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Daily Buzz | Superintendent Evaluation Highlights District Programs in English Learning, Special Education, Mental Health
Also, teen library summer craft pickup today
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Good Morning, Neighbors!
Fox Hill School was awarded with a “Signs and Lines” bronze level award from the state’s Safe Routes to Schools program for 2023. The signs and lines are in place now, and a safe Routes to School task force was also formed; they will be working with the police department and the Fox Hill principal and assistant principal over the summer.
This comes at a time when the conversation about the new elementary school has brought traffic concerns around Fox Hill to the forefront. The hope with this work is to increase safety so that more students will choose alternative transportation methods to get to school both now and in the future.
Also on Monday, the School Committee reviewed Superintendent Eric Conti’s performance review for the public. Dr. Conti began the conversation by referencing recent conversations about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, saying, “…really it’s the primary focus of what we all do, and I think we’ve made some tremendous efforts and some progress this year...” He emphasized that DEI is the work of everybody and is the primary focus of a district administrator.
Burlington’s strategic objectives, as you’ll notice outlined on School Committee agendas, are learning, equity, and thriving, and Dr. Conti mentioned his appreciation for the underlying theme of kindness and caring in these objectives and in the equity statement the School Committee reads at the beginning of each meeting.
Dr. Conti then spent some time outlining several initiatives the school district has undertaken this year to ensure all students can thrive at BPS, categorized by stakeholder:
Student equity groups at each school
Equity Audit (still in the works)
School Climate Survey
Soliciting info from families via surveys
SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council), ELPAC (English Learner Parent Advisory Council), THRIVE mental health council
Access and Outcomes data, including the creation of several dashboards to succinctly summarize data so it’s useful for staff
More diversity among new hires, including implicit bias training for hiring committee members
Elimination of fees for programs
Financial assistance policies and procedures
New messaging system that uses text messaging and auto-translates for families who prefer to receive information in a language other than English
Next was a presentation by Director of English Learning Kerri Lamprey, Director of Special Education Christina Cicolini, and Director of Mental Health Christine Conceison, to go more deeply into some of the initiatives mentioned above.
English Learner Program Highlights:
Alternative Academy Day Program to begin in the fall
Kindergarten Expedition summer program for multilingual incoming kindergarteners
English language classes for adults
Messaging that allows families to communicate in home language
Heath Clinics, partnerships with local dentists
Cambridge Street Closet donations of clothing and personal items, etc.
Transportation grant in process to provide transportation for families to school events, etc.
Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health Program Highlights:
Bilingual student counseling groups
Outside telehealth counseling in multiple language to provide support to students and families
Embedded counselors in all grades K-12
Piloting evidence-based SEL curriculum in K-5 with a dedicated SEL block next year
Working with state programs to enhance practices and PD around mental health
Housing Families Partnership
Community Mental Health Book Club
Special Education Program Highlights
Expanded programming, including Unified Basketball, working with LABBB to keep medically fragile students in the community
Accessibility policies and procedures for all after school programs
Parents have opportunity to provide feedback after every team meeting
Partnerships with specialized instructional programming including Social Thinking and Orton Gillingham to ensure teachers are trained
Professional Development partnerships with NECC and Landmark
Simonds Park summer programs
Community day trips
The conversation concluded with Chair, Martha Simon, reading out a summary of Dr. Conti’s evaluation by the School Committee (Remember, their 3 responsibilities are (1) Set policy; (2) Vote on budget; (3) Hire and evaluate superintendent.). I won’t go into the details, but his review was satisfactory and, after an executive session, he was offered a contract for the coming school year with a 3% raise and a one-time $10,000 bonus.
Today in Burlington
Meetings and Events
Friday, June 30
All Day, Opening at 10:00 AM - Teen Summer Craft Kits
10:30 AM - Drop-in Flicks & Crafts at the Library
7:00 PM - Summer String Art Class (Made in Burlington event; Register)
Saturday, July 1
11:00 AM-1:30 PM - Afternoon Off Doll Club at the Library (Drop-in)
Sunday, July 2
Don’t forget that town offices are closed, and the 4th of July Parade will be happening, on Tuesday, July 4.
See you soon, Burlington!