Town Crier

The School Committee received presentations re­garding the high school Parent Advisory Council and school safety, among other items for discussion, in their meeting this past Wednesday night.

First, middle school representative Gabriel DeFig­ueiredo named a few re­cent ongoings at the school including an introduction to high school courses, basketball march madness and volleyball competitions, Panorama and MARC lessons, and a Ro­botics Club competition. Some upcoming events were highlighted such as an 8th grade dance on March 16 and MCAS starting April 3.

The co-presidents of the high school Parent Advi­sory Council (PAC) presented on their formation and the work they’d done so far. Stephanie Almeda started by explaining that this PAC just reformed out of a group of like-minded parents after being dissolved in 2016.

Megan Howie shared their goals of sponsoring enrichment programs and speakers, staff appreciation events, student celebratory events, and scholarships for graduating seniors. The PAC would also focus on teacher-student events and donation drives.

In an effort to do so, they began their fundraising stage as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, raising over $2,200 from a donation cam­paign of Superbowl squares. This allowed the group to restock the staff breakrooms at the high school with snacks and drinks and hold a staff appreciation luncheon. The luncheon fea­tured a prize wheel and shoutouts written by students. Their next event will be sponsoring an ice cream party for the class that gets the most points in an up­coming March Madness competition.

They welcomed any in­terested parents, students, and teachers to find them on Facebook, send donations via Venmo, or reach out via email if they want to volunteer. They hoped that parents would be more willing to commit to a smaller obligation. While they haven’t set up a meet­ing schedule yet, they plan­ned to begin quarterly meetings.

The committee seemed to agree that opening up opportunities for parents to volunteer would help to bridge the space between home and school.

Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand assured the committee that these efforts brought great response from the high school staff already.

A few key items up for approval that night were WEF grant awards and the WHS program of studies. Melissa Plowman brought up the grant money awarded to district staff of al­most $15,000 toward curriculum and additional grants in other areas. Chair Dr. Jenn Bryson read out the various grants, and then the committee approv­ed them.

A small formatting mistake and missed corrections were brought up to be corrected before the WHS program of studies for 2023-2024 was approved.

Under the revolving ac­count for fiscal year 2023, Assistant Superintendent Paul Ruggiero explained that there was a charge placed mistakenly which put an account in the red.

Brand shared school safety updates that had been made recently in terms of training and facilities. They provided ALICE training to the entire staff and student body, bomb threat training to administrative assistants, and first aid training to first aid staff. Facilities updates included redeployment of safety buckets for lockdown and emergency readiness, ex­panding the RAPTOR man­agement system to all schools, completing an in­terior door lock audit, and replacing the Aiphone systems at all elementary schools allowing the front office to communicate about visitors.

IT Director Ken Lord de­tailed an overview of the “I Love U Guys” unification training which he and several school resource and police officers attended. He mentioned that the procedures were provided for any type of event, in­cluding nonviolent ones, regarding the reunification of students to their parents. There were drills and tabletop exercises completed.

Brand maintained that a firm plan is crucial to these incidents going well.

“When you as a parent/guardian send your child to school, they are in our care until they return home,” he said.

He assured the community that this program would help the school to create a solid plan for evacuation of schools.

M.J. Byrnes asked if the protocol changed from not releasing the reunification sites in advance to avoid them becoming targets. Lord replied that the program encourages the district to share the sites with parents so that they know what to do in these events.

“There has never been an incident where multiple schools are attacked at the same time,” he continued.

However, police would be at the evacuation site and at the home site to prevent parents going to the impacted school.

Stephen Turner agreed that it was important for parents to see that the district has a process in place.

Jesse Fennelly asked Lord to explain the safety bucket contents. He answered that these would contain things like rope, a door stop, a glass breaker, duct tape, an emergency blanket, and some first aid materials. Its purpose is to allow the teacher to barricade the room in the appropriate situation. The materials may be necessary for the adjoining room doors.

The only subcommittee report came from Plow­man saying that CPAC had recently held a workshop on dyslexia and would meet again the following week.

The committee’s next meeting will be on March 22 at 7 p.m.

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