TEWKSBURY — The School Committee met on Wednesday, May 20, for a virtual meeting to recognize academic excellence of the TMHS Class of 2020.
The committee acknowledged the achievements of Tewksbury Memorial High School’s graduating seniors in a special section of the meeting. 66 seniors graduated as members of National Honor Society, and district superintendent Chris Malone read out the names of the seniors to the board.
Assistant superintendent Brenda Regan listed 28 students who achieved cum laude distinction, meaning they ended their four years at TMHS with between a 3.6 and 3.8 grade point average (GPA). 42 students received magna cum laude distinction with a GPA between 3.81 and 4.0. 49 students received summa cum laude distinction with a GPA of 4.1 or higher.
11 students were recognized in the top five percent of the class, and committee member John Stadtman read a resolution of recognition to honor these students.
The committee honored the three top ranking students in the class: Elizabeth Taggart, class marshal, University of Richmond; Megan Cunningham, salutatorian, University of Connecticut-Storrs; and Victoria Schille, valedictorian, University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Outgoing TMHS principal Kristen Vogel reviewed the schedule for the remainder of the year to honor seniors. Caps and gowns as well as celebratory yard signs were sent to seniors’ homes, and the last day of remote learning for seniors will be May 29. On May 31, the district will recognize spring senior athletes with a slideshow.
From June 2 to 4, seniors and their families will have a scheduled time to receive their diploma and yearbook and have their photo taken with family. The commencement ceremony video will be sent to families on June 5, and will be publicly available on June 6 via Tewksbury Telemedia.
The school is tentatively planning for a senior cookout in late summer for students and their families, though the event will be subject to public health regulations should it occur. On June 10, fall sports signups will be sent to incoming ninth graders and a video to be released on June 11 will welcome ninth grade families to the high school.
In the superintendent and staff report, Malone spoke to the committee about grants available under the CARES act to offset lost money and help shore up budgets in the coming school year.
He mentioned that academic recovery programs and summer camps provided by the district may have to be pushed out depending on public health regulations, as currently, there is no in-person instruction until June 29.
The district is also seeking to refund spring sports fees and parking permits at the high school.
With Vogel leaving for the superintendent role in Lynnfield, the high school received 23 applications for the interim principal position.
The committee recognized food services staff as part of Governor Charlie Baker’s Lunch Heroes proclamation, school nurses for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the annual teacher appreciation week.
District art teachers are putting together a virtual art show for the community. Additionally, teachers will begin working on a plan to enter the schools in the upcoming weeks to collect educational materials and student belongings.
The committee also discussed moving the start of the school year, especially with a late Labor Day. Malone said that a survey showed that parents were highly in favor of an earlier start date and the teachers’ union was supportive.
The committee voted to move the first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year to Aug. 31, 2020.
The committee reviewed changes to the chain of communication and an update on quarter 3 report cards and special education progress reports.
Quarter 4 report cards will include comments on students’ participation in remote learning while being fair and equitable. The committee also accepted a $10,000 donation from the Ryan School PAC to improve the Ryan courtyard.
Business manager Dave Libby reviewed the school budget recommendations for FY21. The budget represents a 2.03 percent increase from FY20. The district currently intends to proceed with the budget as planned. The committee voted to approve the $61 million budget.
The committee reviewed statistics about distanced learning from a survey sent out to district parents. Administrators are planning to send out another parent-student survey about remote learning at the end of the year.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 10, 2020. Residents wishing to comment may find the call-in number on their screen and on the meeting agenda on the town website. The meeting may be viewed on Comcast channel 22 and Verizon channel 34.