November 19, 2015 Minutes




Pittsfield School Board Meeting
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Pittsfield Middle High School


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

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

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


The following items were added to the agenda:
· Title I update (Ms. Lemay)
· PMHS gymnasium floor (Mr. Hamilton)
· Superintendent evaluation (Ms. Douglas)
The following item was deleted from the agenda:
· PES Logic Model (Ms. Chassie)


On a motion made by Mr. Ramsey and seconded by Ms. Freese, the Board voted unanimously to approve the amended agenda.


On a motion made by Mr. Ramsey and seconded by Mr. Wolfe, the Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the November 5, 2015 meeting.


Ross Morse asked if the summary of the energy meetings could be written and available to the public. The Board agreed it was a good suggestion and would follow through with the suggestion.

Tucker Wolfe reported the Site Council has an opening for an alternative student representative. The Site Council reviewed the Food Services charge policy and provided feedback. The council is seeking additional information before moving ahead with a decision.

A. First Quarter Grading

Ms. Harvey explained the first quarter closed on Friday, November 6, 2015. She distributed data collected on the academic progress of the students at PMHS. Dr. Freeman explained that since the district no longer averages grades and that master of all competencies is required, the district’s standards have been raised and present a greater challenge to all students.

B. Smarter Balanced Assessment Program

Ms. Harvey reported the Smarter Balanced test results will be mailed home to parents this month. Elementary and middle school teachers have been reviewing the assessment data and comparing it to other indicators of student achievement. Overall, students scored better on NWEA and the same or lower on Smarter Balanced. As the district moves forward toward the Performance Assessment of Competency-based Education (PACE) assessments, the district will be comparing the normed results of the NWEA to the achievement of competencies.

C. First Grade Instructional Format

The first grade team piloted a change in instruction. They are moving students from teacher to teacher, according to the subjects of math, writing, and word work. Initial opinions of staff and parents have been positive.


A. School Facilities: Hot Water Boiler

Mr. Hamilton explained the situation of one of the four hot water boilers above the PMHS gym, which is leaking and needs to be replaced. He presented a bid from Control Technologies ($5,236) and Hillsgrove Plumbing and Heating ($2,625), recommending the latter; additional bids have also been received. Discussion ensued regarding the location of the hot water boilers, wondering if over the gym was the optimum place for them. On a motion made by Ms. Douglas and seconded by Mr. Ramsey, the Board unanimously approved the bid from Hillsgrove Plumbing and Heating, with the stipulation of investigating the location for future reference.

B. School Facilities: Emergency Lighting

During the annual building inspection, the Pittsfield Fire Department identified several emergency lights and exit signs not working at PMHS. Replacement price quotes from Tri-State and Rockingham Electric were received. Rockingham Electric’s quote of $6,007.50 was recommended, considering they are already working in the building replacing lights to LED. On a motion made by Mr. Ramsey and seconded by Ms. Freese, the Board voted unanimously to approve the quote from Rockingham Electric.

C. PMHS Gym Floor

Mr. Hamilton distributed a bid from to New England Sports Floors for the sum of $12,870 to sand, apply polyurethane seal, and paint game lines. Mr. Hamilton will investigate the possibility of locking in to the bid offered if the work is delayed for several months, due to basketball schedule.

D. School Resource Officer: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

A motion was made by Mr. Wolfe and seconded by Mr. Ramsey to approve the MOU for the school resource officer. Dr. Freeman requested the decision be made after discussion about the FY17 budget proposal, to which the Board agreed.

E. Essential Oils

Mr. Hamilton shared information with the Board about the use of essential oils by students in school.

F. Student Attendance

Data was provided by Mr. Hamilton on the number of current students who have five or more unexcused, excused, or total absences. He explained that intervention meetings are being held with students who have five or more unexcused absences.

G. Student Behavior

Mr. Hamilton shared data regarding the number of students who had four or more behavioral referrals over the first two months of school. He explained that the majority of the students have support teams in place. For those who do not, the student support specialist and Mr. Hamilton determine the steps necessary to provide support to the students.


A. Title I Update

Ms. LeMay distributed a document that outlines the services being provided by Title I staff. She shared an overview of the services provided, successes of the program, areas to improve, and upcoming events.


A. Communications Team

Ms. Chassie explained that a new communications consultant has been assigned by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) to our district. She will be attending some of the Communication Team’s monthly meetings, helping us to write proposals to NMEF for communications needs, and providing training that may be helpful.

