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NSBA Delegate Assembly

Best Practices: Bloomfield and Stamford shine on DPI

Patrice A. McCarthy Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE

CABE was represented at the recent NSBA Delegate Assembly (see photo on page 14) by CABE President Richard Murray, (Killingly); First Vice President Ann Gruenberg, (Hampton); Area 2 CoDirector Donald Harris, (Bloomfield); Vice President for Government Relations Robert Mitchell, (Montville); and Vice President for Professional Development Elaine Whitney, (Westport). Among the resolutions approved were the following: â&#x20AC;˘ Opposition to unlawful expansion of executive authority. According to the resolution, NSBA supports â&#x20AC;&#x153;an appropriate federal role in education.â&#x20AC;? However, it opposes the â&#x20AC;&#x153;federal intrusion and expansion of executive authority by the U.S. Department of Education and other federal See NSBA page 9

NEW Follow CABE on Twitter @CTAssocBdsofEd

May 2014


Chris Seymour Reporter, CABE

First Robotics Competition held at Hartford Public High School on March 30

Interview with James Comer [Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Note: Dr. James Comer, MD, MPH, is the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale University Child Study Center. He has long focused on child development as a way of improving schools. His work in support of healthy development of young people is known internationally. He was recently appointed to the Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He was the 2004 CABE Friend of Public Education.] Bob: Good morning, Dr. Comer and thank you for speaking with us. My first question is, why did you decide to join the Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African

Americans? Dr. Comer: Mostly because the focus is on excellence for black students as opposed to the usual focus on deficit. We know that there Dr. James Comer are programs addressing the needs of African-American students that have been successful. Why havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t we focused on the successful programs to help bring success to the many? I think President Obama understands that possibility and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why his Commissionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s focus is on excellence. Our School Development Program had success with African Americans students in the 1970â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and no government education agencies at any level ever asked â&#x20AC;&#x153;how did you do that?â&#x20AC;? Bob: Tell us about the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Comer method.â&#x20AC;? Dr. Comer: It is a change model that grew out of my personal experience; deepened by my training, research, and practice in schools. I received an excellent educational experience because my parents nurtured and pushed me; followed by the same from teachers. My program is an effort to approximate the experience that worked for me with kids like me; low income and minority. The effort to do so led to our model. Bob: How do we get more parents of students involved in the education system? See COMER page 8

When the state announced District Performance Index (DPI) numbers for school systems around the state in December, only two â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Bloomfield and Stamford â&#x20AC;&#x201C; managed to meet elementary and high school targets for their lowincome populations. According to officials in both districts, this achievement on the new state performance reports is due, in large part, to their ongoing analysis of individual student data by multiple data teams. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What we have done deliberately is to use our testing [data] and analyze it on a continuing basis,â&#x20AC;? explained Stamford Board of Education member and CABE City Representative Dr. Polly Rauh. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have a district data team and we have a data team in each building and then at the grade levels. And they use it for action â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not information for infor-mation sake. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ok to know â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Johnny did this and he hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mastered that,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; but what are you going to do about it? So they are regrouping continually and focusing in on what that data tells them. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the key â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do testing to accumulate the scores and send them to the state.â&#x20AC;? A District Performance Index (DPI) for the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) is â&#x20AC;&#x153;the test performance of all subjects tested in the respective assessment for all students in the district,â&#x20AC;? according to the State Department of Education. The DPI ranges in value from 0 to 100 points and Connecticutâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ultimate target See BLOOMFIELD page 10

INSIDE THIS EDITION President Commentary ........................ 2 Executive Director Commentary ......... 3 What board members should know about finances ................................................ 4 The Nutmeg Board .............................. 5 The Policy Corner ............................... 6 CT at Risk Gifted/Talented Students ... 7 Understanding Basic Facebook ......... 12 Professional Development ................. 13

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

Boards must set the tone as leaders of public education Did you know that there are more African Americans in prison today or “under watch” of the criminal justice system than were enslaved in 1850? This startling information is courtesy of Brian Stevenson, the Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, based in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Stevenson is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government and is currently a professor at NYU School of Law. During a recent interview, Mr. Stevenson said, that “50 to 60% young men of color are in jail or prison or on parole. The large numbers of people incarcerated is due largely to the war on drugs which has been largely waged in poor communities of color despite the fact that there is no evidence that black people use or sell drugs any more than white people.” 2.5 million African Americans are prohibited from voting in their communities because of unfair laws in many states that deny the right to vote for convicted felons. Attorney General Eric Holder refers to these policies as “disenfranchisement laws”. The reason I am writing about this is because I believe the “achievement gap” in public schools is much deeper and more profound than poor children of color not meeting certain benchmarks. Many of the gaps lie with unjust laws and policies perpetuated by our State and Federal Governments. America’s schools at the present time are not helping to correct these issues. According to the “Advancement Project” harsh school policies and practices along with the increased role of law enforcement in schools have combined to create a school to prison pipeline. More

People in the News Robert Rader, Executive Director, CABE, has been named to the Board of Directors of the Connecticut’s Regional Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Its mission statement: “ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry in the U.S. and abroad through information, education, legislation, and advocacy. ADL serves as a resource for government, media, law enforcement, educators and the public.” Its well-known programs for schools include “A World of Difference” and training for school resource officers. Anne Littlefield, a partner at Shipman and Goodwin, was recently elected to a second two-year term on the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of School Attorneys Board of Directors. Congratulations Anne!

than three million students have been suspended out of school, expelled, and or experienced school based arrests. The students being pushed out through harsh discipline are disproportionately Richard Murray male and of color. Recent data shows that 74% of the students are male and are 3.5 times more likely a student of color. Students with disabilities and LGBTQ are also being impacted. Connecticut’s vigorously debated recent action to eliminate school suspensions, except as a last resort, is being hailed by people working to change these trends.

“We need to promote caring, positive, nurturing relationships between adults and students in our schools.”

Mission: To assist local and regional boards of education in providing high quality education for all Connecticut children through effective leadership. 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 Daniel Gentile ................................... Area 1 Co-Director, Plymouth Jeffrey Currey ............................. Area 2 Co-Director, East Hartford Susan Karp ................................... Area 2 Co-Director, Glastonbury Donald Harris ................................. Area 2 Co-Director, Bloomfield Laura Bush ................................................. Area 3 Director, Vernon Douglas Smith .................................. Area 4 Co-Director, Plainfield 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 Director, Essex Aaron Daniels ........................................... Area 9 Director, Norwich


In order to change these institutional biases that clearly disenfranchise young men and boys of color we need to each figure out what we can do to change the odds of success. Public schools should ensure that every child has access to high quality early pre-school. We need to promote caring, positive, nurturing relationships between adults and students in our schools. Boards of Education must change policies regarding zero tolerance and other harsh discipline measures. Most importantly in my view, Boards of Education must set the tone as leaders of public education in their communities. We must reflect the diversity of the districts we represent and seriously work toward understanding the issues, particularly those that young men of color face growing up in a society that doesn’t necessarily value their lives or their potential contributions to their communities. If we do not work to change policies and the perceptions of those policies we, (BOEs) will become increasingly irrelevant. Boards of Education will truly be the catalyst for change when urban communities feel represented on their Boards and their concerns are validated and not just given lip service.

