Welcome to our Masconomet School Committee Blog

  • This blog is a vehicle through which we foster awareness of MSC topics, information, progress and resources for deeper learning. After each school committee meeting, we post meeting highlights and in-depth summary notes linked in the blog. We also post district highlights and community events such as our listening sessions.

    We intend to continuously connect our actions with the district vision. The school committee's focus is on vision, mission, policy, budget, superintendent oversight, and advocacy. We balance the needs of our many stakeholders, and monitor progress toward goals.

    To stay updated, follow us on the Masco App or follow us on Facebook.  Many thanks for your support!

    If you have questions please contact our committee chair, Carolyn Miller, at cmiller@masconomet.org 


School Committee Blog

  • 01.06.21 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 1/9/2021

     

    “When we feel like we matter, everything about our disposition, and our feelings about our self and our self-worth, elevate. When we don’t feel like we matter, it invites in all of the ills that we would associate with depression, sadness and sorrow.” 

    —Peter Delani, HS Principal 

     

    tree-plenish  

    Masco’s Envi Club aims to plant 330 trees to offset the use of 3.3 million sheets of paper at Masco in the 2018-2019 school year. Thank you for helping this cause!

     

    MEETING HIGHLIGHTS: 

    • Several students spoke about their disappointment regarding traditional senior internships being cancelled, and made suggestions 
    • HS Principal Peter Delani explained that alternate activities are being explored for the weeks typically allotted for internships
    • SAB junior Lindsey Byman shared highlights from the students, including
      • Appreciation for WIN block and teachers’ efforts to engage students in creative ways
      • Student Council campaign that delivered hundreds of personal appreciation messages to teachers - and doughnuts, too
      • December spirit week and assemblies
      • Planning virtual video game tournament, prom alternatives, ideas for class cohesion and working to make this year positive in its own way 
    • Assistant Superintendent Patty Bullard, with Guidance Director Irene Duros, presented a Student Wellness Update
      • Presentation to the SC prompted by concerns expressed by parents about student mental health
      • Initial rise in hospitalizations has not continued to increase
      • Increase this year in As, Ds, and Fs
      • Key measures Masco is doing to help: 
        • Have kept schools open in hybrid
        • At-risk students are being identified and supported, including increasing full-time in-person cohorts, daily check-ins, academic support or learning lab time, more access to counselor support
        • Parent support - communication, resources, events
        • Partnership with Research Institute for Learning and Development
      • Need to work on incorporating SEL curriculum into whole school

    • Mike Harvey gave an update, also posted in his Superintendent’s Blog 
      • Covid cases continue to rise; 40 cases since Dec. 21; only two were in the building
      • Changes made to MCAS plans

    • Subcommittee updates:

     

    Further notes can be found in the  Summary Notes* from the 1/06/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

    MASCO RESOURCES:

     

    DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS: 

     

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 

    Our next regular School Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan 20 at 7pm. Email any questions, comments or concerns to our committee chair, Carolyn Miller at cmiller@masconomet.org. Watch our meetings live or recorded. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41

    Comments (-1)
  • 12.16.20 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 12/21/2020

     

    “We will be having Virtual Pep Rallies to boost morale and give a nice holiday vacation send-off … We’d like to thank you for implementing the WIN block back into the schedule; this has received a lot of positive feedback and is very beneficial.” 

    —Liv Dunham, SAB student representative 

     

     Morning Update screenshot

    Screenshot from the Morning Update’s “Kooking with Kostas”

     

    MEETING HIGHLIGHTS: 

