Great Barrington                   Stockbridge                West Stockbridge


Regular Meeting

Monument Valley Regional Middle School – Library

October 25, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.


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

Administration:                      P. Dillon, S. Harrison

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

Absent:                                   S. Stephen

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:    1 hr, 21 minutes.


Chairman Steve Bannon called the meeting to order immediately at 7pm.


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, once approved.




  • Dillon – on behalf of the whole school committee, I wanted to recognize Kristin Piasecki for her dedicated years of service on the school committee, the buildings and grounds subcommittee and on the shared services committee. You are passing the baton to whoever is next and thank you for all you have done.  We got you a picture of the kids and the flag at the high school.  It has been great to have you.  You spoke the truth and that is a nice thing.  S. Bannon – congratulations and it has been a pleasure.
  • Dillon – we have a student from the high school her, Haley Couch. H. Couch – I am one of the nearly 60 students who participates in the fall festival with Shakespeare at the high school.  As some of you may know, this is a program that involves nearly 10% of the student body at Monument.  No other club or activity including student senate has that much school participation.  What some of you may not know is that the fall festival of Shakespeare is about more than putting on one of Shakespeare’s plays.  By developing skills and learning to play in a constructive manner and about finding a sense of confidence many student might not find otherwise.  FallFest as it is called, brings together students from every single walk of life for seven weeks.  We have kids that drop their sports careers to participate in FallFest, do sports alongside of FallFest and dedicate their fall and countless hours to this program.  We have students who pour their hearts on stage and don’t otherwise speak in class.  Many find a second family in FallFest and more.  In order to show each and everyone of you here just how important this program is to each and every one of us students who participate, on behalf of the whole company I would like to invite each and every one of you on our VIP list to the shows on the 8th and 9th at the high school at 7pm.  This year, we will be doing a performance of Romeo and Juliet with a special treat featuring two Romeos and three Juliets along with a healthy dose of comedy.  I hope to see many of you there to bear witness just how important this program is to the Monument community as a whole.  Thank you.  P. Dillon – I recommend people go on the 9th instead of the 8th because on the 8th we have a school committee meeting.
  • Good News Item(s) – See Below
  • Additional High School Stipend Positions – P. Dillon – There are stipends in four areas and we thought we would bring them all to you. Dungeons & Dragons is a game that uses logic and a whole host of other things.  It has been active in the middle school for years.  There is a lot of education research around it saying that it is engaging and it helps people develop skills.  There is a group of kids that are interested in that.  There is also a group of students interested in fencing.  We are talking about doing it with epees instead of sabers so that is good from a liability perspective.  Dohoney  – is that insurance company driven?  P. Dillon – I think most programs start there and as they develop, they might move to the other.  We talked with our insurance company, and it is ok.  S. Bannon – they made a presentation to School Center, Inc. for funding.  All we are approving tonight is the stipend because there is much more funding that would have to go along with that in order for it to be successful.  P. Dillon – the next one is Poetry Out Loud.  You know of that and it was left off our list.  The last one is the Spartan Gaming.   S. Bannon – have we negotiated these with BHEA?  P. Dillon – that is next.  It could have gone either way.  B. Fields – following what Steve said, one of the issues that came up at School Center, Inc. discussion around fencing was the lack of a coach.  P. Dillon – Doug can speak to that a little bit.  D. Wine – the discussion was that fencing will occur contingent upon getting a coach by the end of the month.  Carl Zigmund and I met with Seth who is the student and he is still searching for one.  You are approving it assuming that it will go through but we don’t know … right now there is not a coach.  In working with School Center, because they would be approving the funding for materials, that doesn’t happen until we get a coach.  While it is November 2nd or whatever that Friday is, if we are close, I then email and say, we are close and are in negotiation, we might have a coach and as of right now we don’t have one.  That is entirely provisional.  We are not going to have a fencing program unless we get a coach.  This is in case we do.


