Live-blogging: GPS Policy & Programs Subcommittee

I am currently sitting in the April 24 meeting of the Policy & Programs Subcommittee of the Greenfield Schools Committee. See below for updates…

  • Here is the link to the full GPS Policy Manual.
  • Sounds like they will be talking through the process for reviewing and adopting GPS policies, which has been overwhelming in previous years.
  • There is a two-step process for policy amendment/options:
    1. first reading and approval of wording
    2. second reading and adoption or rescission
  • Member Nunez: Doesn’t quite match with actual practice… first reading tends to be the introduction, without approval of wording
  • It’s more like a 3-step process, including sending it to subcommittee, etc.
  • Superintendent Harper points out that the 2-step process doesn’t provide time for public input.
  • Some discussion of the need for emergency situations, i.e., create or update a policy in a situation that requires an immediate response.
  • Seems like there is some tension (unsurprisingly) between the need to move policy discussions along and actually make changes versus the need to get public input, have adequate review and discussions, etc.
  • Subcommittee is unanimously recommending moving to the MASC 3-step process for policy updates.
  • Moving on to the process for revision and review of policies.
    • The information architect in me wonders how much of this is a problem of document management… i.e., when they review policies, how is that noted, where is it noted, and who keeps track of that?
    • There is (should be?) a 5-year cycle for policy review, but there is a discussion now about whether it should be the full School Committee that does that, or how much of the responsibility lies with the subcommittee.
    • Also, questions about whether policy review in subcommittee counts as “review.”
    • Superintendent Harper: This policy is expensive in terms of administrative workload around employee notification and tracking.
    • Recommendation from subcommittee is that they will review this policy and do some wordsmithing.
  • Health & Safety recommendation (seems to be related to after-school pickup, e.g., kids who are repeatedly not picked up on time after school)
    • Member Caron says she has done some searching, and a lot of other districts/municipalities transport kids to a separate location, doesn’t feel like a good option for Greenfield.
    • If it’s a problem with parents that are struggling to figure out affordable after-school care, then let’s figure out that problem.
    • Member Nunez: Is a policy needed, or it is more of a procedural thing? Superintendent Harper: It depends on what the solution is. Also, it’s an attendance issue and schools needs some help on enforcement.
    • Discussion around the fact that it is often the most at-risk students that are involved, and that fees/penalties are probably going to be counter-productive.
    • Opportunities for collaboration with the police, the Y, Community Action, etc.? Maybe, but some of those feel like they wouldn’t really solve the problem (who safely transports the kid home), just move it somewhere else.
    • At least three days a week, there are multiple students who are left at the buildings, more of an elementary issues that high school (due to HS kids having more transportation options).
    • Conclusion to this discussion is that subcommittee is not yet at a point where they are ready to make a recommendation and it remains ongoing.
  • Policy 21 (not entirely sure what this is)
    • Seems like a 3rd-party that will work with review/consolidation/posting of GPS policies? Sounds like it’s through MASC.
    • Member Nunez: It’s a professional development issue for the School Committee, and they should spend the money and do it.
    • Ah-ha! Here it is.
    • Consensus is that the subcommittee recommends they do this.
  • Meeting is adjourned.