BERKSHIRE HILLS REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Great Barrington Stockbridge West Stockbridge
SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
District Office, Stockbridge, Professional Development Room
March 29, 2018, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.
School Committee: S. Bannon, A. Potter, J. St. Peter, D. Singer, A. Hutchinson, B. Fields. D. Weston,
Administration: Peter Dillon, Sharon Harrison
Staff/Public: B. Doren, M. Berle, A. Rex, K. Farina, S. Soule
List of Documents Distributed:
February 15, 2018 School Committee Minutes of Meeting
March 1, 2018 School Committee Minutes of Meeting
March 8, 2018 School Committee Minutes of Meeting
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. 48 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.
February 15, 2018 School Committee Minutes of Meeting
March 1, 2018 School Committee Minutes of Meeting
March 8, 2018 School Committee Minutes of Meeting
MOTION TO APPROVE MINUTES OF MEETING FOR FEBRUARY 15, 2018, MARCH 1, 2018 AND MARCH 8, 2018: D. Weston Seconded: B. Fields Accepted: Unanimous
- Good News: Dillon – I am actually sad about this news but it is good news for a community in Vermont. I shared with you all a note that Amy had shared. Amy went up and interviewed and obviously impressed them and that school committee in Vermont has offered her the superintendent’s position for that district. I am very happy for Amy and sad for us. I would like to wish her well and also reiterate some of what she said in an email to faculty which is that she can’t conceive of herself as a lame duck and there is a lot of time left this year and they are going to do a lot of work and June 30th. In particular, one of the things that comes out of it is that Amy spent most of a year there working with faculty, working with students, gathering information and we are going to turn those gleamings into a report that will both energize and bring faculty together as a document that that next leader and the remaining leaders in the building can us to move forward. I would like to recognize and thank Amy. We have a lot of work yet to get out of her and she has a lot to do for that. I mentioned to a couple of reporters that the downside to reporting great people is other people want them too. I am much happier that we had Amy here with us for a year than not at all. Amy if you want to any anything, feel free. Amy Rex – I want to extend my appreciation to the board for the opportunity to be in the BHRSD. It is certainly a bittersweet departure. When I came on last year, I really thought that this was going to be my last landing in terms of a position in leadership and I think I have had a great opportunity to experience the magic at Monument Mountain Regional High School. The faculty is incredibly attentive, dedicated and gracious. The students are supported very well both in crisis and also when they have a desire to explore new and exciting opportunities around learning. The students themselves feel very blessed to be there and they are a very caring group of adolescents that I have enjoyed working with and getting to know. Many of the staff at Monument Mountain think of themselves as a part of a family and that is inclusive of now just themselves as colleagues but also with the students an the day to day care they have for each other. I have to emphasize that it is not an experience that I have had in other school districts. I have been in four other districts and this one is very unique and something you all should be very proud of in your work here. In addition, working with the administrative team here has been extremely rewarding. In a short time their enthusiasm and collaboration and ability to be the change that they want to see has been very rewarding and I think they are an exceptional group that will do outstanding work on behalf of this district in the years to come. I think they faculty and staff really made a turning point about midway through they year and they are looking beyond the horizon now. I think they are really able to visualize how important a shared vision is and what they need to do collectively to do that. They are getting really charged and excited and the momentum is building around that. I am really eager to just spend the last half of this school year with the department deans, supporting them as they solidify and strengthen themselves and the leadership team and feel confident in their ability to be able to articulate to the faculty and staff the direction they want to support new leadership in going forward. Like Peter said, we will also work on a blueprint of what some of the systems and structures are that need some support and I will work with deans to prioritize that work. I also would like to thank you for your support of me while I have been here. I know that transitions, even under the worst of circumstances are never convenience and there is a lot of work behind the search and looking for someone new. I am sorry for that. I know it is a hardship. Whatever I can do with the time that I am here to be helpful, I am certainly willing to do that.