  1. Dillon – the high school used to have a film festival and it went on a one year hiatus and a group of students are interested in bringing the film festival back. The last film festival was quite entertaining particularly a documentary about the students that live on the hill. I think it is a good thing.  I don’t think you need to approve it but I thought it made sense for me to run it by you.
  • Update: Safety Presentation on October 24th at Lee Middle/High School – P. Dillon – a number of us went to this. Steve, Andy, Dan, Bill and I went.  There were three people from Sandy Hook that spoke; a police detective who was in charge of the whole investigation after the fact; he wasn’t on scene when it happened.  A woman who at the time was a head teacher and is now a principal and she was actually shot twice and managed to play dead for awhile and then get back into a conference room.  A parent of a child who lost her life.  Super heavy duty.  The major theme of it was every action you take, every opportunity you have to do something, you have an opportunity to shave seconds off of it and in saving time then the police can respond even more quickly than they did and getting there 30 seconds earlier can save that many more lives.  It was really sad.  A lot on how to you train people on both ends; how do you train people to make phone calls; what information is important to share; how do you train dispatchers to notify people how to respond and what do you do.  If something is going anybody can and show call 911.  Even through schools have traditional hierarchical structures, don’t take the three minutes to get to the principal.  Make the call then make the principal know.  When you call all the information you need to share is there is a shooter at Monument Valley Middle School and they are in the cafeteria and all the rest of the information doesn’t matter.  Be very quick and to the point so then the dispatcher can immediately turn and send people.  They shared the recordings of the calls.  It was really heavy duty.  Everybody seemed to do the right thing but as you hear it again and again, one of things that happened was if the local call center got overwhelmed, it went to the state police dispatch and then the state police were transferring calls back to the local center and losing time and in turn losing lives.  Potter – his real point was to identify the first real thing which is where the shooter is.  That is the training that adults, faculty, staff and students should all have is that one piece.  B. Fields – this guy was unbelievable.  I realized what it was like to be questioned by an investigator because this guy was top of the line.  I started thinking about the phone calls when I went home.  They were there in three minutes and 10 seconds.  He said that is pretty good and then he looked around and said but not in our business.  It might be good for someone else. He said it could have been shaved.  S. Bannon – what is said was it was not to point fingers are dispatchers but to point fingers at the training.  Our training has changed in the last 20 years.  A. Potter – he did include  the students in that.  In this day, most all students have cell phones and they are active participants in that notification.
  • MCAS Update – P. Dillon – we sent you a big packet of information around the MCAS. Unfortunately Kristi is sick.  I am going to talk through it a little quickly to give you some context.  The highest overview is the elementary school did significantly better than they did last year.  Last year was a very tough year at the elementary school.  The middle school continues to struggle and the high school continued to do well in english, very high there and for years there has been a plateau in math and scores in math have gone up.  On the first page there are links of all things.  Click on the links; look around.  To me the most interesting things are to look at how our students did versus how subgroups of our students did.  Low income or non-low income; special needs or non-special needs.  There are different inferences you can make there.  The next page in your packet is the high school one.  To remind people, the high school is using the old MCAS test.  Those are going to change this year and the high school testing this year is going to be online for the first time.  That will be a little bit of a shift.  The hope in terms of the SGP, the student growth percentile, says it is in the 40-60 range.  Obviously, for english and math, those were both within that range and then you see some of the other scores and us in relation to the state.  If you are looking at the high school one, the english, 10th grade english is 99% proficient or higher; the state is 91%.  Needs improvement, we are way below the state and in warning or failing, in english, we don’t have any students so that a big deal.  You can do the same for math and science.  Weston – you have to be careful because you used above twice that it was a good thing and …. P. Dillon – it is good to be below in warning and failing.  D. Weston – right.  P. Dillon – that makes sense.  We want to have fewer kids who are failing so we want to be below the state in the failing category.  The next several pages, there is a graphic representation and the next one in my packet is the Muddy Brook one.  You see us in relation to the state in 3rd grade reading.  Again, you can go through in these other areas.  There is no growth for third graders because that is the first time they are taking the assessment.  You can’t measure that.  You see the growth for fourth graders and it is all in the high 70’s.  The next one in my packet is the middle school and looking at the bar chart, the most obvious thing in the bar chart is the school doesn’t have a blue column and the state does have a blue column.  The blue column is exceeding expectations.  The rest of those follow.  While all buildings have work to do, this particular has some more work to do.  The growth percentiles in many grades and subject levels is still in the 40-60 range which a couple of exceptions.  The next three are the accountability reports.  This gives you even more granular detail and they are building by building.  The last one is the district which is the aggregate.  If you go through the Muddy Brook one which is the first and look down in the far right, in most places, in fact every place on the first page, it shows the target was exceeded.  That is part of why the school got the commendation.  In a couple of places on the second page, math growth…R. Dohoney – if there is a line with a dash and nothing filled in….D. Weston – for example if you have one asian student and you report their score, you violated their confidentiality, so if you have a very small subgroup, you can’t report that score.  P. Dillon – it is also statically inappropriate.  If you have three students in the subgroup to have that lead to a statement about that subgroup….The next one in this pile is the middle school and this is where you start to see some differentiation so sometimes it says no change and sometimes it says improved, below target.  Occasionally, it says declined; exceeded target, so there are some bright spots in the exceeded target for particular subgroups.  The high school again in most places is exceeded or met target and in some places it was no change or decline.  One other important thing that we are going to spend a lot of time looking at is the state included a new indicator this year and that is chronic absenteeism.  Chronic absenteeism is defined as kids missing 10% of the school days or more; so 18 days or more.  For a whole host of reasons including when we were taking our attendance, what period, plus that we have a number of kids that are out quite regularly, we scored very high in chronic absenteeism which is very bad thing.  Our chronic absenteeism is high.  It is higher in the high school which is typical but it’s not low in any of the schools.  R. Dohoney – so we have a high number of kids who have 18 or more days absent.  P. Dillon – our total attendance is ok.  We are at 90%.  The people who come, come all the time and then a fairly large group of kids, don’t come or miss 18, 20, 25 days.  R. Dohoney – if they are sick are they still chronically absent?  P. Dillon – some things can be treated as excused absences and not count toward the statistic.  My son is a senior, he has gone on a lot of college visits during school, he is absent from school but a college visit is an excused absence so it doesn’t count against him.  J. St. Peter – so it means 18 unexcused absences?  P. Dillon – yes.  D. Weston – technically, the state considered it unexcused unless there is a doctor’s note.  If you keep your kid home with a cold but you don’t abuse the healthcare system and you don’t rush him in because you know he just has a  cold, technically as far as the state is concerned, that is an unexcused absence.  P. Dillon – We used to have a perfect attendance award and we got rid of it and changed it to Excellence in Attendance because people were coming in sick because we were 160 days in and they wanted the award then everybody got sick.  S. Bannon – people who miss 18 or more days, not the chronically ill ones, aren’t going to care about an attendance award.  R. Dohoney – is it a particular school where most of these kids are grouped?  Is it an age group?  P. Dillon – mostly at the high school.  B. Fields – Amy reported last year that it was pretty high but some of those kids that were chronically absent were on the honor roll.  R. Dohoney – that seems like a fixable problem then.  P. Dillon – we will work on it.  I imagine Doug will get an award for improving the chronic absenteeism next year.  P. Dillon – I am really excited about the elementary school.  We really need growth there after the previous year and we got that growth so that good.  I am really excited about the increase in math achievement at the high school.  We are working together and Ben will comment at some future meeting about all the neat things he is doing to support teachers and kids at the middle school.   B. Fields – I think we should have some commendation among ourselves here because I think the resources we put in the budget the last two years for the elementary school had a lot to do with the performance that we saw this year.  It was pointed out to my by somebody that the school committee really did support some of the initiatives that were done and we should take some credit.  They said it was our win too.  We are doing what a school committee should do.  We are funding education and it is something we can take to the communities in May to show where we are spending our money and the tangible results when you fund programs.  P. Dillon – this is one piece of a puzzle; this is not the only piece.  It is important and interesting but from a data point, I am sort of more excited about Ben’s thing that nurses visits are down 45% this week than I am about 5th grade math scores.  We balance them and look at our work from multiple perspectives.
  • Proposed Rural School Aid Funding/Collaborative Care – I put together a memo around the collaborative care model. The quick summary around it is I am recommending that your set aside the $21,275 that we are getting through the Rural School Aid allocation to support the collaborative care model contingent upon the remainder of those needed funds coming through donations or local health care providers. We are building this coalition and the Great Barrington Rotary Club in Great Barrington has pledged $5,000; the Congregational Church in Stockbridge has pledged $1,000 and potentially you will pledge the $21,275.  Combinations of Ben, Tim and I are meeting regularly with the Rural Health Network and people from Berkshire Health Systems, Fallon Health and CHP, etc., trying to secure additional support.  Several grants have been written and we are waiting to hear on those.  I think we are making progress.  The other thing I mentioned in the note is Berkshire United Way provided us two cool DX80’s which are the monitors when video cameras in them that let us teleconference with health care providers around the county so that is pretty neat.  Some of the initial seed funding for the collaborative work was through Berkshire Taconic Foundation.


