Hollis-Brookline Cooperative School Board
April 15, 2009
Hollis-Brookline Middle School
Janice Tremblay, Chairperson
Fred Hubert, left at 8:05 p.m.
Dr. James O’Shea
Susan Hodgdon, Superintendent of Schools
Tim Kelley, Principal, Hollis-Brookline High School
Pat Goyette, Principal, Hollis-Brookline Middle School
Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum
Bob Kelly, Director of Special Education
Betsy A. Packard, Recording Secretary
Others present included members of the Public.
Supt. Hodgdon reconvened the public meeting at 7:58 p.m.
1. BOARD REORGANIZATION
Supt. Hodgdon asked for nominations for Board Chairperson.
Tom Solon nominated Janice Tremblay for Board Chairperson. Dan Peterson seconded.
Mr. Hubert asked to hear Mr. Enright’s thoughts. Mr. Enright responded that after two consecutive years as Board Chair. he was ready to pass it on.
Motion carried unanimously. 7 – 0 – 0.
Chair. Tremblay asked for nominations for Vice Chairperson.
Steve Simons nominated Tom Enright. Fred Hubert seconded.
Mr. Solon asked if Mr. Enright would accept the nomination. Mr. Enright responded that he would.
Motion carried. 6 – 0 – 1 (Enright abstained.)
Chair. Tremblay asked for nominations for the Liaison to the Budget Committee.
James O’Shea nominated Dan Peterson. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried. 6 – 0 – 1. (Peterson abstained.)
Tom Enright moved that the Board appoint Fred Hubert as the Alternate to the Budget Committee. James O’Shea seconded. Motion carried. 6 – 0 – 1. (Hubert abstained.)
Chair. Tremblay asked for nominations for Board Secretary.
Dan Peterson nominated Fred Hubert as Board Secretary. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried. 6 – 0 – 1. (Hubert abstained.)
2. NON-PUBLIC DISCUSSION
Chair. Tremblay stated that during their non-public session, the Board discussed setting up a process for requesting information from the SAU office. All future requests for information would be brought to the Board for a vote. The information would then be requested through the Board Chairperson to the Superintendent.
Dan Peterson moved that all requests from any Board member to any member of the Administration that requires specific action on the Administration’s part, including requests of gathering and disseminating information, would first be brought to the Board for discussion and approval, including a formal vote, with the exception of the contract negotiation process; such a request would be presented by the Board Chairperson to the Superintendent. James O’Shea seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Dan Peterson moved that the Board bring the concept of their process to the SAU next week and suggest that other boards and committees adopt a similar process. James O’Shea seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Enright explained that the SAU has such an unwieldy structure – three school boards and three budget committees – that there is a need to get some structure.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that it is the SAU office’s wish to be able to handle the flow of requests and work so they can prioritize and do the right work each day. She added that they have many sources of requests. If the requests flow freely, then they cannot get their routine work done; therefore, they need this structure to manage the requests.
Mr. Peterson pointed out that if the new process does not work, then they will come back and re-evaluate the situation.
Chair. Tremblay stated the Board had talked about setting up a Cost-Savings Initiative Committee. The committee would work with Dawna Duhamel and Supt. Hodgdon. The committee would look at ways to generate cost savings.
Mr. Solon asked what the expected make-up of the committee was. Would it be larger than three, and would it have people other than Board members on the committee? Supt. Hodgdon felt that the purpose of the committee was to work with Ms. Duhamel and herself to look at cost savings before the next budget season, and to put together a plan.
Mr. Solon asked if the committee would be more administrative, rather than task-oriented. Supt. Hodgdon responded that the purpose of the committee is to set a framework and prioritize. She felt that they needed to identify the right people that need to look into items.
Mr. Enright stated that he would volunteer to be on the committee.
Mr. Peterson stated that he did not see the committee as task-oriented, but rather as setting goals and prioritizing. He added that he would also be on the committee. Mr. Enright suggested that Mr. Simons also be appointed, that way there could be at least two Board members at each meeting.
