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April 12, 2023

Minutes of the

Monson School Committee

Regular Business Meeting

April 12, 2023

Hybrid Model

Members of the public were able to participate virtually in this meeting at Meeting ID:883 93218748

Present (In-person): Chair Colleen Flynn; Vice Chair Alison Morgan; Secretary Emily Graves-Harrison; Committee Member Kathryn Peterson; Committee Member Jamie Murphy; Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Clarke; Director of Business and Operations Leah Zippin; Director of Special Education Colette Bidus; Director of Curriculum and Instruction Katherine Watts; Director of Facilities Paul DeMaio; Granite Valley School Principal Joseph Trivisonno; Granite Valley School Assistant Principal Myriah Hudak and Recording Secretary Karen Methe

Note: This meeting was recorded by M-Pact TV and Zoom.

Ms. Flynn called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Ms. Murphy read the Mission & Vision Statements.


The Monson High School National Honor Society Induction Ceremony will be held tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m.

Dr. Clarke gave a reminder that next week is school vacation week.

The Special Olympics Unified Game Day is scheduled for April 28, 2023 beginning at 9:00 a.m. at Granite Valley School. Several area school districts and local dignitaries will also join Monson Public Schools for this wonderful event.

The Monson Teachers’ Association will host the annual Friends of Education Dinner, honoring retirees, on May 5, 2023.

May 6, 2023 is Spring Sports Homecoming Day from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. This a new event being sponsored by the Boosters. There will be 4 games played, boys and girls lacrosse, baseball and softball. Food trucks will be on site and raffles will be held.

The Town Meeting is scheduled for May 8, 2023, 7:00 p.m. in the Granite Valley School auditorium.

May 13, 2023 is the prom at the Log Cabin.

Another Dinner and Math evening will be held at the Early Childhood Center on May 17, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.

Monson High School will hold a spring concert on May 17, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

May 18, 2023 is an early release day for students and a fundraiser will be held that evening at the Main Street Tavern.

Senior Signing Day, combined with the Senior Academic Awards Ceremony will take place on May 19, 2023 at the high school. Members of the School Committee, the Town Administrator, and Senator Ashe are scheduled to attend the event.

Granite Valley School has a music concert slated for May 23, 2023.


Dr. Clarke noted that a letter from the state was received regarding 2 additional John & Abigail Scholarship Award recipients. She congratulated Cody McCollum and Charlie Gainer. Dr. Clarke thanked Lisa Ronaldson and her team for coordinating a very successful 5K Color Run on April 1, 2023 to benefit the junior and senior classes. Despite the rainy weather the event was well attended and the participants were excited to be there.

Student Representative Report/Work:

Granite Valley School: Elliott Greene

Pi Day was celebrated on March 24, 2023 with a school wide PBIS event in the gym. Students were able to purchase tickets for the opportunity to “pie” a staff member.

Clubs continue to be held before and after school with the Chess Club being new this year and, thanks to Ms. Stella, there are over 70 students in Grades 1-6 playing Chess after school.

Girls on the Run has started their spring season. There are 19 girls in grades 4-6 participating. Thanks to Ms. Clifford, Ms. Barnes and Ms. Penzek for coaching the team.

Advanced Art is in full swing with 19 students in grades 5 and 6 participating. Thanks to Ms. Novak for running that program.

Grades 3-6 have been taking the English Language Arts portion of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) testing and everyone has been working really hard. Upon return from the April vacation they will begin the Math portion of MCAS.

Field trips are back with all grade levels going on a trip this spring.


  • Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to approve the February 8, 2023 Working Meeting Minutes and the March 15, 2023 Regular Business Meeting Minutes as presented. (Second by Ms. Peterson)

  • No discussion

  • Roll Call Vote:

Ms. Murphy Yes

Ms. Peterson Yes

Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

Ms. Morgan Yes

Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Motion carries 5-0

Superintendent’s Update:

Dr. Clarke informed everyone that remote access for attending School Committee meetings has been extended to March 2025.

The Drug Free Communities Grant has been submitted for the Monson Substance Use Alliance coalition that is partnering with the Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Narcan training was done at the high school and Granite Valley by the Board of Health, with Officer Gasperini attending, on March 29, 2023. 15 Narcan kits were also distributed upon request.

Dr. Clarke stated that the Youth Health Survey was administered to high school students and out of 259 surveys opened by students, 200 were completed in grades 6-12. The Quaboag Valley Organization will compile the results and compare them to 2020 results. They will be invited to attend an upcoming meeting to share the information.

