June 12, 2021

HSB Minutes 5-12-2021

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting MInutes

May 12, 2021 @ 6:00 pm

Online Meeting  

Members Present    Administrators Present

Kevin Christie    Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill     Cathy Newton

Nancy Russell    Roy Hathorn

Russell North   

Dylan Morse

Katie Trombley

 1.  Call to Order

Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda  
Mr. Christie called the meeting to order at 6:03 PM.

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

 2. Global Ends Reporting (Section 1 Policy EP)

Review of District Ends Policies in Relation to Current Events
 Mr. DeBalsi asked Mr. Hathorn to share district information:

Outdoor Learning Project, MMS, Project Based Learning, students will have a choice between designing an outdoor classroom or developing activities for those classrooms, The Ends: Life Skills, Academic Learning, Health and WellBeing, and Citizenship.

 3. Communication and Support to the Board (Section 1 Policy EL 9)

Student Representative Report 
 Dylan shared about his work on getting students to apply for the board rep seat, presentation at next board meeting; Prom is this weekend at The Murphy Farm in Quechee.

 Katie asked about the plan for addressing student mental health needs  next year considering we will be returning to full days. Mr. DeBalsi replied that there will be a plan to add staff (clinicians) to help students and staff meet their emotional needs. Mrs. Newton added that in addition to grant money some other resources will be reallocated. Mr. DeBalsi asked Katie to contact him with information or ideas on this topic. 

Superintendent’s Report
 Mr. DeBalsi reported: SBAC testing throughout the district, Honors testing at HHS, work has begun on the pool (Nott’s Construction/Breadloaf) some work will be done over weekends to avoid noise disturbance, Recovery planning with grant money (details to follow at future meetings), extra days- each school has a plan to make up the 3 asynchronous days and how to help students, hiring new staff- difficulty with fewer special ed candidates, working with administrators and their staff surveys- discussing strengths/weaknesses and goals for next year, and plan for next year -Dylan and Katie are welcome to add ideas. 

Mr. Merrill asked about using an art based therapy model to address the needs, even performing arts. Mr. DeBalsi reported all ideas are welcome. 

Mr. DeBalsi shared tentative plans for graduation with families on the football field. More details to follow.

 4. Governance Process (Section 4 Policy GP 2)

Legislative Advocacy
 Mr. DeBalsi- status of E-finance system, stuck with it, needs to be implemented in the next couple of years, will need to add staff to transition to this, this will require two sets of books.

 Mr. Christie noted that the state isn’t done yet with this issue.

 Mrs. Russell noted that she shared late today the Monitoring Report GP2 Governing Style, she noted that the board governs with The Ends in mind. Ms Walther, the new board member, has had a mentor which has been helpful to her, she encouraged the board to continue this practice.

HACTC/Collaborative Tuition and Enrollment Update
 Mr. DeBalsi shared that initially he was worried that the enrollment numbers would be lower than desired because of the lack of recruitment and COVID challenges. Currently the enrollment numbers are increasing. 

Mr. Jim Vezina shared information with the board that the district has had a remarkable year with the movement of two programs, HARP/RAP, previously held in rental spaces into the Wilder School in January. $470,000 of services were brought in house instead of contracting with Clara Martin, as was done in the past. HARP and RAP will come close to balancing their programs. Currently there are 20 students, next year they are hoping to have 25-28 students. During the pandemic the district didn’t go into deficit spending for these programs. 

Mr. Jake Vezina shared from Mrs. Kim Moreno that there was only one RAP referral and there were four students moved to residential placement from the state that RAP would have potentially come to RAP.

Jim continued, the financial team was able to balance everything out this year, the district is on solid financial ground. HARP has picked up a couple of students in the past month. Typically they have had 15 students, additional two now. Tuition settlements happen at the end of each year. 

HACTC has a strong enrollment and registrations for next year. Mr. Merrill shared from the Advisory Committee meeting last week, there is a wait list for all programs, three students from different programs and sending towns shared their portfolios and thoughts about their time at the center, all students noting the great experiences they’ve had.

