Tuesday, September 20, 2022

September Board of Ed: budget

Bell: where we stand in September
Department works on both federal and state funding
different cycles for federal and state
actively implementing close to $7B that makes up overall allocation
supplemental budget:
$100M grant program for HVAC; support districts with higher concentrations of low income students, higher impacts of COVID, higher numbers of facilities in need of program
supplemental to other funding
second year of funding to support special education schools and programs
meet the needs our schools effectively the buyers of

ESSER I: 99% claim (ends in 10 days!)

ESSER II: 53% claim rate

ESSER III: 17% claim "not surprising...we've encouraged districts to use their older funding first"

time to start working on FY24

West: national headlines about schools not spending ESSER funding
as someone steeped in this, is your reaction that these people don't know what they're talking about?
Bell: here in Massachusetts, at the end of the day, federal funding is a minority position
school districts, municipalities have an array of funding available
"somewhat of an inaccurate headline, to be honest with you"
"I don't chuckle, but I don't think it's a fair headline."
"To me, districts are doing what they should be doing...it seems to me they're on track"
"we have no reason to believe districts aren't spending it well"

Peyser scrambles wildly to undercut this argument

asks when Legislatures might be expected to act on supplementals: this isn't Bell's job, and it's an unfair question to ask him
some of that funding is past 6/30
no idea what Matt Hills just said about both things could be true, as he wasn't using his mic

Riley: wish across the country for an extension in use of funding "for five year plan"
(Actually, it's due to pandemic supply lines and hiring complications for those paying attention)
hearing that there is no willingness to do this (please note: this is contrary to what was said last week in the federal update at ASBO, where it was expected, it was just a question of when), which we have communicated to districts

Canavan looking for best practices

minutes approved

September Board of Ed: amendment to seal of biliteracy and certificate of mastery

 backup is here

Aligning with other changes already made

Koplik certificate of mastery
non-need-based tuition credit for undergraduate courses ($700/$1700 year depending on institution)
recognizes MCAS plus non-traditionally tested areas
don't decline very many students
at least one "exceeding expectations" plus "meeting expectations" in others
then they can apply; must submit evidence that they have met or surpassed performance established
streamlining to a single program
West: updating outdated language is necessary

change passes

September Board of Ed: amendment to special ed regulations

 backup is here; regulation changes here

West: how many districts are more or less in being in compliance already
Department doesn't track, did contact publishers; 300 districts have one of the approved tool, but we don't know how many of the districts are using across district
Mohamed: metrics that clearly delineate among schools?
Johnston: regulation grounded in what we have in practices right now
screen, intervene, and progress monitor
some efforts underway to understand at Department level; districts to reflect on what's working and what's not
Stewart: how do you get to the guidelines
Johnston: Mass Literacy is integrated
immediate and equitable access to reading support
Moriarty: strongly in favor, very happy
stronger document than what was here
was disappointed by some of the comments from superintendents
students not reading on third grade level: "that's what's poisoning the well of the entire educational system for generations"
think that more educators get it then don't
of the Department: "genuinely collaborative, forward-thinking...Department putting its best face forward, its best face forward"
to the Legislature: last had a literacy bill in 2010
"a good 'right to read' legislation is needed for Massachusetts"
"if you look at what Mississippi did...if Mississippi gets ahead of Massachusetts, we'll have to move"

Peyser: opportunities in the regular classroom
support for students who don't actually require a special ed referral
science of reading available to all students


regulation change passes

September Board of Ed: student mental health

Speaking: Behavioral and Mental Health Specialist Chris Pond
Student and Family Support Assistant Director Kristen McKinnon
Associate Commissioner Rachelle Engler Bennett
Chelsea Public Schools’ Social Work Department District Administrator Brenda Pena
Holliston Public Schools’ Director of Social Emotional Learning and Equity Jariel Vergne

McKinnon: work ongoing
how to support schools and districts to support the long term
working the sibling state agencies
continuing to do work with students, parents

Pond: many Department supports and resources 
social emotional learning and student mental health grant
really look at multi-tiered systems of support
we lost the livestream for a bit here

Pena: youth mental health day
"Trails for Wellness" tier 1: comprehensive school mental health leadership time
importance of family partnerships
Rouhanifard: how funded?
Pena: through mental health grant, also all are licensed mental health workers
Moriarty: watched Chelsea taking a guiding and leading position
Chelsea Hub?
Pena: amazing work done together
"when there is a need, it is a very mighty district"
social workers have data tool
Moriarty speaking of the hurricane impacting Puerto Rico
Pena thanks him for bringing it up, as her family is there now without electricity
very impressed with Chelsea and the amount of resources and support for all in community
West: ESSER funding? Cliff?
Pena: not sure how to answer your question
How do we create it but also how do we sustain it?
Trying to find all of the funding resources available

