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 21, 2020 via Zoom:
Meeting ID: 988 9305 2597
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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 – October 7, 2020
V. FISCAL REPORT
• Update on COVID Reimbursements
VI. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT
• Status Update on the Move from Step 2 to Step 3
VII. COMMITTEE REPORTS
• Leadership Council Reports
• 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 – See Attached Document
VIII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
A. Programmatic and Performance Equity Committee Title IX Report/ Proposal – Discussion/Possible Action – The Board will consider recommendations:
• that a computer-moderated survey be conducted of the entire school community to better understand how the community values athletics in the schools;
• define procedures for conducting inventories of equipment;
• maintain a record of any equipment/supplies purchased by booster groups;
• define how teams fundraise;
• recommend facility improvements to the Sawyer Field area;
• develop strategies that encourage women and people of color to seek coaching positions;
• an action plan and ensure weight room is more inclusive/welcoming to specifically non-athletes and females.
B. Climate Crisis Task Force Proposal – Discussion/Possible Action – The Board will consider recommendations to:
• educate and prepare our students for the future;
• significantly reduce consumption;
• protect students, staff, and our community from environmental harm and eliminate the use of potentially toxic and harmful substances;
• preserve and regenerate current and future resources;
• continually review implementation.
IX. NEW BUSINESS
A. Proposal to Create a Board Social Justice Study Group – Discussion/Possible Action
X. Public Comment on Non-agenda Items
EXECUTIVE SESSION (If Needed)
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, OCTOBER 7, 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
Media Present: Rich Melanson (BCTV)
Others Present: [note: Zoom allows attendees to log in without providing their complete names.]
Wendy M. Levy (WSESD Board Recorder), Allison Paquette, Amy Skolnick, Andrew Speno, Beth Bristol, Bethany Ranquist, Deb Kardane, Cory Sorensen, Kylie Weld, Julianne Eagan, Tevanson, Moriah Carney, Mike Elkins, Maureen Hart, Mikaela Simms, Mike Szostak, Karyn Tyler, Erin Tkaczyk, Deb Schiller, Sarah Cassidy, Kerry Amidon, Molly Stoner, Laureen, Liz Dimick, Maggie, Jacqueline LaFlam, John Gagnon, Joann, Jon Sessions, Nancy Goodhue, Ruby McAdoo, Keith Lyman, Kelly Dias, Steve Perrin, Shannon Kelly, Steve Connor, Shelley Wilson, Robin Morgan, Ricky Davidson, Paul Smith, Chelsea Wiehl, Tara Castine
I. CALL TO ORDER
Prior to the call to order, DS requested a moment of silence to honor the passing of Victoria I. Linn, a long-time member of the Academy School community.
Chair DS called the meeting to order at 6:05pm.
II. RECOGNITION OF VISITORS
There were none.
III. CONSENT AGENDA
CLERK’S REPORT AND FINANCE
MOTION BY TN TO APPROVE THE MINUTES FROM THE SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 AND OCTOBER 1, 2020 MEETINGS, THE WARRANTS OF SEPTEMBER 8, 14, 21, AND 28, 2020, AND THE PAYROLLS FROM SEPTEMBER 14 AND 25, 2020. SM SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED 10-0.
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
AB called for a discussion prior to the vote. She requested an amendment to the last two meetings: a roll call vote for the approval of the minutes during those meetings. AB cited 1 V.S.A. § 312 (a) (2) (B) to support her request. DS denied AB’s request, claiming that during the Open Meeting Law training conducted by Pietro Lynn, School Board Attorney, Pietro said the Board does not need to count votes.
DS said he will take AB’s request under advisement.
SM asked about the warrant relating to fuel oil.
DS said all communications received by the Board will be addressed during Committee Reports.
V. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT
Superintendent Andy Skarzynski announced the retirement of three district staff: Rhonda Winegarner, effective November 8, 2020; Christopher Angell, effective at the end of the school year; and David Hotin, effective at the end of the school year.
