RMO expressed a concern about how the camps are promoted; she wondered if the relatively low number of students served at the BUHS could be related to the fact that a miscommunication resulted in that camp not being announced to Brattleboro families until three days after the camp began. Hannah Parker noted that she sent the announcement to families as soon as she was made aware of that.
EN asked about waitlists for camp and why each camp was a different number of weeks. Ms. Tucker responded that for the elementary camp, there was a waitlist. Slots were filled based on the proportional number of students at each school and students were invited off the waitlist when there was a vacancy.
The length of the camps were determined by the different grants that funded them.
EN asked if credit recovery will increase a student’s grade point average (GPA) and whether there was outreach to students who didn’t graduate. Mr. Davidson responded that yes it does impact the student’sGPA and that there was outreach to non-graduating students who were seniors in the previous school year.
Overview of Start of School Year
Mr. Speno gave an update on the systems development for MLSS and EST, which included details on centralized monthly meetings, inter-school collaboration, and teacher-leaders.
A new structure this year is the addition of centralized MLSS and EST teams. The MLSS team first met last week, with representatives from every school plus district coaches, some principals, superintendent, Special Education evaluators and other district office staff. They will continue to meet six to seven times throughout the year and do cross planning across schools. The EST coordinator team will meet on Friday, September 15 with a similar structure. Teacher leaders will meet to improve opportunities to collaborate across schools. This ties in with goals around peer observation. Last year this was an exploration and elective to participate in these collaborative planning teams. This year it is
mandatory. There will be a deeper dive into this in the action plan goals discussion at the next meeting.
RMC asked about the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) and about MLSS at the high school level. Ms. Tucker responded that a teacher-driven BUHS MLSS committee began meeting last year, composed of Academic Support and Special Education teachers with the support of BUHS School Improvement Coordinator Nancy Johnston. They did four days of 1% work over the summer to set up systems and benchmark data and launched professional development for the whole staff at the start of school year that included community building, information about how to start a classroom, accommodations and differentiated instruction, a benchmarking system for grades 9-11 and a primer on Act 173, the special education rule change. Mr. Speno shared that The SEPAC began last year. A goal for this year is to increase participation. There will be a presentation about this at the September 13 WSESU meeting.
Pre-K Partnership Agreements
KY read the list of schools seeking approval for 2023-2024 Pre-K Partnership agreements. They included:
● Brattleboro Center for Children
● The Grammar School
● Hilltop Montessori
● Horizon Early Learning Center
● Horizon Early Learning Center d/b/a Mulberry Bush
● Miss Martha’s Early Learning Program
● Neighborhood Schoolhouse
● Owl’s Nest Family Preschool and Childcare
● The Garland School
● Timson Hill Preschool
● West Bee Nursery School
● Town of Vernon Preschool
● Winston Prouty Center for Child Development
● EES Birge Street
MOTION BY RMO TO APPROVE THE PRE-K PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS.
WSESU Pre-K Coordinator Kerri Beebe shared that all programs but one are already enrolled and the school year is off to a great start.
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
WSESU Curriculum Coordinator Paul Smith noted there are 230 children in the pre-kindergarten programs.
Update on Natowich Field
Mr. Speno gave the update. The goal is to reduce stress to Natowich Field by shifting some activities to other fields. They are looking at making changes to Tenney field to make an area that soccer and/or lacrosse teams could use for practice and play. This would involve moving home plate or the fence to create room for an additional field behind the baseball field. They will also be renovating the grandstand to increase safety and create a multi-use space that could also be used for outdoor learning. TM asked if work was done over the summer to revitalize Natowich Field. Mr. Speno responded that the field was re-seeded and maintained over the summer as it is every year. TM asked about a timeline
and whether there was a committee working on this issue. Mr. Speno responded that any plans for Natowich Field would need to be informed by the plans and timeline for the work on Tenney Field.
There is a school-based committee consisting of WSESU administrators and school staff that is working on this.
MOTION BY TM THAT THE ADMINISTRATION MAKE A TIMELINE FOR THE RESUSCITATION OF NATOWICH FIELD.