B. Good to Great Team

The Good to Great Team met, according to Ms. Chassie, on November 17, 2015. Twelve people have been selected to participate on this team, which will be responsible for oversight of the continuous improvement processes in the district.

C. International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)

The Pittsfield School District was invited to participate with an impressive panel of presenters at the iNACOL conference in Orlando, Florida, on the topic of competency based education.

D. League of Innovative Schools

Ms. Chassie reported the attendance of five district personnel at the quarterly League of Innovative Schools Network meeting. This network is providing our faculty with an opportunity to join other educators in professional learning opportunities on the topic of student centered learning.

E. NextGen Grant

Our work with the Great Schools Partnership as a result of the NextGen Grant is moving forward, according to Ms. Chassie. An action plan is in place that merges with the work already being done in the area of student centered learning.

F. Student Ambassadors

Student ambassadors are working hard to perfect their tours of visitors to PMHS. The ambassadors have also agreed to work on a project that will highlight the various alma mater’s of the faculty and staff.

G. Visits

Recent visits, according to Ms. Chassie, include nine people from Asia through the International Educational Leadership Program, two people from Brandeis University. Emily Richmond, author from Education Writer’s Association, returned to Pittsfield to write articles on student led conferences and restorative justice. The previous articles were published in the Hechinger Report and the Atlantic.


A. FY17 Budget Proposal

Dr. Freeman distributed a list of revisions and updates to the FY17 budget proposal. He provided an explanation of the significant issues of personnel, expenditures, and revenues, which resulted in an impact to the current bottom line of $786,000. He outlined the positions in the current budget impacted by the current proposal, which he stated could be discussed in non-public session.

Dr. Freeman distributed a projected revenue summary for 2016-2017. He explained that the current budget represents an allocation of $9,290,364, which represents a $.21/thousand tax increase. Finally, the FY17 proposed budget spreadsheet was distributed for the Board’s review.

The Board expressed serious concerns about the situation the district is in with regard to the budget. A work session was scheduled for Monday, November 23, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. at PMHS for the purpose of reviewing the budget proposal in detail.

Discussion ensued regarding the school resource officer proposal. Mr. Ramsey stated the Budget Committee is interested in the statistics relative to the current impact the Pittsfield Police Department has on the school district. On a motion made by Mr. Wolfe and seconded by Ms. Freese, the Board approved the memorandum of understanding and the job description for the school resource officer.

B. Ice Build-Up at PMHS

Dr. Freeman provided the Board with a revised proposal from Building Envelope Specialists for an assessment and recommended remediation of the ice build-up problem at PMHS. The cost of this proposal was $4,887.15. Mr. Wolfe, using a thermal imaging camera, determined the problem to be the position of the sun in juxtaposition with the building. The Board declined to approve the proposal at this time.


A. School Board Appointment

Mr. Wolfe explained that due to the resignation of Mr. Mullen, the Board has the option of appointing a person to the Board until elections in March. Mr. Ted Mitchell and Ms. Stephanie Lamere have indicated their interest in being appointed. The Board directed Chairman Wolfe to follow through with determining an appointee.

B. Budget Committee

Mr. Ramsey updated the Board on the preliminary deliberations of the Budget Committee. He summarized some of the issues being addressed by the Budget Committee.

XIII. PUBLIC INPUT (Second Session)

Mr. Morse spoke to the dilemma faced by the School Board during the budget process.


At 7:02 p.m., a motion was made by Ms. Douglas and seconded by Mr. Ramsey to enter into non-public session to discuss the superintendent’s performance valuation pursuant to RSA 91-A:3, II (c). The Board was polled and voted unanimously (Ms. Douglas, yes; Ms. Freese, yes; Mr. Ramsey, yes; Mr. Wolfe, yes) to enter into a non-public session.

A. Superintendent Performance Evaluation

The Board review the superintendent’s performance evaluation.

No action was taken in non-public session.


At 7:15 p.m., a motion was made by Ms. Douglas and seconded by Mr. Ramsey to exit the non-public session and to re-enter into open session. The Board was polled and voted unanimously (Ms. Doublas, yes; Ms. Freese, yes; Mr. Ramsey, yes; Mr. Wolf, yes) to exit the non-public session and to re-enter into open session.


Ms. Douglas questioned whether any of the funds gifted to the district during the 2014-2015 school year could be allocated to the FY17 budget; Dr. Freeman will research and report to the Board on his findings.


The next School Board meeting is scheduled for December 3, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. at the Pittsfield Middle High School.


On a motion made by Mr. Ramsey and seconded by Ms. Freese, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 7:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Tobi Gray Chassie
Recording Secretary