The Arlington School Committee held a meeting on June 15th, 2021. The key topics discussed were:
- Affirmation of the LGBTQIA+ Community: The committee discussed a resolution affirming the LGBTQIA+ community. Many speakers urged the committee to reaffirm the district’s commitment to gender inclusivity. The resolution was praised for its clear support of the LGBTQIA+ community. However, an amendment proposed by a committee member was criticized for not fully addressing the needs of these students. The committee members urged the school community to adopt the original resolution to ensure the safety and support of LGBTQIA+ students.
- Appointment to the Arlington Human Rights Commission: The committee unanimously voted to appoint Griffin Jones to the Arlington Human Rights Commission. Jones, a resident of Mott Street, holds a doctorate in social epidemiology and has experience in health justice consulting.
- Farewell to Assistant Superintendent: The committee members expressed their gratitude for the service of the assistant superintendent, who is leaving the district. They praised his leadership skills, dedication to professional development, and respectful handling of disagreements.
- Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) Initiatives: The AEF announced a new grant of $42,000 to support strategic initiative working groups for the 2023-24 school year. The AEF has funded several grants spanning multiple schools, including the Understanding Our Differences curriculum, a digital learning curriculum for grades K-5, and a screen printing program integrated into the visual arts curriculum for grades K-12.
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Belonging Department Initiatives: The committee discussed their ongoing efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the community. This included monthly meetings with the town DEI director and the chief of police, collaborations with the Human Rights Commission, and creating pathways for a more diversified staff in districts.
- Evaluation of Classroom Performance and Student Engagement: The committee discussed the results of a survey that assessed various aspects of classroom climate, pedagogical effectiveness, rigorous expectations, teacher-student relationships, classroom mindset, and classroom belonging. The results showed a statistically significant decrease in classroom engagement, which the committee plans to address.
- International Trips for Students: The committee voted to approve two proposed international trips for students: one to Taiwan and one to Quebec City.
- General Operating Override: The committee voted unanimously to support a proposed $7 million general operating override, which would be put to a vote in a special election on November 7, 2023.
- Traffic Control on Regis Road: The committee agreed to send a letter to the Select Board to stress the urgency of implementing traffic controls on Regis Road, which intersects with the corner of Everett Street near the Thompson school.
- Subcommittee Reports: Various subcommittee liaisons reported on their respective areas. The Budget subcommittee announced plans to schedule a meeting after the school year ends. The CIAA subcommittee discussed the job description and the school improvement plan template project at Gibbs. The Policies and Procedures subcommittee was tasked with reviewing several policies and the LGBTQ+ agenda.
- Executive Session for Union Negotiations: The committee held an executive session to strategize for upcoming negotiations with union and non-union personnel. They also discussed a potential memorandum of agreement between the school committee and a unit of the Arlington Education Association regarding stipends for curriculum mentors. The memorandum was unanimously approved in a public session following the executive session.