December 16, 2020

Minutes of the Monson School Committee Regular Business Meeting December 16, 2020 “Pursuant to Governor Baker’s March 12, 2020 Order Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, §18, and the Governor’s March 15, 2020 Order imposing strict limitation on the number of people that may gather in one place, this meeting of the Town of Monson School Committee will be conducted via remote participation to the greatest extent possible. Specific information and the general guidelines for remote participation by members of the public and/or parties with a right and/or requirement to attend this meeting can be found on the Town of Monson website, at www.monson-ma.gov. For this meeting, members of the public who wish to listen to the meeting may do so in the following manner: https://zoom.us/95911332264 Meeting ID: 959 1133 2264, no in-person attendance of members of the public will be permitted, but every effort will be made to ensure that the public can adequately access the proceedings in real time, via technological means. In the event that we are unable to do so, despite best efforts, we will post on the Town of Monson’s website an audio or video recording, transcript, or other comprehensive record of proceedings as soon as possible after the meeting. Present: Chair Jeffrey Lord; Vice Chair Emily-Graves-Harrison; Secretary Andy Dubois-White; Committee Members; Colleen Flynn and Kathryn Peterson Also Present: Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Clarke; Director of Student Services/Early Childhood Center Suzanne Tetrault; Business and Finance Director Michelle Loglisci; Granite Valley School Principal Katherine Watts; Granite Valley School Assistant Principal Joe Trivisonno; Director of Guidance Robert Bardwell; Monson High School Principal William Metzger; Monson High School Assistant Principal Jill Foulis; Early Childhood Center Dean of Students/Special Education Coordinator Colette Bidus; and Recording Secretary Karen Methe Note: This meeting was recorded using Zoom technology. Mr. Lord called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. and then turned the meeting over to Mr. Dubois-White to Chair this evening. Mr. Dubois-White read the Mission and Vision Statement. Announcements: Dr. Clarke gave a reminder that holiday break is December 21, 2020-January 4, 2021. Dr. Clarke noted that though inclement weather is predicted through tomorrow, remote learning would still be in session unless there is a widespread power outage. She and the Administration Leadership Team (ALT) had discussion and felt it was important, as Friday, December 18, 2020 is the last day before a 2 week break in learning. Minutes: Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to approve the November 18, 2020 Regular Business Meeting minutes as presented. (Second by Ms. Flynn) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Motion by Mr. Lord to approve the December 2, 2020 Regular Business Meeting minutes as presented. (Second by Ms. Peterson)

School Committee Minutes: Page 1 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-December 16, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-January 20, 2021

No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Subcommittee and Liaison Reports: Curriculum Subcommittee: The Subcommittee members met with the Principals and Mrs. Zippin in attendance. Each Principal reviewed learning plans, what is happening at their school, the technology being used and any issues they are having. Mr. Dubois-White commended each Principal and Mrs. Zippin for a great update. Policy Subcommittee: Ms. Peterson has not received any feedback from the public concerning Policies GBA and GBAA. Motion by Mr. Lord to accept the second read of Policy GBA–Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action and move to a third and final read. (Second by Ms. Peterson) No discussion Roll Call Vote: Mr. Lord Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Ms. Peterson Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Motion carries 5-0 Motion by Ms. Flynn to accept the second read of Policy GBAA–Diversity and move to a third and final read. (Second by Ms. Peterson) No discussion Roll Call Vote: Mr. Lord Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Ms. Peterson Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Motion carries 5-0 Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Clarke stated the School Councils are developing school specific parent surveys that will be sent out in mid-January. Dr. Clarke referenced a report on Grades 1,4,7 and 10, requested by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) last month, regarding the number of structured learning time hours being offered to students, both synchronous and asynchronous. Upon the analysis of all district reports, DESE determined that districts that are purely remote need to have at least 40 hours of synchronous instruction per a 2-week academic period, those in a hybrid model, 35 hours of

School Committee Minutes: Page 2 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-December 16, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-January 20, 2021

instruction. Some districts were low but Dr. Clarke said she was happy to report that Monson Public Schools has received preliminary clearance and it has been determined that the district is above the minimum criteria. Dr. Clarke thanked Mr. Topham and his students for the creation of a virtual holiday concert, adding that it was quite an undertaking with each student performing their portion of the concert from their home and then pieced together by students in the Multimedia Studio Technology class. The concert will be going out next week for viewing and available on the website. Dr. Clarke read to all first and second grade classrooms. On December 4, 2020, staff members picked-up their brand new Chromebooks, purchased through the Cares Money Grant Funding by the Town. They were able to drop-off a donation for the Toy Drive and were treated to a box lunch from Frigo’s, provided by the Monson Teachers’ Association. Though she has hoped for an in-person social gathering, Dr. Clarke made sure the drive-through process was very festive with decorations, music and staff in holiday dress. Dr. Clarke thanked the ALT team for being outside with her for this event. She thanked everyone that donated to a ; successful Toy Drive; and gave a special shout-out to Mrs. Foulis for the coordination of the event and getting the school counselors to help with the wrapping. She thanked Mr. Trivisonno and Mrs. Zippin for the technology piece. The recent Grab & Go meal program was very successful. Dr. Clarke thanked Mrs. Gustafson, her staff and the custodial staff for their part in making this great program happen. Dates to continue will be discussed after the holiday break. Energy Service Company (ESCO) work continues, new lighting is being installed and though the winter snowstorm delayed pouring of the pad for the new Dectron, the unit is on track with delivery date. New Business: Mr. Metzger proposed that June 4, 2021 be set as the graduation date. He requested that this be a firm date regardless of what type of ceremony will be held. Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to accept the Friday, June 4, 2021 graduation date as proposed by Mr. Metzger. (Second by Ms. Flynn) No discussion was held. Roll Call Vote: Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Lord Yes Motion carries 5-0 Mr. Metzger will notify students of a Google Meet, in lieu of Advisory, on January 6, 2021 followed by a Zoom meeting for parents, the following Monday, for ideas and suggestions. He thanked the Committee for their support. Dr. Clarke gave a reminder that flu shots, mandated by the Governor, are due by December 31, 2020. If the school nurse has not been notified as such, a student must be fully remote. She added that she is awaiting further guidance from the Commissioner of Education and will keep the Committee updated as necessary.