Vergne: SEL mental health team in Holliston
identify gaps to see where they want to begin; look at SEL curriculum
"wherever we go, it will not be rushed"
speaks to need of students and our staff; if gets to point of staff calling for it, rollout goes a lot further
Working with And Still We Rise
have tools and feel comfortable engaging across racial, cultural, linguistic connections
dada dialogue process; local stakeholder group to assess data
"equity's not something schools can solve on their own"
"when we think about long-term sustainability" need to think beyond school by school
challenges in the field: mental health challenges, mental piece move to virtual spaces, how to pace priorities
think about solutions together, schools and communities
Stewart: students and parents in data dialogue?
Vergne: engaging in multiple ways, not only data, and creating a culture of that

West: structure of grant program?
seems really important to capture some of the lessons emerging to use them for additional funding or share others
Chuang notes money is very new 

September Board of Ed: opening comments

 The agenda for today is here; livestream will turn up over here.

They've started late due to traffic. Hearing the Orange Line is slow today, too.

Public comment: none (no one commenting)

Peyser: celebrating the Ch.766 50th anniversary tomorrow
Forerunner of the IDEA law, ADA law
STEM week is coming: October 17-21
next meeting is in STEM Week "so I am sure you will all dress accordingly and wear your party hats"
Craven: mother and sister of people with Down's Syndrome
father used to talk about Ch.766 all the time
shows book given to her parents when her sister was born
"adding color to the law" is really important
"these things didn't happen without groups of dedicated parents"
today's efforts on dyslexia are also championed for parents

Election of vice-chair
reworking of subcommittee, as well
Moriarty nominates Hills as vice chair; passes
Craven appoints Rouhanifard and Canavan to teacher diversity
Mohamed and Plankey to budget (along with Stewart)
wants to have a special committee on pandemic literacy recovery
Moriarty to chair, Rouhanifard, West, Lombos

Riley: most schools have been back for a month
"quiet opening, quiet is a good thing"
Staffing challenges
licensure flexibilities and ways of getting people into the field
"President said yesterday that the pandemic is over, and while we know that is technical true, we have to live with it"
have asked districts to have supplies on hand
MCAS scores coming next month: think a 3 to 5 year recovery
"as we predicted on this Board being out of school would have two major impacts" mental health (this is actually not supported by research) and academic
process prior to the pandemic: Boston coming in

Hills: be very clear about flexibilities that could and couldn't happen if there is a surge
remote schooling not counting towards 180 days
Riley: may have seen snow days are going to be snow days; kind of a side note but important to say
Moriarty: "lean harder into them" on receiverships
have to understand where they're at
Rouhanifard: underscore 3-5 year
"typically...where there's disregulation...there are academic challenges as well"
"high dosage tutoring" being used in some districts
"creating sustainable solutions"
Riley: "people are using SOA... to avoid a cliff effect"
Rouhanifard: West mentioned Medicaid funds (municipal districts don't get the Medicaid reimbursements, generally)
Canavan: speaking of program in Tennessee; scaling
"like the idea of a statewide strategy"
Plankey: some districts have clubs run by students for tutoring
conversations between students, helping social-emotional pieces
Riley: have chances to go look at things in the field

Lisa Graf: public comment
bullying: aggressor expanded to include member of school staff
hope will consider adversives used to control students as examples of bullying

Thursday, September 15, 2022

A few notes from tonight's Worcester School Committee meeting

As always: my perspective and this doesn't include everything. Please enjoy the nice view that was outside my window, which you couldn't see because it would throw the lighting off:

Tonight's Report of the Superintendent was priorities and strategies as part of Dr. Monárrez's entry plan: what is it that is being worked on this year? If you remember Dr. Monárrez's entry plan, this is part of Chapter 2, Listening to learn. 

I'll link to the presentation once we have the updated version we saw tonight. The following is from my notes, so please forgive anything left out or unclear--my error, no doubt.

In every case, there is an organizational priority area--the what--followed by the strategy--the how--and the deliverable--the thing we're going to see at the end.

