Last night, parents in the Northborough-Southborough School district received a September newsletter from the Superintendent. The message included news on working groups to study/advise on important issues.
The district is recruiting members for two new groups: Transportation Advisory Working Group and PreK-12 Music Study Group. The email also included an update on work being done by the School Start Time Task Force.
Each topic is one that district parents have publicly advocated for or complained about. This fall, Southborough families were again frustrated by issues with school bus routes.* A new group will focus on improving transportation services. Given past discussions about another working group, it will presumably impact the school’s work on School Start Times.
For years, Algonquin parents have asked the school to find a way to Start School Later for sleep-deprived teens. Last fall, a Task Force was formed to study the issues.
This summer, parents in Northborough petitioned the administration over changes to the middle school’s plans for band instructors this year. The concern was a perception that the program was being weakened. A new study group will cover well beyond that, studying the music program across both towns, from the youngest students up.
Here are the excerpts on those groups from Superintendent Greg Martineau’s email:
School Start Time Task Force Update
In the spring of 2019, a School Start Time Task Force convened to assess the feasibility of a later start to the school day at the middle and high school level. The Task Force met several times to organize and establish its purpose and goals. As a result, four subgroups were created: Community Outreach; Scenario and Options; Logistics; and Research and Data. The subgroups met and they continued their work over the summer months. This fall and winter the Task Force will continue its work by:
- Providing communities with information and educational opportunities to learn about the role sleep plays in the adolescent brain;
- Reviewing scenarios and options;
- Identifying options that align with research;
- Identifying the potential impacts of the later start time (E.g. financial, family, before and after school care and athletics);
- Providing opportunities for the communities to give feedback on the scenarios and options; and,
- Presenting to the School Committee with a recommended proposal(s).
It’s essential to note that if the outcome of this work results in a change to the schools’ start times, the changes would not be implemented until the 2021-2022 school year.
PreK-12 Music Study Group
The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough are establishing a PreK-12 Music Study Group to evaluate and celebrate our PreK-12 music program, highlight strengths, identify opportunities for growth, and make recommendations for the next 3-5 years, including budgetary implications. The PreK-12 Music Study Group will be responsible for:
- Researching the benefits of music;
- Highlighting strengths and identifying opportunities for growth; and,
- Gathering recommendations for the next 3-5 years.
Dates: October 8, November 7, January 9, February 13, and March 5
Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Location: Algonquin Regional High School Library
We are seeking the following members who are interested in serving on the PreK-12 Music Study Group:
- Northboro-Southboro Music Association (NSMA) (2)
- Music Educators (8)
- Parents (3)
- School Committee (3)
- Administrators (3)
If you are interested in serving on the PreK-12 Music Study Group, please complete the following form:
PreK-12 Music Study Group Form
Transportation Advisory Working Group – Seeking Members
The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough is creating a Transportation Advisory Working Group and is seeking three representatives from each of our three districts to serve. The purpose of the Advisory Working Group is to provide the District with input and feedback on how transportation services can be improved across our ten schools. The Advisory Working Group will meet three times during the 2019-2020 school year. Dates will be communicated once membership is established. If you are interested in serving on the Advisory Working Group, please complete the following form: Transportation Advisory Working Group Form
*An update on the latest bus route revisions: Unlike the first week of school, I didn’t find parent complaints online over last week’s revised routes. And yet, I know from personal experience that at least one bus had major issues the first morning they were implemented (Tuesday, September 17th). Fortunately, the route was successfully adjusted before the afternoon dropoff (with some kids moved to another bus again). Hopefully, all of the routes are now running the way they should.