At our last District Leadership Meeting, we spent our time on budget and compliance with Civil Rights expectations from the State and Federal levels. The leadership team made their recommendations for budget reductions to close the remaining budget gap. Patty and I will be presenting those recommendations Tuesday evening.
Finance and Operations
As the Committee is aware, Town Meeting was held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 2nd. We are so fortunate to live and work in a community that supports education to the level that Hudson does. I appreciate all of the citizens who came out to participate in the meeting and supported both the school budget and capital improvement projects for our buildings.
The Committee will be working with a new field representative from the MTA. Ted Lewis, the former liaison to the District, will now be working in the Higher Ed. Division of MTA. Our new field representative will be Melissa Rebello. Melissa is formerly the President of the Shrewsbury Public Schools Paraprofessional Association. I am looking forward to building a relationship with her as we continue to work closely with all of our professional associations.
Meeting with Kate Hogan
On Friday May 6th, I had the opportunity to meet with our State Representative Kate Hogan. We had a far-reaching discussion about the state of education in Massachusetts, the challenges that we face and the innovative approaches that we are taking to early childhood education, including free full-day kindergarten. Our discussion included the challenge of funding the first year of full-day kindergarten. Representative Hogan agreed to assist the District in uncovering any additional funding that might be able to carry us over the one year. She and I will begin meeting three times throughout the school year to discuss issues and success at the District and State levels. I am very appreciative of Representative Hogan for taking the time out of her schedule to meet with me to discuss some important issues facing the District.
Final Full-Day Kindergarten Meeting
I held a third full-day kindergarten meeting on Tuesday, May 3rd at the Mulready School. As has been the case at these meetings, parents had excellent questions and we had a great discussion. I would like to extend a special thank you to the kindergarten teachers, Kim Colbert and Julie McGowan, who attended these meetings. Julie and Kim provided great insight into the day of a kindergarten student that many parents found reassuring.
SEPAC Meeting Update
On Thursday, May 5, 2016, a group of four parents came to the SEPAC meeting held at 155 Apsley Street in the School Committee room at 6:00 p.m. Parents read and discussed the SEPAC by-laws and suggested changes. One parent will update the by-laws with the changes. Parents discussed aspects of SEPAC they would like to see. This group is essentially a new groups of parents who have not attended previous meeting this year through the process to activate SEPAC. The group decided to have a meeting on June 9, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at 155 Apsley Street. The agenda items will be continued work on the by-laws, learning about SEPAC, discussions about parent concerns and dates for next year’s meetings.
The Center for Educational Leadership and Technology (CELT) Grant
The Center for Educational Leadership and Technology (CELT) helps school districts and state departments of education throughout the country in the alignment of education reform and information technology. A vast majority of their work is out-of-state, but recently they were tapped to develop a proposal for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support a network of school districts in Massachusetts.
CELT invited the Hudson Public Schools to collaborate on a proposal forming a Massachusetts-based collaborative to be established through a New Venture Fund grant. The focus of the initiative is to fund networks of school districts/charter management organizations (CMOs) working together to improve the systems that impact teacher growth and development, govern curriculum and assessment materials, and/or dictate time and resource allocation policy and practice. The work for this grant will reflect the theory of action that student outcomes can significantly improve when school districts/CMOs integrate college-ready standards, curricula and instructional tools, teacher feedback, and professional development.
Hudson Public Schools has been selected as a potential candidate to be a major part of a Massachusetts hub for this grant. Benefits to our District for participating in this work include:
• Convenings with other districts/CMOs in the hub around best practices, lessons learned, professional development opportunities and content and system experiences;
• District-wide assessment of assets, deficits, and needs in the area of integration of college-ready standards, curricula and instructional tools, and teacher feedback and professional development;
• Shared planning with the other member school districts in the hub around the approaches to address the deficits and needs identified by the school district assessments; and
• Collaborative work to carry out the plan, which could include:
o Ongoing collaborative planning and implementation
o Sharing of tools, methods, professional development
o Potential joint procurements of systems, content, professional development, etc.
o Assistance with writing RFPs
o Assistance with implementation of new systems
• Sub-grant resources to help with stipends, travel, expenses, and local assistance to allow participation in the hub.
Though still a proposal and not a guarantee of funding, CELT has significant relevant experience in such collaborative work with major philanthropic foundations, they are confident that they can prepare a successful proposal.
By the Numbers for the Past Two Weeks
• 5 parent meetings
• 11 meetings with individual staff members
• 2 school visit for 3 hours each
• 5 meetings with individual Administrators
• 2 meetings with groups of Administrators
• NSIP Content Day
• 1 Labor Management meeting
• 1 meeting with Government official
• 253 emails sent
All enrollment numbers are up to date as of the writing of this report. They are unofficial numbers. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education collects snapshots of enrollment data three times per year October, March, and June. I will provide you with monthly enrollment numbers so that you can be aware of the amount of fluctuation that may or may not be occurring on a monthly basis.