BERKSHIRE HILLS REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Great Barrington Stockbridge West Stockbridge
SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Monument Valley Regional Middle School – Library
August 23, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.
School Committee: S. Bannon, J. St. Peter, R. Dohoney, B. Fields, K. Piasecki, D. Singer, A. Hutchinson, D. Singer
Administration: P. Dillon, S. Harrison
Staff/Public: B. Doren, T. Lee, D. Wine, K. Farina
Absent: A. Potter, D. Weston
List of Documents Distributed:
July 23, 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: 1 hr, 7 minutes.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Steve Bannon 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.
July 23, 2018 School Committee Meeting Minutes
MOTION TO APPROVE SCHOOL COMMITTEE MINUTES OF MEETING OF JULY 23, 2018 – B. FIELDS SECONDED: R. DOHONEY ACCEPTED: UNANIMOUS: AMENDED BY J. ST. PETER WHO WAS INADVERTENTLY MARKED ABSENT ON MINUTES.
- Good News (See Below)
- Request: Overnight Field Trip – MMRHS – D. Bouvier – I am the Spanish teacher here. Every other year since 2001, I have been taking student oversees to Costa Rica, Guatemala, etc. then the whole zika thing happened and I found a place in Ecuador that is high enough in altitude that they are not effected. It is a beautiful place and the language school that we connected with and I really like, we have kids come and we stay for two weeks. Every day we do classes in the morning then in the afternoon we do community service or culturally learning about things going on in the community. On the weekend we do a little excursion. I am coming here to ask for the approval of the school committee to do the trip for next year for the tentative dates of June 16th – June 19th. I included in what I sent you was pretty much the whole program. It has a breakdown of costs. I do everything I can to keep the cost as low as possible. These estimates are high. I have never done a trip that costs more than $2,500. Last year I believe it was $2,200. That includes all the food, lodging, transportation, etc. I am very tuned into tapping into the Berkshire Taconic Foundation to assist those families that may not be able to afford it. They have been great in helping. Students also have received assistance from School Center, Inc. They have been generous as well. This year, I have one more funding source. It is a former student named John Britton. John went on my second trip to Costa Rica. I had him as a 9th grader. In his junior year he wanted to come on the trip but had no money. He lived with his sister here. He cobbled together money from different departments and organizations and managed to be able to go on the trip. John is a great guy and very bright. He now does very well and he contacted me about a month ago and said he wanted to support students going on this trip. He is creating a scholarship for them. MOTION TO APPROVE THE 2018 STUDY ABROAD TRIP TO ECUADOR: DOHONEY SECONDED: B. FIELDS ACCEPTED: UNANIMOUS
- Request: New Job Description: Coordinator or Career, Vocational and Technical Education (CVTE) and Internship Program – P. Dillon – I am very excited about this position and the opportunities. I can respond to any questions if people have any. Dohoney – this is not a union position so we have a little flexibility changing this down the road. P. Dillon – I am recommending we keep it within Unit A. It is a pilot position for a year. There is the possibility that they come back and ask to negotiate around it and if they do, I am happy to do that. For a variety of reasons, I would like to keep it as a union position. It is not an administrative position. It is quite similar to what a guidance position would do. S. Bannon – we could approve this for a year and then rethink what we want to do. P. Dillon – my hope would be is that you approve it for a year then potentially build it into the future budget. R. Dohoney – in the job goals, I feels like we are narrowing it to the existing programs we have. My hope is that this position is a wild success and we can expand. S. Bannon – don’t you think the next bullet point covers that? P. Dillon – do you want to make a recommendation for that first paragraph? S. Bannon – it could say to plan for expand and lead CVTE programs…. R. Dohoney – it could say and provide leadership and direction and add that to the second paragraph. MOTION TO APPROVE TO NEW JOB DESCRIPTION FOR THE COORDINATOR OR CAREER, VOCATIONAL AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CVTE) AND INTERNSHIP PROGRAM – R. DOHONEY SECONDED: B. FIELDS ACCEPTED: UNANIMOUS S. Bannon – in 20 years this is the first time when we spend money that I have people compliment us on adding a position. People are very excited about this program. B. Fields – I just want to say the person that has been chosen is a person I have worked with for over 20 years at the high school and has talked to me about this countless times in the past and is perfect for this position. If ever there was a person matched for this, it is Sean. I am regretting that the guidance department is losing a tremendous guidance person but you can’t do some things in education without losses. I think this is a loss for the guidance department but hopefully there will be someone who is able to take his place. This is a perfect role for Sean. We are showing the public we have a vision. It is a good move.