  • Updates:

Security & Safety – S. Soule – the evacuation went well. I have about a page and a half of notes of minor corrections but I think off my memory, the middle school from the time they announced the evacuation until the buses were rolling out of here, it took about seven minutes to get everybody out of the building, onto the buses and roll them down the road.  The high school started boarding about 25 minutes after the other two buildings had left.  Things moved along pretty well.  I think the average time kids were gone from their building was about an hour and 10 minutes.  Thank you to the three host sites, Hevreh, Berkshire South and Brookside.  Without them we wouldn’t be able to do it.  P. Dillon – the local police we particularly helpful at Hevreh because it can be a little complicated to get out of there.  D. Weston – how were the parents notified that they were doing an evacuation?  Was it in the weekly newsletter?  Or were parents not notified?  P. Dillon – I thought it was in the newsletter.  D. Weston – I had someone say to me that they were trying to drop their kid off and they didn’t realize there was an evacuation.  So I asked if they saw it in the newsletter and they said I don’t know, I don’t always read every word in the newsletter.  Sometimes it has to stick out more.  S. Bannon – if we advertise it, our attendance will be down because people won’t send their kids to school until after.  D. Weston – I know but if you have taken a day off of work and you are going to pick up your kid for an appointment and you can’t get to them, you have a problem so there is some courtesy that has to be paid to families.  S. Soule – I will add it to the list.  B. Fields – these things are done in regard to natural disasters right?  S. Soule – yes, but a pretty unlikely scenario that all three buildings would have to evacuate.  S. Bannon – are you required to do it every two years?  S. Soule – yes.  P. Dillon – the thing that comes to mind is a chemical issue like Ghent.

