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					               MANCHESTER BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                     Coordination Committee Meeting
                              May 11, 2010



       The Coordination Committee met on Tuesday, May 11, at 7:00p.m. at City Hall in
Manchester. Present were Chairman Gelinas and Committee Members Beaudry,
DeBlasi, Dolman, and Langton. Present from Administration were Supt. Brennan and
Asst. Supt. Burkush.
       Chairman Gelinas presided and called the meeting to order. The clerk called the
roll. There was no public forum and there were no presentations.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
    Comm. Beaudry made a motion to approve the minutes of the previous meeting.
Comm. DeBlasi seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

ACTION SESSION

Policy: Personnel #202—Employee Use of Social Networking Websites
        Supt. Brennan said this policy needs to be brought forward and approved to be
consistent with current technology within the District. As well, it would address
employees who may use the system improperly. The Committee is asked to approve the
first reading of this policy as presented.
        Comm. Beaudry asked if there is a current policy regarding this matter. Supt.
Brennan said the District has a policy regarding the proper use of the Internet and this
policy would be a separate policy dealing with employees.
        Comm. DeBlasi referred to the 4th paragraph of the policy where there is the
notation that „the District strongly discourages District employees/staff from socializing
with students…on social networking websites‟ and asked if this would preclude teachers
or staff from conducting school-related business such as assignments or any type of
school-related work such as posting syllabus information or having group discussions
through Facebook. Supt. Brennan replied “no, it would not prevent that from
happening.” Comm. DeBlasi referred to the sentence at the end of the first paragraph
stating „access of social networking websites for individual use during school hours is
prohibited‟. He said if Facebook was used to work on a school project collaboratively it
would be OK. Supt. Brennan agreed. He said they tried to cover that with the last
paragraph of the policy in terms of reference to the use of educational websites. He said
“if we develop our own website, which we plan to do, with interaction with the parent
portal, that type of thing would be appropriate. Use of Facebook etc. would still be
discouraged because there would be other options for their use. Facebook has become an
issue with teachers and others acting inappropriately. Comm. DeBlasi said “with that in
mind then, and I‟m not taking one side or another, but to prevent this from being a vague
policy maybe we should specifically say that sites such as Facebook or MySpace which
are identified are either off limits or not. I think if we say we‟re going to discourage
them from using it but if they choose to use it for an educational purpose that allows for



Coordination Committee                      1                              May 11, 2010
too much interpretation. Currently it‟s MySpace and Facebook but within the next year
or two it could be a different social networking site or it could be Twitter or anything.
Supt. Brennan said this is the first reading of the policy and the Administration is seeking
the Committee‟s input. Adjustments can be made and they can be made for the second
reading of the policy.
       Comm. Beaudry referred to the third paragraph where it mentions that „all School
District employee, faculty, and staff who participate in social networking websites shall
not post any School District data, documents, photographs….‟. He asked what about
coaches that want to publicize their teams or sporting events. Would that prohibit them
from doing that? Supt. Brennan said currently there are teams that use the websites at
their schools and they have „coach‟s corner‟ and that type of thing. He doesn‟t see the
policy prohibiting that. Comm. Beaudry said “but if a coach wanted to set up a team
website on Facebook they couldn‟t do it.” Supt. Brennan agreed. He said they have
access to the school website and the students have access as well. The school‟s website
would be inside the District‟s network.
       Comm. Dolman asked how does this affect Facebook accounts that some Board
members have. Some members are running a Facebook page. Vice Chair Gelinas said
“that‟s a good point because there are teachers and students participating in it.” Supt.
Brennan said “that‟s a good question and I don‟t know how to answer it.” The policy is
in regards to teachers or District employees and students but it does not address School
Board members. Vice Chair Gelinas said this may need some legal clarification.
       Comm. DeBlasi said he would have a hard time supporting any policy that would
make School Board members exempt from the regulations that any District employees or
staff would be facing. He said “perhaps one way to define the social networking websites
would be by qualifying them as open-source social networking sites that are unsecured.
Perhaps IT could come up with an exact phrasing which would differentiate from the
Central High School website which allows for coaches to post things and Facebook
which could be accessed by anyone.”
       After clarification, Vice Chair Gelinas said the Administration would seek a legal
opinion about issues raised about this policy and make the suggested changes to the
policy and bring it back to the Committee for a second reading. After the second reading
if approval is given, the policy would then go to the Full Board for review and approval.

