School committee hears TSEPAC update | New

TEWSKBURY — The Tewksbury School Committee met on June 8, 2022 at TMHS. All members were present.

The committee honored TPS retirees and school volunteers, and introduced TMHS Student Council Representative Rania Elouahi.

The committee reviewed a presentation on senior TMHS projects from vice-principal Michelle Dick and teacher Brian Gouthro. Students have the opportunity to take the last term of their senior year and practice the skills learned at TMHS in the real world.

197 out of 226 seniors took part in an internship or research project; students had internships in elementary schools and the police department, as well as local businesses and organizations. The students gave a public presentation fair and shared their work with parents and administrators.

Gouthro emphasized the civic component of the program, encouraging students to carry out projects that have an impact on society; he presented research on bilingual education, a crochet project to donate to the Tewksbury Public Library, and a picture book on women in science to distribute to elementary schools in the district.

The committee reviewed a year-end presentation from Maureen Castiglione, member of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council, and co-chair Dina Mancini. TSEPAC is a public body that advises the school committee on education and safety issues for students with disabilities, meeting regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development and evaluation of education programs district special.

Every public school district in the Commonwealth is required to establish a SEPAC; members can include parents, caregivers, residents, advocates, teachers, and staff who have children on IEPs or 504 plans; residents interested in participating in the council are invited to email tewksburysepac@gmail.com.

Mancini and Castiglione outlined several of the group’s 2021-2022 goals. TSEPAC achieved its first goal of participating in at least 10 community events, attending Safe Halloween, the Library Community Roundtable and the Strongwater Farm Open House, as well as hosting a meet and greet night with school board candidates.

The group also sought to develop professional and transparent communication, increasing its mailing list and its presence on social networks. TSEPAC held workshops with the district, hosted three parent support groups, and planned a basic rights workshop.

Mancini and Castiglione thanked director of special education Rick Pelletier for his support of the group.

Other accomplishments included teacher appreciation cards from families, a meeting with the school committee and the Federation for Children with Special Needs; a collaborative meeting with the Tewksbury Police Department, and advice and support on district policies relating to privacy issues, toilet procedures and the home services guide.

TSEPAC is looking forward to hosting more parent support groups, planning community activities with police and firefighters, and applying for a grant to install a communication board at one of the city’s playgrounds.

Finally, Mancini recognized Castiglione and fellow member Michelle Haley for their work supporting TSEPAC as their children age out of school.

Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Deb Mugford, presented the board with a year-end review of the district’s food programs, as well as a look ahead to next year.

The committee heard a presentation on the Corning Foundation’s sponsorship of a STEAM lab at the Dewing School. Principal Terry Gerrish, Deputy Principal Alexis Bosworth and STEAM teacher Charity Legvold, along with representatives from Corning; Corning Life Sciences is headquartered on North Street.

The Dewing received $12,000; Corning also sponsored STEAM labs at Ryan and Wynn Schools. Legvold worked to develop based on curriculum standards and STEAM components embedded in other subjects. Corning also helped fund the shelving and containers to organize the lab, and parents and employees volunteered to furnish the space.

The foundation intends to bring a similar laboratory to the school at Heath Brook.

Superintendent Brenda Theriault-Regan said Trahan principal Jay Harding will take over as principal of the new Center Elementary, Gerrish will become principal of Heath Brook and principal Purnima DeMorais will leave North Street. Additionally, the district convened a search committee to hire a new assistant superintendent.

Business manager Dave Libby said several projects were being tendered, including the resurfacing of Wynn’s roof and the expansion of Dewing’s main office and the installation of a vestibule. The district’s annual year-end audit to the state came back without issue. Libby continues to investigate the cost of satisfying public records requests at the request of the committee. The committee held readings on several policy items.

The committee reviewed several TMHS school trip opportunities for the next two years with world language teacher Bailey Mahoney. Travel, both international and domestic, has been planned jointly between departments and focuses on cross-disciplinary learning. The committee voted to allow travel planning and funding pending final committee approval. The committee also approved an out-of-state trip for the hockey team to attend a tournament in Maine.

The committee reminded parents and families that summer reading requirements and resources are available on the district website and the public library website, and closed the meeting by reviewing and approving the contract. two-year-old from Theriault-Regan.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 20, 2022. The meeting can be viewed on Comcast Channel 22 and Verizon Channel 34.