- Waste Management/Resource Allocation – Tony Schifano; P. Dillon – Tony Schifano has been working with Steve and I and Molly Cosel at the elementary school. He has a very strong background in waste management/resource allocation. I thought as a follow-up on conversations that Steve and I have been having and the work he has done with Molly, it makes sense that he come talk to the whole committee. Schifano – I own a company called Antos Environmental. For the past 30 years, we have been driving sustainability initiatives before they were called sustainability initiatives around the world. My clients are Yale, Columbia, NYU, 400 hospitals in Shanghai; we have been busy. The nature of our work is to help organizations commit to the environment in every way. Waste is predominantly the biggest issue for us because the amount of waste material that we produce as a human species is quite frightening. We don’t really see it. I know I am preaching to the choir. I have lived here for 28 years and I know everyone and their belief systems here in the Berkshires but my passion is to try to help the children evolve. To help you understand that a bit, my client is Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was devastated recently and they have to rebuild. One of the ways of changing that culture on that island is to create a syllabus of education for the elementary school child to understand at a very early age how to protect their natural resources. We as adults are very busy doing wonderful things, especially her, in our efforts to help the environment. As years go by, we can’t be doing, we have to be something different. As our children take our place here, they have to have something else in their DNA that is committed to the environment. I want to jump up to about 30,000 feet just for a few moments just to help you understand what is happening around us. I was born in 1951 and there was 2 billion people on the planet. Today there are 7 billion. In a very short period of time, there will be 9 billion. In 2050, we are going to need 70% more food. We already don’t have the space. We are throwing away more than you can possibly comprehend. The landfill on Staten Island is now closed and it is the largest manmade object in the history of our civilization. There isn’t anything on the planet bigger than that. It is larger than the China wall. That is only one landfill. We just are not doing this right. We tend to consume and based on purchasing behavior that creates volumes of waste material that is beyond even my capacity to understand. If I was to start talking about China and other areas of the world, it is beyond your belief. Here in the US, we are not managing it well. So, I met with Peter and Molly, who happens to be my daughter’s teacher. As a company, we have helped Subaru make a car without landfilling any waste. In 2001, Subaru decided they wanted to be a zero waste company. By 2004, they did. They haven’t landfilled a cup since 2004. I believe we should do that. I believe you could do that. What I am suggesting here is a broad look at how we can help our children understand this in a way that is comprehensible to them and yet, educate them so they can begin to learn how important this is in their lives, because we will be dead. When you drink a bottle of Snapple today, what is important. It is the liquid. Drink it and now you have an empty glass bottle. You walk up to a garbage can and you throw it away. Once you throw it away, that bottle will take more than 100 years to even slightly decompose. We have an issue here and we have to try to transcribe that issue so that our children can understand. Last year, Molly Cosel, she and I talked about this in a very profound way. We agreed that one of the best and more fun way to do this, was to institute a vermicomposting project in the classroom which is with red wiggler worms. They do a couple of wonderful things. They reproduce and they eat. They create a soil amendment, worm poo, that is a very strong powerful fertilizer. The kids just loved it. I think every classroom should have one. I talked Peter into buying a composter for the property and this year, I hope we can compose every organic piece of matter that we produce from cafeterias. I would like to see the parent body who drives their kids to school, bring their organic waste here so that we can process it and turn it into fertilizer and combine it with the natural landscape of your environment. Right now your are buying toxic fertilizer for your lawn and shrubs. We could do that and save money. Everyone has a garbage can in their office or classroom. What is garbage? Everything. Everything you put in the can is garbage. So the custodians come and collect it and it goes to a compactor. Then the garbage man separates and sells that resource, plastic, metal, etc. around the world. He makes money by billing you and makes money on the back end selling it. The flip side is nothing is garbage. You have paper, magazines, plastic, metal, glass, that is all recyclable, you have a half eaten tuna sandwich, an apple; I can compost that. The school system here, could move toward being a zero waste organization. To do that we need a massive