BERKSHIRE HILLS REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Great Barrington                   Stockbridge                West Stockbridge

SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING

Regular Meeting

Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School – Library

November 8, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.

Present:

School Committee:      S. Bannon, A. Hutchinson,  J. St. Peter, B. Fields, M. Thomas, D. Weston, R.Dohoney, A.Potter,

S.Stephen

Administration:                      P. Dillon, S. Harrison

Staff/Public:                           B. Doren, T. Lee, K. Farina, S. Soule

Absent:                                   D. Singer, D. Wine

List of Documents Distributed:

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:    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.

REORGANIZATION OF SCHOOL COMMITTEE:

  • Election of Officers – P. Dillon – The first thing we do at this meeting after the election is the reorganization. The very first thing in that is to take nominations for Chair of the Committee then I will hand the gavel over to them once approved.  Dillon – I would like to welcome our newest member, Molly Thomas from West Stockbridge.  I would like to congratulate the other people who were also elected.  While everybody represents all three towns, Steve Bannon and Bill Fields who were re-elected from Great Barrington and Dan Weston and Jason St. Peter were re-elected from Stockbridge.

MOTION TO NOMINATE STEVE BANNON AS CHAIR – A. POTTER                   SECONDED:  B. FIELDS                   ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS

  1. Bannon – this is my 21st year as Chair which is unbelievable and I am always humbled every time I am nominated and get to be chair. It is something I treasure doing and this is a great committee.
  • Appointment of School Committee Representatives to Other Committees

MOTION TO NOMINATE DAN WESTON FOR VICE CHAIR – R. DOHONEY     SECONDED:  B. FIELDS

  1. Weston – would not be able to participate in anything having to do with Southern Berkshire like consolidation or shared services; that’s why I didn’t do it previously.

MOTION TO NOMINATE ANDY POTTER FOR VICE CHAIR – R. DOHONEY       SECONDED:  B. FIELDS          ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS

MOTION TO NOMINATE DAN WESTON FOR ASSISTANT TREASURER – R. DOHONEY     SECONDED:  B. FIELDS     ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS 

MOTION TO NOMINATE DIANE SINGER FOR SECRETARY – R. DOHONEY         SECONDED:  B. FIELDS        ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS 

Negotiating Subcommittee:  Steve Bannon, Dan Weston, Anne Hutchinson

Policy Subcommittee:  Steve Bannon, Andy Potter, Sean Stephen, Jason St. Peter

Warrant Subcommittee:  Steve Bannon, Rich Dohoney, Dan Weston, Andy Potter, Bill Fields

Buildings & Grounds Subcommittee:  Jason St. Peter, Bill Fields, Diane Singer, Molly Thomas

Superintendent’s Evaluation Subcommittee:  Andy Potter, Anne Hutchinson, Sean Stephen

Technology Subcommittee:  Andy Potter, Steve Bannon, Rich Dohoney, Dan Weston, Sean Stephen

Finance Subcommittee:  Rich Dohoney, Steve Bannon, Dan Weston, Andy Potter, Bill Fields

District Consolidation and Shared Services Subcommittee:  Steve Bannon, Rich Dohoney, Anne Hutchinson, Sean Stephen, Molly Thomas

Next Steps Subcommittee:  Bill Fields, Jason St. Peter, Diane Singer, Molly Thomas

School Center, Inc. Subcommittee:  Jason St. Peter, Steve Bannon, Diane Singer

Fund for Excellence Subcommittee:  Bill Fields, Diane Singer as alternate

Vocational Advisory Board:  Steve Bannon, Andy Potter, Jason St. Peter, Molly Thomas, Sean Stephen

MASC Reps:  Andy Potter, Bill Fields

MINUTES:

TREASURER’S REPORT:

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT:

