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Policy Subcommittee 6/14/2021

SCHOOL COMMITTEE: POLICY SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING
Present: School Committee District Administration
Melissa Keefe, Terri Medeiros, Leah Palmer, Lori Duerr and Sonia Tellier
and Andrea Thorrold
Absent:
Date: Monday, June 14, 2021
This meeting was conducted virtually via a Zoom Webinar.
• Review and Approve Minutes
Members reviewed the draft minutes from March 8, 2021. The minutes were approved as written and subsequently forwarded for
posting. In addition, Andrea shared that the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) recently shared an update
regarding Title IX. This will be a focus of conversation at a future meeting.
• Discussion of Annual Handbook Review
Substantive Change 1: Homework. Members of the committee reviewed the updated draft of the guidelines for assigning work
outside of the school day. Revisions begin with a shift of the title from “Homework Guidelines” to “Continuation of Learning
outside of the Classroom.” This is one of several revisions that arose from the committee work of the Superintendent’s
Homework Task Force, which began in Fall of 2019 and continued throughout the school year 2020 – 2021.
Included in the revision is mention of time limits. There is an added mention of the socialization of learning outside of the
classroom setting. Discussion focused on separation of policy language and handbook language.
Substantive Change 2: Restorative Practices and Student Discipline. Members were not able to review a complete draft at the
meeting; however, the process and intention for how revisions were made was reviewed. There is an overarching shift from the
action and consequence outline of discipline to increased attention to and use of restorative practices. This shift aligns with the
Massachusetts Law that limits how and for what duration a student can be excluded from their education and the responsibility of
our district and its staff to educate students if they are excluded (e.g., in school suspension, out of school suspension, expulsion).
Attention to restorative practices allows for students to engage in discussion with school staff and peers with a focus on building
or restoring relationships to maintain a safe and engaging learning environment.
Included in the revisions is adoption of Lawrence School’s PAWSitive Behavior table outline, which was a determination made
by school leadership teams from our seven schools. This use of the table aligns student behavior with responses that are more
progressive in nature. Members spoke about the need to dig into our data and assess the connection between minor infractions and
punitive actions/responses. The determination is to have a means of promoting student accountability without reliance on
detention or suspension. Schools are settings that promote and model caring, understanding, and problem solving. A caution about
the use of the table came up to ensure that there is attention to shaping a positive school culture and reducing subjectivity in how
situations are responded to.
In the fall, schools will also transition from the paper incident referral form to an electronic one. Data will be able to be readily
viewed and analyzed to inform real time understanding of how discipline is regarded.
• Other: Upcoming Information
üNext Meeting: June 30, 2021; 5 – 6:30 pm
o Agenda
• Continue Attention to Handbook Revisions
• restorative practices and student discipline
• Review Policy JEB: School Entrance Age
• Other
Respectfully Submitted by,
Sonia L. Tellier
Assistant Superintendent