behavior modification. You have to have a new belief system. We need to guide you as adults, but guide the children in understanding how this works so that in x number of years you are producing less waste. We also need to look at what we are purchasing so that what we are buying can become composted or recycled. You can have water stations to you won’t need plastic bottles. In Japan, the kids clean the schools. What a cool thing. Imagine having that respect about where you are and where you learn. I want to get the kids to do these things. I do this at universities all the time. I have kids composting, recycling, because they know that this is so important. We have to do this. What is your vision? Who are we? Who do we stand for? I would like to integrate into each school and present to all the children and all faculty. I would like to begin little green teams at each school with both faculty and children. I would like to start composting food waste. I would like to do some serious recycling here. We are just going to change the way be behave. S. Bannon – I don’t think anyone here is going to disagree with this. It is a no brainer. T. Schifano – this is my passion. This is not a bill. You are not hiring me. I live here. If there is any place I need to do this, it is here.
- Superintendent’s Evaluation Update – P. Dillon – my evaluation is done by a committee composed of people from our district as well as the Shaker Mountain School Union. Last year Dan Weston was in charge of it. This year Dewey Wyatt is in charge of it. We met tonight before this meeting and finalized the evaluation. I will bring it to each of the committees going forward. St. Peter – the next meeting should have the final report that we can present. I thought it went well. From having been on the committee for the past four years, the past two years has been a bit more complex with the Shaker Mountain folks there. Each year it gets a little bit better; this year is not different.
- FY20 Budget Timeline – P. Dillon – In your packet, you have something that looks like this. This is the budget timeline, ideally cumulating on March 7th and hopefully you vote on a budget unanimously endorsed by the finance subcommittee and by the school committee as a whole. Again, we are starting quite early and there will be a lot of meeting with the finance subcommittee then we will report back to the group as a whole. We keep fine tuning this and think our budget process is quite good and sophisticated at this point.
- Summer Program – K. Farina – I updated at the last meeting so I think we are all set.
- Security & Safety – P. Dillon – we are working closely with the Great Barrington Police Department and the State troopers around safety and security. Everybody comes together on Monday for work in the buildings and Tuesday we start with our district-wide breakfast and the police and troopers are going to go building by building and talk about training around safety and security. That partnership is renewed and strong. Our two key points of contact are Chief Walsh and Andy Kanada with the state police. We have a number of drills and unifications and evacuations, etc. planned in a tight schedule so we can get those in before the weather turns. Dohoney – I think in the final budget there was some separate money set aside for safety issues. I think we should look into access funds outside of our general budget for security issues and not wait on the school building needs. P. Dillon – are you talking about the state budget. R. Dohoney – yes. I was doing some research before coming here tonight. P. Dillon – we will dig into that.
- Lee, Principal; Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School – It has been a very busy week. In the past two weeks, we completed hiring of some paraprofessionals. The recommendations have recently gone to the superintendent and I will stop short of naming their names until that process is complete. With those recent hires, just about all of our vacancies are filled. We are feeling fully staffed and ready to start the school year. We had a really good first meeting this week of our Muddy Brook instructional leaders group. These instructional leaders, as you have heard before, are part of a new initiative this year intended to build teacher leadership in the school and more collaboration amongst teachers. We had a very productive meeting and are very much looking forward to that group going forward into the school year and engaging staff in a lot of collaborative work. My head is still spinning a little bit but we are feeling prepared to start the school year. We start with staff on Monday with an introductory staff meeting starting at 8:30am then into the afternoon, meetings between staff and specialists, nurse and clinicians, basically becoming acquainted with the students they have in their classrooms, their needs, communications sessions and they are both happening Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoon from 2:30 – 3:30pm, we have an event for parents and students who might wish to come and have a sneak peak at their classrooms and meet their teachers before the official start of the school year. We call it the meet and greet event.
