There’s a lot moving in the school district right now – I’m excited to share updates with you on a few issues I’ve discussed in the past, as well as on some new issues.
First, I am pleased to report that the School Committee unanimously voted to revise our high school graduation requirements to include a second semester of Health and to end the waiver for scholar-athletes to opt-out of Health classes (students can still opt-out of Physical Education classes if they participate in sports teams). These changes were included in my motion 22-21, a response to the CRLS student walkouts regarding sexual assault and harassment, as well as to related student requests to add more education about consent. The stellar team that drove this change included Student Members Killian and Vera-DeGraff, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Turk, Health/PE/Wellness Curriculum Coordinator Jamie McCarthy, as well as Mayor Siddiqui and Member Wilson.
The Title IX Aurelia Advocates testify at the Feb 1 School Committee meeting.
A second development of note – also an outgrowth of the CRLS student walkout this fall – is that a group of impressive, dynamic students calling themselves the Title IX Aurelia Advocates have dived into research about Title IX (the federal regulations that prohibit sex-based discrimination in schools) and identified a number of opportunities for strengthening our district’s practices.
Thirdly, you may recall that the 2021 Teen Health Survey revealed that our students who identify as LGBTQIA+ are struggling with well-being disproportionately to their peers. I wanted to hear directly from more of these students about their school experiences, so I met with Project 10 East, the high school’s gender and sexuality alliance. Here, too, our young people moved me with their insights and recommendations. I am concerned about LGBTQIA+ students feeling unsafe and about their having to shoulder the burden of teaching their educators and peers about their identities and experiences. I am committed to working to address this situation at all grade levels, so stay tuned!
Finally, my December newsletter referenced updating Dr. Victoria Greer’s contract. If you haven’t heard, she is now Superintendent Greer, as the Committee voted to drop the “Interim” part of the title and extend her contract through June 2023. Both the Superintendent and Committee have to let one another know by the end of this June if we are interested in renewing the contract for a longer term.
As always, I welcome your questions and recommendations.