School Committee approves new GMS handbookBy Mike Berger
Yoga pants and Saturday morning detention were among the hot topics during a discussion of the revised Galvin Middle School family handbook at last week’s School Committee meeting on Thursday, September 6.
The presentation was led by GMS Principal Dr. Bill Conard and assistant principal Meredith Carey, who has worked for several months on updating the handbook into a useful document for students and families. Among the areas receiving major revisions were the sections on the dress code, tardiness, and detention.
Carey said the school day officially starts at 7:45 a.m. with homeroom, and students are asked to arrive to school by 7:35 a.m. Many students last year thought they could arrive at 7:45 and were late to homeroom. Under the new policy, continued lateness will result in detention.
With the elimination of the afternoon late bus at the middle school, teachers will be taking a more active role in notifying parents about a student’s detention. Students now have several new options for serving detention, including performing community service or completing the detention during lunch or on a Saturday morning from 8-9 a.m. Carey said there is money in the budget to pay for a stipend for those teachers willing to supervise on Saturdays.
The other major revision of the handbook focused on the dress code, and in particular girls wearing yoga pants, which are flexible and usually form-fitting with an elastic waistband folded over at the top. The pants are popular among girls and young women and are described as very comfortable, but some girls are wearing tight pants and short tops and in some cases are showing a midriff. Carey suggested that the girls could wear the yoga pants but with a top that extends three inches above the knee.
“I don’t want to be the dress code police here,” she said, “and we want the girls to be comfortable, but we want to instill in young girls what’s appropriate.”
The committee agreed with Carey’s revisions and approved the new handbook, which will be distributed soon to all staff, students, and parents.
In other news, School Superintendent Jeff Granatino announced that CHS Principal Derek Folan has appointed Jim Goff as the school’s new dean of students. Granatino said there were three excellent internal candidates who applied for the position. Goff is a veteran social studies teacher and former head football coach at CHS. Granatino said the position will focus on discipline and administrative matters and evaluations. The dean of students is a .6 position, and Goff will continue to teach two social studies classes.
Granatino announced an excellent start to the school year, with 36 new staff members joining the district, including teachers, educational assistants, tutors, team chairs, school nurses, and maintenance staff. This does not include a dozen or more staff who moved to another position within the district.
Granatino reported that most classes, particularly at the elementary level, were within the recommended class size guidelines. He also noted an increase in enrollment at the middle school and a current enrollment of 900 students at CHS, including 225 freshmen. School Business Manager Ken Leon said there are 200 more students at the high school than there were five years ago. Granatino and Leon expect more fluctuations between now and October 1, when the official enrollments are counted.
In other news, CHS Athletic Director Danny Erickson addressed the committee on new changes in the athletic department, including online registration, the new evening start time of 6 p.m. for games played on the CHS turf field, and baseline testing of all athletes as part of the revised, state-mandated concussion policy.
Erickson said he is very excited about the start of the new athletic season, which includes the addition of two new Hockomock League members: Taunton in the Kelly-Rex Division and Milford in the Davenport Division.
He said the online registration has been very successful, consolidating five separate forms into one, and he is hoping to add an online payment system in the future.
Erickson also praised the addition of new athletic trainer Christina Butler, who replaces longtime trainer Richard “Doc” Staiti, who retired in June. Butler, a certified athletic trainer, will also play a significant role in the new concussion testing.
Erickson said the testing extends even to the cross country runners and the middle school football team. He hinted that it could extend to more athletes at the Galvin and also thanked Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care at Patriot Place for helping to pay for the testing.
Meanwhile, Erickson was pleased to report that the Scott Herr Fitness Center at CHS is up and running and is open several days per week from 2-5 p.m. He noted that several teams beyond the fall season are using the facility, which is staffed by a fitness trainer from the YMCA.
Erickson also noted the generosity of the Blue Hill Country Club for not charging the high school golf team any greens fees. The committee will be sending an official letter of appreciation to the BHCC board of directors.
Erickson will be holding a parents’ night next Wednesday, September 19, at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Greg Dale, a noted sports psychologist, will be the keynote speaker and will be speaking to the coaches on September 18 and the student-athletes the morning of September 19.
In other business Thursday night, Jen Henderson, the Canton Public Schools’ director of curriculum and instruction, presented an overview of the professional development programs offered by the district. Henderson thanked the committee as well as Granatino and Leon for their support in allocating money for professional development, which is also supported by state and federal grants.
More than 100 faculty members participated in a PD program during the summer, including 28 teachers who took part in the “Writing to Learn rather than Learning to Write” training session. Others participated in “Common Core Curriculum in Math,” while a group of high school teachers met in preparation for the NEASC accreditation site visit scheduled for the week of October 14.
Still others participated in a STEAM (science, technology, art, engineering and math) training that focused on technology, reading and writing development.
Training for these subjects will carry over to the professional development plan for the new school year, beginning with the recent PD session following the early release on Friday, September 7.
In other news:
* The committee thanked Susan McGowan and Ken Leon for processing all of the incoming new students.
* Granatino announced the fifth annual Ricky Shannon Field Day and Mutchie Street Hockey Tournament will be held September 22 from noon to 6 p.m.
* The School Committee will next meet on Thursday, September 20.
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