- MMRHS Next Steps Committee – P. Dillon – we put out a call for people and we still have to put out a call for a few more but we are making progress. Steve and I met and discussed who expressed an interest in participating. I am going to share those people now. I will get a written copy to folks later. From the school committee we decided that the members of the Buildings & Grounds Committee would do it. From Great Barrington, Bill Fields and Diane Singer; from Stockbridge, Jason St. Peter and from West Stockbridge, Kristin Piesecki. Great Barrington appointed a selectboard member, Dan Bailly and Great Barrington also appointed a finance committee member, Buddy Atwood. We are still in conversation with Stockbridge and West Stockbridge. From the citizens perspective, we have a number of people that have applied from Great Barrington and we selected three of them; James Santos, Paul Gibbons and Rebecca Gold. From Stockbridge, Rich Bradway, and we have two more spots available. From West Stockbridge, Roger Cavanaugh and Sarah Kolmer and one more spot there. Separately, later in the process, we also decided we wanted a representative with a building background and Fred Clark both fits that description and expressed an interest so we will have him join us. We are still looking to find a teacher and a student and we will reach out to the teachers’ union on that. We are making some progress with the group. I will reach out to the people that were not selected and thank them for expressing interest and we may find a way to have them involved in some other capacity. Bannon – I hope that the group can meet by the end of May so that they can start their process. P. Dillon – Steve and I were talking about this today, there is a group of students connected at NYU, and it has been quite a large group across multiple disciplines. They are using the high school as a starting point to envision a different kind of space. The are education students, design students, architecture students, public policy people, engineering students. We shared some plans with them and we intentionally within the context of safety didn’t go into fine detail. They are doing a project where they are looking at our high school and coming up with some interesting ideas. It is student based so it is going to be a little pie in the sky but it another way to look at our space. I think it will be fun to hear about that. Steve and I are going to go to NYU for their presentation. They are asking some very interesting questions. We will bring back some of their insights to the group.
- Statement of Interest/Proposed Vote – P. Dillon – we would like again to submit a Statement of Interest to the MSBA. Essentially, it is not a huge deal, it is a placeholder to get back into their process. It is an objective statement of our needs and deficiencies at the high school. The deadline to submit is April 6th. One of the requirements of us submitting it is the committee has to vote for us to submit it. I have a particular motion that I will read and then somebody and same so moved. It is a boiler plate motion except for one sentence that I wrote and I will highlight that sentence when I share it. Assuming you vote to recommend this, Steve Soule will submit the SOI in advance of the April 6th deadline. You will hear it in the motion, but importantly submitting it does not commit us to anything. It just puts us in the que then there are many more opportunities if we advance in the que we have a decision if we want to advance or not advance. To not get into the que, would be a missed opportunity particularly because they only let you get into the que once a year. I am recommending that we do that. Bannon – the important thing to realize is that it took us a number of times to get in the last time so this doesn’t guarantee us anything. As Peter said, there is no commitment. As we talked about my forming this committee, one of their decisions would be if they are going to us state funds and we can withdraw this at any time. This is more of a placeholder and is something that we have to get started with.
MOTION: Having convened in an open meeting on March 29, 2018 prior to the SOI submission closing date, the Berkshire Hills Regional School District School Committee in accordance with it’s charter, bylaws and ordinances, has voted to authorize the Superintendent to submit to the Massachusetts School Building Authority the Statement of Interest Form dated March 29, 2018 for the Monument Mountain Regional High School located at 600 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, which describes and explains the following deficiencies and the priority category(s) for which an application may be submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority in the future for deficiencies in building condition, access, health and safety as well as deficiencies in conditions for instructional programs especially science and career and technical facilities; and hereby further specifically acknowledges that by submitting this Statement of Interest form, the Massachusetts School Building Authority in no way guarantees the acceptance or the approval of an application, the awarding of a grant or any other funding commitment from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, or commits the Berkshire Hills Regional School District to filing an application for funding with the Massachusetts School Building Authority – A. Potter Seconded: D. Weston Accepted: 6 For; 1 against Motion Passes.
