HOLLIS SCHOOL DISTRICT
Public Minutes of May 9, 2007 Regular Meeting
Hollis Primary School – Library
William Beauregard, Chairman
James O’Shea, MD
Harry Haytayan – Not Present
Jennifer MacLeod – Not Present
Administration and Others Present
Richard Pike, Superintendent of Schools
Carol Thibaudeau, HUES Principal
Dr. Gail Paludi, HPS Principal
Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Annabelle Harris, Recording Secretary
Others present included members of the public. (Sign-in sheet is filed with minutes.)
Chairman Beauregard called the meeting to order at 6:19 p.m.
A discussion about the Pay for Performance Committee and an Open Forum were added to the agenda.
Supt. Pike presented four hire recommendations – Eva Novak for HPS and Caryn Miller, Colleen McBride and Sue Caron for HUES. There was discussion by the administration and questions from the Board about the applicants’ qualifications.
· Dr. O’Shea made a motion to hire Eva Novak as a 3rd grade teacher at HPS, M, Step 3, Salary $40,660. Mr. McCann seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
· Dr. O’Shea made a motion to hire Caryn Miller as a 4th grade teacher at HUES, M, Step 6, Salary $44,986. Mr. McCann seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
· Dr. O’Shea made a motion to hire Colleen McBride as a 5th grade teacher at HUES, M, Step 6, Salary $44,986. Mr. McCann seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
· Dr. O’Shea made a motion to hire Sue Caron as a Math Support Teacher at HUES, B, Step 12, Salary $50,644. Mr. McCann seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Guidance Department Presentation
Dr. Paludi and Ms. Thibaudeau introduced Mary Lee Barnard and Ray Daneau, school counselors at HPS and HUES. Ms. Barnard and Mr. Daneau gave the following PowerPoint presentation about the role of Elementary School Counselors:
Refocus in School Counseling
· 1980’s – Refocus from individual student response and crisis intervention to a proactive program for ALL students.
· In 1997, the ASCA Governing Board adopted a new definition of school counseling: Counseling is a process of helping people by assisting them in making decisions and changing behavior. School counselors work with all students, school staff, families, and members of the community as an integral part of the education program. School counseling programs promote school success through a focus on academic achievement, prevention and intervention activities, advocacy, and social/emotional and career development.
Hollis/Brookline Curriculum Council
· Presently working on developing a district-wide school counseling program.
· Current program guidelines being used based on state (DOE) and national (ASCA) models.
Certified and/or Licensed Professionals
· All professional school counselors must have a master’s degree and meet certification requirements.
Why Elementary School Counselors?
· Elementary school counselors are responding to today’s needs by providing children with comprehensive and developmental school counseling programs.
· PROACTIVE prevention, early identification and intervention.
The Goal of School Counseling Programs
· The primary goal of the school counseling program is to promote and enhance student learning covering three domains. Each domain has standards and competencies – Academic development, Career development, and Personal/social development.
· Standard – Students will acquire the knowledge, attitudes and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others.
· Competency – Students will learn how to interact and work cooperatively in teams.
Components of School Counseling Program
· The comprehensive school counseling program integrates academic, career, and personal/social development.
· Children develop at different rates
· Intentional overlapping (K-12)
· Counselors utilize a variety of strategies, activities, delivery methods and resources.
· Empower children with…
o Individual Counseling
o Student and counselor work together on a problem or topic of interest. One-on-one meetings provide a safe environment for children to freely discuss feelings.
Confidentiality vs. Obligation to Report
· Counselors are obligated by law and ethical standards to report and refer when a person’s welfare is in jeopardy.
· Counselors are obligated to inform individuals of when confidentiality must be broken.
· Empower children with…
o Small group counseling
§ Two or more students work with counselor. These groups can be based on structured activities or unstructured (lunch groups). These groups can be to enhance friendships, problem-centered or growth centered.
How Are Students Referred?
· Student self-referral
· Parent referral
· Teacher referral
· Administration referral
· Special Education Team referral
Some Reasons Why…
· School anxiety
· Difficulty making and keeping friends
· Lacking coping skills
· Difficulty controlling anger
· Difficulty reading social cues
· Family situation (i.e., divorce, death)
· Counselors developmentally and sequentially provide information, knowledge, and skills through academic, career, and personal/social development.
· Composed of organized objectives and activities
· Teach students in a large group to review and introduce new material
· Divide into smaller groups for an activity
· Regroup to share
Empower Children with Classroom Guidance
· Learn that all feelings are ok, but not all behaviors are ok.
· Learn they are in control of their behavior.
· Learn they have choices.
· Learn that they are responsible and accountable.
There were several examples of activities counselors engage in with students.
RAPSTER – Positive Peer Leadership Training
· This 8-session program has been developed to teach students effective leadership skills by promoting personal confidence and improving interpersonal skills through collaborative activities. Students will be given opportunities to identify key elements of leadership and improve their skills experientially with their peers.
· Students will focus on the following themes during their training:
Recognizing personal strengths
· Embedded within these themes are specific skills training in the areas of active listening, decision making, self-advocacy, conflict management, and positive communication techniques.
· Students will be encouraged to develop their own individual leadership style based on the experiences and skills they learned.
Citizenship Words of the Month
· September – Respect
· October – Responsibility
· November – Goal setting
· December – Friendship
· January – Tolerance/Fairness
· February – Courage
· March – Honesty
· April – Kindness
· May – Cooperation
· June – Citizenship
Program Evaluation and Development
· Counselors continually assess the needs of their students, evaluate their programs and make changes in the school counseling program to better meet the current identified needs of the students.
· Primarily helps parents and teachers to be more effective in working with others
· Collaborate with administrators to support the needs of students
· Individual or group conferences
· Communication of student progress
· Staff Development activities
· We are part of the special education team in the Hollis Elementary Schools
· Individual Education Plan (IEP)
o We assist in the establishing and servicing of educational goals for students with specialized needs.
