REGION 9 BOARD OF EDUCATION REGULAR MEETING
Joel Barlow High School – Library Learning Commons
September 17, 2019 – 7:30 p.m.
Board members: D’Agostino, Hocker, Johnston, Graziano, Hancock, Williams
Absent: Coppinger, Denny
Administration: Pierson Ugol, Reiss, Pin, McTague
Student Representative: Monson
Staff Members: Angell, Czudak
Others: Four members of the public, recording secretary and videographer
Mr. D’Agostino called the meeting to order at 7:31 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the minutes of August 20, 2019, Meeting as submitted (Johnston, Williams). Approved 5-0-1. Mr. Hancock abstained.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education add a new item “X” to the meeting agenda for an Executive Session regarding Evaluation of the Superintendent (Graziano, Hancock). Approved. Unanimous.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education add a new item “XI” to the agenda, Possible Action on the Matter Discussed in Executive Session (Graziano, Hancock). Approved. Unanimous.
Student Representative: Max Monson spoke of Colin Holm-Hansen receiving the 2019 Peter Burton Hanson Award for Humanity Scholarship. The recent 9/11 Memorial Ceremony was held in the school auditorium this year due to the large attendance; and this was the first time that the entire student body of JBHS was not alive when 9/11 occurred. Mr. Monson said despite this, and maybe because of this, this year’s ceremony was especially powerful. Congratulations went to Winston Painter (JBHS junior), whose polo team won the 2019 National Youth Tournament Series Championship. Mr. Monson reported that Barlow fall sports teams count 295 participants. An update on the fall musical, “Kiss Me Kate,” stated that there are 65 students involved in the cast, crew and pit. Performances for this play will be on November 22, 23 and 24. Mr. Monson said that the Activity Fair for Barlow students will be held on September 20 during the activity period.
Head of School: Dr. Pin reported that Dr. McMorran was not able to attend the meeting due to a family emergency. Dr. Pin spoke about the five new certified hires at JBHS, noting that two are Barlow alums. There were also three new non-certified staff hires. Dr. Pin said because of a request from the June board meeting, Mr. Angell had prepared a four-page report on the state of technology at Barlow. Dr. Pin then let Mr. Angell speak about the technology report.
Mr. Angell pointed out growth in the last five years of use of technological devices for educational opportunities. Mr. Angell said that Barlow is in a very good position with the technology infrastructure. Mr. Angell said he is continually looking at ways to thwart cyber-attacks, and that if the school was to be attacked the “worst case scenario” would be a loss of one day’s data because everything is backed up daily. Mrs. Williams asked if the staff received information on security. Mr. Angell said that staff also receives information on how to be cyber-safe. Daily classroom computer use is at 75%. Mr. Angell reported that he is looking to replace aging Smart Boards with video monitors; and keep old Smart Boards for parts. Mr. Angell reported that 48 iMacs were recently sent out to a buy-back program; he expects $350 per iMac. Mr. D’Agostino asked if the potpourri of devices at Barlow was deliberate, or if the school supply just ended up that way. Mr. Angell said there is a need at Barlow for different technology devices because software and programs needed for the varied curriculum require different devices. Mr. Angell said going forward with technology there are three choices to consider: 1) blended program (currently in place at Barlow); 2) 1:1 fully supported device to student (Chromebooks); or, 3) Bring Your Own Device) BYOD (with some Chromebook support). Mr. Angell and Dr. Pin stated that these options should be discussed and decided upon in a smaller committee setting.
Dr. Pin reported on the dehumidifiers that are throughout the school building. They are in the LLC and provide a “white noise” for which the students have developed a preference. Mr. D’Agostino asked if the building had the same humidity problems this past summer as it did the summer prior. Mr. Czudak said no. Mr. Czudak reported that he did trials throughout the building during the spring and summer with the dehumidifiers and carpet replacement. There is no mold, just condensation, in areas closest to HVAC outlets and with carpet. He said the bottom line is that dehumidifiers have made a difference; staff members have noticed the difference and are much happier with their environments.
Dr. Pin reported that Erin Pinsky, JBHS social studies teacher, was among four finalists for the State of CT High School Teacher of the Year. State officials will be visiting JBHS on September 27 to talk with staff, students and parents about Ms. Pinsky. Dr. Pin also reported that she had been elected to the board of the National Association of Secondary School Principals for a four-year term.
