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Holliston School Committee News

by Lisa Kocian

School Committee Newsletter  Issue #10 -- May 18, 2017

In This Issue: School Safety, Finalists for New Assistant Superintendent Announced, Schools and Town Present New Budget Transparency Tool, School Start Times Survey Due May 26, Wellness Council Re-launched, Budget Approved by Town Meeting

Thank you to Dr. Sara Ahern

After almost six years as Holliston’s assistant superintendent, Dr. Sara Ahern is joining Franklin Public Schools as its superintendent. Dr. Ahern joined the Holliston Public Schools in July 2011, and immediately began having an enormous impact on the quality of curriculum and instruction in our district. Under her watch, the district has updated and modernized its Foreign Language, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science/Technology/Engineering curricula, with a review of Social Studies well underway. As a result of her focus on our students’ social-emotional education, Holliston has updated its K-5 Open Circle curriculum and standardized its use across all grades and the unified arts. She has been instrumental in helping to guide Holliston toward an instructional model where technology is fully integrated into everyday teaching. As a result, Adams Middle School became a 1:1 Chromebook environment, and Holliston High School is purposefully moving in that direction.  

The School Committee is grateful for her hard work, dedication, and expertise. Her legacy will be well-educated, curious students who are more prepared than ever for a quickly changing 21st century. We wish her well and thank her for her service. Congratulations Sara!

School Safety

Dr. Brad Jackson will conduct a post-incident review following the concerning social media posting that was reported to the Holliston Police Department and the Holliston Public Schools on May 14.

A post-incident review of our response is generally conducted when serious issues like this arise.  During that review, the superintendent convenes relevant members of the HPS administrative team, who in this case will be joined by members of the Police Department, and together they review the chronology of events that unfolded and our response to those events with a critical eye toward improvement. Part of our local protocol is to have a neighboring superintendent chair the post-incident review process to maintain objectivity of the review and ensure that the responses/actions of all parties (regardless of "rank") get a thorough and objective review.

While we can’t share any additional information regarding the incident or the person who posted the video, we want to reiterate that the Holliston Public Schools and the Holliston Police Department take any matter of student safety extremely seriously and are committed to deploying all necessary resources to keep our students and staff safe on school property.

Reminder: Start Times Survey Due May 26!

The school start times survey was recently emailed to parents, staff, and secondary students. We are considering changing school start times (for the 2018-19 school year, at the earliest), but there are many challenges to consider. Your response to the survey is crucial to our work! Please take a few minutes to respond. For information on the research that has been conducted so far, please look at the the School Start Time Subcommittee’s web page.