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School Committee Reaffirms New School Start Times for 2020-2021 School Year

posted Dec 17, 2019, 9:13 AM by Tom Reeve   [ updated Dec 17, 2019, 9:31 AM ]

At their December 12th meeting, the Holliston School Committee unanimously voted (with one member absent) to reaffirm and move forward with the plan they previously approved in May 2019, to adjust the school hours for the Holliston Public Schools as follows:
  • HHS:             8:10AM – 2:43PM
  • RAMS:          8:10AM – 2:33PM
  • Miller:           7:30AM – 1:53PM
  • Placentino:    8:50AM – 3:15PM
Originally approved in May, these revised school hours generated concerns among some parents in the community. In response, the School Committee engaged with these concerned parents and held a public forum that outlined the science behind the changes and offered people the opportunity to ask the Committee and Superintendent Jackson questions about the change. An open debate also took place at October Town Meeting.

Following these events as well as numerous meetings that individual Committee members held with concerned parents, the Committee reviewed a set of 10 proposed alternative start times scenarios proposed by this group of concerned parents. At their November meeting, the School Committee publicly reviewed each proposed scenario and concluded that eight of the ten proposed scenarios were untenable and removed those proposals from further consideration. The Committee then directed the administration to review the remaining two scenarios and report back to the Committee on their impact and viability.

At their December 12th meeting, the Committee reviewed the comprehensive analysis prepared by the administrative team and agreed with their conclusion that the drawbacks associated with either scenario were significant, making both remaining alternative solutions unviable. Following that discussion, the Committee unanimously voted to reaffirm their originally voted plan.

With this decision reaffirmed, parents and staff are strongly urged to begin planning for the impact that these changes could have on your individual family routines.  At the same time, Holliston administrators will begin finalizing the detailed plans needed to implement these new school hours. In addition, the School Committee and Superintendent will discuss the process we will use to collect the impact of these changes and how we will use that data to see if refinements of this plan are needed in future years.  

In addition to planning already under way at each school, the administration has already reported that they have a plan to open up a number of spots in our Extended Day program next school year to meet the anticipated demand for additional before and after-school care  Holliston Extended Day is also planning to offer an 80-minute “gap” program to cover the time between the dismissal of Placentino students and Miller students, so that siblings might be picked up together. The Holliston Extended Day program will formally announce the availability of their options later this winter and share sign-up information.  Further, the Committee reached out to the “Y” in Hopkinton regarding availability in their program for after-school care and that effort is showing promise. Interested parents should contact the YMCA directly if they wish to learn more about their after-school programs. Finally, the School Committee has authorized a transportation audit to see if we can find ways to make our bus system more efficient and/or convenient. The administration will share the results of this audit with the School Committee at one of their upcoming meetings as soon as the review has been completed.

Adjustments to EEE Protocol for HS Athletics

posted Nov 4, 2019, 9:18 AM by Tom Reeve

As the HHS Fall season enters the playoff phase, we are pleased to have several of our varsity teams advancing to the playoffs with several teams being high-seeds in their respective brackets – high enough where HHS will be hosting at least three home playoff games during the first full week of November. In addition, because Daylight Savings Time ended on Sunday, November 3rd, sundown will be an hour earlier, requiring us to consider adjustments to our EEE protocol to allow for adequate time for our teams to practice and also host local tournament games. The Holliston Health Department has notified me that weekend lows reached levels that satisfy the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s advisory that “when temperatures between 27-29 degrees Fahrenheit have occurred over wide geographic areas, risk from mosquito-borne disease is considered to have ended inside that area.” However, because Holliston’s EEE level is officially set by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and they have not updated community risk levels since October 28th, Holliston is still designated to be in the Critical risk zone. Until such time as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health officially lowers Holliston’s risk level, we will be implementing an adjusted EEE protocol. These adjustments have been reviewed and approved by the Holliston Board of Health. 

Effective, Monday, November 4, 2019, we are lifting the prohibition of all HHS outdoor athletic activities after sundown. Teams may practice under the lights at Kamitian Field and playoff games will be scheduled, where necessary, without regard to the time of sunset. 

Because the EEE threat level is still officially high, we are making the following adjustments to our safety protocols:
  1. Student-athletes who will be outside after sunset will be expected to apply spray mosquito-repellent prior to the beginning of the practice or game. This expectation will be enforced by team coaches, our Athletic Trainer and the Athletic Director.
  2. Spectators are STRONGLY encouraged to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. In addition, spray mosquito-repellent will be available, free-of-charge, at our ticket booths located at the entrance to Kamitian Field to all spectators who wish to apply it at any time during the game. This information will be announced to spectators at least twice during each game that is held at Kamitian Field.
This revised protocol will remain in place until the Massachusetts Department of Public Health informs the Town of Holliston that our EEE risk level has been lowered to normal.

HPS’ Triennial State Review Scheduled for Week of December 9th

posted Nov 4, 2019, 3:52 AM by Tom Reeve   [ updated Nov 4, 2019, 3:53 AM ]


During the week of December 9, 2019, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Public School Monitoring (PSM) will conduct a Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Holliston Public Schools. The Office of Public School Monitoring visits each district and charter school every three years to monitor compliance with federal and state special education and civil rights regulations. Areas of review related to special education include student assessments, determination of eligibility, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team process, and IEP development and implementation. Areas of review related to civil rights include bullying, student discipline, physical restraint, and equal access to school programs for all students.

