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January 2014

Danbury High School with community help claims $100,000 prize Robin DeMerell Provey Danbury Public Schools For the students at Danbury High School, it took more than just school spirit to take a top prize of $100,000 in a nationwide safe driving campaign. What started out as a spark of hope soon captured the attention of the entire community â&#x20AC;&#x201C; from the school superintendent and the city mayor to parents, local business owners and residents. Everyone was in on the action. On November 21, Danbury High was awarded $100,000 as one of the top five winners in the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Celebrate My Driveâ&#x20AC;? campaign sponsored by State Farm Insurance. The contest ran from October 18 through 26 and attracted more than 3,500 schools across the country. For much of the week, Danbury was neck-inneck for the lead and by closing hour reported more than 132,000 online votes. High Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Principal Gary Bocaccio called it the most spirited community project he can recall in years. The safe driving campaign involved the entire student body at Danbury High led by its board of governors and peer leadership groups. The premise of the campaign was and, continues to be, to create an awareness of safe driving, including not texting behind the wheel. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was really a concerted effort,â&#x20AC;? said

Bocaccio. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Students were out there in the community â&#x20AC;&#x201C; at supermarkets, movie theaters â&#x20AC;&#x201C; drumming up support. We had the help of the mayor, the PTO and the entire community.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have done an unbelievable job getting this out there, with the help of the mayor, Gary Bocaccio, Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella and the people of Danbury,â&#x20AC;? said Danbury High School teacher Lisa Frese, a driving force behind the campaign along with colleagues Carmela Calafiore and Diana GallettaBruno. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I believe Danbury is the best in the nation and we have proved it.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton was an integral part of the team which included seven student leaders, three teachers, Bocaccio and Pascarella. We started the planning in September, contacting our community members for supportâ&#x20AC;? said Frese. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We bought the domain name â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;votedanbury.comâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; as a strategic move to create an easy way for people to remember to vote.â&#x20AC;? In addition, local news outlets covered the event and a public service announcement ran daily on a local radio station and on cable television. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The students did multiple news and radio interviews during the week. We were fortunate to garner the support of the See DANBURY page 11

Hale Schoolhouse, East Haddam

Concussions: what boards should know Robert Rader, Executive Director, CABE When my children were young and playing soccer, I often joked that when they â&#x20AC;&#x153;headedâ&#x20AC;? the ball, their CMT scores would drop 2 points. I now realize that sports such as soccer, football and lacrosse, in particular, can pose a real threat to the future well-being of the student-athlete. This is no longer a joking matter. As graphically illustrated on PBSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Frontline, League of Denial: The NFLâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Concussion Crisis and the book on which it is based, many football players have suffered, not only from the concussion itself, but from the long-term effects of the beating their skulls have taken from the game. And, the doctor who connected the pounding to the injury known as

INSIDE THIS EDITION Cronic absenteeism .............................. 2 What would you do? ............................ 4 See You in Court .................................. 5 So youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve just become a board of education member ................. 7 New Board Member/ Leadership Conference ...................... 7 The Policy Corner ............................... 8 From teacher to board member ............ 9 CABE working for YOU ................... 10 UCONN/CABE Capstone Project ..... 10

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a rare disease that a buildup â&#x20AC;&#x153;of a protein named tau around the brainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blood vessels, interrupting normal functioning and eventually killing nerve cells.â&#x20AC;? In the weeks since the show aired, football greats Walter Payton and Brett Favre have spoken about memory loss which they believe was caused by the hard knocks they took in the game. The NFL, after years of denial, also recently agreed to set up a $750 million fund to help struggling ex-players. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that between 1.6 and 3.8 million sport and recreation related concussions each occur year and estimate that about 300,000 of these are sports-related and the rest are due to recreation. Frontline has even set up a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Concussion Watchâ&#x20AC;? on its website, keeping a tally of the head injuries suffered every week by professional football players. Now, we all know that concussions are a scary thing, especially for young athletes. But, what really shook up this sports fan is that CTE has been found in athletes as young as 17. In addition, it is not merely the concussions which appear to cause the issue. It is the constant pounding on the headâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;even apparently minor blows could lead, over time, to damage. See CONCUSSION page 6

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The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/January 2014 PRESIDENT COMMENTARY

Schools develop citizens who make positive contributions to society I would like to begin by saying thank you to the dozens of board members from around the state who have wished me well as I begin my tenure as your CABE President. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the wonderful contributions of my predecessor, Lydia Tedone. A thank you is in order to the CABE staff and members of the Conference Committee for another outstanding annual Conference. For those board members who attended this year’s Conference please take the time to complete the Conference evaluation. The information you provide will be used to improve the 2014 conference. Thanks again to all those that contributed their time and efforts to making this years Conference a success. Amazing things happen in our public schools during the holidays. Public school staff have a great sense of what is happening within their communities, particularly during tough times economically and, often donate their own time and money. For example, in one community the district’s employees “Adopt a Family for Christmas”. Because of the staffs’ overwhelming generosity, over 250 children received gifts. In Windham County schools collected 500 coats and countless pairs of mittens and gloves which were distributed to children and adults throughout the county. The Killingly Alternative Learning Program recently opened a “store” that takes in donations that include everything from baby items to television sets. Students will clean and repair the donations if needed, and then give these items away during store hours.

One school I know of accepts used children’s shoes that will be sent to Haiti through a community member. All children are encouraged to donate their old shoes, if possible. The beauty of this program is that children whose families are not in a position to normally be able to donate can and do. Richard Murray Public schools throughout the region are often the heart and soul of their cities and towns. Public school education is not just about academics, it is also about developing citizens who will make positive contributions to society. I hope everyone had a healthy and happy holiday season. I am looking forward to seeing more board members at CABE’s workshops throughout the new year. We need more of you to become passionate advocates for public schools and local school board governance. Happy New Year to all!