- Hiring/Principals Search – P. Dillon – the preliminary application deadline for the elementary application has passed and we have received five or six application. I have 49 people who have expressed interest in the search committee. 49 is too many so I will be reaching out to people probably tomorrow informing folks who I have selected to be on that search committee. That committee will be in the 25-30 person range. The committee will try to have diverse representation from teachers and staff in the elementary school, including at least one person from each grade level as well as specialists; from paraprofessionals to office staff and broader representation from the administrative team. If anybody on the school committee would like to participate, I always like having a school committee person. Let me know. In terms of a time commitment, I think there will be one morning meeting to go a little over process and then in all likelihood, we will interview three candidates on an afternoon starting around 11:30 am going to 4pm on one day. There are not 30 people in a room. We break up into three groups of roughly 10 and each candidate at the same time goes through the three different groups and at the end of those parts of the interview process, the whole group gets together and we discuss how the candidates did. At that point, depending on where we are, we may recommend someone. The committee recommends to me but I may pick someone or we may narrow it down to a couple of for that matter, three finalists then bring people back to the broader school community for some public sessions. It is hard to know where we are going to be. The groups are highly focused and they come to a very strong recommendation and sometimes just one person stands out. Sometimes it is not as clear. The high school one, we are a little behind the elementary search process. An ad will be place within the next four or five days in local papers and maybe a national paper and then we will leave that open for about three weeks. The anticipated closing date which I am tentatively setting as April 26th but I may change that a little bit, that gives us a couple of weeks to try to make a decision by mid-May. The high school process, could be to high somebody outright as the presumably permanent person and the other one depending on the depth of the pool is to do an interim position for a year; perhaps to test somebody out and see if they are a good match and/or to leave the possibility open of doing a broader recruiting cycle when the range of candidates might be stronger. While it would be fun to get 50 applications for any position, getting one or two extraordinary is really all I want. We will see what happens. Fields – based on our search for Amy, the first round was terrible because there were no candidates. They were candidates but they weren’t. I don’t know where the local is going to get us because we went through it last year. I would like to see national. I think we lose a year if we have an interim which I don’t know where that would come from within the staff at Monument. I haven’t talked to them. I am not sure if it would come from inside. I would rather see us go outside all over the county to give us a better sense of what we are looking at rather than what we did last year. P. Dillon – I agree. B. Fields – the first round was a waste of time. We ended up getting three viable candidates for the second round and Amy obviously stood out. P. Dillon – we could do it in Education Week then canvas the regional graduate schools of education particularly the administrator preparation programs. A. Potter – we are under the gun and I think Bill is right. B. Fields – it was brought to my attention yesterday when I was at the high school, that people feel we are starting late but we got Amy late too and we didn’t do badly with that. P. Dillon – if we went the interim route and there are three possible subsets within that. One would be to identify somebody within the district, the other would be to identify likely a retired person who would do it for a year and the third would be there is a subset of interim people; my predecessor Donna did three or four interim superintendent gigs. There is a group of folks that do that. My first year here, Garth Story who was a retired superintendent and principal was an interim at Muddy Brook. Not my first choice but a viable possibility.
- School Safety – P. Dillon – we decided to leave school safety on the agenda on an ongoing basis. I think at our last meeting we talked about our community forum which I think pretty well. There were a lot of people there and the panel was quite interesting. Jane Toman from Riggs, Officer Finnerty, Steve Soule; there were interesting conversations. Since then Steve and I have met with a whole group of local law enforcement people; folks from Great Barrington and Stockbridge PD, State Troopers, emergency planning, EMT/EMS folks. We are continuing to do that. We are having meetings with our assistant principals. We are looking at expanding the range of drills and things that we do. I think we are making some real progress there. Steve, do you want to add anything? Soule – upgrade of security equipment around the front entryways for all three buildings. I think you covered everything else. J. St. Peter – I was at that meeting and one of the main points I got from the majority of the parents there was inquiring about a school resource officer. I know that Peter has spoken to that in the past, five or six years ago. Our board and the Great Barrington Board were for it but I guess there is a lot of sentiment against it so it got defeated. Times have changed and people at that meeting really wanted this board to look into that again. I think it is our job to take the political risk one way or the other to bring it up and see what the public sentiment is