Issuu on Google+

68 33 25 7

$'92&$&<

('8&$7,21

7+(

www.cabe.org

ENJOY THE SUMMER!

www.facebook.com/ConnecticutAssociationBoardsEducation

-2851$/

&RQQHFWLFXW$VVRFLDWLRQRI%RDUGVRI(GXFDWLRQ7KH/HDGLQJ9RLFHIRU&RQQHFWLFXW3XEOLF(GXFDWLRQ Vol. 17, No.6

³2XWRIWKHSXEOLFVFKRROVJURZVWKHJUHDWQHVVRIDQDWLRQ´ 0DUN7ZDLQ1RY

View from the Capitol

GROTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Patrice A. McCarthy Deputy Director and General Counsel

With the legislative session drawing to a close, the View from the Capitol is rather cloudy. The only way to have a clear picture of the ultimate actions of the General Assembly will be to attend CABEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Legislative Wrap-Up: What Happened and What Are the Implications for Your School District workshop on June 11 from 9:00 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 11:00 am at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. The easiest way to register is at www.cabe.orgpage.cfm?p=110 on the CABE website. At that point, a comprehensive analysis of the budget, as well as bills that passed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and those that did not â&#x20AC;&#x201C; will be available.

Consultant and Adjunct Professor of Education Leadership, Sacred Heart University

Pat: Well, I started out as a child who loved school. I ran all the way to school every day. I loved school so much; to me, it was magic! I went to a three room school in Connecticut. There were eight grades and there was no cafeteria, auditorium or gymnasium. When I was ten, my parents decided to winter in Florida every year. I went to a big, beautiful school in Sarasota that had everything. However, when I arrived each year, what the students were working on, would be something I had already learned and mastered in my little three room schoolhouse in

81 Wolcott Hill Road Wethersfield, CT 06109-1242

of Boards of Education Inc. Connecticut Association

Bob: Tell us first how you got involved in public education.

Ready for Rollout: CTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New Educator Evaluation Plan Betty Osga, Retired Superintendent,

Interview with Patricia B. Luke Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Note: Patricia â&#x20AC;&#x153;Patâ&#x20AC;? Luke has been involved in education most of her adult life. Pat was a school board member; President of CABE; and most recently, a member of the State Board of Education. Bob: Thank you for coming here. We really appreciate it. And we really appreciate all you have done for public education over the years. Pat: Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a pleasure to be here.

June 2013

Connecticut. So, I realized, even then, that big and fancy does not always deliver the best product. My little school in Connecticut, gave me a very good educational Patricia Luke foundation and for that and other lessons learned, I am deeply grateful. The contrast between my two school experiences remains in the back of my mind today when I look at school building projects where vast sums of money are being spent to create buildings that are quite grand: big and fancy doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always deliver the best product. Well, back to the point, I was always hooked on the magic of schools and schooling!!! However, when I headed for college, I was not aiming for teaching or a career in education. I wanted to be a Martha Graham dancer â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but that is another story! Bob: Tell us about your early experience as an educator. Pat: I graduated from college and I went to work in a school system where I learned some sad and painful lessons. I was very young and I looked even See INTERVIEW page 14

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been a long time since Connecticut revised its teacher and administrator evaluation requirements. While not on a fixed schedule, the State Department of Education (SDE) has historically revised guidelines every five to ten years. Districts have been expecting changes for a while. The timing is not a surprise. The direction probably shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be either. The new direction in educator evaluation has much to do with federal policies as expressed in No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. But federal policy is not the sole prompt for the new frontiers. Defined pressure to inject quantifiable measures into educator accountability has been on the agendas of many Connecticut citizens and groups for a long time. And so we have it: change that is due in timing and change that is in demand by policy and constituents. Understanding the changes and their impact on schools and educators will go a long way in helping Boards of Education support their districts in successfully readying for plan rollout. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s start with understanding.

What are the Changes in Educator Evaluation? Connecticut educator evaluation has historically been based on assessments of See READYING page 8

INSIDE THIS EDITION Friday morning Convention speaker ........................ 4 See You In Court ................................. 5 Current reform initiatives can impact school climate and culture .................. 6 OECD leader discusses education leadership and evaluation ................... 9 CABE: Working for YOU ................ 10 School safety conference .................. 10 My NSBA conference experience .... 11 CTCEF annual conference for education foundations ....................... 12 Legal Briefs ...................................... 13 Hartford State of the Schools Symposium .......................... 15

Periodical Postage PAID Hartford, CT


2

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2013 PRESIDENT COMMENTARY

Ladder, Literacy and Leap of Faith The end of the school year brings recognitions, honors, presentations and invites to class, the latter being a very special opportunity for me. As I walked into the gym, the teacher described the hanging apparatuses associated with the High Ropes Course and integration of health and wellness curriculum. The Leadership Ladder dangled from above. I could feel the sweat pouring from my palms. While two students with special needs attempted to climb each rung, five others on the floor directed and guided the attached ropes. It was teamwork in action, relying on the trust of one another to make it to the top, with each assuming a role to assist a classmate. As the two climbers got higher, the spaces got larger, while continued positive communication and support was provided from the students on the ground. Seeing a frightened face, I heard a loud holler, “come on, you can do this, just one more step and you’ll make it!” Once they achieved their goal, claps and cheers echoed off the gym walls. Upon their descent, I asked them how it felt to finally sign their names on the ceiling beam. They were nervous, yet confident on their second try, as each mentioned they had to step out of their comfort zone to try something new. Another step, using a new skill. Beaming with excitement, one proud student couldn’t wait to tell his parents, he finally made it to the top and would do it again. The next class was Modern Fiction where the seniors were presenting their final documentary films for Capstone Projects. My viewing centered on videos with assorted titles, footage of interviews and descriptions and music in differentiated volume. I then asked students about their projects. Comments ranged from balancing a more difficult topic; trying something new; a

leap of faith in teamwork ; trusting partners; and increased satisfaction upon completion. As students departed, one proud teacher mentioned, “Modern Fiction going towards Media Literacy.” By using skills and techniques that engage students, this is an example of creating a climate for learning - for all students. The culmination of my student participation ended with a scholarship Lydia Tedone reception for Seniors of an urban, year-round, inner city magnet school. Student presentations highlighted engagement of successes and issues through leadership, character, creativity and innovative projects completed by the students themselves in their community. Several students spoke of their teacher’s encouragement in developing the necessary skills to become agents of social change. The proud Principal boasted that all the students were going to attend college and isn’t shy in saying that some need a little extra help to get to the next chapter of their lives. As I perused through the volumes of the students final projects on display, one title in particular caught my attention…”Arts in Schools and Its Effect in increased Communication Skills and Confidence…BECAUSE IT MATTERS.” Have a wonderful summer—rest up for a busy Fall!

Webinar Professional Governance Boards = Student Success Robert Rader, Executive Director, CABE and Gary Brochu, Chair, Berlin Board of Education, discussed the importance of Boards of Education operating as professional governance Board, and their critical role in student success. They talked about how to build relationships between members, as well as between the Board and other stakeholders. Also, discussed was the role of the Board Chair in helping build the culture on the Board. Coordinating the webinar was Marie Newton, Administrative Associate for Labor Relations. This webinar and others can be found at: www.cabe.org/ page.cfm?p=354.

This month’s leadership quote: “Leadership requires relentless preparations. You cannot predict every possible challenge. But if you prepare for those challenges that you predict, you will be better equipped to handle all problems even the unexpected ones.” Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City

Mission: To assist local and regional boards of education in providing high quality education for all Connecticut children through effective leadership.

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 Robert Mitchell ................................. Secretary/Treasurer, Montville 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 Don Harris ...................................... Area 2 Co-Director, Bloomfield Laura Bush ................................................. Area 3 Director, Vernon Douglas Smith .................................. Area 4 Co-Director, Plainfield Steve Rosendahl ............................. Area 4 Co-Director, Woodstock Gavin Forrester ................................ Area 6 Co-Director, Stratford Elaine Whitney .................................. Area 6 Co-Director, Westport Sheila McCreven .......................... Area 7 Co-Director, Woodbridge John Prins ......................................... Area 7 Co-Director, Branford Pamela Meier ........................................... Area 8 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 Elizabeth Brown ........................... 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 Carlos Torre .................................. 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

Vision: CABE is passionate about strengthening public education through high-performing, transformative local school board/superintendent leadership teams that inspire success for each child. 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: bcarney@cabe.org. Members can find the CABE Journal online at: www.cabe.org/ userlogin.cfm?pp=84&userrequest=true&keyrequest=false& userpage=84


3

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2013 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COMMENTARY

CABE Affiliate Members BUSINESS AFFILIATES DIAMOND MEMBER ACT, Inc. - Northeast Region Finalsite GOLD MEMBERS

Berchem, Moses & Devlin Centris Group Shipman & Goodwin Siegel, O'Connor, O’Donnell & Beck, P.C Sullivan, Schoen, Campane & Connon

