Page 1






Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Vol. 20, No. 11

Gruenberg Re-elected CABE President At the Friday evening banquet at the CABE/CAPSS Convention, CABE Immediate Past President Richard Murray, Killingly, announced the 2016-2017 CABE Board of Directors members. Re-elected as President was Ann Gruenberg, Hampton; First Vice President Robert Mitchell, Montville; Vice President for Government Relations Donald Harris, Bloomfield; Vice President for Professional Development Elizabeth Brown, Waterbury; newly elected Secretary/Treasurer Robert Trefry, CT Technical High School System; Immediate Past President Richard Murray, Killingly; John Prins, Branford, Member at Large; and Lydia Tedone, Simsbury, NSBA Director on the Executive Committee. Elected as Area Directors to the CABE Board of Directors were: Area 1 Director Jonathan Moore, Region 1; Area 2 Director Byron Hall, East Hartford; Area 3 Co-Directors Michael Purcaro, Ellington and Michele Arn, Vernon; Area 4 Director Joan Trivella, Brooklyn; Area 5 Director Michelle Embree Ku, Newtown; Area 6 Director Jennifer Dayton, Greenwich; Area 7 Director Roxane McKay, Wallingford; Area 8 Director Lon Seidman, Essex; and Area 9 Director Andrea Ackerman, Groton. Congratulations!

The Leading Voice for Connecticut Public Education

December 2016

“Out of the public schools grows the greatness of a nation.” - Mark Twain, Nov. 23,1900

Coventry students participate in 2016 CABE/CAPSS Convention

November State Board Meeting

Alternative Program Approved Sheila McKay


Student Choice, Voice and Responsibility: Newtown Puts It All Together Robert Rader


It’s been nearly four years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. How much progress has the district made since that awful day? It turns out, quite a lot. Recently, I sat down with Superintendent of Schools Joe Erardi; Head O’Meadow Elementary Principal Barbara Gasparine; Middle School Principal Tom Einhorn; and Hawley School Principal Christopher Moretti to discuss the progress that the district has made since that cool, clear, awful day. Dr. Erardi began by saying that the “district is laser-focused on safety and

security,” and that the district has made great strides in creating the “type of culture and climate in the schools that any superintendent would be proud of.” He is most proud of the “talented leadership team” that has helped move the district forward. He, the Board, administrators and teachers decided, after he came on in 2014, that it was most important that the district concentrate on their “learners”. That’s where the transformation of the district really took place.

Social-Emotional Issues

The district has gotten much support from the State and Federal Governments, Gasparine noted, and the staff developed close teamwork to work on social-emotional issues and worked very closely with parents, including one-on-one when that was necessary. “Teachers are ‘all in’ and their commitment to kids is amazing,” Einhorn went on. See NEWTOWN page 2

While controversial, RELAY Graduate School of Education was approved by the Connecticut State Board of Education (SBOE), as an alternative route to teacher certification at its most recent meeting. The program will lead to a recommendation for candidates to a temporary 90-day certification in elementary and secondary areas of English language arts, mathematics and science. The program, while serving all across the state, will primarily focus on high need and priority districts to recruit and train minority educators. RELAY came before the SBOE more than once seeking approval and ultimately some of the deficiencies were solved in an iterative manner. The program was approved until October 2018. It will have continuous monitoring and an on-site visit no later than the spring of 2018. In an effort to get in front of math results of the new generation of state testing, SBAC, Commissioner Dianna Wentzell formed a Council on Mathematics last spring. A presentation on its work creating a logic framework includes deep knowledge of the content and practice standards; curriculum development and implementations; intervention and acceleration and community and family engagement. The Board received a detailed presentation on chronic absenteeism. Please watch the presentation on http://www.ctn. (11/2/16 at the 3:48 hour mark.) The analysis of data has created better opportunities to understand the causes and with dedication to the review of the data, districts are making great strides. The Board discussed a computer sciSee ALTERNATIVE page 18

SocialEmotional Skills

CABE Delegate Assembly

CABE/CAPSS Convention

Global Competency





81 Wolcott Hill Road Wethersfield, CT 06109-1242

Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Inc.

Periodical Postage PAID Hartford, CT


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016


Working Together for Positive Outcomes

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.


Imagine you have a ticket to an event. Your enthusiasm and excitement are evident. When you arrive, you find that the entire cast has changed. The roles are all being played by others. The event is fundamentally the same, but there are no scripts. There are guidelines and central themes. The characters, to an extent, exercise creativity in how they define and interpret their roles and perform their key functions. As bizarre as this might sound, there are times when we all may experience some version of these circumstances. The peaceful transfer of power in our great United States of America is but one example. The responsibilities, nuances and complexities of various roles are daunting. The rituals and rules provide some structure that can provide stability, but they need to be implemented carefully. The freedoms we have agreed upon in this country are accompanied by some significant guidelines and laws, but there is also a great deal of room for discretion and interpretation. While each of us may be able to imagine this sort of scenario, most of us will never experience that degree of responsibility for the collective well-being. We


Ann Gruenberg

do, however, have both the opportunity and responsibility on different levels. We may not have the level of power attributed to the President of the United States, but we have other levels of responsibility, and there are other ways in which we may position ourselves to make a difference in the lives of children. As members of Boards of Education and leadership teams we are compelled to work within systems, organizing together for the well-being of children. Some of what we do is specific to Connecticut, while other aspects involve working with federal initiatives and structures. As President Obama recently stated, “We are all on one team.” The governance of the United States, while in ways complex, has a built-in set of checks and balances. While at times this may result in functional grid lock, at other times it ensures a balance of power that limits unilateral control and provides built-in structures to sustain diverse perspectives. Civility, mutual respect, and acceptance of diverse perspectives are ideals, values and beliefs that can and must be implemented in the form of action. At CABE, of course, our system of governance is less complex than that of the United States. We don’t have primaries or electoral colleges. We don’t have campaigns that extend over many months. As CABE President getting ready to begin my

second term, I am pleased to report good progress regarding sustaining a shared focus on diversity and equity, working closely with the State Department of Education, the State Board of Education and CAPSS, and coordinating with other organizations to increase our collective leverage in furthering the progress toward shared goals. Our collective effectiveness is contingent upon our clear understanding of personal and shared roles and responsibilities. Working within leadership teams for shared positive outcomes is central to our commitment. Whether we are engaging in a focus group on Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) or lobbying in the legislature, we continue to work together. Our mutual civility and respect support that process. As President, I have great appreciation for your commitment and dedication. Thank you.

Ann Gruenberg | President, Hampton Robert Mitchell | First Vice President, Montville Donald Harris | Vice President for Government Relations, Bloomfield Elizabeth Brown | Vice President for Professional Development, Waterbury Bob Trefry | Secretary/Treasurer, CT Technical High School System Richard Murray | Immediate Past President, Killingly John Prins | Member at Large, Branford Lydia Tedone | NSBA Director, Simsbury


Jonathan Moore | Area 1 Director, Region 1 Byran Hall | Area 2 Director, East Hartford Michael Purcaro | Area 3 Co-Director, Ellington Michele Arn | Area 3 Co-Director, Vernon Joan Trivella | Area 4 Director, Brooklyn Michelle Embree Ku | Area 5 Director, Newtown Jennifer Dayton | Area 6 Director, Greenwich Roxane McKay | Area 7 Director, Wallingford Lon Seidman | Area 8 Director, Essex Andrea Ackerman | Area 9 Director, Groton



(continued from page 1) Moretti then spoke about what he found after he came to the district in 2014. He found that the “staff had to give themselves permission to teach again.” By the “joining of hands, doing things together” the staff has taken off and moved the district into more personalized student learning. Students, Gasparine told me, “understand their learning targets and have developed real voice and choice in what they are learning.” They understand that “school is for them” and work hard for successful outcomes. The Board understands curriculum and instruction through a subcommittee which is focused on these areas. Erardi continued: “we believe recovery in Newtown is going to take a long time, impacting staff as well as youngsters.” But, there are successes that everyone can see, including the high school being named one of the best in the country by Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report. Moretti spoke about “T2E” or “Teach-

Tom Einhorn, Principal, Middle School; Barbara Gasparine, Principal, Head O’Meadow Elementary; Christopher Moretti, Principal, Hawley School; and Superintendent Joe Erardi.

ing to the Edge”, as a way of tying everything together for students. Children are encouraged to ask themselves, “what is important to me?” and because of technology and choice, students engagement has risen and they are taking off as well. All schools have a “celebration of learning every year” so that they can look back and see what students have accomplished. All of the staff also does instructional rounds,” according to Einhorn, working together to help students be successful in personalized learning. “Grit and perseverance are two of the most important attributes that children need to learn.” Dr. Erardi said that “districts that have concerns about school climate and culture, need to empower their leadership team and give them the resources to have meaningful buy-in, not mere compliance.” It is evident that through the clear vision of the Newtown Board of Education, Dr. Erardi and his highly dedicated team of administrators and educators are making a difference . . .one student at a time.

Lessons Learned

There is much other districts can learn from Newtown. Growth in any district is possible

Eileen Baker | Associate, Old Saybrook Sharon Beloin-Saavedra | Associate, New Britain Robert Guthrie | Associate, West Haven Robert Trefry | Associate, CT Technical High School System


Becky Tyrrell | Chair, Federal Relations, Plainville Bryan Hall | Chair, Resolutions, East Hartford Christopher Wilson | Chair, State Relations, Bristol


Richard Wareing | City Representative, Hartford Carlos Torre | City Representative, New Haven Jacqueline Heftman | City Representative, Stamford Charles Stango | City Representative, Waterbury

STAFF Robert Rader | Executive Director Patrice McCarthy | Deputy Director and General Counsel Rebecca Adams | Senior Staff Attorney Bonnie Carney | Senior Staff Associate for Publications Nicholas Caruso | Senior Staff Associate for Field Service and Coordinator of Technology Sheila McKay | Senior Staff Associate for Government Relations Vincent Mustaro | Senior Staff Associate for Policy Service Lisa Steimer | Senior Staff Associate for Professional Development

when: • schools develop a climate of collaboration beyond just cooperation; • all stakeholders work together with an empathetic focus on the needs of staff and students; and, • an optimistic vision of where the district needs to go can help any district succeed despite obstacles in its way.

