Guest posts are always welcome. Please send submissions for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org - - - - - We are now supported by advertisers! - - - - - There are NO popup ads. - - - - - Please turn off you ad blocker for this site and check out the ads that catch your interest. Clicking on the wheel opens a new window.
Friday, December 14, 2012
BOE: Minutes for November 13, 2012- Regular Meeting
November 13, 2012, 7:00 PM
Middletown Common Council Chambers
I. CALL TO ORDER
Board Members Present: Sheila Daniels, Ava Hart, Ryan Kennedy, Cheryl McClellan, Ed
McKeon, Gene Nocera, Ted Raczka, and Mitchell Wynn
Board Members Absent: Franca Biales
Others Present: Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patricia Charles, Associate Superintendent Enza
Macri, Director of Fine Arts and Operations Marco Gaylord (arrived 7:18 PM), Director of
Facilities and Transportation Ken Jackson, Director of Grant Services Elizabeth Nocera, Manager
of Financial Operations Lynda MacPherson, Manager of Human Resources Michele DiMauro,
Middletown High School Principal Colleen Weiner, Spencer School Principal Amy Clarke, Snow
School Principal Jim Gaudreau, Student Representative Michael Durso, Assistant to the
Superintendent/Board Secretary Marcy Poppel, Hartford Courant Reporter Shawn Beals,
Middletown Press Reporter Jim Salemi, and twenty-seven (27) visitors.
Chair Nocera called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
II. SALUTE TO THE FLAG
Student Rep Michael Durso led in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Dr. Nocera noted we are currently experiencing technical problems in broadcasting this evening’s
III. ADOPTION OF AGENDA
MOTION: Adoption of the Agenda passed with a motion by Ms. Daniels and a second by Mr.
McKeon – unanimous vote.
IV. DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS – SPENCER SCHOOL PRESENTATION
Dr. Nocera introduced Spencer School Principal Amy Clarke who presented highlights of Spencer
Elementary School. Spencer School originally opened in 1951, was renovated in 1989, has an
approximate enrollment of 350, and is a Title I school (50% of their students qualify for free or
reduced lunch). She shared that culture and climate are the cornerstones and foundation of their
school’s success and their knowledgeable and dedicated staff. JoAnn O’Leary, a teacher at Spencer
for over 20 years, spoke of the excellence in teaching practice, communication, and collaboration.
Spencer School, as do the 7 other elementary schools in the district, follow Positive Behavior
Supports. At Spencer it is CARES – Cooperate, Appreciate others’ differences, Respect, Enjoy
learning, and Share kindness. Spencer holds monthly CARES assemblies to discuss core values
and recognize/ celebrate students to exemplify or improve CARES values.
Ms. Clarke said last year Spencer was selected as the second Middletown elementary school
recipient of an iCare grant. iCare stands for Identifying Children and Responding Early. iCare
provides early intervention to address social, emotional, and behavioral concerns early to prevent
later school and life failures. TLC. The Learning Center is a space where children can work with
interventionists to solve problems and includes involvement by a member of the faith community,
and a service coordinator who acts as a bridge between the school, the family, and the community.
An outcome of the iCare grant was the development of a Spencer School Climate Committee. It is
a subcommittee of the School Data Team. A recent topic the committee worked on was meeting
the needs of students from military families. Amanda Amtmanis, PE teacher said that Spencer
School is a quietly excellent community.
Principal Clarke said Spencer has seen a strong, positive climate supporting student achievement.
They have had four consecutive years of continuous growth, as well as closing the achievement gap
for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. She shared examples of student scores in the
areas of Math, Writing, and Reading. She spoke of successful practice – a strong climate and
culture that supports achievement, commitment of staff and parents to improvement, the
willingness to learn and take risks, prioritizing time on instruction, high expectations, collaborativepractice, innovation of teacher leaders, differentiation based on student need, and quality of
targeted intervention. Ginny Grasso, who has worked in the Middletown Public School System for
39 years, spoke on behalf of Francie Goodwin and herself, both interventionists at Spencer School,
and addressed the powerful effect intervention has on student academic growth.
