September 17, 2015 Minutes




Pittsfield School Board Meeting
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Pittsfield Middle High School


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

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 Public

Chairperson Wolfe called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.


The following items were added to the agenda:
· Modification of school calendar (Ms. Brown)


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


On a motion made by Ms. Freese and seconded by Mr. Mullen, the Board voted unanimously to defer action on the minutes of the September 3, 2015, meeting.


Lisa English, President of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and parent, spoke to the School Board. She shared the dates of several PTO events with the Board, including October 23, 2015, the annual Trunk or Treat; September 10 through 28, Cherrydale Fundraiser; November 12, 2015, American Red Cross Blood Drive. Ms. English also announced that the Box Top program will also continue throughout the year.

Ms. English spoke to the issue of using essential oils as a naturopathic to remedy health concerns for her children. She is concerned about any policies that might interfere with the use of essential oils. The school nurse suggested the need for her to receive a “prescription” for the use of oils, which Ms. English did not think was necessary.

Daniel Schroth stated his concern for climate change and last year’s proposal for a biothermal heating system. He stated his opposition to an oil furnace and introduced Roger Skillings, from Skillings & Sons, Inc. to speak about geothermal heating options. Mr. Skillings made a brief presentation to the Board on geothermal energy, stating that this approach is most cost-effective in new construction due to available grant programs and when the energy is used for both heating and cooling applications.


A. Responsive Classroom

Ms. Harvey reported her use of a blog to post key practices in Responsive Classroom.

B. Smarter Balanced Assessment

Ms. Harvey provided the Board with several resources that can be shared with the community to prepare them for the release of the Smarter Balanced scores later this fall. Ms. Douglas stated her confidence in the administrative team for choosing the materials they thought were relevant to parents. She is concerned about there being too much information or information that is not parent/family friendly. Ms. Douglas agreed with Ms. Harvey’s suggestion to have a parent forum on the new assessment system, providing the opportunity for questions to be answered or concerns aired.



Ms. Brown asked the Board to consider modifying the calendar on October 14, 2015, to accommodate the students who will be taking the College Board suite
of assessments. Except for seventh grade students, PMHS students will be engaged in standardized testing for more than four hours on this day resulting in significant fatigue at the conclusion of the testing session. On a motion made by Mr. Wolfe and seconded by Mr. Mullen, the Board voted unanimously to approve modifying the calendar. School will be in session until 1:30 p.m. and will be released at that time.


A. Title I Open House

Ms. LeMay stated an Open House for Title I parents will be held on September 29, 2015. A morning meeting from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. will be held in addition to an evening meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

B. Progression of Support

Ms. LeMay shared a Frequently Asked Question document that is designed to assist staff in developing their understanding of the newly implemented progression of support system.

C. Title I in First Grade

Ms. LeMay explained that the small group instructional sessions for qualifying students have started, earlier than in previous years. She explained a phonological assessment screening that has been administered to all students who scored below the fortieth percentile on the spring NWEA Measures of Academic Progress assessments, as well as to new students.


Tucker Wolfe explained that an orientation for new Site Council members will be provided to members of the Site Council. Also, the Community Engagement Sub-Team was resurrected for operation during the 2015-16 school year.


A. Activity Fair

Mr. Hamilton provided a list of clubs and organizations that are available to the students at PMHS. He explained to the Board that an activity fair was provided to the students to help them prioritize their interests and to sign up for the clubs and organizations of interest. Each club and organization creates a charter for their group during the month of September.

B. Athletic Hall of Fame

According to Mr. Hamilton, the Athletic Department has selected the first three inductees to the Hall of Fame. The process began during a learning studio and continued until by-laws were written. The three inductees are Carroll Higgins – teacher, coach, and athletic director for twelve years; Jonas Glidden – teacher, coach, and athletic director for thirty five years; and Nathan Brown – 2001 valedictorian and three-sport athlete. An induction event is planned for September 19, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. in the PMHS gymnasium.

