WILMINGTON — During their meeting last Wednesday night, the Wilmington School Committee approved several grants, policies, and a new MOA with the Wilmington Teachers’ Association before they received updates on winter athletics, superintendent goals, school choice, the FY20 financial report, and their subcommittee and representative reports.
They first accepted the receipt of the Wilmington Educational Fund curriculum and educator’s exploration grants to various Wilmington teachers in totals of $3,348.26 and $1,500, respectively. They also approved the ratification of the return to full in-person Memorandum of Agreement with the WTA.
Reading some School Committee policies again, they approved all but one without question. The policy that did bring up questions was the entrance age policy.
School Committee member M.J. Byrnes asked if the policy would be changed to add the establishment of any criteria to assess student readiness. Jenn Bryson maintained that this would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Jay Samaha thought that while it didn’t have to be in the policy, it should be part of the process to make parents aware of the criteria. They agreed that they shouldn’t be promoting reasons to ask for an age exception policy to parents and guardians.
David Ragsdale presented two minor wording edits to make it say “parents and guardians who are seeking an exception to the entrance age policy,” and the committee approved the policy with these changes.
Athletic Director Mia Muzzio next gave a winter athletics and summer clinics update for the committee. She highlighted the sports played over the winter — boys and girls basketball, boys and girls hockey, and swim — and the students on each team that were recognized by the league. She also shared that cheerleading and wrestling had been approved for the spring season.
Other updates she included were the district instituting Student Athletes of the Month and finalizing or revising some of their policies and guidelines.
For summer clinics, she said they’re hosting 10 clinics for nine different sports over the course of five weeks, beginning on July 6. These will cost $200 per week and cover sports including soccer, tennis, field hockey, basketball, and volleyball. There will also be a strength and conditioning program called Prep for Success which is available to any student for $50/week or $250 for all six weeks.
Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand later introduced some updates to the goals that he had established in the beginning of the year. For the goals of a high school program and vision of a graduate and middle school program configuration, the only thing changed were the proposed timelines. However, he placed the third goal, the elementary school configuration, on hold due to the developments with the Massachusetts School Building Authority acceptance. This would overlap with the work that he had intended to do under this goal.
While he at first said that perhaps he could choose a new goal, Bryson suggested that the superintendent’s work with the MSBA going forward would also be a sizeable task fitting of a goal. Brand seemed inclined to agree, knowing how many sizeable tasks would be coming in the first module of this process.
The School Committee next took their annual vote about school choice, which determines whether the district allows students from other districts to enroll here.
Ragsdale said, “Adding something on right now that we don’t have to do doesn’t seem at all a wise decision. Absolutely not the time for us to approve school choice, but it’s something that we want to seriously consider in the future.”
The board agreed and voted not to participate in school choice.
The only update in the fiscal year 2020 end of year financial report from Paul Ruggerio was to say that he’s working with the town accountant on the cost allocation methodology.
The committee approved the superintendent’s contract for another three years and nominated Jesse Fennelly to be their representative to the new town hall/school administration building committee.
In subcommittee reports, Byrnes shared the MASC’s virtual “Day on the Hill” focusing on learning loss and ways to improve. Jo Newhouse mentioned a short SEPAC meeting happening the next day.
One item had come in correspondence, where Wilmington resident Melissa Plowman wrote to the committee asking them to rework the timelines for the middle school steering committee. She suggested that the time for step 1, review, was far too long, while the times set aside for steps 2 and 3 weren’t long enough.
Brand said a goodbye to Tristan Dixey as she finished her final meeting as Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and the School Committee.
“Anyone in that role serves as the glue, or Velcro, or duct tape that helps keep the work of the superintendent’s office and School Committee as a governing body going,” he continued.
He thanked Dixey for her time and commitment for the past six years and welcomed her replacement. Dixey thanked the committee for treating her well.
The next School Committee meeting will be on Wednesday, April 28 at 7 p. m. in the WHS media room.