SILVER MEMBERS Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Corporate Cost Control Milone & MacBroom, Inc. Quisenberry Arcari Architects The Segal Company

BRONZE PLUS MEMBERS Brown & Brown Insurance Friar Associates Goldstein & Peck, P.C. Lindburg & Ripple O & G Industries The S/L/A/M Collaborative Trane Whitsons School Nutrition

BRONZE MEMBERS Chinni & Meuser LLC Dattco Inc. Fuller & D’Angelo Architects and Planners Kainen, Escalera & McHale, P.C. The Lexington Group Muschell & Simoncelli Ovations Benefits Group

EDUCATIONAL AFFILIATES American School for the Deaf Area Cooperative Educational Services Capitol Region Education Council The College Board Connecticut Association of School Business Officials Cooperative Educational Services Connecticut Center for School Change Connecticut School Buildings and Grounds Association EASTCONN EDUCATION CONNECTION LEARN Unified School District #1

The rich-poor achievement gap In a blog posted on the New York Times website on April 27th, Sean F. Reardon, a professor of education and sociology at Stanford, discussed the richpoor academic achievement gap. He made the following points, based on his research and that of others: • The rich-poor gap in test scores is “about 40 percent larger than it was 30 years ago”; • The income gap in academic achievement is “not growing because the test scores of poor students are dropping or because our schools are in decline”. • The schools are not to blame for producing “much of the disparity in test scores between high- and lowincome students. Children from rich and poor families score very differently on school readiness tests when they enter kindergarten, and this gap grows by less than 10 percent between kindergarten and high school”. • Rising income inequality explains, at the most, “half of the increase in the rich-poor academic achievement gap. It’s not just that the rich have more money than they used to, it’s that they are using it differently”. • Economists found that “from 1972 to 2006 high-income families increased the amount they spent on enrichment activities for their children by 150 percent, while the spending of low-income families grew by 57 percent over the same time period. Likewise, the amount of time parents spend with their children has grown twice as fast since 1975 among college-educated parents as it has among lesseducated parents”. • He is not clear what we should do about this. “Much of our public conversation about education is focused on the wrong culprits: we blame failing schools and the behavior of the poor for trends that are really the result of deepening income inequality and the behavior of the rich”. • Meanwhile, “not only are the children of the rich doing better in school than even the children of the middle class, but the changing economy means that school success is increasingly necessary to future economic success, a worrisome mutual reinforcement of trends that is making our society more socially and economically immobile”. • “Investments in early-childhood education pay very high societal dividends. That means investing in developing high-quality child care and preschool that is available to poor and middle-class children. It also means recruiting and training a cadre of skilled preschool teachers and child care providers”. • “The more we do to ensure that all children have similar cognitively stimulating early childhood experiences, the less we will have

to worry about failing schools. This in turn will enable us to let our schools focus on teaching the skills — how to solve complex problems, how to think critically and how to collaborate — essential to a growing economy and a lively democracy”.

My Thoughts On This The post by Professor Reardon seemed to downplay the effect of schooling on closing this gap, except when it came to early childhood education. I want to address preschool and then the larger point about k-12 education. We know that children coming into school with a much more limited vocabulary than those of their peers start with a deficit from the beginning. Over the last few years, despite fiscal concerns, the State and local school districts and towns and cities have made more seats available for early care, including all-day kindergarten. A national report just released by the National Institute for Early Education Research indicates that the per-student spending on state-funded preschool dropped by more than half a billion dollars in the 2011-12 school year compared to the year before, creating a hole that some states are only now attempting to fill. And, in Connecticut? According to the report, on a per-pupil basis, the spending from the State on preschool has actually decreased over the last two years. Much of the decrease has been made up by local government. And, we are ranked number one (!) for all spending and number three in the report in State spending on preschool. We are getting better in this area, but we still have far to go to reach our goal of making early care and education programs available to all students in need.

Blame the Schools I want to focus on Professor Reardon’s comments that we blame failing schools and the behavior of the poor for trends that are really the result of deepening income inequality and the behavior of the rich.

Robert Rader

Our society tends to blame the schools for problems that are due to outside forces. When children grow up without supportive parents, with malnutrition, in deep poverty with little stimulation, no reading skills and few opportunities for learning, schools can only go so far in helping them. While there is compelling evidence that poor children definitely are at a disadvantage, much research (including the Lighthouse Project) shows that poor children can not only learn, but learn at high levels if districts can provide high quality instruction and meet the needs of the students in their charge. This is not to say that we can wave a magic wand and automatically help all children learn, but we must be careful not to fall into a trap by allowing incorrect assumptions to result in negative outcomes. My point is that our schools must continue to be the great “equalizer” in our society. We must continue to provide these students with the help they need and the opportunities to keep them up— whether that’s more help during the school day, after- or before-school, summer programs and extended day programs. We need to recognize that our schools play a critical role in the lives of our youngsters and we cannot just focus on poverty, drugs or the breakdown of families that we cannot control. We owe it to our students to focus on that which we can control. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that all Connecticut students get the best education we can provide. Information on per pupil spending on preschool is available at http://nieer.org/ sites/nieer/files/yearbook2012.pdf.

State Pre-K and Head Start Enrollment as Percentages of Total Population 8% 13%

7% 4%

9% 5%

73%

81%

Other/None

Special Ed*

Head Start

Pre-K

*This is an estimate of children in special education who are not enrolled in state-funded pre-K or Head Start. Source: The State of Preschool 2012 - State Preschool Yearbook National Institute for Early Education Research - www.nieer.org


4

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2013 CABE and Baldwin Media: Partners in Managing Communications

The

Media Message

from Ann Baldwin, Baldwin Media Marketing, LLC

What to do when social media drives an online crisis In today’s media, the days of the press gathering their information from police scanners is over - social media is now “king”. From texts, tweets, Facebook postings and beyond, these have become the new “tools” as the main source for news people to get their information. The danger is that these are premature and unconfirmed reports of what is actually happening. The reality is that most reporters don’t care; they will take the information and run with it. And we saw that in the Boston bombings - wrong reports and accusations occurred. So the big question is – what can YOU do to manage that? As a communications professional that has been working closely with educators and the media, here are some of my recommendations: 1. Act swiftly: The story goes on with or without you. Put your communications plan in place and get your message out there. Not in a week, not in a month, but immediately! The longer people have to

deal with bad or inaccurate information, the worse the situation can get. 2. Address the problem: If something bad has happened, get your message out to your constituents. Take the limited time to figure out what it is you need to say to calm the fury, decide who is going to deliver that message and what communication tools you have access to and get it done. 3. Communicate where it happens: For example, if an issue or a crisis is exploding on YouTube, then that is where YOU take to the air waves to tell your story. Let’s say that a video is posted of one of your coaches behaving badly. That is where you post your own public apology and articulate the steps that you are taking to rectify the situation. 4. Address the problem: It’s no fun coming out and admitting that something bad has happened or you made a mistake. Sometimes all

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! “CABE-Meeting has been a great program for our district. We have saved time and money and increased our ability to disseminate information quickly. I encourage Board members to consider the advantages of CABE-Meeting.” Becky Tyrrell, Member, Plainville Board of Education

For more information, or to schedule a demonstration for your board, call Lisa Steimer at 800-317-0033 or 860-571-7446 or email lsteimer@cabe.org

people want to hear is “we’re sorry”. There are situations where you have to take the hit and move on. 5. Communicate the story: When a story gets out of control due to social media and when you haven’t told your side, people begin to speculate. For example, I dealt with a situation last fall in which a bus driver had turned the heat on in a school bus for the first time last fall. There was a strange odor (as there often times is the first time the heat goes on) and some kids started texting their parents that the bus was on fire! Some panicked parents showed up trying to yank their kids off of the bus, and the news media showed up. The bottom line was, the bus wasn’t on fire. The kids were eventually transported by another bus and arrived at school safely. 6. Get expert advice: Many of you are fantastic educators, but you are not crisis experts. Depending on

the situation and the potential lasting impact of that, you may want to consider reaching out to someone who can help you think through the situation and help you get your message out via social and traditional media. This is a task that can be very consuming and to know that you have a “go to” person or firm that can assist you, especially in a crisis situation, can take a load off your mind. Know who it is you would call should you need them. It’s kind of like having insurance: you have it should you ever need it. I hope that you find this information helpful and for more information on crisis management, please go to our website at www.baldwinmedia.net or to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/BaldwinMediaPR. Editorial Note: CABE and Baldwin Media partner to provide media training service sessions though CABE and delivered by Baldwin Media. For further information, contact Executive Director Robert Rader at 860-571-7446 or rrader@cabe.org.

