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October 11, 2023

Minutes of the 

Monson School Committee

Regular Business Meeting

October 11, 2023

Members of the public were able to participate virtually in this meeting at  Meeting ID: 860 3010 5952

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; Director of Business and Operations Leah Zippin; Director of Student Services Colette Bidus; Granite Valley School/Early Childhood Center Principal Joseph Trivisonno; Monson High School Principal Arthur Murphy and Recording Secretary Karen Methe

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

Ms. Graves-Harrison called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Ms. Morgan read the Mission & Vision Statements.


A Community Soccer Night, Pink Out for Breast Cancer, will be held October 12, 2023, the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will play at 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. respectively at Granite Valley School.  Admission is $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for students.  Anyone attending is encouraged to wear pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  There will be concession stands, raffles and between game activities.  

Grade 7 and 8 have a Halloween Dance planned for October 13, 2023.

The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) is sponsoring a Thunderbirds hockey game on October 12, 2023 at the MassMutual Center.  Specific information to purchase tickets is available on the Facebook page. 

Dr. Clarke gave a reminder that October 19, 2023 is an early release day for Parent Teacher Conferences and Parent Outreach.  There is no school on October 20, 2023 for continued Parent Teacher Conferences and some Professional Development.

October 24, 2024 is the Unified Basketball “Fans in the Stands” game at 4:00 p.m. in the high school gym.  Dr. Clarke encouraged attendance to cheer on the team.

October 26, 2023 is Open House at the high school from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

There is a grade 5 and 6 Halloween Dance on October 27, 2023 and Granite Valley School.  

The annual PTSA Trunk or Treat event will be held on October 28, 2023 beginning at 4:00 p.m.  The location has been changed to the high school to allow for better access and more parking.

Dr. Clarke gave a reminder that a special Town Meeting will be held on November 6, 2023.  She is hoping everyone will attend as the school department has several articles on the Agenda.



Dr. Clarke recognized and congratulated Grade 10 girls’ soccer player Hannah Murphy for scoring her 100th goal which was assisted by her sister Emma.  

Dr. Clarke announced that the United States Under 19 Women’s Youth National Team will include Monson High School’s senior student Kendall Bodak.  Dr. Clarke congratulated Kendall adding that she and Hannah are great student athletes.  

Student Representatives Report:

Monson High School:

Sophia Galarneau reported that the school culture has experienced a lot of great changes this year adding that the new staff, teachers and specifically Principal Murphy have done a fantastic job.  She noted that Mr. Murphy is seen all around the school especially in the cafeteria which has a great atmosphere.  The Keep It Real motto that Principal Murphy instituted for the school is practiced in the cafeteria on a daily basis.  

Sophia gave a specific shout-out to Mr. Griffing, Advanced Placement United States History teacher, for a great job connecting with and teaching students.  

Sophia gave another shout-out to Ms. Perrault noting that since she was hired, she’s been amazing, all the students love her and this year she stepped up to lead the Student Council which meets almost every week and is currently planning another Spirit Week. Sophia stated that Mr. Murphy and Ms. Czarniecki have been doing a great job planning pep rallies involving the entire school population.  There have been a few pep rallies and school assemblies so far this year.

The girls’ soccer team is doing fabulous, hoping to get to the state level again.  The boys’ team continues to push through.  The golf and football co-ops with Palmer are doing a good job.  All the players and helpers on the Unified Basketball team are doing a really great job.  Sophia encouraged everyone to come to the October 24, 2023 game to support the team.  

Both Cross Country teams are doing well this season.

Sophia spoke briefly about school clubs noting that quite a few have been instituted this year including video games club, thrift club, and cooking club in addition to older clubs like chess club, community service club and the poetry slam club.  Ms. Walker, who runs many of the clubs, is doing a fabulous job keeping everyone involved and assuring that students feel included if they want to join a club.  

Granite Valley:

Grade 6 students Caden Gonzalez and Lacey Stebbins provided the following information:

Some of the exciting things that have been done this year so far are the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) carnival and a field trip.  All students were able to go for 10 R.O.C.K.S. tickets which are earned by showing respect, ownership, communication, kindness and scholarship.  There was a dunk tank, snacks were served and a bounce house where students could race their friends.  The playground was an option for anyone not wanting to take part in other activities. Everyone enjoyed the event.

