Board Takeaways - 2.19.19

The Essex Westford School Board met on February 19th, 2019. Highlights of the meeting included:

  • Jamie Smith, EWSD's Transportation Manager delivered highlights around the most recent busing update.

    The Board received a status on driver recruitment and retention, as well as a re-design of how to approach Essex Junction's routes to drop the number of needed drivers from 6 to 3 to provide more limited service.

    Also included in this meeting was the news that Green Mountain Transit, the local public bus service, is considering eliminating Route #4 that currently passes through Essex Center, around Sandhill Road and then back through Five Corners via River Road.

    This route has been used since the beginning of the school year to help mitigate the impact caused by the loss of some busing services before the start of the school year. Jamie also relayed that he is in discussions with GMT to look into the possibility of neighborhood specialty services like those offered in Burlington that might help cover the Village routes.  

  • Grace Lu and Laura Printon delivered a student report to the full Board that can be found HERE. (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1v-DeG7YWBqx7_0QQ_hR2o_RavVDuGWRs/view) Grace and Laura are working with Principal Reardon to organize teams to visit other schools in the County to gain perspective on PLP's with schools that have implemented them and had success in their creation.

    They also reported back on ideas that students have had at the school level around gym credits for sport involvements, open campus privileges for seniors and specific guidelines for the Student Representative role on the EWSD Board. 

  • The Board continued their budget work, specifically surrounding the request for two proposed increases over last year's budget. The first was the addition of 5 additional SEL's (Social and Emotional leaders) district-wide.

    These leaders will join 3 current specialists that we have currently working that are needing to divide their time between the eight K-8 schools we have now. The total of 5.0 FTE's would allow us to assign one to each of our K-8 schools, allowing for much greater support for the learners that are struggling to have their needs met from a social-emotional standpoint.

    It would allow the creation of more detailed learning plans and greater familiarity with the students they will be working with, reducing the overall workload of other staff within the building who are needing to deviate from their scheduled work time to address these learners with additional needs.

    The second proposal was the recommendation of moving to a co-principal model between EES and FMS.

    Due to the student populations at these schools our current principals find that they cannot meet the needs of both students and staff in an effective manner.

    This proposal would add a third principal in addition to retaining Wendy Cobb and Peter Farrell and the three school leaders would work together to address the two schools in a manner still to be decided.

    The Board will hear more about these proposals at our next scheduled meeting as well. Please see budget discussion and material at the following link HERE (https://www.ewsd.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&ModuleInstanceID=8810&ViewID=7b97f7ed-8e5e-4120-848f-a8b4987d588f&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=15939&PageID=4522)