Dr. Clarke thanked Colette Bidus and her team for their efforts in completing the Tier I Focus Monitoring Review which examines Special Education and Civil Rights criteria. She noted that she is happy to report that the district is in full compliance with laws and regulations and no further action is required.

The Select Board and the Town Finance Committee have both approved the proposed FY 24 School Department Budget.

The administration team participated in an on-site retreat on March 21, 2023. Dr. Clarke stated that a lot of planning for the next school year was discussed and all meetings for 2023-2024 were scheduled.

Dr. Clarke thanked Town Administrator Ms. Wolowicz for meeting with her bi-weekly adding that the meetings have been very collaborative.

Sergeant Hull invited School Resource Officer Mr. Beachall to participate in the Law Enforcement Safety Act Firearms Training at Smith and Wesson in conjunction with the Monson Police Department. Dr. Clarke thanked the Monson Police Department and Sergeant Hull for asking Mr. Beachall to attend.

Dr. Clarke thanked Mr. Brassard, Mr. DeMaio and their students for constructing 2 substantial raised garden beds. Dr. Clarke and Mr. DeMaio will be co-teaching a class at the Early Childhood Center on gardening and chickens.

The entire student body at Monson High School will be participating in a Day of Service on April 14, 2023. Dr. Clarke thanked the Town for partnering on some new initiatives this year which include students working at the Town Hall with the new scanner digitizing historical documents, cleaning cemetery stones at the Hillside Cemetery, cleaning at the Town Hall, Memorial Hall, helping seniors with technology at the Senior Center and working at Monson Public Library. Students will also paint the baseball shed, groups of students will go to Quarry Hill and Granite Valley to work in the classroom with students including their PBIS activities, baking cookies for local fire and police personnel, gardening and a free car wash. Students in the VIP Program will be selling homemade dog treats outside of Monson Savings Bank.

Dr. Clarke thanked Mr. DeMaio and Mr. Brassard for getting all the supplies needed for the day.

Public Session:

Ms. Flynn opened Public Session at 7:15 p.m.

No one from the public came forward to address the Committee.

Ms. Flynn closed Public Session at 7:17 p.m.

Subcommittee and Liaison Reports:

Curriculum Subcommittee:

Ms. Morgan provided the following information that was discussed at the April 4, 2023 meeting:

Unified Classroom Curriculum & Instruction Online system for staff to have one place for uniform, Standard-based curriculum

Plan for all courses pre-k → 12

18-24 month project to complete. Introduced to Unit A staff now.

4 phases of completion

Already 312 maps in the UCCI platform

Teachers say it is easy to use and like to look at other maps

Para PD and mentoring going well this year

ST math implementation is on track to reach the 80% goal by June 2023

Jeff Mason will attend the PLTW’s Robotics course this summer to add this offering to

middle school electives during the 2023-2024 school year.

MPS has been awarded a 2nd year of Appleseeds foundational reading material

implementation through DESE. This grant is valued at $184,000. Mid-year DIBELS

results have been very promising.

Mega Words program is being considered as a Level 1/ tier 1 instruction to

support gaps in reading, spelling, and multisyllabic words through a multi-sensory


Beyond Fingers workshop being considered for math

Family Engagement activities continue. This summer there will be 4 family nights with a

different theme for each one: Literacy, Mathematics, Science, and Social Emotional

Learning. All events will be free to all participants.

Negotiations Subcommittee:

The Subcommittee met regarding bid information for the district van transportation. A follow-up meeting will be scheduled on May 11, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Working Meeting:

Ms. Flynn stated that extensive discussion was held regarding homework. Moving forward the handbook language will include any new homework criteria and/or changes.

School Committee norms were also discussed and will continue to be at subsequent Working Meetings. Ms. Flynn thanked the Committee members for making it a priority to attend these meetings.


Reschedule Policy Subcommittee Meeting

Ms. Morgan attended a Boosters meeting and provided a detailed report of topics discussed.

New Business:

Mr. DeMaio gave the following Facilities Update report:

Sidewalk replacement at Quarry Hill (QH) – This project is a capital improvement project and at this time a scope is being developed. Due to the cost of this project, the use of QH for town activities, athletic activities, both school and Parks and Recreation activities, town pool, Summerfest and other events requiring building and parking lot use, the project should be done in 4 phases. A draft of the scope has been given to Geosite Environmental Engineering. They will provide a cost figure for an architect/engineering firm to develop said scope to adhere to all American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliances. In January of this year the town had an ADA self-evaluation that led to many recommendations for sidewalk replacement and reconfiguration of the pool entrance for improved handicap access. That report has not yet been provided to the school district and as soon as it is, it will be used in the scope. Unit pricing, per foot for removal and replacement of concrete that was received from contractors that have looked at the project-estimated cost is $400,000-$500,000 dollars.

