WSESD Policy and Amendment Committee Meeting Minutes

Windham Southeast Supervisory District (WSESD) Board

Policy and Amendment Committee
53 Green St.

Brattleboro, VT 05301

April 24, 2023


Members attending in person: Deborah Stanford (DST, Chair), Tim Maciel , Eva Nolan (EN, via Zoom), Anne Beekman (AB, via Zoom)

Guests attending: Barbara Nowakowski (BN), Paul Smith (PS), Mark Speno (MS), Jaime Contois (JC, via Zoom), David Schoales (DS), Keith Lyman (KL), Cassie Damkoehler (CD via Zoom), Mo Hart (MH)

DST convened the meeting at 2:31 pm and read hybrid statement.

Minutes of 04.03.2023 meeting approved.

Next meeting set for 05.08.2023 at 2:30 pm

DST announced that the School Animal Policy (F35) would be presented at the full Board meeting the next evening for readoption. She also announced that the Policy on Nondiscriminatory Mascots and School Branding (D17) was adopted at the last WSESD meeting.

DST asked that the Student Dress Code Policy (LSP1/F42) be put on hold until students can weigh in on it. Committee agreed.

1. H1: Leadership Councils

Extensive discussion of Leadership Councils:

Issue of ADA compliance was raised. For full Board meetings, the option of closed captioning is available.

Issue of posting recordings of meetings discussed. Attorney Shaun Toohey advised that it is better to err on the side of caution and record and post them.

Burden on CO to collect and post recordings raised. Also, issue of available bandwidth. Suggestion to have individual schools post recordings of LC meetings on school websites rather than WSESD webpage. If additional bandwidth is needed, it is easily purchased.
Need for further discussion of how to prevent Zoom Bombing.

Language in the policy should be broadly stated that the District recognizes its responsibility to post recordings of LC meetings. The need for transparency outweighs desire of some not to be seen or heard on video recordings.

Prior to each meeting, chairs of LCs should announce that the meeting will be recorded and posted.

Annual orientation of LC chairs should include discussion of major changes to the policy.

Recommendation made to include language in the policy to prevent chairs from violating conflict of interest. Decision not to include this in the LC policy since it is already covered in the Code of Ethics.

Question: “Are copies of LC Code of Ethics signed by LC members?” Response: Unknown at this time.

A skeleton of a model Code of Ethics for LC members should be attached to the policy.

Concern raised about inappropriate comments made by LC members to the local media and in social media.

Question raised about the ability to remove an LC chair for “egregious behavior.” Noted that the principal of each school is responsible for ensuring proper conduct of LC meetings.

MS spoke about the timeframe for LC orientation. Should be shortly after the Board makes appointments to the LCs by the second Board meeting in October.

Discussion of language in the policy regarding paragraph on “Organization” and “the first meeting.” BN will amend the policy, but must wait to see where the recordings are to be posted to complete her amendments. MH will ask LC chairs where they are
posting the minutes.

General consensus among P&A committee members to record and post LC meetings, but discussion deferred to next meeting in order to gather more information from Gary in IT on what can and cannot be done.

2. Student Dress Code Policy (LSP1/F42)

KL arrived late to the meeting and asked for a brief discussion of the Dress Code policy. DS allowed for discussion.

KL has told his staff to speak up now about the dress code or “forever hold your peace.” Staff is very concerned about “skimpy” outfits now worn by some students at BAMS. He added that students will “push the envelope as far as possible.”

BN will amend the language of the policy, e.g. change “parent/guardian” to “caregiver” where appropriate and change “enforcement” to a term with less punitive nuance.

DS stated that the P&A committee must respect the lines of communication established in the District and staff concerns must go through the principals and Mark. Staff can send opinions to the P&A chair, but generally should not expect a response.

There should be documentation of who reaches out to the committee so that when a policy comes out, the community feels supported.

3. Local Action Plan (G8, Continuous Improvement Plan).

The policy partially addresses what information the Board needs on student learning and school climate and how it receives student performance data.

The policy calls for a “action team” that it made up of parents, admin and Board reps, staff and students.

Rather than the action team meeting just once for a retreat in June, another vision of the team is one that will meet periodically throughout the entire year.

The action team would address student performance as well as issues of equity and

MS thought that if we set aside a different time, we might involve others in discussion of this policy.

The Parental Involvement Policy (H2) relates to this policy.

Discussion of G8 will continue at the next meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 4:38 pm

Leave a Reply