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Update on Task Forces


Groton students share a good book

Sheila McKay, Sr. Staff Associate for Government Relations, CABE

Initial report due January 15, 2013 Overall DRAFT recommendations include: Require all schools with an achievement gap to offer a school breakfast program; extend the school day; require evidence based curriculum. General conversations on early childhood, teacher preperation, parent involvement and wrap around services are evolving.

We look forward to seeing you at the CABE/CAPSS Convention on November 16-17 Mystic Marriott, Groton!! Lisa Steimer,

Senior Staff Associate for Professional Development, CABE

If you have not registered, you may still do so online at https://www.eboard getevents.asp.

Friday Morning Keynote Speaker The CABE/CAPSS Convention Committee is thrilled to announce that Dr.

81 Wolcott Hill Road Wethersfield, CT 06109-1242

of Boards of Education Inc. Connecticut Association

Report due October 1, 2012, but likely will be December, 2012. This group formed subcommittees on the ECS formula, special education and choice. Major recommendations under discussion regarding the ECS formula include: â&#x20AC;˘ strive to fully fund the ECS formula provide sufficient funding to close the achievement gap; â&#x20AC;˘ achieve compliance with state Constitutional requirement for the equalization of educational objectives; â&#x20AC;˘ incorporate student performance measures in the formula; â&#x20AC;˘ tie small amount of funding to ensure that lowest performing districts are using best practices; â&#x20AC;˘ require towns to meet minimum budget requirements; â&#x20AC;˘ create predictability in the formula; â&#x20AC;˘ balance property value and income See UPDATE page 13

Common Core and full day kindergarten Chris Seymour, Reporter, CABE

Achievement Gap

Education Cost Sharing (ECS)

November 2012

Mary Broderick will be the Friday morning Keynote Speaker at the CABE/CAPSS Convention this year. Mary served as President of the National School Board Association from Mary Broderick April 2011 to April 2012. She served on the Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Board of Directors from 2005 to 2012, representing the Northeast Region from 2005 - 2009. Mary served on the East Lyme Board of Education in Connecticut from 1989 to December 2011. She is a past president of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. She served as a committee member on the Connecticut State Department of Education on Universal Prekindergarten working with the Governor and regional offices on preschool education and the achievement gap. Mary also served as a member of her congress memberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Education Roundtable. She represented the state association on a state-wide committee on teacher recruitment and retention, as well as the Connecticut Department of Education and Mental Health Taskforce. From 1994-1999, See CONVENTION page 6

With the implementation of the Common Core Standards (CCS) just around the corner, more and more Connecticut school systems are shifting to full day kindergarten (FDK). The CABE Journal recently spoke with the superintendent in Granby â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which implemented FDK this fall â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and Southington â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which is planning a 2013-14 launch â&#x20AC;&#x201D; about the need for FDK, the additional staffing required, and community reaction to the switch. In Southington, Superintendent Joseph Erardi said a community forum regarding FDK in early October brought out some 300 people, most of whom were in favor of the proposal. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A great majority, when asked if they were there to support the proposal, about 90 percent of the hands went up,â&#x20AC;? said Erardi, who noted his district has spent the last several years getting the community ready for FDK. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We launched a five year plan in regards to readiness in 2007-08,â&#x20AC;? said Erardi, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and there was an early childhood committee and their focus was, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;How do we move conversation to practice?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; First, with a family resource center, which didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exist in town [but does now]. Second, what do we do with 5-year-olds or kindergartners coming in who are in need of additional time to enhance their skill set? And third, how do we get to an all day kindergarten?â&#x20AC;? In 2011-12, Southington successfully piloted an extended day kindergarten See COMMON page 6

INSIDE THIS EDITION Common Core and Teddy Roosevelt? . 3 Boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relationship to admin. regs. .... 4 See You in Court .................................. 5 10 GOOD things about public education ........................ 7 Workshop highlights ..........................11 CABE: working for YOU ..................... 12 The perfect example of how to handle a crisis .....................................13 Legal Briefs ......................................... 14

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The Journal

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012


Global Similarities While delayed in a shuttle van enroute to an airport recently, I had the opportunity to engage in “education conversation” with our driver and other van riders. Our driver mentioned he is a graduate of an urban district; his children experienced different school systems during frequent moves and presently his grandchildren attend an urban charter school. One child, who struggled as a student, changed environments, and became inspired by new teachers, all the while discovering the potential of her newfound education. Our “education conversation” became more global as my shared riders hailed from India. A former math teacher turned engineer and a thirty five year high school physics teacher spoke of the difficulty in managing the literacy issue whether in remote villages or high density cities or how standardized syllabi are commonplace or how adapting to more western educational models are being received in some areas. Their comments on various educational challenges ranged from the lack of enough adequate schools to educate a growing population; a “good” education is becoming more expensive; remote areas are untouched by “no schooling” ever; and how to sustain incentives to promote higher education among female students. Ingrained in a culture where “family is the first teacher” and the thought process is the “teacher makes the child,” I learned that “National Teachers’ Day” celebrates all teachers who are honored, and role reversal of student and teacher takes place with observations encouraging the new generation of future teachers. Other comments ranged from improving test scores to class observation to parent involvement. Similar sentiments echoed in my mind. While visiting my childhood family home in Italy, I continued my conversation by reaching out to relatives

and friends in the education profession. As I sat in classrooms, I asked students and teachers about challenges facing them today and in the future. Overall responsibility for school education lies within the Ministry of Education, which works at the central level, while regional and provincial Lydia Tedone education offices are operated through local levels. Regions may delegate various responsibilites to the provinces and municipalities. In the past 10 years education reforms, such as compulsory age, new disciplines, seat time and higher educaton are designed to better prepare students for future careers. Changes such as these resulted in periods of transition by which the stucture of the system is being overhauled. Recent implementations are aimed at bringing education in line with the rest of Europe as well as creating a more flexible system in which to better educate students. The list went on . . . Teacher and administrator evaluation support are crucial. Create a structure of differentiated learning. There’s a lack of updated technology. Too much emphasis on standardized testing. The need for Twenty First Century skills. While listening, various themes resonated continually in my mind. See GLOBAL page 12

NSBA selects Thomas J. Gentzel as new Executive Director Robert Rader, Executive Director, CABE The Board of Directors of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) has named Thomas J. Gentzel as its next Executive Director. Gentzel is the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA). “I am honored to lead NSBA Thomas J. Gentzel at such an important time for the organization and for public education,” said Gentzel. “I am deeply committed to community ownership of public schools, which is the essence of school board governance. We will build on a strong foundation, taking an active role in shaping education policy and ensuring a quality education for all children in America.” As Executive Director of PSBA since 2001, Gentzel represents and serves more than 5,000 school directors, administrators, and other officials from school entities throughout Pennsylvania. He joined the PSBA staff in 1980 as a lobbyist and, five years later, was promoted to head the organization’s Office of Governmental and Member Relations – a position he held for more than 16 years. Gentzel also is the Immediate Past Chair of NSBA’s Organization of State Association Executive Directors. Before joining PSBA, he served as the county administrator for Pennsylvania’s Centre County Board of Commissioners and, later, as Assistant Executive Director

of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. CABE Executive Director Bob Rader said this about the appointment: “Besides being a ‘son’ of the Northeast, Tom has been a great friend, not only to NSBA, but also to Connecticut, CABE and many of us who have worked with him. Three years ago, he wrote a report and led a retreat for CABE’s Board, which set the tone for building a stronger, more influential CABE. He is a wonderful choice and is a very close friend. I am so delighted that he will take the reins at such a difficult time for NSBA. He will be a wonderful NSBA exec!” CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice A. McCarthy said, “I have had the pleasure of serving with Tom on the NSBA Board of Directors, where he demonstrated great insight into the needs of the state associations and school board members. His many years of leadership experience at the state level make him well suited for this new role.” NSBA’s Executive Director reports directly to the organization’s Board of Directors and is responsible for guiding the development and implementation of the strategic plan, programs, policies, and practices of the association. The Executive Director is responsible for the management and development of nearly 100 employees and an annual budget of more than $20 million. Gentzel will join NSBA on December 1, 2012. NSBA’s Executive Director Anne L. Bryant retired at the end of September after more than 16 years as Executive Director. Joseph S. Villani, NSBA’s Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operations Officer, will serve as Interim Executive Director until November 30, 2012.