MOTION BY TM TO ACCEPT THE RETIREMENTS OF RHONDA WINEGARNER, CHRISTOPHER ANGELL, AND DAVID HOTIN. AB SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED 10-0.
Andy presented a slide show to accompany his updates. Highlights included:
• HB969, a legislative act reducing school days for students this school year. The reduction does not apply to staff. Andy noted the administration is working with the union to determine which days will be omitted, and that information should be released within the week.
• Staff is tired due to school and local stresses as well as national and global stresses. The current status is to prioritize staff and students’ emotional and physical safety and well-being, and monitor staff fatigue.
• Statistics for attendance for students—remote and in-person—in all schools in the supervisory district and -union. The range is from 92- to 98-percent. Andy noted this is strong attendance.
• What happens when a student has attendance challenges.
• The planning process has begun on the transition from Step 2 to Step 3, and what that ensues. Andy noted winter will bring more students indoors, and administrators are developing plans to bring more students indoors more frequently. When changes are pending, staff will be notified as soon as possible, then families and students next.
• Internet access, and that fewer than 60 families are still without it. Counselors are keeping an up-to-date list.
• The structure of the school-week. The focus is, “How are we staying centered and grounded?” Wednesdays are early-release days for students; on that day, teachers receive professional development, including diversity training.
• Andy displayed pie-charts reflecting staff feedback and needs on a variety of subjects, and he discussed options and results.
• The biggest change in mid-September was a transition to asynchronous professional development, which came as a result of staff requests.
• Additional remote-learning support.
• Office hours with the curriculum and instruction team.
• Coaches and mentoring for teachers.
• A discussion ensued with multiple Board members and attendees asking questions, including TM, EMK, Deb Kardane, MG, Tara Castine, Chelsea Wiehl, and Erin Tkaczyk.
Andy gave the 90-day update on the commitment action plan, which includes long-term strategic planning to fulfill the core mission and essential functions of the schools. He discussed steps and processes to make this happen. He spoke about the work that has been done so far and how and what the schools are doing. Highlights included:
• The diversity teacher-leaders and what they do.
• The bullet points, their progress updates, and long-term implications.
• Professional development, recruitment, contracting with BIPOC-owned businesses, remote learning, school-based diversity and equity groups for students and teacher-leaders, and tracking organizational inventory.
Mikaela Simms noted this is a 90-day check-in, that about half of the staff have been doing this work, unpaid, for 10 years, and we should acknowledge them. Mikaela noted there’s a plan for new teacherleaders. And, she added, the student-led diversity and equity group is crucial—start them young. She recognizes that these things may seem like a heavy lift, and her job is to help along this process.
Collaboration, said Mikaela, and ground-up action, is key. She advised to continue moving in the right direction, but not to rush, and that every conversation among staff and others is an action.
TM asked a question about climate change in the curriculum. Andy responded: this is about the Board’s 90-day check-in on the social justice commitment. DS noted the October 21 meeting agenda will include a climate curriculum. Mikaela pointed out the Diversity & Equity Committee has climate change on its radar.
Andy spoke about the work coaching teachers, working with Mikaela, and how it all fits together.
DS noted the Board will revisit this subject regularly. He spoke about how to measure the progress of ongoing work.
Andy spoke about the Human Resources person’s work.
MG asked if families can join the schools’ Diversity & Committees. A discussion ensued, with the conclusion being: sometimes.
Mike Szostak praised Mikaela’s work. He asked for her role in the supervisory district’s decisionmaking.
Andy declined to answer because it’s a personnel matter. A discussion ensued.
Ruby McAdoo asked about after-school care in the context of equity and access among different schools. She noted its importance. Ruby also mentioned Putney Central School’s extant Diversity Committee, and asked about whether it’s appropriate that it’s limited to staff. A discussion ensued.
EMK noted the Programmatic & Performance Equity Committee has been working on after-school care, and it’s on the agenda for this month’s committee meeting.
VI. FINANCE REPORT
Frank Rucker shared and discussed a document with explanations of the supervisory district’s financial accounting system, including the account code. Frank explained that after these lessons, Board members should feel more comfortable navigating funding details and checking accountability from the Finance Department. Highlights included:
FY20’s revenues and expenditures and how it relates to the budget process for FY21.
