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.


School Committee Blog

  • 12.01.21 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 12/2/2021

    “The big goal for this year is to rebuild a sense of community for our students.”
    - Masconomet HS Principal Dr. Mary Jo Carabatsos

    athletics fall 2021

    *These are not meeting minutes and are not intended to be a transcription of the meeting. 



    • Remarks from the Chair. Vice-Chair Tasha Cooper opened the meeting with a reflection on the school shooting in Oxford, Michigan this week.  “We want to let everyone in Michigan know that our hearts are with them.  I hope that as we go forward, we can continue to think about the social-emotional health of our children.”  

     

    • Comments from the Audience.  There were no comments from the audience.

     

    • Masconomet Teachers Union Negotiations.  The School Committee and the Masconomet Teachers Union have made substantial progress on the contract over the past two weeks, crossing some hurdles on language.  The next meeting is scheduled for next Monday.

     

    • Student Advisory Board Update.  Junior class representative Stella Nagle reported that student leaders are working to continue making the most of another challenging year.  She raised a concern from students about the revised approach to Semester 1 exams.  Dr. Carabatsos addressed this in her presentation and remarks (see below).

     

    • Class of 2021 Report.  Irene Duros attended to celebrate the success of the Class of 2021 and to  provide an update on issues of concern to the Class of 2022.  You can read her report here.  

     

    • High School Principal’s Update.  Dr. Mary Jo Carabatsos provided an update on a number of topics.  We encourage the community to read her report here.  She expressed her excitement about the range of social and extracurricular activities that are underway and her pride in our student athletes and coaches, who had a very successful season.  The School Council will convene for the first time this week; parent representatives on the Council are Bethany Blacke, Danielle Emig, Karri Madonna, and Rachel Viera.  Dr. Carabatsos also addressed mask breaks, explaining how and why the mask break pilot was developed. She will deploy a student and teacher survey on masks next week. Finally, she addressed the exam schedule being piloted this month, remarking that the schedule is designed to mitigate stress on students by reducing the weight of the exam vs their regular coursework, and to allow faculty to spend time with students during exam week..  

     

    • Superintendent’s Update.  Dr. Michael Harvey alerted the committee that Masco is experiencing a spike in COVID cases following Thanksgiving. It is worth noting that based on the data in Dr. Harvey’s report, the rate of COVID cases among unvaccinated individuals in the Masco community is eight times the rate of cases among vaccinated individuals.  Dr. Harvey also reported that the hiring process for the new Assistant Superintendent of Student Services is getting underway and the timeline for presenting a preferred candidate to the School Committee is March 1, 2022.  The hiring committee will be chaired by Dr. Carabatsos and Dr. Phil McManus.  Please see Dr. Harvey’s blog post for more information.

     

    • Community Relations Subcommittee.  The Community Relations Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday, December 8th via Zoom.  

     

    • Budget Subcommittee. The Budget Subcommittee will meet with the department heads at the end of January to hear about faculty priorities for the budget.  

     

    • Anti-Racism Subcommittee.  The Anti-Racism Subcommittee will meet on Tuesday, December 7th via Zoom.  

     

    • Policy Subcommittee.  The Policy Subcommittee will aim to meet before the holiday break to begin a discussion about a proposal to reduce the number of School Committee members from 11 to nine.  Initial conversions with town leadership in Boxford and Middleton have not raised any major concerns.

     

    • Town Liaisons.  Carolyn Miller reported that the Boxford Finance Committee’s directive to town departments for FY23 will be to limit budget increases to 2.5%.  Melissa Ogden and Zillie Bhuju reported that Topsfield’s budget increase recommendation will be no more than 2.75%.



    Upcoming Meetings:

    Please refer to the “Public Meetings” page on the Masconomet Website for a list of upcoming meetings and agendas.

    Comments (-1)
  • 11.17.21 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 11/19/2021

    “I have noticed a lot of positive energy in our district! We’ve had respectful interactions this year during our meetings - It seems that generally at Masco, we put respect for our shared community first - Our children are watching and they learn from this - it makes a difference.” - Zillie Bhuju, SC Chair

    student wellness slide

     

    *These are not meeting minutes and are not intended to be a transcription of the meeting. 

     

    • Remarks from the Chair. Zillie Bhuju spoke about an issue that was brought to the School Committee’s attention by an individual regarding members and administrators who attended the recent Massachusetts Associationof School Committees/ Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents conference. The person expressed concern that Masconomet representatives did not wear masks at the event, citing a protocol found online that included a mask requirement.  MASC has shared a public apology because their protocol for this optional event, which took place in a privately owned venue that does not require vaccinated adults to wear masks, was unclear. Our schools, on the other hand,  are public buildings at which attendance is mandatory. In these buildings, we follow the most up to date rules and guidelines, which currently include wearing a mask. Finally, Zillie invited anyone who has a specific question or concern related to the School Committee to contact us directly by email or phone, or attend one of our public meetings. She suggested that calling out individual committee members by name on social media is not productive, sets a bad example for our students, and reflects poorly on our community. 

     

    • Comments from the Audience.  There were no comments from the audience.

     

    • Masconomet Teachers Union Negotiations.  The  School Committee and the Masconomet Teachers Union have agreed on dates to meet with the mediator to continue contract discussions.  The first meeting will be Monday, November 22.

     

    • Student Advisory Board Update.  Senior class representative Lindsey Byman spoke about Spirit Week, the Senior Halloween Dance, and the Senior Snow Ball.  She reported that athletes are enjoying themselves and looking forward to the winter season. She also mentioned that some students would prefer to have mask breaks indoors as the weather begins to get colder.  Dr. Harvey spoke briefly about the rationale for the current system and recommended that the Student Advisory Board approach Dr. Carabatsos to discuss their ideas.  

     

    • Middle School Principal’s Report.  Dr. Phil McManus reported that students have settled in well and that “the overall atmosphere and climate in the building is exciting and positive.”  He said that priorities  include social emotional learning and closing the learning gap that resulted from the pandemic.  Dr. Manus said that his team is tracking this, especially around math and writing, and that faculty members and specialists are providing extra help in these areas.  There was more detailed discussion about tracking academic progress as part of the Student Wellness Report (see below).  The Middle School community completed a coat drive and a Thanksgiving food drive, Project Adventure team-building, and a Halloween costume competition.  Dr. McManus’s full report is available here.

     

    • Superintendent’s Update.  Mike Harvey made a statement about the recent accusations of racist and sexist language made against athletes in local schools.  This statement and his full report are available here.   In his regular COVID update, he reported that there have been 31 COVID cases in the District since the beginning of the school year. The vaccination rate as of November 16, 2021 is 78.05%.  Dr. Harvey also announced that Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Patty Bullard will be retiring as of August 31, 2022.

     

    • Student Wellness Report.  Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Patty Bullard and Dr. Irene Duros presented a detailed report on student wellness at Masconomet. It outlines the current state of student wellness as well as the social, emotional,  mental health, and educational supports available to students via the Student Support Center and the Academic Success Center.  It also details special programs taking place in the schools over the next several months.  We strongly encourage all families of Masconomet students to read the report, which is available here, and listen to the recorded presentation for the many details shared. Families should reach out to the Student Services team if your student would benefit from any of these support services.  You can reach Student Services by phone at 978-887-2323.

     

    • District Enrollment Report.  Assistant Superintendent Jeff Sands presented the enrollment report, compiled each year as of October 1st.  This report is important because it helps to determine the amount of the operating budget each District member town is required to contribute for the following financial year.  Overall enrollment is down 2% from last year, continuing a five-year state-wide trend.   

     

    • Census Data and School Committee Membership Distribution.  Dr. Harvey reported that based on census data, the composition of the School Committee can remain unchanged (three representatives from Middleton, four from Topsfield, and four from Boxford.  The census data are available here.  The relevant section of the Masconomet Regional Agreement can be found here.

     

    • Massachusetts Association of School Committees Annual Conference.  Zillie Bhuju, Tasha Cooper, Carolyn Miller, and Superintendent Mike Harvey represented Masconomet at this year’s meeting, which took place in Hyannis over the first weekend in November.   All of the resolutions passed.  

     

    • Community Relations Subcommittee.  The Community Relations subcommittee began a monthly open community discussion at their second meeting of the school November 10th.  We had a good turnout and two community members raised topics for discussion. We are inviting representatives of our Councils on Aging to attend one of our upcoming meetings.  

     

    • Budget Subcommittee. The Budget Subcommittee reviewed the upcoming budget calendar.  They will be meeting with academic department heads and with representatives from each town’s governments. They also discussed athletic fees, and a majority would like to reduce the burden on families in a feasible and sustainable manner.  The School Committee recognizes that our current fees are not in line with comparable districts.  The administration intends to consider options to address this in their budget recommendation for FY22.   We can support the physical and mental health of our students by encouraging them to participate in sports and clubs.

