WINDHAM SOUTHEAST SCHOOL DISTRICT
53 Green Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301
NOTICE OF BOARD MEETING
The Windham Southeast School District Board will meet remotely at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 via Zoom:
Meeting ID: 928 4150 8255
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I. CALL TO ORDER – 6:00 p.m. – David Schoales, Board Chair
II. RECOGNITION OF VISITORS
III. CONSENT AGENDA
• CLERK’S REPORT – Approval of Minutes – September 16 and October 1, 2020
Warrants of September 8, 2020
Warrant No. 1061 in the amount of $ 70.64
Warrant No. 1063 in the amount of 33,195.00
Warrant No. 1064 in the amount of 825.00
Warrant No. 1065 in the amount of 65,714.35
Warrants of September 14, 2020
Warrant No. 1066 in the amount of $ 12,000.00
Warrant No. 1069 in the amount of 4,000.00
Warrant No. 1070 in the amount of 2,049.00
Warrant No. 1071 in the amount of 143,364.97
Warrants of September 21, 2020
Warrant No. 1074 in the amount of $ 2,147.00
Warrant No. 1076 in the amount of 8,582.38
Warrant No. 1077 in the amount of 1,112.79
Warrant No. 1078 in the amount of 91,011.79
Warrants of September 28, 2020
Warrant No. 1079 in the amount of $66,997.29
Warrant No. 1083 in the amount of 6,021.00
Warrant No. 1084 in the amount of 54,705.00
Warrant No. 1085 in the amount of 12,755.39
Warrant No. 1086 in the amount of 242,807.23
Warrant No. 1087 in the amount of 59,850.00
September 14, 2020 $1,264,083.15
September 25, 2020 $1,276,376.54
V. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT
• 90-Day Commitment Action Plan Update
• Updates on Attendance Data for Each School / Ongoing and New Supports for
Staff / Supports for Families Around Internet Access, Meals
• How Wednesdays Are Being Utilized
VI. FISCAL REPORT
• Financial Structure Alignment with Agency of Education Universal Chart
VII. COMMITTEE REPORTS
• Leadership Council Reports
o H7 Leadership Council Policy Review
• WSESD/WSESU Diversity/Equity Committee
• Finance Committee
• Personnel Committee
• Policy and Amendment Committee
• Programmatic and Performance Equity Committee
• Climate Crisis Task Force
• Communications Council
• Social Justice Committee
• WSESU Board
• PreK Partners Reports
VIII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
IX. NEW BUSINESS
X. Public Comment on Non-agenda Items
EXECUTIVE SESSION (If Needed)
WSESD Board Special Meeting – 9-25-2020
ATTENDEES: David Schoales, Anne Beekman, Jaci Reynolds, Kelly Young, Shaun Murphy, Liz Adams
Tim Maciel Michelle Green, Alison Amidon, Andrew Skarzynski, Brattleboro Community TV Elizabeth Johnson, Liz Dimick, Steve Napoli, Amy Sugihara, Diane, Tara Castine, Rosie Wojcik, Mike Oster, Ellen Tumavicus, Lisa Munos, Ruby McAdoo
Called to order: 6:02PM
Discussion of Black Lives Matter mural proposal in Putney.
MOTION: The WSESD Board endorses the Black Lives Matter Mural Statement from the Town of Putney Equity Committee and directs the administration to distribute it to the Putney Central School Community immediately.
8 to 1 – Yes
MOTION: Adjourn Moved: AB Seconded: SM 9-0: Yes
Note: These proposed minutes should be considered preliminary until they are approved by the board at a future meeting.
WINDHAM SOUTHEAST SCHOOL DISTRICT (WSESD) BOARD
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2020
REGULAR BOARD MEETING – 6:00PM
WSESD Board Members Present: David Schoales, Chair (DS); Liz Adams (LA); Anne Beekman (AB); Michelle Green (MG); Tim Maciel (TM); Shaun Murphy (SM); Emily Murphy-Kaur (EMK); Thomas Nolan (TN); Jaci Reynolds (JR); Kelly Young (KY)
WSESU Administrators Present: Andrew Skarzynski (Superintendent); Frank Rucker (Finance Director)
Media Present: Rich Melanson (BCTV); Kevin O’Connor (VTDigger)
Others Present: [note: Zoom allows attendees to log in without providing their complete names.]
