August 13, 2020

HSB Minutes 5-27-2020

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Minutes

May 27, 2020 @ 6:00 PM


This meeting was conducted in accordance with the

 Revised Open Meeting Law with electronic participation.


Members Present:                                                       Administrators Present:

Kevin Christie                                                                Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill                                                                  Noel Bryant

Nancy Russell                                                               Rick Dustin-Eichler

Russell North                                                                Cathy Newton

Michelle Boleski                                                            Sheila Powers

Tristen Upson


            1.  Call to Order

                        The meeting was called to order by Mr. Christie at 6:06 PM.


            2.  Public Comments

The public was invited to join the meeting by, by telephone (415) 762-9988, room id: 974 3075 5984.

No one from the public spoke.


            3.  Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda

            Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to approve the agenda as presented, motion carried.


4.  Consent Agenda

Minutes - Regular Meeting 5-13-2020

Appointments, Resignations, Leave Requests


Sarah Piedmont, Math MMS

Tom DuBois, Special Ed, HHS



Ann Chalker, District Special Ed

Bill Elberty recently passed away, a virtual memorial is planned for June 6, 2020. Mr. DeBalsi will forward the details to the board.

Mr. Christie asked for a moment of silence in memory of Mr. Elberty in tribute for his many years of service to students. He was a well respected staff member who formed special relationships with students. He previously was an administrator and teacher in other Upper Valley school districts.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to approve the Consent Agenda, welcoming new staff, thanking the retiree, and sharing our condolences to Mr. Elberty’s family.


            5.   Items Requiring Board Discussion and Possible Action

Policy EL 2 – Relationship with Students, Parents and Community     
Student Representative Report

No student report

HCOREI Appointment and Strategic Plan Request

Ms. Boleski and Mrs. Russell both serve on this committee. There were several qualified applicants, it was a tough decision.

Moved by Mrs. Russell, seconded by Ms. Boleski, to accept the appointment as presented tonight, motion carried.

HCOREI requested the board and the Select Board begin work on the strategic plan. At this point, Mr. DeBalsi asked that this be put on a brief hold and the district will begin working on the plan as soon as feasible.

Policy EL 9 Communication and Support to the Board – Incidental Information

            Schweitzer Fellowship Presentation

Mr. DeBalsi introduced Jameson Davis and Arielle King, third year Vermont Law School students.  They are participating in the Schweitzer Fellowship, and will develop a guide during the 2020-21 school year to be piloted in 2021-22. The focus of the work will be to provide teachers a guide to use with students with accurate information about the contributions and narratives of people of color through the lens of Environmental Justice.

Mr. Merrill thanked Mr. Davis and Ms. King for their upcoming work.


            End of the Year Finance Report

            Jacob Vezina presented the General Fund information


$1.5M to the good from a variety of areas: salaries, health benefits savings, other expenses from shut down services, special ed services, travel, food service contract savings, building expense repairs



$13, 241 over budget for the fiscal year from: higher revenue from tuition, special ed, misc revenue from VSBIT for worker’s comp claim; down on federal reimbursements for food services and special ed


Mr. Merrill asked about next year.

Jim Vezina answered, it depends on what the state legislature does with yields, will impact what the school portion increase will be.

Mr. DeBalsi responded that the administrators are looking at staffing levels. Some building renovations/repairs may be on hold until the revenue for next year is figured out.


Jim Vezina reviewed the financials for HACTC and the collaboratives, most ending the year in good financial standing.


Superintendent Report including End of the Year Gatherings

Mr. DeBalsi reported:

●      staff has put their best foot forward, stepped right up to the challenge

●      end of year planning in the schools, through June 12th, each building has a schedule for families to collect their belongings

●      DBS graduating 5th graders are invited to the school for visits and pictures, June 11

●      OQS staff will visit the 5th graders homes, June 8th

●      WRS parade at the school, staff will be lined up Pine St, students/families will drive by, June 9th

●      MMS virtual by team, same speeches and awards, honoring the graduates by teams, fall walk/march over to HHS, TBD

●      HHS graduation, using the football field, 120 graduates will arrive via car, students will collect their diplomas, June 12th, photos of each graduate line the driveway, could CATV do live streaming, closed circuit will be available

●      HACTC, parade through Saunders Ave, staff will line the road, June 1st

●      Honors Scholarship Night, all done virtually

●      Retirement celebration, working with HEA, to create a video with presentations from the building administrators, each retiree will get a copy of the video

●      Fall planning, administrators are working, 3 options:

○      coming back in person

○      come back partially, some remote and some in person

○      remote learning

            Focus will be on safety of students and staff and proper PPE for staff.


Ms. Bryant commented on the great parade that the district held two weeks ago, staff members and students were touched by this.


