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Superintendent Email Update: July 10, 2020

DPS Update

Friday, July 10, 2020


Hi Folks,


I’m reaching out today with a few updates since my last correspondence.  I know there is a lot of anticipation and anxiety about what schools will look like across the country and specifically in Dedham in the fall.  As you know, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance two weeks ago, and has asked all districts to submit one plan with three model options as to how schools could operate in the fall.  These options would be fully in-person, fully remote, or a hybrid model with some portions of each. Final school reopening guidance from DESE is slated to be released later this month after additional data is gathered. I learned yesterday that the deadline for the district to submit this plan is July 31.  


The district has created an advisory task force with representation from all stakeholders at all schools to provide input to the district on our district plan.   All school principals will participate, as well as other key members of the district leadership team.   The parent representatives on the task force are:

The Dedham Education Association has selected members from their representative bargaining groups to participate on the task force also.  The task force will review all feedback from surveys and provide input to the district as we develop plans for each of the three models.  Any of these three models (remote, fully in-person, or hybrid) could be utilized by the district at any time depending upon the course of the coronavirus and direction from the state.  A final decision on WHICH model will be utilized beginning in September will not be made until more information about the trajectory of the virus is gathered later this month.  I will keep everyone posted about the task force’s work, and you should be on the lookout for a survey to provide input about your preferences for our fall options early next week. 


Last night we presented our REVISED FY21 School Department Operating Budget to Dedham’s Finance and Warrant Committee through a virtual format.  Our original budget was supposed to be presented on March 17, but the pandemic canceled this presentation and we were subsequently asked to trim our budget request by $500,000.  You will see these cuts detailed on page 26.  I encourage you to please take a moment and review the information contained in this budget.  The next step in the budget process will be for the Finance and Warrant Committee to make a recommendation to Town Meeting which is currently scheduled for the evening of Monday, August 10 on the turf field at Dedham High School.  Town Meeting will ultimately have the final say on our FY21 Budget at that time.


Message from the Food Service Director - Jeanne Johnson;

"I wanted to take a moment to thank all of the people who have participated in our new, drive-thru, school lunch program. In these unprecedented times I and all of the amazing food service workers that work side by side with me would like to give you a big thank you and let you know how much we appreciate you continuing to support the Dedham school lunch program. Although on March 13th everything changed, school lunch is still here to support the community. We are here to provide meals to not only low income families but to all families that would like to pick up assorted, well balanced nutritious meals for their children. We are here to serve so please stop by this summer to pick up your meals; we would love to see you. We are serving on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11. Thank you, be safe and we will look forward to seeing you at our meal distribution sites this summer. "


All my best,


Mike Welch