe it went to sleep.
01:56:16
Oh,
You know what I'm gonna, do you guys wanna recess
01:56:20
Or?
01:56:21
I was just gonna run myself,
01:56:22
But you are okay.
01:56:25
You guys need a recess?
All right.
01:56:27
I was hoping maybe everybody would just sort of stand up
01:56:29
for a moment and sit down.
01:56:30
Yeah. Just to, oh, do you want all stand up? Okay.
01:56:39
Yeah.
01:56:41
Way if we taking more recess? I'd like more recess.
01:56:44
You would like more recess.
01:56:46
Oh wait, did we, are we taking a recess till he comes back?
01:56:48
No. Okay. Okay. You're standing up. Okay.
01:56:50
It is my version.
01:56:58
I'm gonna put this there too.
01:57:00
Can you do that? Okay,
01:57:02
great. Josea, thank you.
01:57:06
Yeah, thank you. It's very sweet.
01:57:12
So I can, I can launch in if you'd like.
01:57:15
Yeah, we can. Okay.
01:57:17
Yeah.
All right. Thank you, Josefa.
01:57:24
So this is similar to,
01:57:27
but a more involved presentation than what I,
01:57:32
I shared with everyone at the joint committee,
01:57:36
joint finance select board school committee meeting
01:57:39
on Thursday evening.
01:57:41
So this is the preliminary presentation of the FY 25 budget.
01:57:47
I also wanna thank, especially deputy, sorry,
01:57:51
assistant superintendent for finance, Matt Gillis
01:57:55
and is support of developing this budget,
01:57:57
but also Deputy Superintendent Tim Luff
01:58:00
and Sue our human resources director, Julie Skipper
01:58:06
and Erin Miller, who really gave a lot of information.
01:58:09
So I do wanna say again that Matt and I started on July one.
01:58:14
So being able to present a budget at this time for you
01:58:18
to consider for the next year required a lot
01:58:21
of sharing information and learning.
01:58:23
And so I, we wouldn't have been able to get
01:58:25
to this point without so much
01:58:28
contribution from the central office team,
01:58:30
and particularly also from the principals
01:58:32
and also from each of you in mind, being able
01:58:35
to ask you about to make sense
01:58:37
and context for, for different things.
01:58:42
This is our enrollment projection that Matt developed for us
01:58:47
in, in the fall.
01:58:49
And so our elementary cohort is,
01:58:53
is fairly steady for a couple years
01:58:55
and then we're projecting a, a decline over time.
01:58:59
The middle schools are actually at a slight decline
01:59:03
for the next couple years,
01:59:04
but the high school is actually looking
01:59:07
for an increase over the next five to seven years.
01:59:10
And so that speaks to how you might wanna allocate resources
01:59:15
as we move forward.
01:59:17
We are at projecting, we are currently at 5 180
01:59:23
For the, for the current year,
01:59:28
Our special education enrollment.
01:59:31
So clearly the pandemic had
01:59:34
an an intensive impact on our students academically,
01:59:37
socially, and emotionally.
01:59:39
And you can see it reflected in some of our data
01:59:42
around students needing more services that are tailored
01:59:46
to some of those impacts.
01:59:48
So in one year you've gone from 17% to 19%
01:59:52
of students on IEPs across the district.
01:59:55
So it, this is a snapshot from December when Erin
01:59:59
Miller presented to you.
02:00:01
So 1024 students receiving services
02:00:04
through individualized educational plans
02:00:07
and will likely be a higher number by the end of the year.
02:00:10
'cause referrals for assess on is ongoing through the year.
02:00:14
So 1024.
02:00:16
And then this is just a overview of, of our,
02:00:22
it's the district has done a good job in terms
02:00:26
of meeting needs across grade levels across the district.
02:00:29
So the numbers are fairly even across the elementary.
02:00:33
Some are bigger than others,
02:00:35
but at 30% of students on IEPs are in the elementary,
02:00:39
30% approximately in the middle
02:00:41
school and at the high school.
02:00:42
And the remainder are students in your preschool at a
02:00:46
district or in achieve.
02:00:48
So our English language learners,
02:00:53
I think I might have put these out of order,
02:00:56
but we'll capture them.
02:00:57
Our English language learners
02:00:59
259 have gone up 43% over one year
02:01:06
And the five by four accommodation plans.
02:01:08
So 281 to date,
02:01:11
last year's final number was 285.
02:01:14
So this is a snapshot from December.
02:01:17
So you're likely to exceed that number.
02:01:19
So at 2 81 already in the midpoint,
02:01:22
you may be also looking at a 40% increase by the end
02:01:25
of the year over what you had last year.
02:01:29
And then we have our students who are eligible
02:01:31
for McKinney-Vento.
02:01:33
So the numbers are small,
02:01:35
but going from 45 to 65 is another significant increase.
02:01:41
So our students that are receiving services through an IEP
02:01:44
or a 5 0 4, and the difference between an IEP
02:01:47
and a 5 0 4 is that IEP requires specialized instruction.
02:01:51
And 5 0 4 is accommodation.
02:01:53
So not specialized instruction, but both IEPs
02:01:56
and five oh fours require a process of eligibility
02:02:00
and assessment and formalized plans.
02:02:04
And so a hundred, so 1,024
02:02:06
and 281 on receiving,
02:02:10
receiving support through IEP
02:02:12
and 5 0 4 amounts to 25% of your student population.
02:02:17
So one out of four students at the,
02:02:19
in December were receiving specialized services.
02:02:23
Students may be already on A IEP
02:02:25
or a 5 0 4 who are also getting services
02:02:28
through McKinney-Vento or ELL, but not necessarily.
02:02:32
So the number of students receiving specialized services
02:02:35
overall actually may be more toward
02:02:39
one outta three, right?
02:02:40
So significant number of students receiving services.
02:02:47
So I added MCA score results for you since Thursday,
02:02:52
since the Thursday presentation.
02:02:54
And just to show that, that despite the impacts
02:02:58
of the pandemic, Natick has actually done well
02:03:01
to support their students through their academic results.
02:03:05
And so the, the yellow are the state average scores
02:03:09
and the blue are natick.
02:03:10
So in grade five you can see that natick outcomes
02:03:16
do well against the average of the state,
02:03:19
also in the middle school
02:03:24
And also at the high school.
02:03:26
So the blue is a combination of meeting
02:03:30
and exceeding standards.
02:03:32
And so these are slides,
02:03:34
these are slides from when Sue Baloni presented
02:03:36
to you in the fall.
02:03:40
And then here is our preliminary budget pro projection.
02:03:45
And so that the biggest driver
02:03:47
for our budget this year is in the salaries at a 10.2%.
02:03:54
And it reflects a significant investment in instruction,
02:03:59
partly to address the increased needs of students that I've,
02:04:04
that I've identified,
02:04:06
but also a significant investment in supporting
02:04:12
academic, social and emotional losses.
02:04:14
And some of that it was, was supported by one time funding,
02:04:18
particularly through the Esser grants and investment.
02:04:23
That was, I'd say, I think I may have it in a, so,
02:04:27
so I'll speak more about the intentionality
02:04:30
of the investment targeted toward the early grades.
