Welcome to our Blog

  • Welcome to our Masconomet School Committee Blog!

    Each month, we will post some highlights from our recent meetings to keep you aware of MSC topics, information, and resources for deeper learning. 

    As wisely expressed by our Superintendent, Dr. Mike Harvey, “It is important to visualize what we aim to do, as well as how we do it, and why.” We intend to continuously connect our actions with the district vision.

    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

  • 08.05.2020 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 8/6/2020

    “So many of the questions lead to more and more questions.” 

    — Dr. Michael Harvey, Superintendent   

     

    2020 graduation

    Congratulations, Masconomet Class of 2020!

     

    Meeting highlights: 

    Dr. Harvey shared his Superintendent Update. Of note:

    • Reopening Plan Update was shared by Dr. Harvey and posted to Masco website after this meeting, and this Presentation was shared during the meeting
    • While there are still many uncertainties, these things are known:
      • Full in-person learning is not feasible within DESE/state guidance this Fall
      • The remaining two models, hybrid and fully-remote, are still being assessed
      • Fully-remote learning will be offered as a choice for any family
      • The hybrid model would require face coverings and maintain 6-foot distances
      • Remote elements of either model will be taught by Masco faculty 
      • In both models, the goal is a robust and rigorous learning process 
    • A two-question community survey is now available where parents, students and staff can ask their most pressing questions. Please read the above bullets and the reopening plan update before asking your questions. These questions will be organized and answered (as answers become known) in regular school committee update meetings, and a community forum that will take place once the start model is chosen.

    New School Start Date

    • First day of school is now Monday, September 21. See edited 2020-2021 calendar here. This is per a DESE start-date extension and reduction of the state’s required time-on-learning for the school year by ten days. 

    Many thanks to Coach David Mitchell, SEPAC and the Masconomet Alumni Association for your generous gifts!

    Further notes can be found in the Summary Notes* from the 08/05/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

    District highlights: 

     

    Community resources:

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 

    School Committee will have a retreat/working session, on 08/10/2020 in the Masconomet building. 

    Our next regular School Committee meeting will be Wednesday, August 12 at 7pm via zoom.

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

    Comments (-1)
  • 07.15.2020 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 7/17/2020

    “Education requires continual revision.”

    — Emma Spofford, Masconomet student during Anti-Racism discussion

     

    summer reading

    It’s a great summer for lots of reading! See links for each grade in Community Resources below

     

    Meeting highlights: 

    Dr. Harvey shared his Superintendent Update. Of note:

    • A brief anonymous survey about reopening was emailed to parents. Please respond by Thursday, July 23. 
    • Reopening Plan Timeline: A 30+ team of stakeholders will help finalize three draft plans: in-person, hybrid, and remote. The plan proposals will be sent to DESE by early August. After agreement with the Teachers Union, plans will be made public in mid to late August.  The planning group will include administrators, department heads, nurses, teachers, facilities mgmt, dining services, health depts, and of course parents (from pre-existing parent advisory groups).  

    Anti-Racism Discussion

    School Committee Reorganization

    • Carolyn Miller, Chair; Zillie Bhuju, Vice-Chair. Welcome to Terri Teleen of Boxford! 

    Further notes can be found in the Summary Notes* from the 07/15/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

    District highlights: 

     

    Community resources:

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 

    Annual School Committee Retreat, which is a time set aside to reorganize as a committee, will take place on 08/10/2020. 

    A regular August meeting will likely be scheduled on a Wednesday evening to include a briefing on reopening plans; the date, TBD, will be posted soon.

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

    Comments (-1)
  • 06.23.2020 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 6/26/2020

    “Have courage to do the right thing.”

    - parting advice from Dan Volchok, who is retiring from the SC after 18 years of service 

     

    curbside pickup  

    Image: Time-lapse video of a unique 2020 moment to close out the year - outdoor pick-up of locker contents & drop-off of school property!

     

    Meeting highlights: 

     

    UPDATES:

    • Dr. Harvey shared this week’s Superintendent Update attached here; Of note:  Five retiring faculty were recognized with gratitude; DESE’s fall guidance had been expected by June 23rd, but was delayed until June 25th; Masco’s ExecutiveLeadership Team will be meeting early next week to review the guidance and begin the process of planning for September.
    • Retiring SC member Dan Volchok was recognized with gratitude for his 18 years of service on the School Committee.  
    • High School Principal Report was shared, which included this inspiring address by Denzel Washington about “falling forward” by not letting obstacles push us backwards (recommended viewing!). The update highlighted many examples of resilience, connectedness, inclusion, and reimagining at Masco throughout the 2019-2020 school year.  He closed with a promise to use “Change Schools” programming to initiate reform minded discussions in moving Masconomet towards Vision 2025 and beyond.
    • FY20 Financial Forecast currently favorable to budget by $436,000 for reasons outlined in attached document. 

