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March 7, 2022

FHS SCHOOL COUNCIL:  March 7, 2022

Present:  Paula Carlson Cahill, Mike Feeney, Sanjay Govindarajan, Tom McManamon, Zorianna Petrosyan, and Paula Smith.


The meeting opened at 3:35 pm.


Covid-19  - We no longer have a mask mandate in our schools - wearing a mask is optional and some staff & students and teachers are continuing to do so. Mr. McManamon has been asking students and staff and has not heard of anyone being given a hard time for their choice (choosing to continue to wear a mask or not). Mr. Feeney has also checked in with teachers and students and reported the same, as did Ms. Smith and our student members. Mr. McManamon is glad to hear people are treating each other well.


MCAS  - Retests for juniors are being held this week. MCAS ELA for Grade 10 takes place March 22 and March 23. We will not have Clipper Time on those two dates, and on Mentor Monday, March 14th, we will schedule out for two weeks so that Monday, March 21st will be a regular Clipper Time period instead of a Mentor Monday.


Catch a Clipper works with our Vision of A Graduate #IAMACLIPPER - it’s a positive way to get the message out to students. A teacher who “catches a Clipper” demonstrating one of the CLIPPER qualities completes a google form, so that Mr. McManamon is aware. The plan is to recognize these students during class meetings, perhaps drawing a name to receive a prize (bumper sticker, gift card). Catch a Clipper has just begun and we already have names submitted. Zorianna mentioned that this should really flourish next year when we start the year with it already up and running.


Student Handbook - we have not received any recommendations for change or feedback from Council members.


We discussed the NEASC visit and key findings:  NEASC used to visit once every 10 years. Now they visit two times within the 10 years - we self-assess, set goals and work toward them. The chair of the visiting team was on-site while the rest of the team members zoomed into classrooms and meetings. The team was impressed by the extremely strong relationships evident between students and staff and how students made it clear they have an adult they can turn to if/when needed and by our commitment to cultural proficiency and restorative practices. We were praised for:

  1. Clipper Time - for the overall help and support it provides students, and how it allows for directed interventions, tiered and otherwise.
  2. The range of supports and programs to support students’ academic, vocational and social-emotional learning with the Bridge Program highlighted for the support it provides for the at-risk student population it serves.
  3. Our curriculum units - which will continue on as living documents.
  4. Courses within the CVTE Program for their commitment to personalized, authentic, project-based learning.
  5. The Vision of the Graduate - while acknowledging the next steps we know we must take to roll it out and fully implement it.  As we began to kick this into gear, it was March 2020 so we made a conscious decision not to put this onto student plates then, they already had enough dealing with the pandemic, so now we are working to hear and involve more students and if we need to revise any part, please let Mr. McManamon know.
  6. Classroom instruction - acknowledging that some instruction needs to be less lecture-bases and more interactive and data-driven and further professional development focused on differentiation and co-teaching would be beneficial.

FHS was noted for being incredibly clean, well maintained, and safe. We will continue to implement a schedule to train students and staff with respect to ALICE protocols.


Today’s DESSA pilot survey from Aperture Education was discussed - this is a social emotional screener for students that, once completed, allows students to log back in, find what were identified as strengths and find information on how to build skills in other areas. This is highly regarded and used in many schools nationwide. K-8 students complete the survey with a teacher while 9-12 students complete the survey on their own. Joan Woodward & Nancy Ashworth get the data first and if a student seems to need more support, students would then complete a next level of survey with an adult. 60% of students completed it today and students will be given a reminder next week to finish. One student mentioned disappointment with some results. Mr. McManamon would like to know if students think the results are inaccurate and encourages students and families to give concerns/feedback to him. Students could use the information / skill building results that come from it. The survey works with 8 competencies:  Self awareness; self management; social awareness, decision making, personal responsibility, optimistic thinking, relationship skills and goal directed behavior. We talked about how these are important tools for success, for students AND for adults. Think about if your car is redlining - what do you do? Apply that to people - if you’re experiencing anxiety - what do you do? A discussion followed involving how it’s important to note that everyone is smart with their own strengths, how the information may be used, whether students would be “targeted” for their answers (no, we would hold tactful conversations), how it’s great that we’re discussing social emotional health to create the most supportive, nurturing environment possible, and how we would get resources to students who show need. 

Mr. McManamon tied this with the work FHS is doing with Jessica Minahan, a noted behaviorist, who has been FEF grant-funded to consult on student behaviors so then we can expand the strategies further. One in four students experience anxiety or depression and most are undiagnosed. It is not yet a common language, so they don’t necessarily see it and recognize that they can work on those feelings. This survey could be helpful with that by creating a common language for all.


If you have any Agenda Items you’d like to be included on future agendas, please email them to Mr. McManamon or to Ms. Carlson Cahill.


Mr. McManamon reminded all that his door is always open! 


Upcoming Meetings:  Our next meeting is scheduled for May 9 at 3:30 pm in the FHS Library. 

The meeting adjourned at 4:30 pm.