- Doren, Principal: Monument Valley Regional Middle School – Today was one of the best days of the school year. We had our open house for new students so our 5th graders and some Farmington River students as well as students that have moved into the district or choiced in. There is a great energy because we have kids back in the building. It has been pretty quiet over the summer but Project Connection happened with us but it was a different tone. This is the feeling of the school year coming together. Kristi but together on Monday a great district-wide instructional lead meeting with all of us from the district and our consultant from the grade schools partnership. It was great to come together as a district team then on Tuesday our Monument Valley team is excited about our plan to work together with teachers and plan for improvement in the school over the next several years. I also met with our team coordinators and department coordinators. This is not something we have had at the middle school before. I am very impressed with the disposition; they are coming in ready to lead their teams, excited about being the organizers and working together and having some common goals.
We had some new hires. We hired a new 6th grade literacy specialist who is also going to teach English classes; Allison McGee. We hired two new science teachers. We had two resignations in the 7th and 8th grades. Lynn Cavachi who was a long-term sub at the high school last year and Lee Tellier who is an exceptional science teacher. I have been working all summer to revise the curriculum, work together and get ready for our 7th and 8th graders. We also had an unexpected resignation in 7th and 8th grade English so we just hired Zazu Shapiro who is really ready to jump into the teams and work collaboratively. We had our I2 training back at the end of June. I2 is for science week. It is something that Peter and I found out about through one of our parents, Corey Sprague, and it is basically out of MIT; we are shutting down school for a week in October and every kids is going to be doing science whether it be robotics, lunar colony, surgery, etc. They trained half of our faculty and the kids are going to do science for a week. They are going to immerse themselves in science. Our assistant principal, Miles Wheat, has been leading this and he is doing a great job organizing it. We hope to be doing this every year.
We had a great graduation for 8th grade. I am always impressed with the ceremony. The 8th grade team got together and worked of this plan from Tennessee and Texas and every kid did a service learning project, whether it was Project Smile for kids with cleft palates, out on the trails, rivers; some kids went off and worked with younger students to make musical instruments. We had kids go to Giddian’s Garden and work on gathering food for food pantries through Taft Farms. They had a great time and found it meaningful. They were excited about the end of the school year instead of being done with middle school.
The DC trip was a smashing success. Almost 90% of our student attended which is pretty amazing considering the cost. We do a lot of fundraising and scholarships for the kids so it is really neat that it isn’t just for the kids that can afford it but can do fundraising. We did a days in Gettysburg which was a big switch. Then we spend a nice two days in DC.
- Dillon on behalf of D. Wine, Principal: Monument Mountain Regional High School – The high school hired a new assistant principal, Peter Falkowski. Scott decided to go back to teaching so he will be a science teacher. Peter was hired for a number of reasons, being, he is experienced in the following areas: identifying at risk students, creating a team to address students’ needs and following through on that plan, working with students with restorative practices to help them account for their mistakes and grow from them and training faculty and staff in those restorative practices. We are lucky to get Peter. He worked at Taconic as the dean of students then was the assistant principal at Nessicus; then the principal left and in the same year, he also became principal and I think he is happy to step back into the assistant principal role.
The high school is hosting the Berkshire County Out of Darkness Suicide Walk at the Monument campus on September 29th from 10am – 12pm. They are partnering with the American Federation for Suicide Prevention, Austin Riggs and many other local sponsors. That should be good. The week beginning September 24th, will be homecoming week for the high school. It will kick off with a pep rally on the football with all three schools on September 25th.
During the second week of school, there will be a school and community and activity fair for students to learn about all the clubs that they could be involved in the school and outside in the community in terms of internships.
