The School Committee recently voted to begin the process of renewing its contract with Assistant Superintendent of Operations Charles Obremski.
During the March 21 School Committee meeting, Ward 1 School Committee Member Millie Cardello requested that Obremski’s contract be referred to the Subcommittee on Finance and Negotiations and discussed in Executive Session.
However, School Committee Member-at-Large Samantha Lambert questioned the need for an Executive Session. “Currently the School Committee holds the contract; therefore, it’s public,” she said.
School Committee Chairperson Jeanne Cristiano said the subcommittee members will determine if an Executive Session is necessary. “At that time, they can make decisions based on what they see as the prudent method to move forward with this,” she said.
The School Committee ultimately voted 7-1 to refer the matter to the Subcommittee on Finance and Negotiations.
Accelerating mathematics instruction for students
In other news, the School Committee voted to accept a grant from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to assist with funding for the district’s Acceleration Academies. Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani said the grant is valued at approximately $83,000.
“We plan to purchase our Math iReady curriculum from this grant,” she said. “This grant is slightly different in that it doesn’t come in as an amount; it comes in as an approval and then we put in for the curriculum that we want through DESE.”
Tahiliani said that in addition to iReady, she and her colleagues continue to study other math programs as part of the district’s ongoing curriculum revision process.
According to DESE, the math acceleration program is part of the state effort to help students recover from learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A call for Councillor DiPierro’s resignation
Tahiliani also addressed the controversy stemming from the racist meme that was circulated by Ward 3 Councillor Anthony DiPierro. “I condemn the actions of Everett City Councillor Anthony DiPierro and ask that he resign from office effective immediately,” she said, adding that his recent actions have no place in Everett. “They’re the antithesis of everything we should stand for as a school district and as a community.”
In addition, Tahiliani said she was surprised that more city leaders have not spoken publicly about the incident. “Less than a handful of our elected officials have responded,” she said. “I want our students and our families to know that I hear their voices and I feel their pain. I will never shy away from advocating on their behalf; this is within my purview.”
Lambert expressed similar sentiments. “Our schools are incredibly diverse; people are always shocked when I tell them about Everett,” she said. “I’m proud to be in Everett, I chose Everett, I chose it for my children. I will always speak for the students of our schools. I hear our educators and our community who are in pain and hurting.”
However, Ward 2 School Committee Member Jason Marcus shared a different opinion. “If we could just try to help maybe instead of beating him up,” he said of DiPierro. “It’s easy to beat somebody up when they’re down.”
Marcus said he has always known DiPierro to be a consummate professional. “I plead with all of you; if you really care about the kid, you won’t ruin his life,” he said.