Mr. DeBalsi shared information about the Regional Resource Center. They currently have 27 students and will have 35 next year. This program supports older students with significant needs. 

Mr. North thanked all for the information.

Work Plan/Board Schedule 2020-21
 Mr. DeBalsi shared the 20-21 work plan, next engagement meeting May 26, regular meeting on June 9th, cancel engagement meeting June 23, retreat in July or August to wrap up the year and plan for next year.

 Mr. North shared that the board should start the meeting to refresh/review the Ends in July, this will take some time to develop a plan before engaging with the community.

 Mr. Christie suggested getting a facilitator and warn a planning meeting.

 Mr. North agreed and suggested July. Mr. DeBalsi also agreed that July is a good time to plan the year; he suggested the planners meet to frame the July retreat. This planning meeting should be warned as an open meeting. 

 Mr. North would like to announce a community engagement meeting in July to start this planning process. 

Work Plan 2021-22
 Identify/review Facility Improvement Plan

 Review of Policies

 5.  Public Comments  

The public was invited to attend the meeting using  https://zoom.us/j/97430755984, meeting ID 974 3075 5984.

Mr. DeBalsi referenced the public comments in the Zoom chat. 

Geri, a 60 year community member, is concerned that community members are left in the dark. She has heard wonderful things in the past two meetings. She has written and posted summaries of the meetings on the Hartford page. She asked about how the community engagement will happen. How will people know about what’s going on in the schools? She suggested having students share at board meetings, this would be exciting and there would be a lot of people in attendance. She shared an example of student groups showing how they learned to read and write at a board meeting.

Mr. Christie shared the new board schedule, the second meeting is dedicated to the community engagement. 

Mr. DeBalsi invited her to the next meeting where three schools will present. The administrative team has discussed a quarterly newsletter for next year. 

An anonymous question referenced the Recovery Plan and mental health support for next year. Mr. DeBalsi answered this will be covered with updates at meetings. Mrs. Newton said this reporting out will be included in the plan, how to measure the success is required. 

Mr. Christie suggested exploring a paid college level internship to work with the administrative team to share district information.  Mr. North suggested the students do videos about what they are doing in their schools. Mr. DeBalsi also said there may be a HACTC Media Design student(s) who could offer something. 

Mr. Merrill shared with the board that recently he’s seen a number of Black Lives Matter signs in Quechee. Unfortunately he saw one that was defaced. He offered to the owner of the sign to replace it, please contact him through his school email.

Mr. Christie shared the action at the state today, a joint resolution was offered to declare racism as a public health emergency, you can view on YouTube House Session 5.12.21. It’s on to the Senate.

 6. Board Professional Development (Section 4 Policy GP 9)

 7. Consent Agenda (Section 4 Policy GP 4)

Meeting Minutes – 4/7/2021, 4/28/2021
 Janel Rule, HACTC; Maureen Moran, DBS; Kirk Becker, HHS; Emma Collins, OQS; Amanda Nelson, HHS; Katie Hluchyj, HHS; MInda Moskowitz, DBS; Erica Young, WRS; Erika Schneider HACTC Interim Director

Board Monitoring Report GP-2 Governing Style, B/SR-2 Unity of Control
Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to approve the Consent Agenda, motion carried.

 8. Next Meeting Agenda

  MMS, HHS, HACTC presentations

  Student representative interviews

  Plan for Publicity sharing?

Recovery Plan for 2021-22

 9. Meeting Evaluation

The meeting evaluation was completed by Mr. North, the meeting was satisfactory. 

 10.  Adjournment

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to adjourn the meeting at 7:55 PM, motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey


School Board Engagement Meeting is Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 6:00 PM

Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 6:00 PM

School Board/Hartford Education Association Retirement Reception 

June 2, 4:00 PM

High School Graduation June 11, 2021 7:00 PM (outside)