The Board of the Essex Westford Educational Community Unified Union School District met on May 16th in the Essex High School library. Draft Minutes are available here. Highlights of the meeting include:
-The Board was given a presentation concerning the current structure of the EWSD Early Education Program including the Act 166 (Universal Pre-Kindergarten) compliance. It was very pleasing to learn that all of those opportunities offered by EWSD are either 4 or 5 STAR accredited. As part of the same presentation we were able to meet with the director of one of our partner programs, Little One's University. The resources that EWSD can provide has helped increase their STAR accreditation, which in turn allows them greater subsidies and more students that can then afford the tuition.
- The Boards discussed its progress with expanding student transportation for the new district. We are keenly aware that its important to keep all stakeholders, especially parents, in the loop as the plans begin to take shape over the coming months. The Voice for Education group is going to be asked to assist in facilitating additional community conversations to get feedback on draft plans and other aspects of the new transportation system. Since the community forum in April, the team working on the plan has conducted site visits to the Essex Junction schools to evaluate bus lanes and other considerations. The Summit and Fleming schools have unique physical aspects that will require greater study going forward. The Board also anticipates hearing the final recommendations from the Vermont Department of Health at its June 6th meeting for any public interested in attending. The biggest questions about this topic, busing routes and schedule, will ultimately be decided by our new superintendent but the board understands the need for continued communication and consultation with the community.
- The Board approved the first reading of policies regarding 'Student Conduct and Discipline' as well as 'Search and Seizure'. We also approved the second reading of our 'Proficiency Based Learning and Graduation Requirements'. With this, most of the work on required policies has now been completed with only two more outstanding required policies that should be addressed in June.
- The Board discussed two offers from the local boards of Fletcher Elementary School and BFA Fairfax respectively concerning interest in joining together. There are some ways in which these options, especially with Fletcher, could make sense but that set against the larger backdrop of our own unification, a new superintendent and a new COO, now is not the right time for us to explore such a move.