CABE Board of Directors EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Lydia Tedone .................................................. President, Simsbury Richard Murray ............................. First Vice President, Killingly Ann Gruenberg ........... VP for Government Relations, Hampton Stephen Wright .... VP for Professional Development, Trumbull James Marpe ................................ Secretary/Treasurer, Westport Don Blevins ........................................... Immediate Past President John Prins ........................................................... Member at Large

AREA DIRECTORS Susan Hoffnagle ....................... Area 1 Co-Director, Winchester Mari-Ellen (Mimi) Valyo ........ Area 1 Co-Director, Winchester Daniel Santorso ........................... Area 1 Co-Director, Plymouth Becky Tyrrell ................................. Area 2 Co-Director, Plainville Susan Karp ............................... Area 2 Co-Director, Glasbonbury Laura Bush ............................................. Area 3 Director, Vernon Gavin Forrester .............................. Area 6 Co-Director, Stratford Elaine Whitney ............................. Area 6 Co-Director, Westport Michael D’Agostino ....................... Area 7 Co-Director, Hamden Sheila McCreven ..................... Area 7 Co-Director, Woodbridge John Prins ...................................... Area 7 Co-Director, Branford Robert Ruggiero ............................ Area 8 Co-Director, Madison Pamela Meier ................................ Area 8 Co-Director, Madison Gail MacDonald ............................. Area 9 Director, Stonington

ASSOCIATES Eileen Baker ........................................... Associate, Old Saybrook Sharon Beloin-Saavedra .......................... Associate, New Britain Gary Brochu ........................................................ Associate, Berlin Robert Guthrie .......................................... Associate, West Haven Cal Heminway ................................................... Associate, Granby COMMITTEE CHAIRS Robert Mitchell ........................ Chair, State Relations, Montville Beverly Washington ................. Chair, Federal Relations, Groton Becky Tyrrell ................................... Chair, Resolutions, Plainville

CITY REPRESENTATIVES Jacqueline Kelleher .................. City Representative, Bridgeport Matthew Poland ........................... City Representative, Hartford Michael R. Nast ....................... City Representative, New Haven Polly Rauh .................................... City Representative, Stamford Charles Stango ........................... City Representative, Waterbury

STAFF Robert Rader ...................................................................... Executive Director Patrice McCarthy ................................ Deputy Director and General Counsel Bonnie Carney ........................................... Sr. Staff Associate for Publications Nicholas Caruso ............................................ Sr. Staff Assoc. for Field Service and Coord. of Technology Sheila McKay ............................ Sr. Staff Associate for Government Relations Kelly Moyher ......................................................................... Sr. Staff Attorney Vincent Mustaro ..................................... Sr. Staff Associate for Policy Service Lisa Steimer .............................. Sr. Staff Assoc. for Professional Development Teresa Costa ............................... Coordinator of Finance and Administration Pamela Brooks ......................... Sr. Admin. Assoc. for Policy Ser. /Search Ser. Terry DeMars .............................................. Admin. Assoc. for Policy Service Melissa Dickinson ........................... Admin. Assist. for Membership Services Gail Heath ...................................... Admin. Assoc. for Government Relations Wilmarie Newton ...................................... Admin. Assoc. for Labor Relations Corliss Ucci .............................. Receptionist/Asst. to the Executive Director

The CABE Journal (ISSN 1092-1818) is published monthly except a combined issue for July/August as a member service of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, 81 Wolcott Hill Road, Wethersfield, CT 06109, (860) 571-7446. CABE membership dues include $30 per person for each individual who receives The CABE Journal. The subscription rate for nonmembers is $75. Association membership dues include a subscription for each board member, superintendent, assistant superintendent and business manager. The companies and advertisements found in The CABE Journal are not necessarily endorsed by CABE. “Periodicals Postage Paid at Hartford, CT.” POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The CABE Journal, CABE, 81 Wolcott Hill Road, Wethersfield, CT 06109-1242. Email: Members can find the CABE Journal online at: userlogin.cfm?pp=84&userrequest=true&keyrequest=false& userpage=84

The Journal


– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012


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Oh, so that’s what Common Core Standards are all about! The Connecticut Consortium of Education Foundations held its annual conference on October 2nd and I heard the best explanation so far of why it is so important to implement Common Core Standards (CCS). When the State Board of Education voted, about a year and a half ago, to adopt CCS (as part of a consortium call-ed “Smarter Balance”), there were no hearings and little public focus on this change to curriculum. Sure, we had to do it as part of our third “Race to the Top” application (which was again, unsuccessful), but it is now part of the reforms under which our districts are operating or in the process of preparing for implementation. When I first heard about CCS, I asked a member of the State Board or SDE how much must change in what our schools were doing then. Oh, no big deal, I was told. It’s just a change in what kids are learning in different grades. Maybe a 1015 percent change would be required. Now, however, districts across the State are wrestling with this mandate. And, chances are, if they’re doing it right, it’s not only the (underestimated) 10-15%,

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Robert Rader

were left teaching as many of the subjects as possible, without any prioritization. 4. College remediation rates must fall or our system will continue to fail. 5. Eighth grade reading scores are flat over many years. You can’t have readiness for college without the skill and knowledge built by reading. Students in the lower grades are reading 80 percent fiction and only 20 percent nonfiction — and thus they are not gaining the deep knowledge that they should by reading about history, science, art and learning the vocabulary they will need to be successful as they develop. CCS is now being implemented in English Language Arts and Mathematics. In English Language Arts, there has been little focus on any depth in writing. CCS will cause a shift to more in-depth knowSee OH, SO page 15

Common Core and . . . Teddy Roosevelt? Robert Rader Exeutive Director, CABE

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it’s also the time, effort and resources required to implement these changes. David Coleman, the incoming president of the College Board was one of the writers of the new standards. He spoke at the education foundations’ conference and really explained the “why” of the new standards. Here is part of what he said: There were several factors that led to the development and requirement of CCS: 1. Existing standards did not make students ready for college. Too many students required remediation. 2. There was competition and much variety in what the states were doing in this area. 3. The educational standards systems in each state and school district were collapsing due to standards having become too vague. There was too much included in curriculum and it was not sufficiently focused. For example, to teach all of the California standards would take, it is estimated, thirty years to teach. Thus, as more and more was added to the curriculum, teachers

In my editorial this month [above], I wrote about David Coleman’s and the College Boards encouragement of changes in curriculum that are the Common Core Standards. He emphasized the importance of students having context in their early reading about history, art, culture and other subjects which will enable them to better understand the historical and other subjects that they will learn about as they grow older. This got me thinking about a book recommended to me by President Lydia Tedone’s husband, Peter. He loves reading about history, as do I, and thought it was a good read. The book, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War, was written by James Bradley, who also wrote Flags of Our Fathers, about his Dad and the other Marines who raised the American flag over Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima in 1945. The book describes the author’s belief that Teddy Roosevelt and others in his government believed in the “Aryan myth” that he and other white Americans were

destined to rule the world, whether through war, treaties (that were often ignored) or other means, including making secret deals with countries when it fit that belief. He and others thought that they were descended from the Aryans and that it was their responsibility to push east — from England, where many started, to America and across the continent, then to Hawaii, the Philippines, Japan and China. During this “manifest destiny”, these descendants of Germans would kill, rape and destroy other ethnic groups, whether Native Americans, Cubans, Hawaiians, Filipinos or any other group that did not agree to succumb to the new imperialists and their culture. For example, he describes the gruesome killing of 400 Chinese who had been living in Wyoming after the 200 whites who were living there decided they didn’t want the Chinese in their town. The Chinese in America who did great work building our railroads were depicted as lazy, drunk individuals – much as African-Americans were presented. Whites were presented as hardworking, forthright people, while often the reality was the exact reverse.

