School Committee Meeting Minutes 01/09/2017

Farmington River Regional School District

Farmington River Elementary School

555 North Main Road, Otis, MA 01253

Monday January 9, 2017


Meeting #344





Members Present:  Nick DellaGiustina, Jessica Drenga, Hillary Howard, Carol Lombardo, Tom Nadolny, and Jane Gleason


Absent:  Sandra Snyder, John Skrip, Arlene Tolopko


Guests:  Tracy Hartshorn, Wendy Bergman, Craig Drenga, Laurie Flower


Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by the chair, Nicholas DellaGiustina.


Community Participation:  Tracy Hartshorn asked to have a few minutes to discuss the Wellness Program.  Tracy has a concern with the choice of foods provided by the room parents, items brought in for birthdays and holidays, and foods that are provided by the kitchen as samples to the students during lunch.  Another concern is food being used as a motivator for completion of certain programs.  The School Committee listened to Mrs. Hartshorn and will look further into the policy.



  1. Approval of Minutes of Meeting #343 Executive Minutes, #343: Jess Drenga motioned to approve minutes #343 and executive minutes #343 as submitted.  Carol Lombardo seconded the motion.  Unanimous vote yes on both.


  1. Concerns with the Holiday Shop: Tracy Hartshorn brought to the attention of the School Committee her concern with the PTA Holiday Shop.  Tracy would like to see a change in the hours of the shop.  Hartshorn feels as if the time spent in the Holiday Shop could be better spent in the classroom doing school work instead.  She would like to see how it fits into the students’ curriculum.  At this point, Wendy Bergman and Craig Drenga who were there to represent the PTA and the Holiday Shop clarified that the classes get 15-20 minutes to a half an hour, usually for the younger grades, in the shop itself.  Any student that does not want to participate has the option not to go.  This was a concern as well to Mrs. Hartshorn.  She feels it is not appropriate to single her two children out because she chooses not to send her children to the shop.  Wendy Bergman spoke up and also wanted to let the Committee know that the children enjoy their time in the shop, and the volunteers do help the students with budgeting their money.  It is not up to the School Committee to vote on this concern.  They heard the issues Mrs. Hartshorn presented and will follow up with the PTA and Mr. Nadolny to see if there could be a solution to this issue.


  1. Discussion of MCAS: Laurie Flower presented a thorough presentation on the scores of the MCAS testing.  Farmington River is consistently at Level 2 status.  There has been a dip in the Math and ELA scores.  Laurie is going to research and focus on the areas that need to be improved.  The formula of the testing has changed and the questions are more detailed which makes the students dive deeper in to the content.  So the teachers have done a good amount of Writing and Reading workshops to help teach the content in more detail.  The new Ames Web Plus Program was purchased this year.  This program lets the teachers dive deeper into individual data and monitor the students on a weekly basis with a very specific test which is scored online.  There is a small detailed list of focus points that the teachers will start to work on to get a better understanding of how to get the information across better to the students and to take advantage of outside resources to help the teacher if they come across an obstacle or has questions on the material.  To sum up the presentation, Laurie presented tremendous amounts of data and material about the students’ scoring, status state wise, subject areas that need focus on, and different tactics for the teachers to learn and use to help with the students’ development of understanding the material needed to earn higher scores statewide.


  1. Update on school and staffing: Tom updated the school’s monthly reports.  Tom rebounded off of Laurie’s presentation and stated that the computers and internet have been working smoothly this year and Laurie is doing a great job with the technology for the school.  Tom is going to bring back departmentalizing class courses.  This should put more focus on the areas that need strengthening.  Plus this will allow the students to adjust to moving around from class to class as they will be doing once they are out of Farmington River.  The only teachers that will be affected are the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers.


The only other updates are on bussing. The buses are arriving too early to pick up the students.  The students are losing sleep time, but the students are now making it to school on time or earlier than normal.  The second complaint had to do with the one day of extremely cold weather.  Parents thought it was too cold to go to school.  Waiting for the bus to come was very cold.


Jane Gleason gave the School Committee a quick update on the school’s finances.  We received Chapter 70 which was higher than we anticipated.  Our school choice revenue was higher than we anticipated, but our outgoing tuition went up a little so it offset the monies received.  We haven’t received our transportation aid yet, it may be a little more than what we expect.  Some changes in line items have been made for next year’s budget.  This is due to redistributing some of Jane’s work to different staff members.  We have a surplus of $14,000 right now.  Jane is waiting to put together our preliminary budget. She is waiting for the governor/state information which does not come out until the end of January.  We may have to have an additional budget meeting in February to finalize the school budget to present to the towns.





  1. Move to executive meeting to discuss upcoming negotiations if necessary: Nick DellaGiustina motioned to move to executive meeting



Roll Call:    Nicholas DellaGiustina-yes, Jess Drenga-yes, Hillary Howard-yes, Carol Lombardo-yes


Respectfully submitted,


Teresa DellaGiustina, secretary