Policy: Personnel #104—Confidentiality
        Supt. Brennan said this policy had been taken up and discussed prior to his arrival
in the District and since his arrival. It is being brought forward to the Committee for a
first reading. His understanding is the policy was in regards to concerns relative to
information that may have been shared outside of a selection process for an employee.
He remembers former Board Member Kruse being concerned about the level of
confidentiality and that a policy should be developed so this has been around for a while
and now a policy is being brought forward. Along with the policy are regulations to the
policy and a confidentiality form that would be used in the District.
        Comm. Langton noted there were many typographical errors in the copy of the
policy in the agenda material. Supt. Brennan said those would be corrected. Comm.
Langton asked if there is a current policy regarding this matter and this would be a
change in policy. Supt. Brennan said the District does not currently have a policy



Coordination Committee                       2                               May 11, 2010
addressing confidentiality. Comm. Langton asked “what has been the protocol until
now?” Supt. Brennan said “common sense and the federal privacy act.” He said one
Board member had wanted a form that every Board member would sign. He recalls talk
about those individuals who sat on interview committees being required to sign a
confidentiality form. Then there was some conversation of everyone having to sign this.
       Comm. Dolman said he believed there was a policy about this or maybe the federal
law is what was followed. He knows when he was working as a teacher in the District he
would have to sign out if he needed to take out of the office any cumulative record or
paperwork. Supt. Brennan said this policy would go beyond that. He said he remembers
former Comm. Kruse was the most adamant about this. He doesn‟t know if the
Committee at this time feels this policy is necessary and whether it wishes to pursue this.
       Vice Chair Gelinas asked what abuses or what history is there indicating such a
policy is needed over and beyond what is already covered by the City Charter or any
State or federal regulations. He asked “have there been instances in the District?” Supt.
Brennan said according to the FERPA Act a Board should have a policy or policies. For
the second reading of the policy he would include that citation.
       Comm. Langton said FERPA is a law everyone has to follow so is the policy
basically just reiterating the law. Supt. Brennan said “yes, it is.” Comm. Langton asked
if there would be something in addition to the law and/or the policy the Superintendent
would want District employees to follow or sign. Supt. Brennan said there would be
regulations to the policy. Those regulations were included on pages 8-11 in the agenda
material. In addition there would be the confidentiality form as presented on page 6 of
the agenda material. Comm. Langton asked if that confidentiality form would be a
document that the Superintendent would want all District employees to sign. Supt.
Brennan said “yes.” Comm. Langton asked if that document had been brought before the
MEA and if so did they have any input or comment. Supt. Brennan said it has not been
brought to the MEA. He would do that before bringing the policy back for a second
reading.
       Comm. Beaudry said he didn‟t know what was meant by the word “observation”
used in the confidentiality form. He asked “if you observe someone why would that be
confidential, obviously if someone is doing something in public it would be in public
view so I don‟t know what this means.” Also, he has a concern with another notation
regarding termination. As public officials the only people who can terminate a Board
member is the public who would vote that person out. It says in the form that anyone
who violates the confidentiality agreement may be disciplined including termination or
disqualification from continued service. He asked “how would that play into a case of a
School Board member where you couldn‟t take them off unless they were voted off?”
Supt. Brennan said “Board members can be removed if there is a violation or they can be
disciplined.” He said the form says discipline could be up to termination. It doesn‟t say
„could be‟ or „shall be‟. His understanding is if a BOSC member violates this policy
there could be discipline but it does not mean they would be terminated if that does not
apply. Supt. Brennan said to Comm. Beaudry‟s question regarding „observation‟ this
means if someone observed some inappropriate activity relative to the aspect of
confidentiality such as a person could observe a person passing on records or whatnot so
that could be reported. Comm. Beaudry cited an example and said “so if someone was
talking about a file at a meeting and you oversee something on the file that would be an



