August 13, 2020

HSB Minutes 4-22-2020

Hartford Board of School Directors
School Board Meeting Minutes
April 22, 2020 @ 6:00 PM

This meeting was conducted in accordance with the
Revised Vermont Open Meeting Law with electronic participation.

Board Members Present: Administrators Present:
Kevin Christie Tom DeBalsi
Peter Merrill Noel Bryant
Nancy Russell
Russell North
Michelle Boleski
Katie Trombley

1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Mr. Christie at 6:12 PM.

2. Public Comments
The public was invited to view the meeting using Zoom, The meeting ID was 971 0752 3593. The link was posted on the district website.
The public was invited to speak later in the meeting due to the difficulty of getting into the beginning of the meeting. No one from the public spoke.

3. Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda
Move student report EL2 to beginning of meeting
Addition: Board Job Outcomes, request for approval for Auditor of Accounts
Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to approve the agenda with two changes, motion carried.

4. Consent Agenda
Minutes - Regular Meeting 4-7-2020

Appointments, Resignations, Leave Requests
Alexis Nelson, HHS
Hannah Prescott, HMS
Ross McGee, OQS
Kathy Mack, HMS

Ben Gardner, HHS Asst Principal
Sara Hingston, HMS 6-8 Science
Katie Jacobson, OQS, Math Coach
Megan, OQS Librarian
Kristina , DBS Grade 2
Sierra Benson,
Rebecca, HMS 6-8 Math
Emily, OQS Kindergarten

Leave requests:
Anne Doton, HHS

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to approve the Consent Agenda, with a thank you to the staff leaving and a welcoming to the new staff, motion carried.

5. Items Requiring Board Discussion and Possible Action

Policy EL 2 – Relationship with Students, Parents and Community
Student Representative
Katie reported:
schedule changes at HHS, online meetings on MWF, office hours TTH,
majority of students are liking it because they don’t have to be online as much and have days where they don’t have to be on at all
changes to HMS and elementary schools as well, no comment on those

Policy EL 9 Communication and Support to the Board – Incidental Information
Superintendent Report
Mr. DeBalsi reported:
working on end of year plans, graduation, Governor's order asked that the AOE Secretary have a suggestive plan by May 8th. We are hoping that construction limitations are lifted so the work on the Wilder School can continue. The financial warnings in the last few weeks are alarming due to the state’s inability to collect taxes. Many parents shared concerns about boring programs, hopefully the new learning plan will address these. There will be a survey out next week for families and staff to access this new plan.
Ms. Bryant reported:
The Continuity of Learning Plan was submitted to VT AOE and was approved on Monday, April 20, 2020. The district plan, developed by the administrators, tried to get some continuity across the district but left room for each school to have its own specialized plan. This is a transitional week for some schools to ease into the plan, encouraged staff to pull back a little because teaching remotely is very different, reduced the amount of work but increased the quality of work which focuses on the transferable skills

Policy GP 3 - Board Job Outcomes
Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan
- Presentation of Findings and Plan
Mr. Christie welcomed Curtiss Reed Jr and Mary Gannon who presented the March 2020 plan report. Mr. Reed thanked the district for working with the town, having the two work together bodes well for the future. Ms Gannon thanked Mr DeBalsi and the staff who welcomed her into their offices. This logistical piece went well and was appreciated. They highlighted key areas and a question/answer period followed.
Ms. Boleski thanked them for their work, what was the process when interviewing school and town administrators, individual, group? Town administrators were met in their department head groups or individually. School focus groups met and individuals were invited for private sessions. What’s the plan for the town and the school to work together? Each board received the plan and will get to adopt the plan. Mr. Godfrey and Mr. DeBalsi will need to work together in some manner but may delegate certain parts. There may be core teams that meet to review recommendations and develop a plan to carry out the details. HCOREI will have the job of monitoring the plan.
Mr. Merrill asked about how they engaged with students. Mr. Fogg pulled together groups of students, however some students that were invited did not attend. Students commented on how there was no racial diversity. He asked for guidance on how we gain student trust. He welcomed the report and is happy it’s happening now.
Mr. DeBalsi thinks the document will be helpful to the district and administrators. It identifies what we need to do and also what resources we have. He sees five areas of focus: awareness, communication, engagement, training, and curriculum. There didn’t seem to be any resistance to the work. The Lebanon HIgh School facilitator has been helpful in sharing information about what they are doing. It was nice to include Alleen Swienckowski, HCOREI member, on some interview teams. Ms Gannon reviewed job postings, some candidates commented on the welcoming language.
Mr. Christie thanked them for their work, it gives some great direction for the district to move in. It’s great that the town and the school are rallying around this work.

-Request for Approval of Auditor of Accounts
The school district has worked with Mr. Chris Barrett of Tyler, Simms, St. Sauveur for the past 8 years. Mr. Barrett is retiring. His work was outstanding throughout the years.
The Finance Dept and Mr. DeBalsi started looking at other firms. A committee was formed, they submitted a list of questions to the candidates and reviewed their answers. There were two candidate firms that the committee felt strongly about. Unfortunately one firm dropped out this morning. The pandemic seemed to impact their decision.
The committee is recommending Ron Smith and his audit firm for the next audit. His firm does 45 school districts in Vermont. HIs team structure has the capacity to manage the audit.
Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to instruct the superintendent to hire, on the board’s behalf, Ron Smith of RHR Smith and Company, to conduct the next audit, motion carried.

6. Policy GP 3 Board Job Outcomes
Board Member Committee Reports
Select Board Liaison (North, Russell)
Ms Boleski attended: Welcoming Hartford language and its impact to grants, Equity Plan presentation
Racial Equity Committee (Boleski, Russell)
Ms Boleski: elections for officers, two select board reps, plan presentation and how to move forward, response to plan seemed positive, school has many things in place, corrected the timeline of participation by boards
Sister City (Boleski, Russell)
Ms Boleski: French students have contacted her
Social Media and Community Engagement (North, Boleski)
Mr. North: have had a few posts, will be getting more information on, meeting links, survey links
Ms Boleski: asked about survey topics/questions
Hartford Community Coalition (Russell)
Regional Advisory Board (Merrill)
Mr. DeBalsi: will meet May 5th, 9:00AM, students will present their portfolios, individual school meeting groups will present to their respective school groups
Policy (Merrill)
Mr. Merrill: will meet with Mr. DeBalsi to review policies
Manifest Approval (Christie)
Mr. Christie: going well, this time of year you look closely to make sure that the finance piece is in place, will need to meet with Jim and Jacob to see where the financial positions are at
Negotiations (North, Christie)
All groups completed

7. Agenda Planning
- Next Meeting Agenda/Parking Lot Items
- Monitoring Report – District Counseling (next 2-3 mtgs)
- Annual Ends Monitoring Reports/CIP Reviews (next 2-3 mtgs)
- Board Calendar and Meeting Schedule
will review draft calendar with Mr. Christie, looking at training needs, schedule for July or August
- Women’s Lacrosse Protective Gear
working with athletic director to see what is in the students’ best safety interest, looking at speakers/presentations to make the best policy/protocol, any decision may impact more than Hartford athletes
- GP6 (Russell) (next meeting)

8. Meeting Evaluation
The meeting evaluation was completed by Ms Boleski. The meeting was satisfactory.

9. Adjournment
Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Ms Boleski, to adjourn the meeting at 8:05 PM, motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,
Cherrie Torrey

The Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 7:00 PM.