Thursday, July 23, 2020

Superintendent's Report to SC 7.22.20

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee

July 22, 2020

DESE Summer and Vacation Learning Program Grant: - Dr. Bacon

Points of review from 6.24.20 School Committee meeting:

  • Last week, we submitted an “Intent to Apply” for this grant by the due date of June 18th

  • On June 19th the grant was posted. 

  • Hundreds of districts have shown an interest in this grant and the district and schools that submitted an intent to apply will be considered first.

  • This is a new, competitive, federally-funded grant established to help local school districts...develop, expand, or enhance high-quality, in-person, remote, or hybrid programs for the summer of 2020 and/or school vacations during the 2020-2021 school year and/or support the development and implementation of weekend learning programs to take place during the 2020-2021 school year.

  • The district is in the process of writing this grant which is due July 2nd.

  • We were notified this week that Swampscott Public Schools has been awarded an FY21 Summer and Vacation Learning Program Grant of $11,320.

Grants, Grants, and More Grants: - Ms. Sybert


  • The MIAA COVID-19 Task Force recommends the MIAA BOD adopt Sept 14, 2020, as the start date for fall sports that are allowed to be played in accordance with the forthcoming DESE and EEA guidelines.  (K. Crowley/B. McCann) *This is the start date for the pre-season of the sports determined viable to play at this time.

  • More guidance coming early August according to Commissioner Riley.

Fall Re-Opening:

  • Communication has and will continue to be the key to our reopening success.

  • Union and Central Office Leadership meetings have continued throughout the summer.

  • My Tuesday Talks have also continued with the district faculty and staff this summer.  

  • These webinars are live but I am also recording and sharing out to faculty and staff so they can watch at their leisure.

  • SPS Reopening Schools Fall 2020

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Superintendent's Report to SC 6.24.20

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
June 24, 2020

End of the School Year:
  • The Class of 2020 Senior Parade and Graduation were wonderful events.
  • Perfect New England weather for both events
  • The Town really came out in great numbers to celebrate our Seniors 
  • Lots of positive feedback about our modified graduation ceremony

Fall Re-Opening:

  • A few weeks ago, I told the Committee that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was planning to release fall reopening guidance the week of June 15th.
  • On a conference call with Commissioner Riley last Friday, we were told the guidance would not be ready as information has changed and we should be patient. 
  • We have another conference call with him tomorrow morning and hope to learn more. 
  • All of this waiting is challenging as we continue to anticipate a variety of scenarios and our needs.
  • In addition, during last Friday’s call, it seems there may not be one mandated plan for the fall but a choice of plans at the local level. 
  • Obviously, this would create challenges for our families, faculty, and staff so I am hopeful in the end this is not the case.

Bridge Committee Faculty and Email Today:

  • Building Respect, Inclusivity, Diversity, and Growth for Everyone
  • Committee derived from ECLC Grant and Cultural Competency Priority
  • Committee led by Hadley Principal, Ilana Bebchick and English Language Learner Teacher and District Coordinator, Eleanor Donato
  • SPS partnered with the Center for Collaborative Education (CCE) to advance the work of the BRIDGE Committee to increase their momentum and be the voice of cultural responsive transformation in the district. 
  • Part of their work was designing a survey focusing on the following areas:
    • Staff recruitment and retention
    • Accountability/Policy
    • Values, Beliefs, and Assumptions
    • Community Connection
    • Curriculum
    • Professional Development
  • BRIDGE Survey Results Summary

DESE Innovation Pathway Planning Grant:
  • Student Opportunity Act (SOA) and Plan that was due on April 1st
  • With the pandemic, submission of the SOA Plan was put on hold
  • Last week, we were notified that the new deadline for submission of these district plans is Tuesday, August 18, 2020
  • Our District still submitted by the April 1st deadline
  • Three Commitments:
    • Support educators to implement high quality, aligned curriculum
      • Focus on Math K to 10, especially K-4 for 2020-2021
    • Enhance inclusion/co-teaching for students with disabilities and English Learners
      • Focus on grade 5-12 for 2020-2021
    • Expand opportunities for career/technical education
      • Implement at “After Dark” or “Innovation Pathway” program at SHS
Notified by July 15th, 2020  -  $25,000
  • Introduction to Innovative Pathways: Innovation Pathways are structures within Massachusetts high schools that are designed to connect students to a broadly-designed industry sector that is in demand in the regional and state economy. Schools leverage strong partnerships with employers to provide students career awareness and work-based learning activities. Students participate in a series of courses and experiences relevant to achieving industry-recognized credentials. Participation in this kind of pathway can lead students to opportunities for meaningful careers in that industry sector upon completion of the needed post-secondary education and training.

