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

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