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Daily Buzz | Share Your Thoughts With the Elementary School Building Committee
Community Meeting and Survey coming up in a few short days
Good Morning, Burlington!
The Elementary School Building Committee (SBC) will be hosting a Community Meeting next Monday, September 18, at 7PM at BHS. Please mark your calendars and come with your questions about the decision-making process and how the SBC’s ultimate choice will affect you. I have heard a lot in conversations over the last few weeks from folks who don’t have kids in school, or whose kids don’t attend Fox Hill and/or Pine Glen, and therefore (a) don’t feel like they should have an opinion or (b) don’t feel informed enough to speak on the topic.
This can’t be emphasized enough: The ultimate decision on this project will affect everyone in town. It will affect the future of our town, and it will affect our tax bills (as well as the commercial tax bills that keep residential taxes so low) for the next few decades. It is important that the SBC hear from as many community members as possible.
I’m working on an in-depth report to inform everyone prior to the Community Meeting, and despite juggling some wrenches I hope to have it available by the end of the week. In the meantime (and just in case I can’t move the mountain), please review all the school-building-related information available on the Buzz website so you can feel informed and prepared to participate in this meeting.
School Committee Recap
First Community Input Question Identified for Elementary Building Project
The School Committee discussed the logistics of using ThoughtExchange, the software the School Building Committee has selected to gather public input on the preference between a 325-student Fox Hill and a 640-student Fox Hill-Pine Glen “butterfly school” on the Fox Hill campus:
The initial question was agreed upon: “What are some important priorities and perspectives to consider as we plan for improvement of our school buildings?” This question will be posed on Monday at the Community Meeting, with a two-week comment period before potentially refining the question and posing another one.
There was more discussion about whether or not the need for eventual high school improvements should be included in the presentation of this question, and a side conversation about whether or not Pine Glen will receive attention in the coming years if not combined into this project: Member Massardo asserted Pine Glen “will not be touched for ten to fifteen years” and expressed concerns that the conversations up until this point might have led community members to believe Pine Glen would be the next project on the town’s docket. (There is near-universal agreement that the next large project should be the high school.) Member Monaco stated that she would ask Town Meeting for a feasibility study for Pine Glen in May and until it is approved. Pine Glen has already received Town Meeting funds for HVAC units to be installed into the classrooms and undergone some work over the summer with more expected, both as regular maintenance and to ensure the building works as well as possible for the staff and students inside it.
Another long conversation arose about whether or not demographic questions should be required; Members Monaco and Bond felt that respondents should be able to opt out but were outvoted 3-2 on the motion to make these questions optional. Member Brooks said he felt the demographic questions are important to be able to refine the data gathered and use the software as intended.
Some additional questions, called “sentiment” questions, are available on the survey, but they will not be used at this time.
Assistant Superintendent Update
Dr. Lisa Chen has been collaborating with curriculum specialists at the schools to review the math and science curricula to ensure vertical alignment between elementary, middle, and high school. One related note: All formative and summative assessments will be returned to students (except mid-terms, finals, and AP exams) so they can review and learn from them at home.
There will be two presentations on our Social-Emotional Learning curriculum we use as a district:
October 10 at Francis Wyman for elementary schools
October 19 at Marshall Simonds for the middle school
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Today in Burlington
Municipal Meetings and Community Events
8:00 AM - Ways & Means Subcommittee Town Hall 1 will continue discussing upcoming capital project, such as schools and the police station. (Town Hall Annex)
4:00 PM - Board of Assessors will hear a report on real estate values for FY24. (Town Hall)
4:30 PM - Shawsheen Policy Subcommittee will review and update the admission policy. (Shawsheen Tech)
6:00-8:00 PM - 6th Grade Back to School Night at Marshall Simonds Middle School
6:00 PM - 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group (Evening Session) - Self-Assessment and Transferrable Skills (Virtual library event; Register)
6:30 PM - Zoning Bylaw Review Committee will discuss articles/amendments to September Town Meeting and also look ahead to January articles, including the draft zoning articles for the 128/Mall Road corridor, Town Center signage district, and Accessory Use definitions. (Virtual)
Sports and Activities
Girls brought home a 4-1 soccer win from Reading yesterday. Boys fell to Reading 3-0, and the golf team lost in a close 38.5-33.5 match to Watertown.
Today our volleyball team hosts Lexington, with the freshman and junior varsity teams playing at 4:00 and varsity playing at 5:30. Field hockey is back at it in Stoneham with 4:00 (varsity) and 5:15 (JV) games. And, there will be a cross-country match in Winchester at 4:00. Outdoor sports are, of course, weather permitting.
Take care, neighbors, and I’ll see you tomorrow!