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Morin Honored at His Last School Committee Meeting

School Committee Member Don Morin of Mendon was recognized at the April 23 Mendon Upton Regional School Committee Meeting for his six years of service as a board member. Morin is not running for re-election, and the April 23 meeting was his last in his official capacity as a Committee Member.

School Committee Chairman Heather Applegate said that she wanted to "take a moment to thank (Morin) for all of his years of service." She listed the numerous subcommittees that Morin has been a part of in the past six years and the key roles he played in bringing innovative programs to the students. She went on to say that Morin's extraordinary level of detail has been an asset to the school committee. "For me, I appreciated (Morin's) compassion for parents, students, and teachers," said Applegate. Morin, who was "humbled" by the recognition, said "I have really learned a lot, and I thank you all for that."

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Maruszczak gave an update on the recent request by Upton resident Chris Russo to look into the potential of cost savings to the district if the food services program was outsourced. Maruszczak informed the Committee that they have contacted three companies that do outsourcing at schools and are putting together a "feasibility study" for the district. Maruszczak cautioned "there would be some trade-offs by going to an outsource company," and mentioned that they would have to do a close nutritional analysis of their offerings before making a decision. Maruszczak said that he anticipates being able to give a comprehensive presentation on the possibility of outsourcing food services at the May 21 Meeting.

Maruszczak also introduced Dr. Stephen Hemman, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools, the company that has been chosen to facilitate the Strategic Planning Process for the Mendon Upton Regional School District. Hemman, along with two associates, explained the process which will include collecting data, clarifying the vision of the district, identifying the critical issues in the community, and writing the plan. Hemman said that the ultimate goal of the Strategic Plan is to "establish a compass so that staff, students, and the community can move forward together in the years to come."

Maruszczak and Hemman informed the group that they plan to work on collecting qualitative and quantitative data over the next two months through surveys and focus groups of parents and community members. They also plan to put together a "steering committee" of 20-25 people in a short-time frame to work on this process. "Anyone who wants to be involved and have their voices heard will have the opportunity," said Maruszczak. This will be the first time the Strategic Plan for the district has been updated in six years.

The Superintendent Evaluation Task Force reported that they will be using the existing policy for evaluating the Superintendent for this year. They plan on launching a survey asking for feedback regarding Maruszczak's performance in early May, and plans to present the data back to the Committee on June 25.


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