    • SAB representative Liv Dunham shared a statement from the students on a student forum, spirit week, senior class fundraising, use of the WIN blocks, and requests for locker storage and rotating schedule
    • Principal McManus presented the Middle School Improvement Plan, assisted by School Council members Lois Afrow (math teacher) and Marshall Hook (parent rep)
      • Focus on real-world applications of learning, SEL through citizenship workshops, technology skills and training
    • Mike Harvey gave an update, also posted in his Superintendent’s Blog 
      • Covid cases continue to rise; 17 cases since Dec. 2 update; 90% not in the building
      • High School Principal Search underway. Parent, Teacher and Student surveys seeking your responses (see links in the blog)
    • Assistant Superintendent Jeff Sands presented the FY21 Financial Forecast
      • Covid expenses to date - $729,691
      • Net favorable variance without Covid expenses - $436,991
      • Projected Excess & Deficiency use needed - $269,287
    • Superintendent Harvey presented the October 1 2020 Enrollment Report
    • Subcommittee updates:
      • Budget: Meeting 1/13 - FY22 Budget, parent group discussion on athletic fees
      • Policy: Meeting 1/14 - District Agreement and Antiracism policy 
      • Antiracism: Meeting 1/11 - Discussing presentation from student clubs and resources
      • Community Relations: 1/11 - Discussing ambassadors, event, listening sessions 

     

    Further notes can be found in the  Summary Notes* from the 12/16/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

    MASCO RESOURCES:

     

    DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS: 

     

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 

    Our next regular School Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan 6 at 7pm. Email any questions, comments or concerns to our committee chair, Carolyn Miller at cmiller@masconomet.org. Watch our meetings live or recorded. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41

     

    Comments (-1)
  • 12.14.20 Listening Session

    Posted by MSC on 12/8/2020

    12/14 listening session

    Please click the graphic to view the agenda with zoom link. See you there!

     

    Comments (-1)
  • 12.02.20 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 12/4/2020

    “Learning is Life: The Masconomet High School community believes that learning enables us all to achieve ambitious personal goals, develop fine minds, and build strong character. Therefore, we foster the acquisition of attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary for lifelong learners to think critically and creatively in order to participate in and have an impact on our 21st Century global society.” 

    —Masconomet High School 2020-2021 Mission, basis for the School Improvement Plan 

     

     ACE Club website

    Homepage of the ACE (Appreciating Cultures and Ethnicities) Club website. ACE is featured in the High School Improvement Plan, in Goal #2: Social Emotional Resilience of ALL Students

     

    MEETING HIGHLIGHTS: 

    • Assistant Principal Katie DiNardo presented the High School Improvement Plan, along with Science Dept Head Tammy Fay and Guidance Director Irene Duros
      • Focus on academic, social-emotional, and civic expectations
      • Four primary goals work to support whole-child growth: High Achievement of ALL students, Social-Emotional Resilience of ALL students, Operational Excellence, and Teacher Training / Pedagogical Background
        • Within these goals are highlighted programs and actions to facilitate work toward these goals
      • Progress is reviewed throughout the year by School Council

    • Mike Harvey gave an update, also posted in his Superintendent’s Blog 
      • COVID-19 Cases in Our Schools
      • Delayed Opening on December 7, 2020
      • Schedule for Week of December 21, 2020
      • Hybrid Schedule Update
      • High School Principal Search
        “I want to thank Mr. Delani for his many years of service to Masconomet, and especially for his leadership during this time of crisis over the past several months.” —M. Harvey

    • SAB representative Nicole Messih shared a statement from the students on the antiracism resolution, student council, WIN, and hybrid experience

     

    • Subcommittee updates:
      • Budget: Meeting 12/9 - Athletic Fees and FY22 Budget Calendar on agenda
      • Policy: Meeting 12/10 - District Agreement andAntiracism policy on agenda 
      • Antiracism: Meeting 12/14 with student clubs: ACE, GSA, WGS
      • Community Relations: Listening Session scheduled for 12/14 at 6:30pm

     

    Further notes can be found in the  Summary Notes* from the 12/02/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

    MASCO RESOURCES:

     

    DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS: 

     

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

    • TriTown Council is an excellent support resource for families. Follow them on facebook
      • Middle School Open Gym Night Dec. 5
      • Holiday Sharing Program: collecting much needed gift cards for local families. Please consider dropping off gift cards of any denomination particularly from Market Basket, Stop & Shop, Trader Joes, Target, CVS, Walmart and Amazon at the Tri-Town Council offices at 7 Grove St. in downtown Topsfield or at Masco or any of the Tri-Town schools' offices. Please label contributions "Holiday Sharing."
      • Mental Health and Wellness Covid-19 Resources
      • The need to talk to a counselor does not end when school closes. With Project Safety Net, the 24/7 telephone support and referral service, students can talk with a local counselor at any time, day or night, by calling (978) 771-4619.

