Shrewsbury Schools Looking To Hire Additional Support Staff

The district is also considering an after-school transportation program

Superintendent Joseph Sawyer speaks at a school committee meeting earlier this year. (Photo / Laura Hayes)

By Laura Hayes, Senior community reporter

SHREWSBURY – Shrewsbury Public Schools plan to hire a total of six full-time equivalent (FTE) positions to help meet mental health and educational needs, Superintendent Joseph Sawyer said at a meeting of the school committee on September 22.

The district plans to hire these positions using a third round of funding from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Assistance Fund (ESSER) through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Shrewsbury is expected to receive around $ 1.23 million, Sawyer said.

District to hire counselors, paraprofessionals and pilot extracurricular transportation

According to Sawyer, the district plans to hire adaptation counselors for the elementary level and for Shrewsbury High School (SHS). The district is also looking to hire four FTEs for paraprofessionals to teach math and reading at the college level.

Additionally, Shrewsbury plans to set aside $ 125,000 to pilot an after-school transportation program similar to a late bus that left high school and college at the same pace.

It came after respondents to a district survey said transportation after school can be a challenge.

‘[It] is an important first step ‘

Following Sawyer’s presentation, school committee member Dale Magee noted that stress, anxiety and depression were bubbling up as priority issues.

“I think mitigating that with counseling and the like is an important first step,” Magee said.

“I also think we need to take a little break and see how we can not only put out the fire, but maybe try to see what might start it and do what we can to try and fix the system issues that we are. have, “he continued.

“Over the years, we’ve covered a few things that can help, such as start time, reduced homework, and standardized testing,” Magee said. “I think in our school system there is an opportunity for us to try and see if there are things we are doing that might contribute to the emotional issues there.”

Funding follows previous spending on PPE, COVID-19 response

Shrewsbury has used previous rounds of ESSER funding on PPE, COVID-19 surveillance testing and additional furniture to properly distance itself when schools reopen in the spring.

“This is the largest amount of money coming directly from school districts in the US bailout,” Sawyer said.

Shrewsbury is required to set aside at least 20% of its funding to deal with wasted teaching time, although Sawyer said the district may set aside more.

School committee members praise the plans

Sawyer said paraprofessional positions could be broken down into part-time positions.

“We have a very strong program using tutors at the elementary level, and we would look to tailor this program for a more academic need,” Sawyer said.

With the new adjustment counselor positions, in the meantime, there will be three adjustment counselors at SHS in particular, although one is specifically related to the BRYT program.

Accommodation counselors will help deliver proactive socio-emotional learning in the district, Sawyer said.

“We know that we try to work with a lot of elementary students, some of whom are struggling because they are young and have never really been to school before,” Sawyer said.

Listening to this presentation, school committee members praised the district’s community outreach, especially with key stakeholder groups.

“I like that social and emotional health and mental health are consistent throughout this plan,” said Jason Palitsch, committee member. “It was a recurring theme in many of the comments we received, and it is certainly reflected here. “


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