Category Archives: Schools

Town loses stellar VSO, Ron Griffin

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Ron Griffin to Retire as Veterans Service Officer

Ron Griffin emailed town officials yesterday to confirm his long planned, and much deferred, retirement as the town’s Veterans Service Officer, leaving huge shoes to be filled.

First and foremost, I want to thank Ron for his exemplary and expansive service to the Town of Medfield, its veterans, and really, by his extension of the scope of the VSO work, to all of our residents.  It has been one of my great pleasures to see how he used that VSO position to make so many things happen to honor the veterans, but also to involve so many facets of the town in the process.  Thanks to Ron the Blake Middle School students now meet annually with veterans, Medfield Foundation volunteer of the year honorees receive flags flown over the Capital, the town this year is honoring Vietnam War vets, and the town now celebrates all veterans on Veterans Day with a breakfast in their honor served by the Medfield High School students from their Warriors for Warriors club.  Also, through his Legion connections, housing for veterans is now being explored at the Legion.  Ron is clearly a leader of both vision and action.

The defeat of Ron’s motion to amend the Veterans Service Officer budget at the annual town meeting (ATM) was the low point of that meeting.  That was when I first learned that the Warrant Committee was not supporting that funding request, and the issue had not been discussed by selectmen.  In hindsight, I wish I had added a plea for support on its behalf, since the expanded position could have coordinated with Medfield Youth Outreach and the Council on Aging to serve those most in need in Medfield (see Ron’s proposal below).

Below are Ron’s email, and then Ron’s previously presented plan for the expanded VSO position.  Maybe a future town meeting, as a tribute to Ron Griffin and his extraordinary service to all Medfield residents, will enact his recommendations:

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April 27, 2017

Dear Selectman Pete Petersen, Mike Marcucci, Gus Murby and Town Manager Mike Sullivan

In October of 2015 I submitted my intention to retire at the end of that fiscal year.  I gave advance notice so as to give the town time to prepare a solution to the states full time service officer requirement and to find a suitable replacement.  When neither was accomplished by the end of that fiscal year, I agreed to continue in my position until December 2016 with the understanding that the town would be able to find a replacement and achieve state compliance by that time frame.  Now the 2018 fiscal year is approaching and to the best of my knowledge there has been no advancement by the town to fill the position nor actions planned to secure compliance to the State’s General Law.

This places me in the intolerable position to abandon my post, which I will do at the end of this fiscal year.

As the position of Veteran Service Officer carry’s with it appointments to the Memorial Day Committee and Committee to Study Memorials, I am resigning from those committees as of July 1, 2017.

As the town moves forward to find solutions to serve it’s veteran population I fear it will encounter difficulties.  If the town tries to fill the position and not also meet compliance with State law, the appointment will be rejected by the State.  In addition the state might freeze certain Veteran reimbursements through the Cherry Sheet until the town is in compliance.  The State is under some pressures to take actions on the few communities that are not in compliance with State Law in providing Veteran Services.   I fear Medfield will become the example used to prod other communities into compliance.  I also fear that the veteran community statewide along with the media, will strongly vocalize and condemn the town for its non-actions to bring the town into compliance with the state law.  I also fear the Town of Medfield will be depicted as hostile community to veterans.  This will greatly sadden me, as I know the Town of Medfield is one of the most supportive veteran communities in the state.

It is also possible that none of my fears will materialize.  However it is these undesirable real fears along with a strong concern to insure that the valuable services provided by this office continue without interruption that has motivated me to continue my duties throughout this past fiscal year.

Please understand, I regret the actions I am taking now.  I trust you can agree that I have done all that I could to insure that an orderly transition of my position was achieved.

Until then, I remain at your service.