School Committee Minutes: Page 3 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-December 16, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-January 20, 2021

Dr. Clarke reported that a Working Meeting was held on December 9, 2021 regarding the status of her 2020-2021 yearly goals. Last years’ goals were reviewed and she provided the status with an explanation for each one. Discussion was held on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Focus Indicators recommendations for this year due to the pandemic. Two new goals were created, in addition to the DESE Focus Indicators that the Committee will use for the purpose of the Superintendent’s Evaluation. Dr. Clarke noted that the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) testing for students in Grade 11 has been postponed to later in the year. She added that no seniors are in jeopardy of not graduating because of MCAS. The Monson Teachers’ Association was 90% not in favor of moving forward with MCAS. Ms. Graves-Harrison stated that she feels it is a good idea for the Committee to send a letter of opposition to the state. Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison that the Monson School Committee should submit a statement of opposition of the MCAS tests for the 2020-2021 school year, given the global pandemic and the effects it has had on education and administration statewide because it would not be consistent. (Second by Mr. Lord) Ms. Flynn asked for clarification on the motion. Discussion followed Roll Call Vote: Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Lord Yes Motion carries 5-0 A brief discussion was held regarding a letter, sent to Governor Baker, from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), in conjunction with the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S.). Ms. Peterson stated that she did not want her name, as a School Committee member, associated in any way with the letter. She explained that the letter placed the majority of blame on teachers and unions across the state. There are numerous reasons for a district to be unable to open. It was the consensus of all other Committee members to denounce the portion of the letter that disparages the teachers and unions because the Monson Teachers Association has been very collaborative when working with the School Committee. Motion by Mr. Lord that the Monson School Committee denounce any assertion made by the MASC or M.A.S.S that the Massachusetts Teachers’ Union is to blame in any way, shape or form for the inability to meet the Governor’s unrealistic goal of resuming in person schools and that it is more the result of a lack of clear direction, effective direction, and adequate state and local funding which was the reason for us to be unable to resume school safely during this global pandemic. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison) No further discussion

School Committee Minutes: Page 4 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-December 16, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-January 20, 2021

Roll Call Vote: Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Lord Yes Motion carries 5-0 Dr. Clarke spoke about plans for Semester 2. She and the Administrative Leadership Team (ALT) are concerned on many fronts for students academically and socially/emotionally. Goals are to get out of a COVID Red Zone designation and expand the number of in person students safely. Dr. Clarke shared a proposal that was created after the results of a survey from parents. She provided an overview of the proposal to the Committee and thanked the ALT Team for their tireless work in creating the proposal that was presented. Dr. Clarke noted that bussing may have limits but added that Mrs. Loglisci was hopeful it would work. Ms. Graves-Harrison would like to have more information regarding the bussing before a vote is taken to accept the proposal. There was a very brief discussion on clarification as to whether an in person student could switch to fully remote at any time. Motion by Mr. Lord that the School Committee endorse Dr. Clarke’s plans presented here this evening and waive its requirements (15 people in a classroom), for requested exceptions as detailed, for the Semester 2 plans. (Second by Ms. Flynn) Discussion followed Roll Call Vote: Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison No Mr. Lord Yes Motion carries 4-1 Dr. Clarke noted that she and the ALT Team would look at a different plan for Grades 4,5 and 6 that can be discussed at the next meeting. Old Business: Dr. Clarke has been meeting with the ALT Team to revise the current metric chart, which would allow for return to in person learning on January 11, 2021, the earliest. Ms. Graves-Harrison feels the date is too early. Further discussion on this topic will be held at the January 6, 2021 Regular Business Meeting. Winter athletes would start practicing on January 11, 2021, with games to begin on January 25, 2021. Consensus of the Committee is to continue discussion at the next meeting. Dr. Clarke will send members a summary of items to think about prior to that meeting. Public session: Mr. Dubois-White opened Public Session at 8:48 p.m. The following town residents addressed the Committee: Myriah Hudak stated that she appreciated Dr. Clarke’s plan to look at bringing back more in person

School Committee Minutes: Page 5 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-December 16, 2020


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-January 20, 2021

students in grades 4,5 and 6. Ed Yesu told the Committee that he believes in Dr. Clarke and supports her and the team and that the Committee needs to support them as well. He stated that the Committee needs to give them room to make a judgement call to get as many kids back to school. He emphasized that he wants kids back in school. Mr. Dubois-White closed Public Session at 8:57 p.m. Action Items: Dr. Clarke will send Committee members a “think” document for discussion at next meeting. Schedule a Policy Subcommittee meeting on January 6, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. and add Class Size to the Agenda. Motion by Mr. Lord to adjourn Open Session. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison) No discussion Roll Call: Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Mr. Dubois-White Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Mr. Lord Yes Motion carries 5-0 Open Session closed 9:00 p.m. Documentation for this meeting: December 16, 2020-Regular Business Meeting Agenda November 18, 2020-Regular Business Meeting Minutes-DRAFT December 2, 2020-Regular Business Meeting Minutes-DRAFT Distributed at meeting: Print out info from Cheryl’s email Approved by Committee: ________________________________________ Mr. Dubois-White, Secretary

SC Minutes December 16, 2020 - FINAL
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