Diversity – P. Dillon – not tons happening on the diversity front since we last spoke.  I am continuing to edit the thing we talked about and the principals will share that with their staff and we will come back to you with a cleaner copy of it.  A couple of organizations have also reached out to us.

Good News:

  1. Lee, Principal; Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School – One of the things I highlighted is that October 15th was a date when all of our faculty submitted their annual student-learning goals and professional practice goals. This is an important part of our annual supervision and evaluation process but also sort of an important start to the school year as teachers set benchmarks for student growth and also their own growth during the year. This is kind of a standard part of every year.  What is mean to me as good news is that I found a lot of symmetry this year in the goals that teachers for choosing for themselves and for their students with some of the needs that we have in the school right now that I have talked about previously one of them being math fact fluency.  We have a group of teachers from 4th, 2nd and 1st grade that are going to be focused on that question.  We also have a number of teachers who are looking at the question of social/emotional learning so larger needs of the school are being focused on by individual teachers and teams of teachers.  That is really good news for me.
  2. Doren, Principal: Monument Valley Regional Middle School – Science Week is amazing. We literally suspended school and it is not going to be seen all week until Monday.  We are doing science and integrated units all week.  It is a great program I have told you about before through a group called i2 out of MIT.  Corey Sprague, one of our parents, has been working with them and MIT and she brought it to us and our assistant principal Miles Wheat has lead this incredibly well since last spring.  It started out with convincing the faculty that we will just not to regular classes for the week.  Half of our teachers got trained as lead teachers in the end of June.  Then we did ramping up with materials and the like during the past couple of weeks.  5th grade is studying an ecosystem; the 6th grade is designing a lunar colony; the 7th grade is doing kinetic sculptures that are moving sculptures and the 8th grade is doing surgical techniques.  There is a lot of reading and writing; a lot of math and math concepts and a whole lot of art and creativity.  They kids are so into it.  Every teacher is paired with another supporting teacher.  Every exploratory arts in english, math and science, music teacher is doing science week all day except for a break for lunch and recess.  It is pretty amazing.  The kids are so into it.  The classrooms are a crazy mess because are kids are so involved in these activities.  I will tell you three different pieces of evidence of how I know it is awesome.  The first is 45% decrease in visits to the nurse’s office.  That is how you know it is amazing.  Kids are too busy to have the bellyache to get out of class.  Number two is Miles has had three unsolicited emails this week from students saying this week is so amazing; I love it.  All kids are working in teams all week.  Teachers are exhausted.  The way we designed it, it is not sustainable as a practice so we are getting feedback tomorrow on the half day from our faculty and we will see how we can do this sustainably.  We will be doing this every year from here on out.
  3. Wine, Principal: Monument Mountain Regional High School – You saw a report from Sean Flynn. I want to add where Sean is with you approving him to be our CVTE director.  He considers himself at the verge of phase 2.  Phase 1 is beginning to look at the curricular changes we might be doing which are very similar to the integrated classes and the possibility of working with Kristi to get an innovative grant which would have us look at advanced manufactured.  We are looking at an integrated engineering class for our students; much more technology and working with people in the field.  Phase 2 is getting community partners and that has begun in earnest at the beginning of this week.  Steve Voight was in today already offering to give three different projects that our students could begin doing; working with people at his place.  He is fully onboard.  I think we have three more different people as well.   We are really excited with where we are so far because the people we have talked to in the community want to jump onboard which is great.  B. Fields – so he went to McCann?  D. Wine – he went to McCann.  So we want to be McCann plus.  How to go into the vocational tech line very clearly.  Where are a school of 530-550 students and depending on what I read in the news, maybe 700 someday, but that means you can’t have a sustainable CVTE program of 300 people like Taconic does.  What we are looking at is a program that is more what you call proficiency based.  You are looking at students that are learning engineering lessons that can be applied in a number of ways.  They can be project based but they can also be teaching students how to manage those; how to learn the math behind it and students that want to continue on that way, will go into an engineering field.  They will be working side by side with the students who might want to go into a career.  Our goal being that just because a student might want to go into a career doesn’t mean that we still shouldn’t prepare them to possibly go to college or do a  certificate program which is why we are so much more intentional about with this work.