  • 5 Guiding Principles:
    • Principle 1: Equitable Access
    • Principle 2: Guided Academic Pathways
    • Principle 3: Enhanced Student Support
    • Principle 4: Connection to Career
    • Principle 5: Effective Partnerships

  • We have chosen to begin developing what we hope will eventually be a variety of career pathways at SHS by developing a career pathway for advanced manufacturing.
  • Advanced manufacturing is one of three priority areas for workforce development identified in our region’s Northeast Labor Market Blueprint
  • We determined that the population of students we are trying to better serve would be most interested in the careers that are available in an advanced manufacturing pathway. The particular occupations sited in the Blueprint as needed in this sector include Team Assemblers, Carpenters, Electricians, Inspectors, Testors, Samplers, Weighers, Machinists.
  • Thank you to Dr. Bacon, Mrs. Zotto-Barnum, and Mr. Kohut
  • Grant is due tomorrow and was already submitted

DESE Summer and Vacation Learning Program Grant:
  • Last week, we submitted an “Intent to Apply” for this grant by the due date of June 18th
  • On June 19th the grant was posted. 
  • Hundreds of districts have shown an interest in this grant and the district and schools that submitted an intent to apply will be considered first.
  • This is a new, competitive, federally-funded grant established to help local school districts...develop, expand, or enhance high-quality, in-person, remote, or hybrid programs for the summer of 2020 and/or school vacations during the 2020-2021 school year and/or support the development and implementation of weekend learning programs to take place during the 2020-2021 school year.
  • The district is in the process of writing this grant which is due July 2nd.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Superintendent's Report to SC 5.27.20

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
May 27, 2020

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • In February, I reported to the School Committee about NEASC’s Collaborative Conference Visit to Swampscott High School
  • Last week, Mr. Kohut, Ms. Cooper, and I received a letter informing us that at the April 16th meeting of the Commission on Public and Secondary Schools voted to award our high school continued accreditation
  • Four of the six Foundational Elements in the Standards have been met
  • Priority Areas for Growth
  • The next step will be the development, submission, and implementation of the School Improvement/Growth Plan that needs to be submitted by July 15, 2020
  • After that, the school is scheduled to host the Decennial Accreditation visit on November 14th - November 17th, 2021. The focus is to make sure the school has implemented the Priority Areas for Growth as included in the School Improvement/Growth Plan.
  • Rotary reached out and asked how they could support the schools during these unprecedented times
  • Ms. Mackey-Knowles attended a meeting on behalf of the district and explained our need for additional Chromebooks as we move forward with our plan to go 1:1
  • At last Wednesday’s Rotary meeting, my fellow Rotarians voted to sponsor two Chromebook carts with a total donation in the amount of $12,000
  • I am overwhelmed by their support and generosity
Director of Facilities:
  • I’m pleased to report that Mr. Max Kasper has been appointed as the new Director of Facilities for both the school department and general government
  • Max has the skills and relationships necessary to make this position work
  • Support him with resources and personnel

Transitions, Celebrations, and High School Graduation:
  • Elementary Principals are working with their teachers to come up with an appropriate celebration for 4th grade
  • Mr. Calichman sent a message that the 8th grade celebration will occur when we are given the word by health agencies and the state that it is appropriate. 
  • High School Graduation is very different
  • Just prior to our meeting with representative parents of the Class of 2020 meeting last Thursday, Commissioner Riley came out with a memo providing guidance around HS graduation celebrations. That guidance allowed for parades to be part of the celebrations.
  • The guidance also stated that if graduations are held after July 18th, they could be held in person with very detailed and outlined restrictions 
  • The parent presentation gave us a lot to consider but two points were clear
  • Our seniors want to celebrate in some way TOGETHER
  • Our seniors would like their walk the stage moment to celebrate their 13 years of hard work
  • Mr. Kohut and his team worked on their draft plan and he’s here to present the final graduation plan this evening

