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

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Superintendent's Report to SC 8.4.21

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee

August 4, 2021

Plans for the Fall - Masks:

  • Mask guidance:

    • This fall, DESE and DPH strongly recommend that all students in kindergarten through grade 6 wear masks when indoors, except students who cannot do so due to medical conditions or behavioral needs. Masks are not necessary outdoors and may be removed while eating indoors.

    • DESE and DPH also strongly recommend that unvaccinated staff in all grades, unvaccinated students in grades 7 and above, and unvaccinated visitors wear masks indoors, in alignment with the statewide advisory on masking.

    • DESE and DPH recommend that schools allow vaccinated students to remain unmasked.

    • Any individual at higher risk for severe disease from COVID or with a household member who is at high risk is encouraged to mask regardless of vaccination status consistent with the updated DPH Advisory on Face Coverings and Masks.

    • Any child or family who prefers to mask at school should be supported in this choice.

    • By federal public health order, all students and staff are required to wear masks on school buses at this time.

    • All staff and students must wear masks while in school health offices. Additional guidance for school health professionals is forthcoming from DPH.

  • We will notify families of the district plans as soon as possible still lots of considerations

    • The Delta variant is in our community

    • Last week there were 11 cases in our town some of which were pediatric

    • We need to continue to monitor these numbers over the next couple of weeks

    • Have a Table Top Exercise scheduled with our local health dept, discussions with the Leadership Team, and thoughts from School Committee needed.

Staff Enrolling Non-Resident Students: 

  • There is a provision in the Teacher CBA (see below)

(Article XXI - Non-Resident Teachers' Children) 

  • Effective for the 2014-2015 school year, non-resident teachers may be eligible to enroll their children in the Swampscott Public Schools subject to the following conditions: 

  • Each year, the Superintendent of Schools will determine the number of available slots in each grade level for placement of children of non-resident teachers. 

  • If there are more potential students than available slots in a particular grade level} as determined pursuant to paragraph #1 based on the seniority of the teacher/parent. In the event of a tie in seniority, a lottery will be used. 

  • A student enrolled pursuant to the provisions of this section will no longer be eligible to attend Swampscott Public Schools when his or her parent is no longer employed by the District} with the exception that a student who has finished eleventh grade before the teacher/parents employment by the District ends shall be permitted to remain enrolled student eligibility requirements. 

  • The determination of available space in a grade level pursuant to paragraph 1 above will be in the sole discretion of the Superintendent of Schools and will not be subject to the grievance and arbitration process.

  • For the 2021-2022 school year we have a total of 6 students enrolled as a result of this article.

  • Requests are coming in from other employees for the same benefit.

    • A non-union employee under an individual contract

    • An employee at-will

  • My recommendation: I am requesting the Committee vote to give the Superintendent the authority to extend this benefit to other employees at their discretion and following the procedural guidelines already in place.  

  • Staff enrolling their children in SPS as non-residents procedure 


Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM\


Topic: ESSER III Public Input Session

Time: Aug 11, 2021,  06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 931 6610 9817

Passcode: 721813


Proposed and Necessary Calendar Changes:

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Superintendent's Report to SC 6.23.21

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee

June 23, 2021

Director of Human Resources - HIRED:

  • Ms. Tanya Shallop

  • Begins July 19th, 2021

  • Her primary office will be located in the Business Office at the Middle School

  • A reminder that this is a joint position with the general government

  • She is coming to us with experience as an HR Director in another municipality, which is invaluable as she transitions to our position.

  • She understands the structure of a town, working with collective bargaining agreements, investigating employee issues, recruiting, screening, and onboarding employees.

  • We are all very excited to have her join our Team.

Summer Facilities Projects and Communications:

DESE Updated COVID-19 Guidance:

The June 19 message states that:

  • For summer programs: Masking indoors and maintaining other health and safety guidance is not required but is encouraged. The DESE summer guidance is in alignment with state guidance encouraging unvaccinated individuals to continue to mask. The DPH mask advisory advises unvaccinated residents to continue wearing masks in indoor settings and when they can’t socially distance themselves.

  • For the fall: At this time, all health and safety guidance including masking and physical distancing will be lifted. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will collaborate with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to issue any additional health and safety recommendations over the summer should they become necessary.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Superintendent's Report to SC 6.9.21

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee

June 9, 2021

June 11th Vaccination Clinic:

  • An important reminder that the second vaccination clinic will be held at Swampscott High School this coming Friday, June 11th from 2 pm - 5 pm.

  • The clinic is available to all Swampscott and Nahant Public School students, families, and staff who are 12 years old or older.

  • If you are receiving your second dose, please remember to bring your vaccination card with you.

  • Pfizer Vaccination Clinic 6.11.21

Director of Human Resources - Update:

  • We had 8 strong candidates for Round 1 interviews that were scheduled for Wednesday, June 2nd, and Thursday, June 3rd.

  • Of those 8 candidates, one took another position and one did not show for her scheduled interview. 

  • We have moved four candidates forward to the next round of interviews which will take place this Friday, June 11th. 

  • In this round, the Interview Committee will include the Town Administrator, Mr. Fitzgerald, Town Director of Finance, Ms. Sarro, Town Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives, Ms. Fiske, Town and School Dept. Attorney Darren Klein, and myself.

  • My goal is to have this critical position filled no later than July 1. 

Summer Learning Program:

  • July 6th to August 13th Monday through Friday from 8:30  am to 12:30 pm

  • FREE to all families

  • Location: Swampscott High School

  • Current Enrollment: 178 students

    • 96 targeted

    • 82 non-targeted

    • K-4 is completely full

Career & Technical Education Opportunities:

  • 12 prospective students for the Innovation Pathway of Advanced Manufacturing as of June 4th.

  • 7 perspective students have completed their application for the After Dark Partnership with Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical High School.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Superintendent's Report to SC 5.26.21

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee

May 26, 2021

May 21st Vaccination Clinic:

  • A huge thank you to our Occupational Health Nurse, Amanda Mulcahy, for her efforts in coordinating this event.

  • Another “Thank You” to our school nurses for being there to assist our students and families.

  • A final shout-out and thank you to our volunteers including Suzanne Wright and Amy OConnor as well as Select Board Chair, Peter Spellios.

  • 246 individuals were vaccinated!

  • Second clinic being held on June 11th.

Director of Human Resources:

  • We have formed an interview committee and will begin first-round interviews of candidates next Wednesday, June 2nd. 

  • Ms. Sybert is currently conducting phone screens for each candidate. 

  • The interview committee members include Our Director of Finance, Ms. Sybert, Town Director of Finance, Ms. Sarro, our Occupational Health Nurse, Mrs. Mulcahy, and myself.

  • The final round of interviews will include Town Administrator, Sean Fitzgerald. 

Addressing Learning Loss:

  • On Monday, May 24th, DESE posted the FY22 Summer Acceleration Academy Grant. This grant targets an Academy Week, in late August to target learning loss. 

  • We are offering a 6-week, 4-hour/day Summer Program to Address Learning Loss from July 5th until August 13, 2021.  It will serve students entering grades 1 through 12. We are in the process of inviting students who our data suggests would benefit from summer learning to be able to enter the next grade level fully prepared. If we do not fill all the available seats (about 200), we will open the program to all families seeking summer enrichment opportunities for their students. 

  • The program is project-based, which will provide students the opportunity to learn through high-interest projects while receiving small bursts of just-in-time academic instruction in reading, writing, and math that they will need to complete their projects.

  • High school students will be able to recover missing credits or earn an additional semester’s worth of credit towards graduation.

  • The program is free to all SPS families.