Governor’s Common Core Task Force Representing boards of education at the first meeting of the Governor’s Common Core Task Force are (left) Elizabeth Brown, Member, Waterbury Board of Education and State Relations Chair, CABE; and (right) Donald Harris, Chair, Bloomfield Board of Education, and Area 2 Co-Director, CABE. In between them is State Department of Education Chief Adacemic Officer Dianna Roberge-Wentzell.

Eileen Baker .............................................. Associate, Old Saybrook Sharon Beloin-Saavedra .............................. Associate, New Britain Gary Brochu .......................................................... Associate, Berlin Robert Guthrie .............................................. Associate, West Haven Robert Trefry ........... Associate, CT Technical High School System 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 Denise Roberts .................................... Admin. Asst. for Membership Services 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/May





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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

New Study Indicates What We Need to Do The Fordham Institute, whose president, Chester Finn, has called school boards “an aberration, an anachronism, an educational sinkhole” that should be put “out of its misery”, recently printed a report entitled, Does School Board Leadership Matter? It definitely contradicts the spirit of Mr. Finn’s 2006 comment. The document provides information that we have known ever since the original Iowa Lighthouse Initiative was released that school boards, particularly their attitudes on student learning, are an important element of student success. Other information points us to what we must do to ensure that boards remain relevant, effective and beneficial. The report comes along at a critical time for executive directors from state school boards associations involved in attempting to discern what the board of tomorrow will be like. It gives us an idea of what boards need to do to accomplish their primary goal: increasing student achievement and growth. I believe it also implicitly supports the idea of boards of education, with all of their warts, is the most effective way in which to govern almost all school districts. The study is, according to authors Arnold F. Shober and Michael T. Hartney, “to our knowledge the first large-scale effort to gauge the capacity of board members to lead America’s school district effectively.” They started with information from “a national [2009] survey of 900 school board members situated across 417 unique school districts.” They then combined this information with demographic and student achievement data for the same districts. The study attempted to look at the capacity of school districts in terms of whether they “demonstrate accurate knowledge of actual district conditions, believe that improving student learning is important… and engage in a particular set of work practices while overseeing their districts.”

The Study’s Findings The bolded sentences below indicate findings from the study. Other comments are mine. 1. Board members, by and large, possess accurate information about their districts and adopt work practices that are generally similar across districts. But there is little consensus about which goals should be central. This is, overall, a positive report. The fact that board members have good information about their districts is a hugely significant fact. Such data, whether provided by the administration or by other board members or from the community is central to making good decisions.

Unfortunately, while the report states that in the areas of school finance, teacher pay, collective bargaining and class size board members have “reasonable knowledge of district conditions”, they “appear less knowledgeable about the rigor (or lack thereof) of academic standards in their respective states…” 2. Districts that are more successful academically have board members who assign high priority to improving student learning. School boards that comprise a higher proportion of members who have an academic focus are, all else being equal, more likely to govern districts that “beat the odds” — that is, districts whose students perform better academically than one would expect, given their demographic and financial characteristics. Thirty years ago, the focus of boards across the country were on issues that helped define labor/management relationships, such as collective bargaining, the termination of underperforming teachers and fiscal matters. Today, much more of the focus is on student achievement, measured in standardized test scores and in other ways. However, we still have not identified what those “other ways” are. The public basically only sees and reacts to the test results. Districts that are “punching above their weights” (my phrase), are those that have embraced raising student achievement as the central goal of the board. While all boards are affected by such factors as politics, funding and other issues, boards able to focus on academics do the best… which is what the original Lighthouse study taught us a decade ago. On the other hand, the study is based on the 2009 survey. I would hope that today, with all of the discussion of Common Core and five more years of discussion of increasing student achievement, there would be an even stronger recognition of the importance of increasing achievement. 3. Political moderates tend to be more informed than liberals and conservatives when it comes to money matters; educators and former educators are less informed. This is a particularly interesting finding. While the study found “strong evidence that both knowledge and focus are shaped by board members’ occupational background and political ideology”, which is no surprise, it found that political liberals “are more

Robert Rader

likely than moderates or conservatives to place less focus on improving student learning, believing instead that schools serve many goals”. On the other hand, conservatives “do not subscribe to either an academic or plural focus, suggesting that their priorities may lie in financial stewardship (or other matters) rather than in student learning or other outcomes.” Interestingly, those who work or have worked in education (it is widely believed that as many as 20 percent of board members are either current or retired teachers) and business leaders do not necessarily focus on student performance. 4. At-large, on-cycle elections are associated with districts that beat the odds. This would appear to be good news for Connecticut, where almost all school board elections occur in conjunction with general elections. The study did not examine the effect of board members running on political lines, which comes with its own benefits and disadvantages.

Stay Knowledgeable and Relevant This study indicates a need to keep our eye on the prize: higher academic achievement for all of our students. It reminds us that board members must become as knowledgeable as possible on understanding relevant data, as well as best practices and current education trends. In most cases, board members do not join boards as experts in education and, as the study shows, those who do, do not necessarily focus on student achievement. But, the board members who are determined to learn more and, I would add, get involved in regional and statewide opportunities for learning, provide their districts with the value added that, will make their boards and their students even more successful than they are now. And in this competitive world, every little bit helps. The study can be found at:


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May


What board members should know about finances I recently spoke before the Connecticut Association of School Business Officials (CASBO). Besides being our allies in the WhatWillOurChildrenLose coalition and in many other areas, members of CASBO play a critical role in the operations of our school districts. CASBO’s Executive Director Sharon Bruce asked me to discuss what school business officials need to know about boards. After explaining that board members need not have any knowledge of fiscal matters before they joined their boards, it is critical that they have an orientation to learn about this crucial area of their oversight responsibilities. As you know, Connecticut has no mandatory training of any type for Board members. Twenty three states do have that requirement and, after a scandal years ago in New York, board members are now required to take workshops on these issues.

I asked the New York State School Boards Association what was covered in these workshops. With the help of CASBO, I took these areas that can be used in an orientation for new board members in Connecticut. Comments in italics are meant to present information especially helpful to Connecticut Board members. • The key role of the Auditor and - understanding the audit • Preventing Fraud, Waste and Abuse - What is Fraud, Waste and Abuse? - Red Flags for Fraud - What you should do if you suspect fraud, waste or abuse • Revenue Sources - State and federal grants - Property Tax and the town or city/ school board relationship • Budget Process - Building the budget - Multi-Year Planning - Budget Challenges

Awards of Excellence in Educational Communications

• • •

• •

- Communicating and Promoting the Budget Reserve Funds can/can’t do’s Encumbrances Board Policies and Practices - Budget Transfers  Include Policy on transfers - Purchasing - Accounting Uniform System of Accounts Reports - Budget Status - Revenue - Student Activity Funds and Reporting - Understanding State Reports ED001 Financial Report - Identifying Indicators of Fiscal - Stress Negotiations - Binding arbitration

Board members in Connecticut should also learn about working with and the responsibilities of local finance authorities. These are different for each community.