A major focus has been the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which, although they offer
some amazing opportunities, do present some significant challenges, Ms. Clarke noted. The new
standards require teachers to approach their work in new ways and ask students to engage in
learning at a much deeper level, she added. She said if the new standards are implemented well,
children will be much more active in their own learning which has huge implications for the way
instruction is planned. Ms. Clarke spoke of obstacles which include change for teachers, time,
outdated equipment, materials and resources, building curriculum while teaching new standards,
what will happen as we move to the new standards while taking the old assessment, and
Each year Ms. Clarke has been able to outfit one Spencer classroom with a Mimio, white board,
and projector at cost of approximately $1,200. She added that it is likely in the coming years that
technology will move beyond desktop computers to tablets. Currently there is Mimio technology
in four of Spencer’s intermediate classrooms and she hopes to add one to a second grade next year.
She feels every classroom should be equipped with this technology. Tammy Behrens, Grade 5,
shared that she was the third recipient at Spencer School to receive a white board, projector and
Mimio in her classroom. She stated that this interactive technology enabled her to instantly project
geometric shapes, lines, and angles onto the white board that could easily be manipulated and
annotated with the click of a pen during a unit. She said she also was able to enhance her language
arts and science lessons by including video clips from the internet. She noted the positive response
Ms. Clarke said the success of Spencer students is dependent on the support received from families
and their contributions, which enrich the school in many ways. She shared the first Lego League
and spoke of the strength of the parent-community partnership committee. Last year, during a
Partnership event over 100 helmets were given to students and 6 children received new bikes.
Principal Clarke shared that Spencer’s afterschool programs offer many opportunities for
intervention and enrichment and have been helpful towards closing the achievement gap. She
shared two unique programs at Spencer – Amanda Amtmanis’ creation of an adaptive PE class
teaching students with Autism to ride bikes. She also conducts this program at WWMS. Another
program is a choral program by Music teacher Lisa Siegel to second and third grade students once a
week during recess. The children will perform at the holidays.
Dr. Nocera thanked Ms. Clarke and her staff. There was a discussion of the importance of
technology in our schools. Ms. Clarke responded to questions. Board member Ava Hart stated that
Principal Clarke is very open to new ideas, and tonight’s presentation is a reflection of her efforts.
Ms. Hart stated that she is the Board Representative to Spencer School and she thanked Ms. Clarke.
Chair Nocera called a brief recess at 7:32 PM. He reconvened the meeting at 7:37 PM.
V. PUBLIC SESSION
Chair Nocera explained the rules of Public Session.
Donna Gagnon Smith thanked Dr. Charles for meeting with her and the documents previously
requested with regard to bullying. She commented on the statistics and spoke about the educational
needs of teen drivers.
Lee B. Smith addressed the Board with regard to freedom of speech and the right to criticize
VI.A. Report of Student Representative
Student Representative Michael Durso reported a strong start by the Student Council for
the 2012 -2013 school year and shared initiatives held and currently working on.
VII. CONSENT AGENDA
MOTION: Move to accept the Consent Agenda was made by Ms. Daniels and seconded by
Mr. Raczka requested the removal of Agenda Item VII.A. Minutes of October 6, 2012
BOE Special Meeting. It was noted that Mr. Raczka’s name appeared both present and
absent on the October 6, 2012 meeting minutes. Mr. Raczka confirmed he was not
present and did not feel comfortable voting on them.
Ms. Daniels wished to point out Agenda Item VII.H. Extended Field Trip - MHS
Marching Band, Chorus, Strings, Jazz Ensemble Trip to Washington, D.C. in January,
2013. She commended Director of Fine Arts Marco Gaylord and Middletown High
School students involved in that trip to Washington, D.C. to play at the Presidential
Inauguration. She said this is wonderful news.
VII.B. Minutes of October 9, 2012 BOE Regular Meeting
VII.C. Minutes of October 18, 2012 BOE Special Meeting
VII.D. Minutes of the November 2, 2012, 4:30 PM BOE Special Meeting
VII.E. Minutes of the November 2, 2012, 4:45 PM BOE Special Meeting
VII.F. Personnel Action
VII.G. Humanities Council Grant
VII.H. Extended Field Trip - MHS Marching Band, Chorus, Strings, Jazz Ensemble
Trip to Washington, DC - January, 2013
VOTE: Approval of the Consent Agenda, as amended, passed with a unanimous vote.