Patrice A. McCarthy A recent symposium in Connecticut focused on chronic absenteeism and its impact on the achievement gap. Keynote speaker Hedy Chang of Attendance Works presented research that confirms what common sense tells us – school attendance makes a difference. Students who miss ten percent of the school year for any reason, whether excused or unexcused, are more likely to be unable to master reading by the end of third grade, and more likely to drop out of high school. Nationally, more than one out of ten students miss that amount of school each year. In Connecticut, more than eleven percent of K-12 students (around 60,000 students) are chronically absence. The use of chronic attendance data to trigger a timely response in collaboration with families and community partners to prevent students from missing school was emphasized. Regular attendance is a habit that must be nurtured, while removing barriers for students getting to class, which include transportation, access to healthcare and safety on the route to school. Factors that contribute to student aversion to attending school include academic struggles, a poor school climate, lack of engaging instruction, and parents’ negative school experience. The research also shows that poor attendance has the greatest impact in “scaffolded” subjects such as math, where learning on one day is predicated on what was learned the previous day. In addition to national experts, parents from New Britain described their efforts to ensure a safe route to school for students, where most are walkers. Parent volunteers offered to escort the students to school each

Vision: CABE is passionate about strengthening public education through high-performing, transformative local school board/superintendent leadership teams that inspire success for each child.

CABE Board of Directors EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Richard Murray .................................................. President, Killingly Ann Gruenberg ................................. First Vice President, Hampton Robert Mitchell ................ VP for Government Relations, Montville Elaine Whitney ........... VP for Professional Development, Westport John Prins ......................................... Secretary/Treasurer, Branford Lydia Tedone ............................................ Immediate Past President Donald Harris ........................................................ Member at Large

AREA DIRECTORS Susan Hoffnagle ............................. Area 1 Co-Director, Winchester Mari-Ellen (Mimi) Valyo ............... Area 1 Co-Director, Winchester Jeffrey Currey ............................. Area 2 Co-Director, East Hartford Susan Karp ................................... Area 2 Co-Director, Glastonbury 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 Andrea Veilleux ................................ Area 6 Co-Director, Stratford Elaine Whitney .................................. Area 6 Co-Director, Westport Roxane McKay ............................. Area 7 Co-Director, Wallingford John Prins ......................................... Area 7 Co-Director, Branford Lon Seidman ........................................... Area 8 Co-Director, Essex Michael Camilleri ............................ Area 8 Co-Director, Cromwell


Chronic absenteeism Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE

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

morning, and helped develop a culture within their neighborhood of families having their children ready when the “walking school bus” came by their home. The recommended strategies for building a culture of attendance and identifying barriers are: • Recognize good and improved attendance • Engage students and parents • Monitor attendance data • Provide personalized early outreach • Develop programmatic response to barriers • Collaborate with the community

“Be comfortable in your own skin. Know who you are, the good and the bad. And find the courage not just to be yourself, but to be the best version of yourself. These are the foundations of self-leadership, and all leadership starts with self-leadership because you can’t lead the rest of us if you can’t lead yourself.” – Pope Francis

Eileen Baker .............................................. Associate, Old Saybrook Sharon Beloin-Saavedra .............................. Associate, New Britain Gary Brochu .......................................................... Associate, Berlin Robert Guthrie .............................................. Associate, West Haven COMMITTEE CHAIRS Elizabeth Brown ......................... Chair, State Relations, Waterbury Donald Harris ......................... Chair, Federal Relations, Bloomfield 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 Gail Heath ........................................ Admin. Assoc. for Government Relations Wilmarie Newton ........................................ Admin. Assoc. for Labor Relations Corliss Ucci .................................. Receptionist/Asst. to the Executive Director

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


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/January 2014 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COMMENTARY


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BRONZE PLUS MEMBERS Brown & Brown Insurance Friar Associates Goldstein & Peck, P.C. Guidepost Solutions, LLC Lindburg & Ripple O & G Industries The S/L/A/M Collaborative Trane UltiPlay Parks & Playbrounds, Inc.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 Connecticut Center for School Change Connecticut School Buildings and Grounds Association Cooperative Educational Services EASTCONN EDUCATION CONNECTION LEARN Unified School District #1

Mandela’s life holds important lessons on education Robert Rader, Executive Director of having been taken away from his wife and the Connecticut Association of Boards of children, able to meet with ONE person Education (CABE), penned this commen- for 30 minutes ONCE a year and allowed tary on South African leader Nelson to receive ONE letter every six months. If Mandela, who died Dec. 5, 2013, at age he was to lead the nation, he could not 95. retaliate for the losses he and other The revered Nobel Peace Prize African National Congress leaders and winner, former leader of South Africa, followers had suffered. It would have torn Nelson Mandela, died yesterday as I his nation apart. write this. His is a story for all of us, from To me, this is one of the most amazing militant leader of the African National feats of “turning the other cheek” in Congress and its military wing to longhistory. Think about it: once he had power, term prisoner to the first democratically instead of revenge, his government set up elected president of his nation and to the Truth and Reconciliation Commisworld’s statesman. sion—in which whites who had tortured, But, in that biograkilled and oppressed phy, there are lessons blacks, including “. . . ‘education is for all of us about those in the army or courage, commitment, secret police, had to the most powerful communications and confess their sins. weapon which you compromise. And, yes, But, after that about education. confession, they can use to change His death holds served no jail time, the world.’ . . . special significance were not fined and for me. As you might were allowed to ‘make every home, know, my wife, return home. No one Megan, was born in every shack or rick- was sent to Robben South Africa and much Island. ety structure a cen- It is a tourist attracof her family still lives there. We visited two tion today. tre of learning’ .’’ years ago and plan to Mandela gave return this summer. I up his power after have watched through their eyes this one term and even surrendered some amazing history. authority to his successor before he left I first went to South Africa in 1980, office. Like our own George Washington, when Megan and I got married. Aparthe understood the need to prepare those heid, the separation of the races, was still who would come after him. He hated the the law. We were shielded from seeing idea of being a President for life, which he the worst of this abhorrent system, since could have easily been. That alone is a whites were not allowed to go into black model for others, especially in Africa, areas, such as the sprawling city of where this does not often happen. Soweto. But, in 2000, years after Mandela’s release from prison in the early 1990s and Mandela on Education after he had retired from the presidency, In Mandela’s view, education was we took a trip to Soweto where we saw critical if the blacks of South Africa and his original home, small, yet comfortable, others around the world were to thrive. He but we were aware that he had been was an attorney, his legal training at the arrested there. It was very moving to University of Witwatersrand. Could you think that the man who became such a imagine what courage that took, especially beloved statesman had lived so modestly. as he was taunted with epithets and other When we visited in 2011, his 90th indignities? birthday was celebrated in the media with While on Robben Island, this remarkarticles about Madiba—his clan name, able man learned Afrikaans, the language which is used as a sign of respect and of his oppressors and studied their affection. thinking and their culture. He felt he had Mandela was hunted, brought to trial to do this in order to understand his and convicted twice and spent 27 years in enemies. He became a master of emoprison, originally on stark, bleak Robben tional intelligence, able to put himself in Island, four miles off the coast of the shoes of his jailers. Capetown. Contrary to what people might Thus, the remarkable turning point of think, he was not a man without anger getting the support of the whites of Africa after his release from prison. However, as came when he emerged from a tunnel into Richard Stengel, former Time editor-ina bright rugby stadium wearing the shirt of chief and Mandela biographer stated, he the Springboks, the symbol of white South knew he needed to hide the bitterness of Africa Later captured beautifully in