Sub-Committee Reports:

  • Policy Sub Committee: N/A
  • Building and Grounds Subcommittee: St. Peter – we met earlier today; nothing major.  Just went over some of the updates in the three schools.  As far as the high school goes, tomorrow finally the remainder of the new lab furniture is coming in.  It will be put in during the half day tomorrow.  The new labs will be up and running 100% on Monday.  R. Dohoney -when is our next meeting at the high school?  P. Dillon – I think it is the 8th.  R. Dohoney – we should do a tour then.  A. Hutchinson – but Shakespeare is going on then too.  P. Dillon – we set our date then Shakespeare dates are tied in.  R. Dohoney – should be move the meeting to Muddy Brook?  S. Bannon – yes due to parking and sound.  It can get noisy.  We will figure it out.  J. St. Peter – some of the air handling units are being updated on Saturday along with the thermostats.  They have all been serviced and no new issues.  At the middle school, some of the heat pump control boards are being replaced due to the normal life cycles.  There was a small leak found in the middle school roof that has been fixed.  It may have from multiple roofs and ice slide from one roof to another creating some divots so they are putting some preventative spikes and padding in to prevent that from occurring.  The new entry door in both the middle school and the elementary school are about half done.  They are similar to the high school where you will be able to get in the front door without being buzzed in then the second door will be the locked door.  At the elementary school they are fixing some third floor release valves for the AC and the winter heat plan is set.  After last year with the freezing pipes, we are having a continual water flow and increasing the temperature during the off period and the break so hopefully we will prevent frozen pipes again this year.  We also talked about the capital budget asset plan for next year.  Hopefully we will upgrade the middle and elementary school phone line so they are in synch with the new high school and central office ones so we can all get on the same system.  Also, hopefully trade in the plow truck for a new one.  That is at the end of its life cycle.  We made some minor repairs to the tennis court to try to keep that functioning.  R. Dohoney – was there any talk about revisiting the parking on the front lawn at the elementary school and maybe putting up a fence or curbing?  J. St. Peter – last we visited it, there is not enough parking so the question is where do we build a new parking lot?  There is no other option.  We kind of hit a wall in regards to that.  We can put it on the agenda if anyone has anything new.  R. Dohoney – we have a new elementary school principal so maybe he has some ideas.  Just a different set of eyes on the problem.  I don’t want people parking on the front lawn.  If that is what we are forced to live with then let’s pave it and turn it into parking places rather than it looking like the Hillbilly Hilton with everybody parked on the front lawn.  D. Weston – they make like 50% pavers that let’s the grass grow through them but most importantly let the water go down through.  Many years at a previous school I worked at, parent night would come and we didn’t have space but if you put these pavers on the lawn, you can still have your lawn and a place to still park cars.
  • Superintendent’s Evaluation Subcommittee: N/A
  • Technology Subcommittee: N/A
  • Finance Subcommittee: N/A
  • District Consolidation and Sharing Subcommittee: Dillon – we talked a little about the safety stuff and talked about hiring a facilitator to help the group move forward.  Some good news on that front.  The Lee superintendent went to the Berkshire County Educational Task Force meeting and pitched our proposal for a facilitator and they voted unanimously to approve $6,000 towards a facilitator if we needed that and separately a resident of West Stockbridge, Roger Cavanaugh, very generously, who is on the Next Steps Committee, who happened to be at that meeting, generously offered to be our facilitator for free.  He has a background in corporate and government work and on paper he seems highly qualified.  I will bring both of those bits of news to that whole group and see what we want to do.  I may make a recommendation that we have Roger do it for free and use the $6,000 to bring in experts on an ad hoc basis.  The most interesting part of the meeting toward the end where Bill asked quite directly what are we going to do.  B. Fields – I just said it is time and I am going to push this and I want a referendum.  I got a lot of positive feedback.  Everybody I talked to said, yes, what do people want and it would be directed toward South Berkshire.  Why are they waiting, and waiting and waiting when it is just starting them in the face.  One of the people there said we don’t know what our target is and I explained to them, yes we do know what the target is.  You have declining enrollment and you have a tax base that is changing.  They are incompatible.  You can’t do what you are doing currently the way they are doing it.  I asked them for a referendum and I would like to have this consultant drop a referendum that would go on the towns of that district.  It seems to be this committee and since I have been on it, I would like to entertain any offer.  We met with Lee my first year.  We talked about maybe getting South Berkshire in and we haven’t moved.  Paul Gibbons and I are the co-chairs of the Next Steps Committee and one of the things we have to look at for a new building or a renovated building, are we going to have room for kids from other regions?  S. Bannon – I don’t think Next Steps should be involved in this at all.  The state has already said that if you are going to talk about regionalization, we will wait until you are done with that talk.  Renovation will never happen because it will be ten years down the road.  Lee and Lenox were very skittish about this whole referendum thing.  I turned to Dennis Sears and said why don’t we form a legal committee….R. Dohoney – the Regional School District Planning Committee.  S. Bannon – I said why don’t we do that with Southern Berkshire and he basically said no.  I think it is time we move it a step ahead.  This has been going on for 20 years and even before then.  Bill is right, we met with Lee and Lenox before and we talked about shared services and as Rich will point out we don’t necessarily need a committee to talk about shared services.    R. Dohoney – that was the real intent by this committee by the way.  I was not at the last meeting.  It has drifted far from its original mission.  S. Bannon – the other problem, and Peter is right to say terrific we got the money for a facilitator but from my cynical point of view that should have happened at the first meeting we had when everyone but us was dragging their feet saying we don’t need one.  Now six months later we are finally getting a facilitator.  It is happening too slow for my liking.  Not that we are even going to regionalize in the next year.  