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Minutes of Region 9 Board of Education, 07/21/2020

AGENDA: Region 9 Board of Education

RECEIVED 07/27/2020 9:19am
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk

REGION 9 BOARD OF EDUCATION REGULAR MEETING
July 21, 2020 – 7:30 p.m.

Virtual Meeting via Zoom and viewable via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpOKinELAtzbYQcJ5NA3-hg

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Meeting ID: 87041782698

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Minutes

ATTENDANCE
Board members:  Johnston, Graziano, Berry, D’Agostino, Denny, Williams, O’Brien, Pampel
Administration:  McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Reiss, Pin, Desmarais, Panos
Others:  54 members of the staff and public, and the recording secretary

CALL TO ORDER

T. Johnston called the Region 9 Board of Education regular meeting to order at 7:36 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Motion:   move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the minutes of the July 15, 2020 Regular meeting as submitted.  (D’Agostino, Denny).  Approved.  Unanimous.

Motion:   move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the minutes of the June 23, 2020 Special meeting as submitted.  (O’Brien, D’Agostino).  Approved.  Unanimous.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Jazmin Jinnah, Easton, said that we need to have a culturally responsive education and one that validates and empowers students.  She said the $45,000 should not just be for curriculum development.

Susan Bard, Tudor Road, Redding, asked about the plans for communicating and contact tracing for staff and students when there is a positive COVID-19 test.

BOARD MEMBER COMMENT

M. D’Agostino questioned the Agenda order and suggested putting Item IX. D. Barlow Specific Details for the ER9 2020-2021 Reopening Plan earlier in the Agenda.  After a brief discussion it was decided to keep the Agenda as it was written.

ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS

Director of Finance & Operations, Scott Reiss, said that he would give his report later in the Agenda.

BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS
None.

AGENDA CHANGE
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education amend Agenda Item VII. A. to read “Employment of JBHS Special Education Director.”  (D’Agostino, Graziano).  Approved.  Unanimous.

RECESS TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS:

Consideration of Joel Barlow High School Special Education Director.  Invited Dr. McMorran, Dr. Pin and Mr. DeStefano to attend.

The Region 9 Board of Education recessed to Executive Session at 7:55 p.m.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education recess to Executive Session for the purpose of discussing the employment of JBHS Special Education Director, and with the invitation to Dr. Pin, Dr. McMorran and Mr. DiStefano to attend the Executive Session.  (D’Agostino, O’Brien).  Approved.   Unanimous.

RETURN FROM EXECUTIVE SESSION FOR POSSIBLE ACTION ON ITEM DISCUSSED IN EXECUTIVE SESSION

The Region 9 Board of Education returned to Public Session at 8:18 p.m.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept the administrative recommendation to hire Michael DiStefano as the JBHS Special Education Director.  (D’Agostino, Pampel).  Approved.  Unanimous.

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION:  2019-2020 FISCAL YEAR FINANCIAL CLOSE UPDATE

Director of Finance & Operations, Scott Reiss, said that he is still in the process of closing up the fiscal year and that it will be complete in September.  He said all is still on track for $1.7M in unexpended funds, with $980K being the Redding portion and $720K being the Easton portion.  S. Reiss also said that there is now six months’ worth of claim funds in the Health Reserve Fund, or approximately $1.72M, and that this figure is exactly where we want it to be.

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION:  SALE OF TECHNOLOGY AND USE OF FUNDS

Dr. Pin presented a plan for the sale of 115 pieces of technology, along with the purchase of 54 pieces of technology and a touchless sign-in system for the Library Learning Commons, Writing Center and Math Center.  She said the reason for selling the technology is because the technology is nearing its end-of-life and to make more space.  Dr. Pin said that the expected revenue from the sale would be $26,815.58 and the expected cost of the purchased technology to be $26,722.00.

Director of Learning Resources and Educational Technology, Chris Angell, explained that the Swipe K 12 Solutions would take the place of manual attendance and would also have restricted access.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the sale of outdated technology and the purchase of new technology as outlined in the administrative proposal, not to exceed the amount contained in the technology revenue account. (Berry, O’Brien).  Approved, 7-0-1.  (D’Agostino abstained).

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: CURRICULUM DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CONSULTANT AND TASK FORCE UPDATE

C. Graziano gave a report on the recent Curriculum Committee meeting saying that:  the Committee revised its charge to now include non-voting members (students and parents); the administration is in the process of identifying individuals to serves as these members; and, that the $45K (allocated by the Region 9 BOE at a previous meeting) has not yet been committed, but that Central Office has contracted with EdAdvance for advice on how to spend this money.  She said that at the next Curriculum Committee Meeting on August 6, they will:  review the Barlow curriculum with respect to inclusion, diversity and anti-racism and see what might need to be changed, and address the concerns members of the community have shared.

