October 6, 2021

Minutes of the Monson School Committee Regular Business Meeting October 6, 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/84489914335 Meeting ID:844 8991 34335, 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 Colleen Flynn; Vice Chair Emily Graves-Harrison; Secretary Kathryn Peterson; Committee Members; Jackie Watts and Alison Morgan Also Present: Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Clarke; Director of Business and Operations Leah Zippin; Director of Student Services/Early Childhood Center Suzanne Tetrault; Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Katherine Watts; Granite Valley School Principal Joe Trivisonno; Granite Valley School Assistant Principal Myriah Hudak; Monson High School Principal William Metzger; Monson High School Assistant Principal Matthew Sullivan; Early Childhood Center Dean of Students/Special Education Coordinator Colette Bidus; and Recording Secretary Karen Methe Note: This meeting was recorded using Zoom technology. Ms. Flynn called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Ms. Morgan read the Mission & Vision Statements. Announcements: October 21, 2021 is an Early Release Day for students for Parent Teacher Conferences. A Grab & Go lunch will be available prior to dismissal. October 26, 2021 is Picture Day at Granite Valley School (GVS). There is a Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) meeting on October 14, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. The National Honor Society will hold their induction outside the entrance of the high school on October 14, 2021. The PTSA is sponsoring a Handbag Bingo Fundraiser on October 17, 2021 in the outdoor pavilion at the American Legion Post 241. Also the PTSA sponsored fundraiser Trunk or Treat will be held on October 23, 2021 in the Quarry Hill Community School (QHCS) parking lot. GVS is hosting Socktober October 12-27, 2021. This event collects socks to be donated to those in need.

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


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Minutes: Motion by Ms. Morgan to approve the September 22, 2021 Regular Business Meeting Minutes as presented. (Second by Mr. Watts) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Student Representative Report: Dr. Clarke stated that the Monson High School (MHS) Student Representatives for this year are Mason Dumas and Paige Williams. Paige will attend the next meeting. Mason introduced himself to the Committee. He is the Senior Class President. Mason stated that the high school held a very successful Spirit Week, ending the week with attending the Special Olympics. He stated that he and several other MHS students were invited to volunteer at this awesome event. Mason noted that the PTSA sponsored Handbag Bingo will benefit the senior class. The Student Council will begin their Krispy Kreme Fundraiser next week. The senior class rock will be painted with the Monson Mustang emblem and each senior student’s handprints. Mason closed by saying that overall it has been a great start to the school year adding that everyone is very happy to be back at school. Superintendent’s Update Dr. Clarke gave an update on COVID-19 information, stating that this week 1 staff member and 2 students have tested positive in the district and the appropriate protocols were followed. She reviewed the Department of Public Health (DPW) report and vaccination percentages. Dr. Clarke informed Committee members that consistent with the authority provided by the Board of Education, and after consulting with medical experts and state health officials, the Commissioner is extending the mask requirement through at least November 2, 2021. He will revisit the requirement in the near future as warranted by public health data. As of October 1, 2021, if a school demonstrates a vaccination rate of 80% or more of all students and staff in the school through an attestation form submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), then vaccinated individuals in that school would no longer be subject to the mask requirement. Dr. Clarke said that she would provide updates at each meeting. The struggle with the CIC Routine COVID testing (formerly pooled testing) continues. Dr. Clarke noted that Mrs. Zippin is acting as the unofficial program manager to get and keep the program up and running. The testers from last year have returned and made a seamless transition to organizing, preparing and administering the test. Dr. Clarke stated that a recent conference call was held with State Representative Brian Ashe, Senator Anne Gobi, CIC, the new testing company, and Superintendents across the state to discuss procedures moving forward. She added that 201 people have signed up to participate in the COVID testing. Dr. Clarke will send another email out tomorrow with the sign-up sheet. The Administrative Leadership Team (ALT) has been talking about large indoor events and Dr. Clarke stated that she is seeking School Committee guidance by starting a conversation. The current plan is to keep Team Meetings, Open Houses and Parent Teacher conferences virtual for this round. She noted that many annual events, including holiday concerts and indoor athletic games, (first home Unified Basketball game is scheduled for October 19, 2021) need to be discussed.

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


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Ms. Morgan asked why the School Committee is being asked to make the decision on large indoor events. Dr. Clarke noted that she just wanted to start a dialogue to see how Committee members felt about hosting large indoor events. Ms. Graves-Harrison feels that it is the choice of the person, that they know the risks of attending events. She noted that regarding academic gatherings versus athletic events, Zoom provides better accessibility for the community to participate. Mrs. Zippin told Committee members that there is a mask only requirement to attend athletic games, no other restrictions. Dr. Clarke stated that she feels that, for consistency, if athletics is allowed to hold large indoor gathering, the same consideration should be given to academics. Ms. Flynn commented on how different a scenario this is from last year at this time. Ms. Morgan noted that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is allowing large indoor gatherings with masks and additional information is always available. Following a brief discussion, Ms. Peterson noted that if a family was uncomfortable attending an in-person academic gatherings, there would be no academic penalty to the student. At this time, all School Committee members are in favor of spectator participation at indoor athletic events with masks, though subject to change if mandates are made. Motion by Ms. Flynn to approve all spectators at the October 19, 2021 indoor Unified Basketball game, masked, but no other specific requirements. (Second by Ms. Peterson) No discussion Roll Call Ms. Morgan Yes Mr. Watts Yes Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Ms. Flynn Yes Motion carries 5-0 Public session: Ms. Flynn opened Public Session at 7:31 p.m. Ms. Flynn reminded everyone of the guidelines in speaking during Public Session. Town resident Trish Kustra addressed the Committee with her concern as to where the parking fees at the high school were going to, noting that she was informed the fees were used for snow and ice removal. She stated that this service is a current line item in the budget and she felt students should not be paying for it. She proposed that the fees go to the respective class. Dr. Clarke will speak to Mr. Metzger and report back to the Committee. Town resident Karen Nothe-Valley stated that she was in agreement with Ms. Kustra. She then spoke, as Chair of the Monson Democratic Town Committee, saying that the Committee fully supports the LGBTQ community and referenced the senior rock that was painted with the PRIDE flag which was subsequently whitewashed over. She stated that a Public Records Request was sent to the school district for information. policy or past practice that guided the decision to repaint the 2021 senior rock rainbow design white rather than wait until the 2022 senior class chose a new design, among other questions. She stated that the response letter was brief and did not contain wording that Monson Public Schools fully welcomes and supports the LGBTQ community, or policy