C. Safety Window

Mr. Hamilton explained the research that has been done relative to replacing the sliding window in the PMHS main entrance. Granite State Glass has proposed an installation that will cost $5,498 for materials, labor, and removal of the current glass, providing a greater level of security for the school office.


A. Professional Growth and Evaluation Team

Ms. Chassie asked for the Board’s approval of changes that have been proposed by the Professional Growth and Evaluation Team for the Professional Growth and Evaluation Plan. She summarized the changes, which were related to the number of observations required.

On a motion by Ms. Douglas and seconded by Mr. Mullen, the Board unanimously approved the changes to the Professional Growth and Evaluation Plan.

B. Communications Team

The Communications Team is finalizing their annual plan, which will be shared with the Board on or before November 19, 2015.

C. Concord Hospital

An article was shared, authored by several people from Concord Hospital along with Dr. Freeman and Ms. Chassie. The title of the article is The ABCs of a School-Based Health Center: PATCH, the Pre-Adolescent to Teen Center for Health. Ms. Chassie explained the article will be submitted for possible publication and conferences will be attended to share the contents of the article.

D. Council of Chief State School Officers / Innovation Learning Network

According to Ms. Chassie, a representative from the Council of Chief State School Officers, along with a four-member film crew were on site at PMHS and
in town this week, Monday through Thursday, to film a documentary on student centered learning. The experience included several students, teachers, administrators, and our community liaison.

The project features schools in four states; Pittsfield is the New Hampshire school selected for documentation. The production of the documentary will have a quick turn- around; we are expecting to have it by the end of October.

E. Education Development Center

Two departments of the Education Development Center will work with the district over the next three-year phase of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation grant. We will continue to work with EDC to evaluate our student centered learning implementation, as well with an additional department supporting a continuous improvement process. Dr. Freeman is negotiating with NMEF and EDC currently to avoid any duplication of effort given the work the Good to Great Team is planning.

F. Induction

Newly hired teachers are participating in a year-long induction process including orientation this summer, mentoring, and new teacher seminars throughout the year. The induction website has been designed to mirror the expectations of teachers, including the use of a syllabus, year-at-a-glance, and blended learning format.

G. Logic Model

Ms. Chassie reminded the members of the Board about the community’s opportunity to vet the PES logic model will take place on September 22, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. at the school. The final draft of the logic model will be presented to the Board for approval on or before November 19, 2015.

H. NextGen Grant

Michelle Milstein, according to Ms. Chassie, has been assigned to PMHS as a coach from the NextGen grant managers, the Great Schools Partnership. She will be providing technical assistance throughout the year.

I. Video Premiere

Our newest video, Inquiry-Based Learning, will be premiered on September 30, 2015, in the PMHS Lecture Hall. We hope a large audience will gather to view the film and participate in a panel discussion, which will be facilitiated by Dr. Freeman.


A. School Board Policies

Dr. Freeman presented the following policies: Policy KI, Visitors to Schools – recommended changes; Policy KE, Public Complaints – recommended changes; Policy ILD, Educational Questionnaires, Surveys, and Research – recommended addition of policy; Policy ILDA, Non-Educational Questionnaires, Surveys, and Research – required and recommended addition of policy.

On a motion made by Mr. Mullen and seconded by Ms. Freese, the Board unanimously approved the policies as recommended.

XIII. PUBLIC INPUT (Second Session)

Ross Morse suggested asking for parent input about what they would need for information about the Smarter Balanced assessment program. He further suggested having a parent forum preceding the next test of Smarter Balanced testing session, so that it would set the stage for the testing experience.

Ms. English asked for clarification on the date of the Title I Open House and asked if the bullet-proof glass would be considered for PES, to which Ms. LeMay provided the date of September 29; regarding the glass, Mr. Hamilton answered in the affirmative.


The next School Board meeting is scheduled for October 1, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. at the Pittsfield Middle High School.


On a motion made by Mr. Mullen and seconded by Ms. Freese, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 6:38 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Tobi Gray Chassie
Recording Secretary