Montpelier Board of School CommissionersMinutesMinutes - June 4, 2014

Minutes - June 4, 2014

1.  Call to Order The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m.

2.  Adjust/Review Agenda Addition of teacher contracts to the consent agenda.

3.  Public Comments None.

4.  Update on MHS Auditorium Steve Frey from Arocordis Design has been working with a committee of stakeholders on ideas for improving the space and character of the auditorium at MHS. The group worked on defining priorities and important issues surrounding the auditorium space. Preexisting conditions, i.e., equipment, lighting, seating, were assessed. As a result of the committee’s work, concept plans were generated. These plans were shared and discussed with the Board, along with a design phase estimate. Mrs. Braun inquired about the availability of bond funds to cover the proposed renovations. Director of Facilities Thom Wood reported that while there are some bond funds available for this purpose, it is not nearly enough. He has therefore requested a master plan allowing for the renovations to be approached sequentially and incrementally. Part of the next steps will be to work on building broader community support for this project, as well as fundraising. Mrs. Braun requested a recommendation as to where to invest first. Mr. Frey identified a detailed acoustical analysis/assessment/recommendations, as well as a detailed theatrical lighting and stage equipment analysis/assessment/ recommendations, as his top two priorities. Mr. Jones asked Mr. Wood for a schedule of shorter-term actions. Mr. Wood will schedule a follow-up meeting with the stakeholder committee to prioritize items and devise an action plan.

5.  Update on UES Playground Mr. Wood reported that the master plan for playground renovations will not be ready until the fall of 2014. The discussion then turned to restroom renovations. Restroom renovation bids were distributed and discussed. Mr. Wood reported that bathroom renovation costs are much higher than anticipated, as well as the fact that there is only enough bond money to renovate approximately one set of bathrooms at each school. With that in mind, he proposed renovating the set of bathrooms by the auditorium at MHS, the set of bathrooms on the second floor at MSMS, and the set of bathrooms on the first floor by drop off at UES. There was discussion around the issue of the bathrooms at UES needing the most attention. The Board discussed the possibility of taking the liberty to decide which bathrooms to renovate based on need. Following discussion, there was consensus to use all available bond money to renovate bathrooms at UES. A question was raised about the bond requirement to renovate bathrooms at all three schools. Superintendent Ricca agreed to check on that. Mr. VanDerlip moved, seconded by Mr. Phillips, to approve the bid of E.F. Wall for renovations to bathroom pairs (a), (b) and (d) at Union Elementary School. Motion carried unanimously.

6.  Discuss Possible Exit Survey for Seniors 2015 Mr. Jones talked about the new piece of legislation that passed which requires the State to track post-graduation paths. Mrs. Braun suggested the possibility of an exit survey for individuals who leave the district before graduating. Superintendent Ricca informed the Board about a renewed proposal from Matt McLane to work with an AP statistics class on a project such as this and asked board members for suggestions on areas to measure. Mr. Phillips requested information on student plans immediately following graduation. Mr. VanDerlip would like to know how the students perceive themselves as successful students in high school. Mr. Jones wants to know if the students feel like a part of the community. Mrs. Aldrich suggested having the students come up with ideas for questions as well. Mr. Jones suggested having the class visit with the Board before beginning their work on this

7.  Hear Superintendent Limitations Report

a.  2.8 Communication and Support to the Board Superintendent Ricca asked board members to provide feedback on how he is doing in regard to providing them with information and support. Mr. Jones told Superintendent Ricca that he needs to be more systematic in order to ensure timely ends data reporting. He said the only time the Board should divert from the set reporting schedule is when they specifically act to do so. Mr. Jones went on to say that he does not believe the Board has reviewed data on a particular schedule. Mrs. Aldrich told Superintendent Ricca that she thinks he has fulfilled the requirements of #3 and #4 well. Mr. Phillips commented that he sees no value in the limitations reports. He said the information that these reports require is not the type of information he is interested in receiving. He went on to say that he wants information like periodic reviews of the action plan, the status of teacher observations, statistics as to the number of teachers who have been put on focused assistance, etc. Mr. VanDerlip said he wanted to receive board packets in a more timely way. He asked Superintendent Ricca for richer superintendent narratives with more of his own thoughts about what's going on, what's working well, etc. Mrs. Braun commented that she likes the way Superintendent Ricca's memo corresponds with each item on the agenda. Mr. Phillips suggested revisiting this issue at the scheduled retreat on June 20th. Mr. Jones agreed, acknowledging that it may be time to revisit the limitations policies and

