Published by September 28, 2018 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — Changes have been made to how spaces are used at the Doyle Early Childhood Center in response to concerns that were brought to the School Committee and the School Department’s attention by parents two weeks ago. Doyle parents expressed their dissatisfaction with the changes via email as well as at the Sept. 12 School Committee meeting.
Over last summer, work was done to convert a portion of the Doyle gym into two new classrooms. The complaints about those changes centered on the elimination of the gym space as well as the lack of windows and ventilation in the newly created classrooms. But the main grievance was that there was a lack of communication from the School Department to parents about the work and the decision-making process that led up to it.
Members of the School Committee have had the opportunity to tour the facility in the past week and see the changes that have been made as a result to the parents’ complaints two weeks ago. Chairman Thomas Markham said that he was glad that parents brought forward their concerns and was pleased with the work that had been done in a short amount of time in response to that feedback.
School Superintendent Douglas Lyons also thanked parents who provided the feedback on the spaces and how they were being used. He said that a team of Doyle teachers was convened and they developed a plan for how to effectively use the space at the Doyle. The plan that the teacher team created, Lyons said, is the one that was implemented.
“The changes that we made were to make those spaces better for teaching and learning,” Lyons said. He thanked the Doyle faculty and staff for their willingness to work together to plan and come up with solutions as well as for their willingness to move their spaces.
He noted that parents would have an opportunity to see the changes at last night’s Doyle back-to-school night. He said that parents would see that changes have been made to better utilize spaces at the school. He encouraged parents with further concerns to contact him or Doyle principal Shannon Blacker.
School Committee member Greg Liakos noted that the concerns raised by parents gave the School Committee an opportunity to see what was going on at the Doyle.
“What’s happening in that school is really amazing learning for our youngest students,” Liakos said.
The School Committee approved the submission of a Town Meeting article to replenish the Special Education Stabilization Fund by adding $500,000 to that fund, which is used to handle unforeseen Special Education costs that may arise from year to year. Before the School Committee can access any amount from that fund, it must be approved by a two-thirds vote of Town Meeting.
Superintendent Lyons told the School Committee that today the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) will be visiting Wakefield High School. NEASC is a regional accreditation association providing educational accreditation for all levels of education.
Lyon’s said that today’s accreditation visit was propitious timing, coming just before a site visit by members of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on Oct. 16. Wakefield has again this year submitted a Statement of Interest to the MSBA in an effort to be considered for state funding to renovate or build a new high school.
Lyons said that NEASC visit could prove valuable in preparing for the MSBA visit.
The School Committee approved two student field trips.
One was was a three-day Galvin field trip to Quebec City next May. The other was a high school trip to Rome and Athens scheduled for April 16-25, 2020.