MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS’ MEETING on September 15, 2016
A regular meeting of the Board of Directors was held at the Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine on September 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm, with all members present except Margaret Wheeler and Rebecca Hopper. The student representative and the press were absent. There was 1 person in the audience.
Mr. Price made the motion and it was seconded by Ms. Olean to accept the minutes of August 18, 2016. All members voted in favor and the motion passed.
Norm the Board will focusing on this evening: None determined.
There was some discussion on roles the board members would take, either as TimeKeeper or Norm Keeper, and it was determined that each member would take turns in these roles. At tonight’s meeting the TimeKeeper would be Ms. Olean and the Norms Checker would be Mr. Price.
Public Input: None
Opening of School Update:
The Superintendent discussed write ups that principals supplied. Opening of School Update. There was some discussion of NMS students arriving too early and concerns of supervision. On another note Superintendent Connolly mentioned that MSAD #60, along with many neighboring districts, are still short of bus drivers. Steve spoke of incentives that other districts are giving to drivers as hiring incentives and those who recruit new hirers.
Superintendent Connolly discussed the school enrollment of each school within MSAD #60 and compared individual class numbers. September 2016 Enrollment
Ms. Potter brought up class size concerns, especially in K-3. She believes taxpayers would be willing to pay more to have smaller classes. She has serious concerns about discipline in the classroom and how to help support teachers. Mr. Price asked a defining question as to what her “discipline” concern is. Ms. Potter feels that there should be definite consequences for inappropriate behavior. The board questioned if there is extra room for another 2nd grade at Hanson. Mr. Cowan asked for the topic of discipline to be brought up as a future agenda item. All board members agreed. The Discipline Committee would like to have a report to bring to the Board for January. The Board asked Mr. Connolly, to seek Ms. Gilley’s opinion as to if Hanson has space another class.
Rebecca Hopper arrived 7:08
Football lost their home game 40-0 to biddeford
Jv soccer has lost two home games, varsity soccer won one home game
Freshmen orientation went well, students were enthusiastic to be back, and the BARR program with upperclassmen started that day and will continue through semester one(BARR builds upon assets that help students be successful both in and out of school)
The new late start Thursday schedule started today. Nobody liked it, me included, BUT the real problem was communication with the students about the new schedule. More students were late to school and classes as they were confused about the new schedule and felt as though they weren’t properly informed about it
MSMA Board Representation; October 27 & 28, 2016
Ms. Olean and Ms. Potter discussed past experiences they have had at this 2 days of workshops. They spoke highly of the many informative workshops offered, keynote speakers and enjoyed making connections with other district board members and educators.
Program Review Schedule
December 15, 2016- World Language
January 5, 2017- Arts
January 12, 2017- MS Health
January 19, 2017- K-5 Science
May 25, 2017- Social Studies
The Board requested a review sheet in advance to the meetings.
Superintendent Connolly reviewed Mark Kostin’s follow up notes from, The MSAD #60 Board Workshop that was held on September 6, 2016.
Follow-up notes and suggested considerations
Mark Kostin, Associate Director
Great Schools Partnership
Section 1. Current affirming practices
Following a brief reading of Section 4.1 of the forthcoming Global Best Practices (2nd edition), members offered the following as practices currently in place they as affirming:
o There is time devoted to discussing policies
o Significant amount of time is devoted to the budget
o The Board is supportive of planning and learning time for staff
o The Board works to be a representative voice of the communities they represent
o There is attention paid to establishing goals and reviewing them
o Student interests are a priority
Section 2. Norms
Board members indicated that norms guiding their deliberations and the manner in which they communicate already exist. They address the following:
o Respect for one another
o (incomplete note for norm #2 regarding decisions)
o Meetings are time-bound and valuable
o Modeling professional collaboration
o Relying on and trusting one another
o Engaging in timeline, positive, and focused communication
o Demonstrating value for one another
o Engaging fully
Board members supported the notion that being more explicit about the norms would help keep their discussions and deliberations focused. A couple of suggestions were shared. Specifically:
Re: Norm #3 (time-bound and valuable meetings)
We recognize that we bring our best energy, stamina, and thinking when our meetings are structured in a way that allows us to discuss the issues that most need our attention. To that end, we will strive to:
o Propose a time frame for each agenda item
o Conduct our business within a two-hour meeting window
o Reduce the amount of time we spent on informational items
o Make adjustments to our proposed meeting time frame where appropriate
In addition, the Board suggested periodically devoting time during some of their meetings to processing or debriefing the way in which the norms were honored. This can be done using some of the following prompts:
o In what ways did our norms support our work?
o What does modeling each norm look and sound like?
o Which norm(s) in particular did we feel we honored particularly well? (Please be specific and support your statement with an example)
o Which norm(s) did we seem to struggle with the most?
o When we gather next time, is there a particular norm we should endeavor to model most?
o Are there any norms we should consider refining that will allow us to do our best work together?