Korea was supposedly a “brother” protected by its American brother, but was secretly allowed to be taken over by the Japanese thanks to Roosevelt’s strategy. The Japanese were considered “Honorary Aryans”. The “imperial cruise” concerns the long voyage of Roosevelt’s Secretary of State William Howard Taft’s cruise, along with Roosevelt’s daughter Alice, across the Pacific to Japan and China and their perspectives on the countries they visited. Perhaps the most explosive charge in the book is that by Roosevelt’s scheming and the consequences that resulted, Japanese hardliners were encouraged and this paved the way to Japanese imperialism and eventually the attack on Pearl Harbor. Why am I writing about all this? It is because if our children are to understand their place their world, they need to be exposed to many perspectives on how America grew and the bad things that happened as well as the good. Although I read a lot of history, I had never read such a narrative, pulling together the strands of what happened so vividly and so negatively. It was quite a shock; after See COMMON page 15


The Journal

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Educatio • November 2012

The board’s relationship to administrative regulations Vincent A. Mustaro Senior Staff Associate for Policy Service, CABE

Policy versus Administrative Regulations Policies are broad guidelines, philosophical statements that outline the direction that the board wants to take. Boards need to understand the distinction between policy and administration in their actions. Policy by itself does nothing. The board of education deals with its broad issues of responsibility through the policy statements it adopts. The administrative regulations are the specific procedures that will implement the policy and they are the responsibility of the superintendent. The superintendent is a partner with the board in the policy development process. However, it is surely his/her responsibility to see that policy is implemented with administrative regulations, sometimes also referred to as procedures or guidelines. The purpose of administrative regulations is to fill in broad policy statements with the details that ensure that what the board wants done, actually happens. This approach provides the district with needed flexibility. Regulations can be easily changed whenever required by changes in the law, when a problem is discovered, or when a new approach to the implementation of a policy is desired. In contrast, board bylaws usually require a minimum of two readings before a policy or bylaw can be adopted or revised and this usually involves weeks or months. Regulations are practical, specific to each district and at times specific to school levels in a district. They are formulated by personnel within the district to suit the district’s particular needs. Whereas policy answers the broader questions of what is wanted and may, also, indicate why and how much, regulations should state precisely how often, exactly how many, where, etc. In addition to the superintendent writing regulations, at times knowledgeable staff is recruited to assist in the preparation of regulations. All regulations developed pursuant to the board’s policies should conform to the intent of the policies.

Board Adoption of Administrative Regulations In theory, boards adopt policy and administrators implement policy through regulations. Depending on the type of policy and the situation to which they are responding, or the audience to which they are addressed, administrative regulations can be brief and flexible or long and prescriptive, or combinations of either. In any event, regulations provide the details needed for consistent application of board policy. Regardless of who participates in their development, all policies are adopted by the board. Most regulations, on the other hand, will emanate from and be approved by the office of the superintendent. The

board does not normally approve or adopt administrative regulations except in certain instances as described below. Regulations are not usually adopted by anyone. They are devised, approved and issued normally by the superintendent. It is the superintendent’s responsibility to revise regulations as necessary. The board may make a policy more explicit if it feels that the administrative regulations are not sufficiently clear or comprehensive enough to meet the board’s intent, but it should not unilaterally revise the superintendent’s regulations. As the superintendent is a participant in the policy process, the board may be a participant at times in the approval of administrative regulations. Usually, administrative regulations do not require board adoption and/or approval. However, situations may exist where such adoption/approval by the board is required or desired. These are as follows: When mandated by law. At times, state statute requires the board to adopt policy and procedures on a topic. This does not mean that the board must actually write them. It does mean that the board should read and review them carefully prior to approval and dissemination to be sure board intentions are carried out. When law requires board approval of regulations, the board will review the proposed regulations, checking to be sure all appropriate topics have been addressed. It will then formally vote to approve these regulations. When the administration wants to make the force of the board’s authority explicit. This occurs most often when a subject is controversial and may cause consternation or disagreement among those affected. Approving the regulation along with the adoption of policy says very clearly that the board and administration have conferred and totally agree not only on the policy, but on the details of how it is to be implemented. It is also recommended, when a board is involved in the process of totally reviewing and rewriting its policy manual, to consider at the time of policy adoption, a review of the proposed administrative recommendations. This practice is followed when CABE is involved in the development of a new manual for a district. This review does not include adoption but serves the purpose of indicating to the administration that its newly adopted policies will be implemented in a manner desired by the board in keeping with the philosophy of the policy statement. When the board is not sure that its policy is being implemented in the way it was intended. Occasionally mistrust or lack of understanding between board and administration cause the board to ask to review (and possibly approve) administrative regulations on a subject. It is a good idea to have a bylaw pertaining to the approval of regulations,

describing the circumstances above that would cause their approval by the board and establishing the same number of readings as for adoption of policies. Not all policies in the policy manual require regulations. Some policies are so explicit or self-explanatory that there is nothing to be added. However, all regulations should be attributable to a policy or policies or contract language.

Location of Administrative Regulations Where regulations are filed is a local decision. Some districts prefer to keep all regulations with accompanying policies in the district’s policy manual. Others prefer to maintain a totally separate manual of regulations. CABE recommends that the administrative regulation be kept in the district’s policy manual, immediately following the adopted policy to which it refers.

Recommended Board Actions Boards should adopt a bylaw, #9313, pertaining to the formulation, adoption, and amendment of administrative regulations. In the CABE model, the following language is proposed: “The Board of Education does not adopt administrative regulations unless specifically required to do so by law, or unless requested to do so by the Superintendent. Adoption and amendment of such Board of Education adopted regulations shall be by the same procedure as that specified for policies in bylaw #9311. The Board of Education reserves the right to review and direct revisions of administrative regulations should they, in the Board of Education’s judgment, be inconsistent with the policies adopted by the Board of Education.” It is also recommended that boards adopt a policy, #2231, “Policy and Regulation Systems,” which describes the board’s expectations pertaining to the policy manual, policies, regulations and bylaws. CABE’s recommended language in this

policy pertaining to regulations is as follows: Consistent with policy, the Superintendent shall specify required staff actions, and design the administrative arrangements under which the schools are to be operated. Those regulations and procedures which apply throughout the district shall be designated as regulations,’’ and placed in the district policy manual. Regulations may/ shall be presented to the Board but the Board will not adopt regulations unless requested to do so by the Superintendent or unless required by federal or state law. The Superintendent is responsible for development and implementation of district regulations. He/she shall develop a system involving staff members in development and implementation of regulations. Regulations should be complete, consistent with adopted Board policy, and capable of reasonable implementation.

In conclusion Remember that an adminis-trative regulation details how a policy will be implemented. As a board or board member, if you find yourself discussing how a policy is to be implemented, you are beginning to get involved in administration. The board gives the superintendent authority to develop and implement all necessary regulations authorized by board policy or statute. It is recommended that the board be kept informed of the regulations developed to implement board policy. Regulations should be made a part of the policy manual. Staff, students and patrons of the district need to be kept informed of any rules affecting them as individuals or as a group. As long as the administration operates within the policies adopted by the board, it may issue regulations without prior board approval unless board action is required by law or unless the board has specifically directed that certain types of regulations be given Board approval. The board must, however, be kept informed of all administratively issued regulations, and all are subject to board review.

Helping You Save Time and Money The Connecticut RESC Alliance can help you save time and money through statewide collaborative efforts and cooperative purchasing programs. Please see our presentation at the CABE/CAPPS Conference on November 17 at the Mystic Marriott in Groton, CT.

