November 19, 2018
Present: Paula Carlson Cahill, Deb Coulombe, Mary Gans, Nancy Quigg and Cindy Tran.
Most student members were unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.
Meeting opened at 3:15 pm - Co-chairs Deb Coulombe and Kathy Martino were elected.
A Vaping discussion took place about this very serious nationwide issue. Sensors which sends alarms to the office are being used with mixed reviews. UCT reported to us that they have installed two sensors in their bathrooms and didn’t tell students. The sensors send between 20-30 alarms each day however administrators only have time to address a few of those students. A new way to vape is called “zeroing” in which the person inhales and holds the vapor in long enough that nothing comes out on the exhale. Even our middle school is seeing the vaping issue.
We want a thoughtful plan – to educate, not attack and punish. We need to spread the word, parents need to be aware that it’s not just at school, this is happening at home also. Vaping is highly addictive – one pod equals one pack of cigarettes, and it can be marijuana oil. It is easily hidden, can smell fruity. We would need an adult in each bathroom every day to manage this. We are very concerned. Students don’t seem to understand the dangers. FDA will ban some of the fruity flavors which may make it easier to detect and may make it less attractive. Some students are reporting feeling uncomfortable going into the bathrooms due to vaping. Cindy told us that some students keep the pen inside their sweatshirt then blow the vapor down toward the floor.
Dr. Duerr will be convening a task force to work on solutions, consideration of an online course requirement along with disciplinary measures.
Council member suggestions: add this to the PRIDE survey, inform / educate at a much younger age, publicize specific dangers and health ramifications /offer addiction treatment /offer online group information/support group information/offer an amnesty program to give up the vape device. Members discussed that we need to offer ways to help them quit – what can we offer?
CNN reported there has been an 80% increase in teen vaping this year from last.
There is hope: Look at how smoking has changed, so there is hope that this can change for the better.
We are incorporating ALICE training into our drills. Some schools have already practiced evacuating some classrooms during a lockdown drill. We will hold a drill soon – we will inform teachers ahead of time and will practice evacuation of 2 or 3 classrooms. We are discussing revamping the sliding window in the Main Lobby and looking at other safety options. A parent mentioned if more than one student comes in at the same time, it may be easy for a non-authorized person to slip in in that group, that we need to take a look at that and educate students not to let others in. Metal detectors were discussed – Brockton had them, then discontinued them due to the time it takes.
New Accountability information from the state is now based on Exceeding expectations, Meeting expectations, Partially meeting or Not meeting expectations using a formula and assigning points. This caused an uproar across the state. There were only 4 schools awarded Exceeding: Lexington, Hopkington, Medfield and Winchester which all are high in disposable family income and low in socio economic diversity.
We had 96% pass MCAS with 0 ELA failures and even though we did better this year, our rating is off.
Deb talked about it’s important to close the gap between highest and lowest scores.
Mary reported the lack of reward for upping high achievers … schools scored better when bring highest closest to low – so if you start with high scores, the growth is minimal and scored thusly – it’s all very confusing. We are also working to improve scores of students with disabilities. Overall FHS has done very well. The State knows they are under the microscope, and has a new survey for feedback on the accountability standards.
Upcoming events were highlighted.
PowderPuff vs Girls’ Football was discussed: Last year, students requested that the name be changed, considered it sexist. Currently some students think it’s sexist to call it “Girls’ Football” … Mary said if there was a petition to change it back, it would be considered. The teams were surveyed and decided to play this year even though the forecast as for rain and mud. “Girls don’t melt” was their reply.
The Meeting adjourned at 4:10 pm