In addition to the onsite visit, parent outreach is an important part of the review process. The review chairperson from the Office of Public School Monitoring will send all parents of students with disabilities an online survey that focuses on key areas of their child’s special education program. Survey results will contribute to the development of a report. During the onsite review, the Office of Public School Monitoring will interview a member of the district’s Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). Other onsite activities may include interviews of district staff and administrators, reviews of student records, and onsite observations. Parents and other individuals may call Michelle Hennessy-Kowalchek, Public School
Monitoring Chairperson, at (781) 338-3704 to request a telephone interview. If an individual requires an accommodation, such as translation, to participate in an interview, the Department will make the necessary arrangements.

Within approximately 60 business days after the onsite visit, the review chairperson will provide the Superintendent with a report with information about areas in which the district meets or exceeds regulatory requirements and areas in which the district requires assistance to correct or improve practices. The public will be able to access the report at www.doe.mass.edu/pqa/review/cpr/reports/.

School Start Times Public Forum

posted Oct 2, 2019, 6:21 AM by Tom Reeve   [ updated Oct 2, 2019, 8:53 AM ]

The Holliston School Committee voted to hold a public forum on the new school start times for the 2020-21 academic year. The forum will be held Thursday, October 10, 2019, in the Holliston High School auditorium, at 7:00 p.m. It is open to the public.

Judith Owens, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children's Hospital and Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, will present on the science of pediatric sleep. There will be a Q+A so that members of the public may ask questions of Dr. Owens, the School Committee, and Dr. Brad Jackson, superintendent of schools.

For more information on the issue of School Start Times in Holliston, please review the information on the School Start Times website.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7g5gwBbt9WvRWktVjZCV2xudVRWZGQtcUVnMTRZTlQ3MFQw


Substitute Teachers Are Still Needed!

posted Sep 25, 2019, 4:01 AM by Tom Reeve

Thanks to our very successful Open House for Substitutes we held on September 5th, we have seen an increase in our daily Substitute Teacher pool.  But we can ALWAYS use more!! 

 

In the past, we have found that many of our most-effective and supportive Substitutes are Holliston residents who are either seeking part-time, school-year employment; are looking to ease back into the workforce; or are looking for ways to actively support their community and their schools. Regardless of your motivation, being a Substitute Teacher is an excellent way to work with Holliston’s great teachers and school staff and, of course, our remarkable students.

 

Please check out our Information Packet for more information.


Become a Substitute Teacher in Holliston - Open House 9/5/19 at 7PM

posted Aug 28, 2019, 11:03 AM by Tom Reeve

This year, Holliston, like all near-by school districts, is facing a critical shortage of Substitute Teachers. 

In the past, we have found that many of our most-effective and supportive Substitutes are Holliston residents who are either seeking part-time, school-year employment; are looking to ease back into the workforce; or are looking for ways to actively support their community and their schools. Regardless of your motivation, being a Substitute Teacher is an excellent way to work with Holliston’s great teachers and school staff and, of course, our remarkable students.

The Holliston Public Schools is hosting an Open House for those who want to learn more about this exciting opportunity. Join us on Thursday, September 5, 2019, at 7 PM in the Holliston High School Library to learn more!

Please share this information with your neighbors and friends.

Hope to see you there!

2019-2020 Bus Routes Posted

posted Aug 19, 2019, 6:51 AM by Tom Reeve


The new bus routes for the 2019-2020 school year have been posted online and can be found on the Bus Info page of the Holliston Public Schools website.

Notice of Destruction of 2011-2012 Student Records

posted Jul 24, 2019, 6:54 AM by Tom Reeve

The Massachusetts Student Record Regulations authorize public school districts to destroy student records within seven (7) years of a student’s graduation, transfer or withdrawal from the school district.  The Holliston Public Schools, Department of Student Services will be complying with these regulations.  The persons affected are those who received special education services in Holliston and terminated services during the 2011-2012 school years.

The parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student may contact the Student Services Office at 508-429-0661 to make arrangements to pick up their records or you may contact us in writing at the following address:


Holliston Public Schools
370 Hollis Street
Holliston, MA. 01746
Attn: Student Services

Unclaimed records will be destroyed on Friday, September 20, 2019.

Mood Check Results 2018-2019

posted May 25, 2019, 1:35 PM by Tom Reeve

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1hiIthPdQGuWCwOvg9oLxqGxQn9VwOLNf

Dr. Tracy Gladstone presented the results of the 2018-2019 Mood Check study to the Holliston School Committee on April 25, 2019. The presentation slideshow of results, summaries, and statistics and been posted online here in the School Committee Meetings folder for April 25. The full school committee meeting recording, including the presentation delivered by Dr. Gladstone, can also be found in the HCAT video library.

Community Newsletter: Winter 2019

posted Feb 11, 2019, 4:37 AM by Tom Reeve

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zLs21VzhJ-tMgPBW6HXfB2AbTYIAFtVO

The Winter 2019 Community Newsletter is now available! Read messages from the district administration and principals about the latest at Holliston Public Schools.

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