- Public Comments
The meeting began with public comments from two speakers. The first speaker, a non-binary senior at Arlington High School, emphasized the importance of acceptance and inclusion for LGBTQ+ youth in the community and schools. They also highlighted an upcoming Pride event for middle and elementary school students. The second speaker, a recent Arlington High School graduate, stressed the need for LGBTQIA+ inclusive curricula and mandatory training for faculty and staff to foster safe environments for LGBTQIA+ students.
- SEPAC Report
Representatives from the Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (SEPAC) presented a report on their workshops and their relationship with the district. They expressed a need for funding to consistently present workshops that families are looking for. They also discussed the results of a survey they conducted, which highlighted the need for transparency, communication, and better programming for special education students. Their priorities for the next year include securing funding for their programming, better embedding in the development and evaluation of programming, and improved communication and transparency.
- Trust and Special Education Culture
The committee discussed the issue of trust between families and the district, emphasizing the importance of transparency. They also acknowledged the district’s past shortcomings in special education and the need for parents to advocate for their children’s needs. They expressed hope that the district’s new Welcome Center and Communications Director would help build trust with families.
- New Elementary Literacy Curriculum
The committee discussed the selection process for a new elementary literacy curriculum. They recommended the EL Education program as the final selection for the new curriculum. The program is designed with key attributes in mind, including knowledge building, access to complex text and robust vocabulary instruction, integrated writing instruction, and purposeful, meaningful project-based learning.
- EL Education Program Structure
The committee discussed the structure of the EL education program, which is divided into two segments: K-2 and grades 3-5. The modules are taught in a specific sequence, with the first module for K-2 focusing on building literacy in a collaborative classroom. The modules also introduce complex text and encourage students to grow as researchers.
- Review of Educational Materials and Lesson Plans
The committee reviewed educational materials and lesson plans for kindergarten. A significant part of the meeting was dedicated to a demonstration of a sample kindergarten lesson. The committee members were invited to read through the manuals in their free time.
- New Educational Program
The committee discussed a new educational program designed to provide teachers with a script and other resources to help them teach the lessons. The program also includes a variety of activities and materials to engage the students in the lessons, protocols for students to engage in discussions, and a focus on social emotional learning skills to build students’ confidence and academic belonging.
- Implementation of New Literacy Curriculum
The committee discussed the implementation of a new literacy curriculum developed by ELL Education. The curriculum will be phased in over several years, with full implementation expected by fall 2024. The next steps for implementing the program include professional learning for literacy coaches and principals, and the creation of interdisciplinary teams to support the rollout of the curriculum.
- Budget and Spending
The committee discussed the town’s budget and spending, with a particular emphasis on the general fund and its allocation. They addressed questions about specific line items in the budget and discussed the town’s electricity costs, particularly for school buildings. The meeting concluded with a discussion on capital expenditures and upcoming projects.
- Administrative Hiring Searches and Policy Adjustments
The committee addressed administrative hiring searches, including the appointment of new principals at the Bishop and Brackett schools. They also approved senior award letters and discussed policy and procedures, including adjustments to policies regarding parent and community inquiries on curriculum issues.