     

    Community resources:

     

    • TriTown Council and their e-newsletter continues to be a great place to find local resources and opportunities; 
    • SEPAC is an excellent support resource for families. We recommend following both of these organizations on Facebook
    • School Committee meetings:  Public is welcome and each meeting begins with comments from the audience.  Presentations from Masco leaders are a great way to be in the loop.  Email questions, comments or concerns to the committee Chair, Tasha Cooper, at tcooper@masconomet.org

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 07/15/2020 at 7pm via Zoom TeleConference. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41 

    Comments (-1)
  • 06.10.2020 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 6/12/2020

    “We must move with purpose to ensure that we, as a people, act deliberately to demonstrate to all Americans that prejudice and hate will not be tolerated and will be challenged at every turn.” 

    - Mass. Association of School Committees

     class of 2024

     

    District Highlights:

     

     

    Meeting highlights: 

     

    UPDATES:

    • Chair Tasha Cooper commented on current events related to the murder of George Floyd. She read an excerpt from this MASC letter that recognizes the responsibility of school leaders to“identify, challenge and change” structures that may perpetuate systemic racism.
    • Dr. Harvey shared this week’s “Coronavirus Response Update” attached here; Of note, in the final bullet point of this update, Mass. DESE Commissioner Riley urges superintendents “not to make any broad-based judgments about what school might look like in the fall based on guidance you have received this past week;” and states that DESE’s “initial fall guidance memo, ... will be released in the next week or two.”  He closes with “Please wait for this guidance before rushing to any judgments about state requirements for fall re-opening.”
    • Middle School Principal Report was shared, and Mr. Dillon shared some heartfelt words as he prepares for retirement.  He emphasized the many that make the Masco “team” and his experience with the Middle School teachers as being “24/7 hardworking.” The School Committee thanked Mr. Dillon for his dedication during his long career here, and wishes him all the best in his retirement!  
    • Master Teacher Appointments were accepted, with details about them here
    • The committee voted to sign the attached Resolution regarding State Funding of Covid-19 Expenses
    • Some important dates:
    • locker/personal item pick-up and return of Masco-issued materials:
      • Middle School: June 11 & 12 - details here 
      • High School: June 15 & 16 - details emailed to students
    • Last Day of classes - Tues, June 16
    • PowerSchool Grading Portal Opens - Thurs, June 18th at 3pm 

     

    OTHER BUSINESS: 

     

    Community resources:

     

    • TriTown Council and their e-newsletter continues to be a great place to find local resources and opportunities; 
    • SEPAC is an excellent support resource for families. We recommend following both of these organizations on Facebook
    • School Committee meetings:  Public is welcome and each meeting begins with comments from the audience.  Presentations from Masco leaders are a great way to be in the loop.  Email questions, comments or concerns to the committee Chair, Tasha Cooper, at tcooper@masconomet.org

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 6/23/2020 (note: this is a Tuesday evening) at 7pm via Zoom TeleConference. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41 




    Comments (-1)
  • 05.27.2020 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 5/29/2020

    What I see, what your teachers see, and I’m sure what your parents see, is a remarkable group of people who at every turn throughout their career at Masco, and never more so than this spring, has repeatedly met each challenge with compassion, intelligence, humor, resiliency and humility.  And so Class of 2020, I am sorry that you have had to experience much loss this spring, but I am also comforted by the manner in which you have met your challenges, and that gives me great confidence in you individually and collectively going forward.” - Principal Delani

    billboard

    Image:  Billboard on Route 1, from wickedlocal news article

     

    District Highlights:

     

     

    Meeting highlights: 

     

    UPDATES:

    • Dr. Harvey shared his “Coronavirus Response Update” attached here; there are state revenue shortfalls anticipated with budget implications that we must begin to prepare; DESE guidance for fall is expected mid-June.
    • Wellness Education Programs Report was shared by Wellness director John Daileanes
    • HS Principal Pete Delani shared this slide presentation along with his report . He talked about the “new normal” - asking “What is ‘normal’ anyway? ‘normal” is constantly in flux.”  In navigating this crisis, he shared how Masco is controlling what we can and letting go of what we can’t, building new constructs, respecting the dangers while seeking opportunities and growth, and being a model for students in the hopes to improve through this process.
    • Some key dates and plans for Class of 2020:
      • Cap & Gowns Celebration - Friday, May 29th
      • Scholarships & Awards Presentation/Announcement - Friday, June 5th
      • Mail home Diplomas in mid-to-late June
      • Graduation - Saturday, August 1st - Planning both a Physical & Virtual Ceremony
    • Some important dates from HS update for grades 9, 10, 11: 
      • June 15 & 16 - locker/personal item pick-up and return of Masco-issued materials
      • Last Day of classes - Tues, June 16
      • PowerSchool Grading Portal Opens - Thurs, June 18th at 3pm 

     

    OTHER BUSINESS: 

    • Approved appointment of Dave Symmes to Essex Tech School Committee
    • Approved revised Memorandum of Understanding with Masco Teachers’ Association
    • “Reduction in Force Discussion” took place in regards to Health Services.  The Committee discussed this and then voted to approve the attached recommendation.
    • Further notes can be found in the Summary Notes* from the 05/27/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.



    Community resources:

     

    • TriTown Council and their e-newsletter is a great place to find local resources and opportunities; SEPAC is an excellent support resource for families. We recommend following both of these organizations on Facebook

     

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 6/10/2020 at 7pm via Zoom TeleConference. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • 05.13.2020 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 5/17/2020

    “We are always saying we want our students to take risks; right now our educators have been doing just that, trying out new tools to interact in this remote learning world.”

    — Tammy Fay, Department Head for Science, Technology, and Engineering

     

    Time Capsule Project

    Image: A “social studies” slide from presentation shared during department head update

     

    District Highlights:

     

     

    Meeting highlights: 

     

    • UPDATE FROM THE WEEK: Superintendent Mike Harvey shared a “Coronavirus Response Update” on events since the last meeting, attached here

     

    • DEPARTMENT HEAD UPDATE for Math, English, Science, Social Studies, World Language
      • This slide presentation was shared by Dept.Heads Meagan Hildebrand, Jeanne Ahearn, Denise Tenanty, Tammy Fay, and Jill Story
      • The slide presentation includes links to examples of remote learning on slides #11 & #16
      • PLCs, IT support, and structure of schedule were highlighted as positives
      • “Time Capsule Project” was featured as a cross-discipline project for all 9th and 10th grade students that was “personalized” to each class and made connections relevant to this unique time in history 
      • All that has been learned will help inform plans for possible “hybrid” form of education next year, and many of these newly acquired tools can be refined, expanded upon, and beneficial if applied in “regular” school in future as well

     

    • “Reduction in Force Discussion” took place in regards to the two positions in Health Services that pose a unique challenge in the context of Covid19 pandemic.  The attached document provides a cost-neutral option to mitigate this impact by adding an additional 1.0 FT High School Nurse, as well as a nurse leader stipend. After a lengthy discussion on this topic, vote was tabled until the next meeting. 
    • Preliminary FY20 Budget Forecast was shared, with some items still under review; the next update will be shared on June 10th. 
    • Further notes can be found in the Summary Notes* from the 05/13/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.



    Community resources:

     

    • TriTown Council and their e-newsletter is a great place to find Covid19 resources, education, volunteer, and creative local opportunities; SEPAC is an excellent support resource for families. We recommend following both of these organizations on Facebook

     

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 5/27/2020 at 7pm via Zoom TeleConference. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • 05.06.2020 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 5/8/2020

    Teachers teach because they enjoy working with students. It’s certainly easier when you can see the faces. We would love to see more cameras turned on as students feel comfortable.

    — Ryan King and Ben Hodges, Tech.Integration and Digital Learning team at Masco

    failure-success  

    Image: from the slide presentation shared during digital learning update 

     

    District Highlights:

    (Recommended Reading and Viewing!)

     

     

    Meeting highlights: 

     

    • UPDATE FROM THE WEEK:

    Superintendent Mike Harvey shared a “Coronavirus Response Update” on events since the last SC meeting, 4/40-5/6, attached here.  

     

    • DIGITAL LEARNING UPDATE on Digital Learning and Technology Integration:
      • This slide presentation was shared by Ben Hodges, Director of Digital Learning and Ryan King, Technology Integration Specialist
      • “It's amazing to see how much collaboration is happening among teachers and students even as they navigate new technologies and styles for teaching and learning while confined in their homes. We have no idea what the future may bring but our teachers are already thinking ahead about how to structure teaching in the fall so we can pivot quickly if needed.” - Ben and Ryan
      • View the slide presentation to see what’s going well online; how structures offer some return to “normalcy,” how tools are helping maintain engagement, how breakout groups and such allow for individualized instruction, and what is still “work in progress,” as well as some of the “fun” side of this remote platform.  
      • The team has been “in problem solving mode” and said things are evolving for the better day after day; they continue to improve tools based on teachers’ feedback/needs, and emphasized the benefits of idea-sharing among teachers via PLCs, with IT support during daily office hours.