Chair Tremblay confirmed that Mr. Enright, Mr. Peterson, and Mr. Simons would be the Board members of the Cost-Savings Initiative Committee.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that the committee would always come back and report to the School Board.
Supt. Hodgdon appointed Steve Simons to the Policy Committee, along with herself.
Steve Simons moved that the Board approve Policy KED – Public Complaints about Facilities or Services as final approval. Tom Enright seconded.
Mr. Solon asked who the 504 Coordinator was. Mr. Kelly responded that the 504 Coordinator is the Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designee at the District level. It is the building principal at the school level. Mr. Kelley stated that names are clearly stated in the student handbook. Mr. Solon stated that in Policy KED it states that the appellate process first goes through the principal, then the SAU 504 Coordinator, then the School Board. Mr. Kelly responded that the SAU 504 Coordinator is the Superintendent or their designee.
Motion carried. 5 – 0 – 1 (Peterson abstained.)
Steve Simons moved that the Board approve Policy ILBA – Assessment of Education Programs for final approval. Tom Enright seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
4. PRESENTATION OF DONATION FROM HOLLIS PRESCHOOL
Tracey McDevitt from the Hollis Preschool addressed the Board. She stated that the 4-year old graduating class would like to plant a weeping cherry tree this year. It will be located on the right side of the school.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the very kind gift of a weeping cherry tree from the Hollis Preschool, the planting of said tree to be coordinated with John Gray. Tom Enright seconded.
Mr. Kelley stated that it is a fun day when the Hollis Preschool comes up to plant their tree. He added that the High School really appreciates the donation.
Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that the High School had received a donation of a man-lift from the Graham Packaging Company in Bedford. Mr. Kelley stated that a man-lift had been on his wish list so they would not have to rent one when light bulbs in the gymnasium needed to be replaced, and other such tasks. He added that the lift could be used by all the districts. He reported that the lift would be dropped off the next day, and that they would need to sign a release form.
Tom Enright moved that the Board accept the man-lift from the Graham Packaging Company and authorize the Superintendent or her designee to sign the necessary paperwork. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 –0.
Mr. Simons stated that in the minutes of February 18, 2009, on Page 2, next to last paragraph, the word “wiggly room” should be changed to “wiggle room.”
Steve Simons moved that the Board approve the minutes of February 18, 2009 as amended. Tom Enright seconded. Motion carried. 5 – 0 – 1. (Solon abstained.)
7. PUBLIC FORUM
8. REVIEW OF DISTRICT MEETING
Supt. Hodgdon asked if there were any insights or suggestions for next year’s meeting. She informed the Board that she has had other boards request copies of the Coop PowerPoint presentation given at the District Meeting because they felt it was so well done. She felt that this was the highest form of praise.
Mr. Solon felt that the PowerPoint presentation was factual and clear, and the graphics added to the presentation.
Ms. Goyette stated that she had a couple of items to add that were not on her written report.
Ms. Goyette reported that they had over 32 veterans from WWII up to the Iraq war visit the school. The students sent them thank you notes, which also had questions in them. The responses the students received were a couple pages long in some instances. Ms. Goyette informed the Board that Mabel Hills, who recently passed away, was a WWII nurse, who landed in Normandy five days after the invasion. It was stated during her memorial service that one highlight for her was coming to the Middle School and sharing with the students.
Ms. Goyette informed the Board that Pat Marquette, who is a program para and a 0.2 FTE in algebra, came to her and said she would fill in for the class of a teacher who recently lost her husband.
Ms. Goyette stated that Ms. Mace would talk about AYP (Annual Yearly Progress); however, the Middle School did not make AYP in one of their sub-groups in math. She added that they are looking at the results closely to see where the weaknesses are. She added that the bar keeps rising for students that are struggling. She stated that interventional math class is needed.
Mr. Simons asked if it would be appropriate to put a letter in Ms. Marquette’s folder thanking her for filling in. Ms. Goyette responded that it would be most appropriate.