Teresa Costa | Coordinator of Finance and Administration Pamela Brooks | Senior Administrative Associate for Policy Service and Search Services Terry DeMars | Administrative Associate for Policy Service Gail Heath | Administrative Associate for Government Relations Wilmarie Newton | Administrative Associate for Labor Relations Nancy Propfe | Administrative Assistant for Membership Services Corliss Ucci | Receptionist and Assistant to the Executive Director

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016


Berchem, Moses & Devlin Centris Group Pullman & Comley Shipman & Goodwin Support for the Budgetary Process SILVER MEMBERS Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Arthur J. Gallagher & Company Corporate Cost Control Milone & MacBroom, Inc. Perkins & Eastman The Segal Company Sprint Svigals & Partners BRONZE PLUS MEMBERS BL Companies Coordinated Transportation Solutions Friar Associates Milliman, Inc. O & G Industries The S/L/A/M Collaborative BRONZE MEMBERS Brown & Brown Insurance Chinni & Meuser LLC Coordinated Transportation Solutions, Inc. Dattco Inc. ECG Engineering, PC Fusfoo Media LLC Goldstein & Peck, P.C. JCJ Architecture Kainen, Escalera & McHale, P.C. The Lexington Group Solutions Employee Assistance Program Sources4Teachers Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law


Do Facts Matter Any More? Robert Rader


I have a question for you: Do facts matter, anymore? America has become much more cynical over the last few years. Maybe it’s because of the Great Recession. People who lost jobs and still have not caught up have reason to be cynical and angry at those who took risks with other people’s money. Maybe it’s the ease of anonymous posting on social media. Perhaps, having seen so many advertisements over the years, we can’t tell what is true and what is made up. Americans seem to have become more willing to accept information without examination with a critical eye or questioning its source. I understand that a certain amount of “spin” will help build an argument, make a sale or sway people. But, if our society has gotten to the point that these exaggerations, or even some embellishment of the facts, are treated as the truth, where will that leave us? I wonder whether we are teaching our children that no matter what evidence to the contrary might exist, if it disagrees with our closely held convictions, we should we just ignore it? Whether reputable fact-checkers give a review using “Pinocchios” or “pants on fire” symbols, my hope is that this is not the new reality of how we make weighty decisions like deciding on our leaders. What really scares me is when someone repeats an untruth again and again. After a while, people accept it as fact.

The Children Are Watching


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


What do our children learn as they watch candidates for public office repeat untruths many times? What do they think when untruths are delivered in a dense fog of incivility and us-against-them divisiveness? The dissemination of questionable information is led by the new Wild, Wild West – where no rules hold angry people back and the message goes global instantly: the Internet. There have been many articles over the last few months about the coarseness of discussion on FaceBook, Twitter and other well-known social media vehicles. The media, charged to some extent with being our fact-checkers, was hugely criticized during this year’s presidential campaign. I cringed when I read the about

the savage attacks on journalists – and their spouses and children. This cannot be the way we treat those who report on what is happening, for they remain a critical part of our democracy.

Actual Research

The lying (there, I’ve said it) is not limited to tweets, posts or opinion pieces – they’re even in the websites we use. Education Week published an article in its November 2nd edition, What Students Don’t Know About Fact-Checking. The authors found that, not surprisingly, when students in middle school through college were assessed, the younger students were “unable to tell the difference between an advertisement and a news story” and the older students took “at face value a cooked up chart” from a fake political action

“Critical thinking must be an important aspect of what we teach our children: the ability to analyze a statement for truth or falsity in order to form a judgement.” committee and college students accepted a “.org top-level domain name as if were a Good Housekeeping seal.” Any organization can put fake information on its website and make it look like it’s from a credible source. According to the same article, 25 undergraduates from Stanford University were asked to spend up to 10 minutes examining sites they were given and more than half could not tell the difference between a website of a “hate group” and that of a well-established pediatric academy. How do we teach our children (and our young adults) to have the cynicism that they will need to protect themselves from people with bad intent on the web, without making them overly skeptical of all sources of information? We need to teach them. For example, according to the same article, how fact-checkers work and analyze the truth of a matter is different from the “rest of us”: • Landing on an unfamiliar site, the first thing checkers did was to leave it. Rather than read an article like you would with newsprint, the checkers went first to Googling the organization and the writer’s name. They use the “Internet to determine

where information is coming from before they read it.” • Second, fact-checkers know it’s not about “About”. In other words, they know that the About bar will not necessarily tell them anything about who the organization or people behind the site really is. • Third, fact-checkers look past the order of search results. When we Google something, many of us start at the top of the results. Fact-checkers will start at the bottom—because they know that the first search results are not necessarily the most reliable. We need to prepare our children for the real world, where questionable and often unethical marketing techniques are used to communicate material.

Facts in an Election

I understand that especially in the heat of an election campaign, the believability of a statement often rests on whether it feels right. It’s sort of like going for a ride, and seeing a bunch of campaign signs favoring one candidate. If that is all the information we have, then a proper assumption might be that that candidate is very popular and will probably win the election. But, because we have more information and a sense of reality, we all know that signs alone mean little. Maybe other people who backed another candidate didn’t have signs to put up or just didn’t want to. Critical thinking must be an important aspect of what we teach our children: the ability to analyze a statement for truth or falsity in order to form a judgement. We all need to use critical thinking as we see ads, listen to speeches and observe debates. Let’s also ensure that our students have the skills and knowledge, especially about civics, to base their decisions on facts. To paraphrase former New York Senator Pat Moynihan, “everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.” Let’s make sure our students understand the difference.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016

Teaching Students Social-Emotional Skills With so much talk about college and career readiness based on academic skills and abilities, school boards should not forget that social and emotional competencies, that is, the “soft”, emotional intelligence skills, are as important and sometimes more important than academic knowledge. Years ago, Daniel Goleman wrote about the need for all adults to develop emotional intelligence skills. He said there are basically three “domains” of excellence which help explain job success. The first two are IQ and expertise. These are sort of “threshold” expectations of anyone going after a job. However, these two domains together account for only onethird of the abilities deemed essential for effective performance. The third domain is what he calls “emotional intelligence,” which matters twice as much as the other two competencies. According to Goleman’s concept, the importance of a person’s “emotional intelligence”, as compared with the other two domains, held true across all categories of

jobs and in all kinds of organizations. The higher one goes in an organization, the more important emotional intelligence is. For success at the highest levels, in leadership positions, emotional competence accounts for 90% of success.

States Helping Students

If we want to ensure that our students develop the social, emotional skills they will need to be successful in school and beyond, we have to embed the teaching of these skills into our schools. So, when I read an Education Week (August 4) article stating that “eight states [not including Connecticut] will work together to create social-emotional standards and plans to encourage schools to embrace teaching students about the growing field”, I became curious as to what our State is doing in this area. Each of the eight states “has a unique plan for teaching emotional skills. Many of these plans include creating age-appropriate standards that show how social and emotional skills are demonstrated at

each grade level, developing materials to infuse traditional classroom subjects with social-emotional learning (SEL) concepts, building strategies for state-level support, and figuring out how to prepare teachers and principals to emphasize those skills in the classroom.” What is Connecticut doing in this area? The State Board of Education (SBOE) has recognized the importance of SEL in two statements in its new Five-Year Plan: • In its Commitment to Equity and Excellence in Education, the Board stated that “Great schools support the academic, social, emotional, and physical health needs of students so they can thrive; and • Under High Expectations and Outcomes, it calls for Revising and supporting “implementation of scientific research-based intervention systems that address students’ academic and social-emotional development in every district.” In addition, SDE is developing a volu-

“As educators, we know the importance of making sure students’ social and emotional needs are met so they can learn and grow and thrive in school. We also know that a high percentage of our students – especially in high poverty settings – experience trauma in home and family life that impacts their ability to learn. By embracing… an evidence-based model of social emotional learning, you are equipping your teachers with a powerful tool to support the whole child.”

Commissioner Dianna Wentzel on social-emotional intelligence, November 1, 2016

See TEACHING page 15

Support for the Budgetary Process Providing support for districts, who must strategize for your BUDGETS challenges and changing demographics

Your Budgetary Process Team John Kowalsky

Independent Broker, Husband of Retired Teacher

Bill Sudol

Retired Executive Director, Teachers Retirement Board

Michael Linehan Certified Retirement Plan Specialist

Administrative Support from

Stirling Benefits

Call us at 1-860-828-8360

It’s a pleasure for the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) to join with the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) in sponsoring this process that is designed to give information to Boards of Education that may assist them as they are looking at plans that would be available to their staff that would help individuals make the difficult decision as to whether or not to retire. This is one resource we think is valuable for districts to look at and we bring you this information as a service to our members. Patrice A. McCarthy Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE

Tw o o f t h e ongoing challenges that school system administrators face are how to make it possible to assist long time loyal and effective teachers and administrators retire into a financially secure situation and how to secure significant budget savings without sacrificing quality in educational programming. To assist you with these challenges, CAPSS and CABE have established business partnerships with John Kowalsky and Bill Sudol around an effective method for prospective retirees to obtain health insurance coverage that is both affordable and comprehensive. Joseph J. Cirasuolo, Ed.D Executive Director, CAPSS

1. Create an innovative retirement incentive strategy designed and developed specifically for your district to meet your goals and requirements. 2. Support for the Budgetary Process will provide group and individual Retirement Workshops to communicate with education staff as to the eligibility requirements for participation. 3. The workshop will include an explanation of benefits from the Teachers Retirement System. 4. Communicate to teachers the benefits and opportunities provided by the program and how to maximize tax advantages. Complete support provided to the district and teachers for the duration of the program.

