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
TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2023
REGULAR BOARD MEETING – 6PM
HYBRID MEETING: WRCC CUSICK CONFERENCE ROOM, BRATTLEBORO,
AND REMOTELY VIA ZOOM
WSESD Board Members Present: Chair Kelly Young (KY), Anne Beekman (AB), Kaiya Colby (non-
voting Student Representative), Lana Dever (LD), Tim Maciel (TM), Ruby McAdoo (RMA), Shaun
Murphy (SM), Eva Nolan (EN), Kimberley Price (KP), Deborah Stanford (DS)
WSESD Board Members Absent: Robin Morgan
WSESU/SD Staff and Administrators Present: Mark Speno, Brin Tucker, Whitney Lynde, Paul Smith,
Cassie Damkoehler, Frank Rucker, Keith Lyman, Nancy Wiese.
Others Present: Liz Adams of Putney, Jody Normandeau of Dummerston, BUHS alumnus Dan
Hermansson, BUHS student Eva Gould, Laura Chapman of Putney.
Please note: attendance may be incomplete.
I. CALL TO ORDER
KY called the meeting to order at 6:03pm.
MOTION BY DS TO AMEND THE AGENDA TO POSTPONE LETTER “I” UNDER “NEW
BUSINESS.” MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
II. EXECUTIVE SESSION UNDER 1 VSA § 313 (A) (7) STUDENT MATTERS / THE
ACADEMIC RECORDS OR SUSPENSION OR DISCIPLINE OF STUDENTS, ACTION
KY announced there would be four Executive Sessions for procedural student matters. Superintendent Mark Speno is invited to each. They may affect items on the agenda, which is why they are entering Executive Session now.
MOTION BY KP TO ENTER EXECUTIVE SESSION UNDER 1 VSA § 313 (A)(7) STUDENT
MATTERS, FOR THE ACADEMIC RECORDS OR SUSPENSION OR DISCIPLINE OF
STUDENTS. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The Board entered into Executive Session at 6:07pm.
The Board rose from Executive Session at 6:26pm.
III. STUDENT MATTERS
There were none at that moment, but KY acknowledged there may be students who want to comment later.
IV. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT — ACTION PLAN OVERVIEW
Mr. Speno announced this presentation will highlight the successes of the year, and identify challenges.
He noted that in August, the administration develops their action plan for the following year, and then
throughout the year they focus on specific elements to achieve their goals.
Mr. Speno welcomed Whitney Lynde, Brin Tucker, and Paul Smith, from the WSESU Office of Curriculum and Assessment.
Ms. Lynde shared and discussed a document, “WSESD/WSESU Reflection 2022-23 EST, MLSS, CIP.” Highlights included:
● MLSS stands for Multi-Layered Systems of Support. One aspect of that work is to support academic needs, and the Educational Support Teams (EST) are one element of that multi- layered support. The MLSS work is a centerpiece of the Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP).
● EST coordinators met every other month to exchange ideas and experiences and develop consistency across the district. This was successful and the hope is to increase it to monthly meetings next year. Topics included goal writing, data tracking, OT/PT resources, analysis of forms, and student transitions to new schools.
● Ms. Lynde and Becky Pelosi worked with EST to support them in developing plans for each student being served.
● Data on how EST are being utilized for K-8 students and what kind of needs are being addressed.
● Data on K-8 outcomes: About half of all students working with EST will continue to work with EST next year. Ideally EST will help students eventually move beyond needing this support.
● At the beginning of each school year, EST coordinators and teams will meet with student families to review existing plans and set new measurable goals. Teams will continue to meet every six weeks throughout the school year. This
● EST has existed for a long time in different forms at different schools. The current goal is to create a similar experience for students across the system. Last year’s goal was to create research-based benchmarks for the program. This year’s focus was on implementation. This work is a continuous cycle: this year’s data leads to next year’s planning.
Paul Smith noted Act 173 has highlighted the importance of ESTs.
Ms. Tucker presented on Multi-Layered Systems of Support (MLSS). Highlights included:
● Nancy Johnson, School Improvement Coordinator has been researching the BUHS process to compare how that aligns with the district-wide EST benchmarks and processes.
● The MLSS committee at BUHS is working to do system-building around this. BUHS EST Coordinator focused on data collection, counselor and house administrator work with teachers and families to create EST plans.
