BERKSHIRE HILLS REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Great Barrington                   Stockbridge                 West Stockbridge

SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING

Regular Meeting

Monument Mountain Regional High School – Library

April 12, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.

Present:

School Committee:                J. St. Peter, D. Singer, A. Hutchinson, R. Dohoney, B. Fields, K. Piasecki

Administration:                      S. Harrison, P. Dillon

Staff/Public:                            B. Doren, M. Berle, K. Farina, S. Soule, K. Burdsall

Absent:                                   S. Bannon, D. Weston, A. Potter, S. Stephen

List of Documents Distributed:

March 29, 2018 School Committee Meeting Minutes

RECORDER NOTE:  Meeting attended by recorder and minutes transcribed during the meeting and after the fact from live recording provided by CTSB.  Length of meeting:    hr, 30 minutes.

CALL TO ORDER

School Committee Secretary, Jason St. Peter called the meeting to order immediately at 7pm.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The listing of agenda items are those reasonably anticipated by the chair, which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed, and other items not listed may be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law. This meeting is being recorded by CTSB, Committee Recorder, members of the public with prior Chair permission and will be broadcast at a later date. Minutes will be transcribed and made public, as well as added to our website, www.bhrsd.org once approved.
MINUTES:

MOTION TO APPROVE SCHOOL COMMITTEE MINUTES OF MEETING OF MARCH 29, 2018 – R. Dohoney             Seconded:  B. Fields    Accepted:  Unanimous

TREASURER’S REPORT:  None

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT:

  • Good News (See Below) Dillon – We don’t just have good news tonight; we have great news.  We will start with Mary, then Ben, Kristi and if Amy comes back from her other meeting, we will hear from her.
  • FY19 Budget Debrief: Dillon – I was talking to Rich about this.  We wanted to get some feedback on the budget process now that it is behind us.  I think there are two kinds of feedback we would like to get.  The first is a summary of what went well in the process and the second could be, what if any adjustments, do we want to make going forward as we start next year’s budget process immediately.  Anything people appreciated about the budget process or thought went well to start?  J. St. Peter:  I would just like to say that the Finance Committee did a great time.  They put a lot of time and effort into it.  I am not on that committee so I really appreciate all the effort.  I thought this year we were as prepared as could be.  Unfortunately, things that come up late can throw monkey wrenches into the whole process but I thought we were as prepared and had as much time as we possibly could.  I appreciate Sharon and everyone else on the Finance Subcommittee, because I thought this year in particular went really well.  I don’t know what more could have been done as far as giving us enough time to look into the possible cuts.  R. Dohoney:  I thought the presentation of the written materials and the backups was the best we ever had.  I accredited Sharon with that.  It was very easy to read and understand.  If you read a line item and you needed an answer, you could get it.  I think we really perfected that.  A. Hutchinson:  I hadn’t been through it before but breaking it down by schools was really a good way to be able to look at it.  B. Fields:  I think the format we started out when Sharon presented us month-by-month, I think it gave us direction.  It certainly gave me direction.  We got everything out to everyone else well in advance.  As Jason just said, there wasn’t anyone not ready for what was coming.  There were debates and there’s always going to be.  It is like, how many times do you reinvent the wheel?  There are going to be those time in which things come up against the wall and you have to make decisions.  I would say from my tenure on this committee, this was the best process I have been involved in.  We got a commendation from some people in the town at the public hearing who said, “maybe the Town of Great Barrington should model what we were doing.”  Coming from that particular person, I thought that was a great compliment.  P. Dillon:  Any changes we might be interested in?  R. Dohoney:  We need more money.  A. Hutchinson:  That’s right.  J. St. Peter:  There is no way to get the minimum local contribution as well as Chapter 70/71; there is no way to speed up or get that information sooner so we know what the difference is going to be?  S. Harrison:  There is no way to get that because the numbers come out from the Governor’s budget.  I am talking to R. McDonald who deals with the Chapter 70 to see if there is any way regional school districts could at least work with…if DESE could work with DOR to come up with a path to allow us to at least project a little bit.  Even though we don’t have the final numbers for Chapter 70 and 71, is there a way that we could project at least the minimum local contribution and we could always use the current year 70/71.  I just talked with him about two weeks ago about that.  We are going to talk tomorrow at the Annual Institute to see if there is a way to do that.  P. Dillon:  I think we might try to do, and we can structure this how we want, maybe an earlier meeting with selectboards of the three towns to keep them more in the loop.  We share a ton of information with them but then there is always the “we didn’t know”.  R. Dohoney:  I think you guys should be prepared to follow the same schedule again.  Everyone was pretty happy with that.  We can tweak it if you want but I think stick with that unless we hear otherwise.  P. Dillon:  In connection but not directly related, when I was at the fairly recent select and finance board joint meeting, one of the frustrations came up around structure things connected to the budget outside of our control.  I think we may have an opportunity with our shared services group to get on the same page about ways to lobby our elected officials on some of the structural changes that we would like to see.  We have not delved as a group into that and that might be an important thing to do.  R. Dohoney:  there has been a kind of push of politicizing around the reform of the foundation budget.  The Globe had a couple of editorials; a lot of folks, I know Senator Hines had a forum.  There seems to be a bit of a movement growing.  P. Dillon:  There is a rural sparsity aid conversation going on.  There are a number of things and maybe laying them all out would be helpful.
  • Dillon: In our packets, there is a request for an overnight field trip for the middle school.  Ben, do you want to come up to talk to the context on that?  B. Doren:  It is really exciting.  I don’t know if many of you know about the Flying Deer Program that is local.  It is an amazing program for kids in the county can do outdoor adventures and they really learn how to do survival in the woods.  Part of the regular program is kids go to go out on solo overnights for about 48 hours.  About four or five years ago, they jumped onto Project Connection and did an outdoor adventure class.  They kids go out into the woods locally and do a lot of that fun stuff but it has been building up and now they have an overnight.  It is going to be six to eight kids in May.  You will see in the packet, it is part of a whole curriculum and there is a full-on safety plan on how to keep the kids safe from the cold, fire, etc.  These folks have been doing this for a very long time.  They are highly competent.  The kids love them.  I am in full favor of this.  It is an overnight trip so I am asking for permission from the school committee.  R. Dohoney:  It is one night.  B. Doren:  Yes.  MOTION TO APPROVE FLYING DEER OVERNIGHT PROGRAM – B. Fields          Seconded:  K. Piasecki      Accepted:  Unanimous
  • Security and Safety: Dillon:  The big update and it is an ongoing one, Steve and I continue to meet with members of the Great Barrington Police Department, the State Troopers, the woman from Head Start, the emergency services, Chief Burger the Fire Chief and the EMT services.  Out of those meetings we scheduled or are in the process of scheduling with our assistant principals which is going to inform some future drills.  We are going to work with the GB Police and State Troopers to do a number of different kinds of walk throughs of our various facilities.  We decided that we would bring this up every meeting to give people updated information.  After the meeting with the assistant principals there will be some additional communication to parents and shortly thereafter, particularly now that the weather is getting better, there may be some other opportunities.

