Present: Bob Brick, Tom Gardner, Priscilla Baez, Brenda Rodriguez, Damaris Vega, Keith Purcell, Bernice Kwade, Genesis Santos, Hazel Rosario, Tom Weiner, Dan Zuckergood, Rhonda Soto
Absent: Ljuba Marsh, Heyda Martinez
1). Public Comment: A parent relayed a few concerns and requests to the administration:
1. If events occur such as police in the building, could information be made available to the students in an effort to calm any fears or rumors?
2. Could teachers be sure to put homework on the website and update grades in a timely fashion. Bob said Ljuba would report on the progress next Board meeting.
3. Can an outside facilitator come to the parent’s meetings to help keep it on task?
2). Review and Acceptance of November Minutes: Bob Brick made a motion to accept the minutes with the corrections made, Hazel Rosario seconded the motion. Vote: unanimous in favor.
3). Smith College Data Collection Project: Molly Toomey and a research partner explained what the project comprises and how the survey information will be gathered, compiled, studied and then presented to the Board for distribution to the school community by the May Board meeting.
4). Finance Committee Report: Keith Purcell reported Central Source, a company we have worked with during PFSJ’s first year, is onboard to get the budget back on track, they will be able to give us more information in January.
We got the audit report from Kristoffer Lane and we received an unmodified opinion, which is good news. We have 2 minor points to correct, we need internal control over financial reporting, and we have to submit MTRS in a timely manner.
5). Parent’s Report: Hazel Rosario reported parents have concerns about safety in school, they would like notices about events earlier with save the date. They are also interested in preparations for Prom and Graduation. They also had questions about our sports, and if we have plans to make the area in front of the school a “School Zone” with appropriate markings and sidewalks. And they asked a question about having a meeting between parents and board members without administration present. Lastly, they said the college kids are doing well.
6). Student’s Report: Seniors would like to leave a legacy for the school when they graduate. They asked about handbook update and website update. Bob Brick reported the both the handbook and website were being worked on currently.
The question of advisory being inconsistent was presented. In January for 2 weeks seniors will be able to work on prom & graduation preparations. Graduation is June 11, at the Academy of Music in Northampton.
7). Staff Report: None
8.) Old Business: Grievance Policy Update. No update currently. The Board asked Bob to work on getting the policy done.
9). President’s Report: There are 2 possible new candidates for Board membership to be voted on this meeting. A letter will be sent to Ingrid Askew asking if she planned to stay as an active member. Until there is an answer only 1 spot is open. Bob Brick made a motion to accept Theresa Gordon as a new Board member, Hazel Rosario seconded it. Vote: unanimous in favor.
10). Principals Report: Melissa Mirhej, Director of Academic Support, took the floor for a report on new staff and introduced Kim Kretzer, the new academic support teacher. She reported that Title 1 money allocations included the math intervention classes taught by Eli Chastek, the Achieve 3000 program, afterschool tutoring, summer school and a program to have incoming 9th graders assessed before the new school year begins. Melissa also spoke about other subjects such as the ongoing public debate about charter schools in MA, that Academic Support is serving more than 20 % of our student population. We’re working on the model to support kids who need help not just those who have an IEP. The HCC students do have help & support both from PFSJ and HCC as they navigate through the first year of college. There was a question about the 11th graders feeling taxed by class load and the tasks preparing for college.
11). Executive Director’s Report: Bob spoke about the progress of the building plans. There will likely be a year delay in opening or building in phases. Bob also spoke about planning for the transition of when he and Ljuba Marsh retire from PFSJ. The changing of leadership should be as smooth a process as possible for the new administrators. More details of the developing plan will be presented in February.
12). Special Presentation: Rhonda Soto introduced Michael Jacobson-Hardy, IT Director for PFSJ, who shared some history and experience in understanding white privilege. He leads information sessions during lunch, helping the white teaching staff recognize and explore their own privileged behavior and how it is transferred in teaching and the curriculum taught to students, this by working in a small supportive setting during lunch a few times a week. The purpose of the gatherings is to help the white staff eliminate racism and white guilt. Michael then spoke about his work 20 years ago, photographing daily life in Holyoke through work and school settings. He had his book available for those who wished to have one.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:05 PM