Grade 6 students took a field trip to Springfield College.  The group went first to the East Campus where they got to know some of the college students.  There were several interactive events that Granite Valley students participated in and then afterward made their way to the main campus.  There was also a tour of the Wellness Center.  

There are several fun events coming up that include a Fun Run to raise funds for the schools’ Playground Project.  To date, $16,000 has been raised with a goal of $30,000.

Grades 5 and 6 have a Halloween Dance scheduled for October 27, 2023.

There will be a dress-up day for all students on Halloween including a PBIS parade around the track.  

Staff and students are looking forward to the Veteran’s Day assembly on November 9, 2023.

Students from Ms. Darlings Science class presented an informational poster of a nurse log explaining that it is made from a fallen tree that, as it decays, offers seedlings shade, nutrients, water and protection. A terrarium, with many species of bugs, was shown and both students provided specific information about it.  


  • Motion by Ms. Flynn to approve the August 9, 2023 Regular Business Meeting Minutes as presented.  (Second by Ms. Morgan)            

  • No discussion

  • No roll call requested

  • Motion carries 5-0

  • Motion by Ms. Nothe-Valley to approve the September 13, 2023 Regular Business Meeting Minutes as presented.  (Second by Ms. Morgan)            

  • No discussion

  • Roll call:

  • Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

  • Ms. Morgan Yes

  • Ms. Murphy Yes

  • Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Ms. Nothe-Valley Yes

  • Motion carries 5-0

  • Motion by Ms. Morgan to approve the September 21, 2023 Regular Business Meeting Minutes as presented.  (Second by Ms. Murphy)            

  • No discussion

  • Roll call:

  • Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

  • Ms. Morgan Yes

  • Ms. Murphy Yes

  • Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Ms. Nothe-Valley Yes

  • Motion carries 5-0

It was the consensus of the Committee to move Agenda item #10-New Business-b.-R.A.D. Class Proposal (Sgt. Dustin Hull, MPD) to this point in the meeting.  

Dr. Clarke introduced Sergeant (Sgt.)Dustin Hull from the Monson Police Department (MPD), Officer Mai Grover, School Resource Officer/MPD and Audra Staples, R.A.D. trainer.  There was a detailed presentation, that included a question and answer period, of information regarding the program and its possible implementation into selected Health classes in the district.  The program would include 6 hours of classroom time and 2 hours of simulation.  Ms. Staples provided an overview of the R.A.D. class that is run in Chicopee.  Dr. Clarke supports implementation of  a R.A.D. program into Health classes for girls in Grades 9 and 11 and girls and boys in Grades 4 and 6.  

Ms. Nothe-Valley inquired about any drawbacks specifically regarding injury.  Sgt. Hull and Officer Grover responded that they have not encountered any issues, adding that safety of the participants is of the utmost importance.  Dr. Clarke stated that permission slips will be sent home and parents can opt-out of the program.  Sgt. Hull noted that there is no budgetary impact to the school district, they have all the equipment that is needed.  

  • Motion by Ms. Morgan to approve the implementation of the R.A.D. Program as presented.   (Second by Ms. Flynn)            

  • No discussion

  • Roll call:

  • Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

  • Ms. Morgan Yes

  • Ms. Murphy Yes

  • Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Ms. Nothe-Valley Yes

  • Motion carries 5-0

Superintendent’s Update:

The Community Preservation Committee awarded Granite Valley School $50,000 toward the playground project, subject to approval at the upcoming Town Meeting.  Once approved, there will be enough money to make the project happen.  Dr. Clarke thanked the Town Administration for their generous donation.  She also thanked Mr. Trivisonno, Ms. Hudak, staff, students and community members for their contributions, support and fundraising efforts, raising $16,000 toward the project.

Dr. Clarke spoke about the substance use grant initiative position.  There have been several applicants and Dr. Clarke is heading up the interview committee.  That committee will meet tomorrow to create the interview questions and review resumes.  Interviews will be held next week and Dr. Clarke will keep the Committee updated.

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test results will be sent home next week.  The Administrative Leadership Team (ALT) is delving into the data to create steps to implement for further growth moving forward. 

A District Team Leader meeting will be held on November 15, 2023.  The topic of discussion for this meeting will be the new homework expectations and a parent survey will be created. 