VII.A. Minutes of October 6, 2012 BOE Special Meeting
MOTION: Move to approve the Minutes of October 6, 2012 BOE Special Meeting passed
with a motion by Mr. Kennedy and a second by Mr. McKeon, with seven (7) in
favor – Ms. Daniels, Ms. Hart, Mr. Kennedy, Ms. McClellan, Mr. McKeon, Mr.
Nocera, and Mr. Wynn, and one (1) abstention – Mr. Raczka.
VIII. REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
VIII.A. Discussion of Consolidation of Certain Services
Chair Nocera said serious discussions are underway for consolidation of the Technology
(IT), Payroll, and Legal areas of the City and the Board of Education. He added that
specific details will be presented to the Board. He stated it was felt by consolidation of
these services, the Board would see cost savings, allow resource sharing, reduction in
overtime, improvement in efficiency and communication between the City and the Board
of Education. He added both the City and Board have IT and Payroll Departments and
often time services overlap. He noted possible other areas of consolidation in the future
such as buildings and grounds. Dr. Charles noted the key is whether efficiencies can be
achieved through consolidation. She noted an example of consolidating would be in the
area of legal service, particularly to the Board for expulsion hearings. Given the Board’s
budget and projections, these types of cost savings need to be considered, Chair Nocera
Mr. Kennedy noted that the technical difficulties may have been resolved and the meeting
may now be live on television.
Several Board members expressed concerns in the areas of IT and the Board and City’s
missions and requested information as to (1) specifically how much the Board would
save; (2) will the savings be on an annual basis; and (3) will the Board have the option of
separation in the future, should it wish to do so. Also noted were the school district’s
increasing IT needs with the Common Core.
VIII.B. State Department of Education Focus School Identification
Superintendent Charles stated that notification was received from the State Department of
Education that Bielefield School has been identified as a Focus School. A strategic plan
is being developed for submission to the State Department of Education.
VIII.C. District Data Team (DDT)
Associate Superintendent Enza Macri reported that the last DDT meeting was September
28th and the next meeting is Friday, November 16th at WWMS. She stated that Friday’s
meeting discussions will include professional development planning for the February 15,
2013 Professional Development Day.
VIII.D. Transportation Report
Director of Facilities and Transportation Ken Jackson responded to questions about the
installation of cameras on bus arms. Dr. Charles noted that a press release has been
drafted and a letter has been drafted to parents, which has been shared with the Mayor.
VIII.E. Board of Education Legal Representation
Board Chair Nocera said at the last Board Retreat a presentation was done by Shipman &
Goodwin. During the Retreat there was a dialogue with regard to switching to a firm that
provides comprehensive services. It was noted that the district has used Shipman &
Goodwin previously and they have offered to meet with the Board in a workshop format
in the near future to educate the Board on their staff and what they can offer. There was a
discussion on hourly rate comparisons, money being used in classrooms, and savings by
using the City’s Legal Department.
VIII.F. Special Education Audit
Board Chair Nocera reported the Alliance Grant funds have arrived and included in the
grant are funds to conduct a Special Education Audit. We have contracted with Futures to
assist us with the Audit. He said Futures would be invited to the next Board meeting to
share what they plan to do and how they will do it. Superintendent Charles indicated that
they are ready to start.
VIII.G. District News
There was no report.
IX.A. Budget Committee
IX.A.1. Financial Statement
Budget Committee Chair Ted Raczka asked Dr. Charles to address the current budget
status. She noted a significant deficit in the district’s current budget. They fall into
several major areas: Cafeteria Services, Substitute line, Title I and Title III cuts, and
Regular Education Tuition. She also noted that Purchased Services are under-funded.
There were discussions around considering changing building structure, the Substitute
line, teacher absences, not being alarmists, cap services, DDT meeting restructure and
meeting time, conflicts with holding DDT meetings after school, extra teaching time,
increased state mandates, district under-funding in the past four to five years, students
attending magnet schools, clear understanding of each budget line, common accounting
system across the state, and serious problem across the state, savings this year by
consolidation of services
Superintendent Charles expressed the difficulty of addressing a deficit at a time when she
should be building next year’s budget.