· 504 Coordinators
o Manage federally mandated civil rights program that ensures students equal access to public education
· Building Test Coordinator for state and national assessment testing
· Building Coordinator for Section 504 programming
· POC for community programming and family support
· New student orientation
· New student intake, building tours, placement
School Counselor’s Day
· Meet with new students and families
· Meet with several regularly scheduled students
· Meet with self-referred or drop-in students
· Parent/outside providers communication
· Staff consults about emotional and/or academic concerns with student
· Classroom lessons
· Response services request (administration & teacher referral)
· Small group and lunchtime counseling groups
· Special Education Team meetings
· 504 Team meetings
· Monitor recess/bus activities
· The ASCA (American School Counselor Association) recommends a ratio of 1/100 (ideal) to 1/300 (maximum) to implement a comprehensive school counseling program
· 70-80% of their time should be in direct contact with children
End of presentation.
Dr. O’Shea asked if there are any problematic issues that counselors deal with, i.e., race and diversity.
Mr. Daneau responded that they address tolerance throughout the students’ six years there. Tolerance is discussed in reference to race, sensitivity to learning styles, and physical and mental handicaps. They work with identifying and acknowledging people’s strengths and weaknesses and being compassionate of others. Ms. Barnard stated that they teach about teasing and bullying as the beginning of tolerance.
Mr. McCann thanked them for a wonderful presentation. He asked if their program is district wide. Ms. Barnard responded that Brookline and Hollis work on the same kinds of things.
Mr. McCann inquired if they have had any issues with girls being at a critical age and talking to a male guidance counselor. Mr. Daneau responded that they address this by having the children speak to whomever they feel comfortable with, whether it be the counselor, teachers, administration or others.
Mr. McCann inquired about what isn’t working. Mr. Daneau responded that their focus and goal is to work with children. Sometimes counselors are tasked with too many other things, i.e., statewide assessment testing, which takes away from that time.
Chair. Beauregard inquired if they had the opportunity to establish a rapport with the full population of students seeing that children are usually referred to them. Ms. Barnard responded that working in the classroom allows them the opportunity to see and get to know more students. Students often seek them out.
Ms. Barnard said that she feels that the guidance department has been valued and appreciated.
Mr. Daneau commented that it has been refreshing to hear this district’s administration calling them advocates to students. This district tries to be proactive and is willing to ask tough questions about what is best for the children.
Supt. Pike thanked Ms. Barnard and Mr. Daneau for their presentation. He commented that the guidance program has changed dramatically within the last 20 years and evolved from being reactive to being proactive. It is a remarkable turnaround. It is also refreshing to see that the concept of multiple intelligences is being introduced so early.
Supt. Pike informed the Board that there is a strategy to provide a program with 40 days of service that will be within budget, and that the integrity of the program shall be preserved.
Letter of Resignation
Supt. Pike discussed that Sue Astone, Assistant Principal/Special Education Coordinator of HPS, submitted a letter of resignation to be effective June 30, 2007. Dr. O’Shea read her resignation letter to the board, administrators and audience. (A copy of her letter is included in the file.)
· Mr. McCann made a motion to accept Ms. Astone’s letter of resignation with regrets. Dr. O’Shea seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0.
Dr. O’Shea and board members offered best wishes for a flourishing career to Ms. Astone.
Supt. Pike informed the board that an advertisement for the position has been posted.
Supt. Pike discussed a letter from Shailagh Klicker, 4th grade teacher at HUES, requesting a family leave of absence in 2007-2008. The applicable Master Agreement Section is 13.10 for this leave.
· Dr. O’Shea made a motion to accept Ms. Klicker’s leave request. Mr. McCann seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0. The board wished her a wonderful year with her family and is eagerly waiting her return back.
Chair. Beauregard commented that Ms. Klicker had just voted to approve her continuing contract and plans to come back.
Chair. Beauregard commented that some parents are moving and are looking to understand residency requirements because they would like their children to finish school here.
Supt. Pike had previously discussed the residency issue with Tom Closson, who agreed to provide a workable definition and criteria for administrators to apply to determine residency. Supt. Pike will forward that definition to the Administration and Board.
Dr. O’Shea asked if there was any sense from the attorney for a need to have standardization across the three districts. Supt. Pike informed the Board that this was not discussed, but believed that the criterion that was discussed is accepted by most attorneys as being the soft criteria. Supt. Pike suggested that the Board make it a procedure to refer to instead of being ambiguous. The current residency policy doesn’t give any guidelines, and there are four or five different scenarios a year.
Chair. Beauregard was concerned that there is one case where someone is waiting for this. Supt. Pike plans to follow up with the parents per this definition.
Chair. Beauregard instructed to put this on the agenda for the next meeting and update policy with this definition.
SAU Summer Schedule
New summer schedules are being looked at for the SAU. Staff would work a longer workday Monday-Thursday, and the SAU office would close at noon on Fridays. Supt. Pike will discuss this further at the SAU meeting.
Business Administration Report
Supt. Pike submitted the BA Report from Mellinee Capasso, who was unable to attend the meeting. (The report is included in the file.)
Teacher Appreciation Week
Supt. Pike submitted a letter he had written for all district staff in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. He declared this week as Local Support Staff Appreciation Week for SAU #41.
(A copy of his letter is included in the file.)
Director of Maintenance
Dr. Paludi discussed that the building administrator has received applications for the Director of Maintenance position. They are working on an interview date and hoping to have board representation.
Chair. Beauregard wondered if any of the applicants met the management, organizational and technical skill requirements. Dr. Paludi informed the board that they had not seen the applications yet, but Ms. Capasso had felt that three or four candidates did possess the appropriate qualifications.
Chair. Beauregard expressed that they need to have someone who can hit the ground running and that the position needs to be filled no later than July 1st.
Supt. Pike inquired if the board wanted Hutter to be involved in the process. Dr. Paludi said they had talked about Hutter reviewing the job description but involvement beyond that had not been discussed. Chair. Beauregard stated they would have to find out if there was a fee involved. He suggested another alternative would be to see if there was someone in the community in the maintenance field.
Supt. Pike suggested that there be a more formal way to make Hutter part of the process if they are going to be reviewing resumes. Chair. Beauregard said they would like to have him be a part of the process. Supt. Pike will contact Mr. Lage to see if he is interested. Chair. Beauregard suggested that this be done in conjunction with the evaluation process.
Chair. Beauregard stated he was willing to be part of this committee.
HPS VOIP PBX Open Source Quotes
Chair. Beauregard discussed that now that they have the SAU vote to go with Charter Broadband, they’re going to have 100 megabit internet service and six megabit ISP service. Mr. McCann said it was five up and down. Chair. Beauregard wasn’t under the impression that they had any technical constraints to keep them from considering a VOIP PBX.
