WSESD Policy and Amendment Committee Agenda and Minutes

Policy and Amendment Committee
June 27, 2022 at 3:00pm
in the WSESD Central Office Conference Room
53 Green Street, Brattleboro

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I Approval of Minutes from 6/14/22

II. Continue discussion of edits
D6: Substitute Teachers
A1: The Role and Adoption of School Board Policies
D9: Alcohol and Drug -Free Workplace
F24 Firearms and Dangerous or Deadly Weapons

III. Update re request for information
D7: Volunteers and Work Study Students
D12: Policy on Prevention of Harassment of Employees
D3: Staffing and Job Descriptions (New Business)

IV. New Business – with proposed edit
H1: School-Community Relations
D10: Resignations
F1: Student Conduct and Discipline (Hold pending review of all related policies)

V. Committee to Prioritize Backlog of Critical Issues
H7 Leadership Councils
D1 Personnel-Recruitment, Selection, Appointment, and Background Checks
Regarding including students in the hiring process
F23 Policy on Prevention of Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying of Students
Review of Committee Work and Reporting of Issues to full Board

V. Policies Carried From Previous Meetings (In Folder from Barb)
F12 Transportation (No Changes)
G14 Animal Dissection (No Changes)
D15: Travel Reimbursement (No Changes)`
F6: Education Records (Yes to all VSBA edits)
F26: Participation of Home Study Students in School Programs and Activities
F30: Pupil Privacy Rights

N.B. Edit policies in accordance with gender neutral terms – they, them, theirs (he/she) as well as parents and caregivers (mother/father)

Meeting to conclude at 4:30.


Windham Southeast Supervisory District (WSESD) Board
Policy and Amendment Committee
53 Green St.
Brattleboro, VT 05301
Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Members attending: Deborah Stanford (DST, Chair), David Schoales (DS, Vice Chair), Shaun
Murphy (SM), Tim Maciel (TM, Clerk), Liz Adams (LA, via Zoom)
Guests attending: Barb Nowakowski (BN, Central Office), Jaime Contois (JC, member of public, via phone).
DST convened the meeting at 1:01 pm.
DST moved to approve the minutes of 6.7.22 with an amendment changing “… D6 should be discussed at June 14th Regular Board Meeting” to “…D6 should be discussed at June 14th Policy and Amendments meeting.”
TM will make the change and resubmit to Barb.
Minutes with amendment approved unanimously.


D6: Substitute Teacher Policy.

BN in favor of keeping background checks.

JC asked how mandatory background checks may add to admin workload and reduce their flexibility in accepting volunteers for various events.

DS asked if specific areas of volunteer coverage should be noted or whether we should just comply with the law and require checks on everyone.

DST suggested enumerating a few special trainings and noting “included, but not limited to…”

BN suggested tabling D6 until next meeting. All agreed.

Discussion of A1: The Role of Policy.

General agreement to change the title to “The Role and Adoption of School Board Policies.”

DS: Add “in compliance with VT statute 563.1, the Board retains authority to approve or disapprove procedures” after “Procedures” (p.1, para. 3).

Change “When the School District board” to “When the School Board Policy and Amendment committee” (p.1, para. 5).

General agreement with suggested deletions and minor edits to A1.

JC suggested language to measure successful implementation of policies per a policy governance model. DS argued that the timing for a policy governance model may be premature. Board has not yet been trained in a policy governance model.

DST tabled A1 to next meeting.

B3: Conflict of Interest + Pronoun usage.

DST: No changes needed. All agreed with caveat that changes in pronouns in B3 and other policies should be changed to gender neutral “they/them.”

BN will go through all new and revised policies to change pronouns to gender neutral “they/them.”

BN will attach to the warning for next regular board meeting for First Reading of Policy B3. Per A1, the public and other interested parties will be given at least 10 days prior notice of the Board’s intent to adopt the policy.

BN noted that typically the Code of Ethics is attached to B3. General agreement to do so.

D7: Volunteers and Work Study Students.

DST: No changes needed.

SM: Questioned the need for background checks.

DST: Should err on side of caution.