● How it differs from MTSS, which is “Multi-Tiered Systems of Support.” The different “layers” of MLSS refer to being able to layer on additional supports to meet the needs of any individual student, while they are still accessing the same core instruction available to every student.
● These pillars support the best practices for MLSS: Core instruction that meets the needs of most students, additional interventions/instruction where needed, highly skilled teachers, a system- wide approach to positive behavior, and specialized supports targeted for students with more intensive needs.
● A District-wide Act 173 Steering Committee is being formed, with the goals of developing each teacher’s understanding of Act 173 theory of action and best practices, and centralized MLSS resources. They have already done a self-assessment survey to identify baseline knowledge of MLSS in teachers across the district and use that data to develop the next year’s Act 173 implementation rubric.
● IEP meetings and conferences are opportunities for families to give feedback about how MLSS is working and collaborate on plans to meet student needs.
● The MLSS approach also informs the Professional Development process, in order to provide targeted learning for teachers at different knowledge levels and stages of their careers. The MLSS Steering Committee will include representatives from each school to help guide that process.
● The Vermont Agency of Education’s sheet, “Vermont Portrait of a Graduate,” which identifies six areas of proficiency: Learner Agency, Global Citizenship, Academic Proficiency, Well Being, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Communication.
● The WSESU CIP, which includes state requirements and local goals developed in the pandemic recovery plan, focuses on Safe and Healthy Schools, Academic Achievement, and Student Social-Emotional Learning, Mental Health, and Wellbeing. These issues are long-term, and require continuous work.
● Steps were identified to improve Student Perception of School Climate. Work is continuing to increase inclusion of IEP students in the least restrictive environment. Another goal is to decrease the achievement gap for students in underserved populations. This is a problem that takes concentrated, long term work to address. Attendance problems continue to be a struggle and that will be a continuing goal for next year. Many of the strategies identified in last year’s CIP have been implemented.
● At the most recent leadership meeting, the team looked at climate survey data and created an analysis of current data and potential needs in order to develop next year’s action plan. Some of the areas identified were literacy and math proficiency, school climate, attendance, graduation rate, and suspensions. Inclusion rate is still below our goal but increased from 59% to 72% of students being in the least restrictive environment.
● At the board retreat on 6/26, there will be a review of the CIP goals and action steps identified for administration and board. In August there will be a review of MLSS data and identification of district-wide goals and then in the fall schools can continue work on school-based and district wide CIPs.
● Diversifying the workforce is part of these goals and strategies, and this is important to the Board.
● Administration will put together a packet for board members to review the CIP in preparation
or the retreat.
● Vermont Portrait of a Graduate was identified as a potential framework for administrative presentations to the board over the next school year.
● The current Coordinator, Mike Szostak, is retiring. He has agreed to help mentor the next person in that position.
● The administration has been posted and there is a group of candidates to interview.
● The goal is to have that person continue to serve BAMS and BUHS, but ideally, they would serve the entire District.
● This position is not just to respond to conflict; it is expanding to maintain a restorative community.
● BAMS Principal Keith Lyman said he would love to have a full-time Restorative Justice Coordinator at BAMS.
V. CONSENT AGENDA
● CLERK’S REPORT – Approval of Minutes – May 23, 2023
MOTION BY KP TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF MAY 23, 2023.
TM reminded the board that motions belong to the entire Board; not an individual. People’s names do not need to be attached to every mention of the amendment. He also noted that even friendly amendments must be voted on by the board before accepting an adjustment to the language of a motion.
VOTE ON THE KP MOTION: MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Warrant of May 8, 2023
ACH Purchasing Card Payment 4/17/2023 $33,756.36
Warrant No. 1347 in the amount of 330.00
Warrant No. 1348 in the amount of 6,154.65
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Warrant of May 15, 2023
Warrant No. 1351 in the amount of $6,646.40
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Warrant of May 22, 2023
Warrant No. 1355 in the amount of $6,100.00
Warrant No. 1356 in the amount of 5,549.00
Warrant No. 1358 in the amount of 180.00
Warrant No. 1359 in the amount of 40.00
Warrant No. 1360 in the amount of 23,189.10
Warrant No. 1365 in the amount of 239,457.40
Warrant of May 30, 2023
Warrant No. 1368 in the amount of $3,483.68
Warrant No. 1371 in the amount of 880.61
Warrant No. 1372 in the amount of 27,094.26
Warrant No. 1373 in the amount of 1,170.25
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Warrant of June 5, 2023
ACH Purchasing Card Payment 5/10/23 $39,002.46
Warrant No. 1377 in the amount of 4,500.00
Warrant No. 1378 in the amount of 1,585.00
Warrant No. 1383 in the amount of 2,975.00
Warrant No. 1384 in the amount of 5,577.93
Warrant No. 1385 in the amount of 3,190.17
Warrant No. 1386 in the amount of 856,316.12
MOTION BY DS TO APPROVE THE WARRANTS. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
April 7, 2023 $1,408,847.04
May 19, 2023 $1,778,053.14
June 2, 2023 $1,516,758.81
MOTION BY DS TO APPROVE THE PAYROLLS. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
III. STUDENT MATTERS (continued)
Kaiya Colby, BUHS Student Representative, announced this is her last Board meeting as a Student Representative. She thanked the Board for including student involvement in an area where it does not often happen.
