Framingham School Committee Chair Sousa Makes Subcommittee Appointments

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Posted at 3:05 p.m. Updated at 4:21 p.m.

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FRAMINGHAM – Chair Priscila Sousa recently made appointments for the seven subcommittees of the Framingham School Committee.

There are 9 elected members of the School Committee, and seven subcommittees for this term 2022-23. Each subcommittee has four members.

The School Committee chair has the power to name the chair of each of the seven subcommittees.

The City Council chair had that authority during its first legislative session in 2018-19, but in session two the City Council voted to remove that authority and each City Council subcommittee votes on its own chair.

In January, Sousa was elected chair by a 8-0-1 vote, with District 7 School Committee member Tiffanie Maskell abstaining

District 4 School Committee member Adam Freudberg had been the chair of the School Committee, since it expanded to 9 District members and since Framingham became a city in 2018.

Freudberg was named chair of the Finance & Operations subcommittee by Sousa.

Annually, the “subcommittee shall review the current  fiscal year budget book and make recommendations as appropriate for any improvements needed for the upcoming fiscal year budget book. The subcommittee may take up other financial matters referred to it by the School Committee Chair or the full School Committee. The subcommittee shall also be responsible for developing appropriate reporting by FPS on food services and transportation.”

Other members of the subcommittee are Sousa, District 2 School Committee member Ricky Finlay, and District 3 School Committee member Jennifer Moshe.

Maskell was re-named chair of the Policy subcommittee. Joining her on the subcommittee is Moshe, District 1 member Beverly Hugo, and District 8 member Jessica Barnhill.

Barnhill was elected vice chair of the School Committee in a 9-0 vote.

The Policy “subcommittee shall work with the FPS administration to develop and recommend new and revised policies to the full School Committee, and shall be responsible for making sure that our online policy manual is updated. This should remain as a standing subcommittee. During the Policy portion of full School Committee meetings, the Chair of the Policy Subcommittee will preside over the meeting.”

Finlay was named chair of the Building & Grounds subcommittee. Other committee members are Barnhill, District 6 member Valerie Ottaviani, and District 9 Willie LaBarge.

This subcommittee will be tackling plans for a Southside elementary school.

The B&G subcommittee focus is to “develop reporting on the state of FPS buildings and grounds, including ongoing maintenance and repairs, develop long-term plans and proposals for building renovations and replacements and to advise the Buildings & Grounds Department on facilities planning, capital projects and related issues.”

The subcommittee also “performs a review of Capital Budget requests before they are presented to the full School Committee.”

When appropriate, the subcommittee works with district leadership and the “Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, to evaluate projected student enrollment both at the district level and on a school by school basis based on future residential development, and ensure that both short term and long term plans are developed to ensure that school system capacity meets our student population needs. This subcommittee should pay careful attention to all School Improvement Plans to ensure consistency in handling needed building improvements.”

School Committee Vice Chair Barnhill was named chair of the Teaching & Learning subcommittee. Barnhill is a full-time educator in the Natick Public schools.

Joining her on the committee will be Hugo, Ottaviani, & Maskell.

The Teaching & Learning subcommittee works with the district’s Office of Teaching and Learning and other administrators “to develop and/or refine reporting that addresses various aspects of student outcomes, with a focus on student achievement and accountability.”

  This reporting shall include, but not be limited to:

  • course availability and placement
  • performance on standardized testing
  • student attendance
  • conduct and discipline 
  • graduation and post-secondary success

“This reporting shall include all cohorts of students (e.g. general education, special education, English Learners (ELs), Dual Language learners, gifted and talented (SAGE), etc.).  These reports shall be analyzed by the subcommittee and administration on a regular basis so that the administrators can determine actions to be taken by the administration and the subcommittee members can determine recommended actions to be considered by the full School Committee,” according to the Committee’s description of the subcommittee.

Newly-elected District 6 School Committee member Ottaviani will chair the Health & Wellness subcommittee. She is a full-time critical care & ICU nurse.

Joining her on the committee will be Finlay, Freudberg, and LaBarge.

“Besides COVID-19 issues, the subcommittee works with “administration, staff and student governance and other student organizations, to develop reporting on student and staff physical, social and emotional health and wellness and to make appropriate recommendations to the full School Committee. Areas included in the scope for this subcommittee include, but are not limited to: vaping; alcohol use; smoking; other drug or substance use; nutrition, physical activities- including sports activities of all kinds, including varsity, junior varsity and intramural sports; transportation, including alignment with student schedules; facilities; threats presented by EEE; stressors and stress management; homework loads; alignment of school start times with student biorhythms; absenteeism; classroom environment.”

Newly-elected District 3 School Committee member Moshe will chair the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion subcommittee. Sousa, who was the chair the last term, is on the committee along with Freudberg & LaBarge. 

This subcommittee is charged with developing “standardized, comprehensive and timely reporting that allows the School Committee to have a complete understanding of the current equity performance of the district in all appropriate areas, such as curriculum, hiring, policy and professional development so that we can ensure a more balanced and equitable system that will lead us to greater outcomes for ALL students, teachers, administrators, and parents within FPS.”

The longest-serving member of the School Committee Hugo will chair the Climate Change, Environment & Sustainability subcommittee. Also on the subcommittee is chair Sousa, Maskell, & LaBarge.

Created in 2020, this subcommittee is tasked to “develop reporting on environmental and sustainability issues and to make appropriate recommendations to the full School Committee. Areas included in the scope for this subcommittee include, but are not limited to:  municipal aggregation; rooftop solar panel installations; solar parking lots; wind power installations; heat pump HVAC systems; charging stations; school district energy management; paper use reduction; trash handling; recycling; composting; tree planting; garden installations; severe weather mitigation; building water runoff use; support of related student STEM projects; support of related curriculum electives; virtual presence meetings etc.”

The subcommittee was chaired by former School Committee member Geoffrey Epstein.

“It is clear that our students’ future depends not only on education, but on the measures we take to ensure that the physical world they live in will be protected from extremes of climate change and the other myriad effects of global warming, including the 6th extinction. It has become clear that environment and sustainability needs to be an elevated focus of the School Committee. Also, creation of this new subcommittee aligns with citywide efforts, such as general sustainability operations, climate change and hazard planning, including the Municipal Vulnerability and Preparedness planning process which is aimed at climate change resiliency. It also aligns with state action on climate change,” notes the district’s website about the subcommittee.

School Committee Vice Chair Jessica Barnhill and School Committee Chair Priscila Sousa

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