     

    • Small Town Heroes Awards. ​The Student Advisory Board has confirmed that it wants to run this popular program again next spring.  We are grateful for the SAB’s hard work on this.

     

    • Masconomet Education Foundation.  We accepted a generous MEF donation of 3D Printers, Laser Cutter, Runone Electrophoresis Gel Boxes, Collaboration Monitors, Completion of an outdoor classroom for the 7th grade life science team, and RoboMaster TT Drones.  We are thankful for the MEF’s support!



    Upcoming Meetings:

    Please refer to the “Public Meetings” page on the Masconomet Website for a list of upcoming meetings and agendas.

    Comments (-1)
  • Community PSA

    Posted by MSC on 11/15/2021

     

    Community Conversations on Race - "What Can I Do?"

    Thursday, Nov 18th,  7:30-9pm

    Masconomet High School Library

     

    Last summer, the School Committee heard from dozens of community members that wanted opportunities to come together in a supportive, structured setting to discuss topics related to race, racism, diversity, equity, and so forth. Here is one such opportunity for that kind of community conversation!

     

    This community workshop is hosted by TTC with facilitator Lisa MacDonald - "What can I do?" is a question many are asking right now. Perhaps you’ve asked yourself, perhaps you’ve asked others. This program provides an opportunity to discuss, listen to different perspectives, and better understand the implications of intention vs impact this question may have.

     
     
     
    conversations on race flier
    Comments (-1)
  • Community Relations Forum 11/10/2021

    Posted by MSC on 11/4/2021
    Comments (-1)
  • 10.26.2021 Mini-Update

    Posted by MSC on 10/26/2021

    DESE Press Release

    - NEXT SC MEETING NOV. 17 -
    The School Committee will not meet next week due to scheduling conflicts with the Massachusetts Association of School Committee’s MASC/MASS 2021 Joint Conference. (Nov. 3rd had been tentatively listed in the draft schedule, but there will be no meeting on that date).
    The next regular SC meeting is currently scheduled for November 17th, at 7pm. This meeting will be held in person. Please refer to the “Public Meetings” page on the Masconomet Website for upcoming meetings: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/184
    Email any questions, comments or concerns to our committee chair Zillie Bhuju at zbhuju@masconomet.org
     
    - DESE PRESS RELEASE EXTENDING MASK REQUIREMENTS -
    Please see this Press Release from DESE extending the mask requirements in all K-12 public schools through at least January 15, 2022
     
    - ICYMI: NOTIFICATIONS ON SCHOOL CANCELLATIONS -
    As we prepare for winter weather, here is the district-wide information regarding notification procedures for school cancellations: https://mascosuper.school.blog/.../school-cancellation.../
     
    - WEEKLY SCHOOL NEWS -
    Please follow the Middle School Principal and High School Principal weekly publications to stay informed!
     
    - COMMUNITY PSA -
    The MASCO PAC is kicking off its fundraising efforts with Cookie Dough and Harrow Pies Orders! See the links below for more details:
    Comments (-1)
  • 10.20.21 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 10/23/2021

    “Music is an integral part of our education, something that is foundational to our Vision 2025 - The heart of this school is the arts"  - HS Senior Chase Quigley, presenter during this week’s Vision 2025 Showcase

    teachtolearn

     

    *These are not meeting minutes and are not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

     

    • Remarks from the public.  Gretchen Fishman spoke on behalf of SEPAC, in support of efforts to ensure that the Masconomet Teachers Union contract includes flexibility to allow for adjustments to the school day schedule.  She noted that this is important to ensuring equal access for all students.  Currently, students requiring out of classroom services feel they must opt out of foreign language or an elective.  SEPAC urges the School Committee and Teachers Union to reach an agreement that allows for something like the WIN block.