As stated in Tom Mooney’s A Practical Guide to Connecticut School Law, Board members, especially new ones, should understand that local districts operate on an annual funding basis and have no authority to operate on a deficit. Board members or school officials who authorize expenditures in excess of the funds appropriated to the Board theoretically face personal liability. There have not been any cases on this, but an expenditure in excess of the budget can open up this liability if done wantonly or without good faith. Conn. General Stat. section 7-349. Thus, reports from your school business official projecting where you will end the school year are especially important. In the next year, CABE will be working with CASBO on a short handbook on some of these issues for our members. Region 7 School Business Manager and CASBO President Richard Carmelich helped in the preparation of this article. Robert Rader, Executive Director, CABE

What will the

Connecticut Online Policy Service (C.O.P.S.) provide YOUR district? CABE President Richard Murray, (Killingly); presented the Awards of Excellence in Educational Communications to EASTCONN Executive Director Paula M. Colen; Executive Board Chair Herbert Arico (Willington); Director of Marketing and Communications Dorothy Budnick; Graphic Designer and Web Master Cynthia Laurendeau; and Media Liaison/Manager of Marketing and Communications Teddie Sleight.

State Board of Education Draws Crowd Sheila McKay Senior Staff Associate for Government Relations, CABE

Over 70 people came out to testify on the consideration of four charter schools at the State Board meeting on April 2. Those opposed and in favor spoke passionately about the needs of their districts. The board voted favorably on all four schools. The Winchester Board of Education and the town came to an agreement with the state on the minimum budget requirement. The State Board of Education voted to approve the agreement which delineates the Winchester Board’s authority and the payment schedule of funds from

the town to the board. With a favorable vote to amend the agenda, the State Board of Education considered the sliding scale for pre-school tuition at Regional Education Service Centers. Using State Median Income (SMI) levels (as they are also used by the Office of Early Childhood), those families with less than or equal to 74% of SMI, which comes to $65,866 will not be charged. Those above that percentage will be charged $3,800 yearly or $95 per week. A resolution on the Common Core State Standards, was approved by the board, essentially reiterated its approval of July 10, 2010.

• 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 860-5717446 or email for full details.

Let the CABE staff make your policy life easier.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May 2014 See You in Court – The Nutmeg Board of Education

The Nutmeg Board Deals with creating a Technology Advisory Committee 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. The Nutmeg Board of Education has a practice of naming parents and others to committees to advise the Board on issues ranging from course offerings to the selection of a new mascot for the sports teams. Mr. Superintendent recently got into the act by creating a Technology Advisory Committee to review and make recommendations concerning a proposed new BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) policy that would permit students to bring their laptops and iPads to school and connect to the Internet. Mr. Superintendent posted a notice on the district website seeking volunteers. For a committee of ten, some thirty parents expressed interest. Mr. Superintendent chose the committee members by

random selection, but from the very first meeting, he realized that his leaving committee membership to chance was a big mistake. “This job won’t take long,” new committee member Wally Windbag announced at the first meeting. “What idiot wrote this policy? Letting kids get on the Internet is a terrible idea. We should not waste another minute talking about such stupidity. We should tell the Board to drop the idea, and then we should adjourn. Permanently.” “Actually, I wrote the draft policy,” responded Mr. Superintendent. “We want to facilitate student learning, and by permitting students to use technology that they are familiar with, we think that we can create a learner-friendly environment.” Unfortunately, Wally wasn’t buying it, and things went from bad to worse. Not only was Wally unwilling to back off from his position that the policy was a dumb idea, but he made his points in vulgar and antagonistic ways. The meeting ended abruptly, and in the following days virtually every other member of the committee called Mr. Superintendent to

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

implore him to remove Wally from the committee. Mr. Superintendent realized that he had no choice but to do so. Mr. Superintendent called Wally up the next day to notify him that he was off the committee. Wally was quiet, ominously so, and his response was simple – you do what you have to do, and I will do what I have to do . . . . Mr. Superintendent was soon shocked to find out what Wally meant. The next day Mr. Board Chairperson forwarded Mr. Superintendent an email that Wally had sent to the entire Board of Education and Town Council: Did you know? Mr. Superintendent is a vindictive man who appoints only “yes-men” to his committees. Apparently he can’t bear to hear the truth. In fact, he hides the truth. He falsified his résumé and cheated in his courses. How can you let a liar and a cheat be the leader of the school district? Mr. Superintendent couldn’t believe it. Of course, his résumé was accurate, and he didn’t even know where to begin with the allegation of cheating. He called Mr. Chairperson right away to see what can be done. “What are you going to do with this guy?” Mr. Superintendent asked. “No offense, but I don’t plan to stay in Nutmeg for the rest of my life, and these baseless allegations could be harmful if the press gets involved and someone Googles me later.” “Well, gee,” Mr. Chairperson hemmed and hawed. “I mean it really stinks that he is badmouthing you and all, but doesn’t some criticism come with the territory?” “Are you kidding?” responded Mr. Superintendent. “I want the Board to sue this guy, and I sure hope that the other Board members have more courage than you do.” Should the Board look the other way, or can and should the Board sue Wally? Mr. Chairperson is right about one thing. Public officials pay a price for their service, and criticism of one’s words and deeds comes with the territory. The problem here is that Wally’s comments were more than criticism; they were defamatory. Defamation is a tort (a civil wrong) that can subject the perpetrator to damages. To establish defamation, however, one must show more than criticism. Saying someone is a lousy school employee or board member is an expression of opinion, and people are free to express their opinion. To be defamatory, a statement must be asserted as a fact; it must be false, and it must harm one’s reputation. Here, Wally called Mr. Superintendent a liar and a cheater, and his allegations that Mr. Superintendent falsified is record and cheated in school were asserted as facts. Therefore, if Mr. Superintendent proved that Wally’s statements are false and that they harmed his reputation, under the