Superintendent's Report to SC 5.13.20

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
May 13, 2020

COVID-19 Updates:

Remote Learning Plan:
  • At the end of April new guidance came from the state
  • School is out for the remainder of the year and now entering “Phase 3” of our Remote Learning Plan
  • We had already implemented “new learning” practices while many districts were following DESE guidance to go “deeper.”
  • We’ve had two working groups - one on Curriculum - Dr. Bacon and Engagement - Mr. Norkun
  • As expected, districts are going to be required to submit a document to the state explain our Remote Learning Plans and what exactly we’ve been doing
  • Dr. Bacon will give further details in her report.

Phone Calls with Commissioner Riley:
  • Monday, May 4th
  • We may be hearing more about a remote learning summer program but we were told more information will be forthcoming
  • The Governor is expected to provide guidance and a timeline for us to allow teachers and students to remove belongings
  • Next call is tomorrow
Extended Closure Impact and Plans:
  • Medication return - A letter went home to all families about a no-contact pickup of student medications on May 21st with a rain date of May 22nd.

  • Reopening in the fall - I’ve received emails from parents inquiring about the plans for reopening school in the fall. It is premature to speculate what the fall will look like and the guidance that will be provided by the CDC and from the state.

In Other News
  • Grade 4 Transition Planning at SMS
    • Taping a Zoom with to review the SMS 101 Program
    • Virtual tour of the building with the help of Joe D.
    • Mr. Calichman, Ms. Sanborn, Ms. Powers, and Ms. Pappas are scheduling Zooms with every 4th-grade homeroom at the end of May to introduce themselves to the students and answer any questions they may have.
  • Tuesday Talks with the Superintendent
    • Well-attended and great feedback (318, 242)

Superintendent's Report to SC 4.30.20

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
April 30, 2020

COVID-19 Update:

  • Our last day of school on the 185th day remains June 22nd
  • Seniors last day is May 29th
  • Can be no more than 12 school days before what would have been our 180th school day (June 16th)

  • September 14th - Tentative Marathon Monday - likely a state holiday, which would mean a potential change to the 2020-2021 school year calendar

  • Beginning Monday, May 4th, all custodians will return to work adhering to the guidelines set outlined in a Department of Labor Standards email this week: DLS email
  • Projects and tasks have been outlined until we implement the picking up of student and teacher materials and belongings over the next several weeks.
  • Every morning their first task will be to clean and sanitize the offices in each building. This will allow for my Leadership Team and Administrative Assistants to return to work in the buildings in their offices if they are comfortable doing so and also adhering to the guidelines.

  • Medication return - Emily Cilley coordinating with school nurses and families
  • Teacher and student personal item pickup - plans are in the works for grab and go bags with students’ names on them. However, we are holding until at least May 18th right now.
  • Nursing and Cleaning Supplies are being ordered and stored through nursing and facilities including masks, thermometers, hand sanitizer, cleaning products, etc. We don’t want to wait and then struggle with availability.
  • The Reopening Task Force is forming. We don’t know when or how yet, but in anticipation of some kind of opening we are convening a team to look at issues and concerns. We’ve started a Google document where we are parking our questions so far. Membership includes the Leadership Team, and representation from Facilities, Custodial, Nursing, Administrative Assistants, Faculty, Staff, and students. 
  • High School Graduation plans are being worked on with the high school team. They will be forming a working group with Senior Class Advisors, class officers, and others. Will be reporting back sometime next week.

  • Next week - review plans and where we are going from here

MSBA Accelerated Repair Program:
  • We were not notified but because Ms. Sybert reached out to find out where we were in the process we learned that there were 90 submissions so they adjusted the criteria meaning our roof would have to be 30 years old, which it’s not, some parts 28 years old, therefore we are no longer being considered for this year’s projects as part of this MSBA Program.

School Building Committee Educational Program Plan:
  • Spent the vacation week writing this plan and submitted it to our OPM on Monday for submission to the MSBA to meet our deadline: Hadley Educational Program Plan