The new Health Curriculum was unanimously approved at the State level.  Dr. Clarke noted that implementation would be next year to ensure that surveys from parents are received, reviewed and considered in developing an age appropriate Health curriculum.

Dr. Clarke reported that she is teaching Pre-K and Kindergarten classes, every other week for 45 minutes.  Students are learning about the life cycle, feeding and caring of chickens including information on farmers and farming. She thanked Mrs. Rutkowski for her assistance in co-teaching the class with her. 

The Finance Subcommittee meeting was postponed because all the necessary budget numbers were not in yet.  Dr. Clarke did note that all the electricity costs will be issued prior to the Town Meeting and she requested that a Finance Subcommittee meeting be scheduled as soon as possible to review those electricity costs before the Town Meeting. Ms. Morgan asked if there was an opportunity for families to receive classwork to help keep parents in the loop, noting that it would be optional for completion but students could work on it at home if the student so chooses.  Dr. Clarke stated that she would bring the suggestion to the District Team Leader meeting for discussion.

Public Session:

Ms. Graves-Harrison opened Public Session at 7:55 p.m. 

The following town residents addressed the Committee:

Brett Douty made a reference to the bullying information in the student handbook and read a personal statement regarding the lack of follow through by the administration to rectify his students bullying situation.

Kevin Somers spoke on the new Homework Policy and expectations.  He read a personal statement of opposition to the new Policy.

Jennifer Silva questioned the Certified Nursing Assistant Substitute increase in pay as stated in the New Business Agenda item #10-a.  Dr. Clarke informed Ms. Silva that the discussion and request was being deferred to a subsequent meeting in order to obtain further information.

No one else came forward to address the Committee.

Ms. Graves-Harrison closed Public Session at 8:06 p.m.

Subcommittee and Liaison Reports:

Policy Subcommittee:

The Subcommittee met earlier this evening and reviewed several more Policies to bring forward to the entire Committee for vote. 

  • Motion by Ms. Flynn to accept the third and final read of Policies BA, BB, BBA BBAA, BBBC, BBBE, BDA, BDD-BG, BEDG, BGC, BGD and BID and implement it into the Policy Manual. (Second by Ms. Morgan)                       

  • No discussion

  • Roll Call Vote:

Ms. Nothe-Valley Yes

Ms. Flynn Yes

Ms. Murphy Yes

Ms. Morgan Yes

Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

  • Motion carries 5-0

  • Motion by Ms. Morgan to accept the first read of Policies EB, EBB, EBC, EBCD, EC, ECA, ECAC, ECAF, EDC, EEA, EEAA, EEAE, EEAEA, EEAEA/B, EEAEC, EEAG, EEAJ, EFC and move to a second read(Second by Ms. Nothe-Valley)            

  • No discussion  

  • Ms. Nothe-Valley Yes

  • Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Ms. Murphy Yes

  • Ms. Morgan Yes

  • Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes                                                                                                                                           

  • Motion carries 5-0

New Business:

Dr. Clarke stated that Agenda item #10-New Business-a. Request for Increase in Certified Nursing Assistant Substitute rate (Ms. Bidus), will be postponed as more research is needed.  The Administration Leadership Team will look comprehensively at all factors at their next retreat.  

Dr. Clarke proposed that a Working Meeting be scheduled to create the Superintendent Evaluation timeline and present goals.

Action Items:

Schedule a Finance Subcommittee Meeting on October 23, 2023 at 1:00 p.m.

Schedule a Working Meeting for November 1, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. and 

Regular Business Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Schedule a Policy Subcommittee Meeting on November 8, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.

Schedule Regular Business Meetings on November 29, 2023 and December 20, 2023.

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

  • No discussion                                                                                                                                             

  • Motion carries 5-0

Open Session closed at 8:34 p.m.  

Documentation for this meeting:

October 11, 2023-Regular Business Meeting Agenda

August 9, 2023-Regular Business Meeting Minutes (For Approval)

September 13, 2023-Regular Business Meeting Minutes (For Approval)

September 21, 2023-Regular Business Meeting Minutes (For Approval)

A rad-ICAL and Empowering Approach to Protecting our Children Inside and Outside of Our Schools Informational Packet.

Distributed/Presented at meeting:

Approved by Committee:


Jamie Murphy, Secretary

SC-October 11, 2023 - Reg Bus Mtg-FINAL.pdf
Download PDF • 537KB

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