normal rules Wally would be liable for defamation. For superintendents and board members, however, life is not that simple. In the interest of a robust public debate, special rules have evolved in the courts as to public officials and public figures. The same elements of defamation apply – assertion of fact, falsity, and harm to reputation. However, public officials or public figures cannot recover in defamation unless they can also show that the false statement was made with malice or reckless disregard for the truth. Interestingly, our Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that the special rules pertaining to public officials apply even to classroom teachers. It is therefore difficult for educators to win such claims. That said, here Wally appears to be liable for defamation. Unless he can show that he had some reasonable basis for making the false charges against Mr. Superintendent, a court would likely find Wally’s statements about Mr. Superintendent to have been made maliciously or with reckless disregard for the truth. The claim is a personal one. Mr. Superintendent was the injured party, and he may recover damages for the injury he suffered through Wally’s defamation. A related question, however, is whether the Nutmeg Board of Education can reimburse Mr. Superintendent for his legal expenses in bringing the claim. It has no legal obligation to do so, and there are no Connecticut cases on the subject. Moreover, boards of education are permitted to spend money only for public purposes, not to right private wrongs. However, here the Nutmeg Board of Education would have a legitimate interest in preserving public confidence in the operation of the school district by protecting its superintendent (or another employee) from being defamed. Accordingly, I believe that the Board can assist Mr. Superintendent in bringing such a claim. Finally, creating committees to assist school officials and/or the board of education can be a good idea, the Wally’s of the world notwithstanding. When doing so, however, we must always remember that committees created by public agencies (including by the superintendent and other school officials) are themselves public agencies. Therefore, the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act apply to the work of such committees. Such committees must post their meetings, and the public must be permitted to attend those meetings. Moreover, any records that such committees create in the course of their work (including emails) will be public records, subject to public disclosure upon request unless the record is otherwise exempt from disclosure in accordance with statute. Attorney Thomas B. Mooney is a partner in the Hartford law firm of Shipman & Goodwin who works frequently with boards of education. Mooney is a regular contributor to the CABE Journal.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May

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 meeting has been a terrific investment for the Region #18 Schools. We have saved money by eliminating the need for paper packets as well as the cost of mailing those packets. As an added benefit, we now have the ability to allow board members to follow along in “real time” with our monthly education presentations. This tool is a must have in today’s digital world.” Ian Neviaser Superintendent, Region 18 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


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

The District’s Policy Role in Preventing Teen Dating Violence What is Teen Dating Violence? Dating violence, a type of intimate partner violence, occurs between two people in a close relationship. It can be physical, emotional, or sexual and can take place in person or electronically. Electronically it includes repeated texting or posting sexual pictures of a partner online. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Dating violence often starts with teasing and name calling. These behaviors, often thought to be a “normal” part of a relationship, can lead to serious violence like physical assault and rape. Gender-based violence affects boys and girls of all ages, from every socioeconomic group, race, religion, and sexual orientation; in all regions of the country; and in schools of every type. Such violence can affect any member of the school community but girls typically face disproportionate rates of victimization, which can begin very early. Of those who have ever experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, about 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men were first victimized between 11 and 17 years of age. Dating violence is a serious problem in our country. Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family. The National Center for Disease Control states that among adult victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, 22.4% of women and 15.0% of men first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age. Further, approximately 9% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months before being surveyed. Dating violence can negatively affect an individual’s health throughout life. Teen victims are more likely to be depressed and do poorly in school. Gender-based violence has serious consequences for victims and their schools. Witnessing violence has been associated with decreased school attendance and academic performance. Teenage victims of physical dating violence are more likely than their nonabused peers to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, using drugs and/or alcohol, eating disorders, engaging in risky sexual behaviors and attempting or considering suicide. Teens victimized in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.

Statistics Show The Centers for Disease Control

states that one in four teens will experience dating abuse during this year. A Connecticut health survey indicated that 17% of Connecticut high school students have been in a verbally abusive dating relationship, 10% in a physically abusive dating relationship and 7.4% were forced into sexual intercourse. Students in a verbally abusive relationship were four times more likely to attempt suicide. Studies show that people who harm their dating partners are more depressed and are more aggressive than peers. Other factors that increase risk for harming a dating partner include trauma symptoms, alcohol use, having a friend involved in dating violence, having problem behaviors in other areas, belief that dating violence is acceptable, exposure to harsh parenting, exposure to inconsistent discipline and a lack of parental supervision, monitoring, and warmth. The ultimate goal is to stop dating violence before it starts. Strategies that promote healthy relationships are vital. Research shows that schools can make a difference in preventing teen violence and other forms of gender-based violence. Similar to other risk factors threatening student health and safety, it is necessary to create safe school climates by strengthening students’ social and emotional skills, developing educator capacity to engage students and families, and implementing multitier behavioral supports.

What Schools Need To Do Schools need to work with their communities in taking a comprehensive approach to these issues. Cooperative relationships with community groups and organizations that provide services to victims of gender-based violence increase awareness of community supports and resources. Local law enforcement organizations established to assist victims of gender based crimes are excellent resources. Preteens and teens need the skills to form positive relationships with others. This is the ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent dating violence patterns that can last into adulthood. Educators can play an important role in protecting students from victimization and its long-lasting effects. Schools, research indicates, can make a difference in preventing teen and gender-based violence. Our efforts should be aimed at the creation of safe school climates in which by students’ social and emotional skills are strengthened. School districts are required to offer health and safety education in grades K12 in a planned, ongoing and systematic fashion. Further, boards of education are mandated to provide in-service training for its teachers, administrators and pupil personnel on teen dating violence and domestic violence programs. The state’s

bullying legislation also holds schools responsible for providing a healthy and safe learning environment for students.

Resources Many resources are available to assist local districts. The Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) has created a Web page addressing teen dating violence. It can be accessed at: violence. The SDE, in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes available resources to school communities including the Sexual Violence Prevention Plan and the Educator’s Resource Kit. The federal Department of Education released a teen dating violence training module, “Get Smart, Get Help, Get Safe,” which is a “train the trainer” module designed to help school counselors and school psychologists deal with this issue. “Understanding Teen Dating Violence,” a basic fact sheet by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outlines the behaviors and risks associated with teen dating violence, and the preventative measures that communities can take. “Dating Matters,” a free, online course developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is available to educators. It helps educators identify the risk factors and warning signs of dating violence.

Policy Implications It is recognized that a policy prohibiting dating violence might be hard for a school district to enforce unless the district can prove some sort of connection to the school. Efforts in this area are covered in part by existing policies pertaining to child abuse and neglect, harassment, bullying, cyberbullying, family life education, nondiscrimination, and health. Policy language pertaining to this issue, which can be incorporated into some existing policies, should include a statement that dating violence will not be tolerated, dating violence reporting procedures, guidelines for responding to atschool and school events incidents of dating violence and training, as required by state statute, for certified staff. There are many samples of policy #5145.52, “Harassment.” One version has been revised to contain optional language to consider pertaining to teen dating violence. The focus of the policy should be on education. A sample administrative regulation has been modified to contain language pertaining to dating violence. Be aware that it is possible that the dating violence situation involves a student and a non-student. It is important that the policy language speaks to issues having a nexus to the school situation for the student involved.