02:04:33
The other significant increase here is just a, just
02:04:37
to address athletics and activities.
02:04:39
There's no new programming,
02:04:41
it's just aligning the budget to actual cost.
02:04:44
So that explains that change there.
02:04:47
The other significant increases health
02:04:50
services and that's the nurses.
02:04:52
So post pandemic you see increases in nurses
02:04:55
and also in their expenses for that category.
02:05:00
And then transportation at 44.6%, that reflects the outcome
02:05:05
of a bid that Matt helped us with
02:05:08
for the next, so next year.
02:05:10
And then for the next, for total
02:05:13
of three years in the option to
02:05:17
extend it in year four
02:05:19
and year five, this also includes what wouldn't have been,
02:05:23
that would've been covered by a bus subsidy.
02:05:25
'cause when we built the budget in this current year,
02:05:29
you didn't have the bus subsidy.
02:05:30
So I do wanna say that this includes the amount
02:05:32
for the best subsidy.
02:05:36
The tuition line is fairly level from this year
02:05:40
to next year in the projection.
02:05:42
But you see an a charging against circuit breaker,
02:05:47
which will flex that negative 23.2%,
02:05:50
but the actual expense isn't that different.
02:05:53
All for a grand total of a 7.9%
02:05:57
over the current FY 24 budget.
02:06:01
All, all school budgets reflect the aspirational
02:06:06
goals of a district.
02:06:07
And this is captured somewhat in the profile
02:06:10
of a NAIC school graduate.
02:06:12
And if you look at the steps in this, which is goal one
02:06:16
of your strategic plan, and,
02:06:18
and I think that the district should be excited with the,
02:06:22
the coming up a new superintendent
02:06:24
and updating of the strategic plan
02:06:26
and revisiting some of the goals that have been established
02:06:29
and the progress on the goals.
02:06:31
But recovery of academic and pro recovery of academic
02:06:34
and profile of a graduate vision.
02:06:36
Title one at RT one supports
02:06:39
and there's been a lot of investment in
02:06:42
MTSS intervention supports.
02:06:44
Literacy is some of that will be audited in the next year.
02:06:48
You have looked at math
02:06:50
and have implemented a new math curriculum
02:06:53
and then the whole child and covid brain recovery.
02:06:56
So everything that has been invested
02:07:00
in your programs reflects these shared aspirational goals
02:07:04
that have been set out for the district key budget elements
02:07:09
to understand 7.9% over the prior year.
02:07:14
One part is the transportation, the new bid.
02:07:16
It also includes what would've been covered
02:07:18
by a bus subsidy.
02:07:20
It also reflects in the staffing positions,
02:07:23
grant funded staffing positions to support student needs
02:07:26
and district sta strategic planning.
02:07:31
The grant funded staffing positions, again,
02:07:33
were reliably more on the ESSER grants, right?
02:07:37
There are a lot of other grants that,
02:07:39
that Natick has taken advantage of.
02:07:42
But those go toward other programming,
02:07:46
not staffing like the, the PA
02:07:51
non-paper tuition or the Inclusion Academy.
02:07:54
The staff that are running Inclusion academy are in your
02:07:57
budget, but the supports for that are supplemental
02:08:00
by the other grants.
02:08:02
So I just wanted to be clear
02:08:03
that grant funded positions are coming from the Esser,
02:08:06
not from the other, the other grants that you've been able
02:08:09
to achieve and then trending need for services,
02:08:13
increased needs across all specialized programs.
02:08:17
And then the athletics, just aligning the budget
02:08:19
to actual expense at a district tuition,
02:08:22
you would've had a significant increase for the current year
02:08:25
because the allowance for 14% tuition increase.
02:08:29
There is not a small allowance for next year,
02:08:32
but we're still projecting like a e like a,
02:08:35
like a reasonable increase between this year and next year.
02:08:38
And that's a testament to the programs that you are able
02:08:42
to build within district
02:08:43
and keeping kids in, in, in district.
02:08:46
And then also more about the use of one-time funding
02:08:51
and the implications of being at 7.9%
02:08:55
and the, the need to consider staffing reductions.
02:09:03
This highlights the changes in new staffing, again,
02:09:05
the trending need for student services,
02:09:08
but you made ACI intentional investment in the elementary
02:09:12
with the elementary library media specialists,
02:09:14
elementary assistant principals, elementary
02:09:17
and middle school math coaches,
02:09:19
elementary math interventionists, digital
02:09:22
and personalized learning that is across all levels.
02:09:25
Elementary school counselors committing
02:09:27
to an equitable number
02:09:28
of school counselors across the elementary schools.
02:09:32
And you invested in a key central office
02:09:38
improvement of, of having a director of social
02:09:40
and emotional learning and equity.
02:09:42
And these are all over the current year
02:09:45
or the last couple of years.
02:09:47
And so it makes sense to have
02:09:49
that investment in the elementary
02:09:51
because their early grades are, are the,
02:09:55
are the students that were most impacted
02:09:57
by the Penda pandemic
02:09:58
because they were limited in their ability
02:10:01
to learn autonomously independently.
02:10:03
So that is where you're gonna see the biggest impact.
02:10:06
And also our observation of students coming in
02:10:10
to the preschool and to the kindergarten
02:10:12
or first grade sort of underscore that
02:10:15
that is gonna have a long tail
02:10:17
of need supports over a period of time.
02:10:20
And it makes sense that you
02:10:23
invested in the, in the early grades.
02:10:27
This is a very stark overview of the FY 12 budget funding
02:10:33
and, and also they illustrate the gap.
02:10:36
The original FY 24 appropriation is in
02:10:39
that first number 83,279,134.
02:10:44
So you can think in terms
02:10:45
of like what's a 1% increases is a,
02:10:48
is a little over 80 830,000.
02:10:53
The FY 25 level service at 7.9% is 80
02:10:58
89,869,102.
02:11:02
And it already included an offset against circuit breaker
02:11:06
of 3,381,994.
02:11:10
So already reflected an offset there,
02:11:14
which results in a difference
02:11:15
of $6,589,968.
02:11:20
I appreciate the partnership with our towns
02:11:24
and the ability to have spoken candidly, particularly
02:11:27
with Jamie Erickson and also John Townsend,
02:11:31
but also supported by John Marshall as well.
02:11:35
And, and
02:11:37
so the proposed available funding from the town
02:11:42
is at 4.22%
02:11:44
and it includes 1.6 million in ARPA funds.
02:11:49
So this also underscores the continued dependence on one
02:11:53
time funding or the availability of one time funding.
02:11:57
We have talked and they support the reestablishment
02:12:01
of a bus subsidy.
02:12:02
And so the amount allocated for
02:12:05
that purpose is $429,844.
02:12:10
It's, it's listed separately from the 4.22%
02:12:14
because it must be approved in a second separate article.
02:12:17
But I do wanna emphasize the importance of reestablishing
02:12:21
that bus subsidy.
02:12:23
And so this together would equal about a 4.74%
02:12:28
from from town appropriation
02:12:31
and the leaving a remainder of 2,643,959.