Wendy M. Levy (WSESD Board Recorder), Deb Schiller, Erin Tkaczyk, Jessica Montenieri, Kerry Amidon, Eileen Parks, Amy Skolnick, Jon Sessions, Mark Speno, Mary Kaufmann, Moriah Carney, Nancy Wiese, Lisa Munoz, Sarah Cassidy, Sarah Kaltenbaugh, Shelley Wilson, Molly Stoner, Joe Grutta, Julianne Eagan, Keith Lyman, Kelly, Nancy Goodhue, Joann, Jgagnon, Janice Stockman, Herve Pelletier, Deb Kardane, Mikaela Simms, Shannon Kelly, Paul Smith, Steven Perrin, TonTon Brian, Tracy Binet-Perrin, F. Levin, S. Chaney, Ruby MacAdoo, Cory Sorensen, Ellen Tumavicus
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chair DS called the meeting to order at 6:03pm.
II. RECOGNITION OF VISITORS
DS recognized Moriah Carney, who will speak later in the meeting.
III. CLERK’S REPORT: APPROVE MINUTES
MOTION BY TN TO APPROVE THE MINUTES FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2, 2020 MEETING. LA SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED WITH EMK ABSTAINING.
There were none.
V. COMMITTEE REPORTS
WSESD/WSESU DIVERSITY/EQUITY COMMITTEE
Mikaela Simms introduced the report and discussion on this committee’s work, including the associated study groups.
The following teacher-leaders spoke about the structure of their program and the work in their schools with staff and students: Shannon Kelly, Sarah Kaltenbaugh, Eileen Parks, Ellen Tumavicus, and Cory Sorensen.
Mikaela announced the schedule for professional development, and the solidarity and support among peers and how it aids in diversity and equity work. The latter, she noted, can be challenging. Eileen, Cory, and Ellen agreed. They praised Mikaela’s leadership.
TM reminded the group to include disabled people in their work.
EMK asked Mikaela about integrating goals, and qualitative/quantitative measurements. Mikaela responded: the teacher-leaders are helping fulfill the goals in their individual schools. Andy Skarzynski agreed.
DS spoke about this being the Board’s primary committment this year.
Moriah Carney gave an update on the work of the partners. Highlights included:
The program staff is working hard on meeting COVID guidelines.
Some programs were lost, or have changed.
There are 14 partnerships, serving 150 pre-K students.
Monthly reports to the Board on pre-K partners will come soon.
SM reported this committee has not met. It will meet at 5pm on October 7. SM discussed how the meetings and tasks will change. SM asked about bringing Wendy M. Levy back to take minutes for the committee meetings. Andy will follow up with that.
KY reported this committee has not met.
POLICY AND AMENDMENTS COMMITTEE
AB reported this committee has not met.
PROGRAMMATIC AND PERFORMANCE EQUITY COMMITTEE
EMK announced this committee will meet on September 21. EMK announced she had a baby on August 21. There was much rejoicing.
CLIMATE CRISIS TASK FORCE
TN reported this committee met on September 15. They are revising the policy document, and will review it with the Board in October.
MG reported this council met on September 4. They mostly did “housekeeping,” and discussed the planning email/sign-up list. MG reported the Board’s Facebook page is active, and to please visit it, and that Robin Morgan conducted a successful outreach program for the Facebook page.
SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE
TN reported this committee met and discussed the social justice commitment and how to implement it, and the four questions to ask when hiring to make the workforce more diverse:
1. How many applicants did you get?
2. How many were BIPOC?
3. Is the proposed hire BIPOC?
4. What efforts were made to specifically find BIPOC candidates?
DS discussed the four questions.
MOTION BY AB TO ADOPT THE FOUR DIVERSITY QUESTIONS, AS PRESENTED, TO ASK WITH EACH NOMINATION THE BOARD RECEIVES. EMK SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
A discussion ensued on the motion. Kelly Dias, principal at the Academy School, asked how administrators will know an applicant’s race. TN responded: if you don’t know, then the answer is, “We don’t know.” DS discussed asking applicants about their experience working on BIPOC issues. TN spoke to this. Andy asked for clarification, spoke about the recruitment process, and working with the Social Justice Committee.