We are offering a dedicated explanation of the partnership process and we will work with you to achieve YOUR GOALS in a comprehensive manner.

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016


See You in Court – The Nutmeg Board of Education

Can the Nutmeg Board fire Tom Teacher for his actions at the football game? 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 last game for the Nutmeg Knights couldn’t come fast enough for veteran Nutmeg Board of Education member Bob Bombast. A defensive tackle on the legendary 1984 team, Bob bleeds Nutmeg persimmon and gold and attends every game. But those glory days are long over, and the long-suffering football team of Nutmeg Memorial High School was at the end of one of its worst seasons ever. Attending last game of the season, Bob Bombast could not believe his eyes. When the National Anthem was playing, Tom Teacher, one of the teachers who was hired for crowd control, took a knee and bowed his head in silent protest of God knows what. Bob saw red and vowed to see Tom punished for his disrespect. At the next meeting of the Nutmeg Board of Education, Bob spoke out. “I am outraged by what I saw at the last football game this year . . . ,” Bob began. “We all were,” interrupted fellow Board member Mal Content. “Another shellacking, this time 45-0 to finish the perfect season without scoring a single point.” “No, no!” Bob shot back. “I saw Tom Teacher taking a knee and disrespecting our team, our National Anthem and our country. Mr. Superintendent, I want this teacher fired, understood? Gonzo. Finito.” Mr. Superintendent groaned and replied, “Bob, we all share your concern, but this is a free country, and I don’t think that I can force a teacher to stand for the National Anthem. But I will talk to him about being more respectful in the future.” “Well, I suggest that you decide who gets fired here – this obnoxious teacher or you, for being such a wimp.” Nancy Newshound, ace reporter for the Nutmeg Bugle, was in the audience writing down every word. Smiling to herself, she knew that she could milk this controversy for several articles. After the meeting, Nancy started interviewing people, beginning with Mr. Superintendent. He clammed up as usual, saying that he did not comment on “personnel matters.” Even Bob was reluctant to comment further, and he simply mumbled that he “would be letting the process work.” Tom Teacher, by contrast, was only too happy to wax poetic about injustice and his free speech right to protest during the playing of the National Anthem. When Nancy asked him about Bob’s comments at the Board meeting, his face darkened,

and he responded that “A fascist like Bob Bombast doesn’t belong on the Board of Education.” Bob went ballistic the next morning when he read Tom’s statement in Nancy’s article in the Bugle. First, he called Mr. Superintendent to demand Tom’s immediate termination. Then, he called his personal attorney, Bill Alot, to have him sue Tom Teacher for $2,000,000 for defamation. Can Tom Teacher be fired? And what are the chances that Bob can successfully sue Tom Teacher for defamation for making that nasty remark? Before we get to either of those questions, a brief note is warranted about Bob’s failure to understand his role as a board member. The board of education is a policy-making body that employs and evaluates only one employee – the superintendent. The superintendent, in turn, is the chief executive officer of the school district, and as CEO the superintendent is responsible for supervision and discipline of employees. If Tom engaged in misconduct here – whether by his silent protest or though his harsh words about Bob – Mr. Superintendent has the right and responsibility to hold him accountable. By contrast, Board members, including Bob, should refrain from public calls for a teacher’s termination. If Mr. Superintendent ever did see fit to initiate termination proceedings, the Board members will sit as judge as provided by the Teacher Tenure Act, and they must be fair and impartial in fulfilling that responsibility. Bob’s public condemnation of Tom Teacher shows that he certainly cannot be impartial in any such proceedings. Tom’s engaging in a silent protest when he was on crowd-control duty raises an interesting legal issue. The general rule is that the First Amendment protects the right of public employees to speak out on matters of public concern unless the disruptive nature of the speech outweighs its importance. Disruption can occur in various ways, such as interference with close working relationships or undermining public confidence in school district operation. If and when employees claim that discipline for speaking out on a matter of public concern violates their free speech rights, the courts will balance the importance of the speech against any disruptive effect to determine whether the speech is protected. In 2006, the United States Supreme Court announced an important exception to this balancing test to determine the scope of First Amendment rights of public employees. In Garcetti v. Ceballos, the Court ruled that the First Amendment does not protect speech of public employees that

is “pursuant to duty,” i.e., part of their job responsibilities. Teachers, for example, cannot claim a free speech right to talk about politics in class. If that were all to the story, Tom Teacher could certainly be held accountable for his silent protest when he was on duty at the football game. To be sure, Bob’s calls for termination were out of line because immediate termination is warranted only for the most egregious offenses. But the speech would not be protected, and Tom’s improper protest could result in discipline, perhaps here most appropriately a warning. Sadly (at least for school officials), the matter is not that simple. Last year, the Connecticut Supreme Court decided not to adopt the Garcetti rule in considering free speech claims under the Connecticut Constitution. Trusz v. UBS Realty Investors, LLC (2015). As a result, employee free speech claims under the state Constitution will be decided under the more general balancing test, even when they arise in the workplace. Here, the importance (if any) of Tom’s silent protest or his nasty comment about Bob’s being a “fascist” must be balanced against the disruptive effect of these actions to determine whether they are speech protected under the Connecticut Constitution.

Finally, Bob wants to sue Tom for defamation. He should think again. One may have a claim for defamation if the other party (1) makes a factual assertion, (2) that is false, and (3) that harms one’s reputation. Moreover, when the injured party is a public official, the false statement must be made with malice (i.e., with knowledge that it is false) or with reckless disregard for the truth. Here, Tom’s comment may be cause for discipline, but it is not defamatory. One would not interpret Tom’s statement to be a factual assertion that Bob is affiliated with a fascist political party. Rather, the far more reasonable interpretation is that the comment was Tom’s expression of opinion that Bob cares too little about individual rights. If the comment is not a factual statement, then it cannot be the basis for a claim of defamation. Period. 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 Eighth Edition is here!!

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. The Eighth Edition was substantially rewritten to reflect statutory changes, significant case law developments in state and federal courts. Some of the numerous legal developments and update are as follows: School Safety and Security | Bullying Law Teacher Evaluation and Support | Teacher Tenure Act New Requirements for Professional Development Budget Issues | Prohibitions on Electronic Notifications of Referenda Minimum Budget Requirements |FMLA for Paraprofessionals Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Requirements Uniform Regional School Calendars | Excusal | Student Assessments Pool Safety | Concussion Prevention and Education Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention and Education Administration and Storage of Epinephrine | Excused Absences Student Free Speech | Employee Free Speech

Order your copy TODAY by going to the CABE website:


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016

The Policy Corner Vincent A. Mustaro


Hiring Process Legislation Revises Policies Public Act 16-67, “An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Certain Education Personnel Records, effective July 1, 2016,” added new requirements to the hiring processes of boards of education, charter schools and magnet school operators for positions that would place applicants in direct contact with students. The legislation requires applicants to make disclosures containing (1) current and past employers’ contact information; (2) authorization allowing contact with such employers; and (3) statements about any past misconduct, discipline, or licensure penalties as a result of sexual misconduct or abuse allegations. Employers, before hiring such applicants must (1) ensure that applicants complete the above three requirements; (2) review applicants’ employment history after making a documented, good faith effort to contact previous employers for information; and (3) request any available information about applicants from State Department of Education (SDE). SDE is required to share with boards of education any available information about past discipline or criminal charges relating to an applicant and to design a standardized form for past employers of such applicants to complete. Boards of education are prohibited from offering employment to any applicant who was previously terminated or resigned from employment after he or she was convicted of failure to report the abuse, neglect, or injury of a child or imminent risk of serious harm to a child, regardless of whether the reported allegation or abuse, neglect, or sexual assault has been substantiated. Guidelines have been established for investigating substitute teachers and employees of contractors prior to hire. Requirements now exist for communication between boards of education, SDE and other boards when learning of an applicant’s or current employee’s disciplinary history. Boards are now prohibited from entering into agreements that contain provisions contradicting investigatory efforts. Temporary hires are allowed under certain conditions. Punitive measures are established for applicants who provide false information about their history and boards of education that fail to follow the legislation’s investigatory requirements for hiring.

New Requirements for Applicants The Act requires anyone applying to an education employer for a position involving direct student contact to make three disclosures. The applicant must: 1. provide the education employer with contact information for current and former employers if they were education employers or the employment otherwise involved

contact with children. The contact information must include each employer’s name, address, and telephone number. 2. provide a written authorization that consents to and authorizes such former employers to disclose information and related records about him or her that is requested on the SDE-designed standardized form that interviewing education employers send. The authorization also must consent to and authorize SDE to disclose information and related records to requesting education employers. Former employers and SDE are released from any liability that may arise from such disclosures. 3. give a written statement about whether he or she: a. was the subject of an abuse or neglect or sexual misconduct investigation by any employer, state agency, or municipal police department, unless the investigation resulted in a finding that all allegations were unsubstantiated; b. was disciplined or asked to resign from a job or resigned from or otherwise separated from any job while an allegation of abuse or neglect was pending or under investigation by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), or an allegation of sexual misconduct was pending or under investigation or because of an allegation substantiated by DCF of abuse or neglect or sexual misconduct or a conviction for abuse or neglect or sexual misconduct; or c. had a professional or occupational license or certificate suspended or revoked or ever surrendered one while an allegation of abuse or neglect was pending or under investigation by DCF, or an investigation of sexual misconduct was pending or under investigation, or because of an allegation substantiated by DCF of abuse or sexual misconduct or a conviction for abuse or sexual misconduct.