R. Dohoney – there are a lot of different forum and a lot of different models.  We could do a tuition agreement with them tomorrow for next year if we wanted to.  S. Bannon – so instead of us discussing this, I will say what I always say, it is going to take two to do this.  It is going to take Southern Berkshire and Berkshire Hills.  If Southern Berkshire School Committee or administration are not interested….I know people get all over us because we haven’t had regionalization talks.  You can’t have regionalization talks if no one wants to regionalize with you.  B. Fields – but if there is a referendum that says overwhelmingly, this is what they want their school committee to do, then their school committee should be responsive to that.  A. Potter – that doesn’t come from this body.  B. Fields – I believe there is enough support for a referendum for support in that district.  I know at least one selectman that is pushing.  P. Dillon – there are many things as a school committee you can choose to do.  You can direct me to write a letter on behalf of the school committee to the Southern Berkshire School Committee so it is not all through one person to say we would like to have a joint meeting.  The timing of it is such, they are about to have a big election and there are lots of people who are up for seats and unlike our uncontested races, I think almost every seat in their election is contested so the outlook on this could be very different after the election but you could direct me to start writing the letter now so it gets to them right as the election happens.  That is one thing.  S. Bannon – the one thing I don’t want to happen, which I don’t know if you meant this, you said write a letter to talk about a joint meeting.  I don’t want any more meetings.  R. Dohoney – I said that when we formed this committee, that it was going to have no other agenda besides consolidation.  There are a lot of forums for shared services and I am under the opinion that shared services is no longer a topic for school committees.  That is an administrative deal for staff people to deal with.  B. Fields – how many shared services are we talking about?  Peter says it’s a low hanging fruit; well the low hanging fruit has been picked and it is time now to hit the trees.  That was my delivery to the people there.  Actually Bob Vaughn, and I didn’t know who he was until someone pointed him out to me, made a comment about that a referendum would be a good way to do it because more people would have input because it would be done during an election and more people would turn out.  That committee has to be kicked in the rear.  That is my feeling.  S. Bannon – I don’t think this is part of that committee.  I think Southern Berkshire and Berkshire Hills need to separate.  R. Dohoney – to Lenox and Lee’s credit, they have been active participants in this group and they have been nothing but upfront about what their positions are.  They have evaluated this among themselves.  S. Bannon – I think that group needs to stay together and have a different mission.  K. Piasecki – why don’t you have a public meeting; the auditorium would be packed to discuss it.  D. Singer – as we are talking about reorganizing the curriculum at the high school, I would think that it would work in our favor if we have an excellent vocational tech program; no school is going to want to send their kids to our school to do things they are already doing well at their own school; but if this is something we are going to present really well and this is something kids can’t get at their own school, this will draw students and this will be a factor that will not only renovate the school and bring the kids but also be the impadise of other towns wanting to come to this school.  A. Potter – I agree.  P. Dillon – that is really well said.  B. Fields – we have the person in the CVTE position who seems to be moving in that direction.  That was one of our best hires.  R. Dohoney – I agree with that.  We have to somehow get some movement on this issue.  I like your idea Peter about the letter; I don’t know the best way to go about it is.  B. Fields – I thought we did one a couple of years ago.  I think we have to move beyond that.  R. Dohoney – it gets twisted and people show up at these meetings and talk about shared services and pontificate about nothing.  B. Fields – my thing is also the taxpayer will get a chance to have input.  R. Dohoney – if you are a taxpayer sitting in Southern Berkshire and you look at what you are paying for those kids to go to that high school and you don’t get what we are charging for Farmington River, they should be pounding on their school committee door right now.  B. Fields – I think a couple of people already are.  There is some movement.  R. Dohoney – I know.  I am just uncertain as to what to do is what I am trying to say.  Can we put it as an agenda item on our next meeting on how to approach Southern Berkshire about consolidation.  B. Fields – I am not going to drop the referendum idea though.  I am going to push that.  R. Dohoney – the ethics committee issued an opinion a couple of years ago in context to a school renovation bill, I think it was in Lincoln, that authorized School Committees to hire polling companies because it is not political like elected officials but for opinion polls about things.  We could poll Southern Berkshire’s people.  It is just an idea.  We could poll our own people too.  B. Fields – they would love that; we hire a company to go down there and poll their people!  A. Potter – I have been meaning to say this through this discussion.  In respect to Southern Berkshire, if we are going to have a referendum, we include these three towns.  The same with the poll.  Anything we do around consolidation has to include our towns.  R. Dohoney – I got shot down on this and I was proven totally wrong about the RAC committee.  I thought that should not be a school committee venture at all.  I thought that should be selectboard based because the town is the signatory to the agreement; we are just a product of the agreement to carry out.  Steve was right and I was wrong about that.  Should be it school committee to school committee or should it be the seven selectboards getting together?  B. Fields – someone has to move.   S. Bannon – let’s put this on the next agenda and think about it.  That is an interesting point that we write to all the selectboards; all eight of them.  We might even have some audience members come to that meeting.  B. Fields – there has to be something pushing to move it forward.  R. Dohoney – I agree and I am not trying to delay.  I think that it is important to do it without a lot of thought.  D. Singer – it seems to me a pushy thing to do.  R. Dohoney – that is why I am nervous about being pushy.  D. Singer – I don’t think it is good to push somebody until you can offer them something that you or they feel is better than what they are offering or at least as good.  I think if you have something to offer somebody than putting them in a defensive position, it is a better idea.  