Minutes of the
Monson School Committee
Regular Business Meeting
November 30, 2022
Members of the public were able to participate virtually in this meeting at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88482810863 Meeting ID: 884 8281 0863
Present (In-person): Chair Colleen Flynn; Vice Chair Alison Morgan; Secretary Emily Graves-Harrison; Committee Member Kathryn Peterson; Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Clarke; Director of Business and Operations Leah Zippin; Director of Special Education Colette Bidus; Director of Curriculum and Instruction Katherine Watts; Granite Valley School Principal Joseph Trivisonno and Monson High School Principal Matthew Sullivan;
Note: This meeting was recorded by M-Pact TV and Zoom.
Ms. Flynn called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Ms. Morgan read the Mission & Vision Statements.
The Sophomore class will be holding a fundraiser night at the Main Street Tavern tomorrow from 5:00-9:00 p.m. This includes both dine-in and take-out.
December 5, 2022 begins the Holiday Shop.
There is a Parent Student Teacher Association (PTSA) meeting on December 7, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.
Granite Valley and Monson High School will host a combined Holiday Concert on December 15, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. in the GVS auditorium.
The Early Childhood Center has a Holiday Concert scheduled for December 30, 2022 at 9:30 a.m.
Dr. Clarke congratulated the girls’ varsity soccer team for a great season following a 3-2 loss in the State Finals. She added that the wonderful sportsmanship and leadership that the team members portrayed thoughout their entire season was very commendable.
The following students were awarded the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship:
The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship provides a tuition credit for up to eight semesters of undergraduate education at a Massachusetts state college or university. The scholarship covers tuition only; fees and room and board are not included.
To qualify students must score in the Advanced category on one of three high school state assessment tests in English Language Arts, Mathematics, or STE (Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics or Technology/Engineering), score in the Proficient or Advanced category on the remaining two high school state assessment tests and have a combined MCAS score on these assessments that ranks in the top 25% in their school district.
The Movember fundraiser to raise awareness for men’s mental health and cancer awareness was a huge success raising $3,113.
Motion by Ms. Flynn to approve the November 9, 2022 Working Meeting Minutes as presented. (Second by Ms. Graves Harrison)
Motion carries 5-0
Dr. Clarke noted that the Boys’ Soccer and Golf Teams made it to the Western MA finals.
Student Representative Report:
Dr. Clarke thanked Ms. Hudak for her hard work in coordinating a beautiful Veteran’s Day Assembly at GVS.
She also thanked Mr. Pagliaro for a successful Fun Night for Grade 2 students and families.
The state has provided the district with 2 Covid test kits per family, for those that wanted them, to be able to test after holidays before returning to school.
Winter sports have begun with try-outs for basketball and cheerleading. The swim team is gearing up for their season.
Dr. Clarke thanked Ms. Casimiro and Ms. Jovan for an awesome training for Grade 7 and 8 teachers on PBIS, adding that while GVS “ROCKS”, the high school is keeping it REAL (Respect, Empathy, Accountability, Leadership).
Dr. Clarke reported that she has joined students Kate Pumilia and Nicole Toupin to co-advise the Grade 7 and 8 Student Council. They have already started to discuss plans for hallway decorations, PBIS incentives, door decorating and ideas for field trips.
Mai Grover was appointed as the School Resource Officer at the last Select Board meeting and will be going through the appropriate training. Dr. Clarke welcomed Officer Grover to the district.
The truck that was being utilized for snow removal by the School Department was voted on as surplus at the recent Select Board meeting and will be disposed of at auction. Mr. DeMaio is working on an alternate plan for snow removal for the schools.
Nurse Leader Ms. Ramsland is reforming the Wellness Committee. The first order of business will be to review the Wellness Policy on Physical Activity and Nutrition.
Agenda item 8a: Request for Summerfest Dates (Steve Slozak) was moved to this point in the meeting.