M. D’Agostino said that he highly values the Task Force and making revisions to the curriculum and programming, and that it was his understanding that the $45K was to bring in an expert to look at what we’re doing and make recommendations for us.  He said he thought the message was urgent and now this money is in a fund and we’ll see what we’ll do, and he is concerned that the community will wonder what we’re doing.  Dr. McMorran responded that they had met with CABE and that they advised this work would need to be done yourself; he also said that to keep in mind that staff is off now for the summer; and, that they have been speaking with many consultants and trying to find one that works for the district.  Dr. McMorran said that we need to view it as improving the quality of our work and moving forward, rather than fixing something that is broken.  Dr. Pierson Ugol said that you cannot implement a technical change in curriculum and think that that changes everything; that this work starts with the people with whom it is engaged.

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: BARLOW SPECIFIC DETAILS FOR THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL REOPENING PLAN

Assistant Principal, Julie McTague, first spoke about the Scheduling category by detailing the school day schedules for the three models All In, Hybrid and All Out.  She explained:  for the All In model, the school days will operate on “Black and Gold Days,” that have the full schedule of students’ classes divided into two days of 82-minute class periods and daily Advisory periods; for the All Out model, the school days will operate on “Black and Gold Days,” that have the full schedule of students’ classes divided into two days of 60-minute class periods and daily Advisory periods; and, for the Hybrid model, the school days will operate on “Falcon Days,” that have the full schedule of students’ classes every day in 42-minute class periods and weekly Advisory.  The Hybrid model will split the student body into two alphabetical groups, with each group having two days in the building and three days in distance learning.  J. McTague also said that all staff will have three days of training and professional learning before the school year starts.

Dr. Pin spoke to the Health & Safety category, and explained:  social distancing, protective barriers, mask wearing and PPE plans; the ventilation awareness; temperature screening; health data & change in status; medical exemptions for students and staff; and, the utilization of big spaces throughout the building for various purposes.

Assistant Principal, Jennifer Desmarais, spoke to the Facilities details that included:  staggered drop off times for buses, parent-driven students and student drivers; having front doors open during arrival and departure; no locker usage; no locker room usage; no visitors; nursing isolation room; staggered bathroom use; greater classroom spacing; and, increased cleaning throughout the building.

J. Desmarais explained the Food Services category by saying that:  there will be an additional lunch wave in the daily schedule; food options will be limited; there will be touchless pay only; and, staff members will be assigned to supervise the cafeteria and also new lunch areas.  Dr. Pin explained the Transportation category:  there will be staggered drop off times for buses, parent-driven students and student drivers; PPEs will be available on the buses; a survey about ridership will be sent out; and, the district is reviewing cleaning plans.  She said that they will monitor how the drop off and pick-up go during the first few days and that they may need to make adjustments.

Dr. Pin spoke to the Academics & Athletics category by saying:  high-stakes assessments will be postponed until October (exception may be AP courses); quarter grades will be eliminated; there will be  increased communication with families about what materials are needed by students; outdoor classroom instruction will be utilized to the greatest extent; planning a “grab & go” approach to art classes; music classes to take place outside and in large spaces; and, counselors and case managers will provide personalized learning plans.  Administrator for Athletics, Health and Physical Education, Michael Santangeli, said that a CIAC Task Force continues to meet, and that as of right now, all fall sports are continuing.  He said that the fall plan will be finalized on August 3, 2020.  J. McTague said that initially all clubs will be conducted virtually and they will periodically review what can be resumed in person; she also said that there will be no fall theatrical production.

Director of Guidance, Paula Panos, spoke to the Social/Emotional Learning and Support category, by explaining:  additional support will be available for those students who need it; students will be given time to re-acclimate to school; and, social/emotional learning will be embedded in all curriculum areas.  P. Panos also said that she will have conversations with college representatives about the status of Early Decision and Early Action college application choices.  Dr. Pin added that, as of right now, all courses are being offered.

S. Reiss explained the financial costs within the same reopening categories.  Scheduling:  none; Health & Safety:  desk shields, monitors, PPE, air purification, and public area shields; Facilities:  additional custodian, cleaning supplies, signage, portable hand washing stations, and tents; Food Services:  signage and furniture; Transportation:  monitors for drop-off, and cleaning; Academics & Athletics:  one floating certified substitute (for 90 days), one floating Para educator (for 90 days), simulcast cameras, instructional software, tents, and software;  Social/Emotional Learning and Support:  none.

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education authorize the Director of Finance & Operations to move forward to obtain the items necessary as outlined in the Region 9 2020-21 reopening plan.  (D’Agostino, Pampel).  Approved.  Unanimous.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Linda Meyer, Huckleberry Road, Redding, said that she was surprised and alarmed about the proposed 82-minute long class periods.  She said that the average child will not thrive in that environment.

BOARD MEMBER COMMENT

M. Pampel said that she wanted to give a super quick thank you to the administration, and that they are giving it amazing thought.

ADJOURNMENT

Motion:  move that the Region 9 Board of Education meeting be adjourned.  (O’Brien, Berry).  Approved.  Unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:32 p.m.

Submitted by,
Juliette Berry, Secretary, Region 9 Board of Education

Recorded by,
Sarah Ota

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