Andy questioned whether the motion was in-order because it wasn’t warned that the Board would take action. DS said Robert’s Rules of Order says a motion is always in-order, and it’s a process and can be changed at the Annual Meeting. DS added the committee brought this forward because it’s urgent.
KY said that the District may have good intentions in asking for applicants’ demographic information, but she is concerned with liability, and recommended the Board consult with their attorney on these Human Resources issues.
AB discussed her experiences applying for work at UMASS. The school asked for her demographic data, and cited “federal purposes.”
TN reminded the Board that these questions are just a survey, and cautioned them against getting too far ahead.
TM spoke about Human Resources issues.
SM asked where the answers to the four questions are coming from. DS responded: the Board will ask the Superintendent when he brings forth the names of potential hires, and that information could come from principals and others involved in hiring.
Robin Morgan supported KY’s question, and noted that answering “we don’t know” every time is not helpful, and the District should focus more on finding more diverse candidates from the beginning.
TN repeated that this is just a survey, and will help the Board assess the situation. DS said the value is, the interviewer will know ahead of time that the Board will request this information. TN added the value is, the current situation is unacceptable and must change.
Keith Lyman noted these are challenging situations, especially with mid-year resignations.
Andy thanked Robin for her comments about recruitment, and added that hiring more BIPOC staff will help BIPOC students who may consider college. He encouraged working on a great, streamlined process to ensure the most marginalized students have the best experience possible.
DS said he will check to make sure the Board can propose this motion since it wasn’t warned.
SM asked about meetings. TN spoke about utilizing partnerships to implement goals. SM said the Finance Committee can discuss funding to meet these goals.
Kerry Amidon, WSESU Board Chair, reported the board has not met, and they are in the process of scheduling their next meeting, which could be in late-September or early-October.
LEADERSHIP COUNCIL (LC) REPORTS
MG reported the Dummerston LC met on September 3. She thanked Julianne Eagan, who excelled at communicating with families. MG reported there is a new LC member: Keri Newton.
MOTION BY MG TO ADD KERI NEWTON TO THE DUMMERSTON LC. DS SECONDED.
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
SM reported the Guilford LC met on September 4 and there were 10 attendees. He thanked Principal Jon Gagnon for his work reopening the school. He noted the LC is working with the town’s Planning Commission to align the school with the Town Plan. He mentioned the outdoor-learning buildings, which were built with a tremendous amount of volunteer effort; DS noted they look great.
Ruby McAdoo, the Clerk of the Putney LC, reported the LC met. Highlights from their meeting included:
• Remote-only learners, how to reflect Putney Central School values in their experiences, and how to maintain the social-emotional connection of these learners and their families with the learners’ classes.
• How to perpetuate the LC, and how to welcome BIPOC families. The latter, Ruby said, is a
• The equity and inclusion book group.
• A request to the Board for discretionary funds for next year’s budget. DS said the Board will discuss this at their next meeting.
JR reported the Green Street School LC met on September 14. Highlights from their meeting included:
• Shannon Kelly’s great presentation on the 90-day action-plan for diversity and inclusion, which led to a robust discussion.
• Recruitment of BIPOC families to the PTO.
• Reopening of the school, which included commentary from teachers. So far, so good, said JR.
• It was an emotional meeting, and it was nice to see everyone.
• Green Street School needs a volunteer to coordinate the Healthy Snacks program. Interested parties should contact the school’s administration.
Mary Kaufmann reported the Oak Grove School LC met on September 15. They solicited feedback from families on the reopening, and heard that families want more interaction with other families. To this end, they created an email group, said Mary. They also discussed social-emotional learning. The next meeting is in October.
KY reported the BUHS LC met on September 15. They request the Board provide guidance on the LC’s goals.
DS announced that the Board will review LC policies and goals at the next Board meeting.
VII. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT
Andy Skarzynski gave a presentation on the reopening. Highlights included:
• It’s been a great reopening.
• Andy visited all of the schools, their processes and directions are straightforward and clear, and the buildings look great.