Director of Special Education Services: Patty Roszko. Dr. Pin reported for Ms. Roszko, who could not attend meeting because of a family emergency. Ms. Roszko compiled a Special Education report for the board, which said that: there are currently 10 students outplaced in other educational institutions. Of the 21 Special Education test-takers, seven students met benchmark in EBRW and math; 14 students met benchmark in EBRW; seven students met benchmark in math; and, seven students did not meet benchmark in either area. Mr. D’Agostino asked if this area had been under budgeted for this school year. Dr. Pin said that the Special Education area is on track for budget. However, if there were to be any unexpected costs the district would need to find money for them.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction: Dr. Pierson Ugol reported that the priorities for ER9 for the school year 2019-2020 are to: 1) Enhance our ability to make data-informed decisions; 2) Empower student ownership of their learning. Dr. McMorran also spoke about these priorities at the Opening Convocation. Dr. Pierson Ugol explained the ER9 Curriculum Leadership chart that she was requested to create for ER9. Mr. D’Agostino asked how this impacts curriculum in each school. Dr. Pierson Ugol said the topics for the curriculum steering committees will not start until a little later in the school year. Dr. Pierson Ugol also said that teachers create goals for themselves at the beginning of the school year and then follow-up with professional learning to reach these goals. Dr. Pierson Ugol checks in with the teacher’s mid-year and then again at the end of the school year.
Director of Finance & Operations: Mr. Reiss reported that the Phoenix financial and payroll system is being phased out by PowerSchool and that a new system needs to be purchased by the district. Mr. Reiss said that the district joined with nine others in an RP to bid for another company for the new software. Mr. Reiss said that he had narrowed down the choice to two vendors and will need to make a decision by October 1, 2019. Mr. Reiss asked the board for authorization to pursue this new system at a cost not to exceed $35,000. Mr. Johnston asked if the other two boards had given him authorization yet. Mr. Reiss said that Easton had, with no dollar amount, and that Redding still needed to discuss it at a board meeting. Mr. Reiss also reported that the budget is slightly positive in light of retirements vs. new hires throughout the district.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education give authorization to the Director of Finance & Operations to pursue a new district financial and payroll system, at a cost not to exceed $35,000 (Hocker, Johnston). Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT DONATION
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept the generous donation of photography equipment from Drew Valle, valued at $1,000 (Williams, Graziano). Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: CAMPUS IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT
Mr. Reiss reviewed the status of the Campus Improvements Project. Mr. Johnston, on behalf of the Building Committee, presented two invoices from vendors for payment.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve reimbursement payment of $213.75 to Joel Barlow High School from Campus Improvement Project Funds for night watch services (Hancock, Graziano). Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: APPROVAL OF INVOICES
Motion: move that Region 9 Board of Education approve payment of $25,798.75 to Gale Associates for engineering services on the Campus Improvements Project for invoice number 1907328 from May 2019 (Hancock, Johnston). Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: POLICIES FOR 1ST READING
Five policies were presented for First Reading. Mr. D’Agostino pointed out that, despite the Board’s and Administration’s desire to move through the backlog of necessary policy approvals quickly, the Board’s By-laws required a first and second reading of proposed policies at different meetings. There was discussion of some concerns regarding some of the policies as currently proposed. These will be discussed by the Board at a later meeting following their advancement through the first reading.
Motion: move that Region 9 Board of Education advance Policies 2151, 2400(a), 3100(a), 4131(a), 4131(a) Appendix and 4135(a) for a first reading (Graziano, Williams). Approved. Unanimous.
BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS
Pension: Nothing to report
Curriculum: Nothing to report.
Budget: Trying to set-up joint meeting date.
Building: Everything is good.
Audit: Setting up time to meet.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education recess the meeting to an Executive Session for the purpose of the Superintendent’s Evaluation (Hancock, Johnston). Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting recessed at 9:44 p.m.
The Board returned from Executive Session at 10:37 p.m.
POSSIBLE ACTION ON MATTER DISCUSSED IN EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion: move to accept the Superintendent’s Evaluation for the 2018-2019 school year as drafted by the Evaluation Committee and modified by the Board (Hancock, Graziano). Approved. Unanimous.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education meeting be adjourned (Williams, Graziano). Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:38 p.m.
Chris Hocker, Region 9 Board of Education Secretary
Sarah Ota, Recording Secretary