Ron Griffin
Medfield Veteran Service Officer

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March 22, 2017 Subject - VSO Job description expansion - Office of Veteran and Community Services I am very aware that the following is not within the context of my responsibilities and has not been solicited. However, it is being offered with the intent of advancing the town toward compliance with State Law requiring the Town of Medfield provide full time access to Veteran Service Officer services. I fully agree that the current Medfield veteran population is in rapid decline and not large enough to warrant full time services, however the law uses town population to determine the requirement. Last year I submitted a budget for a full time position and I have done so this year as well. So I would like to offer rational to expand the duties of the VSO, while preserving its primary function. I met with Warrant Committee member Tom Marie to discuss my 2018 budget proposal and essentially had this same conversation. The VSO Position administrative overview The veteran Service Officer must be the primary function of the VSO position, however others duties may be assigned. The VSO position must be occupied by a veteran. The VSO position requires subject knowledge and certification on general areas specific to veterans and their families. Providing knowledge and information the VSO identifies benefits and guides clients through various matrices toward acquiring them. The pathway mostly consists of benefit explanation, developing the correct documentation and delivering it to the correct resource. The VSO does not determine, deny or ratify benefits and is non judgmental in offering assistance to any individual. However, the VSO does administer Massachusetts Chapter 115 benefits. Expanding VSO duties Where much of a VSO’s expertise is in subject explanation, documentation development and resource identification it is probable that these skills can be used on other non veteran related programs needed by the town’s citizens. Generally NEEDS based programs do not require unique expertise and many community programs may only require the dissemination of information. Needs based programs already exist that are managed by various town departments, sometimes under-utilizing the expertise of the person managing them. All to often, citizens are denied assistance because they simply do not know it exists. Often our citizens most in need of services are the least able to acquire them on their own. Because discussions about these services are provided in a confidential private setting, there is little visibility that these assisting services ever took place. Generally the community population who are not exposed to these services are seldom aware of the their need nor of their importance. Each of you probably have had an experience with one of our citizens who had an issue and had no idea where to turn for help. My experience is that generally what is missing is an understanding of the problem. Yes, occasionally our bureaucratic systems do error and when they do, it is usually very difficult for an individual to correct. In today's society, little can be accomplished without computer knowledge and internet access. Paper forms are now restricted and agency's often defer to web based solutions. More often computers are the decision makers and generating correspondence while the human analysis works to understand the computers choice rather than applying a solution. Often agency's do authorize electronic access to their systems that help identify individual issues. There is a BOLD line that separates assisting in a situation and owning that situation. I do not propose that this position administer any benefit (other than Chapter 115). That bold line is too easily crossed due to a natural compassion that develops with the client. While it is appropriate to provide guidance toward appealing undesirable results, it is not appropriate to participate in the appeal as that would require specific professional expertise. Development of VSO knowledge and skills can easily take more than a year. Knowledge development of non Veteran needs assistance will be substantially less. Identification of non veteran based services can be developed independently, but the following programs are offered as potential candidates. Non- Veteran Needs based services already provided by Medfield (The following is a collaboration list identified by Dawn Alcott, Chelsea Goldstein-Walsh, Cheryl Lavallee and Ron Griffin) Assistance with filling out applications: SNAP (formerly the food stamp program) Mass Health Other health insurance through health care connector SSI/SSDI when appropriate Department of Mental Health Department of Developmental Services SHINE (Medicare) Fuel Assistance Assistance with locating food resources: SNAP Medfield Food Cupboard A Place to Turn Natick (individual or family can go every 2 months for 2 weeks of food with a new social service referral each time…we have many families involved in this United Way program and we do their referrals every two months) Abundant Table Home Delivered Meals (if over age 60) (this is common when a senior is in the home of a family we serve) Assistance with financial help SMOC Housing Home Committee Angel Run Fund (we screen many referrals for ARF…usually 2-5 per week) Fuel Assistance (as SMOC representative for Medfield Community both MYO and COA do applications for residents) Assistance with obtaining basic necessities (clothing, furniture, etc.) New Life Home Refurnishing: (Furniture Resource)Must be referred by social service agency. That agency coordinates client visit on their behalf. This is a once in a life time referral…so it is a thorough and complete as possible process. Dress for Success Boston: (Clothing) Social service agency referral needed. A woman returning to the work force or changing careers can get one interview suit/outfit and an additional outfit following hire. Other agencies: ARC of Southern Norfolk County (for respite funds to hire caregivers and other programs) I hope you will consider the information provided as an opportunity to better utilize the VSO position to better serve all of our citizens. Ron Griffin Medfield VSO20170322-rg-veteran and community services position march 2017_Page_2

Tri-County $ next year

Town’s contribution to Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical School District is based on the number of our students.  Yesterday Mike circulated the list below:

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Comment sought, by 12/1

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This email today from the Superintendent:


I know many of you were involved in the focus groups and the survey over the past 10 months. The School Committee and I wanted to share the draft of our strategic plan ( “Medfield 2021”) with all of you. We are conducting a public comment period until December 1st and plan to vote the final draft on December 5th. Please click here if you would like to give us feedback.

 

Thanks for your support and Happy Thanksgiving!

Jeff

 

Jeffrey J. Marsden, Ed.D

Superintendent

Medfield Public Schools

Medfield 2021 – schools issue strategic plan

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Email from the Superintendent below:


I know many of you were involved in the focus groups and the survey over the past 10 months. The School Committee and I wanted to share the draft of our strategic plan ( “Medfield 2021”) with all of you. We are conducting a public comment period until December 1st and plan to vote the final draft on December 5th. Please click here if you would like to give us feedback.

