The Everett School Committee met on August 30 and addressed a number of matters on its agenda.
One item was whether to approve AlphaBEST Education as the new vendor of the After School Program. School Committee member Millie Cardello asked for a postponement of the vote until all members were given a copy of the scoring rubric. The motion to postpone was passed unanimously and the issue will be voted upon at the September 7 meeting. It was noted that the program does not start until October 1, so delaying the final vote for a week seemed reasonable.
However, the committee became bogged down in a discussion of a Supplemental Programming Request for Bid (RFB) for new and added after-school programs, such as providing students with assistance with filling-out college applications or partnerships. The back-and-forth about whether the committee could move forward with a vote at this time went on for more than 30 minutes.
School Committee member Samantha Lambert noted that some of these after-school programs could be “a spark for students” in the K-12 grades.
“We are going to a supplemental RFB because no one provider can meet all the requirements,” added Ward 4 School Committee member Dana Murray.
However, Mayor Carlo DeMaria raised the concern that doing an another RFB so close to the original RFB for AlphaBEST for additional programs could be viewed as bid-splitting and he suggested that the City Solicitor and City Procurement Officer both should review the contract.
“I believe that we cannot put out an RFB, then also a supplemental RFB, essentially for the same service,” said the mayor. “This needs to be done right.”
Ward 5 School Committeeman Marcony Almeida Barros then asked the opinion of School Committee lawyer Bob Galvin on the legality of the new supplemental RFB.
“The document is basically fine and should be edited slightly using standard language such as, ‘Reject any and all bids’,” Galvin said.
School Committee member Cynthia Sarnie put forth the motion to postpone the vote and have all parties — Galvin, the City Solicitor, and the Chief Procurement Officer — meet before the next meeting and amend the document as necessary before the committee votes on it.
The motion to postpone was approved.
In other matters before the committee, Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani said that the school system has come a long way since the start of the pandemic in March, 2020. Tahiliani told the committee that hundreds of students attended the School Bash on Monday and the event to welcome back the teachers went well.
Tahiliani also informed committee members that the rules issued by the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will be followed. This includes the mandatory order of wearing a face mark for all students in K-12, unless there is a health or physical reason for not wearing a mask. The mask restrictions could be eased if the student body in the 12-15 and 16-19 age groups reaches 80% vaccination. It was noted that both of these groups are well ahead of the state average, with 60% of the 12-15 year-olds and 74% of the 16-19 having been vaccinated.
Tahiliani added that the schools will not be implementing the physical distance requirement. The superintendent also said that DESE guidelines allow for asymptomatic students to remain in school as long as they take the rapid antigen test.
The committee learned that an additional 485 students have enrolled in the Everett public schools compared to last year, with the pre-K through grade 4 cohort picking up 303 students.
Lastly in her report, Tahiliani noted that there will be free after-school programming for K-8 students until October 1. The hours of operation will be 2:45 to 6:00 p.m. After October 1, the regular after-school school programs will get underway.
The committee approved a new change in the Head Injury/Concussion Policy. The change involved clearance needed for athletes to return. Previously, an emergency room physician or other urgent care personnel could clear a student to play, but now the clearance must come from the student’s own physician.
The committee adjourned into Executive Session to discuss strategy with respect to litigation. The Mass. Open Meeting Law states that if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the litigating position of the public body and the chair so declares, then the full committee may go into Executive Session pursuant to Mass. G.L. c. 30A,section 21 (a)(3).
In this case, the basis for the move into executive session concerned a grievance filed by the Everett Teachers Assoc.
EHS football team set for season opener versus Xaverian
By Cary Shuman
The Everett High School football team will open its 2021 season on the road at Xaverian High School in Westwood Friday at 7 p.m. at the Hawk Bowl.
The No. 4-ranked Crimson Tide, under the direction of head coach Rob DiLoreto, will be well tested by the No. 3-ranked Hawks. Four Xaverian players – running backs Joe Kelcourse and Michael Oates, wide receiver Carlo Crocetti and defensive back Anthony Busa – were listed on the Boston Herald’s “Players to Watch” list for the new season.
But Everett also figured prominently in the Herald’s preview. In fact, two Everett players, seniors Ish Zamor and Jaylen Murphy, were featured among the “Dandy Dozen” for Divisions 1-2. Seniors Jaylen Biggi and J.C. Clerveau are Herald “Players to Watch.”
As the marquee matchup of the opening week of the season and perhaps, the state’s best intersectional rivalry, Everett-Xaverian should draw a tremendous crowd to the Hawk Bowl, including many Xaverian students and alumni.
Interestingly, this will be Everett’s lone 7 p.m. kickoff of the regular season. It appears that the Greater Boston League has moved its Friday night starting times back to 6 p.m. for all league games.