now. Other schools in the region are doing and it is important to a lot of parents. We need to look at it again. We should go through the pros and cons again. S. Bannon – my answer would be is that I agree with you. I have been through it twice and it has been turned down by the school committee both times and it got uglier the second time than it did the first time. I think we should go slowly and test the waters. We will talk about how we want to do it. I think it is going to take time to do. J. St. Peter – I just know that parents are concerned and it needs to be looked at again. A. Potter – I think the first time through, there was some discussion that a school resource officer could be tasked with some traffic control and the situation at the front, the buses exit in the morning and afternoon and the resource officer could be involved with traffic control. There was some question if that would be a viable option or not. S. Bannon – if my memory is correct it was not proper use of their skill set at that time. I think, just to give people a little background, a school resource officer is actually a police officer from Great Barrington who is hired by Great Barrington paid for by the school district or a grant. The last time, there was an agreement with the police chief in Great Barrington where the hiring would be done jointly with the superintendent and the police chief. It would be a Great Barrington officer because we are in the jurisdiction of Great Barrington. Their job description would be jointly done between the town and the district. There is a lot to be done on this. I think Jason, you are correct, there is probably more sentiment now in favor of it than there was back then. We just have to go slowly. J. St. Peter – the majority of the people at that forum were for it. At the least we should revisit it to see if there was been a change in sentiment. B. Fields – why is it a territorial issue? We are a regional school with three towns. D. Weston – It is just the way the law is. B. Fields – you said at one of the previous meetings, Stockbridge is closer. D. Weston – there are fully involved in the planning and they should be and they may respond quicker but in terms of a police officer, you can’t have a Stockbridge police officer working in Great Barrington. S. Bannon – it is not a political issue. It is a jurisdictional issue. A. Potter – they do trade off the traffic control. B. Fields – that was an agreement. Having been on the Dowmel Committee for 12 years, we used Rick Wilcox from Stockbridge and handled a lot of the security issues. The Dowmel specifically mentioned that Monument Mountain Regional High School would be the place that the lectures would take place and Rick was very good at getting through state department. I wasn’t involved in that. I just know Rick then worked with the Great Barrington police. S. Bannon – just to be clear, the police officers that were at the high school were Great Barrington officers and the participants for the Dowmel stayed in Stockbridge. There was some joint agreement to do that. B. Fields – hopefully we could get something like that for this. I don’t see this committee after our unanimous vote about arming teachers, I think that parents have a right to know and this is one of those things; do we get into this territorial things but I understand the jurisdiction issues. S. Bannon – that was never an issue before that I was aware of. It was the details that dragged us down. It seems initially that people were in favor of a school resource officer until we got into the details. You will see an agenda item, more of a discussion item to start with and a process. Don’t forget it is also budgetary and our budget is done for the year. I’m not saying we can’t but …
- Superintendent’s Contract – S. Bannon – Peter’s contract is up at the end of this year and I would like permission to a. extend the contract for three years and I will negotiate with Peter any changes. If there are major changes to the contract, we will come back to the school committee. If they are minor housekeeping changes, we will just present that to you and you can decide if you want to do them. Let’s just get the contract extended. I think that is what we all want to do.
MOTION to extend the contract for Peter Dillon, Superintendent, for three years – A. Potter Seconded: J. St. Peter Accepted: Unanimous
- 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 & Sharing Subcommittee: Dillon – The Southern Berkshire Educational Future Group has met. That is the group with school committee members, superintendents from Southern Berkshire, Lee, Lenox and us and Richmond. Several members of that group wanted to bring in an outside speaker to engage the broader community in conversation. They worked to recruit a guy who is fairly well know, Bill Daggett. Some people have seen him speak. On Tuesday, April 24th he is going to give a talk at the Mahaiwe from 6-8pm. The beginning of it, he will give a presentation and the second part of it will be questions from the audience and the group will do a follow up survey to get additional information. The big point of it is to say a number of districts are working together to look at ways to collaborate, think about education and bringing Bill Daggett will give us a common text or speech to respond to and give us some ideas then potentially move some conversation forward. It is free to the public. He is a polished speaker so that piece of it will be good. The question and answer piece could be good as well. S. Bannon – Will CTSB televising it? P. Dillon – I don’t know. That is a good thing to put on the list. We can ask. There is a secondary thing in that group. They put together a priority list of needs across districts and we will go back to them and continue that conversation. That is to narrow down the things we want to be working on.
