March 3, 2021



“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/j/94631440145 Meeting ID:946 3144 0145, 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; Committee Members; Colleen Flynn; Kathryn Peterson and Jackie Watts Also Present: Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Clarke; Director of Student Services/Early Childhood Center Suzanne Tetrault: Granite Valley School Principal Katherine Watts; Granite Valley School Assistant Principal Joe Trivisonno; Director of Guidance Robert Bardwell; Director of Food Services Melody Gustafson; 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 7:02 p.m. and turned the meeting over to Ms. Peterson to Chair. Ms. Peterson read the Mission & Vision Statements. Announcements: Ms. Peterson introduced Town Clerk Mary Watson. Ms. Watson noted that Town Elections will be held on June 8, 2021. The School Committee has 3 seats up for election, 2 are for 3 year terms, the other is for a 1 year term, to complete the remainder of a recent members’ resignation. Ms. Watson stated that all interested candidates need to submit a statement of intention stating the term they are interested in running for. Nomination papers are available now with a pick-up deadline of April 15, 2021. There are 37 signatures required to be put on the ballot, though Ms. Watson recommended additional signatures in the event of uncertified voter’s signatures. The deadline to return nomination papers to the Town Clerk’s Office is April 20, 2021. Appointments must be made to get nomination forms by either calling the Town Office at 267-4115 or emailing townclerk@monson-ma.gov Ms. Peterson said that Ms. Watson was extremely helpful to her in her run for the Committee last year.

School Committee Minutes: Page 1 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-March 3, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-April 7, 2021

A brief question and answer period followed. Ms. Peterson thanked Ms. Watson for attending the meeting and provided helpful information. Dr. Clarke provided a COVID update stating that currently the district has no staff or students with COVID. Educators and school staff will be eligible for vaccine appointments beginning March 11, 2021. The Early Childhood Center will host the first Virtual Bingo Night on March 8, 2021 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Preschool parent conferences are scheduled for March 11 and 15, 2021. Picture retake day is March 24, 2021. Granite Valley School will hold parent conferences on March 11, 2021, which is a half-day for students. On March 15, 2021 a Zoom meeting will be held from 6:30-7:15 p.m. that will be a Parent/Caregiver Support session focused on assisting students with managing stress and building resilience. Picture days are March 22, 24 and 26, 2021. The school will host a “Whatever it Takes” Family Fun Night on April 5, 2021. Course selection, at the high school, for the 2021-2022 school year is March 4, 2021. The National Honor Society members will be leading the Student Advisory Programs on March 19, 2021. Dr. Clarke added to stay tuned for Grade 8 parent transition night and Grade 11 college prep nights during the month of March 2021. The Monson to Miami walking update; 28 staff members and 3 community members currently participating in this month’s wellness challenge. As of this morning, 342,644 steps have been taken collectively which equates to roughly 162 miles and the current location is Hoboken, New Jersey. Subcommittee and Liaison Reports: Human Resources/Negotiations: The subcommittee met on March 2, 2021 to address items regarding the outsourcing of bus transportation. They will meet again on March 4, 2021 with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. Policy Subcommittee: The subcommittee has a meeting scheduled for March 10, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. Finance Subcommittee: The subcommittee will schedule a meeting on March 10, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Ms. Peterson mentioned that she attended the recent Parent Student Teacher Association (PTSA) meeting. She encouraged people to sign up to be a part of this wonderful group. Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Clarke reported that Mr. Bardwell attended the Board of Health meeting earlier this evening. He provided them with an update regarding the risk assessment administered and a social/emotional update. She added that the Board of Health wants to be more involved and kept in the loop regarding the social/emotional work done at the high school. ESCO work continues. All lighting work will be completed by the end of this month. The Dectron, for the pool area, has been replaced with a Desert Aire unit which has been set in place and plumbed to the condenser unit that is now located outside the building by the Central Business Offices