CABE/CAPSS Convention Friday morning speaker Lisa Steimer Senior Staff Associate for Professional Development, CABE

The CABE/CAPSS Convention Committee is delighted to announce that Anne Bryant has accepted our invitation to speak at the Friday morning General Session of the CABE/CAPSS Convention. Anne L. Bryant is the executive director, emerita of the National School Boards Association, having retired in September, 2012. NSBA is a not-for profit federation that represents 50 state school board associations and 90,000 school board members throughout the U.S. NSBA’s vision is to help boards lead their communities to raise student achievement, and prepare all students to succeed in a rapidly changing global society. Currently she serves on four not for profit boards (Education Development Center, The American Architectural Foundation, The Malcolm Baldrige Foundation, and the Character Education Partnership) and the People to People advisory committee. While at NSBA she served as vice chair of the Schools & Libraries Committee of Universal Service Administrative Company, which includes

Anne L. Bryant

oversight of the $2.25 billion technology discount fund for schools and libraries, known as E-Rate; and was past chair of the Learning First Alliance. Bryant has served as a trustee and chair of the Simmons College Board. She holds an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts, a B.A. from Simmons College, two honorary degrees and has received numerous awards for leadership in education. Watch the CABE Journal and CABE’s Facebook page for future announcements about the CABE/CAPSS Convention.


5

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2013 See You in Court – The Nutmeg Board of Education

The Nutmeg Board deals with security cameras, carryover account 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. Given heightened security concerns, the Nutmeg Board of Education included $2,000,000 for “increased security” in the budget it submitted to the Town for next year. However, Seymour Dollars, the venerable Chairperson of the Nutmeg Board of Finance, was not happy. He sent the Board a snotty letter saying that the Board of Finance would not consider the request until the Board gives him more details. Bob Bombast was upset with the short shrift Seymour gave to the Board’s budget request for its important security measures. If Seymour wants details, he thought, he will get details. Bob scheduled an impromptu meeting of the Finance Committee in his basement. When the members arrived, Bob unveiled his plan.

“Three hundred security cameras, with two full-time video monitors, and two security guards in each building. That should be enough detail for Seymour!” Bob declared the meeting over, and for the next hour the Board members hung out, drinking Bob’s beer and eating pizza as they gossiped about the other Board members. At the next meeting of the Board of Education, Bob gave the report of the Finance Committee. “Seymour wants details about our security plans, and he will get them . . . .” Before Bob could continue, a Board member interrupted him to ask whether the Board should be discussing its security plan in open session. Bob smiled. “No secrets here. We will have security cameras EVERYWHERE! We can’t be too safe. We will have cameras outside the building. We will have cameras inside the building. We will have cameras in the hallways. We will have cameras in the classrooms. Whatever happens in the Nutmeg Public Schools will happen under our watchful eyes.” “That sounds great,” Mr. Chairperson said, thanking Bob for his report. “We will be able to keep tabs on everyone this

Seventh Edition Now shipping

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

way. And as to the funding, Mr. Superintendent has some new information to share with the Board.” “Thank you, Mr. Chairperson,” Mr. Superintendent began. “As the Board will recall, you ordered me to impose a spending freeze last January, and it has worked wonders. Right now, we are forecasting a surplus this fiscal year of almost $1,000,000. Normally, we would go on a shopping spree to make sure that we don’t have to return the money to the Town at the end of the year. But now we can put it in a separate account and use it next year. That way, we will have a cushion in case these security costs run over. Can someone make a motion?” “I am shocked!” Bob responded. “As Chairperson of the Finance Committee, I should have been told about this surplus. I will follow up with you privately, Mr. Superintendent. But given the projected surplus, I agree with you, and I move that we transfer these funds into that carryover account for use next year.” With little discussion, the Board passed the motion unanimously, authorizing Mr. Superintendent to put up to $1,000,000 in a carryover account. Will this money be available to the Board next year?

Not likely. The Board should know more about a fairly new statute, which we will review below. But before we do, there are several other issues of concern here. First, there are various issues with the installation of security cameras. State law requires that employers, including school boards, notify employees of electronic monitoring, which is broadly defined as: “Electronic monitoring” means the collection of information on an employer’s premises concerning employees’ activities or communications by any means other than direct observation, including the use of a computer, telephone, wire, radio, camera, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optical systems, but not including the collection of information (A) for security purposes in common areas of the employer’s premises which are held out for use by the public, or (B) which is prohibited under state or federal law. Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 31-48d. While the scope of the obligation to warn employees about monitoring is broad, this statute excepts from its scope cameras and other monitoring “for security purposes in common areas which are held out for use by the public.” This exception covers the exterior security cameras and probably the hallways as well. But Bob’s plan to put security cameras “EVERYWHERE” has flaws that cannot be corrected simply by notifying employees that cameras are in use. First, Section 31-48b prohibits any surveillance “in areas designed for the health or personal comfort of the employees or for safeguarding of their possessions, such as rest rooms, locker rooms or

lounges.” Thus, cameras would not be allowed in the teachers’ lounge or similar facilities in any of the Board’s buildings. Second, there are likely labor relations implications for Bob’s broad plan to install security cameras. The Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations follows the lead of the National Labor Relations Board on this point, and it has ruled that any general surveillance of employees is a mandatory subject of negotiations. To be sure, if an employer engages in limited surveillance for a specified purpose (for example, to see if the cafeteria manager is pocketing cash), it need not negotiate with the union(s) for the affected personnel. However, general surveillance in the workplace, such as the installation of cameras in classrooms, would likely trigger a duty to negotiate. The other major issue here is the Board’s plan to set up a carryover account. Passed in 2010, Section 10-248a contemplates a carryover account, but not as the Nutmeg Board of Education is thinking of it: Sec. 10-248a. Unexpended education funds account. . . . [The] board of finance or the authority making appropriations for the school district for each town may deposit into a nonlapsing account any unexpended funds from the prior fiscal year from the budgeted appropriation for education for the town, provided such amount does not exceed one per cent of the total budgeted appropriation for education for such prior fiscal year. Boards of education do not have the authority to set up such an account; rather, the statute gives that authority to the fiscal authority. Moreover, the statute does not specify the conditions under which a board of education may access the funds that the fiscal authority deposits in that account. Accordingly, before under-expending the budget to fund such an account, boards of education should have an understanding with the fiscal authority, preferably in writing, as to the purpose for such an account and as to whether and under what conditions the board of education may access the funds. Finally, this month’s Freedom of Information problem relates to the meeting of the Finance Committee in Bob’s basement. Board committees are public agencies, and this meeting should have been posted and open to the public (without, however, any obligation to share the pizza with the public). Interestingly, however, if the gossiping over beer and pizza was about the Board generally and not the business of the Finance Committee, it may have been OK (at least under the FOIA). The meeting was over and less than a quorum of the Board members were present for the gossip. 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.


6

The Journal â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2013

The Policy Corner

Vincent A. Mustaro, Senior Staff Associate for Policy Service, CABE

Current reform initiatives can impact school climate and culture The impact of policy on school culture and climate was discussed in last monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CABE Journal. Research supports school climate and school culture as among the top influences affecting student achievement. Healthy schools provide high academic standards, have appropriate leadership and collegiality to provide an atmosphere conducive to student achievement.

comprised of the values, shared beliefs, and norms of the school or organization. School culture is â&#x20AC;&#x153;the way we do that here,â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; or the â&#x20AC;&#x153;way we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do that here.â&#x20AC;? A schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s culture is largely determined by how the adults in the school enact the rules, values, shared beliefs, and behavior of all the various stakeholders within the school community and reflects the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s social norms.

School Climate

Reform efforts

School climate may be defined as the quality and character of school life. It relates to the patterns of student, parent, and school personnel experiences within the school and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures. School climate sets the tone for all the learning and teaching done in the school environment. Research proves that school climate is predictive of studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ability to learn and develop in healthy ways. However, though the terms are often used interchangeably, school climate and school culture are not the same. School climate is created by the attitudes, beliefs, values and norms that underlie the instructional practices, the level of academic achievement and the operation of a school. School climate, largely created by the adults in a school, is driven by how well, and how fairly the adults in the school create, implement, model, and enforce these attitudes, beliefs, values and norms. Climate is the heart and soul, the essence of the school that draws teachers and students to love the school and to want to be a part of it. School climate is also a key factor that determines whether young people will be bullied or not. The product of good school climate is a strong school culture. Climate is viewed as behavior, while school culture is used to refer to the actual state of the school

Reform efforts of the past thirty years have failed to improve student achievement because they failed to adequately address the importance of the culture and climate of schools. The school principal directly affects the culture and climate. Principals need to improve their schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s culture by getting the relationships right between themselves, their teachers, students and parents. The key factors which impact climate include, but are not limited to, oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perception of their personal safety, interpersonal relationships, teaching, learning, as well as the external environment. The factors which affect school culture include staff expectations of student behavior and academic achievement, school policies and procedures, consistent and equitable treatment of students, equity in, and access to, resources, equity in and access to support services and student and family engagement. Schools are expected to promote a positive school culture that encourages interpersonal and intergroup respect among students and between students and staff.