IX.B. Communications Committee
Committee Chair Ryan Kennedy stated the committee did not meet.
IX.C. Curriculum Committee
Chair Nocera stated as Committee Chair Franca Biales is not present there is no report.
IX.D. Feasibility Committee
Committee Chair Ed McKeon reported the committee did not meet and is scheduled to
meet later this week.
IX.E. Policy Committee
Policy Committee Chair Sheila Daniels said the committee met on October 16th and
reviewed policies which are on this evening’s agenda under Action Items. At the meeting
there was a conversation on the BOE’s Mission and Philosophy and the committee is
requesting a Board workshop and possibly consolidating a discussion on Mission and
Goals with meeting the new attorney so there can be input from the entire Board. She
added that the committee’s next meeting will be next Tuesday, November 20th. Mr.
McKeon noted the excellent input from the new community members at the Policy
Committee meeting. He stated it was very helpful and they had great suggestions.
IX.F. Representative Reports - ACES and TEMS
ACES Representative Nocera reported that the ACES meeting was cancelled due to the
storm and will be rescheduled. TEMS Representative McClellan reported that the TEMS
meeting was also cancelled and the next meeting will be in December.
IX.F.1. Cultural Council
Cultural Council Representative Ava Hart reported Cultural Council met on
October 15th. The Cultural Council funds activities which include: Silent
Sounds, Keigwin Band Performances, Black History Month, All City Music
Festival, All City Arts show, the All City Strings Festival, and many more. She
noted that principals have agreed to each contribute $200 to Cultural Council.
She added that Cultural Council works very hard to secure funds so our children
are able to have these experiences. She said funds are raised primarily through
foundations, as well as the generosity of principals and PTAs who contribute to
X. ACTION ITEMS
X.A. Board of Education Goals
Ms. Daniels said she addressed this in her Policy Committee report. They would like to
have a workshop for the entire Board to provide input. Chair Nocera stated he will work
with Ms. Daniels on setting up a date.
X.B. Discussion and Possible Action on Appointment of New Lawrence School
Chair Nocera said the Board met before this meeting and interviewed the Principal
finalists for Lawrence and Wesley School and are ready to bring the candidates forward.
MOTION: Move to appoint Ms. Melissa Barbuto as the new principal of Lawrence
School was made with a motion by Ms. Daniels and a second by Ms. Hart.
Ms. Daniels noted that she and Ms. Hart served on the committee as BOE representatives.
The entire committee was very happy with Ms. Barbuto and felt the Lawrence School
staff would be pleased. Superintendent Charles and Ms. Macri praised Ms. Barbuto’s
accomplishments and were very supportive to the selection of Ms. Barbuto.
VOTE: Move to appoint Ms. Melissa Barbuto as the new principal of Lawrence School
passed with a unanimous vote.
X.C. Discussion and Possible Action on Appointment of New Wesley School
MOTION: Move to appoint Mr. Tom Cannata as the new principal of Wesley School
was made with a motion by Ms. Daniels and a second by Mr. McKeon.
Ms. Daniels noted that Ms. Hart and she served on the committee, as Board of Education
representatives, as well as the interviews done together. She said the entire committee
was very much in favor of Mr. Cannata and felt he would be a wonderful addition to
VOTE: Move to appoint Mr. Tom Cannata as the new principal of Wesley School passed
with a unanimous vote.
Chair Nocera stated the Board has hired outstanding people. Despite the distressing news on our
budget, we will do whatever necessary to pull ourselves out of this, however, we have hired some
really outstanding people. He commended the staff for their hard work in bringing candidates of
this high caliber. Both candidates are exceptional and will do great things. Ms. Daniels added that
the candidates expressed their desire to come to our district as well as their admiration of the
leadership of Superintendent Charles.
X.D. UCONN Neag WWMS ORCA Project
Associate Superintendent Enza Macri said they met with Dr. Donald Leu of the UCONN
Neag School of Education at UCONN who has funding and selected our district,
specifically WWMS Grade 7 students, to participate in the ORCA Project (Online
Research and Comprehension Assessment). WWMS will participate in a state-wide
sample of schools which will take place in late 2012 and early 2013 (prior to March). The
study will evaluate students’ preparation for online research, online reading
comprehension, problem solving, and learning in the 21st Century. It will be a sample of
80 students at the 7th grade level with one (possibly two) English Language Arts teacher.
