June 12, 2021

HSB Minutes 12-22-2020

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Community Outreach Meeting Minutes

December 22, 2020 @ 6:00 pm


Members Present                                          Administrators Present

Kevin Christie                                                  Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill                                                    Roy Hathorn

Nancy Russell                                                 Cathy Newton

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 6PM.

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

Mr. Christie turned the meeting over to Mr. North and Ms Boleski, co-chairs of the Community Engagement Team. HCOREI members were invited to attend the meeting as panelists.


          2.  Survey results and action steps
Dylan Morse shared the results of the second student survey, topic of in person school vs remote learning. There were 100 responses. Most students feel safe with in person school. Over 50% prefer in person learning. There was an overwhelming response to learning better in school. Almost 50% saw a change for worse in mental health while at home during remote learning. There was a direct correlation between remote learning and negative impact on the students. Many students also shared open comments. Board members and administrators asked Dylan questions and offered comments about the results. Mrs. Newton cautioned with the wording of questions, the board/district needs to be prepared to take action when necessary. Mrs. Russell shared concerns from the Community Coalition about mental health support for students. Ms Boleski asked about the call-in support line for mental health issues, is this available for students? Mr. DeBalsi will look into this. 
Mr. North shared the results of the most recent community survey, over 500 responses. Over 90% of people had no idea what/how Policy Governance works. 92% had no to limited knowledge of the Ends Policies. Information about this can be found on the district website, home page, policies tab.


3.     Policy Governance Presentation

Mr. North reviewed the Policy Governance model, designed by John Carver. The Ends are what the district hopes the students will gain before graduating from Hartford High School. Ms Boleski pointed out that not all Vermont boards follow the Policy Governance model. In 2007, the work started moving toward using this model. This is about accountability and getting results. Each year the superintendent provides a monitoring report with information on how the district and each school is meeting each End. The Board also writes monitoring reports throughout the year. The reports are posted on the website, on the policy pages. Mr. DeBalsi thanked Mr. North and Ms Boleski for the structure of the meeting in reviewing the policies and then focusing on HCOREI’s work.  All discussed how to best educate the public and the students about what this is. 
Definitions and operating rules
Hartford's current policies (refer to district website)
Policy Types
                                                    i.     Ends Policies
1.     Definition

2.     Hartford's Ends Policies

3.     Indicators/benchmarks
There are six Ends policies, they can be found on the district website, under Why Hartford? Students need to know what is expected of them. Mr. Hathorn pointed out that personal learning and proficiency based learning falls under one umbrella, a way to meet the Ends.
                                                  ii.     Executive Limitations
1.     Definitions

2.     Example EL-10 Race & Equity
These are designed to specifically identify what is not acceptable for the superintendent’s use. They structure how the superintendent is to perform. The most recent, Race & Equity policy, is stated in the negative and at the broadest level. A public member questioned how the superintendent provides evidence to support compliance. Mr. Merrill replied that it is Mr. DeBalsi’s interpretation of the policy and the board approves or asks for further clarification on the evidence.
                                                iii.     Board Superintendent Relationship
1.     Definition

2.     Example B/SR-4 Delegation to the Superintendent
                                                iv.     Governance Process Policies
1.     Definitions

2.     Example GP-7 Board Committee Principals
This explains how the school board operates its committees. Mr. DeBalsi suggested that the board consider discussing again how committees work. HCOREI is a committee of both the school board and the town, who have different operating structures. More clarity is needed for the joint committees. The chair is the liaison with the school district and the town. Mrs. Russell asked the school board to think about how this committee should be working and who they are to report to.
                                                  v.     Operating, Federally and State Mandated Policies

4.     Racial Equity and Inclusion under the Ends Policies

5.     Potential Survey Questions for next survey, focusing on budget and ends questions
     Mr. North asked the board to review the potential questions he shared just before the meeting. These could give good information for budget prep. This will be discussed at the January meeting with a potential second survey going out. 

     Mr. Christie reminded the board that the budget information has to be finalized at the next meeting. An additional meeting might be possible, Jan 20.
     The board discussed the possibility of doing a second survey soon. Mr. North asked for the board to give feedback, then the team will formalize the survey with Mr. DeBalsi.

     Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, that board authorize a sub committee of Mr. North, Ms Boleski, and Mr. DeBalsi to draft a survey addressing the issue of the budget expenditures and priorities, motion carried. 

          6.  Public Comments

  The public was invited to join the online meeting using the link  https://zoom.us/j/97430755984, meeting ID = 974 3075 5984. Members of the public were invited to ask questions and comment during the meeting.

Aileen, HCOREI chair,  shared her pleasure with working with the Barway group, teachers who are meeting to address the equity work, they are doing amazing work. She also shared her pleasure with what the OQS Principal is doing with the parents. She shared that Mary Gannon has been helpful with the anti racism work.

Mary Gannon shared that she feels that the Hartford District is in a good spot, as she works around the state and in Hartford. She is working with the district to get the Strategic Plan in motion, good things are happening here.

Ms Boleski announced that she will not be running for re-election in March when her term is up. She expressed interest in helping the new board member. She is grateful for the opportunity. Mr. North thanked her for her service. Mr. Merrill thanked Ms Boleski for her work and stated he has enjoyed working with her. Mrs. Russell echoed Mr. Merrill’s sentiments. She offered the board’s help with Ms Boleski’s new adventure.

Ms Boleski reminded the group about the community bell ringing on Dec 24 at 6PM.


          7. Meeting Evaluation

The meeting evaluation was completed by Ms Boleski. The meeting was satisfactory.

Mr. Christie asked that the board have a discussion about the next steps for HCOREI at the January 13, 2021 meeting. He asked about the committee joining the Community Engagement meeting occasionally for sharing information. Ms Boleski asked how the board can meet with the Select Board to discuss the Strategic Plan. 

8.  Adjournment

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to adjourn the meeting at 7:56, motion carried.


Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey



Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, 

January 13, 2021 at 6:00 PM