Chair. Beauregard’s concern is that the funds need to be encumbered before the end of the fiscal year, and it needs to be covered out of the contingency. There have been some hardware quotes for some sort of proprietary PBX traditional systems that are in the $35,000-$40,000 range. It takes time to get quotes and to understand the technology. There has to be a contract by June 30th. He doesn’t want to lose the opportunity to implement leading technology in the school because action was not taken soon enough.
Chair. Beauregard inquired if there was a deadline for collecting the open source and VOIP PBX quotes. Supt. Pike indicated that he and Ms. Capasso had thought there was still an issue of whether or not this can be practically done with the new system. Mr. McCann replied that Charter broadband network is just the underlying plumbing. Voiceover should sit on top of that nicely. They’ll have the network in place. Chair. Beauregard stated that the PBX is part of the network.
Chair. Beauregard stated that January 29th was the first time he provided information on this. On April 12th he did more research and provided more information about four vendors. Open source is based on open source standard hardware and runs on the existing box. Maintenance is taken care of remotely. Chair. Beauregard stated that it seems like a viable option but is concerned with the lack of traction on this item since January.
Chair. Beauregard indicated he doesn’t expect Ms. Capasso to get these quotes. They are looking for some technical support. They need to find out if there are resources in the district to cover this and if Rich Raymond has the expertise to be able to understand the technical requirements of the project. Help had been solicited from the community from people with those skills. Ms. Capasso had indicated that someone had stepped forward and that the Coop was also interested.
Mr. McCann said that he had spoken with the building administrator. She is going to contact the Bedford School District. They have a new school system and probably have state of the art equipment. They would be an ideal place to learn.
FY07 Contingency Fund
Chair. Beauregard stated that they need to get solid quotes for a list of items – safety issues, security issues, and the phone system. Those need to go to the Budget Committee to approve and then have contracts in place to encumber the funds before June 30th.
Supt. Pike asked what the Budget Committee has to approve. Chair. Beauregard responded that they’re spending money out of the contingency fund. The contingency fund is for emergencies to keep the school running. If the school runs out of funds, the school closes.
Chair. Beauregard indicated that the Budget Committee has acknowledged that maintenance is a critical issue. Last year and this year they seem willing to consider safety and serious maintenance issues as appropriate uses of the contingency fund, but the Board still needs to go to them. There are two meetings left to do that.
Chair. Beauregard stated that his understanding at the time the budget process was going forward was that they were getting estimates and not actual quotes. Vendors don’t want to give quotes until they’re ready to do the work.
Chair. Beauregard stated that the idea was to coordinate the Hutter evaluation process. They were going to give the short, medium and long-term priorities. They said they could help with getting quotes. This is dovetailed to the Director of Maintenance position because the Board thought the Director of Maintenance would get the quotes.
HPS Building Wall Investigation
Chair. Beauregard stated that there was a new manifestation on the outside of the wall. This work had been guaranteed by Hutter. The chairman inquired if Hutter had come to investigate yet. Dr. Paludi responded that Ms. Capasso had investigated it and had called Hutter.
Dr. O’Shea asked if there were any temperature issues or snow or mold like last year. Chair. Beauregard responded that this appears to be exterior and is a different problem than what was dealt with last year. The wall is doing what the wall is supposed to do, which is breathing and weeping.
Dr. Paludi said she had a conversation with Chuck, and there’s nothing going on internally at this point. Chair. Beauregard pointed out that now that the wallboard is in place it is difficult to see.
Chair. Beauregard hoped that there would be a discussion with Hutter by the end of the week. If Mr. Lage is busy, perhaps they need another contact for general questions.
Insurance Liability Quotes
Chair. Beauregard inquired if the insurance liability quotes were available. Supt. Pike responded that there is only a difference of $2,300.
Supt. Pike stated that his position was that they have commitments to their current providers and should not break those contracts, especially for a small amount of money such as this. The Coop was different as they had a bigger difference in the quotes. Looking forward to the next budget cycle, they would be able to get back into a negotiation or bidding posture.
Chair. Beauregard responded that he is not suggesting breaking contracts. Although if there is a clause in the contract that allows the parties to separate amicably, it is there for a reason.
Chair. Beauregard inquired how long liability insurance contracts run. Supt. Pike responded that they are multi-year and the premium is at a discount because of that. Chair. Beauregard pointed out that
Ms. Capasso took that into consideration when she calculated the $2,300.
Chair. Beauregard inquired what the savings was for the Coop. Supt. Pike indicated it was about $25,000-$30,000, which was a different exposure.
Supt. Pike recommended deferring on that until the appropriate time to look at comparable plans with vendors during the bidding process and not do it midstream. Dr. O’Shea stated as a steward of public funds, it is easier to agree when dealing with a number of $2,300 rather than $23,000.
Mr. McCann inquired if it is known fact if there isn’t an out clause of some kind in the contract. Supt. Pike responded that Ms. Capasso would need to speak to that. He had not reviewed the contract himself.
Mr. McCann pointed out that there is a difference with a goodwill contract versus an insurance carrier with a contract with a clause that says if you break it early, your discounts will come back. Supt. Pike responded that he didn’t have the numbers, but he didn’t feel it was a good business practice.
Chair. Beauregard commented that it would be good to know what the term of the contract is and good to know comparatively in terms of service and reputation LGC versus PRIMEX.
Chair. Beauregard asked if this is self-insurance. Supt. Pike responded that it’s all encompassing – liability, Workers Comp, and unemployment. Self-insurance is strictly geared to the health insurance.
Chair. Beauregard expressed concerned with health insurance because in June the Budget Committee asked that it be looked into. It was committed to the Budget Committee that this would be done during the course of this year. The last talk about it was they need to wait until September to have the final list of staff so can then put out a quote and do a comparison.
Supt. Pike inquired if the Budget Committee heard from Paul as to the overall success with the self-insurance. Chair. Beauregard stated that there was some reference to some issues. Supt. Pike stated that when he and Ms. Capasso met a year ago, they said they would be happy to look into this further but would like to see first of all how the pilot program is working. In a recent conversation, Supt. Pike didn’t think they were ready to jump into that business. The Board might need to look into that a little more with the town and Budget Committee.