8.  Discuss Expectations for End #2 Superintendent Ricca asked board members for sources of evidence to prove that this end is being met. Mrs. Braun questioned if some of the indicators for this end might be contained in the learning objectives. Mr. VanDerlip believes the personal learning portfolios will address these types of skills and attitudes. Mr. Jones requested information as to what the rollout plan for personal learning portfolios looks like - where we are now, where we will be next year, etc. Mrs. Bean commented that there is a lot going on in the MSMS building around this end. Mrs. Aldrich asked Superintendent Ricca to look for examples like the Green Expo. to report on. Mrs. Braun suggested asking teachers to offer examples. Mr. Jones believes finding good examples will be the easy part, with the more difficult part being how to identify where improvement is needed. Mr. VanDerlip noted the importance of anecdotal examples, saying the other half is having a plan to ensure it's systematic.

9.  Set Annual Calendar Mr. VanDerlip moved, seconded by Mr. Jones, to approve the annual calendar as presented pending a check for religious holiday conflicts. Motion carried unanimously.

10.  Discuss Unpaid Leave of Absence Request Mr. VanDerlip moved, seconded by Mr. Phillips, to accept the recommendation for approval of an unpaid leave of absence request for a high school teacher. Motion carried unanimously.

11.  Action Item

a.  Approve Bid for Bathroom Renovations See #5 above.

12.  Authorize the Board Chairperson and/or the Board Clerk/Treasurer to Sign Warrants Mr. Phillips moved, seconded by Mrs. Braun, to authorize the Board Chairperson and/or the Board Clerk/Treasurer to sign warrants on behalf of the entire Board between scheduled meetings. Motion carried unanimously.

13.  Consent Agenda

a.  Minutes of May 21, 2014

b.  Warrants

c.  Teacher Contracts

d.  Resignation

i)  Ivy Zeller

e.  Authorize Superintendent to Submit Consolidated Federal Program Grant and to Receive and Expend Federal Funds

Mr. Phillips moved, seconded by Mr. VanDerlip, to approve the consent agenda including minutes of the May 21, 2014 regular meeting, Warrants 60, 61 and 62 dated June 5, 2014 in the amounts of $569,759.36, $30,052.51 and $82,379.75 respectively, the recommendation to offer teaching contracts to Lindsay Vanoli (math – MHS/MSMS) and Heather McLane (social studies - MHS), the resignation of Ivy Zeller with recognition and appreciation for all the work she did on behalf of the students during especially awful times, and authorization for the superintendent to submit the Consolidated Federal Program Grant and to receive and expend federal funds. Motion carried unanimously.

14.  Announcements/Review Meeting (+/∆)

-          A copy of The Essential Work of Vermont School Boards was provided to each board member in advance of the Board’s session with Val Gardner on June 20th. Superintendent Ricca previewed the schedule for that day.

-          The final high school choral concert of the year was fantastic; there are 12 seniors leaving that group (Mrs. Aldrich).

-          The high school art show was fantastic, a lot of talent there (Ms. Paquette).

-          Mrs. Bean commented on the new owl sculpture outside of the high school.

-          The MHS outing club recently participated in a wonderful overnight sunrise hike.


15.  Executive Session On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to enter Executive Session at 8:45 p.m., with the superintendent remaining. On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted unanimously to leave Executive Session at 8:57 p.m.

a.  Contract Negotiations

16.  Adjournment On a motion duly made and seconded the Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 8:57 p.m.



Heather Michaud


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