Kristi has some things to share about mentoring and some of the summer work she has been up to. K. Farina – it has been a busy summer. There have been many teachers involved in quite a bit of professional development. Some of what Tim and Ben already mentioned but we also had a group of teachers go for a training on service learning at that end of June. We had another group go to a social studies conference in preparation of the new social studies frameworks that have just been released. We had a group of teachers who participated in co-teaching and universal design for learning training that Westfield Public Schools allowed us to send 10 teachers and there was no charge for that. We also had instruction leads in this week working with Dan Leibert our coach from Great Schools Partnership and that is just the beginning of some great work with him. We are all really excited about that. Yesterday, we had all the new teachers in and we did a welcome day and introduced them to their mentors. They are ready to go for next week. Sean Flynn and I had the opportunity to start working on the innovative pathways grant. He and I met with Julie Handham and Jill Curtiss from BCC and they are on board and really want to be involved with us. Today, Sean met with Doreen Hutchinson from Fairview Hospital and they are also on board so we will be submitting our intent to comply tomorrow. Then we will be applying for that grant the end of September. B. Fields – Kristi, is that grant the model that was being used with the pediatric and the medical community? K. Farina – the innovative pathways…there are actual many different pathways we can choose from. There are five in this particular round of the grant. The one that we are focused on right now is around health sciences. There are a couple of others within the grant that we are looking at in case we want to consider them. It is a five year grant so the health sciences we felt was the most set to dive into in year one but we are giving some consideration if we want to pursue any of the other pathways and maybe start them in year two or three. B. Fields – do we know where we are in terms of that program that was presented by Mary and the doctor last year? P. Dillon – that is the collaborative care….K. Farina – the collaborative care….the Rural Health Network applied for the grant and we haven’t heard about that yet. We are actually still meeting and moving forward with the collaborative care model. We don’t know yet if we are going to have that grant funding. P. Dillon – through Berkshire United Way, they are installing two remote screens with cameras in them so that services can be provided virtually and they had me go up to BMC and have a conversation. They were really supportive and they set it up so I was talking to right people all over the county, North Adams, Williamstown, Dalton, Sheffield, all at once. The technology is really cool. Whoever is talking gets picked up and their picture is the big part of the screen and the other people who are listening are in little squares. These were all practitioners, nurses, psychiatrists, etc. We are moving along on that. B. Fields – there was some trepidation on the part of the presenters that it might not be going forward. K. Farina – we are committed to having it go forward and are working out those details. B. Fields – I have had people ask me about it this summer.
- Policy Sub Committee: N/A
- Building and Grounds Subcommittee: N/A
- Superintendent’s Evaluation Subcommittee: N/A
- Technology Subcommittee: N/A
- Finance Subcommittee: N/A
- District Consolidation and Sharing Subcommittee: There is a meeting on September 5th at 4:30 at Mt. Everett with the informal group we have been meeting with.
- Next Steps Sub-Committee: We are going to meeting next Tuesday at 6pm at the high school.
Personnel Report: P. Dillon – as I mentioned, Scott Annand has stepped into a teaching role for this year. Also, Chris Unsworth passed away. He was a very strong teacher and quite an impactful cross country coach and we are going to miss him a lot. Scott has a background in running and previously coached cross country so he is stepping in as the girls cross country coach which is great and I am very appreciative of him doing that. R. Dohoney – where are we in terms of staffing for the first day of school? P. Dillon – from a teacher perspective, we are all set. We are looking to fill one guidance position at the high school and that is posted and advertised. All the teaching positions are filled. There is a speech pathology vacancy and we have the services covered for the short term but we had very strong candidate that ultimately decided not to take the position. We are advertising now. There are a few paraprofessional vacancies and we are trying to tie that up. Otherwise we are in very good shape.
