School Committee’s First Meeting Focuses on Assuring Success in the 2020-2021 School Year

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At the first School Committee meeting Tuesday since the start of school on September 16, the focus shifted from understanding the intricate details of the reopening plan to ensuring success under the hybrid format and other administrative tasks.

Reflecting on the start of school, Superintendent Philip Conrad said it was nice having students back at all four schools.

As the School Committee heard updates on hybrid learning, Conrad spoke on the logistics designed to ensure teachers’ safety and success.

The schools are being thoroughly cleaned during the evenings, Conrad said. While he did not have more than anecdotes, Conrad said he was encouraged by both teachers’ and students’ success.

Assistant Superintendent Tricia Clifford seconded Conrad’s assessment and praised students and teachers for being resilient to the many constraints that Covid-19 has brought.

The School Committee discussed the process that families must undergo for students who wish to change between all-virtual and in-person education (or vice versa).

The determination to readmit students to an in-person cohort and the schedule of the transition will be up to the individual schools. Conrad noted that students are not guaranteed placement, but school officials will work to accommodate any requests. Decisions will be made based on class sizes and other considerations related to Covid-19 protocol.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, following a lengthy discussion about the District Improvement Plan, the School Committee decided that Conrad would not be assessed entirely on the plan contents,  as it was designed prior to his arrival and did not account for the ramifications of Covid-19.

The Committee stressed that it appreciates the difficulty that Covid-19 presents to education and wanted the superintendent and other leaders to prioritize student learning.

Juneteenth in the Bedford Schools

The committee moved to adopt an updated version of the 2020-2021 calendar to reflect Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to approve Juneteenth as a state holiday. Since June 19, 2021, is a Saturday, the day will be observed on June 18.

However, in Bedford, the final day of the school year is scheduled for June 16. So the holiday will coincide with planned snow days. School Committee Chair Dan Brosgol noted that the future of snow days and how they relate to online education will be on an upcoming agenda.

Juneteenth annually celebrates the end of slavery in the United States with the emancipation of slaves in Galveston, TX  on June 19, 1865. More can be read about Bedford’s celebrations here.

Correction: The final day of school for Bedford will be June 16, not June 11 as was previously written.

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