June 16, 2020 By Carol Britton Meyer
The School Committee had a full agenda last night, from saying goodbye to a longtime fellow member to hearing an update about the school reopening plan, which is still in a state of flux pending guidance from the state.
This is Ed Schreier's last term on the School Committee, after serving for nine years in that role. Fellow committee members sang his praises.
"This is your last committee meeting with a full agenda," Chair Michelle Ayer said. The town election is June 27, and Schreier is not running for another term.
Ayer recognized him for "the unbelievable work he has done for the School Committee for three terms. His dedication to HPS students and his knowledge will be impossible to replace. Please don't change your phone number in case we need to call you!" she quipped during the teleconference meeting, in which Schreier participated.
Former School Committee member Ray Estes noted that he served with Schreier for five years "during a time when we were really busy and enjoyed building things [referring to school and other projects]. Few serve more than two terms, but for your personal reasons you wanted to serve longer, and the community needed you to do that because of your institutional knowledge. Ed really cares about the kids and our residents.
"He has made a lasting impression on the committee with his work on projects and initiatives -- from full-day kindergarten to the high school fields and buildings projects -- and his work will continue to benefit students and residents for many years," Estes said. "He is beyond approach. Everyone likes him!"
It's been 'a long road'
In his report to the School Committee, Supt. of Schools Paul Austin praised "the wonderful parade across town on Saturday for the Class of 2020" and acknowledged that Wednesday -- the last day of school -- marks the end of "a long road. We've all made it through this pandemic one day at a time," he said.
Austin noted that the HPS recovery response advisory committee -- comprised of several subcommittees -- involves 100 participants. "There's a lot of work to be done," he said.
Austin went on to say that he wished to clarify that school officials are awaiting word from Gov. Charlie Baker and the commissioner of education about the release of what he called a "prescriptive" plan for reopening the schools "to ensure equity and consistency across the state."
Austin has received numerous emails/calls from residents with suggestions on what they think might be the best approach for reopening the Hingham schools. "I want to be clear that this will not be a local decision," he said, due to soon-to-be-released state reopening guidelines. "How we implement those will be our decision."
Austin said he expects this information to be available later this week or next week. "We'll comunicate with the community and get their input. I urge patience," he said.
New private school to open July 1
The School Committee approved the opening of a new private school -- Fusion Academy-Hingham -- at 99 Derby St., Suite 101, on July 1 upon Asst. Supt. Jamie LaBillois' and the community outreach subcommittee's recommendation.
The Academy, which operates 56 campuses across the state, offers a customized and personalized educational experience for every student. There's a 1:1 student-teacher ratio for every class. One of its slogans is: taking the "home" out of homework by offering the Homework Cafe.
Students are encouraged to be themselves "while making meaningful connections with their peers, teachers, and administrators."
There's an estimated projection of 70 full-time students by year five for grades 6 through 12.