Friday, November 12, 2021

Superintendent's Report to SC 11.10.21

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee

November 10, 2021

Human Resources Manager 

  • Four candidates are being interviewed for round 1, this Friday, November 12th.

  • Interview Committee - Ms. Sanborn, Kate Curtis, and Bonnie Lavoie

  • Hoping to move at least 2 finalists forward and hold the second round of interviews next week but will need to coordinate schedules. 

  • Interview Committee - myself, Martha Sybert, and Attny Deborah Ecker

Vaccine Clinics

Vaccination Rates

  • Faculty and Staff 338 with 7 exemptions

  • High School nurse Amanda Rivers did some cross-referencing of students through Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS) and it appears that 530 high school students have been vaccinated. 

  • 524 would get us to the 80% but I am still not recommending an unmasking option or applying for a waiver. 

Stanley School Transition

  • Understandable, several emails from Stanley parents wanting to be involved and informed about the transition for their children.

  • We will absolutely communicate and involve the Stanley School community at the appropriate time. We are not there yet. 

  • As I’ve said prior to the vote, we expect to have a plan solidified by January. 

Friday, October 29, 2021

Superintendent's Report to SC 10.27.21

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee

October 27, 2021

International Travel Presentation:

  • Jessica Gahm-Diaz - Foreign Language Department Chair

  • Trips to Portugal and Spain - April 2022

District Crisis Team Update:

  • October 7, 2021 - Topics included

    • Distribution of 21-22 building Crisis and Medical Response Plans to town departments.

    • Improved drop off at the Middle School

    • Crossing guard shortage and issues

    • Go Guardian Teacher and Go Guardian Beacon alert systems reviewed for new members of the team.

MA Family-School Partnership Initiative:

  • “Events of 2020 have only highlighted what we have known for decades: engaging with families and caregivers is essential to student success. Recognizing families as assets and creating intentional pathways for collaboration are key to creating learning environments where students can thrive.”

  • Our district has been selected to participate in the spring cohort

  • DESE pays for the cost of training, coaching, and strategic support.

Vaccine Clinics 

  • Tentative dates: November 23rd and December 16th

  • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for students ages 5-11 (approval date is set for Nov. 3)

  • Also, COVID boosters for adults and common flu vaccines

  • More details with be forthcoming

Calendar Change - Professional Development Days

  • After the last two years of disrupted learning, I have rethought the Professional Development Days we proposed on the school calendar this year. 

  • I recommend that the School Committee modify the calendar to do away with the Early Release Days previously scheduled for professional development.

  • The following days would now be regular school days: 

    • Dec.8 (Middle School would still have ER for conferences)

    • Jan. 12 

    • Feb. 9

    • March 9

    • May 25

Mask Mandate Extension

Human Resources Manager 

  • This School Department position was posted on October 18, 2021

  • We have nine applications to date

  • We will begin reviewing these applications, an interview team, and then schedule interviews. 

  • HR Manager Job Posting

Friday, September 24, 2021

Superintendent's Report to SC 9.22.21

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee

September 22, 2021

District Student Handbook:

Athletic Handbook:

Testing Update: (Mrs. Mulcahy)

Other News:

  • MCAS results have not been delivered to us yet. Our plan is to send them home next week.

  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Vision Work at Leadership Team meeting today (Mr. Norkun)

  • The Director of Social Emotional Learning (Mr. Harris) will present at an upcoming SC meeting.  Leadership Team meeting today. 

    • SPS Mental Health Vision

      • Right Student.

      • Right Services.

      • Right time.

      • Sustainable.

  • Library & Center for Innovation

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Superintendent's Report to SC 8.25.21

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee

August 25, 2021

Introduction the new School Resource Officer (SRO):

  • Some background/new opportunity

  • Over the last two weeks, we have conducted interviews with 5 applicants from the Swampscott Police Department who expressed interest in the SRO position in our schools.

  • I cannot emphasize enough the quality and skills of these 5 applicants. It was a very talented pool of candidates.

  • We actually conducted a second round of interviews because the decision was so difficult.

  • This evening, I am thrilled to announce that Officer Brian Wilson has accepted the position of the SRO for the Swampscott Public Schools. 

  • A huge thank you to Interim Chief David Kurz, Captain Kable, and Lt. Lord for their partnership and support in this process. 

Introduction Director of Social-Emotional Learning:

  • Mr. Craig Harris joined SPS in August of 2015 at which time he was hired as a school psychologist assigned to both the middle and high schools.

  • I worked closely with Craig on the Mental Health Task Force from 2015-2019. I selected Craig to be one of the Tri-Chairs of this working group to lead the work of the district’s goal of “psychological safety.”

  • From 2016 until the present, Craig has been assigned to the high school where he was an instrumental part of the team that helped to create, build, launch, and lead our Swift and Harbor Programs at SHS have been, unfortunately, growing exponentially.

  • Mr. Harris has already outlined impressive short and long-term goals and I am excited that he is accepting this district leadership position. He is the perfect fit!

Director of Human Resources:

  • I am disappointed to report that our Director of Human Resources has accepted another position. I wish her nothing but the best in her new venture. This is a competitive market and HR professionals are in high demand particularly during this last 18-month period. With this being an especially busy time of year for HR on the school side, we are developing both a short- and long-term plan to ensure that all aspects of the HR function are fulfilled.


  • It goes without saying that we will be following the DESE mandate and requiring masks K-12 until October 1, at which time it will be revisited again, following DESE guidance. 

    • Once the proposed mandate ends on Oct. 1, vaccinated students and staff at middle and high schools would no longer have to wear masks if at least 80% of students and staff in the building are vaccinated. Any unvaccinated people in schools would still need to mask up.

  • Exemptions will be made on a case-by-case basis and through conversations with the appropriate personnel in the school in which your child(ren) attends.

District Management Group:

  • There are many benefits to being a smaller school district but there are also many challenges.  

  • One of the challenges we have talked about for years is the alignment of the middle school and high school schedules and the sharing of staff and resources. 

  • It took most of the spring to get through this work and we have decided to make changes incrementally beginning with the High School only for the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Tonight, Mr. Kohut is going to present the New High School Schedule.

Swampscott Public Schools Testing Program:

  • At the Public Forum last Wednesday, I spoke a little bit about the fact that the district has applied to the state for testing which includes symptomatic testing, Test and Stay, and pool testing. 

  • I received access to the portal regarding these testing programs and we have more documents and submissions to complete prior to launching this program.

  • This evening, our Occupational Health Nurse (OHN), Mrs. Mulcahy, is going to give an overview of the SPS Covid-19 Testing Program.

Summer Facilities Update:

  • The summer months are incredibly busy for the school department.

  • For the past several years, I have shared an end of the summer facilities update with the Committee

  • This year, I am pleased to have our Director of Facilities making this presentation.

  • Summer Facilities Projects Update 

Technology Surplus:

A huge thank you to our Director of Technology, Ms. Mackey-Knowles, for the enormous amount of time, effort, and energy that went into moving technology around this summer.

As part of that work, she is presenting to the Committee the following document: Technology Surplus