Robert Rader

“Invictus”. It was then that he showed in such a vivid way that he “got” it—that he understood the fear and anxiety that whites had in a country where they were suddenly without the power that they had all grown up with. He spoke many times about education. It was his belief that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” He urged his people to “make every home, every shack or rickety structure a centre of learning”. The South Africa of today is still a nation with many challenges. When we were last there, we had the chance to visit two schools in the suburbs of Johannesburg. In a private school, the children had easy access to computers, the rooms had all the supplies the teachers needed and there was a feeling of optimism among those we talked to. The public schools are dependent on federal funding, which just covers the basics. There was no music, art or athletics in the school we visited, because these are paid for by the community. It was 100 percent black, and though there were caring administrators, there were no supplies in the laboratories and little else that we would take for granted in our country. That is not a recipe for long-term success for either the students or the nation. But, Mandela’s greatest characteristic might have been his ability to dream of a better future under even ghastly pressure. What he left to his nation, the children in that public school and to us, is the lesson that perseverance, a strong moral compass and the ability to understand and work with others can lead to unheard of success. For most people, this is the type of legacy that is rarely within a person’s reach. But, even accomplishing a piece of it, whether through our daily lives, our service to others or our willingness to live up to our dreams and, as Lincoln would say, the better angels of our nature, we can help make this a better world for those who come after us. Goodbye, Madiba. And, thank you.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/January 2014 CABE and Baldwin Media: Partners in Managing Communications


Media Message

from Ann Baldwin, Baldwin Media Marketing, LLC

What would you do? A real case study in dealing with the media For the past several years, Baldwin Media has been assisting folks in dealing with the press. Unfortunately, it is usually because something bad has happened. One of the scenarios that I have dealt with time and time again is when someone in your “school community” is alleged to have done something bad. That is why for this month’s CABE Journal, I thought it would be beneficial to share a real case study and walk you through the process of strategically thinking about what and how you communicate. I have made some changes to the facts of the story in order to protect the district in which the situation occurred.

Teacher Facing Charges of Receipt and Distribution of Child Pornography The Situation: I received a call from a superintendent that one of the district’s teachers was being sentenced by federal authorities for trafficking in child pornography. This individual was a long-time teacher at the middle school. He was well liked by students and parents and was also very involved in supervising some after-school programs. When the superintendent was initially notified by authorities, this came as somewhat of a surprise to “the district”. This particular teacher was described by many who knew and worked with him as being a bit odd. The “teacher” has also admitted to authorities that he had videotaped young girls in his classroom.

Step 1: Upon learning of this news more than a year ago, the teacher was put on paid administrative leave by the board and the superintendent, pending the outcome of the continuing investigation. The teacher has continued to be out on leave, pending the court sentencing, which is happening today. Step 2: The superintendent and I worked immediately to put together correspondence to be sent to parents, students, teachers and other stakeholders, updating them on the situation and letting them know that this person was convicted and being sentenced to several years behind bars. Step 3: We established a “media protocol” preparing for inquires that were going to come in from various news outlets once this story got out. This is a key tool in managing the situation. The Media Protocol: Any and all media inquiries regarding this situation should be gathered and immediately passed onto Ann Baldwin. Persons fielding calls should ask the following: 1. Who is calling and from what media outlet? 2. Whom are they wishing to speak to? 3. If this is a reporter inquiry, at what number can they be reached and what is their deadline? This information should then be immediately passed on to Ann Baldwin. Cell: 860-985-5621 or Office: 860-4081580. Ann will then speak with the appropriate person(s) to determine what the response will be and the best person to speak regarding the inquiry. Step 4: Development of key messages. I often find in situations involving “one of your own”, that often the first reaction is to jump to the defense of the individual. Many times, it is hard for those who know

the accused to believe that something like this could happen. But the reality is that it does, and this is not the time to jump to anyone’s defense. However, it is also important to keep in mind that this individual is entitled to due process. So the safest ways to handle situations like this one are to develop key talking points. Have a “script” and STICK TO IT!

What will the

Connecticut Online Policy Service (C.O.P.S.) provide YOUR district?

Suggested Talking Points Regarding Sentencing: The Key Messages: Superintendent “Hopefully with the sentencing of XXXX, our entire school community can take another step closer in the healing process.’ ‘What so many people don’t realize is that after the crime has been committed, many of the victims remain, and we are all still here to pick up the pieces and to continue the healing process. As Superintendent, I can tell you that many are still somewhat shocked and saddened, and we are all working together to continue to repair a trust that was broken at a huge cost to our entire school community.” ‘With this sentencing now finally behind us, this is one more step forward in repairing a school community that was so unfairly violated.’ ” Outcome: The fact that our communication strategy was proactive and NOT reactive to the situation helped us tremendously. There was very little negative feedback from the press and more importantly from the school community. We were prepared and ready, and our strategy in this instance was very successful.

Decking the School’s Halls: A Legal Update on Religion in Schools

Attorneys Thomas B. Mooney and Jessica Stein Soufer, from Shipman & Goodwin, presented a workshop in the Rovins Conference Room at CABE. Topics of discussion were: religious and holiday displays in schools, the responsibilities of local and regional boards of education in maintaining a respectful school environment with regard to religion. Also highlighted were the constitutional issues that impact religion in the schools on a broader scale.