Dr. O’Shea indicated that the sense he had gotten from a couple newspaper articles was that the town employee members were deeply dissatisfied in terms of timeliness of claims being paid. Chair. Beauregard responded that would be a real issue and why they need a comparison of services and the benefit plan.
Chair. Beauregard indicated that all of the building plans and documentation were sitting in the attic of the SAU building and were subjected to temperature changes and humidity. Hutter had provided a quote for digitizing the papers and having that in an accessible format. Supt. Pike stated those had been delivered to Hutter and didn’t know where they were in the process.
BudgetSense Implementation Status
Chair. Beauregard discussed that the Budget Committee has been asking for a full-time equivalency report. His understanding from the implementation of BudgetSense was that they would be able to do some fine-grain categorization of employee activities in order to get a sense of overhead ratios. This was something done for the Budget Committee two years ago. They had an expectation that it would be done on a regular basis. It was a very time-consuming process with the old system. This was supposed to make it much easier. Supt. Pike responded that he would have to defer to Ms. Capasso on that and did not have insight into that analysis. Chair. Beauregard stated that she would probably need to work with the principals for classifying all of the different positions.
Chair. Beauregard stated that the Budget Committee has been asking when that’s going to be available. The Board has been telling them they could do this. They will have to defer to next month’s monthly expenditure report. There are a lot of questions about the way that reads and some of the numbers in that in terms of making it a useful tool, what the purpose of it is, and how it is going to be used. It doesn’t seem to be as useful as the report currently given to the Budget Committee on a monthly basis in terms of seeing where they stand relative to the budget. It does not have the customization yet to make it useful.
Chair. Beauregard stated that they plan to put that on next month’s agenda.
Nut Free Classrooms
Nut-free classroom survey for HUES students currently in grades 4 and 5
· 277 Students
· 195 Responses
· 82 Did not respond
· 181 Said no to being in nut-free classrooms
· 14 Said yes to nut-free classrooms - nine in 4th grade and five in 5th grade
· Need 12 more to agree to it for 4th grade
Ms. Thibaudeau stated that they have not received response from everyone yet in reference to participation in nut-free classrooms in ‘07/’08. If parents do not respond, they might need to make phone calls. With 6th grade, more responses are needed because they share double classrooms. They need about 42 or 44, but only five have said yes.
Nut-free classroom survey for HPS
· 378 Students
· 274 Responses
· 104 Did not respond
· 222 Said no to being in nut-free classrooms
· 52 Said yes to nut-free classrooms – seven going into 4th grade, 21 going into 3rd grade, nine going into 2nd grade, 15 going into 1st grade
Chair. Beauregard inquired if the 52 positive responses were enough. Dr. Paludi responded that the responses were not evenly spaced among the grades. Chair. Beauregard inquired if they were going to make phone calls or if they would make a second appeal for more volunteers. Dr. Paludi responded that they had talked about the possibility of making phone calls and that they may need another letter.
Dr. Paludi explained that last year’s letter was more successful. It stated that there would be a nut-safe classroom at every grade level, and the parents were to write a letter if they didn’t want their child to participate. Out of all the children that were placed in nut-safe classes, only one parent opted out. Once that parent was given more information, it was fine. This year’s letter, based on procedures, had a tear-off sheet that parents had to return saying yes or no.
Mr. McCann inquired if they were assuming that no response meant the parents don’t care one way or the other. Dr. Paludi stated yes. She was unsure how that the number of non-responders broke down by grade level. Mr. McCann agreed with possibly changing the letter to be more like last year. He recommended possibly using two letters - one letter goes to the people who said no and ask them to reconsider. Another letter might go to those who didn’t respond at all. That would cut down on the calls you might have to do at some point.
Dr. O’Shea stated that from his point of view, if the education leaders feel a procedure is not working and affects their ability to protect students and have a fair distribution of class sizes, then they don’t need the Board’s permission to do the procedure differently. The Board does policy; they do procedures. Chair. Beauregard agreed that they never expected the administration to come to back to change procedures.
Dr. O’Shea asked if there was any headway on the teacher aspect of the nut-free classes.
Ms. Thibaudeau responded that they’re working on it.
Chair. Beauregard indicated that the Superintendent will be getting legal guidance on liability issues.
Pay for Performance Committee Charter
The committee held an organizational meeting on April 6th where a note taker was appointed, the charge was reviewed, and a timeline was established. The committee will gather information by July 15th. A final report will be submitted by September 1st in accordance with the committee’s charge from the Board.
The Committee will meet Friday, May 11th. Committee members volunteered to provide information on different aspects of the issue. The focus is currently unknown. There has not been feedback from the committee members yet in terms of the charter for the committee, although several members have provided resources to review.
Ms. Mace discussed the agenda for Friday. Some issues are:
· Should they focus on the pros and cons of a Pay for Performance system or focus their research on different models and present that information as part of the report.
· Should they look at different models and then try to come up with a recommendation on what model they think might work.
· They need to decide if part of their charge is to provide a cost analysis for any type of model that they might put forward.
The Committee welcomes input from the Board and Administration.
Dr. O’Shea stated that one of the challenges for him is that the Committee is an outgrowth of the contractual language agreement between the District and the Union. He didn’t believe the Board had had substantive discussions about where they are with pursuing this. He is open minded, but is not sure that the timing is right. Dr. O’Shea feels it is far more important that they have an emerging teacher evaluation plan in place. He is concerned that the Pay for Performance language could poison that well.
Dr. O’Shea’s research about Pay for Performance is that a lot of what is out there is based on political parties’ stances towards national and local unions. Most of the research applies more to struggling urban school districts, rather than districts comparable to Hollis.
Dr. O’Shea stated that Pay for Performance suggests trying to get people that aren’t working hard to work harder. It might be better to incentivize good teachers through their teaching life cycle. For someone who has just had a child, it might not be a great time for them to take on some new committee duties or for them to be a 5th grade group leader. Five years later when their child is in kindergarten might be a great time for them.
Dr. O’Shea expressed that he was uncomfortable not being in the same place as the prior board. He stated he feels they need a way to honor what each side contractually agreed to do. More dialogue is crucial among the five Board members and the Administrative team, and it needs to be transparent to the public.
Chair. Beauregard expressed that he was concerned that the Board had not given the committee members a clear set of goals around what they’re looking for out of this.
Mr. McCann stated that this was negotiated two or three years ago, and it made sense then. If it doesn’t make sense now or if a different approach is needed, he is open to new suggestions.
