September 18, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer
An Educational Visioning Group was created recently for the purpose of "designing a new or remodeled Foster School" as this long-awaited project moves forward in the Massachusetts School Building Authority process.
The goal is to assemble between 20 to 30 individuals, including Hingham Public Schools and Foster Elementary School leadership; Foster teachers (at least one from each grade level if possible), plus specialist and unified arts staff; parents; community partners; and "anyone else who would offer an important perspective to the conversation," HPS Director of Business and Support Services John Ferris told the Hingham Anchor.
The group already includes some Foster School parents and teachers. Members of the community will also play an important role in the process, and individuals who are interested in being part of this group are encouraged to contact Foster School Interim Principal Jennifer Arnold at email@example.com, including a note about why they are interested in serving in this capacity. "The idea is to get a good cross-section of individuals to serve on the group," Ferris said. "We are looking to branch out to the larger community."
Ferris noted that each of the town's four elementary schools has its own unique look, and that those involved in this process will share their perspectives on what they would like to see the Foster School of the future -- whether a renovation or a new building -- offer and look like. "Should the new building include just classrooms or also other things that would benefit the wider community?" is one question that will be discussed, as an example, according to Ferris.
He emphasized that there's a need to move forward quickly and that the group discussions will be led by a design professional who is skilled at facilitating these kinds of sessions.
"Community members are [also] always welcome at School Building Committee meetings," Ferris noted.
The goal is for the group to hold its first workshop next week, followed by at least two more sessions, all to be held in the evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The dates and further information will be announced as soon as all the members of the group have been chosen.
An additional Foster Elementary Leadership Team meeting (following the one held Sept. 17) may be scheduled to discuss the workshop findings "and their implications for the Foster Elementary education plan and architectural program," Ferris said.
If the town is awarded partial reimbursement from the MSBA and Hingham voter approval gained to fund the town's portion, the targeted completion date is Fall 2024.