Category Archives: Schools

Social-emotional learning

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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 (, 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 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 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.

MHS turf field in use tomorrow

Superintendent Jeff Marsden’s email this afternoon reported on the Medfield High School turf field status – namely, it opens for use tomorrow, closes 9/14 for up to 2 weeks to get finished, then opens for good, with ribbon cutting 10/7.

Turf Project Update

Hi All,

MHS field


I hope all is well.


I wanted to give you a quick update on the turf/track project. The turf portion of the project is nearly finished and our kids will begin using the field tomorrow, Tuesday August 30th. There is a few “punch list” items left to complete, but the field “passed” the necessary assessments for safe use. We will use the field for a couple of weeks and then it will be closed for 10-14 days on September 12th for the respraying of the track and “D” zones. In addition, the viewing area sill needs to be completed and the new scoreboard (donated by Needham Bank) will be installed at the end of September.


We have tentatively planned for a formal “ribbon cutting” ceremony on the evening of October 7th. We felt that it made sense to have the entire project finished before we have a ceremony.

Move info to follow.


I can make myself available to anyone that would like a tour of the field prior to the 7th. Just let me know.


Thanks again for your support of this exciting project.





Jeffrey J. Marsden, Ed.D


Medfield Public Schools


Follow me on Twitter @JeffreyJMarsden

Watch you tax money at work

MHS sigh

At the selectmen meeting last night Jeff Marsden, the School Superintendent, reported on the status of the turf field, amongst other things, and as an update today Jeff Marsden shared that the MHS webcam actually shows the work in progress.  Just scroll down the page to see the actual image of the field getting built.

I forgot to mention last night that the field project can be seen live on our website at



MCPE’s Blue Ribbon Program

Blue ribbon         MCPE

 MCPE’s Blue Ribbon Program

MCPE’s Blue Ribbon Program recognizes teachers, administrators, school coaches and staff for making a difference in a student’s life. This program is an easy way to acknowledge school employees at the end of the school year. Click on the following link ( to make your donation online, and MCPE will take care of the rest. Each recipient will receive a personalized card announcing a donation was made by you in his or her honor. Your tax-deductible donation will help support future educational grants awarded by MCPE.

In addition to receiving a personalized card from MCPE, the recipient will be recognized in MCPE’s annual newsletter. Each year’s newsletter includes a list of the recipients from the most recent Winter Holiday period, as well as the prior Spring/Summer end-of-year gift giving period.

PLEASE NOTE: due to publication deadlines, end-of-year donations made after May 31st of each year will be included in the following year’s newsletter. To ensure the delivery of your card prior to Thursday June 23, please submit your request by Friday, June 17th.

Finally, the amount of the donation will not be disclosed to the recipient. Your name and your donation will not be listed in any MCPE communications.

Field bids $1.6 – 1.8m.

MHS field

The ATM article 21 looked to appropriate $1.4m. to renovate the MHS turf field.  Per an email today from Mike Sullivan, the bids opened this morning came in higher.

The bids for the school field & track rebuild were opened at 10:00 a.m. this morning. There were five bids and they ranged, roughly, between $1.6 and $1.8 million. The School Dept. is working to see how the work can be reduced to bring it back to the $1.4 million that we have been using for Town Meeting. Jeff told me to stick with the $1.4 million figure and they would go with that amount on Monday. Mike S

Wheelock School reading

20160412-wheelock reading-2

This year Wheelock School invited me to read, and this morning I had the distinct honor and pleasure to read Stellaluna, one of my all time favorites.

The train hat is left over from a Medfield Day I ran about fifteen years ago where I had the volunteer train drivers wear train engineer hats with the town seal on the front.  The kids recognized the town seal, even though it is pretty small.

When we talked about how bats are able to “see” in the dark, one boy explained that it was by “echo location” – impressive!