The Journal

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012


See You in Court – The Nutmeg Board of Education

The Nutmeg Board deals with budget deliberations and FOIA Thomas B. Mooney, Esq. Shipman & Goodwin

The Nutmeg Board of Education makes many mistakes. The latest imbroglio created by the board will be reported here each issue, followed by an explanation of what the board should have done. Though not intended as legal advice, these situations may help board members avoid common problems. Bob Bombast, veteran Board member of the Nutmeg Board of Education, thought it would be good to get an early start on the budget process. In November, he sent around to his colleagues a “draft” budget in a confidential email, and he received a number of responses. Appropriations over the last four years had been woefully inadequate, and Bob really wanted to start restoring some of the positions that had been cut. Accordingly, Bob’s “draft” budget reflected an increase of 8% over last year. Bob shared his “draft” budget, as well as all the Board member responses, with Mrs. Superintendent, who, of course, was delighted to see Bob’s handiwork. While Mrs. Superintendent was processing Bob’s budget, Seymour

Dollars, Chairman of the Nutmeg Board of Education, sent an email to all town department heads, including the Superintendent, directing that they prepare a 2013-2014 budget with spending at 90% of the current year. “Well, that is not going to happen,” Mrs. Superintendent thought to herself as she set about preparing her recommended budget. She figured she should make a good faith effort to reduce Bob’s draft budget, and after sharpening her

dent sent her budget to the Board in “draft” form for discussion. At the next meeting, Bob made an oblique reference to the “battle of the budgets” and moved that the Board convene into executive session to reconcile the two versions. However, Mal Content, another Board member, challenged Bob, asking how the Board could possibly secretly deliberate on its budget proposal. Bob scoffed in response. Then, Bob explained as

“In plain English, once a draft is shared with the members of a public agency, it will be part of the process for making decisions, and the draft will be a public record unless there is another exemption from disclosure.” pencil, Mrs. Superintendent came up with her final budget recommendations. When all was said and done, she recommended that the Board adopt a budget that would require an increase in the appropriation from the Town of 7.0%. Following Bob’s lead, Mrs. Superinten-

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A Practical Guide to Connecticut School Law by Thomas B. Mooney, Esq. Shipman & Goodwin The Guide comes with a CD which provides hyperlinks to many cases and statutes and will permit word searches as a supplement to the Index. New to the Seventh Edition: Bullying, Background Checks, Child Abuse Reporting, Discrimination Issues, Educational Reform, FERPA, Freedom of Information, State Aid for Education and much, much more The 7th edition is now available from CABE. Call and order your copy TODAY at 860.571.7446 or 800.317.0033

follows, “Of course executive session is proper. In case you didn’t notice, I marked my proposal ‘draft,’ and Mrs. Superintendent followed suit. Draft documents are confidential, and we can discuss confidential documents in executive session. Besides, as we work through the budget, chances are that we will have to cut positions. How would you like to be the art teacher who reads for the first time in the newspaper that her position has been eliminated? Executive session for such personnel matters is just common decency here.” After Bob’s vehement response, Mr. Chairperson shrugged and asked for a motion to go into executive session. Bob promptly moved that the Board convene into executive session for “draft budget and related personnel discussions.” Mal Content, Penny Pincher and Red Cent were not convinced, but on a 5-3 vote Mr. Chairman declared that the ayes have it, and the Board convened into executive session. Following a heated discussion in executive session, the Board adopted its budget for 2013-2014. The next day, Seymour Dollars sent Mr. Chairperson an email chastising the Board. “Mayor Megillah and I are disappointed in the Board’s illegal and irresponsible actions. Before you submit your budget to the Board of Finance, I direct you and the Board to reduce it to the 90% of current year expenditures. Got it?” Is Seymour able to do that? In a word, no. But before we talk about Seymour, we must note that the Board’s budget deliberations violated the Freedom of Information Act in various ways. First, we should clarify the status of “preliminary drafts and notes” under the Freedom of Information Act. In general, it is permissible to keep preliminary drafts and notes confidential. The general premise is that a draft document is a work in progress, and a public agency should be able to keep it confidential until it is finalized. Note that the exemption from disclosure is not automatic; the statute provides

that preliminary drafts or notes are confidential, “provided the public agency has determined that the public interest in with-holding such documents clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.” But quite often such is the case. Public officials have the right to edit and revise records that they create before they are submitted to public scrutiny (and, of course, criticism). For example, the Appellate Court has ruled that personal notes that public officials take at meetings are preliminary drafts. Given the shorthand we use and errors we make when we take notes, the public interest in maintaining such notes as confidential is clear, and public officials typically consider them confidential. However, there is a significant exception to this general rule. The FOIA provides that disclosure is required of any “(1) Interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters, advisory opinions, recommendations or any report comprising part of the process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated . . . .” In plain English, once a draft is shared with the members of a public agency, it will be part of the process for making decisions, and the draft will be a public record unless there is another exemption from disclosure. Here, the draft budget that Bob prepared was part of the Board’s budget deliberations, and it was a public record as soon as he shared it with his fellow Board members. The Board also misconstrued the “personnel” provision for executive session. The possibility that discussion may affect personnel does not permit executive session. A good test is to ask (1) which employees will be discussed, and (2) have they been notified of that discussion? If the Board cannot answer both questions affirmatively, the executive session will be improper. The Board also failed to meet the procedures requirements for the executive session as well. The 5-3 vote fell short of the required two-thirds vote, and the Board should have expressly stated the reason for the executive session. Finally, Seymour cannot dictate to the Board that it must submit a lower budget estimate. Under the statute, it is the responsibility of the board of education to estimate the amount needed to operate the schools in the coming year. Once the board of education has done that, the town must consider those identified needs, the other needs of the town and make an appropriation. Moreover, it is unlikely that the Town here would be able to reduce its appropriation from the current year. Under the minimum budget requirement (MBR), subject to limited exceptions, towns must appropriate to boards of education at least what was appropriated in the prior year as well as any increases in the ECS cost share grant for that year. Attorney Thomas B. Mooney is a partner in the Hartford law firm of Shipman & Goodwin who works frequently with boards of education. Mooney is a regular contributor to the CABE Journal.


The Journal

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012

Common Core and full day kindergarten (continued from page 1) program for 40 youngsters throughout the district. “Knowing the Common Core State Standards were written only for a full day experience and knowing that we needed to enhance the readiness skills throughout the district, I thought that we positioned ourselves for a community conversation in a very positive way,” added Erardi. “So for the past three or four years [school officials have been] planting seeds throughout the community, gaining support from the Board of Education’s curriculum and instruction committee and most recently rolling it out to the community …we are now prepared to bring to the school board on November 8 [2012] our proposal, which is an all day platform for youngsters next year.” In order to extend kindergarten to a full day experience, Southington will need 13 full-time equivalents and an additional 6.5 full time para-professionals. But the district won’t need to actually hire 13 new teachers since it will be “restructuring existing staff in many cases,” according to Erardi. (Actual cost figures for the implementation of FDK were not available as of press time.) The district will also save money in transportation costs since midday pick up of kindergarten students will no longer be

required. “I believe we will be able to show the Board of Education that this is a very affordable and meaningful program,” he said. Southington — which has had a halfday program “forever,” according to the superintendent — will not technically offer half day in 2013-14, but parents can still elect to have their child take part in a school day that is less than a full day. “Our proposal will be a full-day kindergarten program but we always offer the opportunity to have individual conversations with parents, with administrators,” explained Erardi. “So what that means is, in most cases, communities that have an all day program allow youngsters, if the parent selects, to leave prior to the close of full day; it’s usually around 1 o’clock. And we will have that conversation with parents — and there will be, I’m certain — parents who would rather have a partial day experience.” In terms of the process to implement the program, Erardi said that if the BOE endorses the all-day proposal it would be included in its proposed 2013-14 budget, which would be finalized the second Thursday of January. At that point, the board would take action to move its proposed budget on to the Town Council and the school board “will get a return on their proposed operational plan sometime in very late April, early May and that will

Running a district is hard Lighten your load with an updated policy manual

You need an up-to-date policy manual to run your district effectively. CABE can help. Our policy specialists will assist in updating your manual, ensuring your district’s policies are current and up-to-date with the Connecticut statutes. Call Vincent Mustaro, Senior Staff Associate for Policy Service (860) 571-7446 or (800) 317-0033 to begin updating your manual today.

allow us to plan accordingly,” added the superintendent. Granby Superintendent Alan Addley said the first year of FDK in his district has gone “very smoothly.” He added, “The kids have gotten accustomed to the schedule; there were a few tired teachers and students after the first week or so but everybody’s gotten acclimatized.” Though school officials had advocated for a FDK program for several years, Addley noted that, “The movement towards the Common Core was a big acceleration,” he said, adding, “We took a full year to research it with community input and focus groups.” In terms of community reaction to the proposal, Addley said it was “mostly positive.” In order to extend its kindergarten program to a full day, Addley said it cost Granby $397,000 — but most of those funds are being covered by Open Choice funds. “We needed 3.5 teachers and 3.5 teaching assistants and we did that primarily through the Open Choice funds [since] the legislature changed the funds from $2,500 per student to $6,000 per student and actually for kindergarten it’s $10,000,” explained Addley. “So that allowed us to implement the program and I can’t think of a better way to use those funds.” In addition, the district has implemented the program by offering full day only

— unlike some school systems that have offered parents a choice. “That was a conscious choice because I didn’t want to create a case of those who have and have not and we advocated for full-day kindergarten because we believe we need the full day to do the curriculum,” said Addley. “We still believe full-day allows us to not only prepare the kids academically but also emotionally and socially and squeezing all that in [to a half-day] doesn’t work.” The longer day also gives the district the chance to intervene when students are struggling to learn. “We can provide a much more comprehensive program — not only to teach the program but to provide kids interventions when they need assistance,” Addley added. Editor’s Note: As of the 2011-12 School Year, 73 school districts, seven charter schools and 11 magnet schools provide full-day kindergarten to all children. In the near future, SDE will update this figure. Twenty-nine districts and one charter school provide full day K to some students. For comparison, in the 2007-08 School Year, 52 school districts, 6 charter schools and 8 magnets provided full-day K for all of their students. To see districts with full day K, go to: PDF/DEPS/Early/ KindergartenProgs.pdf.