- Certified Appointment(s)
- Non-Certified Appointment(s)
- Leave of Absence(s)
- Summer Appointment(s)
- Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)
|Montano, Richard||Special Education Teacher – Muddy Brook||Effective 8/27/18 @ MA Step 2 ($44,431) (rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
(replaces vacancy created by Leanna Pegorari)
|Falkowski, Peter||Assistant Principal – MMRHS||Effective 7/31/18 @ $95,000/210 days|
(replaces vacancy created by Scott Annand)
|D’Aniello, Anne||.6 Paraprofessional – MMRHS||Effective 8/27/18 @ $12.25/hr.|
|Danis, MaryJo||.4 COTA – District Schools||Effective 8/29/18 @ .4 of 70% BA Step 17 (Kim Cavanaugh) (rate to be determine upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Hughes, Doreen||Secretary to the Principal – MMRHS||Effective 8/6/18|
|(replaces vacancy created by Tracy Clark)|
|Leave of Absence(s):|
|Cook, Bethany||Teacher – MMRHS||Effective aprx. 10/7/18 thru 2/12/19|
|Magee Gavin, John||Paraprofessional–Monument Valley||Effective immediately|
|Bell, Erica||English Teacher – Monument Valley||Effective immediately|
|Rooney, Donna||Paraprofessional – MMRHS Automotive Classroom||Effective immediately|
|McCarthy, Jeri||Food Service Helper – MMRHS||Effective immediately|
|Hardcastle, Nicolas||Summer Technology Intern||Effective 7/24/18 – 8/24/18|
@$11.00/hr. up to 7 ½ /hrs/day (workday up to 8/hrs. day)
|Ivy, Valri||Summer Curriculum Work – Co-Teaching Training – MMRHS||(25518)||Stipend: $500 (grant funded)|
(all 2018-2019 unless otherwise noted)
|Wilson, Peter||Coach – Varsity Football||Stipend: $4,108 (rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Mead, Sarah||Assistant Coach – Girls Varsity Soccer||Stipend: $2,566(rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Platt, Jessica||Varsity Coach – Girls Varsity Soccer||Stipend: $4,108 (rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Heck, Brendan||Assistant Coach – Boys Varsity Soccer||Stipend: $2,566(rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Storti, Jordan||Assistant Coach – Boys JV Soccer||Stipend: $2,566(rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Naventi, Matthew||Coach – Boys Varsity Soccer||Stipend: $4,108 (rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Martin, Dennis||Assistant Coach –Football||Stipend: $2,566(rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Collins, Edward||Coach – Boys Cross Country||Stipend: $4,108 (rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Annand, Scott||Coach – Girls Cross Country||Stipend: $4,108 (rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Underwood, Jacqueline||Assistant Coach –Girls Volleyball||Stipend: $2,566(rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
|Henry, Kyle||Coach – Girls Volleyball||Stipend: $4,108 (rate may be adjusted upon ratification of BHEA Contract)|
Written Communication: – P. Dillon – We always wonder if people are watching us on TV and yes, they are. This is a letter from the chair of the Agricultural Commission who was paying attention to the new job description around the CVTE and Internship position. There are really two main points: they are excited about us developing and investing in the standing program. They are hoping we broaden the program to include education and training related to sustainable landscape design and regenerative agriculture. With our long-distance food supply chain facing increasing disruption due to weather extremes and climate change, such cutting-edge farming skills and whole system land use strategies will be in growing demand in our region and beyond. In terms with our work with the Next Steps Committee they also want us to look at those aspects in the context of what we might do with our building project. This is the kind of cross agency collaboration that makes me very excited. I am glad they are paying attention to what we are doing. I welcome an ongoing discussion with them or other government bodies. R. Dohoney – I think my response to this communication is that we refer #1 to the new CVTE coordinator in hopes that he reports back to us at some point on it and we refer #2 to the Next Steps subcommittee for their agenda.
MOTION TO ADJOURN – R. DOHONEY SECONDED: J. ST. PETER ACCEPTED: UNANIMOUS
The next school committee meeting will be held on September 6, 2018 – Regular Meeting, MMRHS, Library, 7pm
Meeting Adjourned at 8:07pm
Submitted by: Christine M. Kelly, Recorder
Christine M. Kelly, Recorder
School Committee Secretary