March 6, 2021

HSB Minutes 7-29-2020

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Training and Meeting Minutes

Hartford Town Hall Room 2 **

July 29, 2020

Training beginning @ 4:00 PM

School Board Meeting beginning @ 7:30 PM


Members Present                                                                   Administrators Present

Kevin Christie                                                                          Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill

Nancy Russell

Russell North

Michelle Boleski              


              1.  Call to Order

                            The meeting was called to order by Mr. Christie at 7:33 PM.


2.  Public Comments 

              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.  Items Requiring Board Discussion and Possible Action


Second Read – Anti-Racism Policy and Procedures

Mr. Merrill explained that the policy reflects the concerns shared at the first reading.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell to  approve the Anti-Racism Policy and Procedures, motion carried.

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

- COVID – 19 Overview - Updates and Communication

Mr. DeBalsi updated the board on the latest information which arrives daily from the VT AOE.  Governor Scott has delayed the start of school to September 8, 2020. Hopefully the student year will be shortened by ten days and the staff days will remain the same. Staff will use the two weeks to prepare. The hope is to open in person, there will be three potential plans: in-person, remote, or hybrid. 1100 families responded to the district survey, 60% want the children in school. There may be a remote option for families who don’t want to send their children. He discussed the extra levels of supports available to students: IEP, 504, or local student support form.

Administrators are working in two groups: Essential Learning and Logistics. Both groups are working on a plan for opening. Some topics are cleaning protocols (inside the buildings and outside), providing PPE to those who need it, social distancing in the classroom and on the busses, class size, student safety, movement of students, improved handwashing stations, no water fountains will be open, no visitors, one point of entry, mandatory mask wearing, use of outside spaces, tent space, etc.

Mr. Merrill asked about the remote learning model, what have we learned over this past spring and what will we do differently. Families and staff were surveyed last spring about the remote learning experience. The high school staff is planning on teaching in their classroom to students who may be seated in the classroom or online at home. He asked about funding from the state to address the internet use. The district shared the student location data for internet capaabilities. Many telecommunication companies have offered hot spots. Students were able to loan devices last year. A grant was written in June to get sixty Chromebooks free for student use.

Mr. Christie reported that there will be a joint communication from the board and the superintendent to the community that address many concerns and the specific pieces that have been put in place. A preliminary letter was sent out today. Mr. North suggested that a letter be sent to families sooner than later that outlines what some of the possibilities are. Ms. Boleski suggested that some of this information could be posted on the school board facebook page. Mr. Merrill asked that some of the communications be sent directly to the students.

Mr. DeBalsi reported that an engineering firm has done a walk through in every building to see how the air flow can be improved if necessary. Grant money is available for this. Suggestions for the Wilder School renovation project will be carried out.

Mrs. Russell asked about the food program. Mr. DeBalsi reported that bag lunches will be sent to classrooms. She also asked about staff members who may not be able to return to the building. Mr. DeBalsi replied this is a challenge. He will survey the staff to collect data to address their needs. He has explored the use of permanent substitutes who would be on staff for the year. Depending on the staffing level, he may have to assign remote learning. 

Ms. Boleski noted the superintendent letter from Harwood Union. She also asked about the student population and whether or not we have an increase. Mr. DeBalsi reported yes there have been new registrations. She thanked Mr. DeBalsi for all that he is doing. She also stressed the importance of having the necessary support for all.

Mr. North asked what the district will be doing to address the academic and social emotional needs of students. School counselors and staff members monitor students. He noted that the majority of staff members rose to the occasion and did a good job meeting students’ needs. He asked how we are assessing to make sure no student is left behind. The district has adopted the STAR assessment for K -12 to assess student growth. The administrators have discussed how to evaluate the staff during a remote situation. They are discussing whether or not the staff could be teaching in their classrooms instead of at home.

Because of the rate of changing information the district will be prepared to make changes to the plan.

Future board meetings may be held on ZOOM, which has a large capacity. Asking the community to submit questions or concerns prior to the meeting may be helpful. The board may also have to meet more frequently.


5.  Adjournment

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to adjourn the meeting at 8:35, motion carried.


Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey



The Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 7:00 PM.


**Hartford Town Hall Room 2 has a cap of 11 persons with social distancing guidelines and masks required when within 6 feet of another person