     

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 

    Our next regular School Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 7pm in the Masconomet Middle School Library. Email public comments to be read at the meeting (label as public comment), or any other questions, comments or concerns to our committee chair, Carolyn Miller at cmiller@masconomet.org. Watch our meetings live or recorded. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41

    Comments (-1)
  • 11.18.20 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 11/23/2020

     

    “This is having a huge impact on mental health. Yes, we need to modify our expectations.” 

    —Patty Bullard, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services

     

    middle school photos

    A slide from Dr. McManus’ presentation on the Middle School. In-person class time, Excels cooking class, and amazing 7th grade coffee art!

     

    MEETING HIGHLIGHTS: 

    • Mike Harvey gave an update, also posted in his Superintendent’s Blog 
      • 8 Covid cases in five weeks of hybrid; only 1 present in building while infectious; no evidence of close contacts being infected
      • A change to the hybrid schedule coming soon; will continue to also explore more substantial changes
      • Wed Nov 25 is a fully-remote half-day (Per 1-4) for everyone
      • See blog for more details, winter weather plan, and standardized tests in January
    • Principal Phil McManus gave an update on the Middle School
      • Attendance (remote / in-person) is higher than ever
      • Virtual Parent / Teacher conferences Dec. 10
    • Assistant Superintendent Patty Bullard gave a multi-faceted Student Services presentation
      • Approximately 30% of Masco students have an IEP or 504 plan through the Special Ed. Dept.
      • Increase in students having crisis evaluations resulting in hospitalizations and/or partial programs
      • Many students struggling with motivation overall
      • New cohort of students identified to attend in-person full-time
    • Two SAB representatives attended the meeting: senior Nicole Messih, and ninth-grader Olivia Richards shared a statement from students
    • Subcommittee updates:

     

    Further notes can be found in the  Summary Notes* from the 11/18/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

    MASCO RESOURCES:

     

    DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS: 

     

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 

    Our next regular School Committee meeting will be held remotely on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7pm via zoom. Email any questions, comments or concerns to our committee chair, Carolyn Miller at cmiller@masconomet.org. Watch our meetings live or recorded. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41

     

    Comments (-1)
  • 11.16.20 Listening Session

    Posted by MSC on 11/10/2020

    Listening Session 11/16 at 6:30

    Please click the graphic to view the agenda with zoom link. See you there!

    Comments (-1)
  • 11.04.20 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 11/7/2020

    “We need to keep finding joyous moments, and celebrating the good. We all want to find those moments — ways to say ‘I see you and I really appreciate you.’”

    —HS Principal Pete Delani

     

     HS cohorts slide

    A slide from Principal Delani’s High School presentation, showing changes in the number of students choosing hybrid and full-remote in first two weeks of hybrid learning

     

    MEETING HIGHLIGHTS: 

    • Chair Carolyn Miller spoke on the importance of caution regarding non-school activities
      • It is great to have students back in our buildings - so important for many
      • A lot of time and hard work has gone into making it safe for everyone to get back
      • Now it’s YOUR TURN to help: Follow guidelines from the State such as wearing masks and avoiding any sizable indoor gatherings
      • One bad choice about a house party could shut everything down. Please use good judgement so we can keep these kids in school. 
    • High School Principal Pete Delani gave a data-packed presentation on the first 2.5 weeks of Hybrid learning
      • “The kids are reporting appreciation of the teachers, and the teachers are reporting appreciation of the kids. We need to keep up that emotional elasticity through June — we’re going to need it.”
      • Since Oct. 19, the number of students that have switched from hybrid to full remote has more than doubled (moreso in grades 11 & 12) 
      • On any given day, approximately 75% of students are learning remotely (full-remote + hybrid-remote cohort + those choosing/needing remote that day - for quarantine or other health reasons)
      • Reporting 99% class attendance from total hybrid/remote students
      • Leadership Team (superintendents, principals, department heads) is working on possible revisions to the daily schedule moving forward, and working to collaborate with teachers association representatives relative to this as well
        • hearing and welcoming feedback from teachers, students, and parents
      • Mr. Delani announced he will retire in June 2021, after nearly 30 years of fostering high-quality education and spirit at Masconomet 
    • Tri-Town Council Coalition: Nicole Gregoire-Allis and Meredith Shaw
      • Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a biannual data collection scheduled for this school year, has been postponed to Fall 2021
    • New Med Club, presented by student Celia Xie, approved
      • Students learn about various healthcare professions as they explore and nurture their interest in this field
    • Student SAB representative Stella Nagle shared her perspective, including thoughts from other students, about the hybrid experience so far. Her full statement is available in summary notes
    • Committee voted to support all ten Resolutions proposed by MASC (Massachusetts Association of School Committees)
    • Subcommittee updates:
      • Policy is working on District Agreement, Antiracism and MASC policy review process
      • Antiracism has invited reps from a student / alumni group to attend our next meeting; Encouraging publicity to let community know we are working on this
      • Community Relations will hold a Listening Session Mon. 11/16 at 6:30pm. It will have a general topic / theme of: “What does learning look like?” Students, teachers, staff, parents, guardians, residents welcome

