June 12, 2021

HSB Minutes 1-27-2021

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Community Outreach Meeting Minutes

January 27, 2021 @ 6:00 pm

Online Meeting  

Members present     Administrators present

Kevin Christie     Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill      Cathy Newton

Nancy Russell     Roy Hathorn

Russell North

Michelle Boleski

Dylan Morse

Katie Trombley

 1.  Call to Order

Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda  
Mr. Christie called the meeting to order at 6:02 PM.

Mr. Christie asked to move the student report update to the top of the agenda.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to approve the amended agenda, motion carried. 

  2. Discussion with members of the Hartford Committee on Racial Equity regarding Charter and coordination of efforts

Mr. Christie turned the meeting over to Mr. North. The meeting was opened up to all HCOREI committee members. He reported on the HCOREI committee meeting.  The purpose of the meeting was to identify any changes to the Charter and Charge to the committee. There was a discussion about the Charge, point 5 regarding the language cultural sensitivity. The committee suggested minor language changes. The committee also discussed the scope of their charge and asked for clarification, representing two Hartford boards can be a challenge. Committee members shared some of their activities in the schools. 

  3. Ends Policy Presentation and Discussion

Health and Well-being 
Introduction and discussion of policy indicators
Consideration of update
Mr. North reported that this is a sub-policy of the Life Skills policy. He asked about condensing these two Ends policies into one. He read some of the indicators. He asked the board to think about whether they still represent what we want and are they still correct. Mr. Hathorn commended Mr. North, now may be the time to review the Ends as our world has changed over the years. He gave technology as an example, it is incorporated into everything now. This may be a good topic for the next outreach survey with students and the community. The Ends were written in 2008-09. Equity and Inclusion were not included. Mr. DeBalsi suggested a “Town Hall Meeting” on zoom for the discussion. Mr. North suggested looking at the Ends and ranking them for discussion purposes in the Town Hall format.

 4. Presentation of HSD Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Mr. Christie shared his screen showing a timeline of events related to district COVID preparations and activities. He further shared the board’s perspective from the information shared at board meetings and highlighted the district staff response and action the district took to ensure student and staff safety. Some creative discussions and planning took place. The third round of COVID testing will take place next week for staff. Mr. Christie suggested using this presentation at the Community Forum night. Ms Boleski asked about using it on the board Facebook page. Mr. DeBalsi will post it on the district website. Mrs. Russell stated the importance of sharing the information to the community.

 5. Presentation of HSD Social and Emotional Supports

Mrs. Russell shared about a recent meeting, with state reps and district teachers, she attended about social and emotional well-being. Most participants were concerned about their own well-being and their level of exhaustion. She has reviewed the district Panorama student data and other Panorama student surveys.

Ms Boleski echoed the concerns about well-being.

Mrs. Newton and Mr. Hathorn shared a presentation: HSD Social Emotional Supports. This identified data that was collected and how the data was used in program planning in the district. They shared specific programs and support for the students and staff. Mr. DeBalsi suggested posting this presentation on the website in the news feed.

Mr. DeBalsi discussed the Labor Management Council (HEA president/board members, Mr. DeBalsi, Mrs. Newton, and Mr. Hathorn).  They meet every other week to discuss ongoing issues that staff face. They have sent surveys out to staff to gather information. 

Mr. DeBalsi reminded the group that the district now hires their own clinicians and have many staff in place to assist students and colleagues. 

Mrs. Newton shared her observations of walking through the schools, there is visible joy in the students’ learning. Both she and Mr. DeBalsi commended the staff on the amazing job they’ve done in following the rules to ensure the safety of all. 

Mr. DeBalsi stated he is welcome to comments and/or suggestions from the board, parents, or community members. Ms Boleski suggested a 1-800 hotline number, Mr. DeBalsi will call HCRS to see if that is up and running.

 6. New School Board Member Orientation Program 

Mr. North asked the board about using the Community Engagement meeting in March to review the Open Meeting Law and Policy Governance. He also suggested identifying board members(mentors) that would answer questions about specific topics. Mr. DeBalsi offered to highlight a variety of information the new board member would need. 

How to deal with a member of the public when they ask you something  and Executive Session are good topics to explain. 

 7.  Public Comments

The public was invited to join the meeting using the link  https://zoom.us/j/97430755984, ID  974 3075 5984.

Dylan Morse reported that two HHS students, Eddie Jeon and Zach Carter,  were accepted to the 2021 NAfME All Eastern Mixed Honors Choir. There are five students representing Vermont in the virtual concert this year.

Ms Boleski thanked the staff members who have reached out to HCOREI.

 8. Meeting Evaluation

The meeting evaluation was completed by Mr. North who proclaimed it was a good meeting.

9.  Adjournment

Moved by Mrs. Russell, seconded by Mr. Christie, to adjourn the meeting at  8:57 PM, motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey



Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 6:00 PM

Meet the Candidates Night is Monday, February 22, 2021 at 7:00 PM

Town Meeting Day is Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 10:00 AM

Town Meeting Australian Ballot Voting is Tuesday, March 2 from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM