12.15.21 Meeting Summary

Posted by MSC on 12/17/2021

“To our student athletes: your achievements gave a huge boost to the morale of the district this fall. It was great to have you out there. You made a difference. Thank you!” - School Committee Chair Zillie Bhuju
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*These are not meeting minutes and are not intended to be a transcription of the meeting. 

  • Comments from the Audience.  Matt Coogan, Boxford Town Administrator, attended to introduce himself.  He said that he is looking forward to working with the School Committee and the administration in the coming months and years.


  • Athletics Recognition. Athletics Director John Daileanes thanked the community for their support of the athletics program and acknowledged the many amazing achievements of our athletes in fall 2021, of which there were too many to list here.  Many team captains were in attendance and Daileanes recognized several who have committed to playing their sport in college, as well as highlighted students and coaches who earned various regional and state honors this year. 


  • Masconomet Teachers Association Negotiations.  The Negotiations Team met with the MTA and a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service on Monday, 12/6.  We want to thank the Masconomet Teachers Association for agreeing to meet with the assistance of a neutral third party.  This was our third session with the Federal Mediator and we continue to feel that with the mediator’s assistance we are making great progress towards an agreement. Since we began negotiations almost a year ago, our top priority has been to ensure we have language in the contract that gives us the flexibility needed to make changes to our daily schedule.  This increased flexibility will allow us to address issues of student stress and workload through the inclusion of a WIN Block, meet the required state minimum for structured learning time, and allow time for the professional learning that will be necessary to move Masconomet towards meeting “Masconomet Vision 2025.”  During our negotiations, we have also been mindful of the financial commitment our member towns make when the School Committee commits to a contract.  We appreciate the high level of funding our towns provide, and understand that overburdening our member towns comes at the cost of other public services.  We feel that while we may not be able to achieve everything we’d like in this contract, we are very close to settling a contract that achieves our top priorities and will allow us to continue to work collaboratively with our teachers to achieve the goals of Masconomet Vision 2025.


  • Student Advisory Board Update.  Raquel Rave reported that the SAB has been working with the school community on several projects including a holiday season gift-giving program. They have also been sharing student feedback about mask break options with the HS principal directly. 


  • Vision 2025.  Social Studies Department Chair Jill Story spoke about experiential learning, specifically three student field trips that have taken place this year in her department.  Students have visited the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, and the American Heritage Museum.  More details, and photos from the events, are available here.  


  • Middle School Principal’s Update.  Dr. Phil McManus reported on happenings at the Middle School, including an in-school holiday concert (the first concert in two years), a Thanksgiving food drive, and a holiday toy drive.  His full report is available here.


  • Superintendent’s Update. Dr. Harvey’s report is included in his 12/16 blog post, available here.  


  • Policy Subcommittee.  The Policy Subcommittee met on December 13th by Zoom.  They discussed a proposal to reduce the size of the committee, from 11 to 9 members, and recommended no action at this time. The consensus of the full committee was to postpone further consideration of this matter to the summer of 2022 or later. The Subcommittee also discussed some (minor) grammatical and procedural edits to the District Agreement that have been flagged by DESE. These edits will be sent to the Select Boards for review. Next meeting will be on January 10 at 7pm. 


  • Community Relations Subcommittee.  The CR Subcommittee met on December 8th by Zoom.  Two community members attended but did not request to speak.  The Subcommittee is pursuing two priorities–engaging with our Councils on Aging and our local business community– and is liaising with the Performing Arts Department about a concert for senior citizens.


  • Budget Subcommittee. The Budget Subcommittee is planning to meet with the department heads on January 26th  to talk about faculty priorities for the budget cycle.  


  • Anti-Racism Subcommittee.  The Anti-Racism Subcommittee met on December 7th by Zoom.  The group plans to create a consolidated archive of all materials from the committee’s discussions to date.  These are available publicly now, but it would be helpful for the community and the committee to have everything in one place. The Subcommittee discussed strategies for continuing its work to ensure that all students feel comfortable at Masconomet and that the district provides a full and complete history curriculum.  The next meeting will be in January (date TBD).


  • Middleton Liaison.  Kosta Prentakis reported that the Middleton Budget Committee has limited budget increases to 2.5% or roughly $800k.  Masconomet represents 35% of that town’s  budget.  The  budget review will be on Saturday, February 5th.  Finally, the Middleton Selectboard has drafted a letter to DESE, requesting that the mask mandate be returned to local control.

Upcoming Meetings:

Please refer to the “Public Meetings” page on the Masconomet Website for a list of upcoming meetings and agendas. The next regular school committee meeting is scheduled for Wed, Jan 5, 2022.