Board Takeaways - 4.2.19

The Essex Westford School Board met on April 2nd, 2019. Highlights of the meeting included:
  • The Board was presented with the second update we've received this year from Arik Mortensen and Ellen Thompson, centered around Personalized Learning Plans (PLP's) within the EWSD district. The link to their full presentation can be found HERE (Link to:

    This year has seen EWSD make great strides both in the implementation of PLP's throughout all our schools and in the amount of feedback we are acting on in relation to student voice in this process.

    To that end, Arik and Ellen held forums with teams of students in each school serving students in grades 6-12 to address receive student feedback on PLPs. 

    Specifically they explored the connection of PLP's to students themselves, where our learners could give voice to what they think is working in the current system and what further goals they would like to see implemented.

    Time has been set aside within the school day for all 6-12th graders to be able to focus on their PLP's, though presently this time does vary from school to school. As we go forward, a district-wide task team will continue to meet over the summer for continued development of the PLP process, including embedding them within our current educational plans and continued further collaboration between students, teachers and our administration.

  • The EWSD Board was joined by Police Chief Rick Garey, Captain Ron Hoague, Officer Michael Roberto and EWSD's Director of Security, Bill Laware. Due to the retirement of our last School Resource Officer (SRO), the Essex PD, working with the EWSD admin, has assigned Officer Roberto as the new SRO.

    Officer Roberto  will be based at EHS, though also available to all district schools as needed. The SRO position exists as a supplement to existing security staff at our schools and will also focus on building relationships with students and staff to develop a level of comfort with a police presence within the district.

    This will bring an additional level of safety as he works with our existing school security structure. Chief Garey would like to, over the next several years, see the hiring of two additional SRO's in addition to  Officer Roberto, who would focus on the K-8 schools in the ToV and the Junction respectively through a shared funding model. These SRO's would also work with Westford as well, with the understanding that the VT State Police have jurisdiction in that community.

    In the past the Essex PD and the State Police has worked very closely to ensure cooperation over issues that would impact the operations at the Westford School. After this very informative session the Board approved an MOU between the district and the Essex PD detailing the relationship of the SRO and the schools.  

  • As part of our continuing self-assessment the EWSD Board heard a presentation by Board Member Liz Subin regarding the the goal: To Understand and Monitor the Impact of Equity Issues on the EWSD Community. This monitoring report can be found HERE. (Link to: Throughout the year to date, the EWSD Board has participated in facilitated discussions around the book Building Equity and has learned how improving equity throughout the district will improve outcomes for all learners.

    In December, in collaboration with Voices for Education, a community summit focused on equity and inclusion was attended by close to 80 community members and 5 members of the EWSD board.  Our administration has been thoughtful about reporting student data through an equity lens and budget discussions this year also included how spending falls within the framework set in Building Equity. This is an ongoing goal that the board is in partial compliance with at this time.