X. NEW BUSINESS
C. Student Representatives – Appreciation
VI. FISCAL REPORT
Finance Director Frank Rucker gave his report. Highlights included:
● The Finance Committee met before tonight’s Board meeting. The minutes will be posted on the website. Highlights from that meeting included:
◦ A review of the year-to-date financial statements.
◦ A report on the Legislative results, which affect the funding formula.
◦ Framework of how transactions are recorded and communicated.
◦ The District’s fiscal status is favorable as we head into the new fiscal year and capital projects are moving forward as planned.
Mr. Speno requested a change in the agenda to accommodate a student who is at the meeting. He would like to skip to item B, “BUHS School Rebranding – Action Required,” under “Unfinished Business.” KY approved.
VIII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
B. BUHS School Rebranding – Action Required
Mr. Speno reviewed the process used to decide the new mascot. Students and staff were surveyed for suggestions for a new mascot and invited to volunteer for a committee to choose one to put forth to the board for approval. The process included three rounds of voting, in which it became clear that one option rose to the top.
Eva Gould, a current BUHS student who served on the mascot selection committee, read the following proposal to the Board on behalf of the committee:
“Anyone entering Brattleboro Union High School sees four words- Community, Relevance, Respect, and Responsibility. Though times may change, these four words remain as the core values in our school. Through our Community we are strong. In our academics we find Relevance. As members we Respect one another. Finally, we place value on our Responsibilities within these walls and outward.
The challenge for our community as we go forth is to respect both continuity and change. We have every confidence that the same student body that was sensitive to our changing demographics and had thoughtful and intelligent dialogue regarding historical references, will uphold a deep respect and gratitude to those who were instrumental in building Brattleboro’s proud tradition. It is our responsibility as a community to now model the same ability to respect our past, while we stand shoulder to shoulder with our current student body in embracing their future.
It has been a privilege to have worked as members of the New Mascot Selection Committee. Our commitment to representing all of the members of our school and larger community with respect and dignity makes us very proud to now present our recommendation to the School Board.
WHEREAS, the New Mascot Committee recognizes the vital role of school spirit and respects the proud traditions forged by Brattleboro alumni and
MOTION BY KP TO APPROVE THE RESOLUTION.
A discussion ensued.
Jody Normandeau of Dummerston, who graduated from Brattleboro High School in 1959, acknowledged the difficulty in changing the mascot. But, she said, now that she has been educated, she appreciates the change. She noted the bear, as per Ms. Gould’s statement, represents the community well. Ms. Normandeau thanked all who participated in this process.
LD thanked Mr. Hermansson for his statement, and added that much of what he said the mascot committee took into account.
Ms. Damkoehler also thanked Mr. Hermansson and noted that this change does not remove the Colonels from the school’s history but it allows the school to move forward in a positive way and unite the community.
VOTE TO APPROVE THE RESOLUTION: MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
VII. PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
Ms. Normandeau thanked the Board for including Student Representatives in the WSESD Board; it has been a long time coming.
Liz Adams of Putney, whose term as a WSESD Board member ended in March, thanked Mr. Speno, the administrators, and teachers, for all of their great presentations this year. She found it very helpful when she was a Board member, and now as a member of the public. Ms. Adams also thanked her colleagues on the Board, and she reminded the public that being a Board member is very hard work that goes far beyond attending meetings.
Laura Chapman of Putney thanked LD for her service, as well as all Board members, but especially LD as this is her last meeting. KY also thanked LD.
