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November 29, 2023

Minutes of the 

Monson School Committee

Regular Business Meeting

November 29, 2023

Members of the public were able to participate virtually in this meeting at  Meeting ID: 818 6915 7297

Present: Chair Emily Graves-Harrison; Vice Chair Alison Morgan; Secretary Jamie Murphy; Committee Member Colleen Flynn; Committee Member; Karen Nothe-Valley; Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Clarke (Via Zoom) ; Director of Business and Operations Leah Zippin; Director of Curriculum & Instruction Katherine Watts; Director of Student Services Colette Bidus; Granite Valley School/Early Childhood Center Principal Joseph Trivisonno and Monson High School Principal Arthur Murphy (via Zoom)

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

Ms. Graves-Harrison called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Ms. Graves-Harrison read the Mission & Vision Statements.


The first annual holiday community event will be held on December 2, 2023 from 9:00–11:30 a.m. at Quarry Hill Community School.  Breakfast will be served.  Craft vendors and the Boosters will be selling merchandise and Santa will be there for visits.   

A Toy Drive is planned for December 11, 2023 at the Main Street Tavern.


Dr. Clarke congratulated the recipients of the John and Abigail Adams MCAS awards.  She read the criteria to be eligible for the award.  Following are the names of the award recipients: 

Kazelis Rosario, Allyssa Grinnell, Emily Roberts, Richard Lin, Ciara Monaghan, AJ Linkenhoker, Karter Benoit, Tommy Rusk, Bretonya Fontaine and Kendall Bodak.

Congratulations were given to A.J. Linkenhoker who placed 13th out of 188 runners in the Division 3 Western MA cross country tournament.

Congratulations to the Girls Soccer Team on winning the Division 5 State Championship Title.  Dr. Clarke noted that several recognitions will follow.

Student Representatives Report:

Monson High School:

Sophia Galarneau reported that the past month of school has been good.  

There was a successful Pep Rally for A.J. Linkenhoker and the Girls Soccer Team.

Sophia noted that Mr. Murphy is always around in the cafeteria, hallways and at sporting events and the students like that.

A Krispy Kreme Fundraiser is currently being held.

There will be a Canned Food Drive coming up and Sophia encouraged participation for this event.

The Thrift Club is up and running with several members.

Granite Valley School:

Caden Gonzalez reported that a Veteran’s Day Assembly was held on November 9, 2023.  The hosts for the event were grade 6 students Jackson Pignone and Quinn Candari.  Speeches were given by several grade 5 and 6 students.  Representative Brian Ashe and the Director of Veteran Services attended the assembly.  Students were able to name their veterans.  Caden gave a speech about how special veterans are and the sacrifices they made for our country.  Mr. Trivisonno gave the final remarks and the students and their veterans gathered afterwards in the cafeteria.

A PBIS incentive took place on November 23, 2023.  Students cashed in 10 ROCKS tickets to participate in one of 6 fun events that were planned.  

Lacey Stebbins reported that holiday gift shopping for friends and family is coming up.  During school hours, each class will get to shop for special gifts in the library.  Parents/guardians must send money with their student.  She added that this is a great way to raise money for GVS.

Another fantastic upcoming event will be the band and chorus performing in front of staff and students.  Lacey added that they will do great because they have been practicing as often as they can.  This year there are 44 students in the chorus and 24 in the band. Students in grades 1-3 will have a holiday concert on December 20, 2023 and Lacey said that students are excited to have the families of the younger students join GVS for some holiday music.

Both Caden and Lacey thanked the Committee for letting them share all the amazing things happening in school this year.

Student Work:

Sophia Galarneau gave a PowerPoint presentation entitled The West from her AP US History class taught by Mr. Griffing.  The presentation depicted the analyzing, causes, and long and short-term consequences of America’s westward expansion from 1800-1848.

Ozzy Nieves gave a PowerPoint presentation from his Honors Precalculus class taught by Mr. Sitnik.  The project used standard 5 which is the use of appropriate tools strategically.  He noted that it helped the class engage in difficult concepts with parent functions and graphing polynomials adding that it was difficult, but with Mr. Sitnik’s help made it possible to learn the information. He explained the projects on each slide.


  • Motion by Ms. Morgan to approve the November 2, 2023 Regular Business Meeting Minutes as presented.  (Second by Ms. Murphy)                                            

  • No discussion

  • Motion carries 5-0

Superintendent’s Update:

Dr. Clarke stated that the District Team Leader meeting is back. Team members met today, and the meeting was facilitated by Ms. Watts.  The focus was the review of the homework survey results, identifying themes and making recommendations to be presented to Committee members at the next meeting.  Dr. Clarke noted that she would get that information to members prior to the meeting.  She informed the Committee that 330 responses from families were received along with numerous staff members’ responses.