Requirements for Education Employers The Act prohibits education employers

from offering employment for any position involving direct student contact until: 1. the applicant has complied with the disclosure requirements; 2. the education employer has reviewed, by written or telephone

communication, the applicant’s employment history on the SDE standardized form filled out by current and past employers, which current or former employers must complete and return within five business days of receipt; and 3. the education employer has requested information from SDE about the applicant’s eligibility status for a position requiring a certificate, authorization, or permit; previous disciplinary action for a substantiated finding of abuse or neglect or sexual misconduct; and notice of a criminal conviction or pending. Education employers must make a good faith effort, described as one requiring no more than three phone calls on three separate days, to reach an applicant’s current and previous employers. An education employer may request additional information from an applicant’s current or former employers relating to any response the applicant listed on the standardized form.

New Requirements for SDE The SDE is required to make the

following information available to any education employer requesting it about an applicant: 1. any information about the applicant’s eligibility for employment with such education employer in a position that requires a certificate, authorization, or permit; 2. whether SDE knows if the applicant was disciplined for a finding of abuse or neglect or sexual misconduct, and any information related to the finding; and 3. whether SDE has been notified that the applicant has been convicted of a crime or of pending criminal charges against the applicant and any information about such charges.

Hiring Practices for Substitute Teachers Education employers can only hire ap-

plicants for substitute teaching positions who fulfill the same disclosure requirements previously listed and after requesting information from the applicant’s prior employers and SDE. A list of individuals suitable to work as substitute teachers must be maintained and only those on the list may be hired as substitute teachers.

Hiring Practices for Contractors and Their Employees Contractors that apply for positions involving direct student contact, are required to perform the same checks on their employees who would fill these

positions. Any negative information must be forwarded, to any education employer with which the contractor is under contract. The education employer will determine whether the employee may work in a position involving direct student contact at any school under its jurisdiction.


The legislation requires specific communications between education employers, and also between an education employer and SDE, about findings of abuse or sexual misconduct by applicants or employees.

Employment Agreements

Education employers are prohibited from entering into any collective bargaining agreement, employment contract, resignation or termination agreement, severance agreement, or any other agreement or take any action that has the effect of suppressing information about an investigation of a report of suspected abuse or neglect or sexual misconduct by a current or former employee; affects the education employer’s ability to report suspected abuse or neglect or sexual misconduct to appropriate authorities; or requires the education employer to expunge information about an allegation or finding of suspected abuse or neglect or sexual misconduct from any documents they maintain, unless after investigation the allegation is dismissed or found to be false.

Temporary Hires

Education employers may employ or contract with an applicant for up to 90 days while awaiting the complete review of their application information provided the applicant has submitted the required disclosures, the education employer has no information about the applicant that would disqualify him or her from employment, and the applicant affirms that he or she is not disqualified from employment with the education employer. The legislation also contains punitive measures for applicants who knowingly provide false information or fail to disclose the required information to an education employer.

Policy Implications Three policies impacted by

this new legislation include (1) #4112.51/4212.51, Employment/Reference Checks, (2) #4112.5/4212.5, Security Check/Fingerprinting) and #4121, Substitute Teachers. Copies are available upon request.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016

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 helping school boards to • • •

increase student achievement

Successfully planned, implemented and attended workshop for superintendents’ secretaries. Spoke with Friday evening Convention speaker, Fritz Klein, about Convention audience and expectations. Sent out two issues of Policy Highlights via email listserv covering topics that affect student achievement. This included home-schooled students, armed forces access to students, teacher preparation, and ELL students.

* By promoting public educa•

• •


Met with Newtown Superintendent Joseph Erardi and other members of the Newtown Staff (see article page 1). Provided Legal and Legislative updates for Phi Delta Kappa (PDK). Attended ESSA focus group sponsored by the SDE.

• • • • •

• •

* By providing services

• •

• •

• • • •

to meet members needs:

Spoke at a forum on selecting a new Superintendent in New Haven. Spoke at meetings of the Somers and Region 8 (Andover, Hebron and Marlborough) Boards of Education on selecting a new Superintendent. Attended meeting hosted by the Stratford Board of Education to discuss magnet school tuition. As part of the Customized Policy Update Service materials were prepared for Greenwich, New Canaan, New London, Plymouth and Region #5 Boards of Education. Responded to inquiries from Board of Education members and superintendents. The “Hot” Legal topics this month were: amending the school calendar; transportation for students receiving mandatory alternative education; which school district employees are categorized as executive level employees; impact of juvenile justice legislation on alternative educational opportunities and mandatory alternative education; and meaning of the “public trust” in school board policy. Conducted audits of the policy manuals of Trumbull and Winchester Boards of Education. Completed the audit of the policy manual of the New Hartford Board of Education. Agreed to do an audit of the policy manuals of the Sherman and North Stonington Boards of Education. Placed the policy manual of the Portland Board of Education on the internet utilizing the Connecticut Online Policy Service.

* By providing opportunities

• •

for members to learn how to better govern their districts:

Met with Ledyard Superintendent Jason Hartling on CABE programs, services and activities. Facilitated a workshop on Board Goals for the Region 6 (Goshen, Morris and Warren) Board of Education. Participated in CABE Ad Hoc committee on Diversity and the CABE/ CAPSS Task Force on Demography and Diversity. Participated in School Governance Training for the Sterling School Governance Council. Participated in CABE Board of Directors’ focus group on ESSA. Responded to 21 legal services inquiries. Facilitated a Board Vision workshop with the Avon Board of Education. Facilitated a Board Roles and Responsibilities workshop with the Darien, Connecticut Technical High School, Hartford, and Region #4 Boards of Education. Facilitated a Board Self-Evaluation workshop with the Suffield Board of Education. Provided Lighthouse training for the Region #1, Stamford, Suffield, Waterbury, and Winchester Boards of Education. Attended Superior Court arguments in Litchfield Superior Court in New Milford Board of Education v. New Milford Education Association. Facilitated a Community Leadership workshop with the Colchester Board of Education. Responded to fifty-eight requests for policy information was provided to 35 districts, on 39 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 included student data privacy and the sexual abuse prevention program, in addition to background checks of prospective employees, handing opioid overdoses, homeschooling and transportation. Participated in Lighthouse strategy meetings.

* By representing Connecticut • • • •

school boards on the state or national level:

Attended Governor Malloy’s signing of the Minority Teacher Recruitment law in Bloomfield. Participated in a meeting of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) Met with Big 6 (CABE, CAPSS, CAS, CBIA, CCER, ConnCAN) on a draft paper on education funding. Attended the State Department of Education’s (SDE) Celebrating Excellence in Education 2016 event.

• • •

• • • • • • • • • •

Attended and helped sponsor CCER Conference on The High School Principal: Leading for Innovation. Attended SDE’s 2016 Teacher of the Year Celebration. Attended CABE Bronze Business Affiliate JCJ’s Open House at its new offices in the Colt Armory in Hartford. Attended the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities “BEST” Conference. Attended NSBA Council of School Attorneys State Association Counsel meeting and fall seminar. Presented workshop on curricular controls to new school attorneys. Attended Center for School Change Equity Conference. Attended Connecticut Nonprofit Alliance Annual Conference. Attended Teacher of the Year announcement at North Branford High School. Attended State Board of Education meeting. Participated in Professional Development Task Force. Discussed alternative routes to certification on WTIC-AM. Attended a meeting of the Connecti-

• • •

cut Commission for Educational Technology legislative subcommittee. Participated in Connecticut Society of Association Executives (CSAE) webinar on Content Marketing for Associations. Attended a Shipman and Goodwin legal seminar. Attended CAPSS Board of Directors meeting. Provided input and support for brief and arguments in the case of New Milford Board of Education v. New Milford Education Association.

* By ensuring members

• • • •

receive the most up-to-date communications:

Taped videos for use on the new CABE YouTube Channel and for other activities. Taped video on upcoming Legislative and Legal Issues. Provided legal and legislative updates to the LEARN Board of Directors. Prepared material for East Hampton, Newington, New Fairfield, North Stonington and Putnam Boards of Education as part of the Custom Update Service.

CABE/CAPSS Demographic and Diversity Task Force CABE members of the Task Force are: Ann Gruenberg (Hampton); Bryan Hall (East Hartford); Michael Purcaro (Ellington); Carlos Torre (New Haven); Christopher Wilson (Bristol); Donald Harris (Bloomfield); Patrice McCarthy and Robert Rader, CABE. CAPSS members of the Task Force are: Greg Florio, Executive Director, CREC; Kelly Lyman (Mansfield); Janet Robinson (Stratford); Patricia Cosentino (Region #12); Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook); and Joseph Cirasuolo, CAPSS,

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016


Highlights from

The CABE Delegate Assembly – November 17, 2016 l. to r., President Ann Gruenberg (Hampton); Resolutions Chair Becky Tyrrell (Plain-

ville); Vice President for Government Relations Donald Harris (Bloomfield); First Vice President Robert Mitchell (Montville); and Patrice McCarthy, Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE.

Delegates voting on the resolutions before the Delegate Assembly.