The Summary FY20 School Site Expenses document, which is being audited now, and how it’s connected to the previous overview.
This information is presented consistently across the state, which allows schools to learn from one another by examining spending model(s) at schools with the most success in educating students. How different reports relate to one another. Frank noted these codes will be addressed more in-depth at the next meeting.
What the function codes are and how to read them.
The fund balance.
Frank shared the preliminary FY22 school budget development timeline and reviewed it. He added the timeline is due to the Agency of Education the following week.
Frank discussed the Legislature’s Equalized Student data decision and how it will stabilize funding.
VII. COMMITTEE REPORTS
DS reviewed the H7 Leadership Council (LC) policy, including the formal structure and business of the LC. DS spoke about the importance of LCs and what they can and cannot do. He noted LCs are advisory.
A discussion ensued, including questions and comments by MG, DS, Andy, Ruby, and LA on topics such as the Board providing guidance to LCs, an LC summit, the LCs’ role, how prospective LC members are appointed, how the Continuous Improvement Plan relates to LCs, and communication between LCs and school administrators.
Guilford Central School LC: SM reported they met on October 2. They discussed strengthening the relationship between hybrid and remote-learning families. SM praised Principal John Gagnon.
Putney Central School: Ruby reported they met on October 1. They discussed a change in leadership: Ruby is now the Chair. The discussed engaging BIPOC families. They are co-sponsoring a diversity and equity book group. Ruby announced the Black Lives Matter mural was painted outside the school, and that this is a complicated curriculum issue. The LC approved a mission and vision statement, which will soon go on the website. They are considering changing their meeting schedule to better accommodate working families. Ruby noted school staff retention in the LC is difficult because they have a big work-load. The LC is considering a Facebook page for outreach. Ruby will work with Principal Herve Pelletier on improving the relationship between the LC and the school.
Dummerston School: MG reported they met on October 1. They discussed fundraising to purchase winter recreation supplies for students, and how to make this a community effort. MG praised Principal Julianne Eagan for communicating well.
Academy School: EMK reported they met, but she was unable to attend. This report was tabled.
Brattleboro Area Middle School: Principal Keith Lyman announced the meeting was postponed until October 13.
Oak Grove School: TM reported this meeting was postponed because of a power outage.
WSESD/WSESU DIVERSITY/EQUITY COMMITTEE
AB noted she was not notified she was supposed to present a report, so there was no report. DS agreed.
SM reported this committee has not met.
KY reported this committee has not met.
POLICY AND AMENDMENTS COMMITTEE
AB reported this committee has not met.
PROGRAMMATIC AND PERFORMANCE EQUITY COMMITTEE
EMK reported this committee met at the end of September. They are finalizing their Title IX report, and will present it at the next Board meeting. Their next meeting is on October 14, and they will discuss their future plans.
CLIMATE CRISIS TASK FORCE
TN will present a report at the next Board meeting. They are revising it, and TN will send it before the next Board meeting.
MG reported this council has not met, but they are making progress with working with the administration on a social media presence. MG invited any interested parties to submit their contact information for inclusion on an upcoming email list.
SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE
TN reported this committee is discussing diversifying the workforce, and they are interviewing vendors for training. A decision will come soon. This committee is working with SM on the Finance Committee to find funding for training teachers. Their next meeting is October 26.
Kerry Amidon reported the SU hasn’t met, but will soon.
Moriah Carney reported there are 174 pre-K students in 13 partnerships. They are working on making a template for a report on every program.
VIII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
There was none.
IX. NEW BUSINESS
There was none.
X. PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
SM said he received a communication from a BUHS parent asking for an update on the playing-field study. DS asked SM to forward him the communication. BUHS Principal Steve Perrin noted a report is coming in the next few weeks.
DS reviewed some items on the next agenda.
THERE WAS NO EXECUTIVE SESSION AT THIS MEETING
MOTION BY AB TO ADJOURN. TM SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:54pm.
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.