     

    • Negotiations with Masconomet Teachers Association.  Subcommittee Chair Tasha Cooper reported that the MTA has agreed to move forward with mediation. The offer the School Committee currently has on the table focuses on the structure of the school day and on meeting our towns’ requirements around fiscal responsibility.  Its key components are:
        • An annual cost-of-living increase of 2% in each year of the agreement.  We value our teachers and their current pay, which places Masco among the top 10% in the state, reflects this. 
        • An increase in the number of teaching minutes, from 236 to 250 per day, without changing the length of the work day.  The proposal will allow us to add a WIN block and give teachers one professional development opportunity each week.  
        • Adjust the parameters for the start of the school year to allow us the flexibility to start before Labor Day but no earlier than August 25th. Many of our neighboring schools start before Labor Day, including the Tri-Town Union, and we want to be able to coordinate across K-12.
        • Revise the description of the teacher workload to allow us to move away from a six-day cycle if we feel that is best for the students.  The current agreement specifies a six-day cycle. 
        • An increase in the reimbursable tuition from $250 to $500 per class, on the condition that we obtain an official transcript for reimbursement and movement on the salary grid.  The Association had initially accepted this, but later asked for an additional $100 to cover provision of a transcript.  The School Committee and the Union have researched this and found that obtaining an official transcript is easy and inexpensive.
        • Eliminate a provision which allows a teacher to access both additional sick leave and the sick bank.  This would provide for up to 315 days--nearly two school years--of sick time.  Sick leave is a very important benefit, but it is expensive and unpredictable for the District and we need to minimize our financial liability.
        • The full Masconomet Teachers Association contract is available on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website

     

    • Reports from subcommittees
      • Community Relations Subcommittee:  The Subcommittee will devote the first 20 minutes of each (monthly) meeting to a public listening session. Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 10th at 6:30PM via Zoom (login details will be in the agenda for the meeting).  We have appointed liaisons to SEPAC, the umbrella group that includes TTU, TTC, MEF and PAC, and the Councils on Aging in each town.  We are discussing the Small Town Heroes Awards with the Student Council. 
      • Budget Subcommittee:  The School Committee recognizes that athletic fees at Masco are disproportionately high compared to neighboring communities.  The only way to reduce the fees is to devote additional budget to this item or reduce the number of athletic programs we offer.  We have asked the administration to incorporate a proposal for reducing the overall family burden in the draft budget for 2022-2023. The “fee-calculating tool” will not be adjusted this year, because the participation data during the pandemic would skew the 3-year average unfavorably for families. The capital planning process will not kick off in 2021-2022 because there are too many competing priorities right now, but we want to begin the process as soon as is feasible.
      • Policy Subcommittee: Agreed to put the MASC policy review on hold until March 2022 because our administrators’ time and energy is required for more pressing issues at this time, such as settling a fair contract with the Teachers Union and managing continued Covid-related matters. 

     

    • Student Advisory Board update.  Student Advisory Board representatives serve as ex officio members of the School Committee.  Junior Stella Nagle (Class of 2023) spoke on behalf of the Board.  She reported that an overwhelming number of students state that they are happy to be back in school, attending classes, playing sports, participating in clubs, band, and other activities.  Stella thanked the Student Advisory Board for their hard work.  She also reiterated that the students are in favor of reinstating the WIN block.

     

    • Vision 2025 Showcase: Teach to Learn.  The School Committee’s goals for this year include elevating activities happening at Masco that support 21st century skill development for our students. Masconomet Performing Arts Department Chair Walter O’Keefe spoke about Teach to Learn, a non-profit arts education network that connects music students and music  teachers from around the world.  Teach to Learn co-founder Derek Beckvold is a Masconomet alumnus and the Masco Music Parents have provided financial support for Masco to participate.  Seniors Ada Yu and Chase Quigley told the committee that Teach to Learn has had an enormous impact on them and their understanding of the connection between music, culture, history, and even physics.  Find out more about the program by watching Music- Teach to Learn,, Teach to Learn Video 1, and  Teach to Learn Video 2

     

    • Superintendent’s Reports
      • COVID UpdatesThere have been 24 COVID cases since October 1; the number of cases continues to decline week by week.  The current vaccination rate is 77.21% and we are unlikely to hit the DESE’s 80% vaccination threshold by November 1.  Education Commissioner Jeff Riley is planning to make a further announcement at the beginning of next week.  Masconomet has administered 29 tests to a total of 18 individuals through the Test and Stay program as of October 17, with no positive tests.  Through the symptomatic testing program, Masconomet has tested 45 individuals and had one positive result (which was revealed to be a false positive).
      • ESSER III Grant: Federal COVID relief funding via the American Rescue Plan ARP Act of 2021.  Masconomet submitted the application for the third ESSER grant (Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief III fund).  Our allocation will be $1.35 million.  Must be spent by September 30, 2024.  For details on this application, including the feedback from the recent survey, see the attachment in the link above. In addition to health and safety, we are planning to expend the funds on programs focused on enhanced instruction and instructional materials and training on social-emotional health.  The administration’s executive team will provide updates on this and consult with the School Committee on any significant changes. There was a long discussion about the grant spending, which will be available on the recording of the meeting.