• A policy manual updated within days of a board meeting. • Access to your policy manual 24/7 anywhere with Internet capability. • Timesaving links to legal and cross references. • A search engine specifically designed for board policy manuals. • The ability to search other online districts for similar policies or language. • A happier staff that will have less paper to deal with. If you would like additional information on CABE’s Connecticut Online Policy Service (C.O.P.S.), call Vincent Mustaro at 860-571-7446 or email for full details.

Let the CABE staff make your policy life easier.

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/January 2014


See You in Court – The Nutmeg Board of Education

The Nutmeg Boards deals with changing the school calendar due to snow days 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. Over the holiday recess, Mr. Superintendent was reading the 2014 edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and he didn’t like what he saw. The forecast was for terrible snow in the Northeast, starting in the middle of January and continuing until the end of March. After the scheduling problems in recent years, Mr. Superintendent did not want to face another crisis at the end of the school year, and he figured that the Nutmeg Board of Education should add some additional snow days this year. Mr. Superintendent presented his plan at the first meeting in January. “With the coming snow,” he started, “we should change the school calendar by cancelling the February vacation. That way, we will have five more snow days in the calendar if we need them. We should also set a

firm graduation date now so that we can go ahead with graduation even if we have a bunch of snow days. Are you with me?” “Not really,” responded veteran Board member Bob Bombast. “Families in Nutmeg plan their vacations years in advance. If you want to eliminate February vacation next year, I will consider your proposal. But this February is fast upon us, and it would be unfair to Nutmeg families to change the vacation schedule now. Besides, if we run into a problem, the State can waive the school year requirements.” By contrast, Mal Content is a worrywart, and he supported the plan. “I agree that we should cancel the February vacation. Besides, if parents want to pull their kids out of school for a family vacation, they can. What do we care?” he offered. “My head hurts!” interjected Penny Pincher. “Do we have to decide this now?” “I am with you, Penny,” responded Bob. “Let’s put Mr. Superintendent’s idea on hold and come back and talk about it in March.” “But by then it will be too late,” shot back an exasperated Mr. Superintendent. “OK, OK. Message received,”

Seventh Edition

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

responded Mr. Chairperson. “Board members, put on your thinking caps. We will address this at our next meeting. Understood?” The Board adjourned, but now the cat was out of the bag. Each Board member was soon buried under a blizzard of angry emails from Nutmeg parents. Given how the Nutmeg Board of Education operates, they were used to that, of course. But a pointed email from Bruno, the President of the Nutmeg Union of Teachers, gave them pause. “Plans have been made! Deposits have been paid!” the email began. “If the Board persists in its plan to eliminate February vacation, we will bring you up on charges before the State Board of Labor Relations!” That sealed the deal for Bob Bombast. At the next meeting of the Board, he made a motion to reject the Superintendent’s plan to change the school calendar. That motion was promptly seconded, and to Mr. Superintendent’s chagrin, it passed unanimously. Did the Nutmeg Board of Education handle this issue appropriately?

Setting the school calendar is one of the many challenges that boards of education in Connecticut face. However, that is scheduled to change soon. Sections 321324 of Public Act 13-247 provide that by April 1, 2014, RESCs in Connecticut must establish a uniform school calendar for their respective regions that conform to the following guidelines: Such guidelines for a uniform regional school calendar shall include, but not be limited to, (1) at least one hundred eighty days of actual school sessions during each school year, (2) a uniform start date, (3) uniform days for professional development and in-service training for certified employees . . . and (4) not more than three uniform school vacation periods during each school year, not more than two of which shall be a one week school vacation period and one of which shall be during the summer. Boards of education may adopt such uniform school calendar for 2014-2015, but in 2015-2016, boards of education must adopt the uniform calendar. No matter what the calendar is, superintendents must decide when to cancel school because of weather, and there are a number of rules related to scheduling school sessions following such cancellations. Section 10-15 requires that there be at least 180 school sessions each year, and it also provides that school may not be scheduled on a Saturday or a Sunday. That same statute also provides that the State Board of Education may approve a request for an alternative schedule for a single year that assures that students receive at least 900 hours (450 hours for

nursery school and half-day kindergarten) of actual school work. That said, the State Board of Education is almost certainly not going to approve fewer than 180 school sessions because of inclement weather. Since 2001, three different Commissioners of Education have warned that such waivers have not been granted in the recent past and that school boards must explore every alternative before such a waiver will be granted. Part of Mr. Superintendent’s plan was to set a firm graduation date, and Section 10-16l of the General Statutes permits the Board to do just that. Specifically, it provides that “a local or regional board of education may establish for any school year a firm graduation date for students in grade twelve which is no earlier than the one hundred eightyfifth day noted in the school calendar originally adopted by the board for that school year, except that a board on or after April first in any school year may establish such a firm graduation date for that school year which at the time of such establishment provides for at least one hundred eighty days of school.” The Commissioner of Education has read the first part of this statute restrictively (requiring the scheduling of 185 days of actual school sessions in the calendar to permit districts to schedule a firm graduation date at the beginning of the year). However, after April 1 each year boards of education can schedule a firm graduation date and stick to it no matter what happens. Contrary to what Mal Content said, parents cannot simply take their children out of school for extended vacations irrespective of the school calendar. In May, 2013, the Commissioner of Education issued guidelines for determining whether absences are excused or unexcused (which is important under the truancy statutes). Now, the first nine student absences each year may be excused by parents, but after those nine days, absences due to family vacation will usually be considered unexcused. Finally, the Teacher Negotiation Act specifies that the length and scheduling of the school year is not a mandatory subject of negotiations, and boards of education are free to adopt and to change the school calendar without negotiations. It is advisable, however, to anticipate and announce the possible need to cancel vacation days. The teachers’ union has the right to demand negotiations over the impact of changes in the school calendar, and when boards of education provide advance notice as to how adjustments will be made in the school calendar after cancellations, they are better able to deal with union demands for impact bargaining when the calendar is changed. 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 Concussion: what boards should know (continued from page 1)

Boards’ Responsibility Why am I bringing up the issue that the NFL hid for so long? Because boards and superintendents, to say nothing of towns and other groups, have a responsibility for the safety for their children who play sports. According to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2010, high school athletes in 2008 were four times more likely to suffer a concussion then they were 10 years before. Concussion results increased in the 12 sports followed in the study. Football accounted for more than half of all reported concussions. Lacrosse and soccer accounted for the second and third most concussions for boys and, for girls, concussions were most common in soccer, followed by lacrosse and basketball.

