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.