02:12:37
We can, we can afford an additional circuit breaker offset
02:12:42
of 2 million.
02:12:45
There are some improvements that we're recommending
02:12:48
for FY 25 very limited.
02:12:51
All improvements. $137,280 worth are
02:12:56
related to student services.
02:12:58
So they're either related to special education
02:13:01
or to el There is one general
02:13:06
ed improvement that we're
02:13:08
recommending at 12,500 would be a stipend to go
02:13:12
to a librarian to be a department head.
02:13:15
You have new elementary librarians
02:13:17
and a curriculum still to develop.
02:13:20
And so it makes sense to make most of your investment
02:13:23
to be able to have someone do that.
02:13:25
So we are looking at, not a, an additional person,
02:13:28
but someone who's currently in, in the program on staff,
02:13:33
for a stipend to be able to be that department head,
02:13:37
it leaves a remaining gap of $793,639.
02:13:44
We have a conservative estimate of savings from the Johnson
02:13:47
of closure by absorbing current staff in the schools,
02:13:53
more likely to, to fill in where vacancies might occur
02:13:58
and at, at 135,000.
02:14:03
And so what leaves us
02:14:05
with possible staff reductions amounting
02:14:07
to 658,739 in,
02:14:13
in all cases possible where
02:14:17
we might have vacancies that we wouldn't refill
02:14:21
and that we would realize the staff
02:14:24
staffing reductions in that way.
02:14:26
But that's not gonna be possible in all cases.
02:14:30
There will be some positions that will be eliminated and it,
02:14:33
and it won't be through natural attrition
02:14:35
or vacancies occurring,
02:14:37
but with those reductions,
02:14:39
the remaining gap would come to a zero.
02:14:45
This is just a overview of the entitlement grant summary.
02:14:48
So not every single grant you have staff have been amazing
02:14:53
in the applications for grants
02:14:56
to the benefit of our programs.
02:14:58
These are the entitlement grants.
02:15:00
So the SR one, SR three sr.
02:15:03
The two lines for SR three are the covid related grants.
02:15:08
And you can see actually they expired in FY 22.
02:15:12
The ARPA funds that the town has been holding
02:15:15
that are earmarked for the schools, again, 1.6 million
02:15:19
that could have been expended over FY 25 or FY 26,
02:15:23
but no later than FY 26.
02:15:27
And so people might wonder, well those, those grants
02:15:31
actually were, were from a couple of years ago.
02:15:34
What's happened is that some of it was carried forward
02:15:38
through some of the, some
02:15:39
of the other accounts like circuit breaker
02:15:41
that build up a reserve in terms of to enable the district
02:15:45
to use it to support the general fund.
02:15:48
But those entitlement grants are, are ending
02:15:52
and the ARPA funds are the last of the entitlement grants.
02:15:55
So one way of looking at it is that Natick
02:16:00
invested well in, in using the one-time funding
02:16:04
to address immediate needs of students
02:16:07
that were at many times intense and,
02:16:10
and did well to manage the availability
02:16:13
of the one-time funding over several years.
02:16:15
So you've been able to utilize them over a period
02:16:18
of two to three years.
02:16:20
And, and so we are facing
02:16:25
a funding gap more for a FY 26.
02:16:28
So FY 25 is also a very dependent on one time funding year.
02:16:33
And so we have started discussions
02:16:36
with the town partners about strategies
02:16:42
for getting through FY 26.
02:16:45
This is just to give you a overview
02:16:47
of the circuit breaker revenue over a period of time.
02:16:51
So it did, it definitely has been a healthy
02:16:57
reimbursement coming from the state.
02:17:00
We projected a slightly lower number for FY 25.
02:17:05
The number that we're receiving this year is based on the
02:17:08
students that of our tuition last year,
02:17:13
next year's tuition is based on
02:17:17
this year's tuition.
02:17:18
Some of our students are aging out mid-year, so
02:17:21
that lowers some of the tuition.
02:17:23
Also, governor Healy, when she announced her budget,
02:17:26
which is not the budget, the budget is gonna be the one
02:17:30
that gets approved before July one.
02:17:32
But in her budget proposal,
02:17:34
she actually set out a lower number for Circuit breaker.
02:17:38
So Matt changed the assumption
02:17:41
for the reimbursement from 75% to 70%.
02:17:45
So that's what that number reflects.
02:17:49
And so where, where possible,
02:17:51
we always wanna make sure you understand
02:17:52
what our assumptions are
02:17:54
because projection of the budget is,
02:17:56
is always modeling based on the assumptions.
02:17:59
So you know where that is.
02:18:03
And then overview on how circuit Breaker has been utilized.
02:18:08
We're projected
02:18:09
to receive 3,647,271 this year.
02:18:15
And the projected use in the current year, we're expecting
02:18:18
to use
02:18:19
3,943,821
02:18:25
this year against circuit breaker.
02:18:27
Based on what we think we're gonna use
02:18:29
and how much we got this year, how much was left over,
02:18:33
we are projecting to be able
02:18:34
to carry forward 2,700,000 to next year.
02:18:40
And as I stated, Matt is assuming a 70% reimbursement.
02:18:45
And so that is what the projection
02:18:47
to be received in FY 25 3 million
02:18:50
647 270 $1 together.
02:18:54
If we were to offset
02:18:56
5,381,994,
02:19:01
then the projected remaining amount
02:19:03
to carry forward possibly
02:19:04
to FY 26 is 965,277.
02:19:10
I wanna note that the projected to be received in,
02:19:13
in FY 26 will be less than for FY 25.
02:19:17
We have students that aged out in the middle of this year
02:19:20
that were bearing significant tuition.
02:19:22
So they won't have any of that in the next year.
02:19:26
So what you get for FY 26 will likely be less than
02:19:30
what you got in FY 25.
02:19:32
This is to illustrate that the district has done well
02:19:37
to utilize one time funding to the benefit of its students.
02:19:41
Your, your testing scores are strong
02:19:45
and programs are strong.
02:19:48
The district has been able to keep students in district.
02:19:51
So all these things have, are are things that, that we're
02:19:56
invested in doing well.
02:19:58
But you are facing a period of time
02:20:00
where the one time funding won't be there for you to use.
02:20:05
This is just to note that, that the use
02:20:09
of one-time funding that Natick has benefited from
02:20:14
has really bolstered the programs
02:20:17
that you've been able to offer.
02:20:19
This is just a snapshot of per pupil spending.
02:20:24
Among the DSI cohort comparisons, this is a cohort
02:20:27
that DSI chooses and it's about comparable enrollment size.
02:20:32
So you can also look against your immediate neighbors,
02:20:36
but the size of those districts are different.
02:20:38
And so actually if you were to look at that, you might find
02:20:42
that the per pupil spending is actually lower.
02:20:45
So this is the comp for lake size districts.
02:20:52
Just to note that your, the budget hearing is scheduled
02:20:54
for March 4th, right?
02:20:56
March 4th. The town has adhered
02:21:01
to its timeline in that they put out their budget,
02:21:04
their budget book February one.
