July 16, 2015 Minutes




Pittsfield School Board Meeting
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Pittsfield Middle High School


Members Present: Mike Wolfe, Chair
Gary Mullen, Vice Chair
Linda Freese, Secretary
Bea Douglas
Ray Ramsey

Others Present: John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools
Melissa Brown, Director of College and Career Readiness
Tobi Gray Chassie, District Administrator
Danielle Harvey, Dean of Instruction
Donna Lehmann, Director of Student Services
Kathy LeMay, Director of Interventions
Ross Morse, Community Liaison
Members of the Public

Chairman Wolfe called the meeting to order at 5:31p.m.


The following items were added:
· Curriculum Work (Ms. Harvey)
· Student Promotion Numbers (Ms. Harvey)
· Summer Academies Update (Ms. Harvey)
· Teaching Assignments (Ms. Harvey)


On a motion made by Mr. Mullen and seconded by Mr. Ramsey, the Board unanimously approved the agenda, as amended.


A motion was made by Mr. Mullen and seconded by Mr. Ramsey to approve the minutes of June 4, 2015, and June 23, 2015. On page 3 of the June 4, 2015, minutes, change to “Donations have been received from.” The motion passed unanimously to approve the minutes of the meetings.


Jim Prichard read a statement expressing his appreciation for the School Board’s decision to continue the district’s relationship with the volunteer website committee.

Clayton Wood thanked the School Board for their support of the volunteer website committee and agreed to continue working with the administration to provide the necessary updates to the current website.

Eric Nilsson, chairperson of the Pittsfield Board of Selectmen, stated that he acknowledges the Board’s decision to maintain a relationship with the volunteer website committee and appreciates the district’s desire to continue a strong working relationship with the Board of Selectmen.

Mr. Wolfe and Ms. Douglas stated that the decision to support the volunteer website committee has no bearing of the School Board’s relationship with the Town of Pittsfield, but is based on the positive history the district has had with the current website, which they are interested in continuing.



A. Drake Field

Laura Okrent, Scott Brown, and Steve Catalano were present as representatives of the Suncook Valley Rotary Club. Ms. Okrent stated that the Rotary is cognizant of the work that has been done to improve Drake Field. As work continues to organize the annual Balloon Rally, she wanted to be sure there was open communication regarding the Rotary’s work as it relates to the protection of Drake Field. She was concerned that they had not been communicating with the correct person(s).

Dr. Freeman stated that a School Board policy currently in place addresses the approval process for a group using Drake Field. He further explained that the policy has not been followed, for which he took personal responsibility. Mr. Jay Darrah, the PMHS athletic director, has not been the correct person with whom the Rotary should have been communicating. Steps would be taken to rectify this situation in the future.

Ms. Okrent stated that the Rotary would like to use Drake Field for the annual Balloon Rally on July 31, August 1, and August 2, 2015. She stated there is an issue with the children’s carnival component of the rally weekend, as the space that is needed is larger than the space that has been identified. Mr. Wolfe stated that the soccer season begins directly after the rally and there is concern that the trucks may leave ruts that will not be able to be repaired before soccer season begins as has occurred in the past. However, Mr. Wolfe was quick to state the Board’s desire to work with the Rotary to ensure their use of the facilities.

Ms. Okrent stated that it might be necessary to cut some branches in the far corner of Drake Field. Ms. Douglas stated the School Board would like to work with Rotary to make sure all needs can be met. It was decided that Mr. Catalano or Ms. Okrent would be the contact person and would be available on Friday, July 17, 2015, at 8:00 a.m., to identify the branches that need to be removed.

There is a concern of the gates being left unlocked at night during the rally. Mr. Darrah explained that although monitoring Drake Field 24/7 is not necessary, he would appreciate someone being there to greet vendors so that there will be control over where they drive in relationship to the field. Ms. Okrent explained that people will be there to direct traffic across the field.

Ms. Okrent desired confirmation that a Drake Field Committee representative would be available on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, to turn on the sprinkler system to confirm working condition of the system. The Rotary will then take responsibility for the repair of any of the working system that needs repair after the rally, should there be any damage.

Mr. Brown explained that when a process is followed for thirty-four years, there are assumptions made that things will run as usual; changes in expectations were not adequately communicated. For example, the helicopter landing zone, which has been the same for many years, will need to be moved due to the new playground equipment that was installed in the spring.

Ms. Douglas stated her opinion that the communication between the School Board and the Rotary has broken down. She suggested that a meeting occur when the planning for the next rally begins to ensure clear communication. She also suggested a meeting be convened following the rally to debrief.

Mr. Darrah explained that the decisions that have been made were not his, but the Drake Field Committee, made up of School Board members, an administrator, and community members.


A. Curriculum Work

Ms. Harvey explained the work that is being accomplished by teachers over the summer and into next year to ensure making the district’s curriculum available to all students and families. She shared the templates being used throughout the district to help make our curriculum uniform and better understood by all stakeholders.

