LYNN — For the first time in the district, the Lynn School Committee established operating protocols with the superintendent, aimed at improving communication, transparency and trust between the board and school administration.
The protocols, approved by the committee on Thursday night, are threefold. The agreement is aimed at supporting the wellbeing of all students, being professional with one another and communicating effectively with Superintendent Dr. Patrick Tutwiler.
The agreement came out of two special School Committee retreats, held over the last three months, and facilitated by Dorothy Presser, a representative from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.
“There was lots of conversation, lots of review of other protocols from other school committees, in essence really thoughtful conversations about what this team believes its mission is and how we need to work together to bring that mission to life,” Tutwiler said, calling the protocols prudent for establishing how he and the committee will behave and work.
Under the agreement, there’s an expectation that transparency, trust and mutual respect will be maintained between and among committee members, Tutwiler, and the school administration even in times of disagreement.
School Committee member Michael Satterwhite said the new protocols were about improving transparency and expecting it from everyone as well. He said there was an issue last year where the school administration brought forward a request about textbooks that should have gone through the subcommittee first.
“It’s been difficult trying to make changes in our schools and there are so many people that are status quo and entitled and used to doing what they want to do,” Satterwhite said. “The protocols articulate what needs to be done. (You) can’t come to us and do that anymore. It was needed and I think it’s going to be good for the district.”
One of the protocols is to recognize the importance of communication and the committee agreed that there will be no surprises. If committee members have questions or concerns, they agree to contact the superintendent well in advance of a meeting.
“Getting materials in advance is something we talk about as being helpful,” said School Committee member Jared Nicholson.
Mayor Thomas M. McGee, chairman of the School Committee, praised the process of establishing protocols based on common goals.
“I think it’s important for us as the schools’ leadership to convey explicitly what we’re about and how we’re going to work together to meet the needs of all students and I think this document does that in a way that’s really meaningful,” Tutwiler said.