  1. Workforce pipeline development: to diversify the workforce at all levels
    This will be done by a stakeholder workgroup to create a "WPS Criteria & Model for Pipeline Development" by June of 2023
  2. Clarify onboarding--to have a standard of practice guidebook for support of new employees
    This will be developed collaboratively for next June
  3. Student information system--to develop standard operating practice for all those who use it
    This will be created by end users and will include a coaching model for the new student information system also by next June
  4. Family and community engagement--to create a framework including a model for implementation across the district 
    This will be created by a diverse group of stakeholders again by the end of the year
  5. Building safety--there's already a safety audit, but this will be the creation of protocols and procedures for a safety handbook
    "we need to practice" emergency response
  6. Instructional leadership--the creation of a supervision system guidebook for modeling of feedback and coaching of employees
    This will largely be created through the principal meetings
  7. College and career readiness--creating an action plan for implementing the portrait of a graduate
  8.  High quality teaching and learning through the multitiered system of support--a committee will review the current framework for high quality teaching and learning and develop a plan for implementation
  9. Comprehensive wellness plan (3 year)--a diverse stakeholder team to design a three year wellness services and supports plan
each priority will be backward mapped to get to the end point, and there will be monthly progress monitoring in administration
there is also an intent to increase the scope of college and career, including ch. 74, career tech, early college, innovation pathways, four year graduation monitoring and post-secondary outcomes
the plan also is to create an "academic support" division within administration to include oversight of behavioral, family and community, alternative programs, special ed, and nursing
there will also be a recommendation for a positive youth development position, and a family and community engagement position

Note that among the items being considered in Governance at this time is a proposed revision to the dress code. See the proposed language here.
Among the items currently in Finance and Operations is a recommendation from administration that the next round of replacement buses--13 come off of lease this year--be propane, with a single electric bus pilot, due to questions of climate, topography, and infrastructure at this time. Also, administration has asked that if there is to be a policy change (like a change in start time or walk zone) by the Committee that would require additional buses, that it be done in the next month to allow sufficient lead time to order additional buses. 

We had a report back on security guards, from which Vice Chair Johnson asked for clarification if they're included in the security audit--they are--and that we receive a report back prior to a third year renewal on the contract with the firm that staffs them.

The draft MOU between the Worcester Public Schools and the Worcester Police Department was brought in for review and advisement (the Committee does not vote this). The Safety Task Force has also reviewed and given feedback, which Dr. Monárrez said she would also be incorporating in review, along with input from the Committee. There was also some public comment at the meeting, much of which flagged concerns of the adherence to the MGL regarding school resource officers (personal perspective: the liaisons meet the definition of a school resource officer under the section of the law, even as the liaison is a very different model, which I think is really important) in particular with regard to student safety and rights, to which there was general agreement from the Committee. On Vice Chair Johnson's motion, the item was held for reporting back after that further review; on my motion, the Committee also agreed, after agreement from Dr. Monárrez that this would be welcomed, to hire a civil rights attorney to review the proposed MOU, as well. 

Those are the highlights! 

a quick note on Doherty

 I'm traveling this week, so on and offline, but passing along the following update regarding Doherty after the fire earlier this week at the construction site:

As reported, it is believed the fire stemmed from a welding incident. There's no hot work going on at the site until a new plan has been reviewed and approved by the Fire Department. There was also a site-wide project stand down while safety procedures were reviewed.

There's been a thorough review of the building and any damage to the structure is isolated to the roof area above the 6th floor of building D.  All necessary repairs will be completed without additional cost to the City through insurance.

The work is being re-sequenced while repairs are going on, and work elsewhere in the building is continuing.

it is not anticipated that this will impact the schedule for opening in the fall of 2024.

Monday, September 5, 2022

A post that actually is about WPS Transportation

 I did promise you an actual WPS Transportation post; here it is! Note that a transportation update is part of this week's Finance and Operations Subcommittee meeting on Thursday at 5 pm. You can join us in person in room 410 of 20 Irving Street, or the Zoom link is at the top of the agenda, plus the meeting will be streamed online as usual.

If I can just reflect for a moment...

What a thing to go from this in the FY17 budget:

Text reads: Student Transportation: The Administration will explore the feasibility of directly providing all in-district student transportation services beginning in 2020. The analysis and recommendation will be forwarded to the School Committee in advance of the next student transportation contract period. Further, the current capital equipment budget funding level is insufficient to provide a reliable replacement cycle for special education buses. With 35 buses and 1-3 vehicle replacement funding per year, the Administration will need to explore the lease of vehicles through the operating budget in the near future.

