Archive 2008 - 2019

June 20 School Committee Meeting

by Erica Plunkett

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The School Committee began with their reorganization due to the recent elections.  Mrs. Plunkett and Mrs. Pennypacker were re-elected as Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively.  As well, Sub Committee assignments were completed. The major committees are: Policy, Budget, Evaluation, Communications and a newly organized one, Technology.  If you have a question in any of these areas, probably the best place to start is with the Chair of the relevant Sub Committee.  For a list of these, please check here:

General comments from both members and administrators included congratulations to the Senior Class, who graduated on June 9.  As well, second graders have crossed successfully under the balloon arch to Miller; and fifth and eighth in-school ceremonies will be happening this week.  Lots of things to celebrate in the schools. 

First on the agenda were brief presentations by Ted Dooley (outgoing PTSA President); Leslie Dooley (outgoing President of HMAPA; and Patty Osten, HABA President).  All of these groups contribute significantly to the education of Holliston’s students.  These contributions take the form of Teacher Grants, Student Scholarships, Parent Education Forums, and Culture Connection.  HMAPA provides numerous materials/instruments that enhance the Fine and Performing Arts program and is about to launch a new Capital Campaign; HABA, besides supporting all of the sports teams, is also privately fundraising all the monies needed for the construction of the new Concession Stand at the High School.  PTSA also takes a K-12 view and provides a little something for everyone.  The catch is this: all organizations, but particularly PTSA, is desperate, and that is not an understatement, for volunteers.  Many of the long-term volunteers have children who are graduating.  A number of the programs that have benefitted their children are in danger of not running due to a lack of parent participation, particularly at the Elementary and Middle school level. 

There is a place for everyone.  There is an interest for everyone.  Like to read? Volunteer at the Book Fair.  Like to ski? Volunteer for the Ski Program.  Like to shop? Help with the Auction.  Like to eat? Volunteer at the Ice Cream Social.  Like Math? Volunteer at Math Night.  You get the point.  All the funds raised go to support all these types of programming and more.  These programs make Holliston special.  Look at what’s available.:

Next on the agenda, the School Committee voted to extend the Superintendent’s contract another year at a 2% increase.  The Committee then signed their annual Conflict of Interest Disclosure and appointed Officer Jim Ward as the Attendance Officer for next year.  Lastly, Dr. Ahern briefly reviewed the Summer Curriculum work.  While students are off, our schools run 12 months a year, with summer programs at them and teachers and administrators working on curriculum.  Principals, Curriculum Specialists, Technology Integrations Specialists, and Teachers submit proposals and projects are based on their match to School Improvement Plans and the Strategic Plan, Dr. Ahern shared.  Though it is a short summer, collaborative work will move at a quick pace in these weeks.  Some of the highlights include:

·      Elementary- Strengthening the grades 2-5 Writing Curriculum; Aligning the ROSP with Math Frameworks in ELA; and developing new PBIS units.

·      Middle- Develop new curriculum maps in Math, based on the recent Curriculum Reviews; develop new Social Studies new inquiry-based units focused on literacy skills; substantially revise Grade 6 French Immersion Curriculum.

·      High School- develop new curriculum maps in Math; complete the development of a new English 11 course in British Literature; substantially revise Spanish III and Spanish III Honors; expand the Advisory Program; develop new course in Science in Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design

·      District-wide work with be done on Technological Literacy and completion of English Language Development (ELD) curriculum, based on new frameworks. 

The next meeting of the School Committee will not be until August 22.  On the agenda thus far: the Opening Day preview; report on New Hires; and an initial look at Capital requests.  Of course, if you have any questions during the summer, please don’t hesitate to contact any member of Central Office or any School Committee member.  We are glad to talk with you at any time.

On behalf of the entire School Committee, I hope everyone has a fun, healthy, safe, and relaxing summer.

Kindest regards,

Erica Plunkett

Chair, Holliston School Committee

DID YOU KNOW? …..that the Donahue Institute Public Policy and Research Unit at UMass, publishes a quarterly Due Diligence Report, that offers information on the status of the state’s economy?  Go to:  There is a section on Education on Technology which has some very interesting data and statistics.

Erica S. Plunkett
Chairperson, Holliston School Committee