Supt. Pike cautioned that before they go too far about Board goals, they have to remember that this was part of a negotiated agreement. Any modification needs to be done formally and with both parties in agreement.
Supt. Pike stated that incentives make more sense than the idea of making the salary grid competitive. Possibly providing monies for national teacher certification is one idea. He further suggested that perhaps the Board and Committee should focus more on looking at incentives rather than this system.
Chair. Beauregard agreed that any changes needed to be done with the agreement of the parties and that it has to be done with some sort of structure. He also believes there is a place for the Board first to discuss with the Administration what their perspective is and then go to the Union with a proposal.
Chair. Beauregard stated that in his opinion the phrase Pay for Performance is broad enough to encompass different things. They have talked about classical Pay for Performance schemes where performance is defined, measured, and then paid for. Currently performance isn’t defined. Chair. Beauregard stated that pay could be meaningful monetary and nonmonetary incentives that encourage desirable teacher activities such as National Certification and things that go beyond the normal scope of employment. The Committee might explore what some of those activities might be and what kind of an administrative process and funding would be necessary. Get ideas from teachers and principals.
Chair. Beauregard suggested implementing innovative programs. An example is Ms. Klicker had obtained grants and done a maple syrup project that she integrated into her curriculum in math, science, creative writing and art. Completing summer training is an idea. One of the proposals made during the budget process was to provide funds for training in differentiated instruction. The current contract states that there will be a certain amount of training. Additional training that folks completed and productivity enhancements that lead to improved student performance are ideas.
Dr. Paludi explained that Bedford had a Pay for Performance system. Their program lasted approximately five years, but it no longer exists. She suggested that Bedford’s retired former Superintendent Dennis Pope be consulted, as he knows its entire history. Ms. Mace volunteered to contact Mr. Pope about meeting with the Committee.
Chair. Beauregard inquired if Dr. Paludi would say that the incentive process doesn’t work and breaks down. Dr. Paludi stated she was in NY during Bedford’s program. Her understanding is that initially it encouraged collegiality and collaboration and had a very good beginning structure. It later became highly competitive when the pool of money was limited. Dennis Pope would be a valuable resource about the program’s issues.
Ms. Thibaudeau stated that it would be difficult to decide who would be rewarded as all of the HUES staff has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Dr. Paludi agreed that her staff is the same.
Mr. McCann suggested that instead of Pay for Performance, they focus on identifying, attracting, and retaining the best teachers coupled with a strong evaluation process. They could look at National Certification or other things as incentives.
Dr. Paludi stated that there was not much response to funding National Certification when that was offered while she worked in NY.
Mr. McCann suggested that they poll the teachers to find out what would be good incentives. Money might not be the right incentive. They might be more motivated by other things like work environment or professional growth.
Supt. Pike stated that even if it was assumed that Pay for Performance was embraced by everyone and there was a pool of money, this still could not happen with the current structure that is in place. Things need to be looked at differently if the administrators were hypothetically asked to put the lion’s share of their day into the evaluation of staff. In the old Timberlane model, they hired a separate administrator just to do the evaluation process for this Pay for Performance. That is an additional expense on top of the pool of money. Then you have to make sure the evaluation document you have or the tool you have in place is going to get you where you want to be in terms of assessment. Dr. Paludi stated that in Bedford it required many hours of management on the part of administration.
Chair. Beauregard inquired about the genesis of the Pay for Performance Committee two years ago before the current Board was elected. Supt. Pike reported that both sides were very adamant about their positions. Neither side embraced the concept, but it was an 11th hour compromise to keep it from becoming a deal breaker. They agreed to form a committee to research it.
Chair. Beauregard asked what the conflicting views were. Mr. David Lesky stated they had research in bargaining that said these are generally used in urban settings and many of the plans failed. In some settings it was more of a reward system. Mr. Lesky further stated that the prior Board never had a plan or research or goals, but simply wanted this. The Board never said why they wanted it. It seemed like it was going to be a deal breaker. A committee needed to be formed. Mr. Lesky clarified that the drive of the committee was to simply gather research, discuss it and come back with either a minority or majority view for negotiations in the upcoming year. It is leftover language from the older board. The teachers want to uphold the contract in good faith do what the committee’s charter is.
Mr. Lesky stated that at that the time the compensation plan started to wane in Bedford, there was a high turnover rate. They were losing young and veteran teachers.
Chair. Beauregard inquired if it was an incentive plan or Pay for Performance. Dr. Paludi stated that it was more based on incentives. Teachers as a team could come up with creative ideas, and there was a process to go through to submit that plan or idea. Then there was a committee that reviewed the plans and determined whether to move forward. Her understanding was that it took awhile to get off the ground. Few people were submitting plans initially to vie for the pool of money. As more people started submitting plans and looked at creative ways to tap into that money, it became competitive. There wasn’t enough money to fund all of the plans. That created a competitive situation rather than a situation that had been very collaborative and collegial.
Mr. Lesky stated that the research he gathered was not complementary. The Springfield Public Schools came up with something like the National Merit System. Other than that, he hadn’t seen anything long-term. There were many cases where it was adopted and then pushed by the wayside.
Mr. Lesky stated that teaching is a unique field and isn’t chosen for money. He is not sure where research is going to get them, but they will research the information in good faith in order to come to an intelligent consensus.
Chair. Beauregard inquired from the administration’s perspective if there are goals that the Board ought to have in this area that the Committee can facilitate. Supt. Pike responded that if there’s an agreement among the current Board, one goal might be to shift from the narrow focus of Pay for Performance to incentives.
Dr. O’Shea stated that this was a bad idea on the part of the prior Board and was poorly thought out. It was something left to people not yet elected, and they’re cleaning up the mess. He will be happy to participate in the process and continue the dialogue. It is a bad precedent, and they would do well not to do this in a future bargaining season to a future board.
Dr. O’Shea felt that the process can be salvaged if they can get a sense among the current Board of where they are at in terms of things they want to incentivize. Something near and dear to his heart is differentiated instruction.
Dr. O’Shea discussed that sometimes parents wonder about consistency of teaching experience and styles across a grade level. He wondered how the Board can incentivize that. If that teaching style is already happening, how can it become more transparent to the Board and parents? If it needs some changes, how do they work together collaboratively and collegially to effect that? The same thing with differentiated instruction. He suggested that a change of the charter of the Committee might be to enhance collegial and collaborative discussion between the school board and teachers.