I would certainly receive it better as somebody sending their child to school, because who doesn’t want to send their child to the best school they can especially if they are interested in a lot of the things that we offer.  If somebody said to me before that “well you have to do this”, I would be very uninterested in dealing with those people again.  Unless you have something really good to offer and when you do, it will happen for the right reasons.  P. Dillon – there is a lot of wisdom from that corner tonight.  R. Dohoney -I agree with everything you said.  I think a presumption of Bill’s position is we are close to there.  B. Fields – I spoke for myself but I feel that this committee, and I thought I heard it at one of our meetings, that building is our responsibility.  It is not any other district’s responsibility.  A referendum that would include that caveat would be out there and then taking what Diane said, we are going to move on the high school.  With that caveat, we will have a better building with better programs then maybe they will see the light and think maybe we should do something.  R. Dohoney – we both have different issues but both of our issues are focused on the high school.  They have enough kids and they have a great K-8 program; maybe better than ours.  Their enrollment problems are being felt in the high school.  B. Fields – maybe this is a meet & confer topic; maybe it doesn’t have to be a K-12 consolidation.  Maybe just 9-12 to start and then you work from there.  R. Dohoney – maybe just a tuition agreement to start.  B. Fields – we need something out there to judge what people want.  Everybody is arguing about stuff; how do we know.  We don’t have anything to say this is based on a vote and this is what people want.  Right now we are operating in thin air.  Everybody is making assumptions.  D. Singer – as a parent of children who go to a school in this district, and also of a parent of kids who have gone to college, just the college selection process is very similar to being in a position of doing school choice and you are going to choose the school that is the best for your child.  Until, as a parent, in Sheffield, Lee, Lenox, if I was one of those parents, until you show me that this school has a program that is actually fully in place and is better for my child than another of those schools, there is no way I would ever vote to incorporate my school with this one.  I think you have to have the program first.
  • Next Steps Sub-Committee: Fields – we are going to meet on Tuesday at 6pm.  One of the subjects is the enrollment scenarios that are going to be presented.  I have been meeting with the people in the community.  We had a letter from the agricultural commission and I have invite the chairman of that commission to come to the Next Steps meeting in late November and December because Sean Flynn at one of those meetings is going to do a presentation.  Vivian has been talking with Sean and she would like to be there for that meeting.  I also invited her to be a member of the committee but she is way overcommitted but she said she would love to come to a meeting do a little presentation about what a future building would offer in regards to agriculture and environmental concerns they have.  R. Dohoney – I looked at the proposed topics moving forward.  One thing I think you guys should look at at some point is placement of students during construction.  That is one of those things that in retrospect I don’t think we were given the full story on last time around.  I think that is a big factor in a lot of this.  If we do phase construction is there any need to do anything.  What other parts of the building can be used for classrooms when a part of the building is being renovated?  And real costs on that and what it looks like for what we are paying for and not paying for.  The other thing is something I am not clear about, I think I got bad information last time around, what MSBA will pay for outside of the school.  I want a turf field.  That is not a joke.  I think we need a turf field and I am learning that they will pay for that.  S. Bannon – many years ago Monument played at a school in another part of the state on a turf field that was paid for by the MSBA.  R. Dohoney – in the summer, my daughter played at a place that had two fields and they were paid for by MSBA.  P. Dillon – there is all kinds of horrible research about goalies on turf fields.  R. Dohoney – that’s not the case anymore; that has been resolved.  B. Fields – I will plead ignorance to what you have asked.  I am just the co-chair.  R. Dohoney – I think how we deal with students during construction, it should be announced what we are doing with students during construction in context of whatever phase.  P. Dillon – the charge of the committee is to make a recommendation to the school committee.  If we go forward with the MSBA, all that other stuff will be built in.  I don’t know if we necessarily want to replicate that whole process.  We could spend half a meeting or a quarter of a meeting on it or do some research and bring it to the group but that might be better addressed when we hire somebody to do the schematic design.  R. Dohoney – I was not around for the design with the last one; I was only here for the final vote.  One of the selling points for the new science wing was we don’t have to get trailers.  It seems to me that no thought was given to what we do with the students all through the design or that was something manufactured after the fact.  S. Bannon – no, meeting went on with what we would do with the students because the trailers were going to cost us somewhere around $1 million and then we would sell them used but I think there could have been more thought put into it because I thought afterward ‘were those used trailers?’ because a million seemed like quite a lot.  R. Dohoney – that is what I am saying.  Are those numbers real?  Do you need trailers?  How many do you really need?  S. Bannon – on of things they were talking about it was phase construction your are building the wing first then being able to use that while the rest of the building was being renovated.  There was a lot of thought that went into it.  P. Dillon – the other alternative is you build something from scratch and connect it to some part of the building and then you are not in trailers.  One day you open up the vestibule and close off the other places you are not using.  D. Weston – that is actually what Mt. Everett did.  They built the new high school while they were in what is now Undermountain.  They moved across the way then they renovated the old high school and turned that into the elementary school.  R. Dohoney – we have a wing system right now.  I say we just shut down a wing, renovate it and move along.  S. Bannon – that is basically what they are going to do.  B. Fields – our purview as far as I understand it is to come before you and say, these are the three options we are looking at and this is what we recommend to you; that is all we are doing.  S. Bannon – and the funding.  That is it.