Available in the CABE Bookstore! An excellent book for Board Members, Superintendents and Administrators! Understanding the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act and Access to Public Meetings and Records Fourth Edition

Participants from around the State attended the CABE Delegate Assembly and took part in voting on the proposed resolutions. From which the State Relations Committee will identify the 2017 CABE Legislative Priorities.

Written by: Mark J. Sommaruga, Esq. Pullman & Comley, LLC to order the FOIA book go to the CABE Online Bookstore at:


2016 CABE/CAPSS Convention | General Session Speakers | Honorees

A lots of activity at Convention Registration Area.

This year we had very high attendance at the Convention.


General Session Speakers

Allan Addley (Granby) President, CAPSS Elizabeth Brown (Waterbury) Vice President for Professional Development, CABE

Ann Gruenberg (Hampton) President, CABE

Friday Keynote Speaker Tony Wagner Robert Rader, Executive Director, CABE

Joseph Erardi, Superintendent, Newtown was named the 2017 CAPSS Superintendent of the Year.

Gary Brochu, former Chair, Berlin Board of Education received the CABE Philip S. Fenster Distinguished Service Award.

Governor Dannel Malloy

Colleen Palmer, Superintendent, Westport

CABE presented the Friend of Public Education Award to co-recipients (l.) Karissa Neihoff, Executive Director, CAS and (r.) Joseph Cirasuolo, Executive Director, CAPSS.

Richard Murray, Immediate Past President, CABE Commissioner Dianna Wentzell

Lisa Steimer, Senior Staff Associate for Professional Development, CABE

Miranda Beard, President, NSBA

Cal Heminway, Past President, CABE CT Teacher of the Year and Teacher of the Year finalists.

Banquet Speaker Abraham Lincoln

Saturday Keynote Speaker Nadia Lopez

Johanna Hayes, 2016 National Teacher of the Year from Waterbury

Student Panelists at Saturday Luncheon: Giancarol Isotti, Suffield High School; Equia Aniagyei-Cobbold, CT International Baccalaureate Academy, East Hartford; and Emily Donahue, Bacon Academy, Colchester.


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016

2016 CABE/CAPSS Convention Congratulations to CABE Board of Distinction Award Winners - Level II

Berlin Board of Education – As a first year Board President, our Board Policies and Beliefs have help me guide other Board members through various matters, from textbooks to public disagreement with our decisions to navigating the budget cycle. It is the strength of our policies that help steer student achievement in these times of uncertainty and unrest among Board members who are still getting to know each other. Standardized scores have gone up last year, and the Board functioned as a cohesive unit. Administration and staff have responded positively and we continue to see their passion for education in all the work they do.

Bethel Board of Education – Adopted a set of goals that keeps student growth as the foremost priority and connects the work of the schools with the vision we hold for our students. The goals are ambitious and highlight the most important work that needs to be done to improve student achievement. Shifts in technology, economics, and demography all highlight the dramatic changes taking place in our society. Connecticut’s reform agenda calls all educators to a deeper level of understanding and higher level of performance. The Boards goals reflect these challenges and set a course for continued high achievement.

Bloomfield Board of Education – Our policymaking and oversight is rooted in data-driven decision-making. The Board routinely views data on student performance and other aspects of district functions. The

analysis of data helps Board members understand how best to support continued academic growth by ensuring that all policies and resources are aligned with our four district priorities (Holistic Accountability; Strengthen Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment; Positive School Climate; and Parent and Community Engagement). Ensuring that these priorities are supported while monitoring their progress has provided a comprehensive mechanism for continued student achievement.

Derby Board of Education – Our Board leadership consumes all their available time with learning more about the state’s new initiatives and participates actively to ensure all Board members are provided with professional development on these initiatives. In addition, the leadership is actively involved on several committees (Academics, Human Capital, Operations and Culture and Climate) to help improve our schools. The Chair has taken a very active role to learn about the CCSS, SEED, and Danielson Training by attending workshops and scheduling meeting for other Board members to learn about these initiatives.

Glastonbury Board of Education – Our Board is fully committed to improving student achievement at every level for every student. Our collaborative decision making respect the expertise of our administrators, values the input of our teachers and carefully considers the implications of our students. We are proud of the commitment to professional and curriculum development as we meet changing educational needs. Our focus is always on ensuring that our students are college and career ready. Effective communications have allowed us to keep our school community and town informed of the changing classroom needs and the outstanding success of our students.

extensively on building a foundation for achievement through our curricular, instructional and philosophical concepts of education. By outlining our strategy for creating, utilizing and evaluating our curriculum against the educational roadmap of the core standards, the district has set the road map for the basics of student achievement. Granby Board of Education – The Board has been extremely supportive of public education both within the state and the local community. The Board has exhibited a unique ability to work collaboratively and supportively with the community and town officials in a non-partisan fashion as strong advocates for students and education. The Board’s ability to function at an extremely high level in the support of ALL students, its successful completion of district building projects, high return on educational investment, annually adopted budgets, policy advocacy, historical active participation in CABE, and collaboration with the community are only some of the attributes that make the Board successful.

Plainville Board of Education – The Board consistently models effective leadership in all aspects of its individual and collective roles. Working with the administration, staff and community members the Board is currently in the process of updating the school district’s strategic plan, mission and vision that will chart the course for continued success. Colonel Henry W. Horton, Commander of the Ira Eaker College for Professional Development, identifies 13 traits of “effective leaders” as follows: Respect, Empowerment, Accountability, Listening, Sincerity, Reward, Discipline, Mission, Credit, Communication, Attitude, Integrity and Courage, which reflect the members of our team.

Montville Board of Education - Our Board is always focused on Student Achievement. We are all here for the students, as a Board it is the reason we serve. Also partisan politics and a personal agenda are left at the door, this makes for very boring ,but productive meetings.

Old Saybrook Board of Education – Our mission is to educate and prepare students to achieve their highest aspirations, care for others and the environment, and contribute to a global society by working in partnership with families and the community, and by engaging each learner in a rigorous, personalized, and meaningful educational program. The Board in partnership with our district leadership and staff, focuses

Plymouth Board of Education – Our Board went through an extensive process to develop Board Goals that are meant to guide the work of the district. These goals set parameters that are impacting curriculum and instruction in a positive way. The Board has continued to support the use of data analysis tools like Pearson Inform, allowing district teachers and administrators to make progress with students. The Board supports the use of a 1:1 technology initiative where all students from grades 6-12 are outfitted with a Chromebook. We are focusing on ensuring that all students receive an appropriate education. An extensive review of our Special Education program is currently being conducted. See LEVEL II page 12


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016


(continued from page 11) Putnam Board of Education – The Board believes that students will be able to learn if their basic needs are satisfied. We have partnered with Generations Healthcare to provide a School Based Health Clinic for the district. The health clinic provides medical, dental and behavioral interventions for students. The district has also collaborated with DCF for a social worker to work in the district with staff to help provide a better standard of care for students. The district provides universal free breakfast to all students throughout the year and lunch to all Putnam residents during the summer.

Simsbury Board of Education – The Board developes five-year goals that represent the next level of work that the staff and administration will engage in as we strive to improve PreK-12 education in Simsbury. The first goal of the Board is student achievement.

Vernon Board of Education – The Board, along with the superintendent, has created a District Leadership Theory of Action that drives strategies toward improved student learning. In addition, every Board meeting has a Teaching and Learning presentation to highlight the growth of student achievement in the district.

Wolcott Board of Education – The Board demonstrates effective leadership through its commitment to the achievement of all students together with fiscally prudent leadership. The district has continually ranked at or near the top of its DRG in student achievement on State tests. Our high school has been recognized by the College Board for increasing access to A.P. courses while also keeping achievement high. In 2015, the Board added over 1,000 computing devices for student use, a new mathematics series and assessment tool for grades K-8. All of this occurred while spending well below the state average in per pupil allotment – this demonstrates the Board’s willingness and drive to fund initiatives that have a direct impact on student learning.

Congratulations to the CABE Board of Distinction Award Winners – Level I Board meeting to review the agenda and we meet monthly with the First Selectman and Board of Finance Chairs. This keeps the town and the schools working together.

Bristol Board of Education – The district has transitioned from a suburban community into an urban community rapidly, growing to just under 50% free and reduced lunch in the past decade. We face many challenges to meet the needs of all our students. We value all staff, from the cafeteria moms to the top-level administrators, and maintain good relations with all. Often Board leaders are invited to Bristol Federation of Teachers meeting to share information and brainstorm ideas. Our budget is minimally increased via MBR. Board leaders strive to maintain amicable relations with the City leaders and provide workshops in an effort to educate town leaders on ever-rising costs.

Canterbury Board of Education – The Board meets regularly and has a great attendance rate. The Superintendent and Board Chair meet one week prior to the

Canton Board of Education – The Board believes that in order to effectively educate students socially, emotionally, academically, and physically and for student to continuously improve their achievement, clearly defined goals must be in place. The Board formed a Strategic Coherence Planning Committee comprised of 25 representative of the community who jointly developed five goals as our key drivers for success. Through a retreat earlier this year the Board developed the following values statement that describes what the Board believes - Collaboration, Kindness, Integrity – We partner with our students, educators, staff, families and community to: Work together with open minds, creativity and innovation; look for ways to treat others with kindness and respect; do our very best, be honest and hold each other accountable.

Coventry Board of Education – The Board’s commitment and strong leadership have resulted in the acquisition of resources which has allowed the district to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st Century. We have implemented full-day kindergarten, a one-to-one tablet program for every student in grades 8-12. Coventry received various grant funds and most recently an extra classroom was added to our new public preschool program. Even with each member having their own political affiliation, their bipartisanship should serve as a model to other Boards of education.

