- North Middlesex Regional School District
- School Committee Updates
October-December 2022Posted by Robin Eibye on 2/7/2023
Introduction - The School Committee has formed a Communication Subcommittee to review School Committee interaction with the communities we serve. As part of that work, we have decided to post quarterly updates on our website, reviewing major agenda items and decisions as a part of our meetings. This is by no means an exhaustive list. However, the subcommittee felt it was important to convey the work of the full Committee.
District Strategic Plan & School Improvement Plan Review - Each year, the School Committee reviews the district's strategic plan and individual school improvement plans at each level (elementary, middle, and high). These plans have specific objectives and benchmarks for administration, faculty, and staff to frame their work with students. The objectives within the district and school plans mirror each other with school-specific objectives. Specific action steps and timelines for completing those items also accompany each objective. The administration will provide a status update to the School Committee and the public to demonstrate the progress of these plans later in the school year.
Superintendent's Goals - In October, the Superintendent presented his goals (hyperlink?) to the School Committee. The Superintendent outlined 1) the establishment of current core values, 2) student learning, and 3) the construction of a school budget that addresses post-pandemic issues as his three priorities this year. The Superintendent's goals were supplemented with specific action steps and aligned with the rubrics provided by DESE to evaluate Superintendents.
School Committee Workshops - During the fall, the School Committee was joined by Dr. Paul Ash of Ribas Associates, who provided the committee with a workshop entitled, How to Build High-Performance Teams and Get Higher Results for ALL students in North Middlesex Schools. Dr. Ash, a retired Superintendent, former Special Education Director, and former School Committee member, held a work session with committee members to improve collaboration and efficiency within the School Committee to improve student outcomes within the district. After the work session, the School Committee held a subsequent work session on December 5th, which focused on facilitating improved working relationships among committee members. During the retreat, committee members shared their thoughts on what public education means to them, the skills every student should have upon graduating, and things members feel would improve and strengthen the committee's function.
Feasibility Study for Ashby Elementary School - In the fall, there was outreach from the district with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) regarding support for a building project at Ashby Elementary School (AES). However, the MSBA requires at least 300 students in a school building to consider support for a project. In December, the AES Building Committee unanimously voted to recommend the full School Committee approve the appropriation of $300,000 for the costs of developing a feasibility study for Ashby Elementary School. The School Committee also voted unanimously to approve the appropriation of $300,000 for the costs of a feasibility study. The cost of the study would be absorbed by the towns in accordance with the number of students enrolled at AES. The town of Ashby will be holding a special town meeting (Saturday, February 4th) to vote on the approval of a feasibility study.
Budget - There have been monthly budget summits between school and town officials beginning in October 2022 to review the needs of the schools and the towns. Stakeholders have collaborated to share information and plan for a mutually productive budget process. In addition, there have been numerous Finance Subcommittee meetings over the past several months to determine the needs of our schools and students and prepare a budget that would support those efforts. The schools and towns will continue to work collaboratively through March on this intensive process.
Ashby Elementary School
July-Sept 2022Posted by School Committee on 11/18/2022
The School Committee has formed a Communication Subcommittee to review School Committee interaction with the communities we serve. As part of that work, we have decided to post quarterly updates on our website, reviewing major agenda items and decisions as a part of our meetings. This is by no means an exhaustive list. However, the subcommittee felt it was important to convey the work of the full Committee. To open, the School Committee thanks the faculty and staff at all buildings across the district for their work in opening the schools this year. We know all of the hard work, care, and compassion that goes into supporting the students of our communities. Thank you for that!
One of the primary responsibilities and duties of the School Committee is to annually review the Superintendent. In July, the School Committee reviewed the 2021-2022 Superintendent’s goals and evaluated Superintendent Morgan with criteria established with rubrics provided by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The Committee provided feedback in a collaborative effort to support the district's growth. The School Committee voted unanimously that Superintendent Morgan was proficient overall as well as in the areas of instructional leadership, management and operations, family and community engagement, and professional culture.
AES Building Tour & Collins Center Report
In July, the School Committee was presented with the final Collins Center report. This report highlighted repairs that are needed at both Ashby Elementary School and Hawthorne Brook Middle School. A portion of the report included four potential options for AES, two of which involved renovations and two of which involved the closure of AES. In early August, the School Committee met in person at AES. Superintendent Morgan gave a tour to the School Committee and members of the public. Following the tour, several Ashby parents and citizens spoke during public comment emphasizing their desire to keep AES open. The School Committee unanimously agreed that they would like to learn more about possible options to keep AES open. The School Committee voted to form the AES Building Committee to thoroughly review and discuss options and to make a recommendation to the full School Committee. At a later meeting, members of the AES Building Committee were appointed. These members comprise School Committee members, North Middlesex administration and staff, and community members from Ashby.
The district’s regional agreement was written in the 1960s and has since undergone several revisions, although not in recent years. The Policy Subcommittee has been working with the schools, town officials, state officials, and legal counsel for several years to update the regional agreement. The major change to the document was an amendment to use a 5-year rolling average of student enrollment when determining the costs for the operating budget and capital projects, which was requested by town leadership in all three member towns. Previously, this was assessed on an annual basis. The Policy Subcommittee hosted a community meeting for feedback from members of each town. The School Committee unanimously voted to send the proposed changes to the regional agreement to the state for further review.
Budget summits with school administration and town officials