In Connecticut In Connecticutâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current reform efforts to improve student achievement and eliminate the achievement gap, attention is appropriately being given to the issue of school climate and school culture. This is evidenced by a number of new initia-

Prepare to Prevent Instead of Preparing to React CREC offers a wide array of safety/security services, ranging from a full comprehensive review of your schoolsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; current structure to consultation on best practices. Our Security Manager has an extensive background in crisis management LQFOXGLQJDFWXDOZRUNH[SHULHQFHZLWKWKHXQLĂ&#x20AC;HGFRPPDQGVWUXFWXUHXQGHU the National Incident Management System model. Our Services include: school-based crisis training for staff, review and/or development of emergency plans, school security audits, coordination with ORFDOĂ&#x20AC;UVWUHVSRQGHUVFXVWRPL]HGHPHUJHQF\Ă LSFKDUWVDQGFRQVXOWDWLRQRQ best practices. To learn more, contact Mason Thrall at 860-524-4056 or mthrall@crec.org. Expert Solutions

tives. Connecticutâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new evaluation and support program, currently being piloted at ten sites, will be implemented statewide beginning in the new school year. A part of the evaluation process includes feedback from various stakeholders, including peers, students and parents on areas of principal and/or school effectiveness. Surveys will be utilized as part of the evaluation process for teachers and administrators. School Governance Councils will be able to assist in survey development to encourage alignment with school improvement goals. Measuring school climate is an important first step to its improvement and vital to improving school performance. School Governance Councils enable parents, school staff, and students, where appropriate, and community to work together in facilitating quality educational plans that engender continuous improvement of student achievement. The School Governance Council, serving in an advisory capacity to a schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s administration, has many statutory responsibilities which can impact on issues related to school climate and conditions.

Recent legislation Recent legislative changes pertaining to educator professional development requires a model which will result in improved school climate and culture. Professional development must now emphasize improved practice and individual and small-group coaching sessions. Districts must offer professional development according to plans developed in consultation with a professional development committees consisting of the districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s certified personnel and other appropriate members. The professional development is used to improve teacher and administrative practice based on the general results and findings from the new teacher and administrator evaluation and support program. The staff development program requires the fostering of collective responsibility for improved student performance and for the refining and improving of effective teaching methods shared among teachers. The fostering of dialogue, strengthened communication

and collegiality among teachers helps to improve the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s climate and culture. The legislative requirements pertaining to improving the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lowest performing schools and districts also contribute to the improvement of school culture and climate. The key aspects of school climate which support enhanced school academic outcomes include student safety, support for students and high expectations/ challenges for students. Reform efforts include impacting student physical, emotional and social safety, meaningful connections to adults, effective and available support structures, school programs connected to life goals, and rigorous academic opportunities. These areas are imbedded in the reform legislation to improve student achievement and to eliminate the achievement gap.

In summary In attempting to foster a positive school climate and culture conducive to student learning, attention must be given to the social environment in terms of student and staff interpersonal relationships, respect for diversity, emotional well-being and a sense of safety, student engagement, school and family collaboration and community partnerships. The physical environment also must be addressed regarding building conditions, physical safety, school wide protocols and classroom management. Another facet of the school community to be addressed includes the behavioral environment. Issues such as physical and mental well-being, prevention and intervention services and disciplinary and interventional responses must be addressed. The periodic review of school social, physical, and behavioral environments, as well as student and staff expectations and supports will enable school leaders, especially the principal, and personnel to establish and sustain school norms that result in a positive school culture and climate in which all students can succeed. It is enlightening that current reform initiatives recognize the importance of this topic and include attention to this issue. Many policies also incorporate these principles, reflective of the recent reform legislation.

Like Us On Facebook â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Join Our Community We are trying to increase our Facebook presence and would like to encourage you to â&#x20AC;?LIKEâ&#x20AC;? us on Facebook. Please share this link with other members of your Board of Education and have them â&#x20AC;&#x153;LIKEâ&#x20AC;? us. Benefits of â&#x20AC;&#x153;LIKINGâ&#x20AC;? us are: early announcements of upcoming work-

shops to assist you in your planning, access to some articles before they are published in the CABE Journal, weekly communications tips, photos from workshop and events, plus much more. Join us as we grow! www.facebook.com/ ConnecticutAssociationBoardsEducation


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2013

The art of making people smile. Delta Dental knows what it takes to keep you and your employees happy. At Delta Dental, we can help you create a dental plan that’s sure to paint a smile on your employees faces: • Expertise. We’re part of the most experienced dental benefits company in the country. • Flexibility. We can help you design a plan that meets your needs and budget—without compromising on value. • Network of Dentists. We offer access to the largest network of dentists in the U.S.— with 4 out of 5 dentists participating nationwide. • Simplicity. You can count on us for easy plan administration. • Customer Satisfaction. Add it all up: the largest network, unbeatable expertise, flexibility, value and cost savings, and it’s easy to see why Delta Dental is your best choice. Delta Dental. We’re committed to promoting oral health for all your employees. Call 1-860-633-9200 or visit www.deltadentalct.com. In CT, Delta Dental Insurance Company writes dental coverage on an insured basis and Delta Dental of New Jersey administers self-funded dental benefit programs.

7


8

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2012

Readying for Rollout: Connecticut’s New Educator Evaluation Plan (continued from page 1) practice. Data have been gathered through direct observations, and to a lesser degree, from artifacts, self-assessments, and incidental feedback. The data have been analyzed around standards set in teacher or leadership frameworks. In addition to the observation of practice, Connecticut districts have included a component aimed at the improvement of practice. Educators have set and been evaluated on goals designed to improve their practice. The processes can be characterized as predominantly qualitative. They varied from district to district in procedure and format, but few strayed far from the focus on practice and its improvement. Enter Connecticut’s new evaluation standards. The assessment of practice continues to be an important component of educator evaluation. Teaching and leadership frameworks have been updated, and greater prescription on the collection of data is now embedded in the guidelines. Added to the assessment of practice is a new requirement to deliberately include stakeholder feedback. By new requirement, 10% of an educator’s evaluation must be based on improvement in an area that has been identified through stakeholder feedback. Stakeholder feedback is no longer discretionary or incidental. The most significant change in educator evaluation, however, is the evaluation of educators based on outcomes. Half of an educator’s evaluation will now be based on state or other

standardized assessments and on locally determined measures of student growth. This shifts a system that was predominantly qualitative and practice-based to one that is split between practice and outcomes. The outcome-based component contributes a quantitative element to educator evaluation. That is very new to most Connecticut districts.

Understanding How These Changes Are Impacting Districts The change in educator evaluation has layers of ramification. It begins with valuation. The value of educator work is under redefinition. The redefinition holds philosophical and personal consequence for all certified educators, making it sensitive, deep and significant. You can expect some spirited conversations around the subject. The “size “of educator evaluation substantially grows under new guidelines. Evaluators will have expanded roles and responsibilities under the new plans as they implement and manage both practice and outcome components. The practice component expands with the utilization of additional data sources and the frequency of data collection. The practice component used to be the entire focus of educator evaluation. Now in its expanded form, it is only half. Outcome-based evaluation is the new half. Most districts have little to no experience in using outcome metrics to

evaluate educators. They are entering new territory with models that are still being tested. They recognize that opportunities for revision and refinement will be available in the future, but they must move forward with best approximations at this time. For those who thrive on inquiry and adventure, the new evaluation program is an exciting opportunity for school improvement. For those who harbor their work in well-settled models, the new evaluation program is a scary venture. For all, however, it is a major initiative that will require significant preparation, training, and ongoing investment of resources. It is a big, big initiative.

How is Implementation Being Supported? The SDE, the Regional Educational Service Centers (RESCs) and professional organizations are marshaling resources to aid in the implementation of the new educator evaluation requirements. Their efforts are focused on plan refinement, training, management, and sustainability. Districts began submitting their evaluation plans to the SDE in April. Through an iterative process, all districts will be guided in defining comprehensive and compliant plans. The need for professional development is well recognized. The SDE has developed a cadre of trainers who are prepared

to provide training sessions this summer for all teacher and administrator evaluators. These sessions will not only develop knowledge and skills but will also help to ensure that plans are implemented with fidelity and high standards of evaluator proficiency. Finally, multiple efforts to address elements of time and sustainability are underway. The efforts reflect a collection of tools and strategies that will be readily available for use as well as considerations on how time and resources can be structured and/or restructured to support long-term sustainability. Initiatives include the development of a data management system, a study of time investment, exploration of school manager models and the creation of evaluator toolkits that will aid in efficient implementation.

What Can Boards Do to Support Implementation? As boards recognize the size, complexity and nature of the evaluation changes, they are in good positions to support successful implementations. District goals should reflect evaluation implementation as a high priority that does not need to compete with a long list of other initiatives. The added responsibilities of evaluators should not only be acknowledged, but boards should give due consideration to how resources can be structured to allow for quality teacher and administration evaluation and support.