            COVID – 19 Overview - Updates and Communication

            hoping to bring some staff back June 1st

            will be surveying the students, families, staff to best prepare for future closings, connectivity levels with mobile hotspots?

            monitoring academic success of students to see how the closure impacted student learning

working with other superintendents to plan for future

fall and winter sport season announcement sooner than later


The board took a five minute recess at 7:32.


6.   Monitoring Reports


Annual Ends Monitoring Reports/Continuous Improvement Plans/Counseling Programs Presentations

- Hartford Memorial Middle School, Dothan Brook School, White River School, Ottauquechee School

Ms. Bryant shared her screen so the board could see the Annual Ends Monitoring Report presentation. The Monitoring Reports include HMMS, DBS, OQS, and WRS. She introduced each principal who spoke about three goals:

●       Goal 1 addresses movement toward individualized student centered learning plans through proficiency and multiple pathways.

●      Goal 2 addresses the use of a data system which allows for individualization of learning and growth toward proficiencies.

●      Goal 3 addresses improving the social emotional learning through restorative practices and community building practices.

Each principal provided evidence of how the goals were met and what the plan is to continue working on these goals next year.

Ms Bryant moved on to the Counseling Programs. Each principal spoke about the focus and mission of the program in place at his/her school. The middle school counselors work with two teams to address student needs. Elementary counselors teach class lessons, small group and individual sessions, as well as many other social groups.

Ms. Bryant opened the Continuous Improvement Plan Presentation. Each principal addressed two goals:

●      Goal 1 Instruction and Supports

Improve district-wide instruction to increase student engagement and achievement as evidenced by student participation, student social/emotional and academic achievement, and teacher practice

●      Goal 2 Systems and Process

Implement a district-wide delivery model for academic engagement and mental health needs that improves student engagement and support as evidenced by attendance, behavior, and referral data

            Each principal explained the action steps that the staff have identified to meet these goals next year.

Mr. Christie thanked Mrs. Newton and Mrs. Powers for their service as they move on to their next endeavor.

Mrs. Powers thanked Mr. DeBalsi and the board for allowing the White River School to pilot a full day Preschool Program.

Mr. Merrill thanked the administrators for their work with these plans on top of everything that is being done. He noted the need for work with the social/emotional needs at all the levels.

Mr. Dustin-Eichler noted that when he is out talking about Hartford programs, the attention given to meeting the social and emotional needs of the students is what sets Hartford about other districts.

Ms Boleski thanked the group for the presentation. Each was individualized and also allowed for the similarities to show.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to accept the Continuous Improvement Plans for the Hartford Memorial Middle School, Dothan Brook School, Ottauquechee School, and the White River School for the 2020-21 school year. Motion carried.


                        EL 2 Relationship with Students, Parents and the Community

(moved to vote on at next meeting due to some members not having the report)


7.  Policy GP 3 Board Job Outcomes


Board Member Committee Reports

▪        Finance (Christie, North)

Mr. North asked that there be information on the district site about the state property tax relief forms required to file

▪        Select Board Liaison (North, Russell, Boleski)

Mr. North- nominated committee for manager, concerned about finances

Ms Boleski- discussion about who is can apply for town manager position

▪        Racial Equity Committee (Boleski, Russell)

Ms. Boleski- presentation from Jameson and Arielle, strategic plan, committee members

▪        Sister City (Boleski, Russell)

▪        Social Media and Community Engagement (North, Boleski)

▪        Hartford Community Coalition (Russell)

Summer food program plans, June 15th, new hired staff, will be in libraries, thank you on the WRJ drive-in sign

Rotarians just turned over grant money to the VT Food Bank and grant money to support farmers who had excess milk to send it to the VT Food Bank.

▪        Regional Advisory Board (Merrill)

Mr. Merrill will review the MOU between the district and  CATV for their use of office space at HACTC.

▪        Policy Liaison (Merrill)

Mr. Merrill and Mr. DeBalsi are working on a policy on proficiency based learning.

▪        Manifest Approval (Christie)

Mr. Christie- year end paperwork, clean close-out of books



8.  Meeting Review/Evaluation and Agenda Planning


Next Meeting Agenda/Parking Lot Items

                                    - Hartford High School Continuous Improvement Plan Review 

- Board Calendar, Meeting Schedule, Summer Retreat for         2020-21

Proficiency based learning policy

EL2 Monitoring report

Financial Update

COVID 19 Update


Meeting Review/Evaluation

The meeting evaluation was completed by Mr. Merrill, the meeting was satisfactory with one exception regarding preparedness.


9.  Adjournment

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to adjourn at 9:33, motion carried.


Mr. Christie thanked Mr. DeBalsi, Ms Bryant, and Tom from CATV for their work for this meeting.


Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey



The Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 6:00 PM.


Tentative Board Summer Retreat July 29, 2020 4:00 – 8:00 PM