Finally, the issue of email communication was raised very briefly during the workshop. While we were not able to discuss the ways in which Board members might model their norms via email, a suggested consideration to pursue would be to review the current policy that already exists (Policy BEA) and determine whether refinements should be made.
Section 3. Public Comment Section of Meetings
Board members reaffirmed their commitment to providing an opportunity to hear from community members during their meetings. There is a tension here that Board members wanted to acknowledge and seek to find a way to strike the most appropriate balance between creating a space where members of the community might share their views and ensuring there is an appropriate and thoughtful response – if the situation might warrant it.
To this end, Board members ought to consider implementing the following guidelines:
o Reiterating its commitment to recognizing and honoring the voices of community members and working to understand the issues, ideas, and questions most important to residents.
o Recognizing that, depending on the nature of the issue that is surfaced during the public comment period, an immediate response from the board or the superintendent (on behalf of the district) might not be possible.
o In the case of issues that arise that might warrant potential further action, the Board will suggest possible next steps that might include the following:
- Direct the district to follow-up directly (and possibly report back to the Board)
- Suggest that the issue raised be placed as an item for further discussion during a subsequent Board meeting
o Suggested consideration for action: Refine and clarify the Board meeting brochure in a way that emphasizes the importance of the public comment period, reiterates its purpose, underscores the importance of civility when raising questions, and describes the possible ways in which issues raised might eventually be subsequently addressed (if at all).
Section 4. How items make it to the agenda
A short amount of time was devoted to the topic of how items eventually make it to the agenda. While there is a formal process for doing so, there seemed to be at least two issues that warrant further consideration. One relates to issues raised during the public comment period. Section 3 of this document hopefully addresses these. The other issue relates to issues or questions individual Board members are interested in sharing. While there exist specific steps for doing so, if sharing ideas, questions, or concerns prior to the meeting is not possible, one suggestion for consideration might be to remind members just before concluding the meeting that the superintendent and/or his/her designee is available to collect any information Board members would like to share that they were not able to prior to the meeting.
Sharing of information;
Ms. Hopper said she will not use email as much or more thoughtful as to how she does. Ms. Neuburt does not believe there should be hot topics discussed in email. Ms. Olean felt that “business should not be conducted over email.
It was noted that the “other” section of the meeting should be titled homework for either the Superintendent or the Assistant Superintendent. A time when questions from public input could be more specifically addressed. It would be helpful if the Board Members would email questions rather than saving it for the other topic. If the school board member would include all others with this communication so all are informed. Mr. Price suggested a, “refresh orientation” at the first meeting in September each year as a reminder as to what the goals and purpose of the school board.
Superintendent Connolly reviewed the new procedure as to meeting newly elected State officials.
The topic of sending home flyers was updated. This year each school will not only have a community board where flyers can be hung but a table where flyers can be displayed. This will be a for nonprofit or school based groups. Board had some clarifying questions about sending flyers home. Mr. Smith asked would it be ok to make exceptions to this? Superintendent would like to get away from sending home in backpacks.
Mr. Connolly shared pictures a few pictures of work that is being completed in the District. Mr. Smith is trying to get power out to the new press box. Ms. Neuburt mentioned how nice the field hockey field is. Mr. Connolly shared “Literacy look fors”.
Superintendent Connolly shared that Kelly Higgins, from Spencer and Mathews; will donate the $300, which is the cost of the insurance rider needed for Amy Harris race. The race will take place at the end of September. All proceeds of this race go to students and the Special Olympics.
Ms. Olean asked about first Early Release Day- K-5. Staff worked in their buildings for the first half of the ERD and all teaching staff then met at NHS to discuss evaluations.
Mr. Price has heard positive response for the Remind System. Remind is a texting and email system that alerts families of notices from teachers and administrators.
Ms. Potter made the motion and it was seconded by Ms. Neubert to go into executive session pursuant to 1 MRSA §4056B for teacher negotiations. All members voted in favor and the motion passed In at 8:24 pm Out at 8:59
Ms. Olean made the motion and it was seconded by Mr. Cowan to go into executive session pursuant to 1 MRSA §4056A for investigation of complaints against an employee. All members voted in favor and the motion passed In at 8:59 pm Out at 9:23
Mr. Price made the motion and it was seconded by Ms. Potter to adjourn at 9:23 pm. All members