Chair. Beauregard asked Mr. Venu Rao if he had some thoughts to share about the level of Board goals that could be facilitated by this committee. Mr. Rao stated that he would not like Pay for Performance if he were a teacher. How would performance be evaluated? What is the infrastructure? The gradation of performance would have to be fair. Mr. Rao doesn’t think the infrastructure is currently in place. If they want to change Pay for Performance into something different, that’s a different matter.
Ms. Mace responded that it depends on how performance and compensation are defined. Do they want to focus and define it as incentives? It would narrow the focus if they came up with a list of what is important and valued and how it might work. That would still stay within the charge.
Dr. O’Shea read the Committee’s charge to the public:
“The parties will form a joint committee consisting of four members appointed by the Association and four members appointed by the Board. The committee shall confer on the topic of performance-based compensation programs for teachers and transmit the material collected and any findings and conclusions, including dissenting views, to the parties’ negotiating teams no later than September 1, 2007.”
Dr. O’Shea stated that he feels obligated to continue the process. There are ways to continue to have a collaborative, collegial and spirited dialogue and have a range of opinions.
Supt. Pike stated that if the joint committee confers and decides that’s not the direction it wants to go in, the committee collaboratively and by consensus can say that this is the approach they’re going to take. It would be an exercise in futility to go and research something that the current board and committee members don’t agree with. Mr. McCann respectfully disagreed to the extent that he feels the Board needs to agree. If they as a group decide that the document language isn’t the right thing, that’s fine. He does not want to set a precedent that in the future a committee will change the charge.
Supt. Pike responded that if the Board and the Association wanted to modify the contract with some kind of sidebar articulated agreement, then that would be an appropriate process. Then goals can be redefined. Mr. McCann agreed.
Chair. Beauregard stated that there isn’t a definition of performance. The Board is looking to the Administration for some guidance around goals.
Mr. McCann stated his vote would be to disband the original charter of this committee. He is not convinced that it makes sense and does not want the committee to waste their time until September 1. It would perhaps be more fruitful to look at whatever it takes to attract and retain top employees, whatever that is. That could be research, information that is brought back to incorporate for future goals and incentives. He feels that the evaluation process needs to be in place and ironclad.
Chair. Beauregard suggested that Mr. Pope be called and asked for a synopsis of what happened in Bedford. Supt. Pike suggested that Mr. Pope be invited to come to a Board meeting to discuss what happened in Bedford before the Board discusses goal setting.
Chair. Beauregard stated that Ms. Mace will send a message to all committee members to postpone the meeting on Friday and will also consult with Mr. Pope. Supt. Pike will look into the process for legally modifying the charter of the committee.
Chair. Beauregard stated that there’s a question around how to attract and retain excellent teachers. Maybe they’ve already been attracted. How can they be retained? Dr. Paludi stated that they already have the best and they are retaining them. There isn’t a big turnover.
Mr. McCann suggested that perhaps an on-site daycare would make a difference for teachers with young children.
Dr. O’Shea stated that one of his frustrations as a board member is not knowing how to access meaningful contact with teachers collaboratively and collegially that does not revolve around contractual issues and allows for free dialogue and educating each other.
Union Request for a Meeting
Mr. Lesky suggested having a meeting with the Board and Union sometime in the fall before commencing with bargaining. He stated they had something like this several years ago that proved to be helpful where common issues and goals were discussed. It also educates people who are new to the process.
Dr. O’Shea stated that the concept was a welcome one and he would be open to it. Chair. Beauregard appreciated the suggestion and personally thought it was a good idea. Good timing for such discussions would be around the end of June before vacations but not during the final throes of the fiscal year.
Supt. Pikes stated that the budget and communication strategies were two broad goals to be discussed. At least three of the topics in that report tie in with some of the things talked about with the redirection of the committee. The report was a lot to digest in one meeting. Maybe they should take time to see where it fits into the overall plan with input from all the constituencies.
Dr. Paludi stated that they have four, three-year-goals currently being worked on. There are personal goals, district goals, three-year goals, and curriculum goals. NWEA is well along its way. There has been substantial progress with the teacher assessment process, and it is on track to have a decision by the end of June.
Ms. Mace reported that the Committee, after a year of research and discussion, has decided that the Danielson plan does meet the criteria that is felt would provide a standards-based model. The focus would be on student learning instead of on teaching. The next step is to develop the process and procedures for the plan. There is a meeting set for June 25th in which additional research will be brought. The plan is to spend the next year developing the process and procedures.
Ms. Mace stated that the Committee is researching the cost of the training. The Committee is comparing using the Danielson model with possibly modifying the model and providing an alternate type of training. The purpose of the June meeting is to look at other districts to see how it is working for them.
Dr. O’Shea inquired if this was something that needs to be contractually agreed upon. Ms. Mace responded that it is. The next year would be spent engaging the different constituencies so they can have input.
Dr. O’Shea asked if this would be ready in the Hollis School District for the current negotiating session. Dr. Paludi responded that it wasn’t.
Dr. O’Shea asked if the $12,000 cost of the Danielson model would be spread across the three school districts. Dr. Paludi responded that it is. Dr. O’Shea expressed this is a fundamental tool for the people who teach the children. He wondered if that’s $12,000 that could be well spent. They would need Board guidance. Ms. Mace stated that she was charged at the previous meeting with finding out what the cost would be. They want to do their homework and contact districts who have used these trainers and find out what their experience has been.
Dr. O’Shea stated that the fundamental thing they want their educational leaders to be doing is deciding how to evaluate a first-year teacher and promote them and how to evaluate a three-year teacher and give them tenure. Chair. Beauregard stated that there is a tract for experienced teachers that are looking to go to the next level.
Chair. Beauregard inquired if the Hollis School District was staying in sync with the SAU because they need to or if it’s the right pace. Dr. O’Shea clarified that he’s wondering if the other two school districts are holding Hollis back. Dr. Paludi responded that it’s a tie because the evaluation plan is referenced in the contract. Right now it’s an SAU #41 evaluation model. SAU #41 has three different districts and three different contract lengths. Brookline has a five-year contract. Hollis has a two-year contract.