• The District is continuing tech support for remote families, and Paul Smith is working on that.
• A discussion on the phases and steps of reopening.
• The District is now in Phase Two of reopening. Andy discussed details, including:
◦ the schedule
◦ connections and focus
◦ routines of learning
◦ reopening-related professional development and the workshops included in it
◦ what the administration/staff learned
◦ Wednesdays and how that day’s plans have evolved
◦ enrollment (including for remote students)
◦ the percentage change in enrollment in individual schools
◦ attendance, including making daily contact, and that it’s a statutory requirement
◦ vulnerable populations and how the District is working to support students: the process and its continued development
◦ what “vulnerable” means in this context
◦ busing, working with the bus company (they’ve been great, Andy noted), bus policies and procedures, and the bus fogging system
◦ internet access and the number of families without it, and options for fixing that
• Challenges, including remote learning with the youngest students, substitutes, supporting/meeting needs/community commitments.
TM thanked Andy. He requested students’ comments. Andy committed to trying to bring those. DS noted a future topic for discussion is how to better engage students at Board meetings, in addition to Student Council members.
MG asked about recruiting substitutes. Andy discussed it.
MG and Andy discussed student surveys.
TM asked about a District “COVID dashboard” and if other school districts will have them. Andy discussed it, and noted other states are doing this, and the District is modeling them.
Lisa Muñoz asked about streamlining attendance. Andy discussed statutory attendance requirements and what purpose they serve. A discussion ensued on the difference between attendance and engagement.
Ruby McAdoo thanked Andy for his detailed report. She discussed school-community connections, and asked to include parents and families, especially those of remote-learning students. Andy assured Ruby that it’s a concern. He discussed strategies and opportunities, especially with working across the District, now that it’s unified. He said he wants to focus on the positives.
KY asked about sick days and quarantine periods, and whether students can do remote-learning on those days. Andy said they would decide on a case-by-case basis, and teachers would respond.
DS thanked Andy for the great report.
Tara Castine thanked Andy and commented on the Act 46 merger. Deb Kardane responded.
VII. FISCAL REPORT
Frank Rucker gave his report, which included a review of the document, “Financial Statement Overview for WSESD School Board 9/16/20.” Highlights included:
• How to read and understand the financial statement and how it’s organized.
• How the statements fit into the larger state financial structure.
• The meaning of “function” in “Expenditures By Function.”
• The fund balance.
• The rules and language on capturing information and communicating it with teachers and others, and what statutes guide and support this.
• Fiscal operations and management.
• Financial reporting to stakeholders.
• The document, “Vermont Agency of Education Uniform Chart of Accounts Specifications,” and definitions of its terms, the codes all schools must use in their accounting systems, and how this type of organizing transactions makes it easy to find accurate financial information.
Frank noted the opportunity to discuss this at future Board meetings, and he asked Board members what else they would like to learn. DS said he noted that.
DS pointed out the code system is complex, but valuable. Frank said that since implementing the code system, it’s gone well, and the Central Office staff did invaluable work on it. The District’s audits have also gone well.
DS encouraged questions from the Board.
SM complimented Frank on his great organizational skills, especially with combining multiple levels, such as local, state, etc. This is important to statewide equity in educational funding, he added.
Frank said the District looks forward to the state sharing data. This could help determine which spending patterns are consistent among successful schools; Frank noted he learned about this from his studies in the UMASS Doctoral program. He pointed out that standardizing data across the state is crucial for this analysis, and would aid in Districts learning from one another.
DS asked for the status on the COVID reimbursement check. Frank responded: not yet, it’s slow, and that’s disappointing. He spoke with Senator Becca Balint, and she is trying to help. Frank noted that seven months into the pandemic, nobody is getting reimbursed.
VIII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
There was none.
IX. NEW BUSINESS
There was none.
X. PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
There was none.
THERE WAS NO EXECUTIVE SESSION AT THIS MEETING
MOTION BY AB TO ADJOURN. JR SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:31pm.
Respectfully submitted by Wendy M. Levy from minutes taken by Wendy M. Levy.
This represents my understanding of the above dated meeting. If you have any changes, please submit them at the next board meeting.