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March 2, 2020

FHS SCHOOL COUNCIL:  March 2, 2020

 Present:  Deb Berglin, Paula Carlson Cahill, Bill Cone, Mike Feeney, Mary Gans, Sanjay Govindarajan, Lisa Hart, Kathy Martino, Siobhan Morris, William Peters, Zoriana Petrosyan, Nancy Quigg, Dr. Joany Santa, Noah Schmidt, Sean Sullivan, and Jennifer Vu.

 Meeting opened at 3:15 pm.

 Council members were welcomed by Mrs. Gans and introduced themselves. The draft of the FPS Core Values flyer was presented by Dr. Joany Santa and Lisa Hart for the Council’s review and feedback. The flyer will also be reviewed by all the Falmouth councils School Councils and then the feedback will  go back to the School Committee for their review.  We were told that students reported Safety (physical and emotional) as their priority on the survey.


  • Add Academic Rigor to Core Values
  • A School Choice student mentioned he was bullied at another school and hasn’t been at FHS & confirmed that safety is very important; a School Choice parent confirmed FHS is a great experience for his students
  • FHS is developing the Vision of a Graduate – it is suggested that it is important to partner together and align
  • How will FPS implement these values and bring them to life?
    • Commit to common language, so we all see and hear them repeatedly, as they describe what we want to see in our students, teachers and in our community
    • Tie our behavior to the language
    • Work with Student Government initiatives to communicate to all
    • Instill early? Yes – from Pre-K through 12th grade
  • The values encompass the whole person – not just as learner & gives framework to see where growth needs are
  • How will school committee measure success of Core Values? By Parent and student feedback
  • Request that language be added regarding knowing yourself and self discovery
    • They will review to see if adequately addressed under “Empower students …” 3rd subsection and “Encourage a life of growth and wellness” under 4th subsection
    • Add “success and” to last subsection after “recognize” so it reads: “ … and recognize success and failure is a part of learning” – note: If emphasis is on ok to fail we need to create classroom environments where it is ok to be wrong / to say the wrong answer

 Mrs. Gans reported that the Homework Advisory Committee work is very interesting and is reviewing policies from other districts as well.

Points discussed:

  • Students report homework that is posted /assigned on Saturday and due Monday, or in the evening and due the next day, or assigned during the week and due Sunday at noon.
    • While all students now have chromebooks, some may not have internet at home.
    • Students may be away, working, or busy with family obligations – better to know on Friday or even earlier.
      • Parents were not in favor of weekend assigning/assignments. Corporate life has changed to address work/life balance – has FHS?
      • Suggested that homework be consistent within a department.
    • Students asked “how much can we pile on”, “when is time to relax” and talked about burn out, discouragement how work level causes some to stop trying, and it causes stress and fear of incoming homework because they feel they can never finish.
      • FHS working on addressing balance, and reviewing percentage of teachers who assign on/over weekends. Most teachers have reduced assigned homework due to survey results.
      • Students appreciate teachers who plan assignments in advance so students can choose timing.
      • A student developed an “optional homework policy” and will email it to Mrs Gans.
      • Student Government will review different district’s homework policies tomorrow and will create a template for the homework committee
  • AP courses are different and more is expected – students know that when enroll in AP level courses
    • AP are intense college level courses, teachers must cover all the material, test scores reflect on teachers as well.
  • A parent requested that teachers post grades in a timely manner because it’s hard for parents to help their students if they don’t know how they’re doing.
    • Timeline for grade posting is not in FHS faculty requirements/contract
    • Students really like teachers who post grades promptly
  • Email specific suggestions/concerns to Mrs. Gans – she will bring them to the Committee
  • Student reported that there was a lot of feedback regarding homework and work-life balance on their student start time survey.

Next meeting:  May 11, 2020 we will watch the Race to Nowhere in the FHS Auditorium. Film is about 80 minutes long.

 Meeting adjourned at 4:15 pm.