Now More Than Ever... Your District Needs Medicaid Direct

A fully integrated module of IEP Direct that simplifies Medicaid tracking and claiming, enhances compliance, and optimizes reimbursement

With Medicaid Direct, recovering Medicaid funds is less complex and time-consuming. This innovative web-based solution will provide a positive return on investment and benefit your school district by: U Saving time and improving data accuracy U Optimizing and accelerating reimbursement U Enhancing compliance and best practices U Simplifying service tracking and the billing process U Reducing paperwork burden with online documentation by providers U Allowing service providers to enter service encounters online U Providing integration with IEP Direct For a demonstration and information on Medicaid Direct visit IEPDirect.com or call 516.766.4448.

Tel: 516.766.4448 U Fax: 516.766.4896 U www.IEPDirect.com


9

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2012

OECD leader discusses education leadership and evaluation The Capital Region Education Council (CREC) recently hosted a workshop with Andreas Schleicher, Special Advisor to the Secretary General and Head of the Indicators and Analysis Division of Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) and Development. His analysis of current education trends and comparisons between industrialized nations was thoughtful and comprehensive. The OECD has long been a symbol of the cooperation between industrial countries on a wide variety of issues. One of the most important assessments comparing nations around the world is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Dr. Schleicher is responsible for the exam, as well as other assessments. Dr. Schleicher provided much “food for thought” for school board members and superintendents on how schools across the world are preparing their students for the 21st Century. Below are some of the “takeaways” from the workshop. The OECD website contains much more information. 21st Century learning environments have these characteristics. They: • encourage engagement • are a place where children come to understand themselves • use skills-oriented learning • are acutely sensitive to individual

differences (they really embrace diversity) • continually assess teaching with formative feedback • are demanding to all students without overloading them • foster demand-sensitive learning, preparing students for future work life. The most successful ones integrate work and education • ensure learning is social and collaborative • and, they promote connections across subjects and activities. He reminded the attendees that in Finland, the profession of teaching is very highly attractive and valued. Among other advantages, teachers are provided lots of ability to move into different aspects of teaching, by way of career ladders and other tools. Teachers have a role in curriculum development and the work they do keep things challenging and interesting. Dr. Schleicher stated that the most effective nations ensure that teachers’ time is tailored to student needs and isn’t always just time spent in class. In addition, there is much more investment in professional development for teachers and other school leaders. Working collaboratively and sharing with other teachers in a deep and meaningful way is critical.

A Deep Understanding He stated that teachers need a deep understanding of how learning happens, including what has been learned over the last twenty years in brain research. Singapore, known for its terrific test scores, encourages all teachers to become lifelong learners. He gave the example of Japanese students, who did well on PISA overall, but found their students couldn’t extrapolate and creatively use the information they received or calculated. Public policy focused on the need to change this and focused teachers on this issue in the classroom. They created courses in “integrated studies” to help students with this. The result: their scores jumped. Teachers need to acquire good technol-

ogy skills and know how to effectively use the technology available to them. Teachers also need the space (and time) to design, lead, manage, and plan learning environments in collaboration with others. How do you help struggling schools? Shanghai created new policies and consortia of schools to have stronger schools help struggling ones. This included transferring of staff, and, again, much sharing.

Teacher Evaluations Dr. Shleicher then discussed what is occurring with evaluations. A helpful evaluation with a clear purpose seemed to help. Is it for disciSee OECD page 12

SAVE THE DATE 3rd Annual Summer Leadership Conference July 24, 2013 Saybrook Point Inn


10

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 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. We did this:

districts, one newspaper, and three out-of-state school board association through 22 answered requests for information or sample policies, on 27 topics. In addition, 27 districts accessed CABE’s online Core Policy Reference Manual and/or online manuals posted by CABE for policy samples. The topics of greatest interest pertained to various student issues and the use of social media.

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

• •

Participated in two training sessions with the New London Board of Education Facilitated a board evaluation session with the West Haven Board of Education. Met with representative of CREC to discuss CABE-Meeting. Participated in meetings and teleconferences of LEAD Connecticut, which consists of several organizations, underwritten by a State Department of Education grant, to help support superintendents, principals and other leaders. Participated in meeting of a State Department of Education committee on helping ensure principals have the necessary tools and time to implement the new evaluation and support system. Met with Massachusetts Association of School Committees Executive Director and Harvard Professor Gil Noam on helping districts with student mental health issues. Provided policy information to 16

➤ By representing Connecticut school boards on the state or national level: • •

Served as judge in Attorney General’s Law Day essay contest. Participated in conference call for the CAPSS International Education Committee. Attended a presentation of findings on CABE/CAPSS Annual Conference, a Capstone Project conducted by UCONN graduate students. Attended local trade show to network with the facilities that host a number of CABE’s professional development programs. Participated in National School Boards Association Annual Conference, including at Delegate Assembly, Council of School Attorneys and other functions, including workshop

• •

• •

presentations. Participated in meeting of the Governors Prevention Partnership Board of Directors. Participated in meeting of the School Governance Council Advisory Committee. Attended CREC’s Roundtable Discussion with OECD’s Andreas Schleicher. Attended CREC Council Meeting. Participated in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding Steering Committee meeting. Participated in Municipal Opportunities for Regional Effectiveness (MORE) Committee meetings. Attended CREC Safe Schools Conference. Participated in CAPSS Personalized Learning Committee meeting.

➤ By helping school boards to increase student achievement •

Provided Lighthouse training for Ansonia and Norwich Boards of Education. Sent two issues of Policy Highlights via email listserv covering topics that affect student achievement. This included issues pertaining to graduation and school safety and security.

➤ By promoting public education: •

➤ By providing services to meet members needs: •

School safety conference “School Safety: It’s Everybody’s Business” was the topic of a recent day long conference sponsored by the Capitol Region Education Council. The major speaker, Michael Dorn is the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit working with schools and schools systems to improve crisis preparedness and campus safety. Mr. Dorn emphasized a theme that we have heard frequently since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, that a culture of dignity, honor and respect is a key component of school safety. There was also emphasis on the necessity of both training and empowering all schools to adapt to respond to emergencies. “Drills” should require staff to make decisions to initiate action and communicate. The drills should also reflect the different roles school staff will play – teachers, bus drivers, custodians, administrators, etc. The importance of empowering staff and enabling them to deviate from the plan that has been drilled is critical. Other recommendations offered by Mr. Dorn include:

• Create a welcoming environment at the school with murals, colors, etc., so there is not a focus on security devices when you walk through a school building • Develop a safety plan that includes afterschool activities • Before hiring a consultant to conduct a security assessment, get multiple references from school districts. Ensure that the assessment is conducted during school hours and incorporate local resources from multiple disciplines – police, fire, etc. • A human presence is far more effective than security cameras Perhaps the most interesting part of the day was the discussion during lunch, in which state troopers, Hartford Fire Department officials, risk management professionals and I could share our experiences and perspectives. The desire and need to communicate across disciplines was very clear, and this is an important lesson to be modeled in each local community. Patrice A. McCarthy Deputy Director and General Counsel

CABE Mobile Website We’d like to introduce you to our new CABE Mobile Website. You can visit the website on your smart phone by typing www.cabe.org. Currently available is a listing of CABE Staff, Directions to Workshops and Events Calendar. You can also go to our full website with one click of a button.

Answered questions about the current legal issues facing boards of education. “HOT” topics this month were: Town vs. board budget, board minutes, committee agendas, vacancy and public comment at meetings. Met with leadership of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) about working together. Attended opening of Connecticut Education Association Representative Assembly. Along with other members of the What Will Our Children Lose Coalition, met with Larry Cafera, Republican Leader of the House. Participated in meeting of the Coalition for Public Education.

Met with a vendor to discuss possible in-kind sponsorship of the CABE/ CAPSS Conference. Presented webinar on Professional Governance Boards=Student Success (available on the CABE website). Entered into agreements to do audits of the policy manuals of Region #12 and Stratford. Completed as part of the Custom Update Service packets of new and/or revised policies for: Ansonia, Columbia, Newington, Putnam, Stafford and Sterling Boards of Education. Reviewed specific policies under revision for Hartford Board of Education. Provided a packet of recommended policies for consideration to the Brooklyn Board of Education. Currently in the process of updating policies to conform to the new school safety legislation (P.A. 13-3). Completed the placement of the Policy Manual of the Sterling Board of Education online using C.O.P.S.

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

• •

Participated in the CABE Board of Directors meeting. Attended State Department of Education Conference for Alliance Districts. Participated in WVIT30 interview on school safety and budget concerns. Prepared Custom Policy Service materials for Avon, Derby, Griswold, North Haven, Watertown and Windsor Locks.


11

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2012

My NSBA conference experience Editor’s Note: Jill Notar-Francesco, a member of the Southington Board of Education recently had the opportunity to attend the National School Boards Association Annual Conference in her role as chairperson of the Capitol Region Education Council. Upon her return, she discussed with the CREC Council and the Southington Board of Education the value of her conference experience, and prepared the following summary of the workshops she attended. We thought this summary would be useful to you both in terms of the content, as well as serving as a wonderful example of ways in which board members can share their learning experiences at state or national conferences with their colleagues back home.