     

    • Superintendent Evaluation.  Zillie proposed a 2-year process and FY22 timeline for establishing goals and agreeing mutually on 6-8 focus indicators in the DESE rubric, to be assessed during summative evaluations. Michael Harvey reviewed the activities supporting progress toward student learning goals over the past year.  He then presented his updated Superintendent Improvement Goals for this year.  The intent is for this process to be fair, thoughtful and useful. Therefore, the committee discussed revisiting the types of evidence and testimony that might be most useful for Dr. Harvey to collect, relative to these goals and initiatives, to support continuous improvement and demonstrate progress toward the intended outcomes. 

     

    MASCO RESOURCES:

     COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

    Mental Health and Wellness Covid-19 Resources and Information compiled by TTC

    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: 

    The School Committee will not meet on November 3rd (as had been tentatively listed on the draft calendar for 2021-22), but may seek an alternative date for that week. Please refer to the “Public Meetings” page on the Masconomet Website for upcoming meetings. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are also posted at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41. Email any questions, comments or concerns to our committee chair Zillie Bhuju at zbhuju@masconomet.org.

    Comments (-1)
  • PSA 10/18/2021:

    Posted by MSC on 10/18/2021

    MSC

     

    Below are some options for community members to stay informed and engage with your Masconomet School Committee.  We welcome and thank our community for demonstrating appropriate civic engagement.

     
    JOIN US!
     
    FOLLOW US!
     
    TALK TO US!
    • To contact the Masconomet Regional School Committee and find other SC information, please visit https://www.masconomet.org/domain/43 and use the drop-down menu.
    • This year 2021-22, the Community Relations subcommittee plans to start their meetings with a 20 minute public forum for Q&A - Look for those to be announced on our blog and FB page!
    • Constituents are always welcome to ask for an audience with their elected representatives by contacting us directly. Questions and comments are welcome at any time! Contact information is posted on the website https://www.masconomet.org/domain/43
    • Questions related to a specific business agenda are best directed to the Chair in advance of that meeting.
    • Comments related to a specific business agenda can be shared during the public comment portion of our regular meetings or by emailing the Chair
    • Any email communications relative to a specific meeting should be shared with ample time before that meeting. Something sent too close to the start time of a meeting might not be viewed until after the meeting has concluded.
     
    Other notes:
    • Use this guide to help you determine if your topic of interest is indeed a matter of School Committee business, or if it is a matter of district operations: https://www.masconomet.org/Page/699 . If you are unsure, the Chair can (re)direct you as needed.
     
    NOTE THAT IN ORDER TO ABIDE BY OPEN MEETING LAW, THE COMMENTING FEATURE ON SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS HAS BEEN TURNED OFF
    Comments (-1)
  • 10.06.21 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 10/8/2021

    “I make my way around this building, and I see that ‘community’ is already here - I don’t think it ever left - but I think we need to start celebrating it again”  - HS Principal Carabastos speaking about “building community back"

     quebec

     Image: Quebec City, where the World Language department is planning a field trip for May 2022. Source: Unsplash.

     

    Following is a summary of the Masconomet School Committee meeting that took place on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.  The agenda for the meeting is available on the Masco website. Please note that this is not a formal record of this meeting.  Official minutes will be posted (at the same link as above) after they have been drafted and approved. 

     

    • Executive Session.  The meeting began with an Executive Session, during which the Committee met privately to discuss a) bargaining with the Masconomet Teachers Association and b) bargaining with a non-union administrator, Superintendent Mike Harvey.

     

    • Remarks from the Chair.  Chairperson Zillie Bhuju thanked Bonnie Thornborough, who recently stepped down from the Committee, for her contributions. “Bonnie’s decision to step down was very difficult and involved a number of personal reasons, but I want to take a moment to acknowledge how dedicated she was to this role and thank her for that.”  Zillie welcomed newly appointed Boxford member Joe McLean and expressed appreciation to members for volunteering themselves in spite of the unique challenges of such unprecedented times, adding “I hope that the ‘job’ continues to return to a somewhat more ‘normal’ experience … and that our community continues to focus on healing and constructive engagement. ... I am confident that we will carry on with the spirit that Bonnie embodied to always hold our students at the center in our work.”  ~  Zillie also noted this was our first opportunity to publicly welcome the new High School principal to Masco as a committee: “Dr. Carabatsos, we are so happy that you are now part of the Masco family!”