Dr. Clarke met with Sara Malo regarding new athletic guidelines.  She added that it was a great meeting and together they are looking at bringing back initiatives prior to COVID.  Dr. Clarke said that Ms. Malo will attend the December 11, 2023 meeting to provide more information.

MCAS action planning is in the process.  Each school is delving into the data to create strategies for continued success.  The Principals will present information at the December 20, 2023 Regular Business Meeting.

One of Dr. Clarke’s goals this year, and a district wide initiative, is to look at chronic absenteeism with the Administrative Leadership Team.  She noted that there is an increase at the elementary level but added that it is a statewide issue.  

Dr. Clarke stated that the initial FY24 budget funding discussion has begun and though funding will be tight, due to the ESSER funds ending, the commitment to keeping staffing and programming remains top priority.  The ALT team will participate in a full day Administrative Retreat on December 12, 2023 and the focus will be the budget.

Dr. Clarke told the Committee that just this week they found out that the district was awarded the Department of Education’s Math High Dosage Tutoring Program grant which provides virtual math tutoring by Carnegie Learning to thirty-two grade 4 students and thirty-two grade 8 students.  She thanked Ms. Watts for writing the grant and making this happen for the district. Specific details will be provided to the Committee as the work gets started.

The Drug Free Communities grant is another major grant that the district was awarded in the amount of $125,000 a year for 5 years.  Dr. Clarke noted that this grant is very labor intensive but it will bring great and positive things to the district and town.  She thanked Ms. Zippin for doing a fantastic job making sure the various requirements and amendments are met and that the district remains on track.  Dr. Clarke said that she has been working with Darlene Weldon to identify priorities and assist in getting things rolling.  Dr. Clarke then introduced Ms. Weldon and welcomed her to the new position of Program Director/Project Coordinator until a part-time person is hired to help her.  She will be working to educate and inform parents and community members. 

Public Session:

Ms. Graves-Harrison opened Public Session at 7:30 p.m. 

No one came forward to address the Committee.

Ms. Graves-Harrison closed Public Session at 7:31 p.m.

It was the consensus of the Committee to move Agenda item #10a-New Business-Results of Spring 2023 Health Survey.

Dr. Clarke introduced and welcomed Gail Gramarossa from the Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance.

Ms. Gramarossa addressed the Committee stating that her goal was to assist districts with the very involved grant process.  She provided a very detailed PowerPoint presentation with the results and explanations of the Monson Spring ’23 Health Survey in conjunction with the Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance.  Ms. Gramarossa added that several area districts are already receiving grant monies.  A question and answer period followed along with an outline of the process going forward including what the first year looks like, community wide event planning, parent education, films and discussions, working with the Board of Health and Select Board, available training and co-sponsorship.  Ms. Gramarossa noted that the district can reapply for the funding after the current 5- year grant ends.  Committee members thanked her for a very informative presentation.  

Subcommittee and Liaison Reports:

Policy Subcommittee:

  • Motion by Ms. Murphy to accept the first read of Policies GBEA, GBEB, GBEBC, GBEC, GBJ, GBK, GCA, GCBB, GCBC, GCJ, GBED, GBGB, GBI, GCBA, GCE, GCF, GCG, GCK, GCRD and GDO and move to a second read(Second by Ms. Morgan)            

  • No discussion  

  • Motion carries 5-0

  • Motion by Ms. Murphy to accept the final read of Policies EB, EBB, EBC, EBCD, EC, ECA, ECAC, ECAF, EDC, EEA, EEAA, EEAE, EEAEA, EEAEA/B, EEAEC, EEAG, EEAJ, EFC and put them into the Policy Manual.  (Second by Ms. Morgan)            

  • No discussion  

  • Motion carries 5-0

Ms. Flynn stated that she attended the recent Monson High School-School Council meeting adding that it was a great and informative meeting and Principal Murphy is doing a great job.

Action Items:

Schedule the following meetings:

December 11, 2023:

Policy Subcommittee at 5:00 p.m.

Working Meeting at 6:00 p.m.

Regular Business Meeting at 7:00 p.m. 

December 20, 2023:

Facilities and Long-Term Planning Subcommittee at 6:00 p.m. 

Regular Business Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Clarke told the Committee that the school attorney hasn’t received a response yet, from the Monson Teachers Association, to begin negotiations.

Schedule a Regular Business Meeting on January 17, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.

  • Motion by Ms. Morgan to adjourn Open Session.  (Second by Ms. Flynn)                  

  • No discussion                                                                                                                                             

  • Motion carries 5-0

Open Session closed at 8:19 p.m.  

Documentation for this meeting:

November 29, 2023-Regular Business Meeting Agenda

November 2, 2023-Regular Business Meeting Minutes (For Approval)

Monson Spring ’23 Health Survey

Distributed/Presented at meeting:


Approved by Committee:


Jamie Murphy, Secretary

SC-November 29, 2023-Reg Bus Mtg-FINAL
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