POINT-OF-ORDER BY AB: The Board cannot make or vote on a motion if it has not been warned.
TM disagreed; the topic was warned on the agenda.
EN asked if completely re-sodding Natowich Field would mean that it couldn’t be used for an entire year, and whether that would happen this year. Mr. Speno responded that it would preclude use of the field for one year, but that it would not happen until at least next year if that is necessary. He promised to share the report from the firm doing the surveying of Tenney Field as soon as it is available.
Kerry Amidon of Vernon asked for clarification of what the board means by “resuscitation.” TM responded that he was referring to the recommendation from the Climate Emergency Task Force that the field be refurbished using organically managed methods. He understood this to mean completely tearing up the surface, adding compost and then re-sodding the field.
Frank Rucker added that the type of field surface will be dictated by what activities are assigned to the field, and that will depend on the renovations to Tenney Field. He shared that he and the team working on this have had conversations with people who maintain the field and it is a safe field that is routinely maintained and utilized.
TM RESCINDED HIS MOTION.
KP emphasized the need to wait for the survey report to determine a course of action. If football becomes the only sport using Natowich, that will allow plenty of time for the field to recover in the off season.
SM added that losing the use of the field for a year would be a hardship on student athletes.
DS asked about a timeframe for receiving the Tenney Field survey results. Mr. Speno responded that the surveyors completed their work the previous Friday. Mr. Rucker said he would expect a report from
JA Sports by the end of the year and possibly as early as October. SM noted the thoroughness of the Gale Report and Mr. Rucker confirmed that they are using that as a reference document.
Liz Adams of Putney commented on the challenges of renovating Natowich Field because of its age and conditions, and she noted this has been repeatedly discussed at Board meetings.
Jody Normandeau of Dummerston expressed the importance of properly built soccer fields with bleachers and lighting. She suggested that the challenges of losing the use of Natowich for one year could be addressed by playing their games at the other schools’ fields for that year if that was needed in order to restore the field properly.
KY called for a break at 7:24pm.
KY called the meeting back to order at 7:29pm.
IV. CONSENT AGENDA
Clerk’s Report – Approval of Minutes – August 22, 2023
MOTION BY SM TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF AUGUST 22, 2023. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Warrants and Payrolls
Warrant of June 12, 2023
Warrant No. 1387 in the amount of $ 150.00
Warrant No. 1388 in the amount of $ 131,049.04
Warrant No. 1389 in the amount of $ 712.50
Warrant No. 1391 in the amount of $ 100.00
Warrant No. 1392 in the amount of $ 1044.00
Warrant No. 1393 in the amount of $ 7350.00
Warrant No. 1394 in the amount of $ 3030.00
Warrant No. 1395 in the amount of $ 104,633.19
Warrant of June 19, 2023
Warrant No. 1396 in the amount of $ 8,457.00
Warrant No. 1397 in the amount of $ 80,455.00
Warrant No. 1398 in the amount of $ 3,506.73
Warrant No. 1399 in the amount of $ 6,000.00
Warrant No. 1400 in the amount of $ 350.00
Warrant No. 1406 in the amount of $ 18,578.57
Warrant No. 1407 in the amount of $ 208,676.86
Warrant No. 1408 in the amount of $ 1,080.00
Payrolls June 16, 2023 $ 1,510,919.23
Warrant of June 26, 2023
6/8/23 ACH Purchasing Card Payment $ 35,613.05
6/15/23 ACH Purchasing Card Payment $ 17,964.81
