Published in the September 6, 2018 edition.


WAKEFIELD – The School Committee has modified its subcommittee structure, accepting chairman Tomas Markham’s recommendation to add a “Student Services Subcommittee” to the already existing Finance and Facilities Subcommittee, Labor Relations Subcommittee and Policy Subcommittee. The Policy Subcommittee will also see its charge expanded to include “communications and outreach.”

The addition of the Student Services Subcommittee appears to be rooted in concerns that have emerged in the past year with respect to in-district and out-of-district Special Education placements.

School Committee member Christopher Callanan cautioned that the new subcommittee must be careful not to get too deeply into the weeds of Special Education or allow itself to be used as a vehicle to circumvent the school administration with respect to individual cases.

School Committee Member Anne-Marie Fortier expressed her concern that the Student Services Subcommittee might become too focused on Special Education. Markham said that while Special Education might be where the subcommittee begins its work, he could see it evolving into other areas.

Other School Committee members pointed out that calling it the Student Services Subcommittee rather that Special Education Subcommittee would tend to suggest a wider lens than just SPED.

School Committee member RJ Masse acknowledged that the new subcommittee will have to be careful to avoid micromanaging, but said that he thought it was worth a try for a year.

Markham asked School Committee members to email him with their preferences for subcommittee appointments. Markham noted that all of the contracts for the School Department’s collective bargaining units expire on Aug. 31, 2019. He issued the caveat that anyone who volunteers for the Labor Relations Subcommittee should expect a heavy meeting schedule.

Subcommittee appointments are expected to be announced at the School Committee’s Sept. 11 meeting.


Superintendent of Schools Douglas Lyons provided the School Committee with a personnel update. He said that four paraprofessionals had been added to the Doyle School to accommodate Special Education students.

Lyons also informed the School Committee that a high school art faculty position had been increased from a .4 full-time-equivalent to a .6 FTE to accommodate the number of students taking art. Lyons said that he hoped through retirements and other hiring to be able to make up the cost of increasing this position.

Lyons also told the School Committee that preliminary MCAS scores have been released for the district. He said that he anticipated a full discussion with the School Committee in October, after the final results are released.

Lyons also briefed the School Committee on the new Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s new accountability rating.

In other business last week, the School Committee approved the new Student/Parent handbooks for Wakefield Memorial High School, the Galvin Middle School and the elementary schools.

The School Committee also confirmed the hiring of Kara Mauro as the new Assistant Superintendent of Schools.

They also took a vote to acknowledge that they had received the Annual report of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School (required by law).