     

    Further notes can be found in the  Summary Notes* from the 11/4/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

    MASCO RESOURCES:

    • Use the Masco App to consolidate Masco messages in your Activity Stream. Emails, blog posts, resources, as well as student grade updates, too.

     

    DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS: 

     

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

    • TriTown Council is an excellent support resource for families. Follow them on Facebook!
      • Referrals/resources for mental health counseling/ covid coping: https://www.tritowncouncil.org/mental-health
      • NEW Program: Seeking HS & MS YOUTH- "Digitizing Photos & Visual StoryTelling"  Nov 30 - Dec 17
      •  Save The Date: "Toxic Stress, Resilience and Self-Care" on Tuesday, Dec.1 at 7pm
        • licensed Mental Health Counselor Windi Bowditch from Newburyport
        • Virtual webinar with Q/A to follow — more info coming soon
    • SEPAC is an excellent support resource for families. Follow them on facebook to learn more about their Community Book Read!
      • Beyond Behaviors by pediatric psychologist Dr. Mona Delahooke
      • four sessions: 10/27 (intro), 11/3 (ch 1-3), 11/10 (ch 4-6), 11/17 (ch 7-9)
      • You do not need to register to participate. Join via Zoom at 7:30pm each Tuesday.

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 

    Our next regular School Committee meeting will be Wednesday, November 18 at 7pm. This meeting is expected to be held in-person. Due to covid-19 limitations on in-person meetings, public comments must be submitted in writing to our committee Chair, Carolyn Miller, by noon the day of a meeting cmiller@masconomet.org. Please specify if your email is a public comment to be read in the meeting. You can also email questions, comments or concerns to the committee Chair.

    Watch our meetings live or recorded. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41

     

    Comments (-1)
  • 10.30.20 Community Safety Message

    Posted by MSC on 10/30/2020

    please be safe

     

    Please remember that the Governor’s Public Health Advisory, “Safer at Home” is still in effect.

     

    A lot has been invested to make sure students and staff can be as safe as possible while on campus during hybrid learning. It helped that community rates for Covid19 had been relatively low and stable from August through early October.  

     

    However, we are now seeing cases rise in communities, locally and across the state.  Therefore, ALL community members need to do your part to help keep schools open.  

     

    As Superintendent Harvey stated:  “Providing a safe environment in our schools also requires individuals to maintain appropriate safety measures when they are out of school.  This includes avoiding large gatherings, wearing a mask, maintaining appropriate social distancing, and observing proper hand hygiene.”

     

    Here is Masco’s Quick reference sheet called “Key actions for individual COVID-19 events” (exposure or symptoms)

     

    Below are some links to help follow local data:

     

     

     

     

    • Town of Middleton has been separating out the general population from the Correctional Facility (Jail) -Use this link for Middleton and scroll down to “Middleton Board of Health Weekly COVID-19 Updates” 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • 10.21.20 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 10/23/2020

     “They’re like a NASCAR pit crew getting every desk clean, sanitized and ready before the next lunch.”