 

Thanks for your support and Happy Thanksgiving!

Jeff

 

Jeffrey J. Marsden, Ed.D

Superintendent

Medfield Public Schools

Energy Reduction Plan adopted

The Medfield Energy Committee has worked for upwards of five years to have the town adopt the Green Communities Act, and this week the last required piece was completed when both the Board of Selectmen and the School Department  adopted the Medfield Energy Committee’s extensively detailed Energy Reduction Plan that lays out how we will seek to achieve a 20% energy use reduction over the next five years.

The Energy Reduction Plan is remarkably thoughtful and detailed, and comes on top of the Medfield Energy Committee already having guided the town to achieve a 30+% reduction in energy use by the town since the Committee was created eight years ago.  The Town of Medfield is indeed doing its part on our local level to avoid climate change, plus the town is saving money by using less energy.

I uploaded the major Energy Reduction Plan materials, the written plan and the spreadsheet that details each of the proposals.  What is missing are the appendices, which contain detailed reports on each town building done by Rise and AECOM, and committee member Fred Davis’ analysis of the savings we can achieve by buying our streetlights from their current owner, EverSource, and installing LED heads, which I analysis have included in the past.

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Below are the letters to DOER confirming the town’s adoption of the Energy Reduction Plan.  This entitles the town to the $148,000 DOER adoption grant this year, and now allows the town to compete for the DOER annual competitive grants of up to $250,000 per year.  Westwood just used such a $250,000 competitive grant to buy its streetlights and to install its LED heads.

TOWNOFMEDFIETD fficeof BOARD OF SELECTMEN TOWN HOUSE,459 MAIN STREET MEDFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS 02052.2009 (s08) 3se-8sos MICIIAELJ. ST]LLTVAI Town Administrator November t5,ZOLG Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Green Communities Division L00 Cambridge Street, Suite 1040 Boston, MA 02114 To Whom lt MaY Concern: please be advised that on November L5,2OL6 the Medfield Board of Selectmen at a duly called and posted meeting voted to adopt the Energy Reduction Plan for Criterion 3 of the Green Communities Application for Designation. The Board of Selectmen was given copies of the plan for review prior to the meeting' The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to adopt the plan and the minutes of the meeting include that vote. Sincerely, leRlb% MichaelJ. Sullivan Town Administrator Mrnnsro Punrrc ScHooLS Office of the Superintendent 459 Main Street - 3"d Floor Medfield, Massachusefts 02052 November 14,2016 Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Green Communities Division 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1040 Boston, MA 02114 To Whom It May Concern: Please be advised that the town school district, Medfield Public Schools, adopts the Medfield Energy Reduction Plan as part of the Town's Green Communities Application for Designation. Superintendent of Medfield Public Schools Jeffrey J. Marsden, Ed.D - Superintendent jmarsden@email.medfi eld.net (508) 359-230220161114-medfield-gca-town-school-letters_page_2

Social-emotional learning

Shared by a reader –

Read on-line here

Massachusetts school and district leaders launch statewide campaign to promote social-emotional learning

Superintendents, School Committees, principals, and educational collaboratives push for greater emphasis on students’ mental health
Oct. 3, 2016 / PRZen / BOSTON — As Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in educational standards and student achievement, a new coalition representing more than 5,000 K-12 school and district leaders is calling for greater emphasis on the social-emotional skills students need to succeed in and out of the classroom.

Five associations of educational leaders have launched exSEL: Excellence through Social-Emotional Learning (exselmass.org), a statewide campaign to bring attention to the need for students to develop critical skills such as self-management, teamwork, persistence, empathy, and responsible decision-making.

The group argues that the state’s singular focus on academic outcomes often has resulted in a lack of time and resources invested in students’ social and emotional development. Moreover, the leaders cite a notable increase in students facing mental health challenges that schools alone cannot address, including the effects on children who have experienced trauma. The coalition has presented a series of recommendations, including improved coordination and delivery of supports from children’s mental health providers. Left untreated, they argue, these problems are more likely to result in students dropping out of school or exhibiting harmful behaviors such as bullying, substance abuse, or suicide.

The work of exSEL has been guided in part by a report from the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy, which outlines both the need for greater emphasis on SEL and the benefits of doing so – not only for students at risk but for all students. For example, a growing number of employers are reporting among new hires a lack of the social-emotional skills needed to succeed in the workplace. The campaign highlights the need to prepare graduates not only with technical and academic knowledge but also with a broad range of interpersonal skills needed to excel on the job.