We look forward to seeing you at the CABE/CAPSS Convention on November 16-17 Mystic Marriott, Groton!! (continued from page 1) she co-chaired a regional forum on the issue of quality and diversity in education. She also served as president of her regional education service center. Mary has presented at several national conferences and workshops and has authored numerous articles in national publications, including on educational quality and diversity. The mother of two grown children, Mary lives in East Lyme, Connecticut. She works with a number of communities on efforts to improve odds of early school success as an educational consultant with the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund and she fosters dialogue about

educational issues as a consultant with Community Conversations. In April of 2011, she completed her doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Connecticut. We look forward to having Dr. Broderick join us Friday morning. The 2012 CABE/CAPSS Convention promises to be full of information and networking opportunities for board members and superintendents alike that will help you navigate during these challenging times. We hope to see you in Mystic!

CABE Delegate Assembly November 15, 2012 Mystic Marriott Hotel, Groton Registration Begins - 2:30 pm Delegate Assemby - 3:00 pm Reception - 6:00 - 6:30 pm Dinner - 6:30 - 7:30 pm To register contact, Gail Heath at 860-571-7446.

The Journal


– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012

10 GOOD things about public education Patte Barth Director, Center for Public Education, NSBA

The naysayers are wrong – public schools are not failing. Here’s a list of the many things we are doing right, with suggestions for ways to improve even more Policymakers and pundits have decried “our failing schools” so often it’s become an accepted truth. But the naysayers are wrong. To be sure, our schools need to do better. But we have much to be proud of, too, and it’s on this foundation that we can build a 21st Century system that will work for all kids. It’s time that we recognize our accomplishments and give our public schools a collective pat on the back. Here is my personal Top 10 List of things we’re doing right and where we should go next.

10. A tradition of universal education Beginning in 1642 when Massachusetts enacted the country’s first education law, Americans have placed a high premium on producing an educated populace. As Thomas Jeffer-

son wrote, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Indeed, the history of American education is one of expanding educational opportunity. From the push for compulsory schooling in the last half of the 19th century through Brown v. Board of Education in the mid-20th, it’s a story that continues to this day.

much, consider that 10 points on the NAEP scale is approximately one year’s worth of learning. More significantly, the gains have largely been from the bottom up, and the achievement gap is narrowing between children of color and their white classmates. As a bonus, American fourth-graders rank among students from the top-scoring nations in reading literature.

What’s next? The Common Core State Standards define expectations for all students that will prepare them for their next steps, whether they lead to a four-year college, two-year credentials, or training for 21st century jobs. At this writing, 46 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards.

What’s next? Middle- and highschoolers aren’t making the same gains. We need to do more than just teach kids how to read, but also focus on developing critical readers, especially of informational texts.

9. Beginning reading Over the last decade, our fourthgraders have improved their reading skills by six points on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). If that doesn’t sound like

8. Civics On the 1999 international assessment in civics, U.S. ninth-graders were No. 1 in civics skills. By a lot. But what about now? There hasn’t been an international look at this topic since then, but NAEP offers a clue. Over the last decade, American fourthgraders have improved their civics performance by seven points. His-

panic students improved the most – by a whopping 17 points. What’s next? As with reading, middle and high school students are not showing the same progress as their younger siblings. This deserves our attention, considering that high school seniors are able to cast their first votes or will be voting soon.

7. English Language Learners An original study for NSBA’s Center for Public Education (CPE) compared the reading achievement and characteristics of limited-English-speaking students in the U.S. to other industrial nations with high proportions of immigrant children (“PIRLS of Wis-dom,” 2009). While English Language Learner (ELL) students in American public schools tend to come from poorer families compared to those in other countries, their schools none-theless provide resources not available to their international counterparts and their perSee GOOD page 10


The Journal

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012





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Registration now open!

The Journal

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012



The Journal

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012

10 GOOD things about public education ren. These goals were further extended to children with disabilities in 1975’s Education for All Handicapped Children Act, now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which guarantees a “free and appropriate” education to all specialneeds children.

(continued from page 7) formance is as good or better as a result. The big advantage? The U.S. has more teachers trained to teach ELL students. What’s next? The number of ELL teachers, though larger than other countries, is still too small to meet the need. Another big issue: Evidencebased instruction for ELL students too often takes a backseat to politics. Yet the research is clear in this regard: Dual-immersion programs produce the best long-range results for ELL students, followed by language support in elementary school. Despite its appeal to some, English-only submersion has been proven to have the least effect (CPE, 2007).

6. ESEA and IDEA: Monumental laws

What’s next? Under President George W. Bush, ESEA became the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). It added a sharp focus – and school accountability – on narrowing achievement gaps among groups of students based on race, ethnicity, family income, and special needs. While the idea of accountability no doubt will continue, both NCLB proponents and critics recognize that adjustments need to be made.

5. High-level high school courses

In 1965, the country passed the first Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as part of President Johnson’s war on poverty. Its intent was to provide poor children equal access to a solid public education. As such, ESEA did nothing less than establish education as a civil right, and every president since then has supported the provision of Title I funds to schools serving poor child-

One of public education’s biggest successes is the increase in high school academic rigor. In 1990, less than a third of high school seniors (31 percent) had a core curriculum that included math through at least Algebra II and three lab sciences. By 2009, that number was 59 percent. Moreover, the course-taking gap between white and black students has disappeared.

Does your policy manual LOOK LIKE THIS? Then you are the perfect candidate for the

CABE Customized Policy Service! CABE’s Customized Policy Service tailors a policy manual for a subscribing board of education that reflects the specific needs and priorities of that community. The service includes: • Review and analysis of existing policies for relevancy and compliance with federal and state statutes and regulations. • Review of current contracts and student and personnel handbooks for explicit and implied policies. • On-site consultation for school board members and school administrators by CABE staff. • Update of existing policies • Legal referencing of policies: Connecticut and U.S. statutes Federal/state court decisions • Development of needed policies and regulations. • Use of CABE Codification System • Printing of policies and arrangement in manual. • Manual on CD Fee is based on school district enrollment. For more information contact Vincent Mustaro at CABE 860-571-7446 or 800-317-0033. You can also email Policy Services at

What’s next? The Office of Civil Rights recently reported that there are still 3,000 high schools in the country lacking the capacity to offer Algebra II, meaning their graduates will not be college-ready or qualified to enter training programs for many 21st century jobs. Making sure all students have access to high-level courses and support to succeed must be among our highest public priorities.

4. High-quality prekindergarten No educational investment pays off more than making sure children are ready for school when they enter the kindergarten door. Recognizing the potential return on investment, states have been expanding access to and increasing the quality of pre-k programs. Over the last decade, the number of 4-year-olds enrolled in statesupported programs has doubled to the current 27 percent. When including Head Start, we now have 39 percent of 4-year olds in publicly funded programs. And it’s not just access that’s improving. States have been more active in ensuring the programs attend to children’s educational preparation as well as to their social and emotional development. What’s next? Despite the recession, states have attempted to preserve their pre-k funding. However, last year witnessed the first decline in state funding for pre-k since 2002. These are painful setbacks, as the nation still has a long way to go to ensure universal access for families who wish to participate in pre-k.