...to this for the first day of the 2022-23 school year:

I can't think of anything I've been part of that's gone from vision to execution in quite this fashion. So when I tell you that I choked up a bit when I saw this on my phone Monday morning, I'm not exaggerating:

As I said at our meeting on Thursday, one thing that has mattered enormously in this undertaking has been the degree to which it has been embraced by the community. From the vote just over a year ago (how was it only that long??) by the Worcester School Committee over the objections of then-superintendent Binienda, the degree to which the community has been solidly on the side of making this work has been abundantly clear. This past week, the overwhelming number of messages I got from parents (and there were a lot!) had some mention of how much they appreciated the district was doing transportation in-house, even if they were contacting me with a concern or a need for information. This was Worcester's project, which Worcester embraced, and Worcester is making it work.

It's far far too early for "Mission Accomplished" banners, but I don't think it's too early to note the vision that got us here was Brian Allen's--those are his words above in the FY17 budget--who has continued to ask how we can run our systems more effectively and more efficiently.
"Cycle of continuous improvement," anyone?

And, speaking as a school committee member, I'd sure as heck rather be paying our local bus drivers $30 an hour than sending any of our limited public dollars off to the international shareholders of National Express.

ON TO ACTUAL INFORMATION (much of this drawn from this week's update from Superintendent Monárrez):
  • We started the week with 74 full-sized buses for the 74 routes those run, but we had several buses in and out of service for the first few days. That's clearly going to be less of an issue as more of the new buses--of which another 10 will be ready for this coming Wednesday--come into service and fewer of the buses we're renting are what we're using. That also will increase the number of buses we have overall, which will take some of the pressure off each bus.

  • We have more drivers being trained, tested, and starting all of the time. (I think we even had someone pass a test Thursday?) Remember, we're training in-house, too, so new drivers are learning all of the time. It's going to be a bit before we get up to full (budgeted) strength on the number of drivers, but we're getting there. 

  • For those who are asking when things, particularly in the afternoon, will be more dependably on time, the answer is twofold: the first few weeks are always creaky (they always have been), PLUS as we cycle more drivers in and can both decouple routes and have spares, there will be much smoother afternoons. So you'll see improvement over the next few weeks, with further improvements over the next few months with more drivers and buses on.

  • Enter this number in your cell: 508-799-3241. That's WPS Transportation. They start answering the phones about when the buses leave the lot, and they're there until buses get back. 
    Crucial point about the phones: the wait time quoted is inaccurate. I know a number of people calling early in the week (include School Committee vice-chair Jermaine Johnson!) who had a quoted wait time of an hour; that was never actually the case! They're working to disable this message when you're on hold, but in the meantime, please don't believe it.
    Also, please note that liaisons speak Spanish and Portuguese in addition to English, so share that!

  • On the app: The app available for students and families is called VersaTrans MyStop, made by Tyler Technologies. You can find district directions here. As a student or family member, you need only student ID and birthday to sign in; it syncs with our student information system to pull up and give access to the bus to which your student is assigned (and no others). 
    A few things to remember: you'll only see the outline of the route once the bus has started out, and you'll only see the bus on your student's route. However, we do have a few buses that are running double routes in the afternoons (they pick up at the high school, drop a busful at the stops closest to school that clear the bus, and go back to school for a longer, second route), and that it IS a double route isn't clear on the app. The schools do know this, and it should be clear to your student. The GPS also can't tell if what the bus is running is a consolidated route (in other words, the bus is picking up students from more than one route); this has happened when families might not see their bus running, and then a bus appears. Both of these will be resolved as more buses and drivers come online, and we can stop having to do this.
    If you are still having issues with your app, please call Transportation during the day and have them walk you through a reset. At this point, with the exceptions of the above, the app is operational, so if you're having issues, it's your connection with the app that needs to be fixed.

  • If you are interested in how this is going and where this is going, please do read the backup for this week's meeting (that links straight to the page) for more information of where we are now, where we're going this year, and what happens next. And again, that meeting is at 5 on Thursday, and the public is welcome (online or in person).

  • And if you have questions, please continue to send them along. The changes and improvements on this have been more than daily, and I know the feedback, questions, issues, and so forth getting back to those running the system have made a difference. Keep 'em coming. 
This post from Robert Reich this Labor Day reminded me of the spirit that's clear every time I walk into the Transportation Department. We'd gotten a few questions over if there'd be a division, for example, between those who have driven directly for the district right along, and those who were working for contractors. Through goodwill on all sides, a self-identification among staff as "Worcester Public School" bus drivers and monitors (that's what the buses all said, after all!), and management that genuinely values people, there has been an ongoing sense of (as with the larger community) this being a group effort to make this the best dang public school bus system around. 