02:21:07
And so it's understood that there would be an approval
02:21:10
of a budget by the school committee to prepare for the
02:21:15
next stages in for town meeting.
02:21:18
We're having continue, we continue our discussions
02:21:21
with the town partners and,
02:21:24
and other civic members, meaning all the volunteers
02:21:28
that serve on the finance committee, on the select board
02:21:32
and any other civic members that are interested.
02:21:36
So again, I owe a lot
02:21:40
of thanks to the central office team, to the principals
02:21:46
in working through where we have,
02:21:51
we're a level service program at 7.9%
02:21:54
and about how to move forward,
02:21:56
but also how to plan beyond FY 25 into FY 26
02:22:04
amazing set of educators
02:22:07
among the administrative teams across the schools.
02:22:10
Do you have questions?
02:22:18
Any questions from the committee?
02:22:26
Yeah, goeth,
Mine's really easy.
02:22:28
I think, I think it's easy in the enrollment projection
02:22:31
for the and the kids entering kindergarten, does
02:22:34
that take into account the town census
02:22:36
data for like move-ins?
02:22:38
Like where do you get the estimate
02:22:39
for kids entering kindergarten from?
02:22:42
That's always the trickiest one.
02:22:44
It is. So we, we take the birth rate,
02:22:46
but if you see the numbers there off to the yellow
02:22:49
in the yellow box where it says three year average, that's,
02:22:53
that's gonna be the multiplier.
02:22:54
So from birth to kindergarten trying to, is it 9 3 8 5?
02:23:00
Yeah. Yes. Okay.
02:23:02
So we're gonna take the birth year
02:23:08
up above where it says like 2018
02:23:13
and we're gonna multiply that number
02:23:14
and then we're gonna get 300
02:23:16
and, you know, 59 kids, you know, in the,
02:23:19
in the actuals box there.
02:23:22
You know, if you go to the next box over 3 97 to 3 73,
02:23:28
that would be, that would be the estimate.
02:23:30
So we have the kids that are born through 2022
02:23:34
and through 2023.
02:23:36
We did this back in September.
02:23:38
I noted down in the red there were 273 reported births.
02:23:43
So I, I kept with the monthly average
02:23:46
and brought us to the 360
02:23:48
and looking at where we had been historically,
02:23:50
that didn't seem too unreasonable.
02:23:52
But the hard, the hard part of,
02:23:55
of any enrollment projection is trying to predict
02:23:59
how many kids are actually gonna be born.
02:24:02
You know, the, the change in town,
02:24:06
the change in housing units, predominantly three bedrooms
02:24:10
and more really affects your, how you would add
02:24:15
to the multiplier for your estimate.
02:24:18
Yes. And it didn't seem to be that much of a, a change.
02:24:22
Okay, so that was my question because
02:24:24
I see the instruction but yeah, didn't seem to be
02:24:28
that much of a change for, you know, the next year or two.
02:24:31
So we would only be able to get that kind of
02:24:35
detailed data from move-ins if we did an enrollment study.
02:24:38
So we don't really have access to the town,
02:24:40
The, the enrollment study still it's all baked in.
02:24:43
So you got historical number
02:24:45
of move-ins 'cause people move in and out.
02:24:46
Yeah. All the time. So it's the new growth
02:24:49
that adds more bedrooms.
02:24:51
Right? So it's, are they having more kids
02:24:53
or are actually Yeah, more people. So
02:24:58
I guess I have a niggling concern.
02:25:00
Yeah. And of course it's anecdotal
02:25:01
but I feel like on our street due to just move-ins
02:25:05
to like new construction, there are more kids under the age
02:25:09
of five than there are kids over the age
02:25:12
of five now on our street.
02:25:13
Wow, okay. Right In just like a year or two.
02:25:16
So it, if it's a niggling concern
02:25:18
that maybe there's something kind
02:25:20
of either our street is really popular with people
02:25:23
with toddlers or you know,
02:25:26
but I, I guess I just feel like it would be nice
02:25:28
to have some of that more granular data to see if
02:25:31
that's really the experience all over town or if it's just,
02:25:34
I just, when you look at the, the,
02:25:37
the numbers across the grade levels, like as you go up,
02:25:40
it's really very consistent.
02:25:42
So when anything over 1.0 just indicates move in
02:25:46
or maybe a student coming back from private going to public,
02:25:52
but they, but it's pretty, pretty even
02:25:55
sometimes in a district you'll see, you know, between
02:25:58
that transition period before high school like a drop or, or
02:26:03
or like at those transition points.
02:26:05
So it does, your transition point is is fifth grade.
02:26:10
So you see how they came back
02:26:11
'cause that's the elementary middle school. It's
02:26:17
No thank you.
02:26:18
Just wanted to ask. Thank you.
02:26:21
Are there Ms. McDonald, do you have a question?
02:26:24
Yeah, so, so I'm obviously
02:26:29
uncomfortable with the reductions,
02:26:32
which we haven't seen in several years.
02:26:36
And so I understand
02:26:42
the discussions that have been had
02:26:44
and we're not seeing yet exactly what the proposal is.
02:26:48
I feel like there should be some room to go back to the town
02:26:54
to either talk about us using less
02:26:58
of our circuit breaker
02:27:00
or us not having to cut as many positions, whatever
02:27:05
that is gonna look like.
02:27:06
And I'm sure we'll see that soon
02:27:09
because I do feel like
02:27:13
without the ARPA money,
02:27:15
which has been baked into our allocation, the proposal
02:27:19
to us is about, it's like less than 3%
02:27:24
by my calculations.
02:27:26
So it feels like that is not a reasonable
02:27:32
allocation for a district that
02:27:36
obviously is still supporting students post covid
02:27:40
and has been trying to increase programs
02:27:44
and services to students over the past several years.
02:27:49
So what I would like is to see some
02:27:57
ongoing negotiation with the town to say that
02:28:04
to have us use either less
02:28:06
of circuit breaker if you feel like somehow these positions
02:28:09
are warranted to be reduced
02:28:12
or that we do not have to do this many reductions
02:28:17
because something that you said struck me Bella, that was
02:28:22
that that $800,000 is approximately like
02:28:25
1% of the budget, right?
02:28:27
So this is less than 1%
02:28:30
and if say we cut it in half, that's like a half a percent.
02:28:33
So can we go back to the town to say, is there a way to find
02:28:38
$325,000 that would allow us to not use
02:28:42
so much circuit breaker or possibly not reduce staff.
02:28:45
We just have not had to do that recently.
02:28:48
And I, I don't feel great about just accepting it
02:28:53
as well.
02:28:55
The town said we could have this and so fine.
02:29:00
That's what we get. I I just feel like I'm just,
02:29:03
but I'm probably not seeing what's happening
02:29:05
behind the scenes, but I would like a little bit
02:29:08
more of that.
02:29:11
I please. So, so initially
02:29:16
the 10 allocation was, was, was
02:29:19
where we've landed is higher than where we started.