SM: Principals need flexibility.

JC: Committee should involve principals in the discussion. Wondered if policy as stated is “workable.”

LA: Shouldn’t hamper principals with background checks for volunteers that may take weeks to complete.

BN: Check with Registry is typically completed in a day. Questioned practicality of full criminal background checks.

DST: Nervous over relying on an individual administrator’s judgment call.

DS: Committee should ask the Board to ask Mark to bring the issue to administrators for discussion.

BN: Should use all principals in review of relevant policies.

DST: Review of D7 tabled until next meeting.

D9: Alcohol and Drug-Free Workplace.

BN: Addition of “illegal” recommended 2 years ago by previous P&A Committee.

Discussion of terms in policy, e.g. “controlled substance,” “illegal drug,” etc.

DST: Committee should revisit this policy if/when marijuana is legalized in VT.

DST: D9 tabled until next meeting.

D12: Employee Unlawful Harassment.

Agreement to keep previous title, “Policy on Prevention of Harassment of Employees.”

DST: Noted on p. 2, para. 5, “Age 40 or older.” General agreement to delete.

DST: Need to add language to require “annual” training.

DS: Should ask participants to assess training.

DST: Ask Kelly if the board should have training on sexual harassment and procedures.

TM: Annual training is required to comply with Erin’s Law (Act 1).

SM: Led discussion of “unwelcome.” Many comments are unacceptable whether welcome or not.

LA: Should also include language re. mask wearing.

DS: Policy does not address whistleblowers. Need to add clause regarding whistleblowers.

BN: Policy is written per VT statute, so before editing, DST should check with legal counsel. Should also ask about adding whistleblower clause.

F1: The Student Conduct and Discipline policy

TM noted a need to review/revise F1, the Student Conduct and Discipline policy. He noted the current policy has no mention of Restorative Justice and may not reflect the values the district embraces such as reconciliation and personal growth. He recommended that an ad hoc committee consisting of two board members, a student, the BUHS Dean of Student and the RJ Coordinator be formed to review and update the policy.

BN noted that F1 is included in a batch of policies yet to be presented to the committee and suggested holding off on an ad hoc committee. General agreement.

D3: Staffing and Job Descriptions
TM asked if “staffing” included “administrators.” General agreement that it does, but question best asked of the district’s legal counsel. TM also asked if a significant change in job description would constitute a “new position” thus requiring full board approval.

DS suggested TM send DST questions re. D3 for DST to consult with legal counsel, Pietro Lynn.

H1: School-Community Relations

DS noted that VT still allows remote access to board and committee meetings and suggested that all meetings of the WSESD be made available to the public remotely. DS suggested changes noted in an email sent on 6.14 to the committee:

It is the policy of the Windham Southeast School District to encourage the involvement of the community in its schools. All meetings of the WSESD District shall be accessible remotely, with appropriate restrictions. The Board delegates to the (Principal, Superintendent, or community relations officer) the responsibility for warning and scheduling remote access to all Board, Committee, and Leadership Council Meetings.

Discussion ensued over who could assist in setting up remote options for LCs. BN noted that this person should not be the Executive Assistant. The committee agrees.

D10: Resignations.

DS noted the need to add language to D10 to reflect the newly established HR procedure of requiring those resigning a licensed position to complete an exit interview. Per DS’s email of 6.14.22:
TITLE: Resignations CODE: D10
Implementation: A resignation by a licensed employee who is under contract to the school shall be submitted to the Superintendent. The resignation of a licensed employee will take effect on a date approved by the School Board after receiving the recommendation of the Superintendent.
The licensed employee shall complete an exit interview electronically and is encouraged to schedule a personal exit interview.

Further Comments
SM questioned the ability of the P&A to complete reviews of additional policies to the ones already presented by BN.

DST feels that policies presented by BN from the CO should be “front and center,” but agreed with DS who said that at times other policies are time urgent.

General discussion of a regular time/day for P&A committee left unresolved.

Next meeting: Monday, June 27th, Central Office, 3:00 pm.

Meeting adjourned by DST at 3:15 p.m.

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