School notes: MCAS update, COVID-19 testing, capital needs, athlete accomplishments

Editor’s Note: There’s so much news happening in Abington, we just can’t cover everything. School Committee meetings are among those meetings that produce lots of important information, but are difficult to summarize concisely. 

So we’re trying an experiment. Local mom and librarian extraordinaire Heidi Hernandez has been live posting School Committee meetings on Facebook for the past couple months — and frankly her summaries are as informative as any traditional “news” article we’d produce. So we’ve collected her posts – with her knowledge and permission – and are publishing them here (with some light editing). Let us know what you think!

Congrats to Jonathan Bourne on being named the official Abington High School principal.

This month, John Polito scored his 100th point for the hockey team, and Matt Maguire scored his 1,000th point in basketball. Congrats to both!!

AHS: There are some updates to the HS program of studies.  I missed enough of it to know I would not be wise to try to write what I think I heard here.  I can tell you that the changes affect some math, Spanish, and special ed.  There is a mention of computer programming as well.

Sam Carvalho (student representative to the School Committee): PSATs went well. Students were informed of their acceptance into NHS this week. New hybrid learning model is good. It is easier to see teachers more. Students would like to recognize teachers for their hard work.

Peter Schafer would like the School Committee to approve Dr. Felicia Moschella’s appointment as Assistant Superintendent. She would still work in business and finance and transportation but she has been doing so much more.It is not a raise but it honors all the hard work she does. The committee approved the motion. A huge thank you to Dr. Moschella for all you do.

COVID testing: Shout out to all our nurses. We love you. Plans are being made for antigen testing at school or drive up testing for students who are symptomatic. (If you come back negative you still need a PCR test). This is all with parental consent. This will allow for quick results which will allow for better contract tracing and quarantine measures. (School nurses) Donna Conso and Sarah LaPointe will be rolling this out at the high school first to see how this goes. However, they can possibly address issues at other schools as the need arises. If the pilot goes well, it will roll out to the other schools. This could start as early as next week. Antigen tests are more likely to give false negatives which is why anyone symptomatic will still need a PCR test.

Pool testing will not be done in Abington. This symptomatic rapid antigen testing program seems to be a better option for our district. Phase 2 of vaccinations begin Monday. Vaccinations for teachers are the 4th-ish tier of Phase 2. Marty Golightly, Lindsay Wright and company are working together with the town to plan a way to vaccinate our teachers.

A number of school capital projects need to be considered:  

1. Boiler replacement at BBES – There are 2 steam boilers from 1980, which means they have outlived their expectation and there is concern they will not be able to get replacement parts to fix them.  

2. Painting and lead abatement at the Frolio  

3. Roof repair at Woodsdale  

4. Parking lot repair and replacement at BBES

The next School Committee meeting will be Feb. 23rd.

SEPAC meets Feb. 10th at 7 p.m.

As of now, MCAS testing has been reduced to 2 days (1 day for math, 1 day for ELA) for grades 3,4,6,7  and reduced to 3 days (math, science and ELA) for grades 5 and 8. The shool department is waiting on a response from the state about how to handle families who don’t send their kids on those days. Also not sure how they are going to handle fully remote. Sam asked about the content of the MCAS content for the 11th grade kids taking it this year because they couldn’t take it last year. Math and English will be administered in May for that grade level.  However, all this is still up in the air. Classes of 2020 and 2021 were not held to the MCAS graduation requirement.

As always, these are very brief recaps, punctuated by my running for charger cords and having the regularly scheduled interruptions that comes with having a family.  Any errors are mine and I welcome corrections or clarifications. Thanks to all who work so hard to make miracles happen every single day.  Now, go marvel at the beauty of the snow and have a lovely evening!  ❄💚

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