School Committee Minutes: Page 2 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-March 3, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-April 7, 2021

entrance. To date, the controls have been wired in, and the final piece will be plumbing the coolant and building a new return and exhaust air system for the unit. The contractors believe that by the end of March, the unit will be able to be commissioned by Desert Aire and started and hopefully by mid-April the pool will be up and running. All repairs have been made and the building is dry and clean and certified by ServPro. The results from the lab that did all testing were good. Walls have been sheet-rocked and the building was cleaned prior to the return of staff and students. Bulletin boards will be put up on Friday and the painting will be completed this weekend. The Massachusetts School Building Association held a walk-through with prospective bidders. They are on track to begin work in late spring. The Administrative Leadership Team (ALT) and department heads continue their work on the FY’22 school budget. Dr. Clarke noted that she will have a budget to present at Finance Subcommittee next week and then to the full Committee at the March 24, 2021 Regular Business Meeting. Letters were sent home to all families last week explaining the process and signing up for the pooled testing. There is now a tab on the district website with additional information. Testing began today at Granite Valley School and tomorrow at Quarry Hill Community School and Monson High School. Dr. Clarke reviewed the number of participants from slides she presented adding that funding has been extended to the week of April 26, 2021. A contract with J. P. McCarthy and Sons for bus transportation has been signed. The Human Resources and Finance Subcommittee will meet tomorrow night with the UFCW union. Dr. Clarke noted that requests, for building access from outside organizations, are not yet being approved, though Parks and Recreation Department will have access to the pool upon completion of the necessary work. She and Committee Chair Mr. Lord felt agreed that the schools were just getting back to in-person learning and wanted to limit non-school related activities. Dr. Clarke noted that she and the Committee would re-assess at a later date. Mrs. Gustafson, Food Service Director, and her staff were given Dr. Clarke’s thanks for the continuation of the Grab & Go Program adding that 19,000 breakfasts and lunched were distributed. That amount did not include the students that have returned to in-person learning. The program will continue every Monday for the foreseeable future. Public session: Ms. Peterson opened Public Session at 7:31 p.m. The following town residents addressed the Committee: Ms. Peterson closed Public Session at 7:32 p.m. Old Business: Ms. Graves-Harrison stated that she was looking for Committee interest in submitting a resolution to the appropriate stakeholders requesting that the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Test (MCAS) requirement be delayed for the next 3 years due to the pandemic. It is understood that the district cannot elect to do this, as it is state mandated. Dr. Clarke stated that she and the Administrative Leadership Team (ALT) are not in favor of foregoing MCAS testing because they feel it is an important piece of data that will help to inform the gaps that may exist. Dr. Clarke read the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) verbiage presented at the MASC Annual Meeting. She added that there is a Bill in the House – HD1448, An Act to Cancel the Administration of the MCAS tests for the 2020-2021 school year.

School Committee Minutes: Page 3 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-March 3, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-April 7, 2021

Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison that the Committee endorse a moratorium on all high-staked testing for the 2020-2021 school year so all students can benefit from their time being focused on direct instruction and urge the legislature to enact a moratorium on high stakes testing of 3 years. (Second by Mr. Lord) Discussion followed with the pros and cons of MCAS testing this year. Dr. Clarke reviewed the revisions proposed by the Commissioner of Education. Mr. Lord will contact state legislators and representatives to make known the Committee’s expectations on this motion. Roll Call: Mr. Lord Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Ms. Peterson Yes Mr. Watts Yes New Business: Mrs. Foulis presented a PowerPoint on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) for Monson High School (MHS). The presentation was done in collaboration with MHS senior student Rys Houghton. Mrs. Foulis reviewed the Tier I Interventions-universal support for all students in place at the high school. She noted that reflective daily practice is embedded in the classroom and includes student rubrics, modeling of proper behavior by adults, adding that Google Classroom allows for self-management and responsible decision-making practice. She explained that the use of school-wide rubrics that foster collaboration, communication, critical thinking and citizenship are part of the school’s culture. Mrs. Foulis added that Mental Health Screenings for Grade 7 and 8 were done on February 1, 2021. Grades 9-12 Mental Health Screenings were held on February 25 and 25, 2021. She reviewed that date from those screenings. Additional Tier I interventions were presented and discussed along with the Student Advisory Program, and Grades 7-11 student portfolios that include an SEL link. Tier 2 and 3 Interventions were presented and explained; family contact through counseling, lunch with the girls, access to Behavioral Health Network (BHN) crisis division, outpatient counseling through BHN or the Griswold Center. Mrs. Foulis reported that after the mental health screenings, counselors added identified students to their weekly counseling caseloads. She completed the presentation with review of the return to school focus plans and future events that have been planned. Rhys Houghton provided the Committee recent studies from the Mental Health Foundation. He spoke about a program he found, New Directions, which provides live counseling to students. He reached out to the program and was contacted but told that they do not deal with smaller populations, though they will certainly reach out to him with alternatives. Rhys commented that the high school is making great efforts with their students, assisting wherever needed. He shared other ideas for reaching students. Mr. Lord thanked Rhys for making the Committee aware of the serious mental health crisis. Dr. Clarke gave an overview of the return to in-person learning noting that students have been very respectful of the safety protocols. Early Childhood Center: The students are very excited to be back at school and the transition has been extremely smooth. Mrs. Tetrault stated that interventions have started across all kindergarten classes, in-person and

School Committee Minutes: Page 4 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-March 3, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-April 7, 2021

remotely. Read Across America was celebrated yesterday with guest readers from the Central Business Office. Staff and students also celebrated the 100th day of school. Preschool and Kindergarten registration will be scheduled in April with specific information coming soon. Granite Valley School: Mrs. Watts says things are going well. Students have been courteous and mindful in following safety protocols and the staff are very happy to be back to in-person learning. Remote students are working hard and teachers have established and maintained a rhythm to their instructional day that is meeting with success. Grade 1 students celebrates the 100th day of school with special learning activities connected to this event, staff dressed up as centenarians to commemorate this special day. Monson High School: Mr. Metzger reported that staff and students are thrilled to be back in the building. Everyone is following safety protocols and teachers have the flexibility of outdoor mask breaks on nice weather days. He noted that there have been 6 requests for granted for students to return to in-person learning, 1 request for full remote status and 3 on a wait list to return to in-person learning, explaining that the wait list is due to capping number of students in a classroom. Teachers are navigating the in-person and remote learning teaching simultaneously. Mr. Metzger added that 2 of the remote teachers from the fall returned to in-person teaching. Dr. Clarke stated that athletic try-outs began yesterday and a game schedule will be released soon. She showed slides of socially distanced athletes at try-outs and added that overall it has been a fabulous return to in-person. Mr. Lord indicated that the Committee needs to appoint a Secretary due to the resignation of Mr. Dubois-White. Motion by Ms. Flynn to appoint Ms. Peterson to the position of Secretary of the School Committee. A short discussion was held. Roll Call: Mr. Lord Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Ms. Peterson Yes Mr. Watts Yes Motion carries 5-0 Action Items: Schedule Subcommittee meetings. Dr. Clarke will draft language re: MCAS resolution for Mr. Lord to sign and send to state officials. Mr. Lord thanked Ms. Peterson for chairing tonight’s meeting. Ms. Peterson asked when the Committee will be returning to in-person meetings. Mr. Lord responded that perhaps the end of April or when everyone is sufficiently vaccinated. He requested it be added to a subsequent meeting Agenda. Motion by Mr. Lord to adjourn to Open Session. (Second by Mr. Watts)

School Committee Minutes: Page 5 of 6 Regular Business Meeting-March 3, 2021


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-April 7, 2021

No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Open Session closed at 8:24 p.m. Documentation for this meeting: March 3, 2021-Regular Business Meeting Agenda PowerPoint presentation-Mrs. Foulis and Rhys Houghton Distributed at meeting: N/A Approved by Committee: ________________________________________ Kathryn Peterson, Secretary


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