WILMINGTON — Last Wednesday’s School Committee meeting contained a public comment, two seniors recognized with the Superintendent’s Award, and MASC resolutions, along with a few other items.
The main point of the only in-person public comment was the remote students in cohort C are only getting one day of teacher-directed time.
“I understand that enormous amounts of time went into hybrid planning,” the resident said. “I understand that we can’t triple the amount of teachers.”
His proposal was for all high school learning to be remote for a certain period of time so that the older students who are perfectly capable of extended remote learning could have five days of synchronous learning instead of one or two per week depending on their learning model.
After that, Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand brought high school seniors Jessie Ding and Miriam Nelson in one at a time to present them with the Massachusetts Association of Schools Superintendent’s Award.
“This award is intended to be given to seniors who have distinguished themselves in the pursuit of excellence,” he said.
He recognized Ding and Nelson’s many achievements, extracurricular activities, and potential college majors.
The committee next heard from Paul Ruggerio requesting that their Dec. 9 meeting which would spend time on the fiscal year 2022 budget be moved to Dec. 16. He also asked for the Jan. 13 meeting to become the 20th to allow more preparation time for the official budget hearing in mid-February. The only concern brought up was that they’d only have one meeting per month in both December and January.
In the end, they decided to add Jan. 20 for the budget update and keep Jan. 13 in case there are other important topics to discuss.
Jo Newhouse then addressed the dire need of volunteers for SEPAC, or the Special Education Parent Advisory Council.
“In my opinion, it’s a great opportunity for parents to be able to help advise the School Committee and give input on special education needs in the district.”
She said she’d be inviting anyone interested in joining the SEPAC volunteer board to a zoom meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. via an email to all parents with students on IEPs. She also asked any questions be sent to her at email@example.com.
Led by M.J. Byrnes, the committee went through a number of resolutions from the Massachusetts Association for School Committees for which they could endorse, edit, or take no position. They agreed to endorse by not further discussing resolutions covering COVID-19 state funding, anti-racism, supporting increased federal support and stimulus funding for public k-12 education, retention of Medicaid revenue, attempts by US DOE to direct funding to private schools, membership of School Committee member on board of DESE, and providing equity and LGBTQ+ teachers and staff.
The first resolution that they dialogued was about MCAS and high stakes testing. Jenn Bryson made a motion to remove the phrase “for three years” so that it would only refer to high stakes testing for 2020-2021. While Jay Samaha wanted to keep it and Byrnes wanted to see it left up to the district, the board ended up voting in favor of the motion.
They next considered the resolution to lower the voting age for municipal elections.
David Ragsdale said, “I flat out reject one of the statements [it makes]: that 16-17 year olds possess the same level of thinking as 18 year olds.”
Some committee members agreed with the sentiment of the resolution but couldn’t support it in actuality. A few of them mentioned needing to do more research before they could decide, but they ended up voting to oppose.
Another resolution up for discussion was one relative to the monitoring of attendance of students during the pandemic. Steve Bjork was concerned about it being taken too liberally, but others said that districts shouldn’t be held accountable the same way now as they have been before for attendance.
“I think it’s close enough to the details that you know what they’re going for, but broad enough that it would have to be pinned down in more detail. I’m comfortable as it’s written to support,” said Ragsdale.
They voted unanimously to support this resolution.
In subcommittee reports, Samaha summed up the recent work of the Equity Subcommittee, which made a mission statement to “promote a welcoming educational environment for all students… advance diversity, equity, and inclusion for families, students, and staff.”
Bryson echoed that the work has been exciting so far.
The School Committee’s next meeting will be Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in the WHS media room, followed by Dec. 16 and then Jan. 13.