GOOD NEWS:

Mary Berle, Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School:  Good evening everybody.  Our good news at Muddy Brook is this week we heard from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.  This is a five year accreditation review year.  Our early childhood team, business and operations, admin, buildings and grounds, all continued to massive preparation before a site visit that happened in March.  These are our ratings.  We are accredited for another five years.  Relationship:  100+%; Curriculum:  100+%;  Teaching:  100+%;  Assessment of Child Progress:  100+%;  Health:  100+%;  Teachers:  100+%;  Families:  100+%;  Community Relationships:  100+%; Physical Environment:  100+%;  Leadership and Management:  100+%.  (Clapping).  Lots of wonderful things happening at Muddy Brook.  It is that busy, springtime of year.  Great singing.  Steve Hassmer has been coming in.  He is a parent who is also a professional singer.  Please come to our spring concerts because it is going to be fun.  Lenox Garden Club and Ward’s Nursery are working again with the Kindergarten team they are going to plant a beautiful dogwood on April 27th.  The Garden Club will do wonderful May Day things with Kindergarteners on May 1st.  Berkshire Museum field trip happened this week.  Mahaiwe is happening next week.  Hancock Shaker Village is happening with our early childhood program.  We are just rocking and rolling and having a good time.  Please come visit.

Ben Doren, Monument Valley Regional Middle School:  Fifth grade, as we speak, are at Nature’s Classroom.  They are wet.  There has never been a super warm sunny year in my seven years.  We have gone from either cold and somewhat sunny, some years it has been sleeting and below freezing.  This has been a nice mix of some days above freezing and some sunny days.  The point is, it doesn’t stop them ever from their agenda.  They kids are outside.  Yesterday, they went on their hike.  They leave at 9am.  They don’t get back until 2pm.  They pack their lunch.  They make a fire for lunch to get warm.  Kids take classes dissecting eyes.  They build geodomes and bridges.  They learn about eating a hemlock needles which is not what Socrates ate by the way.  It is a breath freshener as well as a good way to get minerals into your body.  The kids love it.  I visited for a few hours and Miles is out there now.  Sixth grade on Tuesday, we to college.  They went up to MCLA and got their annual experience with other sixth graders from across the county.  It is a free program.  They pay for the buses and everything.  Williams College and MCLA and Berkshire Community college cycle through years and this year it was MCLA.  It was a great experience for what it is like to go to college and it was very inspiring for some of our kids who are from families who haven’t had anybody go to college.  Seventh grade had a little boutique program called Our Green Beans.  They are recycling and hatching trout eggs.  They are going to do release later this spring into a local stream.  There are about 30 kids involved.  Eighth grade – Shakespeare was amazing.  They do a residence with the 8th grade which is amazing.  Every single kid participates.  Every single kid is in the play.  Each of the five classes does a set of scenes.  It is at Shakespeare and Co. which we have been doing for the past two years.  It is great energy.  They did MidSummer’s Night Dream again.  What I love about it that I hope it inspires some kids that normally wouldn’t have this experience to then do fall festival which is by choice when the go onto 9th grade.  Annie, Jr. was amazing!  Sunwah Reiner and our former Teaching and Learning Director, Joshua Briggs, Julianne Park as assistant director and even a former parent who has a kid in college now, Stephanie Cohen, who is a choreographer.  People love to come back and lead these kids.  It was a huge cast.  Music, acting, dance, lighting, stage, sets.  It was amazing.