     

     

    Community resources:

     

    • Your input and feedback is wanted! Look for a survey from SEPAC soon - we hope you will share your thoughts!

     

    • TriTown Council - keeps updating their Covid19 support resources, education, volunteer, and creative local opportunities

     

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 5/6/2020 at 7pm via Zoom TeleConference. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41 

    Comments (-1)
  • 04.29.2020 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 5/1/2020

    Masco has always prided itself on providing a great education… This current situation has clearly changed the landscape a bit, but … we have always strived to be flexible and responsive to the needs of our kids.  I really think it is that attitude … that allows us to answer this present challenge and will allow us to continue to learn and improve how we educate our students.”

    —Patty Bullard, Asst.Superintendent Student Services

    Teacher Appreciation

    Image: Teacher Appreciation Week is the first full week of May each year ~  THANK YOU TEACHERS for all you do, and for modeling adaptability and resilience this year by shifting to remote learning platforms where you continue to engage, inspire, and support our students!  

     

    District Highlights:

    (Recommended Reading and Viewing!)

     

    Meeting highlights:  

    • UPDATE FROM THE WEEK:

    Superintendent Mike Harvey shared an update on events since the last SC meeting, attached here - April 23-April 29 

     

    • STUDENT SERVICES UPDATE:
      • Virtual IEP & 504 meetings transpiring and Student Support Services in place 
      • Transition Planning by grade level in progress
      • Guidance & Adjustment Counsellors and Nurses are checking in with students: 
        • Teachers monitoring participation, if a student is struggling or not engaged in remote learning, teacher reaches out to counselor, who checks-in with student and parent (by email and phone as needed)
        • Middle School Lunch Groups each Friday, and Parent Group being developed; High School check-ins with students, group or 1:1 virtual meetings as needed; grade-level specific supports on track. 
        • Any signs of concern for safety at home closely monitored, with support from DCF, Connections Program, and other agencies where appropriate
        • Nurses touching base with students by phone and blackboard messages
      • FAQ sheet and Handbook for parents and students being created to provide info. and resources addressing remote learning concerns
      • Virtual Professional Development for teachers & staff to provide support, strategies, ideas on how to transfer SEL onto the remote platform.
      • “We have a great team. They are working harder than they ever have.”
      • Can’t emphasize enough: Student Services wants families to communicate with them! If something’s working well, they want to know so they can duplicate; if something’s not working well, they want to know so that can work to fix it

     

     

    Community resources:

    • Your input and feedback is wanted!  SEPAC, TTC, Masco, and the School Committee  are all interested in hearing what’s working and what’s not during this time!  Look for a survey from SEPAC soon - we hope you will share your thoughts!

     

    • TriTown Council - Has been collecting and archiving Covid19 support resources, volunteer opportunities, and community education and activities on their website 

     

     

    • School Committee meetings:  Public is welcome! During Covid19, SC has been meeting weekly, and agendas always include time for public comment. Community can also email questions, comments or concerns to the committee via the Chair (current chair:  tcooper@masconomet.org)



    NEXT SC Meeting: 5/6/2020 at 7pm via Zoom TeleConference. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41

     

    If you have questions, please contact our committee chair, Tasha Cooper, at tcooper@masconomet.org

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • 04.22.2020 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 4/24/2020

    “The word I’ve been using is ‘mourning’. We are all in a little period of mourning.”

    — Mike Harvey, regarding announcement of school closures through end of school-year

     

     ED2020

    Image: Masco Envi-Club students with some inspiration for cleaning up litter in honor of Earth Day (our 50th)! 

     

    District Highlights:

    (Recommended Reading and Viewing!)

     

    • Did you know that High School Morning Update (Week One link; Week Two link) is now virtual?  Have you seen Principal Delani’s touching message to the Class of 2020?  These are just a couple of the many inspiring things you will find on the HS Principal’s Blog - We highly recommend!  

     

     

    • Thinking of our spring sports athletes, especially our seniors; Salem News took note of Masco Senior Rebecca Toomey for this very reason - Story here!