02:29:22
And I, I appreciate from that full presentation
02:29:27
and I, I've seen it a couple of times,
02:29:31
but the town is also facing the ending
02:29:34
of one time funding and, and,
02:29:40
and needs that haven't been met or deferred.
02:29:42
And so they're facing also a funding cliff,
02:29:46
but I also feel
02:29:49
that there's undeniably a prioritization of
02:29:52
what the school department needs.
02:29:57
I also am very sensitive to that.
02:30:02
The district has not experienced any thought
02:30:06
of staffing reductions over, at least
02:30:10
through the last few years though I know that
02:30:15
there was conversation about looking at a override
02:30:19
actually right before the pandemic.
02:30:21
So I think the structural issue
02:30:27
or the structural component that made
02:30:30
that the conversation about an override happened at
02:30:33
that time didn't go away.
02:30:36
The difference is this one time funding came in
02:30:39
and I think that that the town, the district
02:30:42
with the town support did the right thing
02:30:46
to utilize those funds.
02:30:48
But it has created sort of the, the funding cliff
02:30:52
for the override that didn't happen
02:30:55
but you expended it in programs that made sense to do
02:31:00
that again to address needs that were immediate
02:31:03
and sometimes intensive in.
02:31:08
But at 7.9% it's, that's a big,
02:31:12
big projection and for everyone to understand why it is
02:31:17
that big for level service,
02:31:18
it is folding in grant funded positions,
02:31:21
it is folding in positions that were added
02:31:23
that were masked perhaps by one time funding.
02:31:28
But when you look at FY 25,
02:31:33
you have to consider FY 26.
02:31:36
And so the staffing reductions
02:31:39
and are, are with a lot of
02:31:45
thought and deliberation,
02:31:48
but somehow I needed
02:31:52
shift in the base to get you closer to what
02:31:57
you, you might, that might be viable for FY 26.
02:32:02
Right. If that makes sense.
02:32:03
So some necessary refining of the base
02:32:08
to, to get you closer.
02:32:13
It is partially related to the closing of Johnson
02:32:17
and we're looking at positions that are redundant
02:32:23
so we're not eliminating functions that
02:32:27
would not otherwise be delivered.
02:32:33
We are doing a lot of conversations about communication
02:32:39
and so I know that people are very interested
02:32:42
to really understand the impact of what is being proposed
02:32:47
and without knowing exactly what those are, that's hard.
02:32:53
But I, I feel we need the time to be able
02:32:55
to communicate and work with staff.
02:32:58
In most cases it will be vacancies that won't go filled,
02:33:02
but not in all. Yes.
02:33:06
Well, okay, so I, I guess I would just say that if there,
02:33:09
if there are positions that
02:33:14
should not be reduced
02:33:18
that we, and maybe it's just a couple
02:33:23
that we are feeling anxious about doing this,
02:33:26
could we go back to the town
02:33:28
and say we really don't wanna do this.
02:33:31
So like is there still time for that or,
02:33:35
or is it just, is what it is?
02:33:39
I guess I just don't wanna
02:33:41
say anything is just what it is.
02:33:43
It is what it is. There was a lot of, lot
02:33:46
of thinking about this
02:33:50
and we are still
02:33:55
advocating for additional funds to come
02:33:57
to the school department,
02:34:00
but it would be to decrease the
02:34:02
dependency on circuit breaker.
02:34:04
Okay.
Okay. With only less than a million
02:34:09
with that kind of offset, we,
02:34:16
everything now is to build up a better situation
02:34:20
to get from FY 25 to FY 26.
02:34:23
So the town site understands that we are looking
02:34:27
for additional funding and they understand it would be
02:34:29
to decrease the dependency on
02:34:31
circuit breaker moving forward.
02:34:34
I've had conversations with our art team about
02:34:40
one time funding that's been used to fund
02:34:46
expense lines, you know, like the,
02:34:50
like the non-paper tutoring, other things like that.
02:34:54
And so we are making sure
02:34:56
that we're putting in feedback loops so
02:34:59
that we will know in another year better data about
02:35:04
what has been of value, what to continue
02:35:09
I feel.
02:35:10
And they understand that we should
02:35:15
continue in those, those investments.
02:35:19
We could keep it in circuit breaker
02:35:24
but then it's just sitting in the bank in a way.
02:35:26
So I say utilize everything, evaluate the value
02:35:31
of what we're, what we've been able to capture
02:35:36
for the benefit of the district and these other initiatives.
02:35:40
If it's something that they feel like,
02:35:42
well we got three years out of it
02:35:44
or two years out of it, then maybe that comes out
02:35:47
of the budget and it will enhance what you're able to do
02:35:50
to support the general fund in other ways.
02:35:53
So this is, we're at the point of
02:35:58
really thinking about supporting getting to FY 26.
02:36:01
Okay. So then the last thing I'll say is that
02:36:05
it feels like, and there was talk at the public budget
02:36:08
presentation about, you know, starting
02:36:11
to think about the operational override,
02:36:13
you've mentioned it tonight, obviously getting to FY 26,
02:36:16
we go into a negotiating year next year.
02:36:19
So all of these things, this budget,
02:36:21
that contract all will have to be part of like
02:36:24
what this committee is thinking about
02:36:27
and the new superintendent to make sure
02:36:29
that we have adequate budget to fund both of those things.
02:36:35
The district, the contract, all of those things together.
02:36:39
So we should keep that top of mind.
02:36:41
I think when we're talking with the town. And
02:36:44
I, I wanna be clear too that
02:36:47
all staff are providing value to the district,
02:36:52
but we're at this place where we,
02:36:56
we really have to figure out how to navigate the loss of
02:37:02
huge amounts of one time funding, which again,
02:37:04
I feel have been really well utilized and,
02:37:08
and NATA isn't the only district that has to figure out how
02:37:12
to navigate this next step.
02:37:14
And so everyone who's here offers
02:37:19
value and again, we'll try to use vacancies as much
02:37:23
as possible, but it's a necessary step to try
02:37:28
to decrease the base moving forward to get you
02:37:31
a bigger margin to, for you to be able
02:37:36
to, to use for FY 26.
02:37:40
But the town understands
02:37:43
and any other efficiencies we find
02:37:46
we'll be building up that reserve
02:37:52
All set.
02:37:53
Let's put that on Brune.
02:37:58
Thank you. So the hard,
02:38:02
just a hard question to start off with
02:38:04
and then hopefully I'll move to other topics,
02:38:07
but the Johnson closure listed as $135,000 on the slides is
02:38:12
tremendously difficult to see
02:38:16
as a school committee member who was told
02:38:19
that the Johnson closure would create millions of dollars
02:38:23
of savings for our budget.
02:38:26
So could you speak to the community about that? Right.
02:38:31
I'm aware that was said
02:38:32
and I, I can only, so I haven't done that
02:38:37
analysis, but I can only
02:38:42
what I think might be like over the period of time.
02:38:45
So between this year and next year
02:38:48
'cause we're at three classrooms,
02:38:50
but if you look at where Johnson was before
02:38:53
and the difference between what it costs to operate at, at
02:38:57
fully with all the classrooms to where it is me,
02:39:01
that could be the differential,
02:39:03
but I haven't done that analysis.