Personnel Report:

  • Long-Term Substitute Appointment(s)
  • Non-Certified Appointment(s)
  • Reassignment(s)
  • Retirement(s)
  • Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)
 Non-Certified Appointment(s):   
Frigon-Lawrence, DonaldCustodian – MMRHS 10/15/18 @ $15.00/hr./8 hrs./day (rate may be adjusted following a 90 day review)  (replaces vacancy created due to the building re-assignment of Jeffrey Jennison)
Ieronimo, StevenCustodian – MMRHS 10/15/18 @ $15.00/hr./8 hrs./day (rate may be adjusted following a 90 day review)  (replaces vacancy created due to the re-assignment of Jean Daigle)
Brown, WilliamParaprofessional – MV 10/15/18 @ $13.15/hr./6 ½ /hrs./day

(workday 7/hrs./day) (new position)

Extra-Curricular Appointment(s)

(all 2018-2019 unless otherwise noted)

Speranzo, Dallas (Jones)Advisor – Class of 2019 – MMRHS Stipend:  $1,269
Unruh, JolynSpring Musical – Director  – MMRHS Stipend:  $4,231
Kakley, PaulMedia Productions – MMRHS Stipend:  $4,321
Gillespie, MichaelAdvisor -Band Director – MMRHS Stipend:  $4,231
Ivy, ValriShakespeare Program – MMRHS Stipend:  $1,269
Roy, ThomasSchool Store Manager – MMRHS Stipend:  $1,269
Zantay, ValerieNational Honor Society – MMRHS Stipend:  $1,269
Campetti, BeckyYearbook; Business – MMRHS Stipend: $2,643
Webber, NeelYearbook; Literary – MMRHS Stipend:  $2,643
Ivy, ValriAdvisor – Class of 2022 – MMRHS Stipend:  $1,056
D’Aniello, ChrisAdvisor – Class of 2021- MMRHS Stipend:  $1,056
Velasco, MarcieCo – Advisor – Class of 2020- MMRHS Stipend:  $ 528
Flynn, SeanCo – Advisor – Class of 2020- MMRHS Stipend:  $ 528
Leslie, BrianStudent Government – MMRHS Stipend:  $2,643
Bickford, JulieSpartones – MMRHS Stipend:  $2,643
Fisher, AaronQuiz Team – MMRSH Stipend: $2,643
Patrick, RhondaCo-Advisor -Pathways – MMRHS Stipend:  $1,321.50
Roy, KathyCo-Advisor -Pathways – MMRHS Stipend:  $1,321.50
Bouvier, DanMaroon Reflections – MMRHS Stipend:  $2,643
D’Aniello, AnneKey Club – MMRHS Stipend:  $2,643
Kennedy, KellyCo-Advisor – Best Buddies – MMRHS Stipend:  $1,321.50
Marzotto, BeckyCo-Advisor – Best Buddies – MMRSH Stipend:  $1,321.50
Barrett, EdWISE Program Stipend:  $3,426
Soule, GordonProject Sprout Stipend:  $3,426

Business Operation: 

Education News:

Old Business: 

New Business:

  • Public Comment
  • Written Comment – See attached letter from Rep. Peisch – P. Dillon – I think that is good and responsive. The hard thing about the healthcare being fully implemented is like painting a bridge; when you get to one end the other is rusting.  But it is moving in a good direction.  Bannon – she is the chair on the joint commission on education.

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

The next school committee meeting will be held on November 8, 2018 – Regular School Committee Meeting, Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School, 7pm

Meeting Adjourned at 8:21pm

Submitted by:

Christine M. Kelly, Recorder


Christine M. Kelly, Recorder


School Committee Secretary