3. High school graduation rates Researchers have uncovered student characteristics – such as poor attendance, failing grades, and disciplinary actions – that are highly predictive of students who may be in danger of dropping out. In response, states and districts have implemented data systems to flag these “early warning signs” and provide effective interventions, often in collaboration with community-based organizations. The result is that graduation rates are beginning to improve. Since 2002 ontime graduation rates have increased from 72.6 percent to the current 75.5 percent. According to an analysis by CPE’s Jim Hull, including late graduates in the calculation would raise that rate by another 5 to 8 percentage points. What’s next? Even an 80 percent to 83 percent graduation rate leaves too many young people out of jobs paying a decent wage. President Obama has set a goal for the nation to reach a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020. Reaching this mark will require the combined efforts of schools and their communities to

keep kids in school and on track to graduate.

2. Mathematics Yes, really! We may not be No. 1 in mathematics internationally, but math progress has gained a phenomenal 28 points on NAEP math. Eighth-graders weren’t far behind, posting a 21-point boost over the same period. And progress was evident in every student group. Still not convinced? Scores on the mathe-matics portion of the SAT are significantly higher than in 1972, while the number of testtakers has more than doubled so that the scores no longer represent the academic elite alone. What’s next? Education technology may be the engine that propels the math achievement of all students, and can be especially helpful in remote or hard-to-staff schools. Innovators like Sal Khan are developing new ways to make even the most sophisticated concepts understandable to students using online platforms. Moreover, access is not determined by geography. And my No. 1 good thing about public education is ...

1. Community support Approximately nine out of 10 schoolaged children attend public schools in this country – a figure that has remained fairly stable for 40 years. Communities maintain their support of their local schools even as their opinion of public education in general declines. In 2011, only 17 percent of Americans told Gallup pollsters that they would grade American public education as an A or B. In contrast, 51 percent would give an A or B to their local schools. Parents were the most satisfied, 79 percent of who gave their child’s public school these high grades. When asked to explain the discrepancy, respondents cited familiarity and local pride. What’s next? Public schools have their work cut out for them, especially as they tackle the job of preparing all of their students for success after high school in this increasingly complex 21st Century world. Policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels all have a role to play. But the supportive involvement of the community – from one district to the next – is our strongest guarantee that the challenge will be met. Printed with permission from the National School Boards Association. Copyright 2012 National School Boards Association. All rights reserved. This article may be printed out and photocopied for individual or noncommercial educational use (50 copy limit), but may not be electronically re-created, stored, or distributed; or otherwise modified, reproduced, transmitted, republished, displayed or distributed. By granting this limited license, NSBA does not waive any of the rights or remedies otherwise available at law or in equity. By granting permission to use of our materials, NSBA does not intend to endorse any company or its products and services.

The Journal


– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012

CABE-Meeting CABE-Meeting is a user-friendly, web-based service specifically designed to assist the board, superintendent and central office staff in preparing for and running board of education meetings. An exciting feature designed for use by committees, in addtion to boards of education, was recently added to CABE-Meeting. Now all your board work and committee information is conveniently located in one place!

Is CABE-Meeting for you? • Do you want to save your district money? • Do you want to utilize technology to enable staff to be more efficient? • Do you want to focus more of your human and financial resources on increasing student achievement in your district? • Do you want to enhance communication with your community? • Do you want to model the methods that should be used to infuse technology in your schools? If you answered “yes” to at least one of the above questions, read on. CABE-Meeting can help you!

Learn more: Take a few minutes and go to page.cfm?p=158 to complete our CABE-Meeting cost analysis worksheet (located at the bottom of the page) and see how much your district can save in one year. Districts can save thousands of dollars each year by using CABEMeeting.

For more information, a list of districts currently using CABE-Meeting or to schedule a demonstra-tion for your board, call Lisa Steimer at 800-3170033 or 860-571-7446 or email

CABE-Meeting Lisa Steimer Connecticut Association of Boards of Education 81 Wolcott Hill Road Wethersfield, CT 06109

Workshop highlights

New Legal Issues for a New School Year: Teacher Evaluation, Bullying and School Climate Attorney Thomas B. Mooney of Shipman and Goodwin gave participants an overview of the new law on teachers, evaluations and terminations.

Attorney Kelly Moyher, Senior Staff Attorney, CABE, welcomed everyone to the workshop.

Attorney Marsha Moses of Berchem, Moses and Devlin, spoke about bullying and the school climate. She gave participants information on how to help deal with these issues.

Participants from around the State gathered the the Sheraton Hartford South Hotel, in Rocky Hill, on October 1 to learn about several new legal issues facing school boards this year.


The Journal

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012

CABE: Working for YOU! Individualized Workshops • Professional Development Opportunities • Legal Services • Policy Services • Representing You Statewide and Nationally Below are the highlights of activities that the CABE staff has undertaken on your behalf over the last month and a half. We did this:

➤ By helping school boards to increase student achievement: •

Sent three issues of Policy Highlights via email listserv covering topics that affect student achievement. This included information pertaining to student use of social media for instructional purposes, school nutrition, guidance for political expressions in school, academic dishonesty, Veterans Day observance, and use of electronic devices. Provided Lighthouse training for Danbury, Norwalk and Norwich Boards of Education.

public education: •

Attended State Department of Education Evaluation Seminar.

➤ By providing opportunities for members to learn how to better govern their districts: • •

• •

➤ By promoting

Answered questions about the current legal issues facing boards of educaiton. “HOT” topics this month were: Electronic devices, executive session/confidentiality, search and seizure standards, records retention, and posting of agendas and minutes.

Met with CABE-Meeting Meeting Managers in Middletown. Trained the Windsor Board of Education on the use of CABEMeeting. Met with Region 18 Board of Education on the use of CABE-Meeting. Planning workshops on the new evaluation and support initiative. Facilitated workshop on Roles and Responsibilities for the Bridgeport, Manchester, and North Haven Boards of Education; Team Building and Developing Trust for the New Britain

Board of Education. Participated in CABE Vision Committee meeting, which will determine how CABE should view its mission as we move forward. Helped the Bridgeport Board of Education determine their goals for this school year. Planned, implemented and attended CABE workshop on Legal Issues, specifically social media and bullying. Provided policy information to 33 districts, one newspaper, one RESC, and one out-of-state school board association, through 47 answered requests for information or sample policies, on 38 topics. The topics of greatest interest included truance issues, bring your own devices to school, and student records.

• • • • • • •

Executive Director Relationships. Participated in NSBA Council of School Attorneys Officers and Board of Directors meetings. Attended NSBA Council of School Attorneys (COSA) Law Seminar. Attended Educator Preperation Advisory Committee (EPAC) meeting. Attended CREC Council meeting. Attended Connecticut Bar Association Education Law Comittee meeting. Attended CCJEF Steering Committee meeting. Attended CAPSS Legislative Conference. Attended Red Tape Committee meeting.

➤ By ensuring members receive the most up-todate communications:

➤ By representing Connecti-

cut school boards on the national level: •

• • • •

• •

• •

Participated in Connecticut Society of Association Executives (CSAE) Board Meeting. Attended CSAE professional development program. Attended CSAE networking dinner. Attended meeting of CAPSS Technology Subcommittee. Participated in meeting of CABE/ CAPSS Committee on Stability of Leadership. Participated in meeting of CABE/ CAPSS Committee on updating the joint Governance Statement and the Team Assessment document. Attended CAPSS’ Public Policy Conference. Met with UCONN students doing work in surveying board members on their goals as school board members. Attended Connecticut Consortium of Education Foundations’ Annual Confernce. Attended NSBA’s Northeast Regional Conference. Participated in Hartford Foundation for Public Giving workshop on Board/

Prepared Custom Policy Service material for Brooklyn, Columbia, Derby, EASTCONN, and East Windsor. Prepared for Custom Update Service, revised and/or new policies, based on recent legislation for Marlborough and Sterling Boards of Education.

➤ By providing services to meet members needs: •

• •

Facilitated a Board Chairs’ Roundtable. Issues included mandate relief and concern about governance in a time of much choice for students. Completed the audit of the policy manual of the Avon Board of Education. Provided professional development for the Bridgeport Board of Education. In the process of completing the audit of the policy manual of the Norfolk Board of Education. Visited Watertown Board of Education to discuss the results of the policy manual audit with the Superintenent and Board Members. Prepared contract to place Ridgefield’s policy manual online using the Connecticut Online Policy Service.

