Town Crier

WILMINGTON — Dur­ing the School Commit­tee meeting last Wednes­day night, Wilmington High School Senior Ange­lyn Ciampa opened the meeting with an update as the committee’s high school representative. She updated the committee on how the students have transitioned to a new schedule for their W2 block.

She shared that the sen­iors had virtual sessions, while the underclassmen used their time to work on the Vision of a Grad­uate. They’ve also used time set aside to meet with teachers and hold meetings.

She said the school’s sports teams would be promoting breast cancer awareness at their up­coming games and having their annual senior nights. They’ve also made plans for volunteering already with the 8th Grade Open House or Wilming­ton’s seniors.

The committee members said that they ap­preciated the detail and insight into the student community.

In public comments, re­sident Jeffrey Cohen referenced statements from the National Education Association promoting study that critiques ra­cism, ableism, and other forms of oppression. He suggested that Wilming­ton is teaching Critical Race Theory under di­ver­sity, equity, and inclusion or social justice.

Another resident spoke up after that to suggest examining the curriculum and including narratives in education that haven’t been taught.

Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand brought up the Department of Elemen­tary and Secondary Edu­cation’s update for the mask requirement for all students and staff to remain in place until at least Nov. 1 in the Super­intendent’s Report. He shared that if a school reaches 80 percent vaccination among students and staff, DESE would permit those who are vaccinated to not wear masks in school.

The current vaccination rates that Brand re­ported from the middle school were 39 percent among students and 80 percent among staff, and at the high school there are 71 percent of students and 78 percent of staff vaccinated.

He credited low COVID-19 positive cases in school to students, staff, and families all working hard and doing the right thing with mitigation strategies.

M. J. Byrnes asked what protections are in place for unvaccinated students who can’t wear masks due to medical conditions. Brand said these situations are handled on a case-by-case basis by the school nurse.

Brand also presented a new Performing Arts sche­dule for the year, which he said would be broadly promoted, created by band teacher Anita DiLullo.

He then gave an update that the district submitted an education profile and enrollment documents to the MSBA for the Wildwood School project. This covered things like how they might use the space and design the education program in the new building. He also men­tioned that all of this information would be put up on the district website.

Brand sent a memo related to the timeline shift for the school im­provement plans to be created by the newly im­plemented School Coun­cils. While the policy subcommittee had met, they had not found that changes were necessary to the policy, so the plan would be moving forward with what the committee had approved as it stood.

Director of Administra­tion and Finance Paul Ruggiero shared the status of the fiscal year 2023 budget planning and the fiscal year 2021 revolving account. For 2023, they had just sent out bud­get materials to all of the town’s department heads and school leaders with a due date at the end of October. The town manager’s bud­get presentation would fall in January before the budget hearing and then Fi­nance Committee meetings.

For the fiscal year 2021 re­volving account, he said they were ending with balances in the black and set up to control expenses. David Rags­dale cal­led out the expense for lost books as being seemingly large, but Rug­giero said that this was amount pretty typical.

The committee had in­tended to discuss each of the resolutions for the annual Massa­chusetts Asso­ciation of School Committees conference, but they only got through initial discussions around one resolution and ap­proved some to move forward. They voted in Byrnes as their MASC Confer­ence representative.

The resolutions that they voted to promote as written were for the homework gap and WI-FI, IDEA full-funding, re­cess, and electric school buses. The ones that they wanted to discuss and propose edits to before sending on to the conference were related to funding for school-based clinics and services, zero tolerance policies, alternative to MCAS, School Committees and receivership, and prohibiting the use of Na­tive American mascots.

Melissa Plowman shar­ed her concern about the resolution on dedicated funding for school-based physical and mental health services. She particularly didn’t like the use of the word “clinics” or the inclusion of mental health clinics during the school day without parents or caregivers.

Several committee mem­bers suggested that they especially liked the addition of funding for re­sour­ces and support, and that they didn’t in­terpret it to in­clude mental health trauma work during school. Byrnes asked if she and Plowman could meet before the next meeting to work on proposed language changes to bring before the committee at that time.

The only subcommittee report was from the Family Outreach Subcom­mittee. Jenn Bryson men­tioned that they met with the parent advisory group and helped them to create a survey to be sent out next week.

The School Commit­tee’s next meeting will be on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.

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