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Meeting Recap: Joint Board - May 23, 2022

School Board Members Present: Patrick O’Day, Kimberly Meyer, Helen Joyce, Bob Hall, Paul Bauer, Bill Gauthier, Dave Slifka, Leddy Bedard, Allison Higgins, Brian Duffy, Alison Roy, Jennifer Leonard, Eric Herring, Kate Davis, Erin Garcia de Paredes, Jennifer Scrafford, Ken Otto, Jennie Bishop, Jackie Tassinari, Tom Hayward, Dawn Bullens, Heather Ikemire, Tiffany Dabrieo, Andrew Herum, Melissa Lyons

* Josh Gould and Kim Casey came in late to the meeting

Administration Present: David Ryan, Esther Asbell, Heather Murray, Renee Beauregard-Bennett, Chris Andriski, Molly O’Keefe, Ellen Riiska

Public Input

Laurie Farris - mentioned that she noticed people wearing masks again. She asked if the covid toolkit could be made available to the public, as it was supposed to be available in March.

Liz Faria - asked that the board does not extend Ryan’s contract, as she doesn’t think he has the best interests of the district and feels that our district can do better.

Anne Sorber - brought up the issue from the last meeting where Newmarket school board had contacted Ryan for possible help during the interim since their superintendent resigned. She asked the board to be cognizant of their role as joint board members, and that the number one priority of our superintendent and administration should be to our school district.

Meaghan Parrish - seconded the sentiments of Faria. She also commented that there was too much politics in our district. She mentioned how there was no policy in place to determine which national tragedies should be mentioned and which ignored.

Phil Jackson - also agreed with Faria in asking the board to not renew Ryan’s contract. He brought up the concern that our school district has been following a national, political agenda when it comes to teaching course material, and should instead get back to a local, grassroots one. He gave the example of an assignment his daughter had in regards to climate change and how to address it, mentioning that options for this project were all political based (i.e., how to protest), and were not based in science.

Donna Marsh - asked if anyone has looked at teacher salaries for parity and compared them to the administration positions we are hiring. She feels that we have lost focus on our teachers, who are in the classroom making a direct impact on the students.

Public Input closed and the floor was open to allow school board members to reply to any questions or comments made by attendees.

  • O’Day addressed the concern about Newmarket, asking Ryan to comment on this since it was on their agenda for the meeting. Ryan remarked how he received a letter on 5/15/22 from Gary Swanson, indicating that they were interviewing candidates and would not need assistance from him.

  • Joyce commented on the question regarding teacher salaries, stating that they do look at surrounding areas to make sure our district is competitive, and that it was up to each individual board during contract negotiations to address this issue.

  • Bedard followed up on a question that was raised by Ted Lloyd at the last joint board meeting, indicating that she wanted to make sure his questions had been addressed. O’Day said that Lloyd was sent an email answering his questions.

Leadership Reports

The administration team did a presentation on a new program for assessment - Portrait of an Educator (Professional Growth and Evaluation Plan). There was a soft launch of this program in all schools this year, except Stratham (they have language in their contract for a different assessment system).

  • This method aligns with Portrait of a Graduate. Forty people participated, and 2Revolutions helped to develop this program.

  • Their old method (Danielson model, which is deficient based) did not line up with the competency based style of learning that is used in SAU 16.

  • This method is asset based - based on positive theory.

After the presentation, several questions were asked by various school board members regarding this program. These were answered and Asbell then asked the board to approve this system for implementation for the next school year. A motion was made, and voted on. It passed with Slifka and members of the Stratham school board abstaining.

New Business

Bishop discussed how there is currently a policy in place regarding conflicts of interest with school board members and any businesses they own or services they could provide. This was brought to her attention by Andriski, as he contacted earlier in the day Bishop to let her know she would not be able to take photos for school events, even though she has done it for the past several years on a volunteer basis. She asked that the policy committee review this policy for clarification. Several school board members commented how there doesn’t seem to be a conflict since she is volunteering and not voting for a photography service for hire in which she was a candidate. Ryan mentioned that he was unaware that she had been contacted by Andriski regarding this matter. Bauer suggested that the central office review this policy to understand the meaning to decide whether it needs to be adjusted.

O'Day discussed how they would be scheduling a small (2-3 hour) mini retreat in late summer for school board chairs to discuss the direction of the SAU.

The board went into nonpublic to discuss the superintendent evaluation.

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