Warrant No. 1410 in the amount of $ 6,580.00
Warrant No. 1411 in the amount of $ 2,596.50
Warrant No. 1412 in the amount of $ 288.66
Warrant No. 1413 in the amount of $ 5,083.82
Warrant No. 1414 in the amount of $ 94,565.79
Warrant of July 3, 2023
Warrant No. 1415 in the amount of $ 13,762.50
Warrant No. 1416 in the amount of $ 16,583.55
Warrant No. 1417 in the amount of $ 15,624.14
Warrant No. 1422 in the amount of $ 40,005.68
Warrant No. 1425 in the amount of $ 262,958.14
Warrant No. 1426 in the amount of $ 2,247.45
Warrant No. 1427 in the amount of $ 800,005.15
Warrant No. 1428 in the amount of $ 5,445.14
Payrolls June 30, 2023 $ 1,682,692.19
Warrant of July 10, 2023
Warrant No. 1001 in the amount of $ 8,165.00
Warrant No. 1002 in the amount of $ 3,054.00
Warrant No. 1004 in the amount of $ 141,717.65
Warrant No. 1008 in the amount of $ 1,344.92
Warrant No. 1009 in the amount of $ 3,160.29
Warrant No. 1010 in the amount of $ 24,397.04
Warrant No. 1011 in the amount of $ 65,175.56
Warrant of July 17, 2023
Warrant No. 1012 in the amount of $ 625.00
Warrant No. 1013 in the amount of $ 3,964.40
Warrant No. 1015 in the amount of $ 1,170.00
Warrant No. 1016 in the amount of $ 17,985.87
Warrant No. 1017 in the amount of $ 520.00
Warrant No. 1018 in the amount of $ 10,240.23
Warrant No. 1019 in the amount of $ 200.00
Warrant No. 1020 in the amount of $ 44,562.88
Payrolls July 14, 2023 $ 1,306,127.77
Warrant of July 24, 2023
WSESD 6/29/23 ACH Purchase Card $ 12,935.94
WSESD 6/30/23 ACH Purchase Card $ 410.26
WSESD 6/29/23 ACH Purchase Card $ 1,002.81
Warrant No. 1021 in the amount of $ 6,060.00
Warrant No. 1022 in the amount of $ 1,000.00
Warrant No. 1023 in the amount of $ 2,122.53
Warrant No. 1025 in the amount of $ 40,989.56
Warrant No. 1027 in the amount of $ 12,847.84
Warrant No. 1028 in the amount of $ 28,576.30
Warrant No. 1029 in the amount of $ 629.99
Warrant No. 1030 in the amount of $ 884.99
Warrant No. 1031 in the amount of $ 167,444.54
Warrant No. 1032 in the amount of $ 7,203.32
Warrant of July 31, 2023
Warrant No. 1030 in the amount of $ 18,262.50
Warrant No. 1031 in the amount of $ 150.00
Warrant No. 1032 in the amount of $ 102,756.23
Payrolls July 28, 2023 $ 1,367,857.61
Warrant of August 8, 2023
Warrant No. 1043 in the amount of $ 1,100.00
Warrant No. 1044 in the amount of $ 129,879.06
Warrant of August 14, 2023
Warrant No. 1046 in the amount of $ 9,265.00
Warrant No. 1051 in the amount of $ 306.80
Warrant No. 1052 in the amount of $ 77,139.11
Payrolls August 11, 2023 $ 1,408,816.46
Warrant of August 21, 2023
Warrant No. 1055 in the amount of $ 1,150.00
Warrant No. 1056 in the amount of $ 3,100.00
Warrant No. 1057 in the amount of $ 650.00
Warrant No. 1058 in the amount of $ 105.32
Warrant No. 1060 in the amount of $ 1042.12
Warrant No. 1061 in the amount of $ 1,056,389.69
Warrant of August 28, 2023
Warrant No. 1063 in the amount of $ 135,745.00
Warrant No. 1068 in the amount of $ 9,726.00
Warrant No. 1072 in the amount of $ 198.06
Warrant No. 1073 in the amount of $ 980,238.93
Warrant No. 1074 in the amount of $ 13,868.77
Payrolls August 25, 2023 $ 1,377,160.72
Warrant of September 5, 2023
WSESD 8/16/2023 ACH Purchase Card $ 22,902.00
Warrant No. 1076 in the amount of $ 30.94
Warrant No. 1078 in the amount of $ 2,154.00
Warrant No. 1080 in the amount of $ 188,127.24
MOTION BY KP TO APPROVE THE WARRANTS AND PAYROLLS. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Jody Normandeau of Dummerston asked if the public could view more of the details on the warrants.
Mr. Rucker shared that there are financial statements published around the 15th of each month. They are posted with the Finance Committee agendas as well as on the WSESU website under the Finance section.