Coordination Committee                       3                              May 11, 2010
observation and if you passed that on that is what is meant by „observation‟. Supt.
Brennan agreed.
       Chairman Gelinas referred to page 6 and said in the Confidentiality Agreement it
includes BOSC members and it says that if any information may be shared to seek
assistance with his or her immediate supervisor. He asked “what supervisor does the
Board of School Committee have?” Supt. Brennan said that would be the Chair or the
Vice Chair. Chairman Gelinas referred to page 11 and item “c” in the 2nd line where it
states all of this is on a need to know basis but in the Agreement it pretty much states that
the BOSC isn‟t supposed to get involved in that. Supt. Brennan said there may be times
when they may need to know. It‟s only when info is shared and it is to ensure that
records are handled appropriately or if any observations or comments are made in a non-
public session and that information is shared. So a Board member would violate that
confidentiality by going out and talking about it. Supt. Brennan said these documents
have been reviewed by legal counsel.
       Chairman Gelinas said there is already State and federal law covering elected
officials on confidentiality. He asked “are we required to bring in a policy to further
develop what is already in line?” Supt. Brennan said on the policy they need to cite that
requirement.
       Chairman Langton pointed out a correction with a duplication of material on page
10 and 11. She asked who determines „need to know‟. Supt. Brennan said “anyone who
is involved with a specific case or issue that would need to know to take any action and a
Board member or the Superintendent would bring it forward to the Board. It would then
be up to them to determine the need to know. It probably works more in the opposite
when one would say „you don‟t have the need to know or you can‟t have that
information‟. It‟s there to prevent people getting information if it is deemed as a „need to
know‟ issue.” Chairman Gelinas asked “who determines the need to know?” He said if a
School Board member would not „need to know‟ why would they be required to sign a
confidentiality agreement. Supt. Brennan said for instance BOSC members should not be
asking for information about a particular student because there is no need to know that
and there is no educational interest in knowing. Perhaps this should be eliminated from
the regulations because the Board would not be participating in this. Supt. Brennan said
it would be best for him to be allowed to more research on this topic and to review the
policy and regulations.
       Comm. Langton said if a parent or a constituent contacts a School Board member
on behalf of their child she would hope that Board members would get an OK by the
parents to speak with the Administration and vice versa. She is confused as to what
determines the need to know. If a parent or a constituent asks a Board member to help
them out at that point does that determine „need to know‟ for the Board member since the
parent has shared information and they‟re asking to go further. Supt. Brennan said he is
struggling with this as well so he needs to take this policy and regulations back for more
work. If a Committee member had a request from a parent to find out some information
and we contacted the parent and said we gave information to the Committee member to
pursue this then we would pass that information on but it has to be established that the
parent gave that permission. We have to know this has been approved by the parent and
we can‟t simply provide it because some Board member may say they want to know.




Coordination Committee                       4                               May 11, 2010
Comm. Langton said “you need confirmation as well.” Supt. Brennan replied “that‟s
correct.”
       Chairman Gelinas said that it almost requires that if a parent is going to give
approval that a School Board member has the right of the „need to know‟ would we have
the parent sign a waiver so we have that kind of paper trail showing that the parent
allowed this and there wasn‟t simply a verbal OK. Supt. Brennan said in some cases
parents have provided a written waiver and in other cases we‟ve called them or we see
them. Once it is established they are the true guardian or parent then that information is
shared. In some cases that has been done in a written format, but not in all cases.
       Comm. Dolman referred to pages 5 and 6 and said he has a concern about the
confidentiality agreement that would be required of all employees and volunteers and
substitutes. He asked “do we really want volunteers and substitutes to be looking at
records?” He knows substitutes have to have the required background checks but he is
not sure that all volunteers have that requirement. Supt. Brennan said that all volunteers
are required to have a background check. He said “what this is trying to get at is if they
go to a grocery store and they run into someone and they start talking about what they‟ve
read or learned about a student and someone overhears them.” That is what they‟re
trying to get at in terms of sharing of information, not only records, that they may have
found through their role. In some cases as a volunteer they could be sorting cumulative
files or putting away forms or something and they could see for instance Johnny is on
free or reduced lunch. If they shared that information, that would be a violation. That is
what we‟re trying to get at with this confidentiality piece.
       Comm. Langton referred to page 8 and items „d‟ and „e‟ and asked for an example
of when these could happen. Supt. Brennan said the Comptroller of the United States
could come in for an audit and ask for information so we would have to be sure they had
the authority to do that. We have to have a policy that allows for that. And for item „e‟
an example would be with the issue of opt-out with military recruiters. Or if someone is
looking at financial records they would have to have permission to ensure that that was
all right for them to do that. Comm. Langton asked what kind of financial records would
be involved. Supt. Brennan said for requests of students for financial aid sometimes there
are applications that have to be filled out and we would need to have permission to
confirm the information provided. Comm. Langton asked about the notation of „Student
Records‟ and asked if that is a department or who that is. Supt. Brennan said that applies
to the holder of the records and it could be the school secretary or the principal. That
should be more clearly defined here in the document.
       Chairman Gelinas said this material would come back to the Committee for further
review.

OTHER BUSINESS
      Comm. Beaudry inquired where things stand with the K through 12 attendance
policy and if that committee is about ready to provide its report. Supt. Brennan said the
committee would meet again on Monday to finalize things regarding the entire process
dealing with the Code of Conduct and the student handbook. The policies are being
aligned to ensure things are all correct. The committee has met 6 or 7 times and 3 other
times in independent groups to come up with these policies that will be consistent.
Comm. Beaudry asked whether the Full Board would have input in the policies. Supt.