Global Similarities (continued from page 2) As I was departing for home, I paused and reflected on my personal conversations with people I just met and those I knew. Our education systems share common traits. By embracing a fundamentally different mission for education, reform is possible.

By embracing full accountability; building teams of talented teachers and adminstrators; ensuring students, parents, staff and school leaders work in concert; by instilling a culture of achievement, only then can we say, we’ve done what’s best for the next generation, wherever they live.

The Journal

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012

CABE and Baldwin Media: Partners in Managing Communications


Media Message

from Ann Baldwin, Baldwin Media Marketing, LLC

The Perfect Example of How to Handle a Crisis Let me begin this article by saying that I have received permission of Regional School District #7 Superintendent Judith Palmer to share the details of an unfortunate incident that recently happened. On October 5th, a young middle school student harmed himself during the Gilbert/Northwestern football game. This tragic incident was witnessed by several students and faculty who were attending the game. The student was subsequently taken by Life Star from the scene to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries. This all happened on a Friday night. Due to social media, word of this tragic situation spread quickly and a lot of what was being shared (tweeted/texted) was false information. Understandably, the entire community was in shock and grieving. From a strategic communications perspective, the longer people go without knowing what’s happening, the worse the situation gets. That’s why the time to communicate some information that didn’t reveal names or sensitive information had to be done immediately. From a communications standpoint, what happened next should be a lesson for all of those who may one day face an unfortunate situation of their own which is why I chose to share this story. Despite the fact that the entire school community was in complete chaos, the superintendent as well as her team of administrators and health professionals, knew that immediate communication with students, parents and faculty had to be a priority. They began the evening of the incident by physically calling the parents of fellow students who witnessed this incident. The crisis support team was put in place immediately and all three schools within Region #7 opened their doors the following morning to anyone wishing to get assistance in dealing with what had occurred. Ms. Palmer then contacted Bob Rader at the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (of which Region #7 is a member) and asked for assistance. That is where I come in. After speaking with the superintendent, I immediately got in my car and headed to Winsted. A member of the faculty met me at the front door and escorted me to a conference room where the entire support team

and other administrators had already been meeting and working all night on a strategic communications plan. This is a case of careful coordination that had to transpire between the superintendent and her support team, local law enforcement and the parents of the student who were keeping her updated on the condition of their son. Without being able to (or being comfortable with) releasing a lot of detail, the superintendent who had been at the hospital the previous night to check on the student and meet with the boy’s parents, knew that she had to put out some sort of communication as quickly as possible to let students and their parents know that support counselors were available to anyone at any time. In the box below is the correspondence that was sent out on the internet and intranet as well as to the local news media that were covering the story. Once this was posted, the next priority was to make sure that there was a proper chain of command as it pertained to disseminating information. In this case, it was determined that Baldwin Media would

field any media inquiries and that the superintendent would be the primary spokesperson. Because this incident involved two schools, one being Gilbert School where the incident happened and two, Northwestern Middle School where the 8th grader was a student, there was media interest swirling around both locations. In the end the proactive and immediate communications worked tremendously! This in the end turned out to be a story of recovery and healing and a school community coming together to support one another in a time of need. In the end a news article published in the Register Citizen ran that wasn’t focused so much on the tragedy angle, instead it was a well written piece that truly illustrated a school community coming together in a time of need and spoke to the love and compassion that Superintendent Judith Palmer and her entire staff have for their district . . and their students.

On the evening of October 5, 2012 near the conclusion of the Gilbert-Northwestern football game in Winsted, CT, an 8th grade male student from Northwestern Regional Middle School was found seriously injured. The student was transported by Life Star helicopter to CT Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, CT where he is receiving treatment. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the student and his family. We are doing all that we can to support them during this difficult time.” said Judy Palmer, Superintendent of Regional School District #7. “Supporting our students, faculty and parents is also a priority. Support counselors were available at both The Gilbert School and Northwestern Middle and High School’s Saturday morning to meet with students, parents and community members.” Counselors from the Regional School District No. 7 Crisis Response Team will continue to be available as well for students and others from the community for those needing support. Those wishing to contact me can reach me at to arrange for additional assistance. We appreciate your support and understanding during this difficult time. Regards, Judith A. Palmer, Ed.D. Superintendent Regional School District No.7 Media Contact: Ann Baldwin (860) 985-5621


UPDATE on Task Forces (continued from page 1) to determine town wealth; • establish foundation rate that is derived through a strong and transparent rationale. Major recommendations on special education being drafted include: • fully fund the excess cost grant by sliding scale or phasing it in; • contact the districts that are outliers when looking at state data every few years. David Kennedy, formerly of the Stratford Board of Education and the CABE Board of Directors, serves on this task force on CABE’s behalf.

Implementation of High School Reform Report due January 1, 2013. Draft recommendations - eliminate endof-course exams, preserve riogor that has been established in reform, establish multiple pathways to graduation. Anne Sweeney, Waterbury Board of Education, serves on this task force on CABE’s behalf. CAPSS Executive Director Joseph Cirasuolo, is its Chairman.

Red Tape Review and Removal Report due – Governor’s timeline. Eliminate ED001 because of work on Uniform Chart of Accounts, merge health forms, etc. Ron Goldstein, Colchester Board of Education, serves on this task force on CABE’s behalf.

Small Districts Report due January 1, 2013. Discussions on MBR, regional services and implementation grants. Sheila McCreven, Woodbridge Board of Education and Area 7 Co-Director, serves on this task force on CABE’s behalf.

Uniform Chart of Accounts Implementation July, 2014 • November 1 the RFP will be awarded. • January 2013 – preliminary work with vendor. • Spring 2013 – work on codes and training, pilots in five or six districts.


The Journal

Legal Briefs U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled. Did IEP provide a free and appropriate education? A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (NY, VT, CT) has ruled that in determining whether an individual education program (IEP) has provided a disabled student with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the adequacy of an IEP may only be evaluated prospectively as of the time the IEP is drafted, and, thus, “retrospective testimony that the school district would have provided additional services beyond those listed in the IEP may not be considered” in a due process hearing. However, the panel rejected the rigid “four corners” rule that would prevent a court from considering evidence that explains in a detail the written terms of the IEP. The panel also determined that the procedural violation of failing to include a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) in the IEP was serious enough to constitute a denial of FAPE, while failure to include parent counseling in the IEP, standing alone, does not constitute a denial of FAPE. Lastly, the panel concluded that the IEP’s failure to identify the exact school where the student should be placed does not constitute denial of FAPE. It stated that the “requirement that an IEP specify the ‘location’ does not mean that the IEP must specify a specific school site.” In these three separate cases, parents of autistic children, R.E., R.K. and E.Z.-L., declined school placements offered by the New York City Department of Education (NYCDE) and placed their children in private schools. The parents brought due process claims against NYCDE for tuition reimbursement on the grounds that NYCDE’s public school placement offers for their children were inadequate. In each case, the parents were initially granted relief following a hearing before an impartial IHO, but subsequently were denied relief after the IHO’s decision was reversed by a state review hearing officer (SRO) on appeal. In each case, the state review hearing officer relied in part on testimony from Department personnel about the educational program the student would have received if he or she had attended public school. In each case, the parents appealed to a federal district court, seeking to have the SRO’s determination reversed. The parents challenged the appropriateness of relying on such testimony, which the panel referred to in shorthand as “retrospective testimony,” and in two of