KY noted that many of these warrants are from June. They were signed by board members earlier in the summer, but were not listed on the agenda. Mr. Rucker added that normally the Finance Commitee would approve warrants over the summer but their meeting was cancelled.
V. PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
KY read the public comment response statement.
Jody Normandeau of Dummerston made a suggestion that the WSESU website be updated to highlight budget and other information pertaining to the current fiscal year to make it easier to find.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
Sexual Abuse Investigation
KY reported that, although she was hoping to have something to share with the public, Attorney
Goddard has had some delays and there is no update.
Mindy Haskins Rogers, BUHS alumna, asked KY if she knows when a report will be issued. KY responded: No.
RMC announced the Communications Council has warned the September 16 meet-and-greet in case there is a quorum of board members who attend.
KY noted the deadline for submitting applications is in ten days. The Board has received some letters of interest, which will go to the Brattleboro Selectboard for feedback.
RMO pointed out that, although the vacancy is for a Brattleboro resident, people from other towns who might like to run for the Board in the future should also attend the meet and greet event.
VII. NEW BUSINESS
Policy & Amendment presents the following for 1st Reading: D1 – Personnel Recruitment, Selection, Appointment and Background Checks
DS announced this policy is being presented for its first reading. She asked the Board to read the entire policy carefully. She acknowledged the Policy & Amendment Committee’s collaboration with the Social Justice Committee, as well as many administrators, Board members, and the new Human Resources Director Michael Kelliher, all of whom worked on this policy.
DS noted this is a significant policy.
VIII. BOARD MATTERS / TRAINING
Leadership Council Updates
DS reported the Council has three points to communicate to the Board:
1. There is a need to streamline and digitize the on-boarding process for new hires.
2. On September 14 there will be a goal-setting meeting with prospective Council members.
3. The Council urges the Board to establish stipends for participating staff. Council meetings happen outside of contract hours. Doing this will promote staff participation.
TM announced two dates:
1. September 21: the Council is having a recruitment fair at the BUHS Open House.
2. October 17 (tentative): the first Council meeting.
Putney Central School
RMC reported this Council would like to know if it is possible for the WSESD Board to codify or strengthen the policy on class size, especially to keep Kindergarten classes small.
RMO asked how these requests from the Leadership Councils will be addressed. KY asked Board members to add these to the agenda for the next meeting when she initiates that process.
● Programmatic & Performance Equity Committee
RMC requested an update on the Committee’s proposal to have meetings rotate between all district schools. Mr. Speno responded that he has solicited feedback on the proposed schedule from the principals, and it is likely that, beginning in October, the meetings will travel to the
different schools in the District.
● Personnel Committee
Hiring & Financial Decisions returned to the WSESD Board
TM thanked the Personnel Committee for handling the hiring decisions over the summer.
MOTION BY TM THAT ALL NEW HIRES WILL BE APPROVED BY THE WSESD SCHOOL BOARD AT REGULAR MEETINGS, THUS ENDING THE PERSONNEL COMMITTEE’S AUTHORITY TO APPROVE POSITIONS OVER THE SUMMER MONTHS.
KY asked if this motion included the Finance Committee’s authority to approve the warrants.
TM responded: No.
SM MADE A FRIENDLY AMENDMENT TO THE TM MOTION: add “and the Finance
Committee’s authority to approve warrants and payrolls over the summer months.”
TM ACCEPTED SM’S FRIENDLY AMENDMENT, TO AMEND THE MOTION TO READ THUS: THAT ALL NEW HIRES WILL BE APPROVED BY THE WSESD SCHOOL BOARD AT REGULAR MEETINGS, THUS ENDING THE PERSONNEL COMMITTEE’S AUTHORITY TO APPROVE POSITIONS OVER THE SUMMER MONTHS AND THE FINANCE COMMITTEE’S AUTHORITY TO APPROVE WARRANTS AND PAYROLLS OVER THE SUMMER MONTHS. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
● Social Justice Committee
RMO announced that the Committee is currently considering updating the hiring procedure to include requiring principals to submit to Board members the candidate’s CV and their responses to the two social justice questions that were added to all applications for certified staff and administrator positions when they are proposing a new hire to the board for approval. EN elaborated on what considerations are informing this possible requirement. She also mentioned that Mr. Kelliher shared some strategies for expanding staff diversity.
