School Committee Meeting Minutes 10/07/2019

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Farmington River Regional School District

Farmington River Elementary School

555 North Main Road, Otis, MA 01253



Monday October 7, 2019, 7:00PM

Meeting #378



Community Participation:  



Members Present: Nicholas DellaGiustina, Carol Lombardo, Deb Fogel, Jennifer Hibbins, Arlene Tolopko, Billie Pachulski, Jess Drenga, Thomas Nadolny and Eric Jesner


Guests:  Amy Maxton, Nanette Higgins, Jamie Foster and Alex Lomaglio


Nicholas DellaGiustina called the meeting to order at 7:05pm


  1. Approval of last month’s minutes #377.

     As submitted______X #377       As corrected_____________

  1. Principal/Superintendent updates. Tom Nadolny touched based on MCAS.  Laurie Flower

will be in next month with a detailed presentation/slideshow explaining last year’s scores.

The state did raise the bar last year.  All data is not in yet.  The students took a survey on

how prepared they felt going into the testing and if the environment was comfortable and

safe for them.  Overall, Farmington River did well on the survey from the children.


The front receptionist position was filled by Neesha Dolan, who already works in the district.

Tom hired a replacement for the Paraprofessional position that Neesha resigned from.

Susan Olds is now a full time Paraprofessional with the school.  She comes with over

20 years’ experience working with children.  Susan comes highly recommended from former

employers.  She has worked across the spectrum with special needs children.


The second Professional Day is coming up.  Farmington River is hosting a workshop on

Go Math, our new curriculum.  The trainers from Go Math will be here to train and instruct

Teachers and Paraprofessionals.


We are also going to pilot a new Social Studies curriculum for minimal funding.  We will

also continue with the new Adam curriculum in Science.  We did have the highest scores

in Science throughout the county.


Flying Cloud is here for 3 sessions after school with a robotic program.  They are coming

back in the spring for another 3 sessions.


Dale Abrahms and Tom are trying for the Star Grant to expand his annual program to the

lower grades.  Dale usually takes the classes during the day to Miner Road in Otis to explore

the river for organisms and life within the river.  Ecosystems.


Carol Lombardo asked how Music and Art are coming along.  Tom stated that everything is

working out well.  Michael Flower and Laura Catullo are working together to expand

different types of art and music to the program.


Jennifer Hibbins asked about the Pre-School playground.  She was wondering if we could

incorporate money in the budget to possibly update the playground.  Jennifer took pictures

of the equipment because the PVC coating is cracked.  This will be talked about at a different

time because of other projects need attention as well, such as the gym ceiling and sidewalks.


Arlene Tolopko wanted to bring up Chapter 70 monies.  The state is working on passing a

grant for disbursing more aid to all schools throughout the state.  Eric is going to look

further into this information.  We usually get minimum aid.  Alex  Lomaglio spoke to the

Committee because he knows more about this topic.  He agrees with Eric as far as minimum

aid being distributed to the rural towns.  The majority of the monies will go to the urban

towns.  We will be getting a bump but not a significant amount.  The state goes off on how

many English language learner children we have, how many poor children we have and

insurance costs.  Monies should affect Circuit Breaker money and Regional Transportation.

They are looking to aid in special needs transportation as well.


  1. Eric Jesner to talk about the School’s vans.  Eric has been researching the costs of

     purchasing/leasing a new van.  One of the vans is very old and is breaking down, therefore

should be replaced.  Until the state officially adds on 4wheel drive vans to the state contract,

Eric cannot get an accurate quote.  Right now we are focusing on getting the 7D

inspections done which are due at the end of the month.


Jennifer Hibbins asked Eric about the issue of transporting the Early K students if we switch.

Eric will be looking into this for next month’s meeting.  He is researching the topic right now.

Eric did mention: if we replace the old van, the oldest van will now be the replacement.  This

van does not have as many seats as the rest of the vans.  If ever needed, the backup can not

hold as many students.


Jennifer asked Eric when we will start discussing the budget.  The Sandisfield Selectmen

would like to attend early discussions.  Eric stated that it is too early right now.  Nicholas

DellaGiustina stated that the budget process begins early late November, early December.


  1. Discuss social media policy. Nicholas turned this topic over to Jennifer.  Jennifer wanted to

get input on the existing policy opposed to a new policy.  The majority consensus is to keep

the policy as is, just add or revise the piece concerning ‘friending” parents/guardians and

students.  The policy should read the School Committee strongly discourages the

communications on any personal social media page.  The majority of the Committee feels

they would be violating the staff’s right to speak to whom they want to outside of school.

Communications should be through the school email or phone calls concerning students.

The Remind App was brought up.  Some teachers have opened accounts through Remind as

a formal way of communication between teachers and families.  Remind is a specific teacher

media tool designed for school/home communications.


In conclusion, Jennifer is going to put together a draft of the new media policy to be brought

forward next month.


  1. Adjourn. Meeting was adjourned to enter into Executive Session, only to adjourn out of

Executive Session to enter School Committee meeting to adjourn.  7:40pm


Respectfully submitted


Teresa DellaGiustina, School Committee Secretary