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October 12, 2022

Minutes of the

Monson School Committee

Regular Business Meeting

October 12, 2022

Hybrid Model

Members of the public were able to participate virtually in this meeting at Meeting ID: 879 6907 6382

Present (In-person): Chair Colleen Flynn; Vice Chair Alison Morgan; Secretary Emily Graves-Harrison; Committee Member Jamie Murphy; 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; Monson High School Principal Matthew Sullivan; Granite Valley School Assistant Principal Myriah Hudak; Monson High School Assistant Principal Katie Czarniecki and Recording Secretary Karen Methe

Absent: Committee Member Kathryn Peterson

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

Ms. Flynn called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.

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


Monson High School will hold their Open House on October 13, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.

The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) will sponsor Trunk or Treat on October 22, 2022 in the Quarry Hill Community School (QHCS) parking lot beginning at 4:30 p.m.

A Vaccine Clinic is scheduled for October 17, 2022.

Title 1 and the English Language Learners (ELL) programs will hold beginning of the year parent meetings on October 18, 2022 from 5:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.

Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled for October 20, 2022, which is an Early Release Day for students.

Grades 7 and 8 will hold a Halloween Dance on October 21, 2022.

Grades 5 and 6 and grades 9-12 have dances scheduled for October 28, 2022.


Dr. Clarke thanked the students and staff of the Early Childhood Center for their participation in the recent young athletes’ event adding that it was wonderful. She thanked Ms. Bidus for coordinating the day.

Ms. Bidus noted that Monson Public Schools has been chosen as a Unified Champion District by meeting the required criteria.

Ms. Bidus thanked Karen O’Toole for her role as Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) leader, stating that a parents rights training will be coming up in December with specific details to follow.


  • Motion by Ms. Morgan to approve the September 21, 2022 Regular Business Meeting Minutes as presented. (Second by Ms. Graves-Harrison)

  • No discussion

  • Motion carries 4-0

Student Representative Report:

Granite Valley School Representatives Elliott Greene and Mia Hudak gave the following report:

Today second grade students were asked what they liked about school so far. Many answered that they really like Appleseeds which is used to help students learn sounds and read. Students also like to play tag and play on the equipment at recess. Several Grade 2 students said they like their specials, especially art. Students like the cat bandit books and very much liked making narratives and expository book covers.

Band and Chorus is off to a great start with 44 members across different groups. Beginning band and orchestra students have begun work on learning their instruments and reading music. They are working toward a winter concert that will be held in December. Students are also having lessons before school and during specials with extra practice time that helps with the individual learning process as well as ensemble skills.

Girls on the Run, an after-school event put on by Ms. Darling and Ms. Clifford, has 19 girls participating in self-esteem building and teamwork activities in addition to running. They are scheduled to run in a 5k at Stanley Park in Westfield on November 20, 2022.

Ms. Novak is running an after-school art group for students in grades 4-6 who’d like to enter the Reflections Program with the theme this year of Show Your Voice.

There will be a Halloween Dance for Grade 5 &6 students on October 28, 2022.

On October 31, 2022 there will be a school wide Dress-Up Day. Students will have the option to buy into a school parade with their PBIS ROCKS tickets.

Superintendent’s Update:

The Health and Wellness initiative continues with classes being added this month. Participation is increasing and Dr. Clarke is excited for the programs to expand. A contest held last month had 3 winners who will receive a month free of the salad bar.

The Administrative Team will have a retreat type full day meeting next Thursday to discuss and work on Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) data, budget and the Strategic Plan.

Ms. Zippin attended a recent Department Head meeting and stated that all departments will be expected to cut their budgets by 5% for FY24. A Tri-Board meeting has been scheduled for October 26, 2022 for the Select Board, Finance Committee and School Committee.

Public Session:

Ms. Flynn opened Public Session at 7:13 p.m.

No one came forward to address the Committee.

Ms. Flynn closed Public Session at 7:14 p.m.

Subcommittee and Liaison Reports:

There were no reports.

New Business:

Denise Newland, PTSA President addressed the Committee. She explained that all board members are new this year and that the PTSA is going through a time of transition. She expressed her thanks to the outgoing officers. She noted that the focus will be on school spirit for staff, students and families.

Trunk or Treat will be held on October 22, 2022 in the QHCS parking lot from 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

The Reflections Program entries are due by November 18, 2022. Ms. Newland added that GVS Art teacher Ms. Novak has been instrumental in assisting students that would like to enter.

There is a Thunderbirds Hockey Night Fundraiser event in the works.