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May



Connecticut’s At Risk Gifted and Talented Students John Pellino President, Connecticut Association for the Gifted

As President of the Connecticut Association for the Gifted, (CAG) I’ve often spoken to Boards of Education and the public concerning the value of services and programs for gifted and talented students. I come to this volunteer position as a former gifted student, educator, researcher, parent, advocate and administrator. CAG is a statewide organization that during five decades has provided a voice for students who wish to - and manage to - excel. Our goal is to provide a no-ceiling world for students, and we do this by informing parents, training educators, linking best practices, and empowering policy makers. The current changes to education in Connecticut, while significant for mainstream students, do not bode well for Gifted and Talented students. According to its authors, the Common Core standards “do not define the nature of advanced work for students who meet the Standards prior to the end of high school.” Smarter Balanced testing is adaptive but does not evaluate students outside their grade level. The default position for education will not address high-ability students. They need more. Over the past year, CAG has developed significant partnerships with both the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS). The possibilities for new and richer roads to talent development are coming together statewide. Of particular importance is creating awareness of the many high-potential students from economically diverse backgrounds who are not recognized for their strengths and abilities. My professional position is Associate Director at Talcott Mountain Science Center. Through my job, I’ve

taught gifted and talented students for three decades. Many of these programs are the result of being in a state where, until 1991, districts were reimbursed by the state for the money spent on services for gifted students. Of no small effect was the fact that the National Research Center for Gifted and Talented included UCONN and has trained thousands of educators, many of whom have staffed and supported these programs. Connecticut has a long and deservedly proud history of supporting highability students, with support from some exceptional educators. I’ve seen these students thrive and excel with the attention and focused cooperation of teachers and parents. In this day and age, that’s a sign of leadership on the part of districts who maintain these programs. Others have and will look to these districts for guidance. In too many towns, the myth is alive that smart kids will automatically excel, that they’re smart, that they’ll figure it out with or without our help. Would they do “OK” if programs and opportunities were not there? Perhaps. But, I for one, am not willing to settle for “OK” from our ablest of students, any more than a coach would settle for “OK” from their star athletes. Gifted students form a significant portion of the educational spectrum. They provide aspirational goals for all students. Practices developed with and championed by G/T teachers and learners have lead to critical thinking skills, talent development models, and school-wide enrichment. Exemplary programs such as Odyssey of the Mind, FIRST Robotics, and the Invention Convention have a strong lineage of G/T teaching and learning. Concepts like inquiry science, authentic learning, multiple intelligences and a host of others might be in the backwaters were it not for gifted education. We are in a “new sputnik” era, where the issues of

Available from the CABE Bookstore!

Understanding the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act and Access to Public Meetings and Records Fourth Edition Written by: Mark J. Sommaruga, Esq. Pullman & Comley, LLC to order the FOIA book go to the CABE Online Bookstore at

technology, finance, and values will not be solved just by doing “OK”, but by using all of our talents, including those of the best and the brightest. Education is all about talent development, at every level. Get students from point A to point B academically, wherever those points may be. It makes no sense for a school system to say “we are all for developing talent in our students, but only up to a point”. This is not elitism, it’s not exclusionary. It’s aspirational. Why draw a line in the sand and say “No further”? Why would any community want to send a message that we want all children, except these over here, to have the opportunities that challenge them, that drive them to achieve? Who would be willing to say to certain students “It’s OK. Sit down. You’ll be fine. Go along. Don’t reach.” If a culture values, celebrates, funds and elevates the physically gifted, whether they be athletes, dancers, musicians or artists, then it owes it to itself to equally value academics, and those whose talents can lead the way forward in solving problems and reinventing ourselves. Connecticut is a state that has reinvented itself several times over. Agriculture. Manufacturing. Commerce. Insurance. Aerospace Arts. Bioscience. We are now in the midst of reinventing education. I offer that it will be short-term savings but a long-term failure if we revise how we deal with education broadly, but install a ceiling, and not allow students to rise as high as they can, but only as high as we tell them they can. As the leader of CAG, an organization focused on students at the high end of the academic scale, I offer our combined expertise and experience to help develop, reinvent, connect and share what Connecticut is capable of, so that we can be an exemplary community in how we support and celebrate all learners.

Some of the 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.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May


Interview with Dr. James Comer Dr. Comer: We need to change the system from a focus on curriculum, instruction, and assessment based entirely on test scores. The purpose of education should be to help children grow up and be successful in school and in meeting adult life tasks. That takes more than good test scores. We need a more holistic, comprehensive approach to education for all students. It must provide academic competencies; as well as social-interactive, psycho-emotional, ethical, and executive functions competencies. Parents will want to involved in schools with a focus on what their children will obviously need. Bob: What do you think of Common Core? Dr. Comer: Depending on how it is managed, it can be another example of focusing on academic outcome rather than the developmental capacities students will need to be successful in real life. Bob: How do you measure the development of people? Dr. Comer: Quantitative ways are least useful. You need to observe and measure capacity acquisition. With a focus on academic, social, and personal capacity building, and where a child does or does not gain, parents and teachers can determine growth and where further work may need to be done. Bob: Are there any schools in Connecticut in particular that have been able to do this? Dr. Comer: Very few. Across the country, including Connecticut, the education dollar is tied to test scores. This encourages political, economic and social actions selling measurable “quick fixes.”

Too few people are asking what we need to do to help young people be successful as adults in a society that is becoming increasing complex. In my opinion, our democracy is at risk. Bob: When CABE speaks about Common Core, we don’t say “just college and career ready,” which are the buzz words. We say “and prepared to be good citizens of the United States, of their state and their local communities.” Dr. Comer: That is important but too few people value those things. Money is corrupting everything in education. Bob: What do you think of education in Connecticut today? Dr. Comer: We have many affluent, well-educated families whose children are receiving a reasonably good education. But, this is not happening in too many places. And there is too little emphasis of preparing any students to appreciate and support our democracy. Bob: Is there a way to close the achievement gap in Connecticut? Dr. Comer: I won’t even talk about the achievement gap. In 1983 the two schools using our model in New Haven had moved from 32nd and 33rd in achievement of 33 schools, worst attendance and behavior to tie for 3rd and 4th in achievement, best attendance and no serious behavior problems. The gap was closed. There was no support to build on this outcome. Rather than the gap, the question should be what is needed to motivate policy makers, educator preparatory programs, and practice leaders to put in place the principles and practices that made our outcomes, and now similar programs, possible; and what is needed to extend and sustain such gains.

There’s still time to register for this year’s

Legislative Wrap-Up of the 2014 General Assembly Find out what happened and what are the implications for your school district? Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:00 - 11:00 am Legislative Office Building, Room 2A, Hartford You can register online at or call the CABE office at 860-571-7446

CABE Executive Director Robert Rader interviews Dr. James Comer in his office in New Haven.

Bob: So districts are not using the best practices? Dr. Comer: The concept of best practice is faulty. Political, economic, educational and social factors beyond the school, but played out in the school—for example the preparation of educators without addressing the need to integrate child development, teaching and learning—makes the effectiveness of all practices dependent on staff make-up at a given time and therefore temporary. Whose responsibility is it to create a system of education that works for all the education stakeholders almost all of the time?

change. The legislators who are involved in education need to know more about education. There is scientific evidence that intelligence is learned and developed and it needs to become a central part of the way we conceptualize education; and more.