     

     

    Meeting highlights: 

     

    • UPDATE FROM THE WEEK:  Superintendent Mike Harvey shared an update on events since the last SC meeting, attached here - April 17-April 22. This was followed by Q&A with SC members and audience as well. Below are some of the key take-aways:
      • Governor announced that Schools will remain in their Remote Learning Plans for the remainder of the current school year. 
      • The school buildings remain closed for access or item pickup for now.
      • Updated guidance is expected from DESE on Friday, including “power standards” to ensure students learn essential material for each grade and subject during remote learning.  
      • Masco is looking at options for holding Senior Graduation and 8th Grade “Moving On” Ceremony, either in-person or virtually.
      • Regarding grades:  Middle School will give letter grades of A, B, or Pass for the 2nd trimester and Pass/Fail for the 3rd trimester.  High School will be giving one Pass/Fail grade for the entire 2nd semester.  In both cases, any missing work prior to March 13 will not be part of grade calculation.  
      • Student clubs are actively meeting during the 10:30-12 meeting time designed into the Remote Learning schedule. Teachers’ Professional Learning Communities also meet during this block of time. 
      • There is a Middle School Virtual 6th Grade Parent Night scheduled for May 14th

     

    • RESERVE FUNDS POLICY:  In light of the economic recession, the SC voted to reduce the minimum balance in the Excess and Deficiency Fund from 4% to 3% of the current year’s General Fund expenditures.

     

     

    Community resources:

     

     

     



    NEXT SC Meeting: 4/29/2020 at 7pm via Zoom TeleConference - Public is welcome! During Covid19 crisis, SC has been meeting more often (weekly), and agendas always include time for public comment at each meeting to support community access to information.  Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41 

     

    If you have questions, please contact our committee chair, Tasha Cooper, at tcooper@masconomet.org

    Comments (-1)
  • 04.15.2020 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 4/17/2020

    “This is not easy.  There is never a right answer.”

    — Jeff Sands regarding dialogue on budget reductions

    Covid19SHACsupport

    Meeting highlights: 

     

    • UPDATE FROM THE WEEK:

    Superintendent Mike Harvey shared an update on events since the last SC meeting. Attached is the report he shared for April 8 – April 15, 2020 (link here).  

    (For reference here also are his previous timeline reports for April 2-April 7, March 25-April 1 and March 13-March25).

    • BUDGET REDUCTIONS:

    In light of the economic recession resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, two district member towns had recently asked the Masco SC to reduce the FY21 budget, and the SC had then asked Asst. Superintendent Jeff Sands to present options for budget reduction consideration. Jeff Sands shared the attached FY21 Budget Presentation for the SC to consider. After an extensive and thoughtful discussion, the SC voted to reduce the FY21 budget by $463,378.00.  Further notes on discussion can be found in the Summary Notes* from the 04/15/2020 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

    District Highlights:

     

    • MCAS test has been cancelled for 2019-2020.
    • Feedback regarding the week of Remote Learning has been positive.
    • Masco’s School Health Advisory Council provided bags of food, gift certificates for groceries, and local resource flyers to Tri-Town families in need; donations were from Christian Smile Foundation, Tri-Town Council, and Top Cupboard Food Pantry.
    • Food Service Staff continue to offer lunches for any Masco family who needs it. Lunches are distributed from Door 27 (by small caf) from 11am–1pm daily. Any food that has not been distributed is picked up by Boxford Police and distributed to Senior Citizens via Boxford’s COA. 
    • Middleton Magazine ran a featured article on Masco’s partnership with the Ronald McDonald House.  Check out the magazine article here (story on pages 14-17)
    • Local paper recognized Masco students for top honors in DECA, article here, for MMEA All State Concert, link here, and for GS Gold Award, article here.  Several students were also recognized in Boston Globe All Scholastics for Hockey and Gymnastics, with junior Gracie Mowers named Athlete of the Year in gymnastics. 
    • Remember to check out the Principals’ blogs for exciting highlights from Masco (ie. artwork, ways students are helping others, awards, and more!  HS Page link here and MS Page link here.
    • Congratulations to the winners of the first Vision 2025 Challenge! View them and learn about Challenge #2 by following this link to the Superintendent's Blog post. 

     

    Community resources:

     

     

     



    NEXT SC Meeting: 4/22/2020 at 7pm via Zoom TeleConference - Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41 

     

    If you have questions, please contact our committee chair, Tasha Cooper, at tcooper@masconomet.org

     

    *Photos used in this post were from this Boxford news article and TTC’s Facebook feed. 

     

    Comments (-1)