At their June 30 meeting, the School Committee amended the 2020-2021 School Calendar, conducted an evaluation of Superintendent Jon Sills, and heard an update on school reopening. The Committee also reorganized to name Dan Brosgol as Chairperson, Sarah Scoville as Vice Chairperson, and Brad Morrison as Secretary of the Board.
At their June 16 meeting, the School Committee approved the 2020-21 school year budget, approved changes to the JGMS and BHS handbooks, and approved a two month contract for retiring Superintendent Jon Sills to assume an associate superintendent position from July 1 through August 31, 2020.
I would like to express my sincerest appreciation for your voice, advice, and direction during the recent school committee budget meetings. While there is a strong community voice being heard for the gifted/talented programs and 3rd-grade world language, there is an equally strong and needed voice (but not as vocal) for our struggling and at-risk students and their needed supports. As a parent that has been an advocate for these students over the past 8 years, I was relieved and proud of our leadership that stood up for these students. Unless one walks in the shoes of special education, a struggling student or an at-risk student, it is truly hard to understand how critical early interventions are to their academic, mental health, and life-long successes. These interventions are most impactful when consistent and supported throughout their days – at home, at school, and within the community. Thank you for understanding this.
ByTeri Morrow, President and Publisher, The Bedford Citizen |
Today in the virtual pages of The Bedford Citizen we bring you our first-ever Special Tribute Edition dedicated to all of Bedford’s high school seniors. Whether you attended Bedford High School, Shawsheen Tech, or an independent high school we salute your achievements and your resilience in this very unusual year.
Click this link in the actual story to read The Bedford Citizen’s Tribute to the Class of 2020. After graduation The Citizen will offer this special edition in PDF format,
so it can be printed and saved alongside your yearbook and other mementos.
I know there was a lot surrounding graduation that didn’t happen this year…but we are struck by the creative and innovative ways that so much did happen…and may even happen yet. Virtual awards are not as much fun as the in-person events, but our kids got recognized. While photos of friends in caps and gowns are not as wonderful as photos together in caps and gowns, hundreds of pictures and videos are being shared through The Citizen. Yard signs dot our local landscape…and for the first time were hand-delivered by BHS principal Heather Galante and teacher Charlie Humphrey. Cap-and-gown pick-up was transformed into a mini-parade which made a socially distanced attempt to allow students and teachers to see one another one last time.
To the Class of 2020: We’ve brought all of this and more together into a single edition of The Bedford Citizen. This edition captures the ways in which parents, teachers, administrators, town officials and employees, and Bedford at-large came together in the Year of the Pandemic to ensure that your graduation would be recognized and remembered as the important milestone it is…Covid-19 be damned!
A huge thank-you and shout-out to the many hands that brought this special edition to life: Heather Galante; Andy Pigeon; Charlie Humprey; Patrick Morrissey; Jonathan Pierre; Keith Mangan; Karen Santos; the 2020 BHS Senior Parents Committee; Jeff Hoyland; Rep. Ken Gordon; and all those who generously shared their videos and photographs with us.
The Bedford Citizen’s Tribute to the Class of 2020 was coordinated by Ginni Spencer with help from Gene Kalb, Meredith McCulloch, Mike Rosenberg, Jordan Stewart, and Julie Turner.
ByJon Sills, Superintendent of the Bedford Schools |
Editor’s Note: The following message regarding reductions to the FY21 budget, was sent by School Superintendent Jon Sills to families on Sunday, June 7, 2020
As you may be aware, the school department is required to reduce the FY21 budget that we originally created with the support of the School Committee, and which received the support of the Finance Committee back in January, by $1,278,000. This is due to over $2,000,000 in reduced state and local revenues.
While we are not reducing below our FY20 budget number, we are significantly reducing what we originally proposed for FY21. The $1,278,000 net reductions change our FY21 budget from a 3.5% increase over FY20 plus a $450,000 extra fund for what were extraordinary out-of-district special education costs, to a .4% increase plus the extra special education funds. In looking at where to make these changes, we could not simply eliminate the new positions we had asked for, as these are needed to meet our special education/IEP ethical and legal obligations and anticipated increases in emotional and mental health needs.
Click the following links in the actual document:
Read the FY21 Budget Chart – Bedford School Department 06072020
The School Committee will meet in remote session at noon on Wednesday, June 10; click this link for the agenda and instructions for joining the meeting
At the June 5 School Committee meeting, Superintendent Jon Sills, joined by Business Director Julie Kirrane, outlined budget reductions that the district will likely have to face in the FY21 School Budget due to a revenue shortfall at the state level.
At their May 26 meeting, the School Committee was briefed on a more comprehensive view of the FY21 school budget and heard Superintendent Jon Sills’ report on hopes for an outdoor Bedford High graduation ceremony and return to school in the fall.