For participating, WWMS Principal Cassella will receive a $100 honorarium to use for
any school improvement purpose and the selected teacher will receive a $200 gift
certificate to purchase curriculum and professional development materials. Our district
will be provided with free access to an online professional development site, as well. On
two separate days students will use UCONN-provided laptops, complete a survey on the
day in between. At each of the two 60-minute sessions students will complete an online
research activity in Science. In advance packets will be sent home to parents, and
students’ identities will be protected. Ms. Macri added that UCONN is doing this as a
study and it is a pilot program.
MOTION: Move to authorize district participation in the UCONN Neag ORCA Project by
WWMS passed with a motion by Mr. McKeon and a second by Mr. Kennedy –
X.E. New Course Proposal - MHS - Engineering and Robotics 2 Course
Superintendent Charles provided an overview of this new proposed course and said it is a
full year course and this new program would continue students’ pre-engineering skills.
Middletown High School (MHS) Principal Colleen Weiner responded to questions.
MOTION: Move to approve the new course proposal for MHS of Engineering and Robotics
passed with a motion by Ms. Daniels and a second by Ms. McClellan –
X.F. New Course Proposal - Historiography Course
Superintendent Charles explained the new course proposal for Historiography.
MOTION: Move to approve the new Historiography course proposal passed with a motion
by Ms. Daniels and a second by Mr. McKeon – unanimous vote.
X.G. Policy #0050 Code of Ethics (revision) - First Reading
Policy Committee Chair Sheila Daniels explained the changes to this policy and stated
that it is a recommendation of CABE.
MOTION: Move to approve the first reading of Policy #0050 Code of Ethics passed with
a motion by Ms. Daniels and a second by Ms. Hart – unanimous vote.
X.H. Policy #0300 Policies for the Public Schools (deletion) - First Reading
Policy Committee Chair Sheila Daniels said this is for the deletion of Policy #0300.
MOTION: Move to approve the first reading for the deletion of Policy #0300 Policies for
the Public Schools passed with a motion by Ms. Daniels and a second by Mr.
McKeon – unanimous vote.
X.I. Policy #0500 Comprehensive Improvement Plans/Schedules (deletion) - First
Policy Committee Chair Sheila Daniels said this policy is not recommended by CABE.
MOTION: Move to approve the first reading for the deletion of Policy #0500
Comprehensive Improvement Plans/Schedules passed with a motion by Ms.
Daniels and a second by Mr. Wynn – unanimous vote.
XI. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
XI.A. New Items
There were no new items.
MOTION: Move to adjourn at 8:57 PM passed with a motion by Mr. McKeon and a second
by Ms. Daniels – unanimous vot
Authors of comments and posts are solely responsible for their statements. Please email MiddletownInsider@gmail.com for questions or concerns. This blog, (and any site using the blogger platform), does not and cannot track the source of comments. While opinions and criticism are fine, they are subject to moderator discretion; slander and vile attacks of individuals will not to be tolerated. Middletown Insider retains the right to deny any post or comment without explanation.
Ben Florsheim, Public Figure You are within your rights to make wild, baseless accusations and live your life in an alternative reality...
An invitation from Joe Markley Voter-integrity advocate Dominic Rapini has joined with 2WinCT to call for an investigation of suspicious pol...
CCDL - Join us for 2A Tuesdays at the State Capitol - Take Action to Stop the 2023 Assault Weapon BanConnecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc. 2A Tuesdays It is critical that as many members (and other Second Amendment supporters)...
Photo details below Sen. Tony Hwang issued the following statement after the Connecticut State Senate’s May 24 passage of legislati...
An invitation from Joe Markley We have the extraordinary opportunity of hearing from New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu at a luncheon a...
When did Marco Gaylord take over the school food services ?ReplyDelete
I have no idea, but that is one of the reasons we have been posting minutes of CC, Building Committee, and BOE- so people can find issues both positive and bad.ReplyDelete