The following statement was sent to SOURCE by the chair of the Framingham School Committee tonight, August 26.
FRAMINGHAM – Given that our new school year is quickly approaching, the Framingham School Committee and the Framingham Teachers Association are continuing to negotiate a return to school agreement. While specific public health, risk reduction, and other issues continue to be discussed, there has been significant progress to report out.
First off, a big thank you to those who have given up their summer to work on this massive puzzle. During the month of August School Committee Members and FPS senior leaders have met as a bargaining team and with the FTA (including teachers, paraprofessionals, and secretaries) for ten sessions totaling 46 hours, with additional meetings scheduled tomorrow and Friday.
To recap, the School Committee and School District Back-to-Schools goals are to:
- Prioritize and invest in public health measures and infrastructure upgrades to reduce the risk of COVID-19
- This includes standing by our previous decision to start the school year fully remotely, with a graduated hybrid model phase in contingent on continuous public health metric reviews.
- Support the highest needs students with in person education services, inclusive of Special Education, English Learnings, and homeless students
- Provide robust live equitable remote learning with face to face virtual instruction throughout the school day everyday to engage our students during remote periods
- Promote fiscal responsibility and transparency
- Offer time for family engagements, as well as technology and supply distributions in early September before the first day of remote school on September 16th
- in response to student voices and scientific research, seek to pilot a later start time change at the high school during the remote only period
- And finally, allow Unit A, S, and T members inclusive of teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, and many more, the flexibility to work from a location of their choice either home or school, with mutually agreed upon parameters, during a remote phase of the school plan.
We have one additional goal, which is to provide as much certainty and communication as possible before the remaining FPS employees report to work this coming Monday on August 31, and also leading up to the first day of remote school September 16.
While work remains, and meetings between the Committee and FTA are scheduled for tomorrow to continue to discuss topics relating to the Back to School Plan, I am so pleased to report out on specific progress and three initial, and meaningful provisions made in partnership with the FTA, and approved by the School Committee tonight.
Announce the deal:
This is a near term report out, and ultimately the final agreement will require a future School Committee vote, as well as FTA Unit ratification.
- We have agreement on how professional development days will be structured and run beginning Monday, and leading up to the first day of school on September 16th, for professional development and school startup activities.
- A Professional Development Committee, composed of department leaders and FTA members, will distribute the schedule of activities this week. Over the course of these 11 days, there will be 71.5 hours in which staff will prepare to start the upcoming school year. On average, the current plan is for teachers to have:
- 29 hours of hands-on training on topics such as Canvas/Google Classroom, Zoom/Google Meet and Universal Design for Learning for Remote Learning;
- 13 hours of collaboration time in grade level/department teams;
- 6 hours for personal planning of your virtual instructional space;
- 6 hours for student and family engagement and
- 5 hours of building-based planning and collaboration.
- Most of this professional development will be done virtually; as staff will be able to choose the location from which they engage in these activities
- There are some exemptions agreed to, which focus on teacher classroom setups, assembling “learning bags” with materials students will need for successful remote learning, and outdoor student/family engagement activities, at respective schools, to be scheduled and communicated to families in the near future.
- A final teleworking document has been agreed upon by both parties (again, pending final ratification) which allow Unit A, S, and T members the flexibility to work from a location of their choice either home or school, with mutually agreed upon parameters, during a remote phase of the school plan.
- We’ve had a series of productive conversations on the high school schedule. More information will be shared in the coming days.
We appreciate the time the FTA, FPS staff, and School Committee colleagues have spent on this, and know we still have much work ahead. Yet tonight is a positive milestone for our community, and especially the students we serve.