VIII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS (continued)
A. Sexual Abuse Investigation Update
KY gave an update. She reported she had reached out to the attorney who is checking in with Attorney
Goddard. KY hopes to have more information at the next Board meeting.
IX. BOARD MATTERS / TRAINING
A. Leadership Council Updates
DS reported the Leadership Councils (LC) have asked about the LC terms of office. Mr. Speno responded: Members of the LCs can serve as long as they desire. The cycle is, in September, new people can join, or those resigning can step down. By mid-October, the administration will present an LC orientation for new members.
DS expressed her support for having transitions in October, as this allows new families a chance to join. As Chair of the Policy and Amendment Committee, she noted there are policies being developed on this topic, but they are not yet ready for a second reading.
DS reported she has been working with the Secretary of State’s office on the subject of when and whether LC meetings must be recorded. She has received inconsistent information from them, but where it stands now is that hybrid meetings do not need an audio-visual recording, as long as there is a physical location where the public may attend. Conversely, a remote-only meeting must have its audio and video recorded and posted.
TM reported the BUHS LC would like to begin in September.
Mr. Speno clarified that LCs can meet in September, and October is when they can have their changes
in membership. He reminded the Board that anyone can attend any LC meeting, but the roles will be selected in October.
RMA raised concerns from the LCs:
● LC members still have questions about how their concerns get addressed to the Board.
● The Putney LC wants Board meetings to rotate around the District again.
● The Guilford LC had questions about the VTCAP but they acknowledged this is a conversation for the future.
WRCC Director Nancy Wiese reminded the Board that, because the District accepts federal funding, it must be ADA-compliant and that requires that recordings of district meetings include captions and/or subtitles. Meetings recorded by BCTV, such as WSESD Board meetings, do include subtitles, but so must any meetings recorded by the District, such as LC meetings. DS noted that the district is aware of this issue and is working on addressing it.
B. Board Sub-Committees – Mission statements
RMA announced the Performance and Equity Committee has developed their mission statement, which she read, and announced is attached to this meeting’s agenda. The statement is as follows: “Provide a space for community engagement around equity and performance, and develop recommendations with administration and staff to increase equity and performance through the district.”
A discussion ensued on whether the Board should approve this mission statement, or if the committee can approve it at their meeting. DS advocated for the Board approving it.
MOTION BY RMA TO APPROVE THE PROPOSED PPE UPDATED MISSION
STATEMENT. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
TM asked if Board meetings will continue to be hybrid meetings.
KY responded: As far as she knows.
IX. NEW BUSINESS
A. Hires / Resignations / Retirements
Mr. Speno announced one resignation: Christy Jackson, who is a BAMS English teacher. Mr. Lyman noted she is also included in “new hires.”
MOTION BY KP TO APPROVE WITH REGRET THE RESIGNATION DESCRIBED BY
MARK. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Mr. Speno announced the new hires:
Maureen Ward – Putney Central School (PCS), Academic Support, one-year position
Rachel Liubushkin – WRCC English Teacher
Jaida Henry – BUHS Health/PE
Rebecca Krause – BUHS School Nurse
Alixandra Joyal – Academy Art Teache, one-year position
Madeline Conley – Green St Art Teacher
Melissa Cavanagh – Pre-K Teacher, Oak Grove
Chelsea Wiehl – Oak Grove Academic Support Teacher
Katarina Mazur – BAMS Tech & Design, one-year position
Christy Jackson – BAMS Librarian
Emily Walsh – PCS Grade 1 Teacher, one-year position
MOTION BY KP TO ACCEPT THE NEW HIRES AS LISTED BY MARK. MOTION
Mr. Speno noted there are no retirements.
B. Staff / Admin – Appreciation
KY announced LD is resigning from the Board, as of June 16. She thanked LD for her contributions.
Board members and Ms. Colby thanked LD for her service, noting her courage, strong voice, integrity and the strength of her convictions. The in-person meeting attendees gave LD a standing ovation.
DS awarded LD a certificate of appreciation.
KY thanked everyone who delivered baked goods to the District staff.