The coalition was launched by five associations representing more than 5,000 educational leaders: Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS), Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators’ Association (MSSAA), Massachusetts Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA), and Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (MOEC), in partnership with Teachers21 and the Rennie Center. The exSEL campaign marks the first time these groups have come together around a single issue.

For more information, visit exSELmass.org or @exSELmass on Twitter.

The coalition will host its first Twitter chat featuring John D’Auria, President of Teachers21, on the state of social-emotional learning in Massachusetts: Wednesday, October 5, 8:00 – 9:00 pm ET, using #exsel.

MEC on 8/11

MEC

MEC Meeting Minutes : August 11th, 2016 at Town DPW Building
Attendance: Fred Bunger, Pete Peterson, Marie Nolan, Fred Davis

1. Previous Minutes. July 14th MEC meeting minutes accepted.

2. Energy Manager/Facilities Manager.    – Fred B. reports that new Director of Facilities for Town, including schools, will be starting Oct/Nov; he is currently facility director for Town of Weston. The expectation is that the position will take over duties of Al Peterson and Andrew Seaman, and eventually hire an assistant who will be an explicit energy manager.
It’s frustrating to lose the Energy Manager position. Maybe have funds from solar production go into an Enterprise Fund to fund the position.

3. Schools. Earlier in the afternoon, Fred B., Paul Fechtelkotter, and Fred D. met with Mike LaFrancesca, Bus. Mgr. for Schools.

Audit Considerations. Mike has various ideas about measures for the Energy Reduction Plan (ERP); but thinks the 2008 “Benchmarking Report Prepared for Medfield High School” by Steve DiGiacomo for Nstar, is likely to be too old to be useful.

Controls. On the other hand, the Trane control system in the high school is  significantly askew, with data being reported totally incorrectly, and over-heating and over-cooling going on at the same time in different rooms, including at the time of this year’s graduation (parents and graduates were way over-heated). Mike is currently collecting quotations from controls suppliers for replacing the current controls systems across all schools, especially in the high school; eventually such system could connect with rest of town. MEC would like these proposals to include explicit estimations of energy savings through improved controls; such could be part of ERP.

School Dude / Facilities Dude. Mike uses the former; Andrew used the latter.

4. Energy Manager’s report by Fred B., who reports that communications with Andrew has been difficult, as he is moving.

Garage Solar: RFP is out, several responses; New Ecology prepared the RFP; who reviews the proposals?

META grant (new name for OATA) is in to DOER for MAPC to prepare Energy Reduction Plan; status unknown.

Mass Energy Insight – Andrew needs to provide codes so MEC members will have read-only access; maybe Andrew could train MEC. Same for Facilities Dude.

5. DPW. Fred B. met with the new DPW Director, Maurice “Mo” Goulet. Mo will be attending future MEC meetings. Also, Fred says commissioning of the new DPW building would be one of the energy improvement projects*.

6. Energy audits for ERP.

RISE audits. Marie: Sam Nutter at RISE offers to audit all Town buildings that are gas-heated. Scheduled already is Council on Aging on 8/24. Fred B.: Paul Fechtelkotter emailed that RISE would go ahead with auditing school buildings.

WWTP & Water. Fred B. spoke with Bob McDonald, advising to look at EUI. Also, we should be able to claim in ERP savings from new water tower pump.

AECOM lighting audits. Fred D. reports that Derrek Brown of AECOM agreed to review and revise last year’s lighting audits for Library, Garage, and Council on Aging, to include new LED fixtures (instead of replacement LED tubes) and controls as appropriate. Decision to give them the green light if no extra cost; ask for report by beginning September.

Public Safety Building. Contract for solar was signed.

7. Solarize Medfield. Marie: now going through 100+ leads from various lists. First Meet the Installer night was successful, next is scheduled for Aug 18, then Sep 21. Looking for help for Farmers’ Market, 1-hour shifts between 2 and 6:30, on Aug 25, Sep 8, but it’s tough on a Thursday afternoon.

8. LED Streetlight Maintenance. Fred D. prepared a Request for Information to go out to a few companies that install and maintain LED streetlights, asking questions that have come up about how maintenance is structured once a town owns their own fixtures.

–    Next meeting  September 8th, 2016  at 7:30 DPW conference room

*[note: with outdoor temperature over 90F, meeting room was a needlessly cool 69F … the room thermostat was not adjustable… by end of meeting, room temperature mystifyingly continued to drop down to 67F … attendees had to leave, they were so chilled!]

Minutes respectfully submitted by Fred Davis.