Connecticut Takes Action In 2010, the Connecticut Legislature passed P.A. 10-62, which requires training for individuals with coaching permits pertaining to head injuries and concussions. The training includes initial education before coaching and subsequent refresher training requirements. The legislation details the content of the training and describes the removal of an athlete from practice and/or a game and the conditions under which an athlete will be allowed to resume participation in the activity. Current Derby Superintendent Matthew Conway was the legislator who

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/January 2014 wrote the law. He recently stated that “as a high school lacrosse coach for many years I experienced first-hand the trauma an athlete, and their family, suffers when this injury occurs. We saw a 25% rise in concussions during the few years preceding this legislation. Review of the medical research describes the prolonged or permanent damage from this injury going undiagnosed and untreated for years.’ We had an obligation to first protect our kids from the long-term harm that results from this injury and second protect our coaches from the pressure to put the athlete back in the game by placing the responsibility of the decision of whether the athlete returns to play, in the hands of health care professionals trained to diagnose, treat and manage this injury. While the legislation will not protect the initial injury from occurring it goes a long way in insuring there is proper treatment for the injury to heal prior to the athlete returning to play. As superintendents and school leaders, we are in a position to work together to help educate all parents, students and staff of the seriousness of this injury as it could affect any one of our children on or off the field.’ ” I asked Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Council’s Executive Director Karissa Niehoff and CABE Associate Director Eileen Baker (Old Saybrook) about this issue. Here are their comments: Niehoff stated that “This is definitely an important topic. As you know, it’s certainly not just an athletic issue. In fact, research shows that most concussions are sustained outside of athletic events . . . so everyone needs to be informed.’ CIAC has specific language on head injuries in its Handbook (found at www. .pdf). As of our November Board of Control meeting, we now require that schools provide some kind of awareness program or training for all parents now. We used to recommend it. The training now required will leave room for flexibility as to what that training/awareness program might be. We currently provide literature, offer an online course, and were intimately involved in drafting the Concussion legislation a couple of years ago. We are encouraging schools with athletic trainers to participate in the RIO study ( cirp-rio) but haven’t had much luck as trainers are busy...we’d love support from boards of education on that!’ Coaches in Connecticut must be certified. Part of that certification is the Concussion Management course. You can find more information on that at the Connecticut Coaching Education website ( We remind all principals, athletic directors, and coaches every year to educate their students and parents. I anticipate that the Officials Association will soon be requiring officials to participate in concussion management training’. Boards of education should certainly review the legislation, their policies, those of the CIAC and their district protocols. They should ensure that all ‘players’ in their programs, both within the district and interscholastically and in physical education courses are aware of their responsibilities.’ The CIAC policy contains information on signs and symptoms of a possible concussion, rules under which a student can return to participation, medical clearances, references and further resources.’” Baker stated that the “CIAC is a strong, supportive organization which

puts the safety of our students first. They have ‘tackled’ this issue in the best interest of students who take part in these sports and are providing necessary guidance to boards of education throughout the state to educate families as well.” CABE’s policy in this area (#5141.7 and its administrative regulation) reflect the new requirements.

Connecticut School Attorneys meeting The Connecticut School Attorneys Council held their Annual Meeting in conjunction with the CABE/CAPSS Conference. Zachary Schurin (Pullman & Comley) was elected President, AnnMarie DeGraffenreidt (DCF) was elected Secretary, and Patrice McCarthy will continue to serve as Treasurer. The attorneys, representing all of Connecticut’s major educational law firms, discussed teacher and administrator negotiations. Patrice provided an update on the NSBA Council of School Attorneys programs and amicus briefs, as well as the various legislative task forces. The attorneys indicated that one of the issues that must be addressed by the task force looking at regionalization of school calendars is the fact that many noncertified employee contracts provide for specific holidays. There was also a recap of the discussion on security issues from the August meeting. Thanks were extended to Jessica Ritter (Shipman & Goodwin) for her service as President during the past year. Patrice A. McCarthy Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/January 2014

So you’ve just become a board of education member Codie Landsman Baldwin Media

CABE held their New Board Member Orientation & Board Leadership Conference on December 10, 2013 at the Sheraton South Hotel in Rocky Hill. I attended three of the workshops, the first entitled “Statutory Requirements, Legal Issues and Advocacy” which was presented by Patrice McCarthy, CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel, Kelly Moyher, Sr. CABE Staff Attorney, and Sheila McKay, CABE Sr. Staff Associate for Government Relations. This was geared toward new board members and focused on topics such as proper budgeting and the Freedom of Information Act. The workshop “The School Board’s Policy Role” presented by Vincent Mustaro, CABE Sr. Staff Associate for Policy Service, focused on the formulation and adoption of written policies, and why policies are so critical for school systems. Mustaro explained how boards must lead through policies and monitor the policy implementation. What’s the best method for effective implementation? “In real estate, the focus is ‘location, location, location.’ For school boards, it’s ‘communication, communication, communication,’” said Mustaro. The workshop “Common Mistakes that Board Members Make” was presented by Nick Caruso, CABE Sr. Staff Associate for Field Services and Coordinator of Technology. Some of the most common mistakes that board members make are acting impatiently, behaving poorly, “dropping a bomb” on the superintendent,

and speaking about confidential issues on social media. Caruso offered advice on the “right way” to perform, such as acting the same way you would expect the children in your care to perform and basic behavior such as not falling asleep during public comment! During this conference, I was fortunate enough to speak with some of the newest

New Board Member Orientation and Board Leadership Pre-Conference Sessions

Dianna RobergeWentzell discussed the Common Core State Standards.

Kelly Moyher talked about Parliamentary Procedures.

Kathy Guay discussed School Finance.