  • Good News Item(s) – See Below
  • Request: Overnight Field Trip – MMRHS  Band – Temple University  MOTION TO APPROVE MMRHS OVERNIGHT FIELD TRIP TO TEMPLE UNIVERSITY – A. POTTER          SECONDED:  FIELDS             ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS
  • Update:
    • Recently Submitted/Future Grants – K. Farina – there are several grants that I have been working on. Two have been with Sean Flynn.  Sean and I worked on Innovative Pathways Grants that I told you about already.  We did find out that we made it through the first round of that.  We are waiting to hear if we are going to get the $10,000 connected to that for planning.  The final round grant will be due January 18th.  We will be going to a meeting on November 15th together to learn more about what we really need to do to continue this process.  This past week, he and I were working on a grant through Mass Ideas.  It is another planning grant on high school redesign.  We took some of what we had put in the Innovative Pathways Grant but wrote it more expansively to include the ideas of co-teaching and some of the changes we want to make in other programming and not just the CVTE pathway design.  That grant we just submitted for $127,000.  We will find out the week after Thanksgiving if we made it through their first round and if we do, we will have to take a team to be interviewed the first week of December.  A much smaller grant that I am working on is a social studies planning grant.  That one is due November 20th and that is for stipend support for social studies in the district to work on aligned curriculum to the new social studies frameworks.
    • Progress of Finance Subcommittee to date – P. Dillon – we have a good process around our Finance Subcommittee where we do a really deep dive in each cost center and we have looked to date so far at Buildings & Grounds or Operations; we looked at Special Ed and now we have gone through the high school. We went through the three buildings and also technology.  I think we are making some really good progress in terms of using that as a springboard to jump into the rest of the budget process.  All those materials will be available online and we are also putting them into binders for each of the school committee members.  Even if you are not on the committee or that subcommittee, you will get all of the information in December.  Rich is the chair for that committee.  Dohoney – you covered it pretty well.  We got a slower start than we did last year but we are right back on track now.  A nod to the two new principals who jumped in pretty well.  It was pretty seamless.
    • Security & Safety – P. Dillon – We are continuing our training and working with the state and local police. It pains me that everyday there is another event.  Pittsburg, and yesterday in Thousand Oaks.  These things keep happening.  Every once in awhile in the schools we have an incident where an ambulance has to come in for either medical reason or mental health reason and we had on the other day in the high school.  To give the student who was being taken out for medical support some privacy and to keep kids out of the halls, we did it as a shelter in place or a lockdown.  It was pretty close to what happened in Pittsburgh.  Immediately kids texted their parents to say we are in lockdown and everybody starts thinking the worst.  It was a deliberate decision but the timing of that decision and the context with the way the world is, was hard on people.  We may rethink what we do with situations like that in the future.   Hutchinson – maybe just rename it when it is a medical event for one person.  D. Weston – at Mt. Everett a stay in place was a clearly keep kids in the room because there was something going on like a medical emergency.  It didn’t alarm anybody like a lockdown.  S. Soule – I happened to be in the building when that happened.  It was very clearly announced that it was a stay put exercise.  Not a lockdown exercise.

Good News:

  1. Lee, Principal; Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School – Last Thursday evening at Muddy Brook I had the great pleasure of attending a celebration of the fourth grade thematic unit on Mexico. It coincided with the Day of the Dead but it was a activity of the fourth grade and their teachers.  It included writing, music, dance, art, map making, geography; really a model interdisciplinary unit prepared by our fourth grade teachers.  Another piece of that was unique assignments that the teachers gave to all the students to go home and interview family members about another family member who was no longer with us and the students wrote some really beautiful essays that they posted on the entrance to the event.  All families were invited and they brought a pot luck meal.  It was really a terrific celebration of learning.  I just wanted to offer some kudos to the fourth grade team and all of our fourth grade students who did a great job of preparing and also thank you to the families that attended on that night.  November 6th was our countywide professional development day.  I just wanted to mention that doing professional development well is something that is very challenging for school administrators to do but since the day I have had about half a dozen people come up to me and say how much they appreciated the activities that were offered on November 6th particularly the mathematical thinking workshop offered in Stockbridge by Bill Fiely as the presenter and then the other one people have been talking about a lot with positive feedback about a day long workshop on co-teaching, which you have been hearing a lot about in our budget presentations.  I give a nod as well to Kristi who is responsible for putting that together.  Also, not news really but just a public announcement.  Tomorrow here at Muddy Brook starting at 9:15am we will have our annual Veteran’s Day breakfast and celebration.  The veterans will be arriving about 8:30.  We will have breakfast for them in the cafeteria then join in the gymnasium where we will have a variety of musical tributes, poems, etc. by students.  Very important for us to recognize the veterans and a very important learning activity for our students also to understand the meaning of service and duty.  If you are available, please attend.
  1. Doren, Principal: Monument Valley Regional Middle School – Kristi does an amazing job as our director of teaching and learning now in her second year. She really listened to not just me but to the faculty about getting high quality training and bringing some alignment in the middle school but also to K-12.  We had trainings for our english and social studies teachers in our writing process.  The writing process we use is SRSD, self-regulated strategy development.  It gets kids to teach themselves how to write through a process of structured writing but we do that 5-8 for all every student.  Our advanced students love it because it helps get them organized around their writing and our struggling students need it because it really does help them access all the tools they need to create pieces of writing and not get stuck.  What the self-regulation means, given a situation where they have to write, they know strategies about reading, annotating, organizing that information, structuring, draft, revising it and finally editing it for presentation.  That is a lot of work especially for a ten year old or fourteen year old.  This was the second year for our english teachers but Kristi also brought in folks into the social studies from North Adams and the high school.  We are sharing the cost so that is great but also getting the high school involved in thinking about how we can align writing.  The teacher development day got a lot of positive feedback.   Kids are getting high quality instruction no matter what classroom they are in and they can go from one year to the next.  That is going to be critical for math.
  1. Dillon for D. Wine, Principal: Monument Mountain Regional High School – We are wrapping up our fall sport seasons.  Both the boys and girls soccer teams got far into the Western Mass Soccer Tournaments but both their seasons are done.  The girls played an undefeated Southampton team and the boys had a tough game too.  Lots to be proud of there however.  This week is the school-based part of the Shakespeare and they are doing Romeo and Juliet.  It is going on now and tomorrow night as well.  Next week or the week after they will be performing at Shakespeare & Co.  While staff were engaged in professional development in our own buildings and all over the county, all the administrators were meeting with our consultant Dan from the Great Schools Partnership.  We had a really good day together.

Sub-Committee Reports:

  • Policy Sub Committee: N/A
  • Building and Grounds Subcommittee: N/A
  • Superintendent’s Evaluation Subcommittee: N/A
  • Technology Subcommittee: N/A
  • Finance Subcommittee: Dohoney – we will have the draft preliminary budget on November 29th.
  • District Consolidation and Sharing Subcommittee: N/A
  • Next Steps Sub-Committee: Fields – Meeting November 20th where Molly will be introduced.  We are looking also at December 4th.  For November 20th, Doug is also on that committee and the question will be what is lacking in the high school building.  We took a tour and for those that were there we know what is lacking but if you weren’t on the tour we will be looking at what is lacking.  The December 4th meeting, both Paul and I lined up the question what can we do differently and how do we do it.  I have Sean Flynn coming in talking about CVTE, Vivian from the town Agricultural Committee to talk about what we can do to join agricultural and a building design along with the CVTE program and I am also going to call up a former student who runs his own company, Steve Boyd.  I am going to ask him to do a short presentation as to how what he is doing can mold into what the CVTE is doing in a new building.  Steve sees a lot of possibility in our CVTE program but along with what Diane said at the last meeting, if we build it they will come.  We do have to build a building and do something with the building along with the CVTE program.  They go together.

Personnel Report:

  • Long-Term Substitute Appointment(s)
  • Reassignment(s)
  • Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)
 Long-Term Substitute(s): 
Koldys, RandallLong-Term Substitute – Biology Teacher – MMRHSEffective 10/9/18 thru aprx. 2/11/19 Days 1-10 – per diem of BA Step 1($224.70) day 11 forward per diem of BA+30 Step 5 ($277.77)

(replaces Bethany Spence)

Resignation(s): 
Cella, ShannonAssistant Cook – MMRHSEffective 11/2/18
Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)

(all 2018-2019 unless otherwise noted)

  
 