Mr. Slozak requested that June 24, 2023 with a rain date of June 25, 2023 be reserved, throughout the district, for the Summerfest Fireworks, asking that no other outside activities be scheduled at any of the schools on these dates. The Committee acknowledged the request and will ensure it is fulfilled. Mr. Slozak will return to a subsequent meeting with specific information for the Committee to approve.
Ms. Flynn opened Public Session at 7:12 p.m.
Town residents came forward to address the Committee in overwhelming support of recently terminated MHS teacher, Mr. Wilson-Gabor and Katherine Wahlund introduced the following students who had each prepared a written statement on what Mr. Wilson-Gabor’s teaching has meant to them:
Makayla St. George
The following town residents and parents of MHS students addressed the Committee next:
Erica Stebbins began by congratulating the students that spoke before her, adding that they did a wonderful job. School Committee Chair Ms. Flynn also complimented the students that spoke. Ms. Stebbins read a heartfelt statement on behalf of being a Grade 7/8 student and the exceptional role Mr. Wilson-Gabor played in understanding this age group and his excellent teaching style.
Lisa St. George spoke regarding what she termed a hasty dismissal of Mr. Wilson-Gabor, adding that she has received no specific response from Administration upon her initial complaint where she expressed her concerns regarding the swift removal.
Katherine Wahlund voiced her statements in support of Mr. Wilson-Gabor making note for the Committee referencing that Civics teaching begins in Grade 8 and her opinion that students be taught all aspects of the subject.
Ms. Flynn closed Public Session at 7:33 p.m.
Subcommittee and Liaison Reports:
Ms. Graves-Harrison stated the Subcommittee reviewed several Policies and found grammatical changes to Policy DBC, one minor change to Policies DBD and KCD. The Monson Flag and Banner Policy that was recommended by the districts’ attorney, had no revisions.
Motion by Ms. Flynn to accept the first read of Policies DBC, DBD, KCD and the Monson Flag and Banner Policy and move to second read. (Second by Ms. Morgan)
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 noted that the Policies would be posted to the website for public comment.
Ms. Morgan gave an overview of the Tri-Board meeting held on November 16, 2023 with the Select Board and Finance Committee adding that only 2 Committee members were able to attend so the School Committee was not able to open their portion of the meeting to participate.
It was noted that the Quarry Hill roof project came out as 2.7 million though budgeted for 5 million much lower than anticipated with a reimbursement of 59%.
It was also noted that the Finance Committee hoped that when the 2024 School Committee budget is presented, all indirect costs will be made clear for community purposes.
CMD Technology will be utilized for IT. The in-house model did not work out.
Capital requests were discussed.
The Select Board has tasked all departments with an exercise of making a 5% reduction to their budgets. Public safety is the biggest priority and the Select Board will determine whether to choose a rebuild or renovation to the fire station.
Dr. Clarke stated that she will not put the 5% reduction request out to the staff as it is just an exercise at this time. Ms. Graves-Harrison added that it is important for the public to know they have a voice in the budget.
Dr. Clarke provided an update on the implementation of Policy GBAA that was sent to the Committee for review. High level items included ways that potential candidates were being recruited, a breakdown of the ethnicity of new and total district employees.
Schedule a Human Resources/Negotiations Subcommittee meeting, via Zoom only, for December 7, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. to review a proposed Technology job description created by Dr. Clarke and Ms. Zippin.
Reminder that there is a Working Meeting scheduled for December 14, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Regular Business Meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Schedule a Regular Business Meeting for January 11, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.
There is another Tri-Board Meeting scheduled for January 26, 2023.
Motion by Ms. Morgan to adjourn Open Session. (Second by Ms. Peterson)
Motion carries 5-0
Open Session closed at p.m.
Documentation for this meeting:
November 30, 2022-Regular Business Meeting Agenda
November 9, 2022-Working Meeting Minutes-DRAFT
Distributed/Presented at meeting:
Report Re: Implementation of Policy GBAA
Approved by Committee:
Emily Graves-Harrison, Secretary