    —MS Principal Phil McManus, about the lunch cleaning & disinfecting team from our cleaning vendor

     

     band under big-top tent

    Band class practices under the “big-top” tent

     

    Meeting highlights: 

    • Dr. Harvey shared an update on the first three days of Hybrid Learning at Masco
      • This update doc includes photos of traffic, lunch-time and the “big top” tent
      • Systems in place have performed well - students and staff have been great
      • Cleaning/disinfecting between lunches has been very thorough and efficient
      • IT issues that resulted in slow connectivity being resolved 
      • Yes, free lunches are unlimited - students can get back in line for seconds, thirds
      • Talking with Dept. Heads about figuring out more time for teacher prep
        • “This year every teacher feels like a first-year teacher— and the first year of teaching is really hard.”
    • Dr. McManus shared an update on the first three days of Hybrid Learning in the Middle School
      • His slide presentation features pros, cons and photos
      • Students have been great with all the rules and procedures
      • Increased class time has been positive for middle school students so far 
      • Attendance rate higher than average year over year for October 
      • Smoothing bumps as they go
    • Student SAB representative Lindsey Byman shared her perspective, including student interest in participating in revising the schedule. Her full statement is available in summary notes
    • School Committee Responsibilities and Protocols 
      • School Committee is responsible for “leadership in district vision, policy, budgeting, planning, program evaluation, and advocacy.” (from doc linked above)
      • “It is the Superintendent’s responsibility to oversee personnel issues and to manage the day-to-day operations of the district. It is the School Committee’s responsibility to evaluate the Superintendent’s effectiveness in these matters.” (from doc linked above)
      • SC members should work to direct concerns through the Chain of Command.
      • SC members like to hear from all stakeholders (Dept Heads, teachers, students, families, community) through appropriate channels in order to better understand and inform decisions about policy, budget, superintendent, vision and planning.
    • Anti-racism Resolution was passed unanimously
      • Met with History / English Dept Heads, who had shared this letter 
      • Developing action items and resources based on the resolution
    • Policies are being developed, and will work with MASC on reviewing, hosting
    • Community Relations will meet 10/28
      • Planning a Listening Session evening of Mon. 11/16

     

    Further notes can be found in the  Summary Notes* from the 10/21/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

    Masco resources:

    • Want to stay up-to-date on communication from Masco? Use the Masco App to consolidate Masco messages in your Activity Stream. Emails, blog posts, resources, as well as student grade updates, too.

     

    District highlights: 

     

    Community resources:

    • TriTown Council hosted a Parent Program: "The Secret Life of Tweens & Teens" - A 2-part interactive program with licensed therapist Jon Mattleman. Recording of Part 2 available through 10/25.  
      • Top 15 Parenting Tips handout HERE
      • Signs of Struggle handout HERE
      • What is Depression handout HERE
      • What is Anxiety handout HERE

     

    • SEPAC is an excellent support resource for families. Follow them on facebook!
    • School Committee meetings:  Due to covid-19 limitations on in-person meetings, public comments must be submitted in writing to our Chair by noon the day of a meeting. Watch our meetings live or recorded. Email questions, comments or concerns to the committee Chair, Carolyn Miller, at cmiller@masconomet.org 

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 

    Our next regular School Committee meeting will be Wednesday, November 4 at 7pm.

    Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41




    Comments (-1)
  • 10.15.20 Masconomet Site-Visit

    Posted by MSC on 10/16/2020

    safety sign

     

    As was laid out in the School Committee’s decision on Aug. 12, Masco began on Sept. 21 with four weeks in a fully remote learning model, and upon reviewing readiness on Oct. 7 decided to phase to hybrid learning beginning Oct. 19.  

     

    On Oct. 15, the School Committee had a second site visit. Some photos and information from this visit can be viewed here:  MSC 10/15/20 Hybrid Building Tour

     

    We are grateful to our whole Masconomet team for everything involved in this transition. All of our staff members — facilities, student services, guidance, human resources, nursing, instructional technology, teaching staff, department heads, administrators and assistants, etc. — have been working through a bottomless list of logistical pieces to make hybrid learning go as smoothly and safely as possible for everyone. We understand that a remarkable amount of work has been placed on your shoulders in this extraordinary time, and we thank you for all you do for our Masconomet students.

    Comments (-1)