Dr. O’Shea said let’s say there is a mechanism where the earliest possible date that any of the three school districts could be ready to implement this would be July 1, ’09. If there was a collegial, collaborative approach where all sides agreed that this was the best evaluation tool to be the best for the children, the fairest for teachers, and the best quality way for administrators across all three districts, would there be a way to amend contracts that were midstream? In order to have some uniformity and collegiality within SAU #41, would they roll this out all at the same time regardless of when contracts were up? Supt. Pike responded that the same answer applies in terms of how they might work with the current language. The only legitimate mechanism would be if it were presented as a side bar or an amendment to the agreement.
Dr. O’Shea stated that if there were a consensus with all three school boards and school administrators that people within the SAU were at the same place at the same time, it sounds like it could happen and no district would feel it was being held back by another.
Dr. Paludi expressed that a full year is needed to prepare. Training is the key piece. It was done two different ways in two different districts. In one they developed their own spinoff from Danielson that took a lot of time and effort and didn’t have as strong a training component. The other implemented the program exactly as it exists. They bought all of the training and spent a full year with that training model, training trainers, training teachers, and having trainers train teachers before beginning the program. That was by far the better way to do it. The year of the training and the implementation of is the key to its success.
Mr. McCann inquired what would be the first date they’d be willing to implement this. Dr. Paludi responded that there needs to be training all of ‘07/’08. Ms. Mace responded that it’s not budgeted. They need to make their decision by the fall on whether they want to buy the whole program or whether they want to tweak it and develop it themselves. Then they will be ready for budget recommendations.
Ms. Mace stated that the figure of $12,000 included training the trainers for three days. Then the trainers would train their people. Dr. Paludi stated that they’re talking in the Committee about which way to go. If money is going to be needed for additional training, that would have to be in the budget proposal for ‘08/’09.
Chair. Beauregard inquired how to productively use the time in ‘07/’08. Ms. Mace responded that time would be used to develop the process and procedures.
Chair. Beauregard inquired if they’re looking at implementing this in the ‘09/’10 fiscal year. He was concerned that the momentum could wane over three years. Ms. Thibaudeau stated that it is important for the Board to know that the process that is in place now is not an inferior process. It’s very comprehensive and time consuming on the part of the administration. It is very informative to teachers and addresses student achievement and student learning. The Danielson model will be more clear and concise.
Dr. O’Shea stated that there will be time to sell it to the voters and the Budget Committee because it is going to have a bottom line impact.
Four goals for the Hollis School District are:
· To improve the teacher evaluation process through the enhancement of instruction
· To create effective early intervening services as mandated in the areas of reading and mathematics
· To more effectively utilize assessment data to drive instruction
· To define the implementation of the balanced literacy approach
Ms. Thibaudeau stated that the ‘06/’07 goals have been met. The goals for ‘07/’08 say to conduct more training and information sessions with teachers. The goals for ‘08/’09 say to pilot the model with teacher volunteers and to collect data and feedback.
Chair. Beauregard stated that the Board had collected some input on goals and now has a document from Parents for Excellence that is additional input. The goal setting process is for the Board and Administration to have an open and collaborative workshop.
Dr. O’Shea stated that the entire document from the Parents for Excellence Committee is in April’s meeting minutes. The Board is taking this seriously, and it’s out there for all of the public to read.
Chair. Beauregard stated the Administration needs time to absorb the information from the Parents for Excellence document. Then the Board is looking to schedule a workshop where they go through all of the inputs for goals and have that as discussion between the Board and the Administration. The workshop is open to the public and will be run like a board meeting. It is for the special purpose of goals discussion. The outcome of that conversation in that workshop would then be the basis for collecting public feedback on what was discussed at that meeting. Then the Board would vote on which goals they are choosing and how to implement them.
Chair. Beauregard stated that there are a couple of operational goals in terms of the budget process that need to get started now, as well as one goal regarding a district-wide communication strategy that has an impact on everything they do. He thinks the area of bilateral communications between all of the stakeholders in the district can be greatly improved.
Chair. Beauregard stated that there is an action item on the table for the Board to meet with the PTA. The purpose of the meeting is to facilitate introductions and to give PTA members the opportunity to talk to the Board about what they’re doing. It would be run as a Board meeting with an opportunity for PTA members to provide additional feedback. They Board is hoping for a good turnout from the PTA.
Supt. Pike will present his goals for ‘07/’08 for all three districts at the upcoming SAU meeting. One goal is to look at the school district report card, and the other is the improvement of communications among all constituencies. He has a strategy that he will be present at the SAU meeting for all the Boards to consider. It will address how to have a better connection between the community and the school.
Chair. Beauregard wants to ensure that the public is aware that the goals statements or input received from the community is not being buried or processed into infinity. There is a timeline for processing all input. The goals workshop will be between June 20 and 22nd. Depending on the turnout anticipated, it might be held at the middle school multipurpose room so it could be televised.
Dr. O’Shea wants to communicate to the public that their voice is heard. All input will be seriously looked at. The document is wonderful public comment and more than the Board usually gets. The goal setting meeting is a time for the public to listen to their elected Board members deliberate with their school administration leaders and to see how they work
Dr. O’Shea expressed that the Board welcomes input and more emails from the public.
Chairman Beauregard asked the public for questions or comments regarding the goals process to be followed by any additional questions on other topics.
Venu Rao - 37 Arbor Lane, Hollis
Mr. Rao wanted to clarify that the document submitted by the Parents for Excellence Committee was not a final set of goals, but was intended to be a first step in the process for the Board to take the school to the next level. The parents want to take a good school and make it a better school. The document was not a statement on the performance of principals and teachers. They are doing the best they can. The document was not intended to be an extra task for the administrators but a set of tasks for the Board. The first step would be to decide what the issues are and then to create a subcommittee to research the feasibility of the ideas and how to implement them. The educational leadership needs to be a part of the process.
Chairman Beauregard expressed that he didn’t think that any one of those were a final goal in and of itself. But to achieve something tangible, there are intermediate goals for the steps in the process.
Mr. Rao suggested that a workshop might be a good place to start to talk about ideas. The process needs to be taken step by step. One question he had is why Hollis is spending $12,500 per child and not competing with districts spending $8,000 per child. This is something to be looked at in the process.
Chairman Beauregard asked if when Mr. Rao said it should be taken step by step, that there is a goal associated with each step in the process. Mr. Rao said yes. The first goal is to get everyone on the same page in regards to the issues to resolve. He said the Board needs to look at where we want to take the school and not on day-to-day operations.