Conference Sessions

board members whom had recently been elected. It was very interesting to delve through all of the different responses for why these folks had run for a position of the board, what their hopes and expectations were the future, what they were most looking forward to, and challenges they anticipated. East Lyme Board Member Robert Kupis explained that his main reason for becoming a board member was his two young children. “I want to be able to impact their education, and their future,” said Robert. “That’s what I’m most looking forward to.” Hartford Board Member Craig Stallings has big hopes for impacting his community. “There are a lot of challenges in Hartford,” explained Craig. “There are charter schools, magnet schools, and neighborhood schools. They are separate and unequal. We have issues with rogue administrators.” He is looking forward to his voice being heard in the movement toward solving these issues in the school system. Karen deFur-Maxwell, Board Member for Orange Public Schools, retired as an administrator from a different school system but wanted to continue her involvement in education. “Our town has an excellent education system. I want to contribute to this already good-standing board,” explained Karen. When I asked her about her thoughts on her first board meeting, she smiled and told me how honored she had felt to be a part of it. “It was exciting! It was fun. There was good energy. And you get to see the full perspective,” said Karen, referring to her previous position on the administrative side. One thing was constant throughout all of the new board members: genuine passion for having their voice heard in the educational system.

CABE Executive Director Robert Rader served as emcee.

Commssioner Stefan Pryor spoke to the group about the school board’s role in education reform.

Sarah Barzee discussed Teacher and Principal Evaluation and Support.

CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice A. McCarthy shared information with participants on the board’s role in school safety and security.

Gary Brochu, Chair and Superintendent David Erwin (Berlin) discussed the school board culture with members of the leadership track

Superintendent David Erwin (Berlin) and CABE President Richard Murray (Killingly) answered questions about roles, responsibilities and leadership with new board members and members of the leadership track.

Mary Goetter, President, International Education Services and Superintendent Salvatore Menzo (Wallingford) spoke to the leadership tract about global education.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/January 2014

The Policy Corner

CABEMeeting CABE-Meeting is a userfriendly, 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 CABEMeeting. Now all your board work and committee information is conveniently located in one place!

“CABE is incredibly user friendly and serves as a model for so many others on how to offer a quality product with exceptional service”. Dr. Joseph V. Erardi, Jr. Superintendent, Southington Public Schools

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

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

Establish and maintain policy as a top priority Thankfully, boards do not need to readopt all of its policies because of the start of a new year. Policies, once adopted, continue in perpetuity until revised or rescinded. However, board members and administrators must be familiar with school system policies. The establishment and maintenance of policies remains a duty of the board of education that holds equal importance to the selection of a superintendent. In addition, it is reasonable for the board to expect the superintendent and other school administrators to have a broad working knowledge of the policies and administrative regulations in the district’s manual In a time of desired world class standards, calls for quality education, higher student achievement and safe, secure schools, the role that policy plays, in the quality of education, is regretfully too often forgotten. A board of education exerts its leadership and helps to promote excellence in the school district through policy. A school board’s major function is to fulfill its legislative role by adopting policies to guide the operation of the school system.

The policy manual The district’s policy manual is not a static publication. It must be a dynamic collection of governing and administrative documents subject to change in response to a variety of factors. Being informed of the manual’s contents at a given point in time is no assurance that knowledge will be accurate tomorrow. Many circumstances produce an ongoing duty for all board members to become informed about the board’s policies and to continue to refresh that knowledge. Knowledge of the board’s policies is a significant factor in the level and quality of service others expect of board members and of which board members should expect of themselves. School districts must face the problems of quality control and community and employee satisfaction. They must also meet the demands placed upon them by federal, state and local governments. Education, a state function, has authority for educational decisions delegated to lay boards whose job is to establish programs of learning, fund them, and hire competent professionals to manage them. This awesome board of education responsibility raises two major school governance issues. First, the board must effectively control the schools

without hampering the role and responsibilities of the professional staff. Next, the superintendent and staff must serve learners effectively without intruding into areas of legitimate board authority. These issues are resolved through the establishment of sound board policies and responsive administrative regulations. Through policy, defined as statements that set forth the purposes and prescribe the organization and program, the school board, provides direction to district staff to ensure a quality educational program. Policy reflects the board’s philosophy and intentions but allows administrative discretion in their implementation. Policy is not detailed directions for operating a school system or running a particular program; such directives, containing the who, what, when, and where are contained in administrative regulations. “Boards set policy and administrators carry it out,” is one of the first things board members learn about their responsibilities. However, the line between governance and management is not clearly marked. Precious board meeting time is too often used discussing what should be routine decisions handled by the superintendent and the staff within the guidance of board adopted policy. A major function of policy is to convey necessary information to board members, administrators, employees, students, parents and community members. This information will establish boundaries, provide clear direction to the superintendent without usurping his or her professional judgment and allow discretionary action in dealing with district dayto-day occurrences. Board meeting time should involve more global discussions, such as issues pertaining to the improvement of student achievement. Sound policy will provide direction for administrative decisions. When doubts arise regarding time spent on policy issues, consider the public’s expectations of the school board. The public expects students to learn within safe, friendly and challenging learning environments under the tutelage of proficient and caring teachers. The public holds the school board accountable for the manner in which the schools are governed, managed and for the results achieved. Well defined, clear policies can serve as the basis for accountability and evaluation used to govern and improve the schools. Providing a sound basis for appraisal and accountability, policies facilitate the process of evaluating board and administrative practices. Policies establish direction, telling what the board wants and why. They set goals, assign authority

and establish controls; all essential elements in considering accountability. Ambiguity, confusion and trouble are avoided when policies are adopted, published and disseminated. A policy system helps ensure fair, consistent and uniform treatment of all students, parents, community members and employees. The public tends to trust in the consistency of written, established, and disseminated policy. Policies ensure that the board functions appropriately and legally as a governmental agency; that needs are assessed by the staff and community with appropriate goals set for programs and departments; that reliable measures are established for assessing programs and that evaluative criteria and reports support what the school system aspires to achieve. Board policies and decisions carry the weight of the law and establish a legal record. Policies provide the legal basis for most actions and help to ensure that board and administrative decisions comply with state and federal law and regulations and judicial decisions. An accurate policy manual can be viewed as a type of legal insurance. Board’s policies which are workable, practical and legal encourage good educational and business practices. Policy is an effective public relations tool, communicating the board’s goals, objectives, priorities and acceptable practices. It conveys the board’s basic philosophy and position on specific issues. Also, policies foster stability and continuity over time when board, organizational and staff changes occur.

