Brookline School Board Highlights Community Efforts and Presents Policies – The Sagamore

TAEYU KIM/SAGAMORE STAFF

The Brookline School Committee (BSC) met virtually via Zoom on March 24 at 6 p.m. to discuss recent efforts across the district, listen to community members about issues raised, and discuss potential new policies that could be adopted soon.

The Brookline School Committee (BSC) met virtually through Zoom on March 24 at 6 p.m. to provide updates on various community efforts and discuss reforms to vote on.

Superintendent Dr. Linus Guillory presented the Superintendent’s Report which provided updates on COVID-19 statistics, recent efforts by the Offices of Equity and Human Resources, and community engagement in public schools of Brookline (PSB).

Guillory also presented the Spotlight on Excellence Award to Baker School Grade 1 teacher Laura Richardson for receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and to Pierce Partners Making Connections, a group of students blacks and latinos from the Pierce school support each other.

Members of the Brookline Educators Union (BEU) spoke during the recorded public comment session. Mark Goldner, science professor at Heath School, said the BSC should work with the BEU to establish fair grievance rights and retention for PSB staff.

“We must work together for the good of our students and your children. Every time an employee feels exploited, taken advantage of, or treated unfairly, morale is further eroded,” Goldner said. “Brookline already has one of the lowest teacher retention rates among districts in Massachusetts. Is this really the time to play tough with educators, erode morale and play power games with the union over the grievance process? »

During public comment, students presented issues they want to see addressed by the BSC. Several students have called for “Meatless Mondays” and more vegetarian and vegan options in neighborhood cafeterias.

Freshman Ezra Kleinbaum said the environmental footprint of meat products ties directly into the sustainability lessons the district wants to teach students.

“Meat is incredibly bad for the environment. When it comes to food, we know that meat, poultry and fish have the biggest footprint,” Kleinbaum said. “If we really want to fight climate change in our schools with sustainable habits, we need to reduce the amount of meat, poultry and fish we use in our cafeterias.”

Junior Asher Ferreira said the BSC must represent students and parents of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) by amending the BSC election guidelines and allowing a METCO representative on the BSC.

“METCO’s lack of representation exacerbates existing equity issues. [We] request that the school committee consider changing the requirements for elections as well as the possibility of adding a METCO parent representative to the school committee. Both of these are essential,” Ferreira said.

PSB K-12 Principals presented their School Improvement Plans (SIPs) which outline goals regarding cultural responsiveness, tracking progress in school engagement, a new school calendar that reflects the values ​​of the school and emphasizes the importance of providing an equitable education for all students.

Heath School Principal Asa Sevelius said the school is working with educators to understand how to better serve students with disabilities and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and of Color) students.

“We are in the process of understanding how our work as educators impacts our students and how we need to adjust our practice so that all of our students, including students with disabilities and our BIPOC students, can have the results of learning and the most equitable social outcomes. as possible,” Sevelius said.

Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Casey Ngo-Miller shared a report on the district’s special education programs and said he has seen disparities in special education enrollment by race and socio-economic status. economic.

“Our Black and African American students are twice as likely to be deemed eligible for special education. Our Latino and Hispanic students are almost twice as likely to be eligible for special education. Our Asian and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) students are only half as likely, which we know does not reflect our overall student population,” Ngo-Miller said. “They also found that students of lower socioeconomic status are twice as likely to be deemed eligible for special education.”

Guillory and BSC member Mariah Nobrega provided an update on the draft fiscal year 2023 budget and general student enrollment. Guillory said the PSB expects a full resumption of student enrollment for the next school year.

“We expect a full and complete resumption of enrollment in all schools for the next school year. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly reduced our enrollment forecast, but that should be normal and normal for next year, so we are looking forward to that,” Guillory said.

BSC Vice President David Pearlman presented the six actions on the school board’s agenda.

The BSC postponed the vote on the proposed PSB Sustainability Policy, PSB Pesticide Policy and PSB Physical Restraint Policy. Members also discussed having a METCO representative attend all future meetings, but due to potential legal and tax constraints, they were unable to make a motion to vote. Valerie Frias, member of the BSC, said seeking further clarification and information regarding these legal constraints should be a priority.

At the last meeting, the BSC presented the first draft of a statement regarding recent racial, homophobic, and anti-Semitic incidents at the high school, but deferred a final reading and draft until the next meeting.

The last item on the agenda was a discussion of a possible vote to establish a BSC equity sub-committee, but due to questions raised by BSC members Helen Charlupski and Jennifer Monopoli regarding the intent and structure of the subcommittee, the BSC deferred the vote to the next meeting on April 7.