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


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as requested. She stated that the Committee is seeking an amended letter. Ms. Flynn closed Public Session at 7:40 p.m. Subcommittee and Liaison Reports: Finance Subcommittee: The Subcommittee met earlier this evening and the budget was reviewed in detail. Dr. Clarke noted that the district is currently in the plus category. The Town Finance Subcommittee has requested that the School Committee attend their meeting on October 25, 2021. Negotiations Subcommittee: It was reported that the Subcommittee continues to meet and there may be a possible contract ratification next week. Mr. Watts told the Committee that he reached out to Reed Coles of the Monson Arts Council and offered the School Committee’s service. He will keep the Committee updated on further interactions. Ms. Graves-Harrison, liaison to the Athletic Boosters, asked that a quick link to the athletic store be put into the In the Loop publication that is sent out each week. Mrs. Zippin will contact Ms. Johnston to get that done. Old Business: Dr. Clarke gave kudos to Mrs. Tetrault, Mrs. Bidus and Mrs. Bingle for the outstanding job they did with the 3rd Annual Special Olympics held on October 1, 2021. Local dignitaries attended and added so much to the day. Mrs. Tetrault also expressed her thanks to Mrs. Bidus and Mrs. Bingle for making the day such a great one. She also thanked everyone that participated in the Main Street Tavern Fundraiser, which raised $1,000. Mrs. Tetrault stated how much she appreciated the owner and staff at the restaurant for their support of this event. Ms. Flynn said it was a phenomenal day and she thanked Mrs. Tetrault for all her hard work. Mrs. Tetrault expressed her gratitude to student volunteers from the high school and GVS. Dr. Clarke stated that all revisions have now been made to the 2021-2022 Handbook for Students and Families. Motion by Ms. Morgan to approve the 2021-2022 Handbook for Students and Families as presented. (Second by Ms. Flynn) No discussion Roll Call Ms. Morgan Yes Mr. Watts Yes Ms. Peterson Yes Ms. Graves-Harrison Yes Ms. Flynn Yes

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


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-October 20, 2021

Motion carries 5-0 New Business: Dr. Clarke provided an in-depth PowerPoint presentation on the ESSER II and III Grants. She explained that the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, Public Law 117-2, was enacted on March 11, 2021. The ARP Act provides additional funding for school districts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The education portion of ARP is known as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER). The following amounts have been allocated to the district: ESSER II - $532,626 (End Date of Grant: 9/30/2023) ESSER III - $1,219,840 (End Date of Grant: 9/30/2024) Dr. Clarke reviewed the requirements for how the ESSER III funds must be spent and what plans must be made available as follows: District plan for safe return to in-person instruction At least 20% of the award must be spent on mitigating lost instructional time Consultation with district stakeholders to determine priorities Administrative Team Central Business Office Departments School Councils Faculty Meetings Community Survey Student Surveys Dr. Clarke went through all of the results to the individual survey questions. The top 3 selections were: Purchasing and/or expanding use of high-quality, instructional materials (any content area) and associated professional development Increase academic support staff, including academic coaches, interventionists, student teaching residency programs, paraprofessionals Facilities improvements to create healthy and safe school environments Dr. Clarke talked about the other funding priorities that were important to survey participants, providing specific costs associated with air-conditioning. She reviewed the student survey responses from all 3 schools. Discussion and a question and answer period followed the presentation. Action Items: Parking Fees Report Add as an Agenda Item, Large Indoor Gatherings Dr. Clarke will get an update on attendance at the Town Finance Committee Meeting Response to the Monson Democratic Town Committee Mrs. Zippin to contact Mrs. Johnston re: In the Loop link to high school athletic store Motion by Ms. Morgan

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


DRAFT COPY for distribution/approval at the Regular Business Meeting-October 20, 2021

to adjourn to Executive Session under Purpose #3, to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining or litigation if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on bargaining or litigating position of the public body and the Chair so declares, not to return to Open Session. (Second by Mr. Watts) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Open Session closed at 8:54 p.m. Documentation for this meeting: October 6, 2021-Regular Business Meeting Agenda September 22, 2021 –Regular Meeting Minutes-Draft Revised Monson Public Schools 2021-2022 Handbook for Students and Families ESSER II and III Grants PowerPoint Presentation Distributed at meeting: N/A Approved by Committee: ________________________________________ Kathryn Peterson, Secretary


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