Naugatuck Board of Education – We believe that effective leadership begins with the respect of one another. Collaboration without either one is hard to move forward and achieve the great things we do each and every day for the students in our district. We identify with the strategic goals of the district and align those goals with support and collaboration with each school. They also understand that strategic goals are fluid and in order to support the district needs changes are necessary as it relates to high quality learning and engagement. The Board is always looking for way to improve not only student performance but tools by which we measure administrator performance. Our leadership is effective in that we work on our vision, mission and goals and we strive to make sure that we’re performing at the standards that we set.

East Lyme Board of Education – We have a very effective subcommittee structure and process for progressing Board goals and actions. We also have built a stronger relationship with our Board of Finance. See LEVEL I page 13

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016 LEVEL I

(continued from page 12) New Britain Board of Education – Our Board president is very active in the schools. She attends numerous events throughout the year and is a well-respected face of the Board of Education. She collaborates with others in an effective manner while looking out for the best interests of our students. Everything that is done is in the best interest of our students. Our Board rallies around each other and the community to make sure our children are receiving the highest quality of education.

Plainfield Board of Education – The Board establishes strategic partnerships with town leaders and community organizations and businesses. The Board has an audit on most significant areas to improve schools including: special education, transportation, technology, facilities, curriculum and finances. Every meeting includes a discussion and/or presentation on student achievement. Despite an increase from 26% to 50%in the poverty rate in five years, Plainfield established Universal Pre-K, All-Day Kindergarten, and free SAT/PSAT for all high school students. State testing continues to improve. Plainfield has the State and regional Marching Bank champions. Shelton Board of Education – A major reason our Board is successful is our members are much more concerned with student achievement than politics.

Thomaston Board of Education – The Board offers effective leadership through its member-shared focus on students. The Board’s leadership has increased learning opportunities for students from Pre-school through Grade 12; it has done this through practical and transparent budgeting and policymaking with input from all levels of staff. Its effectiveness come from a commitment to Board-related responsibilities which is further augmented by its pledge to maintain a balance between each member’s personal connection to Thomaston and their collective responsibilities as a Board.


meeting. The Board is composed of experienced Board members who are strong advocates for equity in education. They are also strong supporters of administrators, teachers and students who take risks and are innovative.

Waterbury Board of Education – The Board works closely with the Superintendent and mayor to lead the district together with on vision. In 2011 a new superintendent was hired, Dr. Kathleen Ouellette, who developed a comprehensive Blueprint for Change to improve district performance. Working together, Waterbury has made significant transformative change to systems including Central Office, curriculum development, operations, minority teacher hiring, discipline policies and other critical areas of importance to student learning. Our Board leaders embrace a vision for the district and strive to provide the leadership to achieve goals set forth in the District Blueprint for Change. Waterford Board of Education (not pictured) – The Board is a nonpartisan group that strives to uphold the goal of putting students first. The Board has always been invested in the district and works collaboratively with administration and staff to actively ensure that Board goals coincide with District Goals. The Board is commended for its strong governance in their work with budget development, curriculum and textbook approval, policy revision, finance sub-committee, evaluation of the Superintendent as well as development of Board goals. In 2016-17 the Board has made a commitment to invest in District Strategic Planning for development of a new 5-year plan. Wilton Board of Education (not pictured) – The Board is a highly effective governing body that serves as a bridge between the community and the schools. The Board relies on input from the voters to help it make informed decisions about what is right for Wilton and ensure the district remains focused on continuous improvement. The Board Chair publishes a column “Notes from the Board Table” in the local newspaper and also on social media to keep the community abreast of all of the work and developments taking place in the district.

East Haddam Board of Education Also, receiving awards were: Groton and Shelton Boards of Education. Killingly Board of Education

Friday Morning Student Performers Bloomfield High School Voices of Inspiration Directed by Aubree Bowman. Student performers: Aaliyahna Washington, Aaron Gray, Alexandre Mills, Alexis Jones, Alyssa Yorgensen, Angelia Davis, Antanae Hodges, Asaundra Hill, Ashante Hall, Chanelle Clunie, Chanse Brown, Che’Saih Hill-Gore, Chikara Hamer, Danielle Luepann, Danika Matthews, Deandra Roberts, Diamond Beaulieu, Divine Rhea-Perry, Elijah Raines, E-Mara Walker, Jasmine Spence, Jeneil Ennis, Jordann Powell, Kailyn Mobley, Kamre Williams, Karah Pouncey, Kayla Crews, Kendra Mattison, Kevonie Prado, Kristal Thompson, Mckenzie Brown, Mckenzie Chappell, Nicholas Campbell, Nishah Mangan, Phillipia Pottinger, Savannah Roberts, Shanaee Dixon, Sharelle Bailey, Stephanie Perez, Tamara Graham, Tanesha Hill, Terrence Robinson, Thabiti Bass, Toyah Parris, Victoria Farrington, Zachary Haughton.

Saturday Morning Student Performers Rockville High School Gold Company

Directed by Dr. Michael Yachanin. Singers: Jamie Bailey, Tanner Bosse, Abby Jones, Kevin Perrone, Joey Radcliff, Hannah Ramsdell, Tiaja Rice and Electric bass: Tristan Harrison

A Special Thank You to EASTCONN and LEARN for their Technology Support

Windsor Locks Board of Education – The Board’s leadership begins with collaboration between the Board, Superintendent, administrators, teachers, community members, hiring a community liaison and initiating community partnership


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016 Congratulations to the School Districts Who Won CABE’s 2016 Bonnie B. Carney Awards of Excellence for Educational Communications Parent Student Handbook

Award Winner Social Media

Plymouth Public Schools Social Media Facebook Bloomfield Public Schools Facebook/Twitter Vernon Public Schools District Facebook Page CREC CREC’s Twitter Chats

Going Green

Redding Public Schools River Exchange Wolcott Public Schools Go Green Day Trumbull Public Schools Going Green


Region 6 Public Schools The Harvester Monroe Public Schools Superintendent’s Newsletter Bridgeport Public Schools Our District…. News You Can Use

Annual Report

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2015-2016 Wolcott Public Schools Wolcott Public Schools Annual Report 2015-2016 Stamford Public Schools Where Excellence Is the Point – Annual Report to the Community 2014-2015

District Budget

East Hampton Public Schools East Hampton Public Schools Budget Book Monroe Public Schools 2016-2017 Superintendent’s Budget Book Glastonbury Public Schools Approved Budget 2016-2017

Woodbridge Public Schools Beecher Road School Parent/Student Handbook Plainville Community Schools Middle School Student/Parent Handbook Wolcott Public Schools Tyrell Middle School’s Student Handbook West Hartford Public Schools Elementary Handbook

Course Selection Guide

EASTCONN 2016-2017 Programs and Services Catalog Wolcott Public Schools Wolcott High Schools Course Of Studies Guide West Hartford Public Schools “Elementary Curriculum in a Nutshell”


C.E.S. 2016-2017 Member District Calendar Region 5 Public Schools 2016-2017 Amity District Calendar Wilton Public Schools 2016-2017 Calendar Bridgeport Public Schools 2016-2017 Annual District Calendar/Handbook

Special Project

Region 6 Public Schools Strategic Coherence Plan Simsbury Public Schools School Climate Posters Vernon Public Schools Communications Plan – Billboard West Hartford Public Schools Art Beat Poster, Brochure and Invitation

Special Project (AV)

Redding Public Schools It’s Okay to Be Yourself Bethel Public Schools Hour of Code New Britain Public Schools New Britain High School Class of 2016

Computer Generated Projects

EASTCONN “Welcome Back” New Fairfield Public Schools Superintendent’s Recommended Budget 2016-17 West Hartford Public Schools Quest Program Board Presentation

Web Sites

Old Saybrook Public Schools Website Ellington Public Schools The Transparent School Newington Public Schools Greenwich Public Schools Websites

Honorable Mention Winners ACES Bethany Public Schools Bethel Public Schools Bloomfield Public Schools Bridgeport Public Schools C.E.S. CREC Cheshire Public Schools EASTCONN Ellington Public Schools Fairfield Public Schools Glastonbury Public Schools Hamden Public Schools Manchester Monroe Public Schools Naugatuck Public Schools New Britain Public Schools New Fairfield Public Schools Newington Public Schools Norwalk Public Schools Orange Public Schools Plainfield Public Schools Plainville Public Schools Region 12 Public Schools Salem Public Schools Seymour Public Schools South Windsor Public Schools Trumbull Public Schools Vernon Public Schools West Hartford Public Schools Wilton Public Schools Windsor Public Schools Wolcott Public Schools Woodbridge Public Schools

Lessons Learned from Convention Workshops In order to provide our members with information from Convention workshops they might not have been able to attend, we asked Session Moderators to provide us with some lessons from their workshops. Handouts from some of these Sessions are available on the CABE website (at and on the Convention app. Here are some of what the moderators told us, with a little editing: • Steps for Success – Public School, Community College and Industry Collaboration By real collaboration between the schools, colleges and industries, there are opportunities for students to earn a college degree and learn a trade skill. • Reclaiming School Climate and Culture Efforts toward creating opportunities for open, honest and respectful dialogue in a district benefit the culture and climate of the district. This dialogue should include district administration, staff (union) and board of education members. Ultimately, the dialogue will result in more productive work. • Roles and Responsibilities of Board Members and Superintendents It is very important that the board and superintendent have a shared vision and keep the focus on what is best for the children. To succeed, there must be mutual respect among the board members and the superintendent. • Planning and Preparing for Mass Casualty Incidents This important subject should be examined in all districts regardless of size or demographics. • Utilizing Today’s Media to Tell Your District’s Story It is important for all districts to get your message out. You should have a communications plan that uses chain of command. A credible spokesperson is a key to success. • Open Doors – A Conversation About How Public Schools Can Work with the Community to Provide Program Access for Individuals with Disabilities Boards need to have policies and know the requirements for ADA Compliance, in areas such as student allergies and the use of service animals. • Doing the Same Thing Just Wasn’t Working: A District’s Approach to Appropriate Practices in Kindergarten to Increase Outcomes Kindergarten is a developmental period when executive functioning skills are growing exponentially, so it is a key period for potential impact. Kindergartens run with passion and purpose foster the development of executive function skills, especially inhibition control, working memory and cognitive flexibility. Lastly, structured play can provide academic vigor, delivered in a manner tailored to young students. • Tomorrow’s Technology Today Specific ways were identified that have the potential to change teaching and learning in a positive way (for See LESSONS page 18