     

    • Comments from the audience.  Several audience members spoke, including three Masconomet teachers and one member of the public that all voiced support for our teachers and staff and a desire to see the contract settled.  Another asked questions related to the agenda.  

     

    • MOU with the Masconomet Teachers Association. To address the 2021-2022 school year, the Committee and the Association worked together to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  The School Committee ratified the amendment, and we expect that the Association will do the same.  The School Committee’s public statement on the status of negotiations for a new contract is in Summary Notes from the 9.01.21 meeting. We continue to invite the Union to join the SC at the table together with a mediator so that we can settle a fair contract for our valued teachers and staff. The Masconomet Teachers Association agreement can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website.

     

    • Student Advisory Board update.  Student Advisory Board representatives serve as ex officio members of the School Committee.  Junior Raquel Rave spoke on behalf of the Board.  She reported that students are happy to be engaged in school, clubs, and sports again.  She also reported that the Advisory Board believes that students and teachers would like to see the WIN block reinstated. 

     

    • Quebec field trip.  Mr. Ryan Quadros of the World Language department reviewed plans for a field trip to Quebec in May for freshman and sophomores studying French language.  The School Committee voted unanimously to approve the plans for this trip.

     

    • Vision 2025 Showcase: World Language.  The School Committee’s goals for this year include elevating activities happening at Masco that support 21st century skill development for our students.  World Language department chair Dr. Jeanne O’Hearn was the inaugural guest speaker.  She shared the World Language Department Vision 2025, including a new Seal of Biliteracy that seniors will be eligible to earn starting in 2023.  Two seniors from AP Spanish V joined Dr. O’Hearn to talk about their independent study programs.  Lauren Calabrese has created books for English-language learners that she donated to the Lawrence Public Schools.  Ada Yu designed Bilingual Essential Phrases and Questions sheets for first responders and EMTs; you can read more about these at www.emslangbridge.com .

     

    • High School Principal’s Report.  Dr. Carabatsos reported that the first month of school has gone well.  Her focus has been on making sure both students and adults feel supported as they return to in-person learning and teaching.  Student events, including a Halloween Dance, Homecoming Spirit Week, and student performances will take place.  There will be two performing arts productions at the high school this year, although the first production will be delayed as recruiting continues for drama: a new 0.6 FTE instructor and extracurricular hires.  The full report is available here.

     

    • Student Clubs.  Students presented proposals for new extracurricular clubs.  Henry Liu made a pitch for an Economics Club; Tracy Weener spoke about the value of a Poetry Club, and Aidan Venckus, Dorian Floreatal, and Pascale Moon proposed a Rocket Club.  The School Committee voted unanimously to approve all of the proposals. Thank you to Mr. Walsh, Mr. Treven, and Mr. Quadros for serving as faculty advisors.

     

    • Superintendent’s Report.  Dr. Michael Harvey presented his Report to the School CommitteeThe report contains a lot of detail about COVID-19 case rates, the Symptomatic Testing Program, the Test and Stay Program, and current conditions around mask requirements.  We encourage all families to read it.  Dr. Harvey reiterated that the simplest way to remain in school is to get vaccinated.  Families who have not done so should complete the testing consent form

     

    • Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) annual business meeting delegate and resolutions. The Committee voted to ratify eight of the nine resolutions put forward by MASC.   A majority of the committee voted to abstain from Resolution 9: Prohibiting the Use of Native American Mascots.  Those who voted to abstain cited the ongoing conversation about this in the Masco community.  Our Anti-Racism Subcommittee expects to pick up that discussion on behalf of the committee. The School Committee appointed Zillie Bhuju as its delegate to the MASC annual business meeting. 

     

    • School Committee Protocols.  The Committee signed the protocols that were agreed to at our last meeting

     

    • Superintendent’s FY22 Salary.  The Committee voted unanimously to approve a 2% increase for Dr. Michael Harvey for FY22.  This is the only salary increase that requires a public vote, unlike all other personnel contracts that include annual salary increases. 

