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Holyoke School Committee Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Sub-Committee Meeting March 13, 2024

Mar 13 2024

6:00 pm Holyoke Public School Department

57 Suffolk St, Holyoke 01040






TIME: 6:00 PM 

LOCATION: HPS Central Office, 57 Suffolk Street, first floor, Holyoke, MA



On March 29, 2023, Governor Healey signed into law a supplemental budget bill which, among other things, extends the temporary provisions pertaining to the Open Meeting Law to March 31, 2025. Specifically, this further extension allows public bodies to continue holding meetings remotely without a quorum of the public body physically present at a meeting location, and to provide “adequate, alternative” access to remote meetings. The language does not make any substantive changes to the Open Meeting Law other than extending the expiration date of the temporary provisions regarding remote meetings from March 31, 2023 to March 31, 2025.

Members of the public can access the meeting here:



Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, s. 20, I am hereby informing all attendees that a video and audio recording is being made of the meeting and the meeting is being live-streamed via zoom. 


Item #1 Updates on Holyoke Public Schools’ Equity Task Force and discussion about DEI training

  • Item #2 –  Vote to approve the 2/7/2024 meeting minutes.



Goal: Collaborate with external organizations, governmental agencies, and community partners to leverage resources and support DEI initiatives within the school district. The sub-committee will help identify potential funding opportunities, grants, and partnerships to enhance the implementation of DEI programs and ensure equitable resource allocation across schools.


Disclaimer: The DEI sub-committee will continue to carefully consider and customize the charge and goals based on the specific needs and priorities of their district and community.


The Holyoke School Committee believes naming or renaming a facility is a matter of great importance, one that deserves the most thoughtful attention.  In selecting a name, the Committee will give higher preference to names of deceased persons, preferably local people who have made a significant contribution to education.

When the need arises, the School Committee may develop an orderly, announced procedure which will lessen community or factional pressures when naming a new facility.  A prompt decision will reduce disappointments and advance community solidarity.

A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the School Committee is needed to change the name of a facility.



Decision must be made by: December 2024

Why is this important?

  • Naming a school is one of the first steps a community takes to establish a school culture and sense of belonging. It’s an exciting time for celebration and inclusion. 
  • Once the name, colors, mascot are decided, we can order signs, t-shirts, etc. to ensure that we are prepared for the school opening and are generating a sense of belonging for the new school. 

Recommended Steps

    1. Determine whether we are just focusing on the name of the school or whether we also want to include the school colors and school mascot. The following steps assume just the name of the school, although it could be expanded to consider colors and mascot. Determine whether there are any guidelines that you want to set for people naming a school (e.g. are non-person names–e.g. Academy of the Arts–going to be accepted? If a person, does the person need to be deceased or can they still be alive? Will we only accept nominations of people who are connected to Holyoke or will we accept broader recommendations?)
      1. This decision should be made by the School Committee naming subcommittee, with input from the School Building Committee.
  • Solicit suggestions from all stakeholders on potential names for the school.  
      1. Outreach should especially focus on current students/families/staff at Metcalf Middle and Holyoke STEM, since those are the schools merging to new Peck, and on the current students/families of Donahue, Lawrence, and Morgan since those are the feeder schools to new Peck.
      2. Develop a survey that allows stakeholders to share whether they think the Peck name should remain and why, and if the school name was to change, their suggested name and why.
        1. Survey can be publicized through Mayor and Supt newsletter; HPS social media; staff & family newsletters and parent meetings at Metcalf Middle, STEM, Donahue, Lawrence, Morgan; and any other form of communication that School Committee members use to reach constituents.
      3. As part of an advisory or other period, develop a short presentation to introduce the importance of naming a school and allow students to consider a name. The teacher may want to structure this as a two-part experience, so that students have time to think and research. The students who will be targeted are current 6th and 7th grade students at Metcalf and STEM and current 4th and 5th grade students at Donahue, Lawrence, Morgan.
      4. The School Committee members representing the Wards of the new school (with an invite extended to the City Council members who represent the wards) host 1-3 meetings to solicit input. The presentation used for students could be adapted and used.
  • Narrow the suggestions down to a list of 3 – 5 leading names.
      1. This should be done by a small group, likely consisting of families, students and staff who will be at new Peck, the School Committee naming subcommittee, the future principal (if identified), Superintendent, Mayor (if interested) and one other HPS cabinet member.
  • Develop a survey to allow stakeholders to vote on their favorite name. The significance behind the name will be included.
      1. Will release through the same outlets identified above. Will also collect information on the survey about the survey stakeholder (e.g. staff/student/family, etc; race; connection to the new school, etc.)
      2. To ensure high student participation, set aside time for the students (gr. 6th & 7th at STEM, Met and gr. 4th & 5th at Don, Law, Morg) to take the survey during school.  
  • Reveal the name at an event, with the press invited. Have student and teacher representatives.  

Note: All communication will be translated into English and Spanish. Any public meetings will have interpretation services available.  


  • Decisions on name, school colors, and mascot must be made by the end of December 2024.
  • I recommend the decision on Step 1 is made by June 2024, if not earlier. The remaining steps would likely take 3-4 months. If a decision on Step 1 is made earlier, we could launch this input process from March – June this year. Or, we can wait and have the timeline be September – December. 


  • Erin Linville will be the primary staff support person to assist in survey development, survey analysis, communication, outreach, presentation development, etc.
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