D. Student Representative Applications – Action Required
MOTION BY AB TO APPROVE THE TWO STUDENTS WHO WERE DISCUSSED IN
EXECUTIVE SESSION AS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEXT YEAR. MOTION CARRIED
MOTION BY TM FOR THE BOARD TO ACCEPT THE LETTER OF NOMINATION TO
THE STUDENT SIGNED BY DS AND TM ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD. MOTION
MOTION BY TM THAT THE BOARD APPROVE DS AND TM TO SERVE AS ADVISORS
TO THE TWO STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
C. Darrow Scholarship – Action Required
MOTION BY AB THAT THE BOARD APPROVE THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE
DARROW SCHOLARSHIP FROM PUTNEY. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
MOTION BY KP TO APPROVE THE RECIPIENT OF THE SCHOOL DIRECTORS’
AWARD. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
F. Policy and Amendment presents for a 1st Reading the following:
F42 Dress Code
E17 (F3) Fire and Emergency Preparedness Drills
H8 (F4) Access Control and Visitor Management
DS drew the board’s attention to a paragraph from Policy F42, and encouraged people to review the entire policy.
“We want to encourage and support our children to be well-rounded, not defined by their bodies and their clothes. Our goal is to create a learning environment that gives us space for self expression, grounding us in our equality and worth. We recognize that we are constantly inundated with messages from others and from the media that work to convince us to participate in our own oppression or the oppression of others. We will work as a community to create space for expression, but one that challenges us to deepen our sense of self worth and care of each other. The Student Dress Code policy will be reviewed annually at the end of each school year.”
DS read the Statement of Policy from Policy H8, and noted this is a new, mandatory policy.
DS read the Statement of Policy from Policy E17, and noted this is also a mandatory policy from the Legislature, specifically S.138.
“It is the policy of the Windham Southeast School District (District) to require each school site to conduct options-based response drills in the fall and spring of each academic year, and to adopt and maintain an all-hazards emergency operations plan, as part of the District’s overall school safety plan.”
DS noted this is the 10-day review period for these policies, and she directed anyone with questions to email the members of the committee.
G. Board Norms – Discussion with Possible Action
MOTION BY KY TO POSTPONE “BOARD NORMS” UNTIL THE NEXT BOARD
MEETING. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
I. Personnel Committee and Finance Committee – Authorization to represent WSESD Board during the summer months when the Board is not in session.
MOTION BY LD TO AUTHORIZE THE PERSONNEL COMMITTEE TO REPRESENT THE
BOARD DURING SUMMER MONTHS WHEN THE BOARD IS NOT IN SESSION. MOTION
A discussion ensued on the merits of likewise empowering the Finance Committee to do some of the Board’s work in the summer.
MOTION BY SM THAT THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF THE WSESD IS AUTHORIZED
TO REPRESENT THE BOARD DURING THE SUMMER IN REGARDS TO FINANCIAL
MATTERS. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
A discussion ensued on the summer schedule. The board opted to wait and make a decision on whether to meet in the beginning of July at the next meeting on June 27.
X. EXECUTIVE SESSION
MOTION BY DS TO FIND THAT PREMATURE GENERAL PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE
WOULD CLEARLY PLACE THE PUBLIC BODY OR PERSON INVOLVED IN
SUBSTANTIAL DISADVANTAGE, WHILE ANTICIPATING THE BOARD WILL MAKE A
SEPARATE MOTION UNDER 1 VSA §313(a)(1)(D), GRIEVANCES, OTHER THAN TAX
GRIEVANCES, FOR THREE REASONS:
● 1 VSA §313(a)(1)(A), CONTRACTS
● 1 VSA §313(a)(1)(B), LABOR RELATIONS AGREEMENTS WITH EMPLOYEES,
REGARDING A GRIEVANCE MATTER AND ITS FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS.
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
MOTION BY LD TO ENTER INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION UNDER 1 VSA §313(a)(1)(D),
GRIEVANCES, OTHER THAN TAX GRIEVANCES; 1 VSA §313(a)(1)(A), CONTRACTS;
AND 1 VSA §313(a)(1)(B), LABOR RELATIONS AGREEMENTS WITH EMPLOYEES.
INVITING IN ATTORNEY PIETRO LYNN FOR A BRIEF POINT, AND THEN INVITING IN
MARK, AND FRANK RUCKER, TO PARTICIPATE IN THE EXECUTIVE SESSION.
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
KY announced the Board will take no action upon rising from Executive Session.
The Board entered into Executive Session at 8:31pm.
The Board rose from Executive session at 9:55pm, taking no action.
MOTION BY AB TO ADJOURN THE MEETING. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
● A slideshow, “WSESD/WSESU Reflection 2022-23 EST, MLSS, CIP.”
Submitted by Robin Morgan, WSESD Board Clerk, from minutes taken by Wendy M. Levy