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What You Missed at School Committee Meeting

The School Committee reviewed its goals for the school year and gave its input on resolutions to be presented to the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

1. Retirees were recognized at Tuesday’s meeting and were each given a rose and brief reception that overlapped with the presence of the Framingham Teachers Association.

2. The School Committee voted unanimously to rescind the JNR-3 policy for a full-day kindergarten fee.

3. School Committee Vice Chairman Beverly Hugo presented drafts for resolutions to be presented to the Massachusetts Association for School Committees (MASC). The three resolutions were well received by other committee members but are still in need for some fine-tuning. The resolutions are not officially due to the state until July 1.

The first resolution is to establish a special commission to study federally mandated reports that look at student achievements. Hugo pointed that this work is cumbersome for administrators and should be handled by a separate agency.

The second resolution is a pilot study for gifted students in Massachusetts to determine the effect and value of gifted and talented education. Essentially, Hugo wants to create a program to measure gifted students using numbers and data. While fellow School Committee members see the merits of such a program, committee chair David Miles called this “a tough sell” in terms of introducing such a program to other school districts.

Committee member Adam Blumer estimated that only 20 percent of districts in Massachusetts even use the term "gifted and talented" to classify their best students.

The third resolution is to recalculate the formula that determines the cost of education every child in a school district. 75 percent of any costs over $200,000 per student should be covered by the legislature. Hugo said that this would give districts much needed financial relief.

4. District Goals (all of which can be found on the Framingham School Committee website) were reviewed at the meeting as well. The first of which will be discussed at the next meeting.

The second goal was to realign framework for math, literacy, science and social studies. The committee decided that this goal had been met for the school year. More complex math problems are being practiced in classrooms and more complex texts have been added to the curriculum for students in grades Pre-K through 8. Even students that are at a lower reading level are being introduced to complex texts. Also, the writing curriculum has been adjusted to include writing that responds to texts rather than just narrative writing.

The third goal was to create learning communities with periodic reports in all the schools. This goal has been met for the school year by introducing classroom embeds for math and ELA, school-based professional development plans, and summer work for students who need them. Fuller Middle School, Brophy Elementary, and McCarthy Elementary have been working with District and School Assistance Centers (DSACs) for the state department of education to make progress within these learning communities.

The fourth goal that has been met is to invest in a better technology environment for all the schools by introducing hardware, software, and professional development. The primary focus has been to get new laptops for high school teachers and use remaining funds to get laptops for middle and elementary school teachers, replace broken projectors, and expand servers to support a virtual desktop. There are also designs to get new labs in elementary schools.

“It was nice to see the town meeting support [this] without asking questions,” said Superintendent Steven Hirsche.

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