News from the Worthington School Committee

November 23, 2020

Dear Community,

As part of our efforts to increase communication between the school committee, parents, other town boards, and the larger Worthington community, we’re reaching out to share news about some of the school committee’s recent activities.

Fall is normally a busy time of year for school districts and school committees alike. This fall was even more busy as we put in place safety protocols in response to the COVID-19 virus. Due to a positive COVID case we have transitioned once already this year to remote learning and will likely do so again, as needed, to manage the COVID pandemic in Worthington.

The governor, along with the commissioner of education, made school committees responsible for policies and procedures governing the safe opening of schools in the midst of this once-in-a- century pandemic. As such, we worked with the principal/superintendent and the Conwell teaching staff to adapt state guidelines to our school. After soliciting parent input, we voted to open for full time in-person education, with a twist: outside. The school has been having a successful fall of learning and healing in the outdoors.

As we enter the winter months in the midst of the largest surge we have seen to date of COVID- 19 cases, with deep community spread, we are again at a crossroads. The governor continues to encourage schools to remain open for in-person learning unless there is evidence of school transmission.  We have created rigorous protocols that the Conwell staff is implementing, but as cases swell we will be responsible for making decisions about the health and safety of the youngest members of our community.

If COVID-19 wasn’t enough, we have been reminded by the social justice movement “Black Lives Matter,” just how far we have to go to uphold the promise of America and how deep systemic racism reaches. Our commitment as a school committee is to become a district that demonstrates cultural proficiency, honors civic duty, and centers the most marginalized.

Throughout the year we will create and support district-wide goals that address the education of students through this lens.

Of course, the usual work of the school committee has not stopped. We are entering a new budget season, where the focus is on updating teacher and principal/superintendent salary scales for contracts expiring in June 2021. Every spring the school committee completes an

evaluation of the superintendent. This year our evaluation will focus on

Principal/Superintendent’s Dobosz handling of education during the pandemic. To help us with that process, this year we will start a new practice of asking teachers and students’ family members to complete brief surveys in the spring about their experiences of working with Principal/Superintendent Dobosz. These survey responses will help us get additional perspectives on her leadership.

The renovation and upkeep of our school building has been placed on hold due to COVID, but we will be resuming that project as soon as the weather warms and it’s safe to work again.

Our role for the community is to represent the interests of students, families, community members, and taxpayers in the management of our school district. To that end, we welcome all community members to join our meetings and share with us your thoughts about how we can best serve the community.

In service,

Worthington School Committee
Amanda Brooks-Clemeno
Pam Thompson
Alison Todd, Chair
Cai Walkowiak
Susan Warner

Worthington School Committee
147 Huntington Road
Worthington, MA 01098

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