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012

Kelly B. Moyher,

Senior Staff Attorney, CABE

the three cases they succeeded. In R.E., the district court found that NYCDE failed to provide the student with FAPE and granted summary judgment for the parents. In R.K., a second district court similarly found that NYCDE failed to provide the student with FAPE and granted summary judgment for the parents. In E.Z.-L., however, a third district court found that NYCDE had provided the student with FAPE and granted it summary judgment. NYCDE appealed the decisions in R.E. and R.K. The parents appealed the decision in E.Z.-L. The Second Circuit panel consolidated the three cases, because even though the cases have individualized and unrelated facts, the cases all involve four common questions of law: (1) When, if ever, is it permissible for a district to augment the written IEP with retrospective testimony about additional services that would have been provided at the proposed placement; (2) When an IHO and SRO reach conflicting conclusions, what deference should a court pay to each; (3) At what point do violations of state regulations governing the IEP process amount to a denial of FAPE entitling the parents to reimbursement; and (4) Must parents be involved in the selection of a specific school for their child? The panel concluded that the “use of retrospective testimony about what would

have happened if a student had accepted [NYCDE’s] proposed placement must be limited to testimony regarding the services described in the student’s [IEP].” The panel stated that in all three cases, NYCDE offered retrospective testimony at the IHO hearing to overcome deficiencies in the IEP, and the SRO relied on this retrospective testimony in varying degrees to find that NYCDE had provided FAPE. Though the panel rejected the parents’ call to adopt a rigid “four corners” rule prohibiting any testimony about services beyond what is written in the IEP, it also rejected NYCDE’s counterargument that “review should focus on the services the child would have actually received[, ...] includ[ing] evidence of services beyond those listed in the IEP.” The panel stated that “[t]estimony may not support a modification that is materially different from the IEP, and thus a deficient IEP may not be effectively rehabilitated or amended after the fact through testimony regarding services that do not appear in the IEP.” However, the panel noted that testimony may be received that explains or justifies the services listed in the IEP. The panel stated that “[a]t the time the parents must choose whether to accept the school district recommendation or to place the child elsewhere, they have only the IEP to rely on, and therefore the adequacy of the IEP itself creates considerable reliance interests for the parents.” The panel stated that “[b]y requiring school districts to put their efforts into creating adequate IEPs at the outset, IDEA prevents a school district from effecting

this type of ‘bait and switch,’ even if the baiting is done unintentionally. A school district cannot rehabilitate a deficient IEP after the fact.” Adopting the view of other federal circuits and of district courts within the Second Circuit, the panel concluded that “with the exception of amendments made during the resolution period, an IEP must be evaluated prospectively as of the time it was created.” It again emphasized that “[r]etrospective evidence that materially alters the IEP is not permissible.” The panel also held that failure to conduct an FBA does not rise to the level of a denial of FAPE if the IEP adequately identifies the problem behavior and prescribes ways to manage it. The panel also determined that failure to include parent counseling in the IEP, standing alone, does not result in denial of FAPE, as “the presence or absence of a parent-counseling provision does not necessarily have a direct effect on the substantive adequacy of the plan.”. The panel concluded that the IEP’s failure to identify the exact school where the student would be placed does not constitute denial of FAPE, pointing out that the “requirement that an IEP specify the ‘location’ does not mean that the IEP must specify a specific school site.” It noted that a school district may select the specific school, without the advice of the parents, so long as it conforms to the program offered in the IEP. NSBA Legal Clips, September 2012

Board Chair Roundtable

Topics for discussion at the Board Chair Roundtable workshop, October 19, were: red tape and mandates, governance issues that have arisen due to the establishment of charter schools, magnet schools, the Commisisoner’s network schools, and others.

The Journal


– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012

Oh, so that’s what Common Core Standards are all about! (continued from page 3) ledge of documents and how better to analyze them. There will be a shift from fiction in high school and middle schools to nonfiction: 1. Old standards – kids writing narratives and their opinions – NOT writing about facts. This has not helped students grow. Under CCS, there will be analytic arguments and writing about facts. They must: “Read like a detective and write like an investigative reporter.” 2. Text must be increasingly complex as students get older. Students must be able to read at a higher level. The more complex tests will help them learn. In mathematics, there is a common belief in the U.S. that other successful countries have kids working harder. But the truth is these successful countries teach fewer subjects in more depth. The

Don’t miss these professional development opportunities!

Mark your CALENDAR November 15 CABE Delegate Assembly Mystic Marriott Hotel, Groton November 16-71 CABE/CAPSS Convention Boards and Superintendents: The Challenges and Opportunities Involved in Reforming and Transforming Education Mystic Marriott Hotel, Groton December 11 Legal Implications of the New State Board of Education Guidelines for Evaluation 9:00 - 12:00 pm Mystic Marriott Hotel, Groton March 6 CABE Day-on-the-Hill 8:30 am - 3:00 pm The Bushnell Hartford Workshop information as well as registration information is also published on the CABE website at: If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Steimer at the CABE Office 800-317-0033 or 860-571-7446 or email Lisa at

teachers learn to “teach less, [and children] learn more.” Kids need to get the core understanding and familiarity with math. There should be a focus that is core plus more demanding, coherent and rigorous. For example, for children to progress, it is critical that they need to understand fractions, which is built on addition and subtraction. The changes that are necessary to help our children “won’t be without pain”; many subjects in math need to be left out. As might be expected, teachers who have taught the same subject for years may be very comfortable with them and have trouble giving them up. With CCS, there is a need to refocus energy, not add new curriculum [and, I would add, there will be the addition of new curriculum areas as changes are made at in what is taught in the various grades. This will add to implementation adjustments that teachers will have to make.] What will success with the CCS look like? Kids reading more nonfiction, writing about tougher texts and more of a focus on a few subjects in math. New tests should measure/access what we ask teachers to teach. We expect that scores on NAEP and other assessments should rise. It should be noted that Coleman’s current organization, Achievement Network, has a website, and the content can freely be used by school districts to help inform their work in this area. The College Board, a CABE Educational Affiliate “leads national and international efforts to improve access to and readiness for higher education.”

will have to work on secondary school reform (now put off until the fall of 2016, though the actual work will need to be done before then and necessary resources provided). As towns and cities look into the future, with more difficulty in raising local money than in many years, we need the State to focus on these priorities and help us with the necessary resources and assistance so that CCS and the other reforms will be implemented in the most effective, efficient and beneficial manner possible.

Common Core and Teddy Roosevelt? (continued from page 3) all this was 40 years after the Civil War and it could be argued that American soldiers and sailors treated other people at least as badly as slaves. And, this is not ancient history; it was just 100 years ago. It is not the history that I was taught about America. There will be more books coming out in the next year or so on Teddy Roosevelt, including one by Doris Kearns Goodwin, who also wrote Team of Rivals. It will be interesting to compare the

authors’ views with those portrayed by James Bradley. One needn’t agree with Bradley’s history, but having other knowledge about the period puts it into a perspective that makes history alive and provides us with valuable lessons. If it is true as Churchill said that “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it”, then it is crucial that our students know history, biography and other facts and also opinions. These books are about people, the mistakes they made and the successes as well. Only by putting these stories into a frame of reference that includes context can our students avoid the mistakes that others, like Bradley’s Teddy Roosevelt, have made.

Reminder We need Superintendent’s Administrative Assistants help in keeping our database up-to-date. Please call us (860571-7446) or go directly to the database website ( cabe/eMembership/Admin/Login.asp) with any changes on your school board or district administrators. With the most current information it will allow us to keep everyone informed.

Here in Connecticut As school districts work on CCS, they are learning that implementation is more expensive and takes more time and effort than they probably expected. It is critical that your administrators and teachers understand what needs to be done – and that the professional development for implementation is provided, even as budgets may have to be cut. This is happening at a time when school districts are starting to work on the new evaluation and support system and

DO YOU LIKE THE JOURNAL? In early October we sent surveys from the Vision and Communications Committees to board chairs and superintendents asking them to passout the surveys at a board meeting then collect the surveys and return them to CABE. We’d like to remind you to fill out the Surveys and get them back to CABE as soon as possible. The Vision Committee survey is available online at https://www. ID=42. The Communications Committee survey is available online at https:// formID=43.

CABE Search Services is recruiting for

SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS DERBY PUBLIC SCHOOLS SCOTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS STRATFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS For an update or more information on vacancies go to our website: For more information contact, CABE Search Services, Jacqueline V. Jacoby • 860-539-7594 Randall H. Collins • 860-625-5495 Paul Gagliarducci • 413-218-5692 Bob King • 203-461-0388 P.O. Box 290252, Wethersfield, CT 06129-0252 • Equal Opportunity Employers


The Journal

– Connecticut Association of Boards of Education • November 2012


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CABE Journal - November 2012  

Volume 16, Number 10