School Safety and the Law: Keys to Responding to School Emergencies Five attorneys (Patrice McCarthy of CABE, Floyd Dugas, attorney for the Newtown school district, Jay Worona of NYS School Board Association, Shamus O’Meara, school safety legal expert from Minnesota, and moderator Francisco Negron from the NSBA) presented at this session. Two documents referenced during the session are available from the Secret Service and US Department of Education: • Threat Assessment in Schools: A Guide to Managing Threatening Situations and to Creating Safe School Climates. www.secretservice.gov/ntac/ssi_ guide.pdf • The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States. www.secretservice.gov/ntac/ ssi_final_report.pdf Recommendations from these legal presenters: • Emergency Management Plans must now be a living, well-known document, not procedures buried on a bulletin board. • School staff must understand directives, and know how their schools are prepared to respond to an event. • Plans must be continually updated and tailored to individual buildings. Engage the custodians in the building to talk about what they see as security issues in their buildings. • Inculcate a culture and climate within schools so students feel that they are in an atmosphere in which they can say something if they hear something, and offer protection to their school “family.” Money is well spent on programs that empower students to identify a problem or threat. • Address mental health component – Young people at risk should be expected and encouraged to get the help they need. Work to eliminate the negative connotation associated with going for help. • Help the community have the broader conversation about mental health. • Engage and work in coordination with law enforcement experts in the

community. Share school building blueprints with Police Department. • Even with unlimited resources, total safety and security is unattainable, but slowing down an intruder can help to prevent a tragedy. • SRO presence in schools can provide a good connection for students, but role of SRO must be clearly defined. PowerPoint of presentation found at: ww4.aievolution.com/nsb1301/files/ content/eventsSchoolSafety_0411_ 184918.pdf

Preparing for Challenges and Opportunities of Common Core State Standards Will Daggett, International Center for Leadership in Education, presented. My take away from this session are his recommendations for student success: • Culture trumps strategy. Schools need to believe change needs to happen before schools begin to change. Must change culture. • Literacy across curriculum. Every teacher should be a teacher of reading. Provide a professional development plan for every teacher, including middle and high school, to teach reading in all content areas. • Apply relevance and rigor. Relevance makes rigor possible for most students. • Boards should spend 75% of their focus and time on increasing student achievement, and focus on this like a corporate board would focus on profits. This link provides interesting sample CCSS questions to view in both Literacy and Mathematics: http://sampleitems. smarterbalanced.org/itempreview/sbac/ index.htm

Leadership Isn’t for Cowards – Leading Courageously in a Turbulent Age Mike Staver (Staver Group) stated that he is powerfully aware of the massive responsibilities Boards of Education have. Influential leaders lead in spite of issues or horrible conditions. We as leaders do not blame circumstances – we must be effective regardless of circumstances. He urged that we accept realities, and refuse to give circumstances any “power.” Obstacles to successful leadership: • Not curious enough to be successful – this is not expansive to good leadership. • Needing control. Intensity of control weakens effective leadership. Trust more, let go. • Inability to say ‘No.’ Six steps to successful leadership: • Accept your circumstances. Have courage to face reality and look at the truth of the circumstances. • Create attitude of responsibility and ownership, rather than blame. Evaluate mindset of responsibility and reparation. • Take action. Figure out and replicate that which works. • Acknowledge progress.

• Commit to lifelong learning. • Create a culture of an open mind and a curious heart. • Kindle new relationships.

Professional Governance Boards = Student Success Bob Rader of CABE and Gary Brochu, Chairperson of the Berlin, CT Board of Education, presented this session. Take away from this session….. • Good Board governance drives school performance. Board culture is represented by the values, practices and identity of the collective Board. Board culture should continue beyond present Board. “Culture isn’t the most important thing. It is the only thing.” CEO of Costco • Boards should always model desired behavior. • Develop a metric for evaluating how much time the Board spends on student achievement. Since Board time is always at a premium, focus and insist on spending this time on student achievement and accountability. • Board members need to spend time in meaningful preparation for meetings. • Board needs to work toward one goal, sharing the same vision, purpose and definition of success. • Believe that individual success of Board members can only exist in the context of the whole. Review the bylaws of the Board and develop a code of ethics for Board members. To review the PowerPoint from the session, click here: https://ww4.aievolution.com/nsb1301/ files/content/events/ NSBACABEpresentation_0411_185425.pdf

Diane Ravitch Editor’s Note: A webinar on this presentation, done after the NSBA Conference, is available on the CABE website www.cabe.org. The speaker who closed the conference was Diane Ravitch. The link below is an NSBA article that accurately summarizes the tone and material of her presentation. She spoke at length that public education is under unprecedented attack by federal policies that identify half of the nation’s schools as failing and entrepreneurs who are at the ready to privatize education. Please take a moment to read this powerful summary of her presentation. http://schoolboardnews.nsba.org/2013/ 04/ravitch-public-schools-facing-%E2% 80%98unprecedented-assault%E2% 80%99.

iPossibilities: Innovative Differentiation for the Diverse Early Learner Center Grove School in Indiana developed a program using a 1:1 iPad initiative that focused on using the technology as a personal digital assistant to each kindergarten, ELL and special education student. They wrote grants to fund their iPads and initially piloted the program with 130 students. Within six months, they expanded the initiative to their entire kindergarten enrollment of 400. I am pleased to share this link. Please take a few minutes to enjoy. Slide 17 links a video. When you arrive at slide 17, click on the INDY Channel box. http://tinyurl.com/ipadnsba Each iPad was set for each student’s level and could increase rigor and differentiate among students’ abilities. Teachers researched and downloaded apps (smartappsforkids.com) on each student iPad. Measuring success: Teachers found that iPads enchanced student learning and their return on investment of academic growth was proven through data collection. In addition, student behavior improved measurably through the use of iPads.

What You Need to Know about Flipped Learning Classrooms Kari Arfstrom, Executive Director, Flipped Learning Network, presented. www.flippedlearning.org. Flip learning: when direct instruction is moved from group learning to individual learning space. Simplified technologies allow teachers to easily record lessons for use at home. Technology is allowing educators to rethink how in-class and out-of-class time can be best used. Responsibility for learning is student centered, leading to deeper conceptual understanding. This session explored flipping a classroom, guided by a teacher who is currently using this model for instruction. Communicating this model to parents early is critical for success. Teachers need support from Board when trying this approach. Teachers need: • Time to adjust; time for collaboration and teamwork • Provided with professional development through coaches and mentors • Allowed to try and fail • Given support from IT Department • Visit flip learning classrooms to see it in action. Presenter reported that discipline issues improved dramatically with flipped model.

New and exciting! The summer issue (July/August) of the CABE Journal will only be published electronically. If we have your email address, in our database you will receive the Journal via email. If we don’t have your email address the Journal will be available on our website in the members section. (www.cabe.org/page.cfm?p=69) We are trying something different with this issue and would like you to let us know what you think. Contact Robert Rader at 860-571-7446; rrader@cabe.org or Bonnie Carney at 860-571-7446; bcarney@cabe.org.


12

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June

2012

Save the Date - October 1st

CTCEF’s 14th annual conference for education foundations Liz Stokes

President, Connecticut Consortium of Education Foundations (CTCEF)

The Connecticut Consortium of Education Foundations (CTCEF) will present its fourteenth annual conference for education foundations, “The Power of Education Foundations: A Strong Foundation for Vibrant Schools and Communities,” on Tuesday, October 1, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell Hotel. The Honorable Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance) and former governor of West Virginia, will be the keynote speaker. His

topic will be, “College- and Career-Ready Standards: An American Imperative.” The Alliance is a non-profit organization that has become a national leader for reforming the nation’s high schools so that all students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college and career. Led by Governor Wise since 2005, the Alliance has become a respected advocate for the Common Core State Standards, deeper learning, digital learning, adolescent literacy, and other key education policy issues. The keynote theme will continue in two of the eight conference workshops. Robyn Oatley from the Prichard Commit-

CABE Board of Directors meets

CABE Board of Directors met on April 25. Items up for discussion were: adoption of a vision statement, the first look at the 2013-2014 budget, a legislative update and first reading of a new policy on managing payments from credit cards.