     

     

     

     

    MASCO RESOURCES:

     

     

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 

    Our next scheduled School Committee meeting will be Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 7pm. This meeting will be held in person. Please refer to the “Public Meetings” page on the Masconomet Website for upcoming meetings. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are also posted at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41. Email any questions, comments or concerns to our committee chair Zillie Bhuju at zbhuju@masconomet.org.

    Comments (-1)
  • 09.28.2021 Mini-Update

    Posted by MSC on 9/28/2021

     

    • New representative for Boxford appointed to the S.C.

     

    During the Boxford Select Board meeting on Monday, September 27, 2021, Masconomet SC members began by thanking Bonnie Thornborough for her 2 plus years of service and her many contributions including spearheading Listening Sessions for members of the community.

     

    Our SC policy calls for vacancies to be filled by an appointment by the Select Board and the Boxford members of the Masco SC. To do this, we reached out to the community for volunteers and 4 individuals were willing to step up. The 3 Boxford Reps briefly interviewed the candidates. They enjoyed meeting with all of them and ultimately chose to recommend Joe McLean to be appointed to fill the vacancy.

     

    Joe McLean’s appointment was approved unanimously by the members of the Boxford Select Board and the Boxford members of the Masco SC. We welcome Joe as our newest representative!

     

     

    • DESE Press Release

     

    On Monday, September 27, 2021, the Massachusetts DESE issued this press release, regarding an extension of the mask requirement in schools:  DESE Press Release - School Mask Requirement Extended

     

    • IDEAS training

     

    The School Committee has completed all three scheduled workshops with IDEAS - which stands for Initiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students, and is part of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents - https://www.massupt.org/ideas/

     

    The topics of this training included:

    1. Guidelines for creating a supportive and safe learning environment
      2. Guiding principles and definitions of IDEAS
      3. The complexity of one's identity-implications for practice
      4. What is racism and how does it play out in education?
      5. A look at privilege
      6. Unconscious Bias and microaggressions
      7. Strategies for addressing microaggressions
      8. Conflict styles
      9. Strategies for turning difficult conversations into opportunities for learning

     

    Comments (-1)
  • 09.01.21 Meeting Summary

    Posted by MSC on 9/4/2021

    My hope as we embark on this year is that we all focus on hope and possibility, even amidst uncertainty or friction—to be able to strive toward our shared goals and make it a great year for our students.  

    —Zillie Bhuju, Masconomet School Committee Chair

     

    welcome back, lovelies!


    A small sign in the high school library is one of many ways staff are welcoming students back to a positive school environment 

     

     

    MEETING HIGHLIGHTS: 

     

    • Committee Chair Zillie Bhuju welcomes everyone to the new school year
    • Negotiations Update:
      • Full statement from SC negotiations team in Summary Notes from the 9.01.21 meeting
      • Teachers’ CBA not settled; School Committee seeks assistance through mediation
      • Parties agree on concept of WIN block in schedule, but implementation requires contract settlement
    • Mike Harvey presented his Superintendent’s Report 
      • Mask mandate indoors per DESE requirement at least through Oct. 1
        • Masks not required outdoors
        • No social distancing requirements 
      • Covid-19 Protocols
      • Test and Stay Program coming soon
      • Drama Position is Unfilled
      • Bus schedules
      • Congratulations to art teacher Ursina Amsler
    • School Committee Protocols
      Approved unanimously
    • School Committee Goals for 2021-2022
      Approved unanimously with three small changes reflected in linked doc 
    • School Committee Subcommittee Membership
      • Budget and District Capital Investment (DCI) w/ liaison to town finance committees/gov’t
      • Policy
      • Community Relations w/liaisons to SEPAC, SHAC, COAs, district advisory groups, community-based “umbrella” orgs (TTC, MEF, PAC)
      • Negotiations
      • Anti-Racism
      • Membership adjustments reflected in linked doc

    Further notes can be found in the Summary Notes* from the 9/01/21 meeting.  *These are not meeting minutes and not intended to be a transcription of the meeting.

     

    MASCO RESOURCES:

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES:

     

    NEXT SC Meeting: 

    Our next scheduled School Committee meeting will be Wed, Oct. 6 at 7pm. This meeting will be held in person. Please refer to the “Public Meetings” page on the Masconomet Website for upcoming meetings. Meeting agendas, minutes, documents, and videos are also posted on-line at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/41. Email any questions, comments or concerns to our committee chair Zillie Bhuju at zbhuju@masconomet.org

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