Kristi Farina, Director of Learning and Teaching:  Yesterday, we heard that Berkshire Hills was awarded another grant.  We have been awarded $17,000 for the High Quality Instruction Summer Planning Grant.  Those funds are going to be used to support a team of teachers from grade 7 and 8 who are going to participate in some high-quality professional development that the state is provided.  Then develop service-learning curriculum for our 7th and 8th graders next year.  (Clapping)  P. Dillon – it came signed by the Governor and the Lt. Governor.

Sub-Committee Reports:

  • Policy Sub Committee: Dillon:  The high school has been working on the valedictorian/salutatorian policy and we will bring that back at our next meeting and then bring it to the whole committee.
  • Building and Grounds Subcommittee: St. Peter:  We met earlier today and we started with a tour of the high school to get a grip on issues and see first hand all the different aspect, windows, boilers, science labs, language arts, etc.  We spent a great deal of time going through that and getting a better feel of things.  We also during the regular meeting discussed an update on the heating systems in both the middle and elementary schools.  Other than replacing heat pumps, everything looks pretty good.  We also talked about the waste water system at the high school.  We are at the point where the diffusers need to be replaced which in and of itself is expensive and to find someone to do that job is very difficult.  There isn’t really someone in the area who does it so Steve is actively looking for someone to get that done.  We have been working with the science staff to prioritize what the actual needs are for money we budgeted for equipment as well as infrastructure changes.  They are actively doing that.  We just talked about actual improvement going forward for the high school and all the information we are going to need to present to the Next Step Committee.
  • Superintendent’s Evaluation Subcommittee: N/A
  • Technology Subcommittee: N/A
  • Finance Subcommittee: Dohoney:  I think we need to do a May meeting.  S. Harrison:  I can give you a tentative schedule.
  • District Consolidation and Sharing Subcommittee: Dillon:  What has come out of this, instead of having an April meeting, the group is hosting collectively a talk on Tuesday, April 24th at 6pm at the Mahaiwe Theater.  The group decided, spearheaded by folks from the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, but all of the participating district are supporting it, is to bring in a guy named Dr. Bill Dagget.  He is going to do a presentation and then after he will respond to some questions from people in the audience.  It is free and open to the public.  Each district paid a little to cover the cost.  It should be a good kick-off conversation to get the broader public, parents, etc., all having a common experience to react to.

Personnel Report:  P. Dillon – a lot of this is connected to the spring, Project Connection program.  There are a couple of stipends that we are sharing a little late.  Occasionally that happens.  There are a couple of new paraprofessional positions.

Non-Certified Appointment(s):   
Randon, CourtneyParaprofessional – MB Effective 04/02/2018

@ $12.25/hr./6 ½ /hrs./day

(workday-7/hrs./day)

(new position)

Crum, LoriParaprofessional – MB Effective 04/02/2018

@ $12.25/hr./6 ½ /hrs./day

(workday-7/hrs./day)

(new position)

Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)

(all 2017-2018 unless otherwise noted)

   
Knight, NikkiAssistant Ski Team Coach – MMRHS Stipend: $1,602
Kelly JohnSpring Musical – Musician-Bass – MMRHS Stipend:  $727
Project Connection-Spring 2018: Fund   Source

 

 
Muddy Brook   
Chiricella, KimProgram Instructor – Games

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $560 (up to $80 add’l for training-not to exceed 2 hrs. @ $40/hr.
   (grant funded)
Ebitz, SusanProgram Instructor – Serv Learning-Egg Project

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $560 (up to $80 add’l for training-not to exceed 2 hrs. @ $40/hr.
Rand, WilliamProgram Instructor – Wood Shop

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $560 (grant funded)
Tone, JanetProgram Instructor – STEM Programs

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $1,120 (up to $80 add’l for training-not to exceed 2 hrs. @ $40/hr. (grant funded)
Beni, TanyaParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25618

(enhanced)

Stipend:  $15/hr. up to 50 hrs.