OECD leader discusses education leadership and evaluation (continued from page 9) pline? For learning by the teacher evaluated? It is very hard to do both at once. He did not always have information on the U.S., but he did say that in some countries, 80% of teachers think their evaluations are fair and beneficial. He stated that different countries use different reference standards (benchmarks) and performance criteria. He noted that Australia and New Zealand have done a great job of identifying criteria. An important key for useful evaluations is the use of multiple sources of evidence for appraisal. He noted that among the nations, the United States is ahead of the others in using studentlearning outcomes. As in our new evaluation system, student feedback is counted. Sweden has gone beyond this— teachers often ask students how they’re doing even while teaching the subject matter. He stated that in developing, implementing and analyzing evaluation results, many people should be involved, including those making public policy, teacher

unions, inspectorates in some countries, school leaders and experienced peers. How are results used? In most countries, they are used to provide: formative feedback (help teachers become better); shape incentives (such as providing more career opportunities); and addressing underperformance. While perhaps no real “news” was announced at this workshop, there is much to think about in Dr. Schleicher’s presentation. As we stand on the precipice of implementation of our new evaluation and support system, we need to ensure that we use the “best practices” of other countries (and states). The Professional Educators Assessment Advisory Committee (PEAC) is committed to tweaking the system, as appropriate in the future. Much like the lifelong learners in Singapore, it is up to us to learn from others and to make appropriate changes in our system as we move forward. The OECD Directorate for Education website can be found at http:// www.oecd.org/education. Robert Rader, Executive Director, CABE

tee in KY will present College- and Career-Ready Agenda: A Community Conversation Workshop and Dianna Roberge-Wentzell, Chief Academic Officer, CT State Department of Education, will present The Common Core State Standards and Opportunities for Foundation Investment in Student Success. Strategies for Improving Your Online Marketing will cover strategic marketing, new media versus traditional media, branding, e-newsletters, blogs, social media platforms, and more. Presenter Adria Belport is a marketing and branding specialist. Christine Mackenzie will talk about Untangling the Web: Web Site Maintenance Options for Smart “Dummies.” Other workshops include Recruitment—Engagement—Administration— Productivity: R.E.A.P. the Benefits of a Better Board (Trish Brigham), Planned Giving: Simple and Cost Effective (Chris Templeman, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney), and Building Relationships that Give Back: Alumni (Kathleen Brooks). Joe Erardi, Southington superintendent and CTCEF board member, will moderate a new panel, Ask the Experts. Panel members represent education foundations from a variety of communities—Tolland,

Glastonbury, Bridgeport — plus an attorney and CTCEF’s Liz Stokes. Ninety local education foundations are active in CT and several towns are in the process of starting a foundation. Many school superintendents and board of education members have been instrumental in introducing the concept of education foundations to their towns and continue to work closely with the foundations after they are formed. CTCEF encourages superintendents and board of education members from all towns to attend the conference with members of their communities. CTCEF is a statewide non-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate the creation, growth, and effectiveness of local education foundations in the state and was founded on the principle that community involvement is a key factor in improving schools. Local education foundations contribute resources to support public education. Save October 1 for the conference. Watch your mail for the conference brochure in mid-August or visit our website at www.ctcef.org and click on Conference Page. For more information, contact CTCEF president, Liz Stokes, at 203-227-9323.

CABE’s Model Student and Parent/Guardian Handbook 2012-2013 Available on CD with accompanying hard copy! Check out the advantages of the Handbook on a CD: 4 FREES up staff’s time — no need for staff to do the research. 4 All essential legal areas are covered. Provides listing of mandatory, recommended and optional topics for a handbook. 4 Contains information that meets requirements for student and parent notification. 4 References are made to appropriate existing policies, as well as to Connecticut General Statutes. 4 Modify the material on the diskette to fit your school district’s needs. Major additions added this year are: Bullying, Lunch Charging, Use of Restraints/Seculsion, Social Networking Sites Plus many other changes that will bring your handbook up-to-date. The handbook is available to member districts for $200, plus $20 for additional copies of the CD. The cost to nonmember boards is $500, plus $40 per extra CD. To order, please go to the CABE website www.cabe.org/ page.cfm?p=773.


13

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2012

Legal Briefs Kelly B. Moyher, Second Circuit Court rules on free speech issue A district may take action to restrict student speech that may be perceived as being the district’s views, opinion, or stance on a subject, so long as its action is reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns. The district in this case had a legitimate interest in prohibiting the student from communicating a “blessing” during a graduation ceremony it funded and held in a middle school auditorium adorned with banners and signs bearing the school’s name and insignia. A reasonable observer might believe that the student’s religious speech was endorsed by her school. In conditioning a middle schooler’s chance to speak at a graduation ceremony on her removing a biblical “blessing’ from her speech, a New York district did not violate the student’s free speech rights. The 2d Circuit, which covers New York, Connecticut and Vermont, affirmed a District Court’s decision granting the district judgment on the student’s Section 1983 claim alleging a violation of the First Amendment. Citing Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988), the 2d Circuit explained that school personnel may exercise control over student speech during schoolsponsored expressive activities because speech during those activities may be perceived as reflective of a district’s views, opinions, or stance on a matter. Any restrictive actions on a district’s part must be reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns, the court added. It observed that here, the graduation ceremony in question constituted a school-sponsored event. The event was set to occur in a school auditorium decorated with banners and signs bearing the school’s name and insignia. Moreover the district had funded, advertised, and managed the ceremony. Next, the court considered whether the district’s action in mandating that the student edit her speech was reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns. The court explained that the answer depended on whether the district engaged in viewpoint-based or contentbased restrictions on speech. Viewpoint based restrictions, which make a forum available to speakers expressing all views but one on a matter, must be justified by a dominant state interest. On the other hand, content-based restrictions, which exclude general subject matters from a forum, need only be reasonable, the court pointed out. In this case, the student’s quote from the Old Testament constituted purely religious speech. In requesting its removal from her

Senior Staff Attorney, CABE

speech, the district engaged in contentbased discrimination. Noting the district’s desire to avoid violating the Establishment Clause by permitting Christian expression at the graduation ceremony, the 2d Circuit agreed with the lower court that the district’s content-based discrimination was supported by a legitimate pedagogical concern. School Law Briefings, April 2013

Alleged disability discrimination and retaliation A worker may be required to file disability discrimination and retaliation claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days of the alleged act, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The plaintiff, an elementary school art teacher, worked in a Connecticut classroom that suffered from water damage. The board of education allegedly arranged to install an air cleaner that was contaminated. The plaintiff alleged that when she continued to complain about the air quality, she was subjected to retaliation and discharge. The plaintiff sued the board of education and alleged it failed to accommodate her disability, retaliated and discriminated on the basis of disability, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The defendant Connecticut board of education moved to dismiss in part on the basis that the plaintiff failed to file timely complaints to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, within 300 days. The defendant argued that any alleged acts that took place prior to June 1, 2010 should not be considered. The plaintiff objected that her complaint also stated a claim for retaliatory hostile-work environment, in violation of the ADA. “[D]iscrete discriminatory acts are not actionable if time barred, even when they are related to acts alleged in timely filed charges,” pursuant to National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, a 2002 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. The District Court found that allegations about conduct that took place prior to June 1, 2010 could qualify as background evidence, in support of timely claims. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s allegations of failure to accommodate and disability discrimination, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, other than the plaintiff’s claim she was discharged. The court also dismissed allegations of retaliation in response to requests for accommodation, other than the plaintiff’s claim she was discharged. The plaintiff failed to allege a cause of action for hostile-work environment, in violation of the ADA. Counts alleging disability discrimination and retaliation in

the plaintiff’s discharge survived and will move forward. Connecticut Law Tribune, April 15, 2013

Court rules in favor of student in racial taunting case The plaintiff student, who was subjected to racial taunting – including some physical altercations – by various other students throughout three years of high school, and who ultimately agreed to accept an IEP diploma rather than continue at the high school and complete the requirements for a standard diploma, brought a civil rights action against the Connecticut school district, alleging that it was responsible for the harassment and the resulting decision to forego a standard diploma. The jury, finding in favor of the student, awarded $1.5 million damages. The district court denied the school district’s motion for new trial, but reduced the award to $1 million; the school district appealed. The circuit court held that a reasonable jury could have found, from the evidence presented, that there was

severe and discriminatory harassment of which the school district had actual knowledge, and to which it responded inadequately. Not only had reports of incidents of harassment come from faculty and other staff as well as from the plaintiff and his family, but groups in the community, including the local police, contacted the district concerning some incidents. Although the district promptly took disciplinary action, generally in the form of suspension, against nearly every student identified as having harassed the plaintiff, those disciplinary actions did not end the harassment, and the district was slow to implement broader, non-disciplinary measures aimed at changing student attitudes and behaviors. A reasonable jury could, therefore, have concluded that the district was deliberately indifferent to the continued harassment. The $1 million in compensatory damages was not excessive, as the jury could reasonably have concluded that the harassment would have a profound, longterm, impact on the plaintiff’s life, including his ability to earn a living. School Law Reporter, April 2013

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.


14

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2012

Interview with Patricia B. Luke (continued from page 1) younger. WhenI arrived in the school that I was assigned to, most of my students were overage boys who wore leather jackets and motor-cycle boots … so you get the picture. It was the custom at the school, to give the new teacher the students that other teach-ers refused to have in their classrooms. It took about a week for us to come to terms with one another, but when we did, I grew very fond of these boys who were, after all, just children. The school did not see these boys as worthy of any effort in their behalf. There were no materials for the kids who needed extra help. I had every kind of youngster in my classroom because there was no such thing as special education at the time. So I had some very bright but misdirected young fellows, and I had some who, years earlier, should have had intervention to assist them. Let me introduce you to one of my students named Albert. Albert was smart but was known to make off with items that were not his. We had a school banking program and Albert wanted to be the banker; the one who collected the money, counted it and delivered it to the office. So, I made Albert the banker and I told him, “You have to be responsible and accountable for this money.” The next morning, he collected, counted and recorded the money. He went to the office with his box of cash to turn it in and the Assistant Principal was horrified. She called me out and said “What is wrong with you that you would trust Albert with money?”

