Minutes of the Monson School Committee Regular Business Meeting September 22, 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/81311993224 Meeting ID:813 1199 3224, 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 7:01 p.m. Ms. Morgan read the Mission & Vision Statements. Announcements: The Special Olympics will be held on October 1, 2021 at the Granite Valley School (GVS) track. A fundraiser for this event is being held at the Main Street Tavern from 4:00-9:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 23, 2021. Everyone is invited to dine in or order out and a portion of the proceeds will go directly to benefit the Special Olympics event. Dr. Clarke thanked the Main Street Tavern owner and staff for their willingness to sponsor this fundraiser. Mrs. Zippin recognized and congratulated Tennessee Murphy for being selected as a MassLive Super 7 Athlete. Mason Dumas was nominated for MassLive’s Athlete of the Week. Mrs. Zippin encouraged everyone to cast a vote for him. Voting ends Friday, September 24, 2021. She went on to say that it is an honor to get nominated for this recognition and congratulated Mason. Dr. Clarke noted that Mason Dumas and Paige Williams have been chosen as the Monson High School (MHS) student representatives to the School Committee. They will attend the next meeting. She added that Mr. Trivisonno is in the process of choosing 2 students to serve in the
School Committee Minutes: Page 1 of 5 Regular Business Meeting-September 22, 2021
same capacity for GVS. Minutes: Motion by Ms. Graves-Harrison to approve the August 26, 2021 and the September 8, 2021 Regular Business Meeting Minutes as presented. (Second by Mr. Watts) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Superintendent’s Update: Dr. Clarke provided the COVID-19 metrics for the school district and town. She also reviewed the percentages of partially and fully vaccinated students between the ages of 12-15 and 16-19, adding that the town now has a 56% overall vaccination rate per the Department of Public Health. An update, to the revised decision from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to allow remote teaching for students who test positive and close contacts that have to quarantine, was given. Dr. Clarke reviewed the details of an email that was sent out to all families on Saturday, September 18, 2021 containing information on the instructional models to be utilized when students are quarantined, a district nurse leader advisory, travel recommendations and the COVID-19 testing program. The email also included rules for sick students and other important COVID-19-related information. Dr. Clarke spoke about the new pooled testing provider, CIC. She noted that she has revised the authorization form to allow parents to designate the test option(s) preferred, as opposed to the all or nothing option that the new provider requires. Pooled testing is due to begin the first week of October. Ms. Morgan thanked Dr. Clarke for the option of Test & Stay which would potentially allow the necessary time on student learning. Mrs. Watts and Dr. Clarke reviewed the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) scores for the district and collaborated on how to move forward. Ms. Graves-Harrison inquired whether the scores would be shared with the Committee and community. Dr. Clarke stated that an extensive presentation and report would be provided at a subsequent meeting as has been past practice. Dr. Clarke talked about the ESSER grant and affiliated survey that has gone out to the school community. She added that 297 responses have been received to date. The top 3 choices have been in line with what the Administrative Leadership Team is thinking. Mrs. Watts created student surveys to be completed this week. The ECC students will be encouraged to share their ideas as well. The community survey is due next week. On Friday, Dr. Clarke, Mrs. Watts and Mrs. Zippin will begin reviewing all the survey results received so far and will keep everyone updated. Ms. Graves-Harrison asked what the numbers were like for pooled testing. Mrs. Zippin stated that she is still in the process of pulling all the logistics together and will provide an update at the next meeting. She added that the routine COVID-19 testers would be in the building tomorrow to start organizing and planning. Ms. Flynn requested rolling data on the numbers moving forward. It was noted that all data regarding COVID-19 can be found on the website with a complete weekly breakdown of information. She added that she appreciates all the hard work that has been done to the COVID-19 website information page. Public session: Ms. Flynn opened Public Session 7:21 p.m.