Ms. Newland stated that the PTSA is trying to bring back room representatives to assist teachers in coordinating with classroom families.

The annual holiday shopping event for students will look a little different this year. There will be a local company that will run the event with their own staff. If it is not a success. Ms. Newland noted that board members will re-think it for next year. She added that the PTSA would like to bring back additional fundraisers in the spring.

Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month, 6:00 p.m. in the PTSA Room located in the Central Offices Pod at QHCS.

Mr. DeMaio provided a Facilities update. He stated that the heat has been started at all 3 schools and this will be the first heating season to measure the savings on natural gas consumption. He is expecting significant savings due to 1 replacement boiler at the high school and 2 at QHCS He noted that 1 of the 3 remaining boilers at QHCS has been 90% rebuilt using the $30,000 of capital spending funds, though there are two sections that need replacing at a cost of $4,000 which will be absorbed by the facilities budget. The sections will be delivered at the end of October and will be completed then. Mr. DeMaio noted that the 2 remaining boilers are now heating the school.

The state has passed a mandatory stop switch for all elevators in use. The elevators at the high school will both have to be retrofitted with the device at a cost of $8,500 per elevator. The time limit for the repair to be completed will be January 1, 2023.

There is a minor leak in the roof at the high school where the condensing unit for the kitchen refrigerator is located. The repair work has been contracted and will cost $7,900 to repair a 10 X 12 feet space and reset the unit.

The generator at QHCS needs a control board replaced at a cost of $5,000 and is under contract for that work also.

GVS was found to have 5 sets of defective self-closers for fire doors, upon annual review. The doors must be retrofitted with up to date hardware at the estimated cost of $10,000.

The doors between Pod 4 and the main lobby of QHCS will be fobbed to increase security. The estimated cost will be $4,000.

The QHCS roof project is 99% complete. Mr. DeMaio stated that there are still some Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues in 2 of the bathrooms at QHCS but feels confident they will be resolved shortly. The roof is done and all exhaust fans have been replaced and are running on controls.

Mr. DeMaio informed the Committee that there is a possibility that the town truck utilized for snow removal at the schools is being sold. A letter will be sent to the Town Administrator to request ownership of the truck. He will continue to provide updates to the Committee.

Capital Planning/ARPA funds are being considered for QHCS sidewalks and the GVS track. He noted that he is still waiting for a technician to access the oil storage tanks at all 3 schools but has been assured, through conversations with the technician, that the tanks had many years to go due to the age and environmental restrictions at the time.

Dr. Clarke spoke to the Committee requesting an increase in substitute pay for nurses, adding that the request was presented pre-pandemic. She explained how difficult it is to get nurse substitutes at the current daily rate of $80 with a Bachelor’s degree. Dr. Clarke is proposing the per diem rate of $258.67. A short discussion followed.

  • Motion by Ms. Flynn to increase the per diem hourly rate for substitute Registered Nurses to $37.00. (Second by Ms. Morgan)

  • No further discussion

  • Roll Call Vote:

Ms. Murphy Yes

Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes

Ms. Morgan Yes

Ms. Flynn Yes

  • Motion carries 4-0

Dr. Clarke distributed her Proposed Timeline Superintendent Evaluation for the 2022-2023 school year. A Working Meeting will be scheduled to discuss and assign goals for Dr. Clarke.

Old Business:

There is no Old Business to address.

Action Items:

An in-depth discussion was held regarding PowerSchool, including questions and concerns on issues that have been occurring. Dr. Clarke will follow-up with the Administrative Team to determine what support is needed at all school levels to address issues.

Due to the Tri-Board Meeting scheduled on October 26, 2022, the Curriculum Subcommittee and Regular Business Meetings have been changed to October 27, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Additional meetings will be scheduled as follows:

November 7, 2022 – Policy Subcommittee Meeting at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Regular Business Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

November 9, 2022 – Working Meeting at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Regular Business Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

November 14, 2022 – Special Town Meeting

November 30, 2022- Regular Business Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

December 14, 2022 – Working Meeting at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Regular Business Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

  • Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to adjourn Open Session. (Second by Ms. Morgan)

  • No discussion

  • Motion carries 4-0

Open Session closed at 8:13 p.m.

Documentation for this meeting:

October 12, 2022-Regular Business Meeting Agenda

September 21, 2022-Regular Business Meeting Minutes-DRAFT

Distributed/Presented at meeting:

School Committee Update-Mr. DeMaio

Proposed Timeline Superintendent Evaluation 2022-2023

Approved by Committee:


Emily Graves-Harrison, Secretary

SC-October 12, 2022-Regular Business Meeting
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