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016 TEACHING

Domains of the CT Early Learning and Development Standards, highlighting the continued growth and development that must be supported over the early elementary years.” While the framework was originally K-3, after hearing from stakeholders, SDE decided to add the fourth and fifth grades, so that all elementary grades are included. It is expected that the framework will go before the State Board of Education this winter. Districts should hear more about that in the next few months.


skills has been developed at the Central (continued from page 4) Connecticut State University’s School tary framework for K-5 “Social, Emoof Education and Professional Studies. tional, and Intellectual Habits”. According The School has launched a “professionto a draft of the framework, in the early al development initiative” offering SEL years, “children learn to interact with training to local districts “to help school others, develop psychosocial attitudes administrators, teachers counselors, and in relation to academic work, develop a other school-based professionals create cognitive framework regarding academic ‘Pro-Social’ classrooms – emotionally behaviors and thinking critically, mainhealthy environments that set the stage for tain focus irrespective of obstacles, deal positive social, emotional and academic with frustration, and begin to manage outcomes… trainings will contribute to their own learning.” multidisciplinary curriculum develop The framework aims to build upon ment and prepare educators to implement CCSU’s Effort on SEL the “foundational skills in the Cognitive curricula, practices, and evaluative proce Another example of the focus on these and Social and Emotional Development dures tied” to research on SEL. In its October 19th issue, Education Week SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL AND INTELLECTUAL HABITS FRAMEWORK   Kindergarten through Grade 3 reported on the use of “an online platform as part of a The Kindergarten through Grade Three Social, Emotional and Intellectual Habits Framework represents the knowledge, skills and larger character education dispositions that form an essential blueprint for college and career readiness to achieve academic success and social/emotional learning. While attention to core areas such as literacy and mathematics remains important, social skills and habits of thinking and program.” While it may learning set the stage for all future learning. With support from adults during the early childhood years, children learn to interact seem somewhat contrawith others, develop psycho-social attitudes in relation to academic work, develop a cognitive framework regarding thinking critically dictory to use technology and academic behaviors, maintain focus irrespective of obstacles, deal with frustration and begin to manage their own learning to teach something as (self-management skills). This Kindergarten through Grade Three Social, Emotional and Intellectual Habits Framework builds from the foundational skills in the Cognitive and Social and Emotional Development Domains of the CT Early Learning and Development personal as socio-emotionStandards, highlighting the continued growth and development that must be supported over the early elementary years. al learning, some schools use their computers to help These standards do not oblige districts to adopt new curricula or programs. Rather, most of the skills and dispositions are best students “pinpoint their addressed throughout the course of the regular school day, during daily instruction, specials and daily routines. Adults working with children in schools already address these skills and dispositions on a regular basis. By articulating these common goals and focusing character strengths” using on the progression of learning and development over time, schools will be better equipped to intentionally support students in gaining gaming platforms. This may these critical skills. For student who may struggle in these area, this document can be used to consider the necessary precursor skills be another tool for districts and to develop strategies to support them to develop strong social and intellectual habits. to teach SEL skills. The Social, Emotional and Intellectual Habits Framework is organized by strands and learning progressions. Each learning progres [Editor’s Note: The draft sion has a label describing the general area of development addressed (e.g., self-awareness) and is comprised of indicators along a Framework is available continuum from kindergarten through 3rd grade. at; SBOE’s

Comprehensive 2016-2021 Plan: Ensuring Equity and Excellence for All Connecticut Students can be found at] – Robert Rader

Executive Director, CABE

Why Social and Emotional Learning? The benefits of teaching a structured social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum are numerous. Students participating in SEL programs have been shown to outpace their peers academically on a number of measures. These students have fewer suspensions and better overall student attendance; earn higher grade point averages and outperform non-SEL trained peers on standardized tests. Research also shows that students participating in SEL programs are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, e.g., violence or substance abuse, which interfere with learning. [Editor’s Note: CCSU’s School of Education & Professional Studies 2016-17 Offerings; Focus on Social & Emotional Learning in Classroom Settings. Citations to references removed.]


The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016

Building Artistic Literacy through the New Connecticut Arts Standards

Jackie Coleman

Education Consultant for the Arts CT State department of Education

On October 5, 2016 the State Board of Education adopted the National Core Arts Standards (2014) as the Connecticut Arts Standards. The National Core Arts Standards were created by over 10 national organizations and associations through the National Coalition of Core Arts Standards. Arts administrators and teachers across Connecticut are embracing these standards and talking about the changes that will occur in teaching and learning as a result of these standards. In the summer of 2015, the Connecticut State Department of Education formed review teams to crosswalk the 1998 Connecticut Arts Curriculum Framework to the 2014 National Core Arts Standards, identifying differences and preparing a recommendation for adopting the online National Core Arts Standards as new Connecticut Arts Standards. Stakeholders statewide have had opportunities to provide feedback via presentations, webinars, and surveys. To ensure the new standards are viewed through Connecticut’s lens, this feedback was incorporated into a Position

Statement on the Implementation of the litical, spiritual, financial, and aesConnecticut Arts Standards, which offers thetic aspects of their communities guidance for implementation across Con(both local and global, in person and necticut including suggested responsibilivirtually) and works to introduce ties of various stakeholders. You can view the arts into those settings. the recently adopted Position Statement on the Implementation of the Connecticut It is fitting that the National Coalition Arts Standards on the website: http://www. for Core Arts Standards are driven by a high level concept like artistic literacy. As explained There has been a in the position trend in edustatement, the cation across standards themdisciplines to selves provide a move toward the powerful blueincorporation of print for Conconcept-based, necticut students authentic learnto attain artistic ing experiences. literacy. The Additionally, National Core these standards Arts Standards: Band students of music teacher Margaret Fitzgerald, Brookfield focus on why we A Conceptual Public Schools. are making, doFramework ing, and performing. This is where global for Arts Learning (2014), described artistic connections can be made and 21st Century literacy as: skills like collaboration, communication, the knowledge and understanding creativity, and critical thinking are built. required to participate authentically The National Core Arts Standards have in the arts….Indeed, an arts-literate 11 anchor standards that represent all individual recognizes the value of five disciplines (dance, media arts, music, the arts as a place of free expression theatre and visual arts). This means all of and the importance of observing the arts are organized under one umbrella and participating in the social, po-

with a common, very clear and important purpose of building towards artistic literacy. A powerful contemporary example of artistic literacy in action is demonstrated in the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton. Anchor Standard #6 Convey Meaning through the Presentation of Artistic Work is evident at the performance standard level as Hamilton employs research and analysis grounded in the creative perspectives of the playwright, director, designer, and dramaturg. There is meaning coming through the performers, the music, the costumes, the set and the story. They are telling a historical tale centered on Alexander Hamilton. They have finely honed their craft and mastered artistic literacy. As communities prepare to use these standards effectively, it is important to remember the value of professional development in the standards implementation process. The Connecticut State Department of Education is in the process of developing professional learning opportunities across the state where teachers, administrators, and parents can learn more about the new Connecticut Arts Standards. For more information contact Jackie Coleman at jacqueline.coleman@

Stamford Public Students by Grade Residing in Recently Built Large-Scale Developments 250















330 Total

362 Total

389 Total




Elem Middle High 2010

Elem Middle High 2011

Projections & Planning for the Next Generation Milone and MacBroom specializes in working with School Districts and Boards of Education to develop long lasting solutions including Enrollment Projections, School Redistricting/Reconfiguration, Long Range Facility Plans, Growth Forecasting, Housing Analysis, and Public Outreach. Our team combines the latest technologies and breadth of experience to help districts develop enrollment management plans. To learn more about our specialized school services, contact Mike Zuba at

Elem Middle High 2012



The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016

2017 CT Teacher of the Year Patrice A. McCarthy

Deputy Director/General Counsel, CABE

Lauren Danner, a science teacher at North Branford High School, was recently honored as the 2017 Connecticut Teacher of the Year. Governor Malloy, Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell, State Senator Ted Kennedy and State Representative Vincent Candelora as well as Superintendent Scott Schoonmaker, Board Chairman Philip Dahlmeyer and other local officials participated in the recognition in an auditorium filled with high school students. Mrs. Danner, who graduated from North Branford High School, decided to leave her career as a scientist to become a teacher. Her passion and positivity, which were recognized by her colleagues and the Teacher of the Year Committee, were very evident in her remarks to the students and guests. Mrs. Danner’s love of science was sparked by one of her own science teachers while a student at North Branford High. She begins each school year with individual student interviews to learn more about her students and what inspires them.