School Committee Minutes: Page 2 of 5 Regular Business Meeting-September 22, 2021
Ms. Flynn reminded everyone of the guidelines in speaking during Public Session. No one came forward to address the Committee. Ms. Flynn closed Public Session at 7:22 p.m. Subcommittee and Liaison Reports: The Negotiations Subcommittee continues to meet. No other Subcommittees have met. A Finance Subcommittee Meeting will be scheduled for October 6, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. A Policy Subcommittee Meeting will be scheduled for October 20, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. Ms. Morgan reported that she attended the recent Parent Teacher Student Association meeting as did Dr. Clarke and the Administrators. She stated that she also contacted the Monson Free Library to introduce herself as the School Committee liaison. Old Business: Mr. Metzger reviewed a letter from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The Commission on Public Schools, at its June 28, 2021 meeting, reviewed the Two-Year Progress Report of Monson High School and continued the school's accreditation. The Commission was pleased to learn of the school’s progress, specifically citing the following: -the move to a 1:1 Chromebook model -the professional development provided on instructional technology -the development of a capital, maintenance, and technology plan -the upgrades made to technology infrastructure, HVAC, and lighting -the use of learning expectations in every class -the plan to update the expectations in the form of a vision of the graduate -the use of the school’s core values, beliefs, and expectations as part of the discipline process and in decision-making -the development and implementation of a capstone and portfolio requirement for the class of 2024 to assess student progress toward achieving the school's 21st century learning expectations and communicate individual student progress to students and families and whole-school progress to the school community -the incorporation of 45 minutes biweekly to provide sufficient time for ongoing collaborative development, evaluation, and revision of the curriculum, formative and summative assessments, and instructional practices to increase strategic differentiation -the plan for incoming seventh and eighth grade students to work towards achievement of the school’s learning expectations -the plan for training incoming middle school teachers on the use of the school-wide rubrics of the school’s learning expectations. Mr. Metzger commended his staff for their continual input and hard work.
School Committee Minutes: Page 3 of 5 Regular Business Meeting-September 22, 2021
He added that a Five-Year Progress Report is required which will be due on February 1, 2023. Mrs. Tetrault and Mrs. Bidus spoke about the Special Olympics event to be held on Friday, October 1, 2021. Sheriff Nick Cocchi along with some Correctional Officers and a therapy dog will participate in the opening ceremony beginning at 10:00 a.m. Mrs. Tetrault encouraged everyone to join in the fundraiser at the Main Street Tavern tomorrow from 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The current parent notification procedure for every positive COVID-19 case was reviewed and a discussion followed. Mr. Watts stated that he is in favor of keeping the current procedure in place. Ms. Peterson does like the current procedure but is concerned that it could become overwhelming to Dr. Clarke and the Administration. Dr. Clarke stated that the process did not take that long and she is willing to continue if the Committee so chooses. Ms. Morgan said that she is on the fence about an every time notification as it seems to be causing some anxiety throughout the community; though the public has a right to be notified. She added that at an absolute minimum a weekly letter should be sent out in addition to the website information. Ms. Graves-Harrison agrees with a weekly letter and thinks that people may be feeling inundated with constant information. She added that the weekly letter should include website information and the website should be updated daily. Mr. Watts asked about a way to notify parents to check the website each day. Ms. Morgan felt that it may be too confusing to parents in checking the daily update on the off chance that they may not have checked the prior day’s information. Ms. Flynn noted that she has received calls that the information was too involved and maybe the Committee should look into scaling it down. Dr. Clarke read the contents of the current letter that is sent. Ms. Morgan stated that she is leaning more toward a weekly letter due to the possible anxiety the letter may be causing. Dr. Clarke’s concern was if a parent hears about positive COVID-19 cases and they have not been notified, they may take issue with it. Ms. Morgan requested that the words “if you haven’t been contacted” be bolded and underlined in the current notification letter. Ms. Flynn stated that she loves that the information is available on the website and would like to focus on redirecting families to obtain it there; adding that the current parent notification procedure will remain intact. Ms. Flynn spoke briefly about a recent meeting held with herself, Dr. Clarke, School District Nurse Leader Mrs. Fedora, Select Board Chair Dr. Smith, Town Administrator Ms. Wolowicz, and a member of the Board of Health. Ms. Hull, Select Board member, attended the meeting, though her attendance was not planned. Discussion was held and it was the consensus of meeting participants that a joint meeting of the Committees is not necessary. Ms. Flynn stated that the Committees will pool their resources to share with each other and encouraged contact and communication between the Committees. Dr. Clarke explained that the Select Board has no jurisdiction over the School Committee and encouraged everyone to stay in their own lanes. Dr. Clarke advised everyone that has a school related issue, to contact the school administration, herself and/or the School Committee directly. She stated that she would like to collaborate in a collegial way moving forward. Dr. Clarke requested that the approval of the 2021-2022 Handbook for Students and Families, scheduled for this meeting, be postponed due to needed revisions. She apologized for the delay. New Business: None Action Items: Schedule Finance and Policy Subcommittee meetings. Modify COVID-19 Parent Notification Letter
School Committee Minutes: Page 4 of 5 Regular Business Meeting-September 22, 2021 Motion by Ms. Flynn 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 Ms. Peterson) No discussion Motion carries 5-0 Open Session closed at 8:04 p.m. Documentation for this meeting: September 22, 2021-Regular Business Meeting Agenda August 26, 2021-Regular Meeting Minutes-Draft September 8, 2021 –Regular Meeting Minutes-Draft Revised Monson Public Schools 2021-2022 Handbook for Students and Families Distributed at meeting: N/A Approved by Committee: ________________________________________ Kathryn Peterson, Secretary