Chairman Beauregard clarified that the Board is looking at the future. NWEA, the teacher evaluation process and data analysis have an impact on day-to-day operations, but they’re more about where they see themselves in the future and providing the best education for every child in the district.
Marybeth Carroll - 11 North Pepperell Road, Hollis
Ms. Carroll expressed that the purpose of the Parents for Excellence Committee is to be collaborative. Parents, teachers and the Board all want what is best for the children. That is the spirit of the committee. The committee can be viewed as the germination of all the ideas that people feed to the Board. The committee is a positive thing. Ms. Carroll wanted to publicly clarify that this is representative of parents and teachers. She agrees with Mr. Rao that the goal is to reach a step further. Differentiated learning is already on the Board’s radar. She hopes that this committee will be helpful to the Board.
Ms. Carroll suggested that in addition to the four goals, there should be a goal that mentions the gifted program or differentiated learning or some other avenue for excellence. A suggestion would be to contribute 50 cents to one of these programs out of $10 being spent in another area. Chairman Beauregard responded that was one of the items to be discussed at the workshop.
Chairman Beauregard inquired if Ms. Carroll had some sense from the Board that the Board wasn’t viewing this as a positive. Ms. Carroll said that her goal was to simply state for the public that this committee is for parents to help teachers. She invited teachers to the PTA meetings. Ms. Caroll suggested that communication and relationship building might be a goal.
Chairman Beauregard clarified that one of his jobs as Board chair is to preserve the roles and responsibilities of the Board and administration. He wanted to ensure that his actions were not misconstrued as a reluctance or lack of interest or not welcoming. Ms. Carroll stated that the Board has been very good. Her intent was to explain what this new group is to the public.
Ellen Lencsak - 26 Forest View Drive, Hollis
Ms. Lencsak is a teacher. She expressed that there were a lot of questions and concerns about the document from the Parents for Excellence Committee. The PTA is parent/teacher. As far as the teachers knew, there were no teachers on the committee. The teachers felt slighted. Ms. Lencsak said that the teachers wondered if this was to be taken as accusatory. They wondered what was behind it, if people were unhappy with something, and where it came from.
Ms. Carroll clarified that, if anything, the purpose is to help teachers and shame on the committee for not including teachers in the process. She appreciated Ms. Lencsak’s input.
Maura Loftus - 38 Fletcher Lane, Hollis
Ms. Loftus informed the Board that she has submitted an article for the PTA newsletter that announces the Parents for Excellence Committee in hopes to involve everyone. The group’s website is listed in the article. The purpose of the website is to actively solicit input from everyone – parents, residents, teachers and administration. The group’s new name is the Hollis E2 TEAM. That stands for Hollis Educational Excellence and Together Everyone Achieves More.
Ms. Loftus apologized if anything was misconstrued. The group needed to figure out what it was and where it was going. There was an apology to the teachers for feeling left out. The PTA meetings were open to everyone, but were held in the daytime when teachers were teaching. This was not intended to be exclusionary.
Robin Fitton – 11 Hills Farm Lane, Hollis
Ms. Fitton is a parent and an employee with Hollis Primary School. She extended an invitation to Dr. O’Shea for “Invite a Board Member to Work Day.” The purpose is to give the Board the opportunity to learn more about how teachers spend a day and to see what can’t always be communicated in Board meetings. This invitation is in the sprit of communication as teachers are not able to attend the group daytime meetings.
Kristi Forrest – 33 Emerson Lane, Hollis
Ms. Forrest had seen last week’s Coop Budget Meeting on Channel 12 in which Dr. O’Shea participated. She had heard the middle school principal talking about a computer program that her staff is training with that evaluated NCAP test results. During the meeting Dr. O’Shea had asked if the program was available district wide and was told that it was not and that there was a $2,500 licensing fee. Ms. Forrest’s question was why the primary school did not have it if the middle school did.
Ms. Mace said that Performance Pathways is the name of the company. There are three components. One part is a performance tracker, which is the data analysis tool for the state assessment. The state has entered into a contract and is going to be providing that tool to all districts free of charge. They will learn more about it over the summer. Training will need to be involved. Curriculum Mapping dovetails with that product. It is a curriculum guide that is also a database where you can take a look at assessment results and then go into the curriculum map where weaknesses have been identified and see what’s happening in the curriculum and if the curriculum needs to be adjusted.
Ms. Forrest expressed that it sounds like what is needed at the primary school. Ms. Mace said that the primary schools in Hollis and Brookline opted to begin with the NWEA initiative. The middle school is not doing NWEA. The long-term plan would be for the elementary schools to get familiar with NWEA over the coming year. Then at some point they would bring the two plans together so that the elementary starts with NWEA and then moves toward Curriculum Mapping. The Coop was doing Curriculum Mapping and would move toward NWEA and then would come together.
Ms. Forrest asked if Curriculum Mapping can be accomplished with NWEA. Dr. Paludi indicated that will be available. NWEA is a line to state standards. The correlation does exist with that.
Mr. McCann asked what the free program from the state would allow. Dr. Paludi explained that allows data analysis of individual scores and the ability to look at trends over time.
Michelle Choate – 27-1 Wright Road, Hollis
Ms. Choate wanted to touch on the nut-free classrooms. She was personally contacted by many parents who were concerned that deli meat had been listed as an item not allowed in a nut-free classroom. Parents were concerned with what they could provide their children for lunch that did not include peanut butter and deli meat. Ms. Choate’s son has severe allergies and is not affected by deli meat. She suggested that it not be banned for all nut-free classrooms, only when it is an issue with a particular child.
Ms. Choate suggested that perhaps one of the reasons for the negative response towards nut-free classrooms was due to the overwhelming list of items not allowed. That was necessary a couple of years ago, but now labels are clearer. She offered to assist the administration in amending the list.
Dr. Paludi explained that deli meat was originally added to the list because of the risk of cross-contamination. Some deli departments posted signs that stated that they were not nut-free and the meat blades could be contaminated with nut oil.
Chairman Beauregard made a motion to adjourn the public meeting. Motion was seconded. Motion passed 3-0.
The Board entered non-public session at 10:28 p.m.
The minutes were respectfully submitted by Annabelle Harris.