Non-Certified Appointment(s); Reassignment(s); Leave(s) of Absence; Retirement(s); Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)
Nancy Graham is a long-time nurse at Monument. She announced that she is going to retire on August 31st. Yet, another wonderful person who put a lot of years into the district. The high school is a much better place because of her. Two things really stand out. As with all nurses, she does a great job of meeting the physical and mental health needs of kids but in addition to her formal nursing duties, she is this tremendous crusader in volunteer work. That has taken the form of PathWays and a lot of projects, blood drives, etc. which has been impactful on hundreds if not thousands of students including my own daughter. We very much appreciate Nancy and all she has done for our district.
|Bowler, Meghan||Paraprofessional – MB||Effective 3/21/2018|
@ $12.25/hr./6 ½ /hrs./day
|Pegorari, Leanna||Special Education Evaluation Team Leader PreK-6 – MB & MV||Effective 8/29/18 @ current rate of pay (rate may be adjusted upon contract ratification)|
Leave of Absence(s):
|Marianne Conklin||Business Office Accountant – District Office||Effective 4/25/18 – aprx. 5/9/18|
|Lovett, June||Cook, MMRHS||Effective 3/8/18 – 3/26/2018|
|Graham, Nancy||School Nurse – MMRHS||Effective 8/31/2018|
(all 2017-2018 unless otherwise noted)
|McCartney, Hugh||Boys Head Track Coach – MMRHS||Stipend: $4,108|
|Arkans, Howard||Boys Tennis Coach – MMRHS||Stipend: $4,108|
|Henry, Kyle||Girls Varsity Softball Coach – MMRHS||Stipend: $4,108|
|Morehouse, Pamela||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Simmons, Marcie||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Wohl, Matt||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Leslie, Brian||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Unruh, Jolyn||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Jones, Dallas||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Meaney, Colleen||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Minkler, Barbara||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Benton, Alexandra||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Manzolini, Kerry||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Salinetti, Amy||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Wool Suzanne||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $18.50/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Casella, Lynn||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Harper, Patricia||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Heck, Brendan||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Astion, Donna||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Sparks, Elizabeth||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Lucy, Christine||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Oakley, Jessica||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $40/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|Halla, Elizabeth||Safe & Supportive Grant Team Member||(26618)||Stipend: $12.25/hr. up to 13 hrs.|
|White, Samantha||Volunteer Girls Tennis Coach – MMRHS|
New Business: S. Harrison – the last remnants of Berkshire County oversight is the Berkshire County insurance group. The Berkshire County Insurance Group is a member of the Berkshire Health Group with 22 sub groups. That is all the small towns like Otis, Sandisfield, Peru that don’t have their own individual representation. That administrator has given her notice. She is going to be retiring as soon as she can. She is hoping it is by June 20th. They have brought it to Berkshire Health Group and asked if the members would sponsor some of these small units. It would not involve any funding or money. It would just allow them to continue as part of the Berkshire Health Group. They cannot continue without being sponsored. For example, Stockbridge is a member of the Berkshire County Health Group. If the group goes away, they have no way to get their insurance unless they go out on their own. It’s the same with West Stockbridge. We would like members of the board to sponsor towns. I have put out there that we will sponsor West Stockbridge and Stockbridge and then Otis and Sandisfield part of that group and have nobody else to represent them so we are going to have a formal vote later when we have an agreement; they are drafting up potential agreements. I wanted to bring that to the board that we would sponsor; again, there would be no cost. Their treasurer would get the bill; they would pay the bill directly to GBS our claims manager; all the questions would go there so there would not be any additional work either. S. Bannon – more to come on that.
- Dillon – Typically, I would have a memo around this. I don’t this time and Amy can speak to it as well. I would like to reach out to you before the season starts to request additional coaches as needed. Typically, what happens is we do it in a context when a booster club agrees to cover the cost of it. Occasionally, we add additional coach like we did for skiing this year because do many kids are participating that to not have an additional coach would be problematic or a safety hazard. This particular circumstance is a little different. We have a number of students with particular educational needs or special needs who want to participate in baseball. In my judgment to makes sense to provide some additional support there. This cost wouldn’t be covered by the booster club. We would reallocate some existing resources so it would be covered by the district. In terms of opening up access and opportunity to everybody, I think this is both our moral and potentially our legal obligation to do so. I would like to ask your support for doing that. It would be at the assistant coach level. We think we have enough flexibility budgetarily to cover that cost.
MOTION to appoint an additional high school assistant baseball coach for the period of one year – A. Potter J. St. Peter Accepted: Unanimous
- Public Comment
- Written Communication
MOTION to adjourn – A. Potter Seconded: B. Fields Accepted: Unanimous
The next school committee meeting will be held on April 12, 2018 – Regular Meeting – Monument Mountain Regional Middle School, 7pm
Meeting Adjourned at 7:48pm
Submitted by: Christine M. Kelly, Recorder