At their May 19 meeting, the School Committee heard updates on seniors’ last week and graduation, the district’s Student Opportunity Act submission, continued to address the expected 2020-2021 budget deficits and voted to approve paying salaried workers through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Principal Heather Galante joined by Assistant Principals Thomas Casey and Daniel Hudder, as well as Director of Guidance Alicia Linsey, shared Bedford High’s proposal for Term 3 and 4 grading that helps mitigate the effects of Covid-19.
Galante stressed that this proposal was the only option that did not penalize students for the effects of Covid-19. The desire to not penalize students was a central focus of the school administration as they drafted this proposal.
At their May 12 meeting, the Bedford School Committee approved a 3-year contract for Superintendent nominee Philip Conrad, set the last day of school for students as June 18, heard updates from current Superintendent Jon Sills, and voted not to allow students from neighboring districts to attend Bedford Schools through school choice.
Rear Admiral Clarke Orzalli, USN Retired, presented the School Committee with a proclamation from Governor Charlie Baker, recognizing Bedford’s contributions to the children of military families. April was the Month of the Military Child.
It would have been impossible to predict how National Teacher Appreciation Week 2020 could be more different than those in years past. Classroom rituals are all new on Zoom calls, everyone is at home and social distancing in place.
Bedford’s educators held an in-service about distance learning on Friday, March 13, and set about conjuring class plans and learning how to use Zoom. Now, more than two months in, online learning is in place from the earliest grades through AP classes at BHS.
Click this link after you open the actual story to watch Davis School’s teacher appreciation video
It is indeed the year to celebrate Bedford’s educators, and several people had thoughts to share:
Bedford School Superintendent Jon Sills is scheduled to retire in about 10 weeks. But who’s counting?
Sills probably doesn’t have time. He is navigating the greatest challenge of his eight years at the helm: leading the transition to and implementation of remote learning necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At their April 9 meeting, the School Committee canceled the April vacation and moved the end of the school year to June 24, 2020. The cancellation reflects the schools’ shift towards online education and concern about the detrimental effect a vacation could have.
Editor’s Note: In addition to today’s Bedford case count, Town Manager Stanton announced that Town Meeting, previously rescheduled until today, will be recessed and continued until May 4. There is also a link from the Bedford School so that families and faculty can weigh in about canceling April vacation.
Click the link in the actual story to read the Town’s full update for Monday, April 6, 2020
The Bedford Public Schools, closed by state order until at least May 4 to slow the spread of Covid-19, this week forays into a new universe: “required engagement with online learning.”
In a letter to student households Friday, School Superintendent Jon Sills wrote that the remote experience will be guided by a recent collaborative vision statement. This includes “providing meaningful work, promoting choice, flexibility, creativity, and engagement; nurturing connections with students; and “factoring in the anxiety and other conditions that the crisis is imposing on students, educators, and their families.”
The superintendent-elect of the Bedford Public Schools began his career as an art teacher, has led two Essex County high schools and is a member of the state education department’s Kaleidoscope Collective cohort.
Wednesday afternoon the School Committee unanimously voted to offer the position to Andover High School Principal Philip Conrad, effective July 1. Later that afternoon Conrad accepted, and soon discussions will begin on a contract.
The appointment culminates a months-long process to succeed Superintendent Jon Sills, who is retiring.
The Bedford School Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday at 4 p.m. to select the next superintendent of schools.
Click this link to see the agenda. Call-in details will be forthcoming; they will be added to this agenda that is posted on the Town’s calendar.
There are now three finalists, as over the weekend Dr. Frank Hackett, superintendent of the Braintree schools, withdrew. Remaining are Philip Conrad, principal of Andover High School; Nan Murphy, former principal of McAuliffe School in Lowell and now a senior administrator in the state education department; and Anthony Parker, principal of Weston High School
The Bedford School Committee will interview finalists for the position of Superintendent of Schools in two meetings. The first will take place tonight, Thursday, March 19, at 7:30 pm, and the second on Friday, March 20 at 1 pm.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions limiting public gatherings, the interviews will be live-streamed by Bedford Television on their YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/BedfordTVMA
A survey to assess community reaction is available; click https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KF3CG6V to share your thoughts.
ByDan Brosgol and JoAnn Santiago, Bedford School Committee |
Community members will have the opportunity to meet the finalists for Superintendent of Schools at a series of meetings in mid-March. The finalists for Superintendent will be identified at Tuesday’s School Committee meeting.
Over the next several weeks, each finalist will be invited to Bedford to meet with faculty, staff, students, families and community members.
ByDan Brosgol and JoAnn Santiago, Bedford School Committee |
The search for a new superintendent of Bedford Public Schools is moving to its next phase.
The Search, Screening and Interview Committee is wrapping up its work. The Committee has reviewed applications, interviewed more than a dozen well-qualified candidates, and will recommend finalists to the School Committee at its meeting on Tuesday, March 10.