Koldys, RandallBoys Varsity Basketball Coach – MMRHS Stipend:  $4,231.
Platt, JessicaCVTE Web Design – MMRHS Stipend:  $3,000
Finnerty, KristinSchool Newspaper – MB Stipend:  $2,115
Scarbro, KaitlinUnicycle – MB Stipend:  $2,115
Knox, MariaChair of the Academic Affairs – MMRHS Stipend: $1,000
Barrett, EdwardGeometry Work (Summer) – MMRHS 
 

Business Operation:

  • FY19 Q1 Transfer Report & Overview – S. Harrison – The first quarter is usually the slowest with the least amount. The first two were moving money from contingency for expenses approved but that were funded in contingency when we did the budget.  The first was the co-curricular athletic…R. Dohoney – why is that; I don’t understand that.  We approved it in the budget.  What was it in contingency?  Harrison – it was in the budget but it was funded in contingency because the position had not been approved when we developed the budget.  S. Bannon – so if you put in $70,000 and you hire someone with no experience and they see it is $70,000, they are going to ask for that but you might only want to pay them $55,000.  S. Harrison – when the budget was presented, the position had not yet been approved so it is funded in contingency because if it is not approved by the school committee we would take it out or not spend it when the budget is approved.  S. Bannon – it just isn’t always possible.  S. Harrison – the second was moving funds from contingency for the extraordinary maintenance for the summer work at the high school.  That will actually move back to contingency because we are going to be moving the expenses into a capital account that had not been set up as of July 1.  The second set of transfers were for changes in the district practices and you are all aware of the approved instruction leads and team coordinators.  What we did was reallocate professional development money to cover those stipends across the district.  In that section, the second one, the ESL professional services fees, this is for translations.  We have two accounts for this.  One for special education students and one for regular education students.  The special education students professional services and fees for ESL is managed by the directed of student services, Kate.  The school for regular education requests the translations at the school level.  We felt it was just more fiscally responsible then for the schools to be responsible for that so we created the funds at the different levels and more the same about of money but to the school level.  The next is for professional learning that is going on.  We reallocated that as well.  Under number 4, the last six were done for operational leads.  Molly, we do a line item budget and then during the year as things change, the principals decide if they need more or less money in a line item.  When they need more, they more it out and that is what this represents.

MOTION TO APPROVE THE FY19 Q1 TRANSFER REPORT – A. POTTER            SECONDED:  J. ST. PETER          ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS 

Education News: 

Old Business: 

New Business:             J. St. Peter – MassLive published the top placers for the AP exam in the state and we ranked 42nd in the entire state only one of four Western Mass schools ahead of some real powerhouse schools in the east.  They listed the top 75.  We were only the Berkshire in the top 75.  It should be noted that our college prep courses are strong and the students, parents as well as the teachers deserve the credit.  Our educational model from Kindergarten really pays dividends and results.  It really shows by the time they get to high school.  Kudos to the whole district.  I was very proud of it.  P. Dillon – I am happy about it and I always want us to be critical of data, the way they are calculating it and I restrained myself from writing them a letter, somebody there doesn’t have a strong background in data.  They are doing some stuff that makes me slightly uncomfortable.  They are taking the average score of the number of people that get 4’s and 5’s, our percentage of kids getting 4’s and 5’s of our total percentage of kids taking the test is very high.  That is good and something we should be proud of.  Over time we may encourage more kids to take tests and having more kids take tests, more kids will get 4’s and 5’s but some other kids will get 3’s and 2’s and 1’s so our total percentage might go down.  In the long run it might be better to have more kids have the opportunity because just participating in an AP class, there is research that says it’s great if you get a 5 but even if you get 1 or a 2 the experience of being in a rigorous class is quite impactful.  Over time those numbers may change and if they do, either going up or down, it could still be a good thing.  J. St. Peter – we did have 128 test takers so there was a significant amount as well.  That is a good representation.  

  • Public Comment
  • Written Comment

 

MOTION TO ADJOURN – A. POTTER               SECONDED:  B. FIELDS                       ACCEPTED:  UNANIMOUS  

The next school committee meeting will be held on November 29, 2018 – Meet & Confer, District Office, Stockbridge,  7pm

Meeting Adjourned at 7:48pm

Submitted by:

Christine M. Kelly, Recorder

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Christine M. Kelly, Recorder

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School Committee Secretary