Bob: What do you want board members to do? Dr. Comer: I want them to know that when students are developing well they will learn. With this knowledge it will be their responsibility to insist that schools of education turn out people who can integrate developmental and academic knowledge in a way that helps students develop well. Also, they can be advocates Bob: So, if you are talking to board members and superintendents is it their job to other policymakers and education stakeholders for preparatory programs to bring in the best practices? that provide such knowledge and skills. Dr. Comer: It is their job to find people with the capacity to carry-out the best education practice possible. But, there Bob: Thank you Dr. Comer. We really is no single group totally responsible. appreciate you taking the time to speak Schools of education need to work with us. differently to help bring about needed

NSBA Delegate Assembly (continued from page 1) agencies” in the absence of authorizing legislation, viewing it as an “invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority.” Such overstepping has had a detrimental effect on schools and districts, including imposing unnecessary financial and administrative requirements and preventing local school officials from making the best decisions for their students based on their close knowledge of community needs and priorities. • Opposition to privatization — vouchers, tuition tax credits, and charter schools not authorized by local school boards. Privatization has resulted in a “second system of publicly funded education” that sends tax-payer money to private schools, fails to hold private schools

accountable for evaluating and reporting student and financial performance and abiding by open meeting requirements, and often has the effect of resegregating schools. • Support for high academic standards, including Common Core, when they are voluntarily adopted by states with school board input and when the standards are free from federal directions, mandates, funding conditions or coercion. Local school boards are responsible for the implementation of any new academic standards. Instruction and materials should be locally approved, to reflect community needs. The resolution urges states to provide the financial and technical support that school districts require to implement voluntarily adopted rigorous standards in an effective and timely manner.

The Journal â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May 2014


CABE Meeting Members Needs through individualized workshops, services CABE-Meeting and CABE CONNection to learn more about these services contact CABE at 860-571-7446.

Current Subscribers to CABE-Meeting From September 2013 to April 2014 workshops presented in Districts: Administrator/Board Planning and Retreats, Board Self-Evaluation, Board/Superintendent Relations, District Priorities, Goal Setting, Lighthouse Planning and Training, some districts have multiple visits. Current Subscribers to CABE CONNection


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May


Bloomfield and Stamford shine on DPI (continued from page 1) or a DPI is 88 because in a district with a DPI of 88 or above, students will have performed at or above the “goal” level on the majority of tests, says the SDE. For example, among Stamford students who took the CMT in 2012-13 and were eligible for free/reduced lunch, the district met its DPI target of 65.5 by notching a 65.8. In addition to data teams contributing to this success, Stamford has effectively utilized interventions along with—not in place of – regular instructional programs, stressed Rauh. “I think probably the biggest thing is that we have looked at interventions as not taking the place of the regular instructional programs but on top of it – it does not supplant,” she stated. “It enhances and we do a lot of after school and before school [interventions], but particularly after school, interventions for these youngsters. I’m talking about low income and any child who needs it.” Up state in Bloomfield, Superintendent Dr. James Thompson said meeting elementary and high school targets for his district’s low-income populations is all part of a larger “vision” that was implemented about three years ago when he came to Bloomfield. “In creating that vision we brought in

our stakeholders and that vision allowed us to guide us into establishing four priorities: the first one has to do with holistic accountability; the second one is rigorous curriculum, instruction and assessment; third is positive school climate; and the fourth is parent and community engagement,” explained Thompson, who has a reputation for transforming struggling school systems. “And we have developed goals and strategies around those four priorities that really have led us in developing our work around reforming the district,” added Thompson. In Bloomfield, with respect to free/ reduced lunch eligible students who took the CAPT in 2012-13, the DPI target of 56.1 was exceeded, as the district recorded a 63.6. The superintendent added that his school system has “some very interesting programs” to help with its reformation. He continued, “One I am going to highlight is extended learning…extended learning time happens to be an extended day as well as, we don’t call it summer school, we call it the ‘early start program’ … this summer will be our fourth year.” Bethany Silver – Bloomfield’s Director of Assessment, Evaluation and Research – underscored that Thompson has been a

big difference maker. “Dr. Thompson’s leadership team and really his vision is all about using low stakes benchmark assessments to understand where students are and to design and really create an actionable reporting process so that we can design instruction that meets every kid where they are and move them forward,” she observed. “So, regardless of the student’s demographics, we are really looking at every learner and looking at what skill areas they have, what their strengths are, and trying to leverage those strengths to move them forward in other areas where they need to grow,” continued Silver. Thompson noted Bloomfield has “three distinctive data teams” that regularly analyze student data. “We have a district data team and their primary function is to develop and implement our district accountability plan; and we also have, at the school level … each school has its own respective school level data team and they have a similar function,” explained Thompson, who also noted there is a data team for each grade level. “This is where the work really happens, at the data team meetings.” The data teams closely examine not only academics but also a host of other factors, according to Thompson. “And

this is where they have an opportunity to take a very close look at the data; not just the academic data but also other areas: attendance, climate, engagement and all those things that have a tremendous impact on student achievement. That data is reviewed on a weekly or biweekly basis,” he stressed.

Save the Date!!! Tuesday, July 22, 2014 CABE Summer Leadership Conference Saybrook Point Inn More information to follow.

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May



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:

➤ By promoting

public education:

Participated in WhatWillOurChildren Lose Coalition (CABE, CAPSS, CAS, CASBO) meeting to discuss legislation. Participated in Big Six coalition meeting (CABE, CAPSS, CAS CCER. CBIA, ConnCAN) to discuss legislation. Participated in Connecticut Coalition for Public Education meetings (CABE, CAPSS, CCER, CEA, AFTCT, PTSA) Answered questions about the current legal issues facing boards of education. “HOT” topics this month were: Expulsion hearings, meeting agenda and minutes, board vacancy, search of student possessions, and executive session privilege.

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

➤ By providing services

to meet members needs:

In the process of doing an audit of the Clinton Schools Policy Manual.

Entered into agreements to do audits of the policy manual of Branford and Windham Boards of Education. Entered into agreement to place the policy manual of Bolton online utilizing CABE’s Connecticut Online Policy Service. As part of the Custom Update Service, sent 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. Facilitated a Policy Committee Workshop for the Trumbull Board of Education.

Participated in meeting of CAPSS International Education Committee. Attended National School Boards Association (NSBA) Annual Conference. Facilitated first-ever meeting of State

Board Chair Roundtable

• • •

• •

• • • • •

for members to learn how to better govern their districts:

receive the most up-todate communications:

• •

• •

Attended CABE Board of Directors’ meeting. Provided Legislative Update webinar. As part of the development of new policy manuals utilizing the Custom Policy Service, materials were prepared for Cromwell, Griswold, North Haven, Stratford, Stamford, Wethersfield, Woodbridge and Union Boards of Education. Completed the development of a new policy manual for Union. Entered into agreements to develop new policy manuals for Cromwell

and Thomaston. Tracked current proposed legislation for policy implications.