Finally (and with the caveat that lists are dangerous things and always leave people out!), what a difference leadership makes: having Dr. Monárrez walk through the things that were not working (not denying they were there), while discussing what concrete steps were being taken to improve a system that people were working very hard to improve is what makes a system actually get better over time. I appreciate her thoughtful consideration of what is working and what isn't, her honesty about it, and then her leading concrete planning to improve systems.
I do want to note that having a transportation system directed by John Hennessey, who can 'make sense' of transportation in a way that's a combination of innate skill and experience that can't be matched, has been part of my level of confidence that this all can fly.
I also want to note the enormous amount of work done by assistant director of transportation Mike Freeman this week (and before and probably after!); I know I personally talked to him one morning before 6 am, and I got an email from him one night at 9 pm, and I know I wasn't alone. Mike is ongoingly devoted to making this all work better, and we couldn't be in a better position there.
The supervisors who are overseeing all that's going in and out--Wayne Cardwell, Angel Carrasquillo and Benjamin River--remind me of those movie sailors at the wheel, steadily steering a ship through a hurricane (sorry, gentlemen; I may just have condemned you to having that metaphor follow you!).
Yelitza Garcia is HR over at Transportation; one of my favorite tidbits from the FY23 budget is that Transportation staffing has increased 174.4%. That's Yelitza!
If you connected with someone at Transportation this week specifically about MyStop, that was Cassie Shea in IT, and thank goodness for her! 
We have had routers working for us for years at this point--did you know we have ongoing changes over the course of the year?--and Kerri Collins and Joy Winnie have been stalwarts through all the changes these past years.
If you are among those who have ever said "I could never do that" about driving a school bus: imagine teaching others to drive a school bus? We could not be making this work without the trainers and safety people--Marianne Bryan, Kathy Everett, Jason Crue, Dawn Cavanaugh, and Peggy Holloway (some of whom were driving buses themselves this week!), and I know they've also been key to that cohesiveness among the drivers and monitors, too. 
Anyone who answers phones to respond to questions and does it well consistently (said this elected official) is performing an underappreciated service, and the transportation liaisons responding in particular to parents these first weeks of school are so crucial to making this all work. That's Owen Tessier, Annaliese Estabrook, Becca Carlberg, and Adriana Campbell. 
Those actually keeping the buses running--the mechanics who are Jani Nakollari, James Hicks, and John Holmes--are literally keeping it all going.
And of course, to all the drivers and to all the monitors who are actually making the transportation happen: thank you! 
Onward to week two!
If I missed anyone above, that's my error and please tell me!

Sunday, September 4, 2022

It's not about the bus

On WPS Transportation. Or not.

Rick Cinclair's photo for the T&G as part of Jeff Chamer's article of Monday

I got a message from a mom this week that said her daughter loves the new bus and said "it was beautiful." I think they're beautiful, too, but not only because they're shiny new buses.

We dropped our eldest off at college yesterday for the start of her senior year, and on the drive home, I was reflecting (as parents do) on the space between the person we'd just again sent forth and the four year old I remember helping up that big initial step onto the bus for kindergarten all those years ago, as many Worcester parents did for the first time this week. That little person and that big bus have an outsized relationship.
There's an enormous amount of trust embodied in that assist up the step and letting go of that little hand. As a school committee member, I keep that strongly in mind, especially this first week. 

It's the person who is at the top of the steps, though, that's the first impression families have of this system, this structure, their child is joining. The relationship of students to school bus drivers, like so many of the non-teaching staff in districts, often are among those that make all the difference. They're the first person from the district they see in the morning, the last they see at the end of the day, and how that interaction goes can determine how a day goes, and how a perspective on education is shaped.

Former Worcester superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone used to tell the story--you may have heard it?--of the custodian at NASA who, when stopped in the hall and asked what he was doing, responded that he was working to send a man to the moon. His work mattered in getting that done; a building that isn't cleaned and maintained isn't one that can send someone into space.

This is the same argument, really, that the Worcester School Committee was making by using ESSER funds to buy school buses: if the kids don't get to school at all or on time, and that's their access to education, then effectively they're not getting the education that they're guaranteed. That means that the mechanic that keeps the bus running, the trainers who make sure our drivers can drive the buses, the routers who make sure we have (and keep!) timely and effective routes, the liaisons who are getting people in and out and answering phones...they are people who are making sure Worcester kids are getting a public education. 

