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Superintendent’s Report – February 25, 2015

Dr Canfield explaining the use of a staff survey to inform planning for making up potential additional snow days.

by Dr. Richard Canfield, Superintendent – Sandwich Public Schools


Status of Snow Days 2014-2015

The district has used up its five (5) snow days that were built into this year’s school calendar.

Therefore, as of today the last day of school is Tuesday, June 23, and we still have a lot of potential winter weather ahead. While there are five (5) days that remain available in June, I felt it best to be proactive about what some are referring to as a Snowmageddon Plan.  The elements of the plan are:

  •  A “date-certain” that the Plan would be implemented.
  • The number of days to be recaptured
  • Clearly defined days that would be used to recapture school days lost to weather or any other condition that would require school to be closed.

I did reach out to Laura Carlyle, President of the SEA, and invited her to join the administrators in a meeting to discuss the Plan and to consider any impact on the system.

In constructing the Plan, it was important to all of us to seek input from faculty, staff, parents and our high school students.  The end result was an electronic survey that will be made available to faculty and staff after this presentation to the School Committee.

The family survey will model the faculty and staff survey.  That survey will be conducted at the school level through the principal’s office. (Editor’s Note: the family survey will be sent out soon using the Alert Mail email system.)

It should be clear that the intent is to help us measure the impact of each option, so we may maximize student, faculty and staff attendance.  I plan to make a recommendation at the March 11 School Committee business meeting. If we have to enact the Plan, it could mean altering the school calendar, hence the need for the Committee vote.

I have a copy of the survey for you so that you may see the options that we would propose, and that the SEA would support to minimize impact.  All are deeply committed to doing the best for our students, and we want to do our best to have a full complement of faculty and staff available for any make-up days.

I want to emphasize that we will continue to monitor the weather, as well as any conversations occurring at the state level about other suggestions or options.

I do want to make one point about the options that is important to me.  Before I would make any recommended change a long established religious holiday (Good Friday) I will reach out to our local clergy to discuss our needs and their viewpoint..

Status of School Calendar 2015-2016

Now that we have a ratified contract with the SEA, I want to engage the School Committee calendar sub-committee in discussion leading to a recommendation to the full committee, consistent with policy during the month of March.  The Committee includes Mrs. Crossman and Mrs. Wack, with Mrs. Killian offering to serve as an alternate.  The administrators have gathered information essential to developing the school calendar. The intention is to present two calendar options to the School Committee.  The administration recommends posting both options for parent feedback.  Our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) requires that we share the proposed calendar(s) with the bargaining unit for feedback prior to the Committee making the calendar decision, a step that we feel is important regardless of CPA language.

Concurrent with the calendar determination for 2015-2016, we will also publish the arrival and academic start times for next year.  Previously, I mentioned that we need to operate on a 3-tiered system with 45 minutes between each bus run.  Since the latest a school academic day can begin is 9:00, that tells us that a school needs to start at 7:30, with the middle bussing tier at 8:15.  I also mentioned the growing trend to have the upper elementary begin first followed by the high school and then the primary school.  This model is supported by research, but when we posed this option last spring the prevailing sentiment was that it was too much change.  That leaves us with the traditional model of grade 7-12 first tier, followed by grades 3-6, and PreK-2.

Reorganization Planning Team Update

Tonight I have asked Marc Smith and Trish Hill to provide an update on the status of the reorganization work that is ongoing at their schools.

You can watch a video of the report by Mr. Smith and Ms. Hill here.

An update of the Forestdale RPT, written by Marc Smith is here.

Watch the entire School Committee meeting here.