• Project Charter:

    Exploration of Modification of Regional Agreement to Include Elementary Schools in Berlin and Boylston, Massachusetts

         

           2017

    Background

    Currently, the Regional Agreement between Berlin and Boylston is to provide educational services at the Middle/ High School Level.  Elementary schools are not part of this Agreement, and thus each is separately operated. This creates duplication of services, staff time, union negotiations, financial reporting, meetings and many other tasks.  It prevents the two elementary schools from being fully integrated in their curriculum and educational planning which makes consistent educational progress more difficult. We know that the inefficient configuration of our school district has been a factor in the instability of educational leadership for our schools and the district in the past.  We also know that both communities have a history of working together collaboratively to create outstanding educational opportunities for youth at the middle-high school levels.  

    The School Committee would like to engage a group of concerned citizens, school personnel, parents, town officials and others to explore the following hypothesis:

    By modifying the Regional Agreement to encompass all educational levels in both communities, the needs of the students in both communities will be more effectively met and unnecessary duplication and inefficiencies will be eliminated, helping to create a stable environment to retain and attract outstanding educators and leaders.

    Tasks and Timeline

    April 2017                    Present Charter to School Committee for approval.

     

    May 2017                    Send letters to town Boards of Selectmen, Finance Committees, and Planning Boards, enclosing draft charter and seeking members to be part of Regional Agreement Amendment Committee. Attend Select Board meetings and invite Finance Committee to be present for brief presentation.  (May 22 in Boylston, and May 30 in Berlin)

     

    May 2017                    Send home letters to recruit parents who may be interested in joining committee.

                                       

    June 2017                   Matt Lozoraitis, Lorie Martiska and Angela Yildiz meet with teaching staff during June staff meeting explaining process, soliciting feedback and seeking members to join committee.  (First Monday of June -- 3:15 p.m. at elementary schools and 2:15 p.m. at Tahanto)

     

    June 8, 2017               First meeting of Committee at 7:30pm at Tahanto.  Committee to meet monthly on a schedule to be determined thereafter.

     

    June 2017                   Hold one Listening Session in each community to provide brief information and solicit input, ideas and concerns. Recruit additional members for committee if needed.

     

    Sept-Nov 2017            Research and seek possible resolutions for areas of concern and/or matters to be addressed.  Seek information from local superintendents and town officials of communities who have recently regionalized such as Ayer-Shirley and Acton-Boxborough.

     

    Nov 2017-Feb 2018    Work on and finalize potential Amendment to Regional Agreement.  Consult legal counsel and DESE during the process. Meet with SelectBoards and FinComs to explain changes.

     

    Feb 2018                    School Committee votes to possibly approve Amendment to Regional Agreement. Send and seek preliminary approval of Amended Regional Agreement to DESE and Commissioner.

     

    Feb-April 2018           Implement community relations plan:  Hold open forums in each town and solicit feedback.  Send articles to newspapers, cable access channel and social media, post info on website.

     

    May 2018                   Vote on Amendment to Regional Agreement. Send Amended Regional Agreement to Commissioner for approval and certified votes from towns to DESE.

     

    Jul 2018-Jun 2019      Transitional Year – School Committee reorganizes as Interim School Committee and work is undertaken to prepare for implementation

     

    July 1, 2019                If passed, Amended Regional Agreement is in effect.

     

    Key Stakeholders /Planning Group Members

    School Committee

    Three members as appointed

    Administration

    Three members and District’s Legal Counsel (total of 4)

    SelectBoards

    Two members, 1 from each community

    Finance Committees

    Two members, 1 from each community

    Planning Boards

    Two members, 1 from each community

    Teachers

    Three members, 1 from each school

    Parents

    Four members, 2 from each community

    Residents

    Two members, 1 from each community

     

    A key stakeholder group is the community, who will be given multiple opportunities to learn about the process and offer input prior to the votes next May. 

    Hopes and Aspirations/ Barriers and Challenges

    The School Committee has been carefully considering information and reports received over a period of three years and has concluded that this may be the best course of action for the educational achievement of our students, the health of our district and the long-term ability to retain and attract leadership for our schools. However, we recognize that there are barriers and challenges and will be seeking additional ideas from the broader community through listening sessions.  The goal is to determine feasibility and encourage feedback so that we can answer questions and/or incorporate modifications or additions to the Agreement that might help to achieve hopes and aspirations or mitigate concerns and challenges.