B. Student Promotion Numbers

Ms. Harvey provided the Board with the numbers of students being promoted in grades K through 8. She will work with Ms. Brown to provide an update of high school students at a future meeting.

C. Summer Academies Update

Ms. Harvey reported the PMHS summer academies are in full swing. Jen Massey, the Summer Academy coordinator, will provide a full report in August. Invitations were distributed to the School Board to attend exhibitions of learning for each of the three academies, including 1) Creating Your Summer Adventure; 2) Behind the Scenes; and 3) Environmental Leadership Stewardship.

D. Teaching Assignments

Ms. Harvey provided the Board with a list of teaching assignments for grades K through 6.


A. Student Leadership Summit

By report, Mr. Hamilton requested approval by the Board for an overnight trip for the annual PMHS Student Leadership Summit.

On a motion made by Ms. Douglas and seconded by Mr. Mullen, the Board voted unanimously to approve the overnight trip to Graylag Cabins for the annual Student Leadership Summit on August 10 and 11, 2015.

B. PATCH Report

Mr. Hamilton provided the School Board with the annual Pre-Adolescent to Teen Center for Health (PATCH) Clinic report.

C. School Bus Transportation

By report, Mr. Hamilton informed the Board that several parents have voiced their concern about middle school students not having access to the in-town bus pick up and drop off. He advised the Board that parents may address the Board at tonight’s meeting to voice their opinion.

D. Site Council Update

Mr. Hamilton informed the Board that the Site Council will continue to meet over the summer with meetings scheduled on July 7, July 20, and August 18, 2015. The primary task over the summer will be to review the revisions and additions to the competency-based education policies and procedures, which will eventually be included in the Student / Family Handbook.

E. Staff Update

Mr. Hamilton updated the Board, by report, on the hiring status of custodians and student support specialists at both PES and PMHS.


A. Staffing

Ms. Lehmann provided the School Board with an update on the hiring that has been accomplished to fill vacant positions. She explained that the services of a full time speech and language pathologist will be contracted from Boothby Services. She explained that Kim Morganti, a consultant previously contracted for behavior services, will be hired full time.

B. Summer Programming

Ms. Lehmann stated that there are students receiving an extended school year program, as specified by their individual education plans. Students are working on maintaining skills in reading, writing, and math, as well as independent work skills.


Dr. Freeman introduced Melissa Brown to the School Board. She has assumed responsibility for the position of Director of College and Career Readiness.


A. School Board Policies

Dr. Freeman presented policies for the School Board to consider, including: Policy JLDBA, Behavior Management and Intervention – no change recommended; Policy JLF, Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect – change recommended; Policy JLIA, Supervision of Students – changes recommended; Policy JLIE, Student Automobile Use – changes recommended; Policy JLIEA, Application for Parking Permit – recommend rescission; Policy JLIF, Receipt and Use of Sex Offender Registry Information – no change recommended; Policy JR, Student Records – transition to Policy JRA recommended; Policy JRB, Confidential Student Information – new policy recommended.

On a motion made by Ms. Douglas and seconded by Mr. Ramsey, the Board approved the recommendations of the Board.

B. Resignation and New Hires

Dr. Freeman updated the Board on resignations and new hires. Resignations include Preschool Teacher Karly Wilcox and Speech and Language Pathologist Pam Williams. New hires include Special Education Teacher Manuela Bittner-Shuey, Family and Consumer Science / Health Teacher James Cobern, Grade 9-10 English Teacher Lisa Diener, Educational and Behavioral Specialist Kimberly Morganti, and Middle School Social Studies Teacher Jennifer Morrill.

C. Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program

According to Dr. Freeman, the district has received notice from the State Department of Education that our PES participation in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program for the 2015-2016 school year has been approved. The district will receive $15,810 to support his service.

D. New Hampshire School Boards Association Services

Dr. Freeman provided the Board with notice of services provided by the New Hampshire School Boards Association.

E. School District Website

Dr. Freeman provided the Board with information on Word Press that was shared with him by Selectman Douglas at a recent Select Board meeting; Word Press is online tool and management system that the district uses for both district and school websites.


A. Budget Committee – None

B. Drake Field and Facilities

Ms. Douglas asked to have the subject of the Drake Field Committee be put on a future agenda. She is concerned about a lack of communication and the role of the Drake Field Committee. A meeting to debrief the balloon rally details was suggested.

C. Negotiating Team – None

D. Foss Foundation – None


Ross Morse commented on summer academies. He visited the academy taking place at Graylag and expressed his enthusiasm for the program.

Taylor Edwards, a 2015 graduate, stated that she was not provided adequate help in learning how to read. She stated that she, as well as other students, were often not provided with assistance when they need it. Ms. Edwards stated that she lacks confidence in applying for college or employment as a result.

Eric Nilsson, accompanying Taylor Edwards, stated that he is concerned about what he thinks happened to Taylor and would like to advocate for other students who might be having difficulties.


The next School Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 20, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. at the Pittsfield Middle High School.


On a motion made by Mr. Mullen and seconded by Mr. Wolfe, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 6:34 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Tobi Gray Chassie
Recording Secretary