(grant funded)

Favro, KatherineParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $15/hr. up to 50 hrs.

(grant funded)

Houle, CherylParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25618

(enhanced)

Stipend:  $16.75/hr. up to 50 hrs.

(grant funded)

Parchment, LisaParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 26 hrs.

(grant funded)

Scapin, SandraParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 12 hrs.

(grant funded)

Tone, JanetParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 12 hrs.

(grant funded)

Vermilyea, LindaParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $16.75/hr. up to 42 hrs.

(grant funded)

  Fund Source

21st CCLC

 
Monument Valley   
Brown, WilliamNon-Certified Instructor-Team Building(25718)Stipend:  $350 (up to $50 add’l for training-not to exceed 2 hrs. @ $25/hr.

(grant funded)

Heath, ElizabethNon-Certified Instructor-Copic Design(25718)Stipend:  $350 (up to $50 add’l for training-not to exceed 2 hrs. @ $25/hr.

(grant funded)

Heath, DavidProgram Instructor – Project Sprout

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $560 (up to $80 add’l for training-not to exceed 2 hrs. @ $40/hr.
   (grant funded)
Rand, WilliamProgram Instructor – Wood Shop

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $1,120 (up to $80 add’l for training-not to exceed 2 hrs. @ $40/hr.
   (grant funded)
Sacco, DomProgram Instructor – Mentoring

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $560 (up to $80 add’l for training-not to exceed 2 hrs. @ $40/hr.
   (grant funded)
Scott, WendyNon-Certified Instructor – Nature Crafting

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $350 (up to $50 add’l for training-not to exceed 2 hrs. @ $25/hr.
   (grant funded)
Spence, DebraNon-Certified Instructor – Nature Crafting

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $306.25 (up to $50 add’l for training-not to exceed 2 hrs. @ $25/hr.
   (grant funded)
Englehart, LizParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25618

(enhanced)

Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 42 hrs.

(grant funded)

Gavin, JohnParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 74 hrs. (grant funded)
Halla, ElizabethParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 30 hrs. (grant funded)
Heath, ElizabethParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $17.65/hr. up to 38 hrs. (grant funded)
Krahsfort-Lang, AndrewParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 30 hrs. (grant funded)
Rand, WilliamParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $14/hr. up to 23 hrs. (grant funded)
Rembisz, BrianParaprofessional

3/26/18 – 6/1/18

25718Stipend:  $15/hr. up to 74 hrs. (grant funded)

Business Operation:

Education News:

Old Business:

New Business:

  • Public Comment
  • Written Communication

Other:  B. Fields:  Any new members for the Next Steps besides the ones you announced?  P. Dillon:  No just the ones we announced.  As we wrapped up our budget process, the towns are deep in their own.  We have not been pestering them.  I will reach out.  Hopefully we will get a date soon.  R. Dohoney:  What are the slots we still need to fill?  P. Dillon – one from  West Stockbridge, two from Stockbridge, Great Barrington is more than set; elected from each Stockbridge and West Stockbridge Selectboard and Finance.  Sometimes people appoint somebody then they don’t participate fully.  J. St. Peter:  My thought was from the general public if we have given plenty of time for the people in West Stockbridge and Stockbridge to join, and there is an excess of people in Great Barrington, I would not be opposed to filling those slots with the people from Great Barrington.  If we can get as many voices on the committee as possible…we have advertised for months.  If there are people who want to be involved in this process, I personally would encourage that.  P. Dillon:  Let me try one more time to reach out to West Stockbridge and Stockbridge then if we still come up short…I think one of the nice things about this is both buildings and grounds and Steve have done so much work, this will be different and we don’t have to start from scratch.  There is a lot of good data in there.

MOTION TO ADJOURN:   R. Dohoney                   Seconded:  B. Fields                       Accepted: Unanimous

The next school committee meeting will be held on May 3, 2018 – Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School, 7pm

Meeting Adjourned at 7:30pm

Submitted by:    Christine M. Kelly, Recorder

______________________________

Christine M. Kelly, Recorder

 

______________________________

School Committee Secretary