➤ By providing opportunities

➤ By ensuring members •

Board Chairs from around the State met in the CABE Rovins Conference Room, on March 25, to talk about the biggest issues that they are facing on their local boards of education. CABE asked the question “How Can We Help You?”

Association Convention Managers at the NSBA Conference. Met with UCONN Capstone Project students. Participated in Special Education Task Force meeting. Participated in NSBA Council of School Attorneys Board of Directors and Officers meetings. Led discussion group at NSBA State Association Counsel meeting. Presented workshop on 10 Practices to Avoid Liability at NSBA Conference. Chaired NSBA Council of School Attorneys State Outreach Committee call. Attended Common Core Task Force meetings. Attended Achievement Gap Task Force meetings. Served on CASBO Awards committee. Attended Connecticut Coalition for Public Education meeting. Participated in meeting with other Executive Directors on the future of boards of education. Participated in meetings of executive directors and the Delegate Assembly of the NSBA Conference. Attended CAPSS Technology Committee meeting.

Planned, implemented, facilitated successful Board Chair Roundtable workshop. Staffed and participated in a meeting of the CABE/CAPSS Convention Workshop Proposal Review Subcommittee and the CABE/CAPSS Convention Committee. Hosted a meeting of the CABE/ CAPSS Governance Committee, updating our Governance Statement and Team Assessment document. Presented roles and responsibilities workshops for the Somers and Wethersfield Boards of Education. Provided policy information to 25 districts, two out-of-state school boards associations, through 38 answered requests for information or sample policies, on 29 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 charging of lunches, pool safety, physical activity and discipline restrictions, attendance and a smoke free environment.

➤ By helping school boards to increase student achievement

• •

Held a Lighthouse planning meeting with the Shelton Board of Education. Sent out two issues of Policy Highlights via email listserv covering topics that affect student achievement. This included homework, use of movement to engage students, school start time, nutrition personnel standards, and emotional intelligence and bullying.

Save the Date!

CABE BUILDS LEADERS! “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John Maxwell

Collective Bargaining Workshop June 3, 2014 9:00 am - 12 noon Keeney Memorial Cultural Center Wethersfield Watch your mail for more information.


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


Media Message

from Codie Landsman, Baldwin Media Marketing, LLC CABE and Baldwin Media: Partners in Managing Communications

Understanding Basic Facebook Guidelines More and more schools are utilizing Facebook these days to effectively reach their audience. It’s important to understand the basic guidelines in order to do this effectively. First of all, there are two types of Facebook accounts: personal accounts, and business accounts, which appear in the form of “pages.” Personal accounts focus on friending one another in order to share content, whereas business pages accumulate “likes”. More likes = more followers, which means your content is traveling further and reaching a wider audience. Here we will talk about business accounts for school systems. Here are some basic tips to get your Facebook page for your school going: 1. The Info Page: Start here. This is your school’s “biography,” if you will. This contains information such as your school’s name, category, subcategories, address, start date, and overview. You can find this under the tab “Edit Page” -> “Update Page Info”. Make sure to fill out as much information as you can so that

followers get a good overall feel for your school/district, where you are located, any notable recognition you’ve received over the years, etc. 2. Include a profile picture. Usually a district or school’s logo will suffice. You probably won’t need to change this picture too frequently. 3. Include a cover photo. Feel free to be clever here! A good example would be to show a montage of some of your sports teams, your students in the classroom, and students and staff members coming together for various events. You can update this more frequently, with more relevant and recent photos. 4. Post frequently to your wall/ timeline. This is where followers will see the majority of your content, including posts, images, links, and tags. 5. Speaking of tags…. Tag, and be tagged! Make sure to mention other relevant pages that you are con-

nected to when posting about them. You can utilize the “@” symbol in order to tag a company. Remember, you can only tag other business pages, and not personal pages. 6. And speaking of images – make sure to include plenty of them, in addition to videos! Images and videos capture user’s attention. You don’t want to overload your page with endless lines of text. Switch it up, to keep things interesting and engaging. 7. Add other administrators to your page, by clicking the “Edit Page” tab -> “Manage Admin Roles”. These administrators will be able to add/remove content representing your page. Make sure you trust these individuals with admin privileges. Typically, 1-3 admins will suffice.

9. Click the “See Insights” tab for much more specific data regarding your page likes, post reach, and engagement. 10.

Invite your friends to like your page! You can find this under the “Invite Friends,” which will automatically generate potential followers based on your current followers and friends of the administrators.


You also have the option to promote your page using paid advertisements if you choose to do so that will gain you more likes and followers. This is not a necessary step to having a successful Facebook page.


HAVE FUN, and remember, these days it’s often useful for schools to be active on Facebook, in order to gain exposure and reach your audience. Now go and generate some more likes!

8. Make sure to always monitor for and delete any inappropriate content.

Upcoming Awards! CABE Awards of Excellence in Educational Communication (will be mailed to Board Chairs and Superintendents in early July)

CABE Board Recognition Awards Level I - CABE Board Leadership Award Level II - CABE Board of Distinction Award

(will be mailed to Board Chairs and Superintendents in mid-August) Mark your Calendar and watch your mail for more information. Make sure your district receives the honor they deserve.

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May


We want to meet your needs! The CABE Journal is now provided both electronically and paper copy via U.S. mail. Please contact Cory Ucci (860-571-7446 or 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.



Members of the CABE/CAPSS Convention Committee (Donna Leake, Retired Superintendent; Douglas Smith, Plainfield; Elaine Whitney, Westport; Lisa Steimer, Sr. Staff Assoc. for Professional Development, CABE; Superintendent William Guzman, Tolland; Lydia Tedone, Simsbury; and Tyron Harris, East Hartford) volunteered to serve on the Convention Workshop Selection Sub-Committee. They met to discuss the workshop proposals and make recommendation to the full Committee.

Convention Committee

On March 30, 2014, members of the CABE/CAPSS Convention Committee (those pictured at the meeting are: Patrice A. McCarthy, Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE; Robert Rader, Executive Director, CABE; Gary Brochu, Berlin; William Guzman, Tolland; Committee Chair Elaine Whitney, Westport; Lisa Steimer, Senior Staff Associate for Professional Development, CABE; Denise Roberts, Administrative Assistant for Membership Services; and John Prins, Branford); met to select the workshops that will be presented at the 2014 CABE/CAPSS Convention on November 14-15. The theme for this year is "Public Education in 2027: Courageous Leadership Teams".