02:39:05
So it's really, I think it was anticipated that this year
02:39:09
there would be six classrooms and there are three.
02:39:12
So the difference between three
02:39:14
and going to the next is just a smaller amount.
02:39:19
I think it's just important for our committee
02:39:20
to think about when we think about long-term planning
02:39:23
because it, that's essential
02:39:28
as we go into a new strategic plan,
02:39:30
potentially a new elementary building that the cost
02:39:35
forecast or the, the models that we run
02:39:40
are important to people and important to decisions.
02:39:44
And I would like to make sure that we have, have as, as
02:39:48
accurate of models that we run.
02:39:53
Just really quick about the improvements at some point in
02:39:56
our meetings this year, we talked about an enrollment study
02:40:00
and at least maybe that was the question you were asking
02:40:02
and also fields, turf fields.
02:40:05
Is that, are those improvements just not being
02:40:07
suggested for the coming year?
02:40:10
So part of the allocation to a higher amount
02:40:15
for us in the operating budget came out of the free cash
02:40:20
that was earmarked or meant to go to capital.
02:40:25
And so they, they reallocated to our,
02:40:29
to our operational budget
02:40:31
and given the choice, I would agree that's yes,
02:40:37
we were hopeful that the chapters,
02:40:39
that the governor's budget was going to yield a higher
02:40:42
protected amount for Natick,
02:40:44
but actually it's, it's a little over 1% over
02:40:47
what you're getting this year.
02:40:50
So they were hoping to replenish some
02:40:53
of the capital requests with the, with that amount.
02:40:58
So they're, they're able to do some of it.
02:41:01
So we don't have the,
02:41:05
the FY 25 capital, but I think they're still working on it.
02:41:10
I'm just gonna say one more thing
02:41:12
and then I think we are hoping to be able
02:41:15
to do the design work for, for the field,
02:41:20
but you may not be able to fund the field
02:41:23
on the same timeline that we were hoping for.
02:41:26
There's been some mention about the
02:41:29
possibility of fundraising.
02:41:31
So I, I thought, and I proposed to them
02:41:34
and they agreed
02:41:35
that maybe if we at least get the design part done,
02:41:39
we have a, we have a number
02:41:40
or you have a number to, to aim for.
02:41:46
There are, there are monies in there for Yeah, go ahead.
02:41:50
So John Marshall sent me the, the list today.
02:41:53
Some things did get pushed from what we had proposed from 25
02:41:57
to 26, but what is in there hasn't been approved yet.
02:42:01
But what is in for discussion is
02:42:04
school furniture at $50,000,
02:42:08
the school switch replacement for the network switches
02:42:10
that Dennis had asked for a hundred thousand dollars,
02:42:15
the design for the field at
02:42:20
the high school at $200,000, that's to get the plans ready
02:42:24
and then the, the budget for the construction
02:42:27
for 26 is 2.2 million, which would probably be
02:42:32
a debt exclusion vote, but it might not be.
02:42:35
And then there's wifi replacement project
02:42:40
$400,000 also
02:42:44
requests from, from Dennis.
02:42:47
So that's what went forward.
02:42:49
The the study enrollment study
02:42:54
slash capital capital assessment study
02:42:58
to be updated did not go forward.
02:43:02
We could still submit to MSBA with, with the study we had
02:43:07
and update the enrollment,
02:43:08
but they do their own enrollment projections anyway.
02:43:12
So I I,
02:43:17
I see some progress in, in moving to where
02:43:20
folks had at least initially mentioned in one
02:43:22
of my early meetings here,
02:43:24
the town had been relatively res receptive.
02:43:31
I think Can I just ask a quick
02:43:32
Clarifying question?
02:43:33
So the enrollment study, did it get pushed forward
02:43:35
or it's just not currently on the long-term Capital
02:43:38
Planning?
02:43:39
They might be seeking input from us about prioritization.
02:43:43
Yeah, I expect that'll be part of the discussion. Okay.
02:43:46
I'll just put a question mark on note.
02:43:47
Yep, that's, that's pushed out.
02:43:49
Okay. Due to which fiscal year
02:43:52
Looks like 26, but the looks like 26.
02:43:57
So the alignment in the font is super small.
02:44:01
It's actually a good, it's actually is a good point
02:44:04
of discussion for the committee.
02:44:07
You can to,
02:44:09
to weigh in on the MSBA application deadline
02:44:12
for memorial is April 12th.
02:44:15
There will be no additional study
02:44:17
or information to support that application.
02:44:19
So it'll go in as it, as it as it is.
02:44:26
I don't it, I think it was our feeling that, that
02:44:29
an updated study would be helpful in that application.
02:44:33
So you can weigh in on your thinking if, if we should
02:44:39
provide input about shifting a priority on that.
02:44:43
Okay, that's helpful. Can I ask a few
02:44:48
more shy or do you wanna go?
02:44:49
Sure, sure. Or does anyone wanna talk about capital?
02:44:56
I would just wonder if we could see the document too.
02:44:59
Yep.
Okay. Thank you. I think
02:45:01
It's just, so it's still a working document, right?
02:45:04
I believe so
Because there's been no meeting or did
02:45:08
You No, he said scheduling a meeting coming up timing.
02:45:14
Right.
He's anticipating a, a meeting the week
02:45:18
of the 26th still working on date. Okay.
02:45:22
So just know that it's still a working document.
02:45:25
It sounds like we're not gonna be able
02:45:26
to read it anyways 'cause it's so small.
02:45:28
No, I'm just joking. Well,
02:45:29
You,
You can open in Zoom.
02:45:31
What, where I had my email open, I couldn't,
02:45:33
This is the best I've been able to read this chart. Yeah,
02:45:36
That chart gives me a headache.
02:45:38
I Okay. Just how did the bus subsidy happen?
02:45:42
Why did that disappear?
02:45:44
Because I wanna make sure that doesn't happen again.
02:45:46
It sounds like it disappeared in FY 24.
02:45:49
We agreed. We agreed to it.
02:45:51
Yeah, because we, and I think Kathy wa so Kathy,
02:45:54
Kathy's not on, she's not okay.
02:45:57
I think Kathy was present for
02:46:01
that conversation.
02:46:03
But it was something that the district, it had to do with
02:46:09
the, the flow of funding.
02:46:11
Yes. Yeah, go ahead.
02:46:15
We had increased bus fee revenues, so we used those
02:46:19
to offset the costs for the, for the year
02:46:21
because we had more money than we thought.
02:46:23
So we took it away for the year. So
02:46:24
with the agreement to come back this
02:46:26
Year and that was uniquely related
02:46:28
to the pandemic and timing.
02:46:31
Okay. I hope that doesn't happen again.
02:46:34
I think that that, from what I understand in Natick history,
02:46:38
that that was like a very a like a,
02:46:41
a very proud moment of Natick town meeting
02:46:44
where they came up with a solution together for town
02:46:47
and for schools to split the blue bag cost
02:46:51
and the school bus subsidy.
02:46:53
And since it is, I just think
02:46:55
that we should honor that promise.