Replacement of the VCT tile in the QH cafeteria and pool pod hall is being worked on and is another time sensitive project due to year-round use of the areas.

The energy service contract that was entered into by the town in 2021-2022 has provided the Annual Performance Assurance Report showing an annual savings of $121,276 dollars which exceeded the guaranteed savings by $14,000 dollars. The detailed report from Siemen’s was distributed to Committee members.

New No Parking signs have been installed at QH and the high school. Parking for spectators has become a safety issue at QH with people parking in clearly marked no parking areas making it dangerous for buses returning to the school at days end and also for students and spectators. Mr. DeMaio stated that he has asked that the parking lots be patrolled by the police to help alleviate the issue.

Mr. DeMaio noted that he is not in favor of students at the high school painting their parking spaces, adding that they would need to be repainted every year, make a mess of the pavement and creates unnecessary work for the facilities department.

Mr. Trivisonno presented a proposal to create a full-scale basketball court at Granite Valley School. He stated that this proposal has no impact on the FY24 school budget, noting possible fundraisers and funds from the Community Preservation Act. Mr. DeMaio assisted in getting price quotes and that information was provided to the Committee. Any ADA requirements will be completed. The consensus of the Committee was to fully support Mr. Trivisonnso’s proposal. A request was made to schedule a Facilities and Long-Term Planning Subcommittee meeting.

Trelleborg Engineered Coated Fabrics has donated $1,000 dollars to the Monson High School Work-Based Learning celebration at the Ludlow Country Club. The program is coordinated by Mrs. Rosazza and will include invitations to the companies and students involved in the program.

  • Motion by Ms. Flynn to approve the $1,000 dollars donation from the Trelleborg Company to the Work Based Learning Program. (Second by Ms. Morgan)

  • No discussion

  • Roll Call Vote:

Ms. Murphy Yes

Ms. Peterson Yes

Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

Ms. Morgan Yes

Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Motion carries 5-0

There was an anonymous $2,000 donation made to Monson High School to be used for whatever is needed.

  • Motion by Ms. Flynn to approve the $2,000 dollars anonymous donation to Monson High School. (Second by Ms. Morgan)

  • No discussion

  • Roll Call Vote:

Ms. Murphy Yes

Ms. Peterson Yes

Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

Ms. Morgan Yes

Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Motion carries 5-0

Dr. Clarke distributed a report on grade level projections for the 23-24 school year with the number of proposed School Choice slots. A brief discussion followed.

  • Motion by Ms. Flynn to approve the proposed 2023-2024 School Choice slots by grade level as presented. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison)

  • No discussion

  • Roll Call Vote:

Ms. Murphy Yes

Ms. Peterson Yes

Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

Ms. Morgan Yes

Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Motion carries 5-0

Old Business:

  • Motion by Ms. Morgan to approve the $10,599,000 FY24 school operating budget as proposed. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison)

  • No discussion

  • Roll Call Vote:

Ms. Murphy Yes

Ms. Peterson Yes

Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

Ms. Morgan Yes

Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Motion carries 5-0

Ms. Flynn thanked all stakeholders that were involved with the budget process.

  • Motion by Ms. Morgan to approve the FY24 transportation budget as proposed. (Second by Ms. Murphy)

  • No discussion

  • Roll Call Vote:

Ms. Murphy Yes

Ms. Peterson Yes

Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

Ms. Morgan Yes

Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Motion carries 5-0

Ms. Flynn thanked Ms. Zippin for her work on the transportation budget.

Action Items:

Schedule Policy Subcommittee meeting for May 3, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.

Ms. Flynn told Committee members about an Open Meeting Law webinar.

Ms. Flynn encouraged Committee members to attend, if possible, the Special Olympics on April 28, 2023.

  • Motion by Ms. Flynn to adjourn Open Session. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison)

  • No discussion

  • Motion carries 5-0

Open Session closed at 7:58 p.m.

Documentation for this meeting:

April 12, 2023-Regular Business Meeting Agenda

February 8, 2023- Working Meeting Minutes-DRAFT

March 15, 2023-Regular Business Meeting Minutes-DRAFT

Distributed/Presented at meeting:

Facilities Report

Siemen’s-Town of Monson Phase 1 & 2 Annual Performance Assurance Report

Granite Valley School – Basketball Court Proposal

Grade Level Projections

Approved by Committee:


Emily Graves-Harrison, Secretary

SC-April 12, 2023-Reg Bus Mtg-FINAL
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