And that isn't only the case in Transportation. The student who got held after class and is five minutes late for lunch and still gets lunch with a warm greeting, the myriad of reasons a student may need a custodian during a school day and has one who ensures the student can get back to class, having buildings that are warm when they are supposed to be and have water where they are supposed to have it (and not where they don't)...these are the things that allow kids to get an education.

There's no better illustration of this right now than Jackson, Mississippi, where the entire city of 150,00 is without access to clean, running water. The district has flipped their schools back to virtual learning. And there's no end clearly in sight on this crisis.
You may not wake up in the morning, thinking about your access to clean, running water, but if someone isn't waking up in the morning, thinking about your clean water, and if that argument isn't ongoingly brought to those who vote the dollars to support that clean water, and those in power don't take action at some point, you aren't going to have clean, running water anymore. 

And we don't think a lot about the people who do that until the water isn't running or the bus doesn't show up or the building isn't clean or something isn't fixed.

Thus this Labor Day weekend post: for all those who do work in education and elsewhere that too often is invisible, until we need them and we don't have them. 
May we appreciate, celebrate, and value then in ways both symbolic and concrete.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

A few notes for early September: passing on from the Superintendent

Screenshot from the Superintendent's Twitter
Wednesday, she rode the bus in the morning.

A few updates from Dr. Monárrez this week: 

  • There is now a draft MOU on the policing liaison model for the Worcester Public Schools. That is being looked at by the Safety Task Force this week with the intention, as we heard at our last meeting, of it coming to the Committee for our September 15th meeting.

  • Families can expect to have an opportunity to continue to learn more about the district's sex ed curriculum at their Know Your School nights, getting accurate information about what is actually being taught from our staff who know it (editorial comment from me: as opposed to rumors that circulate online and elsewhere and link to things that aren't actually our curriculum).

  • We have some updates in the grant department: "The Department has been moved back under Finance and Operations with a newly restructured staffing model. The Superintendent has recently appointed Danielle Parillo to be the new Director of Grants Management. Danielle will be joining us from the Providence Public Schools where she has worked for the past ten years, most recently as the Executive Director of Innovation and Accountability. A start date is still to be finalized. Two grant developer and two grant compliance positions are in the process of being filled. A contract coordinator position was on the school committee agenda last evening and an additional financial analyst position will be filled."

  • Northeastern University will partner with WPS to recruit emergency, waivered, or provisionally licensed educators into teacher licensure programs. Funds will be used to develop MTEL workshops specifically aimed at meeting emergency licensed educators’ academic needs. Northeastern has the capability to offer a PlusOne program to paraprofessionals who need to complete their Bachelor’s Degrees.
...I think maybe I'll give Transportation its own post? For ease in finding it?

Worcester Back to School report

 The slides from Dr. Monárrez's presentation on Thursday I've shared here. The opening of school report starts about 11 1/2 minutes into the video of the meeting. The T&G write up is here.

As I've noted elsewhere, the thing I want to flag is the kindergarten enrollment report: 

You might remember that the main falling off in enrollment these past few years has been the younger grades. Kindergarten is only one grade, of course, and that first note is intriguing! 
This is important for at least two reasons:
  1. The budget (you knew I was going to say this). The foundation budget, which is about* what the Worcester Public Schools' budget is, is enrollment based. More students? More funding.
  2. More (yes really!) importantly, this is contrary to the narrative that schools have lost trust, etc, etc coming out of the pandemic. While again, this has been shown through survey to not be the case, it does continue to be a narrative. 
    We'd like our families to trust the district with their children.
I also will say that it was SO USEFUL to have a picture of where we are with staffing:
This is 2629 educators employed this year, of whom 183 are new; 
we have 48.5 vacancies in those ranks.
This is a big category, and it includes some of the following.

This is 146 employed overall this year, with 15 new;
we have 7.4 vacancies, of who all are psychologists.

This is 674 employed this year, with 51 being new;
we have 35 openings.

Remember, this isn't everyone we employ, either! As of last month's F&O meeting, for example, there were 28 custodial vacancies. Clearly, something we need to be keeping an eye on.

And I do have to just say somewhere that having the Superintendent's opening of school report start with the photo of a Worcester Public School bus, and have the hard work that's gone into district transportation praise, was such a wonderful, important change in perspective.