Conclusion In conclusion, boards need policy for many reasons. Efficient, successful boards use organized, written policies in the decision-making process. Policies as a governance tool can liberate boards from the shackles of disorderly procedure and enable them to exercise more control, not less. The present political, economic and legislative environments will likely have a momentous impact on our public schools. Therefore, there must be an ongoing commitment to the responsibility to become and remain familiar with the policy manual, to determine if the contents are up-to-date, and that the administration and board as a team stay abreast of policy considerations in a timely manner.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/January 2014

From teacher to board member Laura Bush Board Member, Vernon and CABE Area 3 Director

Editor’s Note: Over the years, national studies have shown that approximately 20 percent of board members are current or retired teachers. We asked Laura Bush to write about her experience as a current teacher and board member. In my life I have worn many hats. The two hats I wear now can sometimes be seen as conflicting. I have worn the hat of a teacher for 18 years. I started my career as a Kindergarten teacher for Palm Beach County Schools, and for the past 13 years I have served as a second grade teacher in Andover, Connecticut. This is my 14th group of wide-eyed students eager to learn here in Connecticut. About 4 1/2 years ago a good friend encouraged me to run for the Vernon School Board. I decided that was doable, and in November of 2009 I was elected and began my journey as a school board member. With my experiences as a teacher and parent I could bring a unique perspective

to the role. In this article I would like to share with you how I have learned to balance being a teacher and a Board of Education member. As a mother of three boys who are now grown, I was very used to budgeting my time. I assumed that my meeting schedule would be just as easy to juggle; especially since I was assured there would be no more than 2 required meetings per month. It soon turned out that the twomeeting-commitment was more like eight meetings per month with related school activities in between. I jumped into the role with both feet and attended school activities and town events along with board of education meeting and the committee meetings. I soon realized that I couldn’t do everything and set up priorities for my schedule. Budget season was an eye opener. As a teacher I made budget decisions for my class and asked for what I needed, but as a board member I had to make decisions for the whole Vernon school system. I became more aware of the items I put on order for my own budget. We make our budget requests in the

fall and in May teachers in my school are able to make adjustments in our budgets. I can remember crossing things out that I did not absolutely need for the students. It’s not that I went crazy spending but I had a different view of wants versus needs after having gone through the budget process as a Board of Education member. Vernon’s Board has a committee structure. I am the Chair of both the Curriculum and Technology Committees. I have a unique perspective and understanding of these areas. I understand how curriculum is used from my experiences writing curriculum and helping make decisions when purchasing texts. I trust the judgments of the teachers and administration reviewing the programs and texts that they will be using on a daily basis. On the Technology Committee, I understand the importance of having technology to enhance learning. I consistently support expanding technology. As a taxpayer I also look at the cost of both textbooks and technology and want to make sure that budget decisions for these items are made with a

balance between the need of the students as well as the impact on the taxpayers. Being on the Board of Education was not something I just knew how to do spontaneously. It took about two years on the Board of Education to really feel comfortable and become productively involved. I sought out professional development from CABE that helped me in both my role as a board member and as a teacher. As a teacher I know the importance of professional development, but it is just as important as a board member. When I was first on Vernon’s Board I wasn’t sure when to put on my teacher hat. I had a strong understanding about the education process and knew the teacher lingo and acronyms, but being new to the Board and new to Robert’s Rules, I did a lot of listening. I have come to a point now where I can interject the knowledge I have gained through my teaching experiences when needed to give the other board members a better understanding of a topic. Professional development was as See TEACHER page 11

New Publication Available from CABE

Understanding the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act and Access to Public Meetings and Records Fourth Edition

CABE Search Services is recruiting for


Written by: Mark J. Sommaruga, Esq., Pullman & Comley, LLC Topics covered in the book are: Section One • The FOIA’s Public Meetings Provisions; When is a Meeting Not a “Meeting”?; Notice of Regular Meetings; Agenda; Minutes and Votes; Access of Public and Media; Adjournment; Special and “Emergency” Meetings; Executive Session: The Exception(s) to the Rule; and When is an Executive Session Permissible? Section Two • The FOIA’s Access to Public Records; Some Notable Exemptions to Disclosure (Educational Records and Tests, Personnel Records, Preliminary Drafts and Notes, Attorney-Client Privileged Documents, and Other Important Exceptions to Disclosure); Responding to a Request for Documents; E-Mail – The FOIA Hits the 21ST Century; Destruction of Records and the Records Retention Act; Other Important Exceptions to the Usual Disposal Requirements. Section Three • FOIA Penalties: So What is the Price of Failure? (Proceedings before the FOIC, Civil Remedies, Penalties, Other Orders by FOIC, ) and Criminal Penalties. Conclusion Index

to order the FOIA book go to the CABE Online Bookstore at



SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS WATERTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS For an update or more information on vacancies go to our website: For more information contact, CABE Search Services, 860-539-7594 Jacqueline V. Jacoby, Senior Search Consultant Paul Gagliarducci • Associate Consultant Mary Broderick - Associate Consultant Bob King • Associate Consultant P.O. Box 290252, Wethersfield, CT 06129-0252 • Equal Opportunity Employers


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/January 2014

CABE: working for YOU

Mark your CALENDAR Don’t miss these professional development opportunities! January 15, 2014 Hot Topic: Pre-K 9:00 - 11:00 am Keeney Memorial Cultural Center Wethersfield January 22 Area 9 Legislative Breakfast 7:30 am Montville High School Cafeteria Montville January 23 Area 1 Legislative Breakfast 8:00 am Education Connection Litchfield January 28 Area 3 Legislative Breakfast 7:30 am Rockville High School Vernon February 13 Area 2 Legislative Breakfast 8:00 am Capitol 3rd Floor Hartford March 5 CABE Day on the Hill 8:30 am The Bushnell, Hartford Workshop information as well as registration information is also published on the CABE website at: If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Steimer at the CABE Office 800-317-0033 or 860-571-7446 or email Lisa at

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 through 43 answered requests for information or sample policies, on 35 topics. Further, districts continue to access CABE’s online Core Policy Reference Manual and/or online manuals posted by CABE for policy samples. The topics of greatest interest pertain to safety and security, electronic participation at board meetings, electronic cigarettes, and poor safety.

➤ By helping school boards to increase student achievement

Participated as a sponsor in PTA/ CEA planning committee on Common Core State Standards. Sent out two issues of Policy Highlights via email listserv covering topics that affect student achievement. This included homeless students, teacher evaluation, food allergies, and use of mobile media in schools. Facilitated discussion on board governance with the New Haven Board of Education.

