June 12, 2021

HSB Special Meeting Minutes 9-8-2020

Hartford Board of School Directors

Special School Board Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, September 8, 2020 @ 5:30 pm

Online Meeting 


Members Present:                                                     Administrators Present:

Kevin Christie                                                              Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill                                                                Roy Hathorn

Nancy Russell

Russell North

Michelle Boleski



1.  Call to Order

-        Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda 
Mr. Christie called the meeting to order at 5:38.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to approve the agenda as presented, motion carried.

2.  Review 2019 Retreat

Ms. Boleski and Mr. North reviewed the August 26, 2019 retreat which focused on community engagement. Several action steps were identified to address this issue. She highlighted the importance of meeting an End. A Facebook page was started, a joint community meeting with the Selectboard was held. Budgets and bonds have passed easily in the past. HHS Exhibition Night has been successful, this is a school activity and the board could promote it. It would be important to highlight school activities on the board Facebook page. Mr. North noted that it would be helpful if school employees could forward information on to him. The hits on the page have increased. The Wilder Renovation Committee was a good example of community engagement. Some other suggestions were about the three elementary schools having a joint event. There is an Upper Valley Listserv that is monitored. Instagram is a possibility.

A graphic showing the difference between the school board roles and  responsibilities and the district function would be helpful. Mr. Christie suggested Ms Boleski and/or Mr. North explore training to help develop that tool. Promoting the district is important but may not be the board’s role.

Mr. Christie asked the administrators about communicating in the community but how can the board stay in “their lane”? Mr. Hathorn responded that some staff members do post on Instagram to highlight what’s going on in their classrooms. There are definitely pockets of shared information. Mr. DeBalsi noted that there are two types of communicating: highlights of happenings and then there are other topics that you want out in the public for feedback. Mr. Merrill discussed the possibility of having a survey out about the design of the school day, possibly having a rolling start and a later end for some students.

Ms Boleski suggested having a schedule for when a post or survey would go out to the public. The board agreed that having a deadline for deciding about the role of the board. This would be part of an engagement activity. Collective ideas will be shared on September 23, 2020, the decisions will be held at a following board meeting. Board members will submit ideas to Ms Boleski and Mr. North prior to September 17th.

Mrs. Russell cautioned the board when identifying a topic to make sure the public knows that the board is concerned about the topic but will not be able to “fix it”. The board can help in addressing the topic with others.


            3.  Racial Equity and Inclusion - Strategic Planning

Mr. Christie reminded the board that the report from Curtis and Mary was reviewed in February. Mr. DeBalsi shared his initial thoughts at that meeting. The district has a framework to use when developing a new program/idea.

Mr. DeBalsi reported that the action steps were put on the back burner in the spring due to the pandemic. Once Mr. Hathorn and Mrs. Newton were on board the administrative team started to formulate the plan. Jameson and Ariel, the fellows partners, are all set. There was not a clear path identified in the report. Mr. Hathorn was assigned to educate the staff regarding the strategic plan and the anti racism policy and procedures. Mr. DeBalsi asked Aileen (HCOREI Chair) to help with the staff discussions. Tessa Johnson, district website author, designed a page about the topics. Mr. Hathorn shared feedback from the faculty meetings, all well received. He asked for volunteers who wanted to start the work either at the building or at the district level. This group will provide resources to the staff. He highlighted the website page(work-in-progress): policy and procedure, variety of resources, mission, common language (definitions), and listing of activities. The posters are on order and will be up asap.

Mr. Christie asked about information from the state regarding ACT 1. None received. Mr. Christie will share the contact’s information with Mr. Hathorn.

The board thanked the administrators for their work on this.

Ms Boleski asked about the language in GP7, #1. Mr. Merrill noted that there is a problem with the language and will need to be looked into. Mr. Christie noted this is an example of role clarity. The HCOREI committee was charged by the Select Board and the School Board. The two entities don’t operate using the same systems which adds to the challenge. Mr. Merrill asked how to move forward on this correction, policy committee or whole board? The policy committee will review the language.of GP7 and the Strategic Planning work.


4.  Community Linkage Ideas (GP 3)

-        Board Corner, Chit Chat, Community Forums
Incorporated in #3 discussion.

5.  Public Comments 

The public was invited to join the meeting,

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82100323722,  ID# 821 0032 3722.

The Board welcomed public comments, however it is not a time for discussion. The board is interested in hearing comments, concerns and suggestions from the public.

No one from the public spoke.

Ann Raynolds shared her appreciation with Ms Boleski and Mrs. Russell on the HCOREI board . She wonders about who is representing the HCOREI committee. There have been times that a non-appointed person has been a spokesperson.


            6. Executive Session

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to enter Executive Session at 7:26, I ask, pursuant to (1 VSA 313) c. (3) for the purpose of the appointment or employment or evaluation of a public officer or employee, provided that the public shall make a final decision to hire or appoint a public officer or employee in an open meeting and shall explain the reasons for its final decision during the open meeting; I further move that the Board enter into Executive Session to discuss the evaluation of a public employee under the provisions of Title 1, Section 313(a) (1) of the Vermont Statutes, motion carried.

The board came out of executive session at 8:07. No action was taken.


            7.  Adjournment

                        Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Ms. Russell to adjourn at 8:08, motion carried.


Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey




Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 6:00 PM