Steve Simons moved that the Board send a thank you letter to Ms. Marquette for her service and such letter be put in her file. Tom Enright seconded. 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Enright asked if there was anything that the Board could do for the teacher who just lost her husband. Ms. Goyette responded that she was working on this with the Superintendent.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that she had been asked by Mr. Belanger to have lunch with the Senior Citizens. She added that it was a lot of fun and interesting.
Ms. Goyette explained that the Senior Citizens come the third Thursday of the month to have lunch with the Middle School students. There are no special performances given, but the Seniors enjoy sharing lunch with the Middle Schoolers.
Dr. O’Shea asked if the D.C. trip went well, and well enough to do next year. Ms. Goyette responded that it went well and that she would be meeting with the 7th graders in May regarding next year’s trip. She explained that it was early, but costs are rising. The cost has doubled since they started. She is going to offer conducting fundraisers to help with the costs. Ms. Goyette stated that the bus company gave the school a check back because of the price of fuel going down. She added that she had put the money into the scholarship fund.
Mr. Kelley reported that the dropout rate two years ago was at 1.6%. Last year it was 0.8%. This year, the rate is 0.4%. There is a State initiative to be at “0” in 2012. Mr. Kelley stated that the High School was ahead of the curve.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that another Special Progress Report for the NEASC is due after vacation. Mr. Kelley will email it to the Board when it is completed.
Mr. Kelley stated that Mr. Ouellette has initiated a process where the High School community will recognize and honor educators, administrators, coaches and community members who have made significant contributions through services, participation, or involvement in athletics in the High School. On May 8th, the first five individuals will be inducted. He added that he hoped this would become a tradition.
Mr. Kelley reported that improvements to the upper field by the track were being made. The area is being leveled and seeded in hopes to hold football practices there. Mr. Kelley stated that Mr. Rupp was bringing in portable lights for one nighttime football game. The cost of the lights is being absorbed by the Booster Club and Mr. Rupp.
Mr. Kelley announced that the Tri-M Concert would be held on April 22nd. He also announced that the Senior Class trip this year is to Boston and then to Six Flags.
Mr. Kelley advised the Board that the Spanish Club was requesting an overnight field trip to New York City in May. It would involve 30-40 Spanish 3, 4, and 5 students. This will be over a weekend.
Mr. Simons asked if all the requirements of the policy had been met. Mr. Kelley responded that they had.
Tom Enright moved that the Board approve the Spanish Club field trip as requested. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Peterson did not feel that the Spanish Club needed to get the Board’s approval. Mr. Kelley requested that Mr. Simons look at the Field Trip policy to see if it needed updating.
Mr. Kelley informed the Board that the High School had received a couple of donations. The first donation came as the result of an email being sent home advising parents that a student had been caught trespassing at the High School, and as a reminder that visitors must check in at the office. One parent responded back to the email with a $100 donation. The money will be used for signs stating that visitors must check in at the office.
The second donation was a $2,500 grant from the United Way of Greater Nashua for alcohol prevention.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the $2,500 grant from the United Way of Greater Nashua for alcohol prevention. Tom Enright seconded.
Mr. Solon asked if the money would be used in a specific way. Mr. Kelley responded that he was working with the PTSA and some students as to how to use the money most beneficially.
Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Mr. Enright mentioned that he had heard there was a request to build a concession stand at the baseball field. He hoped that the request had been put to rest. He stated that he would not support such a request because it would be located in a visible part of the campus, and it would be another structure. Mr. Kelley stated that he had told the people making the request that they must first get all the permits. Mr. Enright stated that if they wanted to sell hotdogs, they should bring a table and a grill.
Mr. Kelley stated that he would like to initiate Goals Diplomas. Goals Diplomas would be set up for identified students with pretty significant challenges. He especially felt the need for Goals Diplomas now that New Hampshire requires all graduating students to pass algebra. Students with significant challenges are at the school until they graduate or reach 21 years. They “walk” with their class, then they come back. This would give them an opportunity for a diploma. Mr. Kelley explained that this would be something that would be set up the student's freshman year and would be part of the IEP. It is not for the student who realizes that that they are not going to graduate, so they decide they want a Goals Diploma.
Mr. Solon asked if there were any legal implications in awarding the Goals Diploma. If a student received a Goals Diploma before age 21 does it release the District’s obligation to educate the student? He also questioned if a student requests the Goals Diploma, or would it be something the student would get. Is it optional or part of an IEP? Mr. Kelly stated that it would be set up within the IEP.
Mr. Kelley stated that they were trying to institute something that would show that the student had met the goals of the IEP, but could not obtain the State and High School requirements for a regular diploma. Mr. Kelly added that the IEP is not a guarantee that the goals will be accomplished. Mr. Kelley stated that the Goals Diploma was trying to mark the end of an accomplishment.
Mr. Solon stated that he supported the issuance of Goals Diplomas, but he wanted it clarified that there are no legal ramifications. Supt. Hodgdon responded that in most cases, the issuance of diplomas is up to the principal. Mr. Enright and Mr. Simons stated that they, too, supported the idea.
Director of Curriculum
Ms. Mace reported that the District had received the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) results. She stated that an overview had been included in the Board Members’ packets.
Ms. Mace explained that AYP is required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), and are determined by the NECAPs. To make AYP, a school must meet performance target. For the year 2008, performance targets were:
Middle School Reading 86%
Middle School Math 82%
High School Reading 84%
High School Math 58%
These performance targets will increase in 2010.
Academic performance of a school as a whole is measured as well as sub-groups. In order for a school to make AYP, both the school and each sub-group must meet performance targets, and in addition, must meet State targets, including student participation rate of 95%, attendance rate of 90% for grades 3-8, and graduation rate of 75% for high schools.
Hollis Brookline Middle School made AYP in both reading and math for the school as a whole and within sub-groups, with the exception of the Educational Disability sub-group, which missed the target index score for math.
The target index for the whole school was 96.5% for reading, and 92.1% for math
The Education Disability sub-group (22 students) was 60.9% in math, which means they didn’t make the target of 82%.
If target is not made, then the Confident Interval is looked at. The Confident Interval target is 69%. The Educational Disability sub-group was 60.9%.
There is also a Safe Harbor criterion, in which, sub-groups need to increase from last year. The Educational Disability sub-group decreased. Ms. Mace added that this criterion did not make sense to her, as each year they are testing a different cohort of students.
Dr. O’Shea asked if there were any way to look back and see if there was any growth in the student. Ms. Mace responded that there was, and that they were doing such.
Ms. Mace reported that the Hollis Brookline High School made AYP in math and reading for the school and in all sub-groups.
The target index for the whole school was 96.5% for reading, and 77.8% for math.
Mr. Kelley reminded the Board that 25% of the students taking the tests had to take a “0” due to the use of calculators, which was of no fault of theirs.
Ms. Mace reported that the District made AYP for both reading and math, as well as for the attendance/graduation rate requirements. For a district not to make AYP, then both accountability reports would not have made AYP. She added that a new factor had been added this year requiring that out-of-district students be counted toward the district level (but not the school) level results. It is felt that if a student is sent out-of-district, then the sending district is responsible for them to make AYP,
Dr. O’Shea asked about home-schooled students. Ms. Goyette responded that it is optional for home-schooled students to take the test.
Ms. Mace explained that if a school does not make AYP in a certain category for two consecutive years, they would then be labeled a “school in need of improvement,” and they would have to submit an improvement plan. If the school does not make it the third consecutive year, then the State can step in and take over the school.
Mr. Solon questioned if a student’s capabilities had leveled off, what prevents a school from holding the student at the same grade level so they will test at the grade level. Supt. Hodgdon felt that it would show up if the same student kept showing up at the same grade level.
Ms. Goyette stated that the Middle School has a reading program, which not all middle schools have. She explained that the Middle School can raise a student’s reading level four years before they go to high school. However, it is not the same for math.
Ms. Mace reported that the Fordham Foundation studies accountability of 28 states. The findings reveal that there is no consistency between the states. NH is in the middle of making AYP. The study shows that NH’s sub-group’s minimum size is 11, which is much smaller than most other states. Sub-groups sizes between the states can go up to 100. Vermont’s is 40, while Rhode Island’s is 45. She pointed out that if NH had sub-group sizes such as Vermont’s and Rhode Island’s, then the Middle School’s AYP issue would go away.