Professional Development Opportunities that you can access at your leisure Webinars and podcasts are an excellent way to increase your professional development opportunities. CABE has a number webinars/podcasts available on the CABE website at page.cfm?p=354. Available webinars include:

Update of the Connecticut General Assembly Legislative Session - 3-27-14 The public hearing process has concluded, Patrice A. McCarthy and Sheila McKay, shared the changes in proposed bills and where we still want to lobby for changes. They also review all the MANDATES that are gaining steam.

The Affordable Care Act and Collective Bargaining in Connecticut’s Schools 3-12-14 The U.S. Department of Education has stated it is working to make all schools healthier and safe. To help states, districts, and schools ensure healthy schools and students, the Department encourages school communities to make use of new provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act contains benefits to improve the health care system and will help school communities to focus

on the important work of learning, rather than the cost of health care.

Information on Governor Malloy’s Address on February 6, 2014 The opening day of the General Assembly the Governor addressed the Legislature in joint session. This webinar gives you the facts and educate you on the issues for 2014 and how the state budget will impact your students.

teacher and school district. Handouts available.

*CABE-Meeting: Elections Are Soon – Do You Remember How to Add and Delete Contacts (Board Members)? This quick webinar serves as a refresher course on how to add and delete contacts to CABE-Meeting.

*CABE-Meeting: Customizing Your Agenda and Minutes Templates

A Unique Perspective on Crisis Communications and Planning

This webinar reviews how to customize your agenda and minute templates to make them more than a merely functional document. Learn how to change the font style and size, center (or left or right justify) text, and add your district logo.

Crisis management or strategic communications are a reality that all too many school communities have to face these days. How you deal with traditional and social media in these situations is critical. Ann Baldwin, President of Baldwin Media, shared valuable information on what you need to know when dealing with the press during difficult situations. Handouts are available on the CABE website.

Counselors for Senior Teachers - Helping Teachers to Retire This webinar provides you with information on developing tax-advantage programs to give teachers the incentive to retire that mutually benefit both the

about CABE-Meeting for your district? This webinar will demonstrate the highlights of what CABE-Meeting offers and is appropriate for districts investigating paperless meeting products.

*CABE-Meeting: Board Member Training This webinar is a great refresher course for board members currently using CABE-Meeting. It is also an appropriate training for newly elected board members looking to use CABE-Meeting for the first time.

*CABE-Meeting: Goals Feature The Goals Feature of CABE-Meeting is a useful reporting feature that is easy to use. Over time, you and your board will be able to access a report that shows what agenda topics have been discussed and the goal(s) they are tied to. This is a good self-check for boards to see if they are spending their time on the things they should.

CABE-Meeting Overview Are you interested in learning more

(please see PROFESSIONAL page 15)


The Journal â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May 2014

2014 NSBA Annual Conference Delegate Assembly

CABE Breakfast Around the table are: Elaine Whitney, Westport; Ann Gruenberg, Hampton; and Richard Murray, Killingly.

Representing Connecticut were: Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice A. McCarthy, CABE; First Vice President Ann Gruenberg (Hampton); Executive Director Robert Rader, CABE; Area 2 Co- Director Donald Harris (Bloomfield); and President Richard Murray (Killingly).


Jack Reynolds, Retired Superintendent and Mary Broderick, Past President of both CABE and NSBA, presented a workshop on A Value Driven Governance/Leadership Team: MacroManagement to Inspire Excellence to over 60 attendeees.

Donald Harris, Bloomfield; John Prins, Branford; and Bruce Douglas, CREC.

Gary Brochu (Berlin) and Robert Rader (CABE) presented a workshop to over 40 participants on Professional Governance Boards = Student Success.

Patrice McCarthy, CABE); Donald Kirshbaum; Ann Reynolds; Jack Reynolds; Glenn Koocher, Massachusetts;, and Jenifer Handy, Massachusetts.

Robert Rader, CABE; Kelly Moyher, Senior Staff Attorney, CABE; and Patrice A. McCarthy, CABE; presented a workshop on the Ten Best Practices to Avoid Liability (over 80 people attended).


l. to r., Kathleen Vail (NSBA); Nicholas Caruso, Senior Staff Associate for Field Services and Coordinator of Technology, CABE; Sandy Smart Barry (Maryland); and Kay Douglas (Texas); presented a workshop on What Would You Do? School Board Leadership Resource Center.

Carlos Torre, New Haven; Susan Samuels, New Haven; Lorraine Mitchell; and Bob Mitchell, Montville.

Gary Brochu, Chair, Berlin; Brian Benigni, Assistant Superintendent, Berlin; Irene Matulis, Board Secretary, Berlin; Dave Erwin, Superintendent, Berlin; presented a workshop on the Accountability Cycle for Board Meetings and Work (approximately 60 people attended).

During the parade of State Presidents, CABE President Richard Murray (Killingly) shook hands with NSBA President David Pickler; also on the stage was NSBA President Elect Anne Byrne (New York).

Ann Reynolds; Jack Reynolds; Elaine Whitney, Westport; Lydia Tedone, Simsbury; Chris Wilson, Bristol; Richard Murray, Killingly; and Ann Gruenberg, Hampton.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/May 2014 Professional Development Opportunities that you can access at your leisure (continued from page 13)

Ten Best Practices to Avoid Liability

This webinar provides practical tips on developing and implementing best practices to avoid legal liability. Scenarios will address best practices involving ethics, superintendent searches, student discipline, religious issues, the operation of meetings, and board/ superintendent relations. Handouts are available on the CABE website.

Unemployment Compensation Costs With an Emphasis on Reasonable Assurance In this webinar you will learn about: • Who collects and who does not • What is proper Reasonable Assurance • Who can and cannot collect over the summer • What about unknown staffing levels • Voluntary quits, discharges, end of assignment • Refusal of suitable work • How to prepare for a hearing • How much can someone collect • *Please Note: The audio in the first five minutes of the webinar is poor

but it gets corrected, and you will be able to follow along. Handouts are available on the CABE website.

Professional Governance Boards = Student Success Presenters discussed the importance of Boards of Education operating as a professional governance Board, and its critical role in student success. Boards play a critical role in developing a district culture that recognizes and insists that all children can learn. Presenters also discuss how to build relationships between members, as well as between the Board and other stakeholders. The crucial role of the Board Chair in helping build the culture on the Board will also be discussed. Handouts are available on the CABE website.

How to CABE Your Ways Learn how to navigate through the CABE website for up-to-date information that will help your board of education, administrators and your district. *For CABE-Meeting subscribers.

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.

CABE Search Services is recruiting for

For an update or more information on vacancies go to our website:

Windham Public Schools Superintendent of Schools 3,200 PK-12 Students

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 On Thursday, March 27, Shelia McKay, Senior Staff Associate for Government Relations and Patrice A. McCarthy, Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE; presented a webinar entitled, Updates of the Connecticut General Assembly.

P.O. Box 290252, Wethersfield, CT 06129-0252 Equal Opportunity Employers


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


CABE Journal May 2014  

Volume 18, Number 5

CABE Journal May 2014  

Volume 18, Number 5