02:46:57
That town me meeting
02:46:59
You saying covid should happen again or
02:47:01
I'm sorry, what?
02:47:02
Well, they said it was related to C No, the bus subsidy.
02:47:05
No, no, no. But the, the change was related to
02:47:09
Yeah.
02:47:10
So the, the bus fee, the, the subsidy is always meant
02:47:12
to reduce the bus fee.
02:47:13
Right? That was always the idea behind it. I see.
02:47:15
In this one year where we had increased revenue
02:47:17
because of cov actually because of covid
02:47:19
and we didn't use that, we didn't use those funds.
02:47:22
We used the bus fee revenue to, to take care of
02:47:26
that one time bus subsidy.
02:47:28
So 'cause we had so much so we wanted to produce that. Okay.
02:47:31
So it was just the one time. One time.
02:47:33
Okay. I see. I've just always seen it
02:47:34
in the operating fund.
02:47:35
So that's what I that, but I understand your point.
02:47:40
We've talked a lot about the prepay in in
02:47:42
Prior years.
02:47:44
Can, that's not a conversation
02:47:46
that's gonna happen this year or it's not necessary? Well,
02:47:50
Prepay is dependent on availability
02:47:54
of surplus at the end of the year.
02:47:58
So we're not actually projecting
02:48:01
a significant surplus at the end of this year.
02:48:04
So it's, it's not really an option. Okay.
02:48:08
But also I think the prepay was
02:48:13
because there was this other flexibility and funding
02:48:18
and so the district was, was doing that,
02:48:21
but it's actually not a, not a recommended
02:48:27
practice o over time.
02:48:29
'cause it, it, it actually ends up creating you,
02:48:33
you can often get
02:48:34
behind in funding within the fiscal year you're operating.
02:48:38
Yeah. But anyway, we're not projecting a surplus that's,
02:48:42
that would make it even a possibility.
02:48:46
Okay. And then just last question,
02:48:50
when do we know the reimbursement
02:48:52
rate for the circuit breaker?
02:48:54
That's
Not until the state budget is passed.
02:48:57
It's actually even after that. Yeah.
02:49:00
Yeah. It takes 'em a little while
02:49:01
because they have to get the, all the reports and claims in.
02:49:06
Yeah. So July one, when the budget passes,
02:49:09
the circuit breaker reimbursement rate doesn't
02:49:11
come actually till the fall.
02:49:12
Okay. This, yeah, this year we were at 75% reimbursement
02:49:17
plus a additional reimbursement
02:49:20
for a special ed transportation cost for OUTTA district.
02:49:24
But with what you saw in the earlier slide with
02:49:28
more kids being on IEPs, some
02:49:31
of them might be high cost kids
02:49:32
and eligible for reimbursement
02:49:34
and the governor's initial proposal being
02:49:38
2.45% less than what's this year
02:49:43
and 14% increase on the tuitions.
02:49:45
We just didn't see how we were gonna get
02:49:47
to a 75% reimbursement.
02:49:49
So, so we lowered it to 70.
02:49:52
But again, the governor's budget is isn't
02:49:54
the budget, it's the 70 point.
02:49:55
So there might be different advocacy.
02:49:57
Yeah. So numbers can change.
02:50:00
I guess I'm just hope, I'm just being optimistic given
02:50:02
that chapter 70 was such a small increase, I'm just hoping
02:50:06
that they don't hit us on circuit breaker as well.
02:50:09
Right. I mean I could see that becoming an advocacy point
02:50:13
to, to raise the circuit breaker amount.
02:50:15
Okay. Thank you.
I had one quick question
02:50:19
and then just general comment.
02:50:23
So you mentioned that circuit breaker is projected to,
02:50:28
to go down in 2025 because of reduction in tuition,
02:50:33
but circuit breaker is only a percent of the tuition.
02:50:36
So if tuition is going down in essence the net,
02:50:41
it's a net reduction to our budget. Right? Right.
02:50:44
It it's a re well it's a reimbursement program so it
02:50:49
it's, it's kind of cold comfort
02:50:51
to get a high circuit breaker even though you've been able
02:50:54
to, to benefit from it.
02:50:56
It, it's not always easy to,
02:50:58
to make those payments you you'd rather avoid.
02:51:01
So the first $51,000 you don't get reimbursed anything on.
02:51:05
It's after that you, you start getting, you know,
02:51:09
65, 70, 70 5 cents on the dollar.
02:51:12
So you don't really want to,
02:51:14
So this, so this is not stock breaker.
02:51:16
Yeah, it's not an estimate.
02:51:18
Matt actually went back to the tuitions
02:51:20
and calculated what was above the threshold
02:51:22
and applied the reimbursement rate.
02:51:24
Sometimes I'm actually more used to
02:51:27
the directors just making a, a projection so that he's,
02:51:31
based on the information we have,
02:51:33
that's 70% reimbursement. Like a real number.
02:51:36
Yeah. But I wasn't thinking about the percent
02:51:38
of reduction, the percent of reimbursement,
02:51:40
but rather the over the comment you made about Yes.
02:51:42
The students who are graduating out their tuition,
02:51:45
we don't have to pay those tuitions
02:51:47
because they're graduating out, they're aging out.
02:51:49
Right. So that will actually be a kind
02:51:51
of a little silver lining to our budget. Yes.
02:51:54
It's helpful upfront. It just doesn't feel
02:51:56
that way when you're just focusing strictly on the revenues.
02:51:59
But anytime it's a reimbursement program,
02:52:02
you get back part of what you paid.
02:52:04
Yeah. It's better not to pay. Yeah. Yeah.
02:52:09
I'm sorry at this point I just wanna make it clear that
02:52:12
it's always, it's always something
02:52:14
that we wanna do is keep kids in district
02:52:17
but sometimes needs are best met at a district, so.
02:52:21
Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
Yeah.
02:52:22
So I just wanna make sure that when we have
02:52:25
to send kids outta district it's, it's,
02:52:28
it's in their best interest and it just, it is what it is.
02:52:32
No, I was thinking 'cause you specifically mentioned aging
02:52:33
out, which is so their kids who are no longer kids.
02:52:36
Yeah. Who are 22.
02:52:41
And my overall comment,
02:52:43
and I know we've had these conversations
02:52:45
and I know this is really early in the process,
02:52:47
but I know that staff reductions
02:52:52
is not something that we've seen in a long time
02:52:55
and that is can be concerning.
02:52:59
And I know the things that, while there's more information
02:53:02
to be figured out that you're working on,
02:53:04
but just kind of wanted to say out loud, I know
02:53:07
that you're working really hard to make sure that
02:53:09
number one, this doesn't impact quality of education,
02:53:13
that no students are gonna be receiving less services
02:53:15
of any kind or less supports because of it.
02:53:19
And I appreciate you working
02:53:20
through that with the principals.
02:53:22
I know those were difficult conversations.
02:53:24
And the second part, and just to echo what you said already,
02:53:27
which is that this is not in any way a reflection
02:53:32
of the need for staff.
02:53:36
That every staff is valuable is brings huge offers value,
02:53:39
offers value, but there are some efficiencies that
02:53:44
can help us deal with the Rocky budget road ahead.