Ms. Mace stated that No Child Left Behind has forced school districts to be accountable and set standards; however, NCLB has some idiosyncrasies that do not make sense.
Dr. O’Shea asked if the Performance Tracker software they were using at the elementary school was useful? Ms. Mace responded that it was, because they get data quickly and can adjust to students’ needs. Dr. O’ Shea asked if it “taught” to a test. Ms. Mace responded that it did not, but it helps to change the curriculum for students’ needs.
Mr. Peterson stated that they had talked about budgets, and added that he would like Ms. Mace and the building administrators to present their top three initiatives, along with budget costs for them.
Director of Special Education
Mr. Kelly stated that he and the Superintendent were dovetailing comments on the stimulus package. Dr. O’Shea asked if Mr. Kelly would be giving an extensive report at the next SAU. Mr. Kelly responded that he would.
Supt. Hodgdon reported that she had received several letters of retirement and resignation. The first was from Michael Williamson, effective the end of the school year. Mr. Kelley stated that Mr. Williamson, who has had taught English for over 10 years at the High School, has made the decision to retire. He added that they are sad to see Mr. Williamson go. Mr. Kelley stated that Mr. Williamson had been a leader in AP testing / correcting, and he brought back that knowledge to the department. He will be sorely missed.
Tom Enright moved that the Board accept Michael Williamson’s letter of retirement with great appreciation for his service. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon advised the Board that she had received a letter of retirement from Rosemary Mezzocchi, dated April 13, 2009. The letter stated that it had been a difficult decision, but it was now time to discover new opportunities. The effective date is June 30, 2009.
James O’Shea moved that the Board accept Rosemary Mezzocchi’s letter of retirement with regret and great appreciation for all she has done, both in and out of the classroom. Tom Enright seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that she had received a letter dated March 25, 2009 from Elizabeth Dragoumanos requesting Family Leave. She is requesting time off for the remainder of this school year without pay, and benefits would be her expense.
Dr. O’Shea questioned that Ms. Dragoumanos has been on maternity leave, and that this would finish her out for the rest of the school year. Mr. Enright asked what Ms. Dragoumanos’ intentions were. Mr. Kelley felt that her intentions were to come back in September. Supt. Hodgdon stated that she would verify this.
James O’Shea moved that the Board accept Elizabeth Dragoumanos request for Family Leave to take the remainder of the school year off without pay and with the understanding that she will return to school at the beginning of the 2009-10 school year. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon informed the Board that she had received a letter of resignation from Kristine Donaldson, High School science teacher. Mr. Kelley explained that the resignation would be effective by the beginning of the month, and Crystal Chen would fill-in the position. Mr. Kelley added that Ms. Donaldson had the opportunity to take a position with the National Wildlife in Alaska.
Steve Simons moved that the Board accept the resignation of Kristine Donaldson. James O’Shea seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon informed the Board that Nancy Hillard, Social Studies, submitted a letter of retirement, effective the end of the school year. Mr. Kelley stated that Ms. Hillard came from Nashua South and brought in AP Government, mock trial program, as well as other programs.
James O’Shea moved that the Board accept Nancy Hillard’s letter of retirement with regret and with thanks for all she has done for the department and the school. Steve Simons seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 6 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon reported that she had, on the Board’s behalf, applied for a request of waiver for 7-11 grade students to finish on June 19, 2009. She stated that the request had been granted by the Commissioner.
Dr. O’Shea asked how many days this would give the students. Supt. Hodgdon responded that this would keep the Coop students in-line with the other schools in the SAU, so that they would all get out on the same day. It gives them 177 school days.
Mr. Enright asked what the implications for teachers and support staff would be. Supt. Hodgdon responded that they must finish the contractual amount of days. They would be working on professional development for those days. She added that they did lose professional development time during the ice storm.