Coordination Committee                      5                              May 11, 2010
Brennan said when things are finished it will go to the Student Conduct Committee and
then it will be forwarded to the Board of School Committee. Comm. Beaudry asked
“since they‟re policies wouldn‟t they have to go to the Coordination Committee?” Supt.
Brennan said the Administration is seeking to by-pass that Committee and have it
reviewed by the Full Board once the Student Conduct Committee reviews it. This needs
to be done in order to get the handbook to the printer by mid-June. Chairman Gelinas
said he would not have any problem having it discussed by the Full Board and not having
it come to the Coordination Committee.
       Comm. Langton said she had a question regarding the video and DVD policy.
There seems to be confusion among teachers as to the protocol. She asked whether
teachers need parental permission to show any of the DVDs that they may have,
especially what the schools currently have in the libraries. That seems to be a bit
cumbersome to have to send out notices and to get parental sign-offs and incur a cost to
the District to mail these out. She said “it seems if we own the materials that should we
own them for a reason and it‟s because we find them educational and they‟re part of the
curriculum. Is there some place in our curriculum where this is such a list? It seems
absurd we would have to send notices every time.” Supt. Brennan replied “when we
went through this whole extended conversation around videos and films that was one of
the regulations requiring that kind of approval.”
       Comm. Langton said she recalls voting against that because it becomes a
nightmare. Material is not always brought home by the students. Once they‟re in middle
school very rarely will a child bring that kind of material home and if they have to be
mailed home there is a big cost there and I don‟t want to incur that. Supt. Brennan said at
the next meeting the regulations to that policy could be brought back to review one more
time. The regulations do call for the parents to sign off. For a high school course those
would be indicated in the syllabus and once you‟ve signed the agenda you‟ve signed off
on that. Anything that is outside of that, including what could be found in the library,
would need to be reviewed. He said “I don‟t know how many conversations around that
took place but that is what the final result was.”
       Comm. Langton said it doesn‟t make sense with materials that we own in our
school libraries can‟t be used or watched by our students without permission. Supt.
Brennan said “I think if you were to tour one of our libraries you might be concerned
with some of the DVDs in there in terms of trying to identify the educational link. Let‟s
say it‟s a Disney show and it shows up in a Social Studies class, I believe that was the
premise of the conversation we had that teachers were not using the films appropriately.
Mainly it was with the upper rated films, R rated, that we don‟t allow for that any longer.
It came to a head where part of the regulations are that parents have to sign off.
       Chairman Gelinas said he remembers the Board was split on that vote. Supt.
Brennan said he would be happy to bring the regulations back to review those. Chairman
Gelinas asked that a copy of the policy and regulations be included in the Friday packet
so the Committee could review prior to the next meeting.
       Comm. Langton said the teachers and library personnel she has spoken with have
shared their concern about getting these notices out every time and there are videos in the
schools that aren‟t being used even though they may be educational because it‟s too
cumbersome. It‟s hard to plan in advance because especially in the younger grades even
though you plan you may go off on tangents and you get teachable moments and you may



Coordination Committee                      6                              May 11, 2010
want to do that but then you have to hold off because you need parents‟ permission so
you have to hold off so it throws your lessons off. Supt. Brennan said it did come up a
number of times of how cumbersome and difficult this was going to be yet the policy was
still voted in and the regulations were shared with the Board. He can bring them back for
the Committee to review them again.
       Comm. Langton said along with what Comm. Beaudry mentioned about the
attendance policy, for the next school year she would like to have a more consistent dress
code policy and electronic cell phone policy. Currently certain schools can do certain
things that other schools can‟t and she knows of a number of students and parents asking
why that is so and I don‟t have a good answer for them. Chairman Gelinas said those
issues would be part of the upcoming Saturday meeting.
       Comm. Dolman asked if alternative ed will come up at the Saturday meeting.
Chairman Gelinas said that would likely be part of the discussion in regards to
attendance.
       Comm. Langton asked when the results of the safety survey would be presented.
She is interested in the number of individuals that actually responded and what was
expected, more or less. Supt. Brennan said he doesn‟t know what the total number of
respondents were. The intention is to bring the survey forward on May 24 when he and
Chief Mara will make a presentation at a joint meeting of the Aldermen and the Full
Board. He said “the police asked us to do that and we did it and we gave it back to them.
We will each do a portion of the presentation. Comm. Langton asked who actually
created the survey. Supt. Brennan said it began with the Police Department and then they
worked together and the District‟s Administration modified some of the language to fit
our staff. It was then reviewed by the Police Department and they signed off on it and it
was then sent out. We used „Survey Monkey‟ to compile the data and then turned over
the information to the Police Department once it was all collected.

ADJOURNMENT
      Comm. Dolman made a motion, seconded by Comm. DeBlasi, to adjourn the
meeting. The motion passed by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 7:50p.m.

A TRUE RECORD ATTEST:



Suzanne O. Sears
Clerk of the Board




Coordination Committee                      7                              May 11, 2010

				
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