02:53:48
So thank you for doing that because I know it's difficult
02:53:51
to navigate, but just wanted
02:53:52
to also provide some reassurance.
02:53:53
Students are gonna be fine. Stuff are gonna be fine
02:53:58
and we'll be in hopefully in better shape to face the,
02:54:02
again, the rocky road ahead.
02:54:05
So thank you for doing that.
02:54:07
Any other questions or comments from anyone else on the
02:54:10
committee about the budget?
02:54:17
So I think we have one, so thank you.
02:54:18
Thank you, thank you all for the whole team.
02:54:20
For our also for Thursday's presentation.
02:54:23
That was very helpful and clear
02:54:25
and I know there's a lot more work to be done yet as well.
02:54:29
And I think we're ready for the last item.
02:54:31
The, it's, you received a snapshot,
02:54:34
so we just listed there for you.
02:54:36
I don't know if you had questions.
02:54:38
It's just the, the February 1st enrollment report.
02:54:41
Any questions on your enrollment
02:54:42
report yet, Ms. Brunell? Sorry,
02:54:43
Not about the enrollment but just really about the
02:54:46
budget going forward.
02:54:48
Where can people see the, is there a document
02:54:51
with the bigger budget available for the public? Not
02:54:55
Yet.
02:54:56
Not yet. But but we have to get there
02:55:00
'cause we have to provide, we have to submit what we have
02:55:03
to submit to the town
02:55:05
Too.
02:55:06
Yeah. The line, the line items.
02:55:11
So coming, it'll be posted on the website
02:55:13
or will we see it?
02:55:14
Will we see that at a meeting again
02:55:16
or will the next time we talk about the budget be March 4th?
02:55:19
You know, I just, I just don't remember when that,
02:55:21
when it's all due.
02:55:23
So it's when it's due.
02:55:26
I get, I I'd
Have to look. Yeah, sorry that's my
02:55:28
Question.
02:55:29
It's good. We'll have it before the fourth. Okay.
02:55:30
You're talking two people haven't done it before
02:55:33
Here in naic.
02:55:34
Yeah, here. We haven't done it before naic. Yeah. So
02:55:36
That's why we're like, which, what is that date?
02:55:38
There is a date that, that we have to submit everything.
02:55:42
Okay, thank you. Yeah.
02:55:45
Mr. Had a question about
02:55:46
The enrollment.
02:55:47
A quick question about the enrollment is does the
02:55:50
slightly larger, like there's a couple of large class sizes
02:55:53
and you mentioned earlier in the,
02:55:56
in the enrollment report about the high school
02:55:59
getting larger in the coming years,
02:56:02
but I didn't see any addition of
02:56:05
staff in the proposed budget for FY 25.
02:56:08
So is is it your assumption that we'll be able
02:56:11
to manage those class sizes, bring them down, maintain
02:56:15
what we've been able to do with the upcoming budget?
02:56:21
So there's 137,000 in there for
02:56:25
improvements related to student services.
02:56:28
Okay. So, and I said some of it was special education
02:56:31
and some of it was related to EL.
02:56:34
So there is a 0.5 FTE
02:56:39
allocated to the high school embedded in that number
02:56:43
spread out across different departments to somewhat address.
02:56:49
So at the high, at the high school,
02:56:51
you're more likely have like small
02:56:54
intentionally small class size to, to meet the needs
02:56:58
of the students who need more attention.
02:57:00
And so the additional FTE is, is to help
02:57:05
with some of the larger class sizes
02:57:07
that were created as a result.
02:57:09
So the high school is the only level
02:57:11
getting an improvement in that way.
02:57:14
Okay. It's limited but so that,
02:57:17
that's a 0.5 ft e spread across different.
02:57:20
Okay. But then at the elementary level, are you going
02:57:24
to like this one class that's like 25 or,
02:57:28
and there's a couple other classes
02:57:29
that are 23. Are we able to,
02:57:31
There are no additional FTEs for elementary,
02:57:36
but every year from year
02:57:37
to year when they do the sectioning,
02:57:41
I know sometimes at work it, they might have people
02:57:44
that moved in after they set those sections,
02:57:47
but there aren't additional elementary
02:57:50
classrooms being added.
02:57:53
Ms McDon, you're talking about the class at
02:57:54
Loja that's now 24.
02:57:55
It was 25 last month. It's 24 this month. Did
02:57:58
It, is it, it went back down.
02:58:00
Sorry, did I look at the wrong side of the graph?
02:58:02
I think, I think maybe. Yeah.
02:58:04
Left is okay. So is it, so in the past,
02:58:08
and maybe we're not, we are not being able
02:58:10
to do this this year we've been able to budget
02:58:14
to add a teacher if we, in the summer
02:58:18
our projections are off
02:58:20
and we need to add, particularly at the elementary,
02:58:24
which is usually where the projections are
02:58:25
off to add a class.
02:58:28
We're not budgeted for that.
02:58:30
If you, if something happened where you needed
02:58:33
to add a teacher due extreme class size.
02:58:36
Yep. It just, it'd just be over budget
02:58:39
and so you would have to just make an
02:58:41
adjustment in other places.
02:58:44
Okay. But it's not, we're not building
02:58:46
a contingent position.
02:58:48
Yeah. I can say too that one middle school is
02:58:53
higher in enrollment than the other
02:58:56
and so there'll be a reallocation of staff.
02:59:00
Okay.
Any other questions on the relevant
02:59:04
report in that case?
02:59:06
I'll take a motion. Oh, sorry. Before
02:59:09
You do take a motion, I would be remiss to not wish
02:59:12
Bella Wong Happy birthday today.
02:59:14
Oh, happy birthday.
Thank
02:59:17
Happy birthday Bella. Thank
02:59:18
You.
02:59:19
Morning. Because you're
02:59:20
At a school committee meeting.
02:59:23
Who doesn't? If we knew we should budget, did that happen
02:59:26
To you before Happy birthday?
02:59:30
Didn't that happen to you before?
02:59:32
Yes, and I didn't come to the meeting.
02:59:36
I don't think that was an option tonight.
02:59:39
Happy
Birthday.
02:59:40
Happy. Thank you.
We now is now. Okay.
02:59:43
Any other birthdays? No. You want a
02:59:45
Motion?
02:59:46
A motion to adjourn? I'll make it
02:59:49
Second. Others in favor?
02:59:52
Actually Ms. Flat is online right now too. Oh,
02:59:55
A roll call then.
02:59:56
Sorry, I didn't mean
02:59:57
to make you guys go through roll call.
02:59:58
That's okay. Sorry I'm late. Why did you come?
03:00:01
It's the best kinds of votes. So Ms.
03:00:05
Fathers, we'll start with you. Motion to adjourn? Yes. Yes.
03:00:08
Ms. Brune? Yes. Mr. Brand? Yes. Ms. McDonna? Yes. Ms. Goeth?
03:00:13
Yes. And I'm I'm a yes. So we're now adjourned.
03:00:15
Good night everyone and happy birthday. Yeah.