Mr. Enright stated that that was good for the professional staff, but wondered about the support staff. Supt. Hodgdon responded that they had not formulated a plan for them yet. Mr. Enright pointed out that the janitorial staff will have work to do, the cafeteria staff will go home, so that left the paras. Mr. Peterson stated that he did not want to see pretend activities made up just to keep them there.
Mr. Enright felt that the Board should look at contracts and consider changing the wording to state “the number of days or length of the school year, whichever is less.” Ms. Goyette asked if this was for both the professional and support staff. Mr. Peterson felt it should be for both. Mr. Enright pointed out that the professional staff are under contracts, while the support staff is hourly. He felt they should discuss this next month.
Mr. Solon stated that Brookline was looking at using professional staff days as teaching days. He wondered if there was any desire for the Coop to do the same. Ms. Goyette responded that the Middle School had had their last presenter that day. May 19th is an early release day, of which they have plans, but no presenter, so they could make it into a full day. Mr. Kelley stated that he would like to think about it more.
Dan Peterson moved that the Board accept the school calendar as presented. Tom Enright seconded. Motion carried. 5 – 1 – 0. (O’Shea against.)
Dr. O’Shea stated that he voted against the motion, as he felt the students should go 180 days.
Supt. Hodgdon reported that the Safe Routes Federal Grant topic was still alive and well. She stated that she had met with Chief Ux a few weeks ago. The application to allow for funding for a study to be conducted is due April 28. She advised the Board that a committee was made up of herself, Chief Ux, a Representative from the State, Coop School District, Middle School District, and Elementary School District representatives, representative from the community, the school administration and the School Board. A meeting of the committee is to be held on April 23rd. The study would look at traffic pattern in downtown, walking routes for students, and infra-structure/traffic lights. She added that this may take a long time, as it is a major commitment.
Mr. Enright felt the Board should be cautious about this. He pointed out that they were talking about the four corners in town, which is already a mess, and now they would be asking for pedestrian traffic.
Mr. Solon felt that this project was not an effective use of the Superintendent’s time. Dr. O’Shea agreed with Mr. Enright and Mr. Solon.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that she had received a suggestion from the School Board Association in regards to July 4th and December 24th. She explained that this year July 4th is on a Saturday, which means that they would usually get the Friday or Monday off. It was suggested that they have December 24th off instead of the July 4th Friday or Monday. She suggested that they talk about it next month.
Supt. Hodgdon reported that the guidelines regarding the Stimulus Funds were problematic. The State of New Hampshire will be receiving $47 million for IDEA Funding; however, there are technical issues around it.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that as of April 13th, they had not yet gotten specific guidelines on funding and how the funds can be used. They are still waiting to hear how the money will flow. They probably will have to submit an application. She added that the money would be submitted on a monthly basis and the District would need to submit a report on a monthly basis. This is a two-year funding.
Dr. O’Shea asked if the District could fund anything that would be considered taxpayer burden. Supt. Hodgdon stated that they could, but they had to be cautious about the budget. Dr. O’Shea asked if they could put funds towards retiring a bond. Supt. Hodgdon responded that they could.
Mr. Peterson asked if Supt. Hodgdon needed support from the Board looking into these funds. Supt. Hodgdon felt that she should meet with the administrators to see how they could use the funds, then bring their findings to the Board.
It was asked if the funds could be used for alternative school program. Supt. Hodgdon responded that they could, and that some districts have shovel-ready projects waiting.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that Senate Bill 39 was written to relax some restrictions, or to make some way to make it doable. Supt. Hodgdon stated that it was asked if money could be applied to negotiations, and they were told to write a plan and they would look at it. She added that how the money can be used does change by the hour.
10. TEACHER CONTRACT RENEWAL
Mr. Enright stated that he had received a request from the teachers to reopen contract negotiations because of the stimulus money. He put it on the agenda because it had been requested.
Steve Simons moved that the Board enter non-public session under the provisions of RSA 91-A:3 II (c) reputation. James O’Shea seconded. A roll call vote was taken with all members present voting in the affirmative. 6 – 0 – 0.
Board entered non-public at 10:35 p.m.