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

• • •

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

• •

• •

Attended CABE/CAPSS Task Force on District Capacity. Presented workshop to New London Board of Education on the superintendent search process. Participated in meeting of Achieve, a a non-profit organization working on Common Core State Standards. Planned, implemented and presented at CABE New Board Member/ Leadership Conference. Provided roles and responsibilities workshops for the Bozrah, New Hartford, Portland, Preston and Stafford Boards of Education. Met with Central Office staff in Windsor for CABE-Meeting training. Provided policy information to 33

• • • • • • •

• • • • •

• •

Participated in Regional Calendar Task Force meetings. Participated in MORE Board of Education Committee meetings. Participated in CAPSS Professional Learning Committee. Attended public forum on mandates in Westport. Participated in LEAD Connecticut Partners meeting. Attended CREC Council meeting. Attended School Grants Coalition meeting. Attended Mental Health Symposium. Attended CAPSS Mastery Based Diploma Symposium. Attended Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding annual meeting. Attended Bloomfield Legislative Breakfast. Attended CAPSS Technology Subcommittee meeting. Attended Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology meeting. Attended CAPSS Board of Directors meeting. Attended Clinton Board Meeting/ Retirement Event for three board members who were retiring. Attended the Teacher of the Year Ceremony. Met with former Teacher of the Year Chris Poulos on public education in Connecticut. Met with representatives of the

Connecticut Association for the Gifted, which will be hosting a New England meeting in 2015. Participated in Big 6 (CABE, CAPSS, CAS, CBIA, CCER and ConnCAN) teleconference. Participated in teleconference with representative of CAPSS on our LEAD Connecticut Governance Committee.

➤ By promoting

public education:

• • •

Prepared 2014 CABE Legislative Priorities. Met with UCONN Capstone students. HOsted workshop pertaining to religion in the school.

➤ By providing services

to meet members needs:

Entered into an agreement to audit Clinton’s policy manual and working on the auditing the Cromwell and Thomaston policy manuals. Completed as part of the Custom Update Service packets of new and/or revised policies for the districts of Ansonia, Columbia, East Hampton, East Windsor, Franklin, Gilbert School, Marlborough, New Fairfield, New Hartford, Newington, North Stonington, Old Saybrook, Oxford, Putnam, Region 6, Stafford, Sterling, West Haven, Westbrook, and Windham. Met with Torrington Superintendent Cheryl Kloczko on CABE programs, activities and services.

➤ By ensuring members

receive the most up-todate communications:

As part of the development of new policy manuals utilizing the Custom Policy Service, materials were prepared for ACES, Ellington, Griswold, North Haven, Sherman and Wethersfield.

We want to meet your needs! Beginning with this issue of the CABE Journal you will receive this publication both electronically and a paper copy via U.S. mail. Please contact Cory Ucci (860-571-7446/cucci@ to let her know which way you prefer to receive the CABE Journal in the future. If you do nothing, you will continue to receive the CABE Journal both electronically and via U.S. mail. Thank you for your cooperation.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/January 2014 From teacher to board member (continued from page 9) important for my growth as an effective board member as well as an effective teacher. It is important for my growth as an effective board member as well as an effective teacher. It is important to have a supportive superintendent. As a teacher, my superintendent has been very supportive of me and as a board member. He understands the importance of professional development and allows me to attend the CABE/CAPSS Conference which is two days of nonstop professional development and networking with other Board of Education members from around the state. I take advantage of every chance I can to learn, grow and network as a board member. Another hat I wear is that of CABE’s Area 3 Director where I reach out to other Board of Education members and superintendents in Area 3 to help them when needed and to get their feedback. As Area 3 Director I host a legislative breakfast to facilitate conversations between our local legislators and school officials which allow board members and superintendents to have discussions about legislative priorities to the people making the decisions. I highly recommend attending the Legislative breakfast in your area. I have enjoyed wearing the hats of a board member as well as a teacher for the past four years and learning to balance the roles

involved with them. Mostly it has been a journey of growth for me. I feel extremely lucky to have the experience of wearing both hats.

Danbury High School (continued from page 1) Microsoft Store in Danbury Mall, who donated their retail space as well as tablets and iPads to use throughout the mall for the entire eight days of the competition. The mall space was staffed by the students, parents and three teachers from 2:00 to 10:00 p.m. each day to get pledges from people in the mall.” Dells Auto in Danbury donated two wrecked cars to display in highly visible areas that students decorated with signs, caution tape and the traffic signs donated by the Department of Transportation. Students wrote a PSA that ran before every movie during the pledging week at the Danbury Lowes Movie theater. And Mayor Boughton tweeted during the day and posted on Facebook. “The DHS central office sent ROBO calls reminding people to vote once a day every day,” said Frese. “On the final day, we had more than 150 parents and students show up at DHS at 7:00 a.m. to enter all of the pledges gathered from the community during the week. The crew came to the mall and gathered more pledges until the mall closed at 10:00

p.m. Then a team of teachers, students and parents continued to enter pledges until the contest closed at 1:00 a.m.” Nicholas Goetz, a senior DHS, is one of those students. He said that the competition was two months of dedication that really paid off. “We worked so hard collaborating and organizing the campaign,” he said. “From the first day, we knew we were going to win this for our school and community. We could not have done this without the help of our school, community, sponsors, and dedicated members of the senior leadership of DHS: Board of Governors, DECA and Peer Leadership.” A committee comprised of students, parents, teachers and administrators will decide how to use the money and will consider suggestions from the student body. There is still time to register for

Hot Topic: Pre-K January 15, 2014 Keeney Memorial Cultural Center, Wethersfield Go to page.cfm?p=110 to register.

UCONN/ CABE Capstone Project Bob Rader, Patrice McCarthy and Lisa Steimer have been working with UCONN graduate students on a survey designed to elicit information from school board members. It is important for CABE to know more about our members in order to better serve them. The survey will determine the level of awareness, reasons for, and obstacles to participation among CABE’s membership in CABE’s Day on the Hill and Legislative Breakfasts. You will be receiving a survey via email or US mail in the middle of January. Please complete the survey and return it to the UCONN students as soon as possible. We appreciate your willingness to help us help you!


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

CABE Journal - Jan 2014  

Volume 18, Number 1