I was insistent, she was enraged…. but finally, walked away saying, “This is a bad idea and whatever happens, you are responsible.” Albert was sometimes a bit overenthusiastic in carrying out his duties, but there was never a penny missing. Albert needed a chance to prove himself. This school didn’t believe in giving students like Albert, chances. Bad things happen to kids when we never give them a chance. Another example of the sorry situation in my classroom was Joe, who could not read. Every day, he sat quietly in his toosmall chair and waited for class to end. No one had ever bothered to intervene in any way. There were no materials at all for Joe. I went to a professor at the local college and she gave me materials to try to help him. Joe’s response was “I don’t know why you’re trying to help me.” “Everybody knows I’m stupid.” The school administration believed that I was wasting my time. It was their feeling and that of most teachers, that the way to deal with the Joes and the Alberts in the classroom was to put them in the back of the room, ignore them and to teach to the front. The end of that school year was the end of my being able to cope as a teacher, with the public schools of that time. I went on to become a teacher of teachers in higher education. Patrice: You have served on the New Britain Board of Education, on the CABE Board of Directors and as a CABE staff member, on the National School Boards Association Board of Directors and most recently on the State Board of

CABE Executive Director Robert Rader, Patricia B. Luke, and CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice A. McCarthy.

Education. How have those experiences been different? Pat: Well, different and alike in many ways. My experience with local boards of education was an evolving experience. I was nominated for a local board position, through a mistake in a local town committee meeting and amazingly, I was elected. I really didn’t know anything about boards of education. I didn’t know what they did: I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Looking for resources and not finding any, I went to my board chairman and he suggested that I call Laura Pope, the Executive Director at CABE. Laura invited me to chat with her, gave me my first lessons in boardsmanship and got me involved in CABE. There were five new members on my local board of education and we became known as “the reform board” We were focused on reforming the board process and the school system in general. The board at the local level was very focused on the students in very specific ways. I was interested in CABE because it had a broader reach and a broader view, and could help me understand better how I could make a difference at the local level and perhaps, reach beyond. I loved CABE from the beginning. It was very small when I was first introduced to it. Bonnie Carney was on the staff then as she is now. Bonnie has always been there! CABE was very important to me at the time, because I really needed guidance and I received it and it was very helpful. Bob: What was your involvement with NSBA? Pat: Lee Van Bremen who was on my local board, became CABE President and then went on to the NSBA staff, suggested that NSBA put me on its Policies and Resolutions Committee and that was my introduction to NSBA. At the time the impact of National on state and local boards seemed a bit foggy to me. The NSBA Board seemed to be more about NSBA board and staff relationships and internal procedures and not what could be done for state organizations that would help them to serve local boards of education. Through NSBA, I was appointed to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Board of Directors. I found that experience not only enjoyable but enlightening. The NAEP Board was fighting to keep NAEP out of the hands of the federal government and under the control of the states through the Education Commission of the States. At the time, we won that

battle, but who can account for what happens as time passes? While on the NSBA Board, I learned much while chairing some national committees. For one thing, I discovered how different the state education systems are from one state to another. So, I learned important lessons at each level of experience, and I learned an enormous amount from CABE for which I am deeply grateful. Patrice: Tell us about your most recent experience as a policy maker on the State Board of Education. Pat: I brought my local, state and national experiences with me, to the State Board of Education and I think those perspectives were very helpful for me and for others. Over my 12 years on the Board, it has become more focused on its role in policy making, a role that it shares with the State Legislature. That can be a difficult balancing act. I found that relationship often confounding. The current board is serving during a very challenging time and may face a struggle in fulfilling its role. Bob: What can Board members and their Superintendents do to strengthen public education? Pat: Local boards and superintendents must stay as child centered as they can be. In every decision that they make, they should clearly see the impact on the child. Every decision that they make must be mission-focused and child-centered. Patrice: What impact do you feel that you have had as a result of your many years of supporting public education and what can other board members learn from that? Pat: I don’t think that I have ever lost sight of my first public school teaching assignment and I have tried to keep those students and those memories in mind with every decision that I have made. I’ve been willing to stand up and fight. Policy making for public education is not rocket science. I think if you care about what happens to our young people; if you see what education means to their lives, to their futures, and to our way of life; if you see how happy their lives can be and what productive citizens they can be; then you will stand up and fight for the right policy decisions for their education. They can’t be effective, happy, productive people if they can’t read, can’t write, can’t calculate and can’t communicate. Effective teaching and productive learning must happen and where is it going to happen if not in our schools? That’s the responsibility of policy makers at every level. That’s our responsibility!!


15

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2012

Hartford State of the Schools Symposium At the recent Hartford State of the Schools Symposium, researchers from the University of Connecticut presented a report, “Hartford Neighborhood Assessment: Factors Impacting Student and Family Success”. The study compares changes from 2009 to 2012 in the seventeen Hartford neighborhoods. Criteria used to evaluate Hartford’s neighborhoods were based on the Harlem Children’s Zone Model, including child poverty rates, educational attainment, crime statistics, health indicators, neighborhood stability, and community assets as measurements of risk and potential for improvement. While it is generally understood that

neighborhoods in which children live influence their ability to learn, strive and succeed in the future, this study attempts to identify not only the high risk factors for children, but also the community assets that can support child development. The study indicates that from 2009 to 2012 almost all neighborhoods showed improvements in key indicators that can contribute to child development and wellbeing. The next step is to investigate what changes – social, economic, cultural or political – took place in these neighborhoods that maybe responsible for these improvements. This could provide inside into what programs are effective- and which are less effective.

Highlights from The Law, Trends and Updates on Teacher and Principal Evaluation and Support CABE Senior Staff Attorney Kelly Moyher welcomed everyone to the workshop and introduced the speakers.

Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto reviewed data on student outcomes, which shows: • Hartford has increased the number of quality schools in the district. • Hartford has significantly increased family choice. • Hartford is replacing chronically low performing schools with redesign options. • Most of the redesigned schools show improved reading scores, though they struggle in math. The findings also show that, for student outcomes: • Hartford has made significant improvement in reading performance since 2006. • Hartford has made notable gains in math since 2007, but those leveled off in the last two years. • Special Education students are outpacing statewide peers in math, but just keeping pace in reading. • Middle and high school English language learners (ELL) closed the achievement gap with ELL peers at the state level, but still lag far behind their native English-speaking peers. • Hartford’s graduation rates have increased each year, but one in three students fail to graduate in four years. • Hartford boosted SAT-taking, a gateway to college attendance, by providing the test for free during the school day.1

The report notes, however, that it cannot directly attribute any of the changes to any particular reform initiative. A moredetailed longitudinal analysis of progress made before and after the district initiated its reforms, and controlling for important factors, would be needed to attribute the changes to specific initiatives. The report contains the following recommendations for next steps: • Take advantage of the redesign process to seek out innovative, high performing designs for replacement schools. • Continue to add quality seats with a focus on equity and access for special populations. • Focus on math, identify weaknesses and seek out proven providers, including blended learning models and charter school options. • Seek out creative, personalized solutions for ELL students by trying and evaluating many approaches. • Press for graduation and collegegoing by focusing on math, promoting college-going cultures in schools and screening for it in new school providers, and increasing SAT preparation and test taking. 1 Improving Student Opportunities and Outcomes in Hartford Public Schools – Preliminary Report (April 2013) Patrice A. McCarthy Deputy Director and General Counsel

Does you policy manual look like this? Then you are the perfect candidate for the CABE Customized Policy Service! Attorney Kenneth Weinstock, Kainen, Escalera & McHale, Hartford, gave participants a collective bargaining primer and also answered questions at the end of the workshop session.

Attorney Thomas Mooney, Shipman & Goodwin, Hartford, spoke about trends and updates. He also participated in the question and answer session.

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 vmustaro@cabe.org.

CABE Executive Director Robert Rader speaking about Teacher and Principal Evaluation and Support.


16

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/June 2012

REPRESENTING CONNECTICUT SCHOOL BOARDS FOR MORE THAN 35 YEARS THE LAW FIRM OF

SULLIVAN, SCHOEN, CAMPANE & CONNON, LLC With over thirty five years experience providing legal representation to Connecticut’s public school districts, Sullivan, Schoen has set the standard for public sector collective bargaining, has created an unparalleled body of case law favorable to school boards, and has established a proactive partnership with its clients to develop policies and practices that anticipate the law’s ever-evolving demands. Call us and see how we can help you.

646 Prospect Avenue Hartford, CT 06105-4286 Phone: 860-233-2141 Fax: 860-233-0516 William R. Connon, Partner

Website: sscc-law.com


2013 june cabe journal