MOTION BY RMO TO ADD DS AS A MEMBER OF THE SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Resignations and Hires
Mr. Speno announced there is one resignation and one new hire.
Emily Hartz, Academic Support teacher at Academy School, is resigning.
MOTION BY AB TO ACCEPT THE RESIGNATION OF EMILY HARTZ WITH REGRET. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
BUHS Interim Principal Hannah Parker announced the hire of Hannah Rosinski as the new 504 Coordinator for BAMS and BUHS, and the new EST Coordinator for BUHS.
MOTION BY SM TO HIRE HANNAH ROSINSKI AS THE NEW 504 COORDINATOR FOR BAMS AND BUHS, AND THE NEW EST COORDINATOR FOR BUHS. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
KY asked RMC to send a scheduling poll to Board members and urged everyone to respond promptly..
VSBA/VSA annual conference
KY announced the conference is October 26 and 27. Several Board members have registered to attend.
IX. EXECUTIVE SESSION
MOTION BY DS TO FIND THAT PREMATURE GENERAL PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE
WOULD CLEARLY PLACE THE PUBLIC BODY OR PERSON INVOLVED IN
SUBSTANTIAL DISADVANTAGE UNDER 1 V.S.A. §313(1)(E), FOR PENDING OR
PROBABLE CIVIL LITIGATION OR A PROSECUTION, TO WHICH THE PUBLIC BODY
IS OR MAY BE A PARTY. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
MOTION BY KP TO ENTER INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION UNDER 1 V.S.A. §313(1)(E), FOR
PENDING OR PROBABLE CIVIL LITIGATION OR A PROSECUTION, TO WHICH THE
PUBLIC BODY IS OR MAY BE A PARTY. INVITING IN MARK SPENO AND MICHAEL
KELLIHER. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The Board entered into Executive Session at 8:11pm.
The Board rose from Executive Session at 8:32pm.
The Board took no action.
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 UNDER 1 V.S.A. §313(a)(1)(F) FOR CONFIDENTIAL
ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
MOTION BY KP TO ENTER INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION UNDER 1 V.S.A. §313(a)(1)(F)
FOR CONFIDENTIAL ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS. MOTION CARRIED
The Board entered into Executive Session at 8:34pm.
The Board rose from Executive Session at 9:13pm.
The Board took no action.
XI. EXECUTIVE SESSION
MOTION BY KP TO FIND THAT PREMATURE GENERAL PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE
WOULD CLEARLY PLACE THE PUBLIC BODY OR PERSON INVOLVED IN
SUBSTANTIAL DISADVANTAGE UNDER 1 V.S.A. §313(a)(1)(A) CONTRACTS, AND
UNDER 1 V.S.A. §313(1)(E), FOR PENDING OR PROBABLE CIVIL LITIGATION OR A
PROSECUTION, TO WHICH THE PUBLIC BODY IS OR MAY BE A PARTY. MOTION
MOTION BY KP TO ENTER INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION UNDER 1 V.S.A. §313(a)(1)(A)
CONTRACTS, AND UNDER 1 V.S.A. §313(1)(E), FOR PENDING OR PROBABLE CIVIL
LITIGATION OR A PROSECUTION, TO WHICH THE PUBLIC BODY IS OR MAY BE A
PARTY. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The Board entered into Executive Session at 9:15pm.
The Board rose from Executive Session at 9:55pm, taking no action
AB MOVED TO ADJOURN THE MEETING. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:55pm.
● A slideshow: “WSESD/WSESU Summer Camps”
● A slideshow of photos from the WSESU summer camp
● A film: “Putney Central School Summer Camp”
● A slideshow: “BEAMS Camp”
● A slideshow: “BUHS Credit Recovery and Enrichment Classes”
Submitted by Robin Morgan, WSESD Board Clerk, 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.