Are you looking for a Superintendent, Principal or Assistant Principal? Call CABE for all your search needs! Consultants: MARY BRODERICK SENIOR CONSULTANT PAUL GAGLIARDUCCI ASSOCIATE CONSULTANT

The Teacher of the Year Committee was impressed not only by her dedication to her subject area, but to her students, fellow teachers and the community at large. During her remarks she said “while I loved working in a science lab, I realized I was too much of a talker and a storyteller to be working silently for most of my day. I found my true calling when I began teaching.” CABE congratulates all the Teacher of the Year finalists.

The Media Message

from Ann Baldwin, Baldwin Media Marketing, LLC

Trending: Why Adding Video to Your Website and Social Media Makes Sense For many of us, the possibility of puttarget audience. They also add interest and ting ourselves “on camera” can be frightfollowers on any social media platforms, ening, but the bottom line is that broadsuch as FaceBook or Twitter, that you may cast interviews offer a unique opportunity employ. Many public access stations also to deliver messages to a wide audience take video content that is provided and quickly and effectively. Recently, CABE broadcast it. welcomed the opportunity to bring mes Nearly every school board and school sages to life by using the new broadcast district wants to increase communicafacilities at Baldwin Broadcasting in New tions with its community and video is the Britain, as we recorded the first in a series perfect vehicle to do so. When it comes of videos titled, “CABE Conversations” to public relations, we all need to think Bob Rader, Executive Director of outside the box and leverage any and all CABE and Patrice McCarthy, Deputy resources to be more effective. Director and General Counsel, have em In the case of our partnership with braced the concept of recording short vid- CABE, both of our organizations look foreos to share with CABE member districts ward to including members of the CABE as well as other stakeholders interested in Board of Directors, CABE staff, CABE the topics that they are speaking about. members and others on videos to help For example, in a recent segment, better promote school boards and public Rader spoke about some of the most education. sought-after services that CABE offers its Maybe it’s time for you to consider a member districts, including policy and little “lights, camera, action!” advocacy, the latter at both the state and national levels. McCarthy spoke about the importance of advocacy for board members. You can view this segment by clicking on the link below, or by going to CABE’s website at and then accessing the video on the CABE homepage. watch?v=Uzdm1ES-6q0 These video segments were recorded and edited at Baldwin Media’s Broadcast facilities. Ann Baldwin, President, Baldwin Media with (left photo) Bob Videos are one cost-effective way Rader, Executive Director, CABE and (right photo) Patrice Mcto get your message out to your Carthy, Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE.


For an update or more information on vacancies go to our webiste: For more information contact, CABE Search Services, P.O. Box 290252, Wethersfield, CT 06129-0252 860-539-7594 Equal Opportunity Employer

How Does Your School Address Privacy and the Use of Online Educational Services and Apps? Carmella Amodeo

Director of Technology Newtown Public Schools

Our school district is endeavoring to create a checklist for evaluating the privacy and safety of using online educational services and apps. Our staff, as educators, is well qualified to review apps and online resources for their educational value. After all they are all highly educated in the field of However, are they ready to take on the challenge of reading Privacy Policies and Terms of Services to assess the risk to a student’s privacy posed by the use of these tools? Maybe some are, maybe some are not and maybe some have not even thought about it. Our staff is no different than the typical population when it comes to privacy. Throughout the population, “Users seem to view privacy more as a baseline expectation rather than a feature on which to base product selection” (IEEE). Recognizing the need for consistency across the district, we formed a committee to simplify the process of evaluating Terms of Services and Privacy Policies to ensure that they are meeting a set criterion. The deliverable of the committee will be a district-wide procedure for the initial evaluation of a new app or resource’s practices prior to its implementation. A large task? You could say that.. The committee has spent months reviewing guidance from organizations such as the U.S. Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). They read documentation on the applicable laws: FERPA, PPRA, COPPA, and CIPA. They considered the works of other districts. Pages and pages of information have been read, reviewed,

and discussed. But even this dedicated committee questions: have we read enough? Do we know enough to comfortably define what is acceptable and what is not? It is no wonder. Have you ever read the Terms of Service agreement presented to you before accepting what is commonly referred to as the “clickwrap” agreement? It would be great if they all had a checklist with just “yes, we do” or “no, we don’t” answers to questions on how they store and use information from the users but they do not. Only after hours of research have we discovered that some apps and resources common for use in K-12 districts may even violate some privacy laws and best practice. And now we have Connecticut Public Act 16-189.: This bill defines what can or cannot be done with the student information, as well as how it must stored and transmitted. We must rethink our process. The original thought that a signed Acceptable Use Agreement provides us sufficient permission to enroll students in online apps and resources is not enough. Further, after we deem them educationally appropriate and in compliance with PA16-189 for privacy, this bill defines how we must communicate their use to parents. So, what should be adopted as a procedure for review and notification? How do we get from these complex laws to an easy-to-use method for evaluating online educational services and apps? These are not questions unique to the Newtown Public Schools. They are questions that should and are being asked by Districts everywhere. There is even a think tank based in Washington, DC See HOW DOES page 19

18 The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016

Global Competency Certificate in the Works Chris Seymour Reporter, CABE

The CAPSS International Education Committee is currently working on the framework for a global competency certificate that could be offered to students on a statewide level as soon as the 2018-19 school year. “It has been a vision of the committee for well over eight years,” said Wallingford Superintendent Dr. Sal Menzo, who chairs the 13-member International Education Committee. The global competency certificate looks “to reward students who have pursued a path in high school of courses in all the content areas where this a global focus,” explained Kim Moore, a world language curriculum resource teacher in Wallingford who has been working on the effort with CAPSS. “What we have right now is we actually have a draft that will be vetted one more time by the committee and actually disseminated to key stakeholders” such as the Connecticut Council of Language Teachers and the Connecticut School Counselor Association, Menzo explained. After that, feedback will be gathered and the hope is to pilot the certificate in certain districts across the state, including Wallingford, in 2017-18. “Once the International Education Committee at CAPSS gives it their once over one more time we will be going out and looking to get feedback and advice from some of those larger stakeholders,” said Moore. “They will kind of be the feet on the ground in schools that will be encouraging kids to pursue this certificate,” she added. Menzo said the International Education Committee is aiming “to get a cross section of districts” across the state “that vary in size and vary in location” to conduct the pilot; those include Meriden, East Granby, New Haven and South Windsor. Moore explained that the pilot program will afford the opportunity for educators to “work out those initial kinks before we make it a full statewide thing,” adding, “We hope for the ‘18-19 school year we would be ready to sort of take it on the road.”


(continued from page 1) ence education position statement, that asks for a clear understanding the principles and practices of computer science to better prepare for 21st Century careers. The statement mentions the lack of courses for under-represented minorities and socio-economically challenged groups, and acknowledges the ESSA charge to provide quality computer science instruction.

She noted that there are courses across the academic spectrum that students could take to work toward the certificate. “Some content areas will lend themselves better to that than others—world language classes, some social studies and English classes have a global focus by nature,” said Moore. “And there would be science classes, music and art classes—anything that is international in terms of scope with the goal of helping students to become more globally aware in tandem with the content,” added Moore. The goal is “to encourage students and reward students to go above and beyond in terms of taking coursework in those areas, including students who seek out co-curricular activities that are also globally focused so the model UN or world language clubs or international exchanges,” explained Moore. “And another piece of the certificate will be some sort of culminating research and action project that is globally focused,” she added. Menzo said the global competency certificate is something that has been in the works for some time. “We finally had enough traction as of last year when the State Department of Education hired a consultant in the area of social studies,” said Menzo. “So we invited that person, his name is Stephen Armstrong, and he came to the committee and working with Kim [Moore] and working with Eve Pech from the World Affairs Council, we have really worked to take the ideas the superintendents had and really take it to the next leg of the race so to speak. I am really pleased with the collaboration that has gone on in developing this initial draft product,” he added. The ultimate aim is to help students as they branch out into a world that seems more global in nature than ever. “We always hear the studies that say the jobs these students will actually be employed in and working in upon graduation don’t even exist today,” said Menzo.”So the only thing we do know is the world economy is becoming so much more intertwined, and that relationship necessitates a higher level of understanding, a deeper level of understanding.”

Lastly, it lays out computer science being based on higher tiers of cognitive taxonomy, as it involves much problem solving. Along with these beliefs, the document provides guidance for stakeholders to build quality programs. Supporting documents from the meeting: asp?a=2683&Q=336054

Attorneys Participate in National Seminar Connecticut attorneys were well represented at the recent NSBA Council of School Attorneys School Law Practice Seminar. At the meeting of State Association Counsel, Rebecca Adams led a roundtable discussion of state litigation issues. Participants were particularly interested in the recent court decision in CCJEFF v. Rell. In a special session designed for attorneys new to the practice of school law, Patrice McCarthy provided an introduction to issues of Curricular Control: Controversial Subjects, Parental OptOuts, Teacher Discretion, Religion and Assessments. Attorneys Linda Yoder and Ann Littlefield from Shipman and Goodwin provided a comprehensive review of the Americans With Disabilities Act Accom-

Patrice McCarthy presenting at NSBA Council of School Attorneys School Law Practice Seminar.

modations For Employees, providing insight to their colleagues using specific examples of the “quicksand” involved in this area. Patrice A. McCarthy

Deputy Director/General Counsel, CABE

Focus Group of CABE Board of Directors Members

l. to r., Jennifer Dayton, Greenwich; Robert Mitchell, Montville; Ann Gruenberg, Hampton; Christopher Wilson, Bristol; Ellen Retelle, CREC on behalf of the State Department of Education; Liz Brown, Waterbury; Donald Harris, Bloomfield; Patrice McCarthy, CABE; Robert Rader, CABE; and Sheila McKay, CABE.


(continued from page 14) example, improved communications will strengthen student engagement in learning). Diminishing trends in the use of technology were identified. Examples include the use of SMART boards and computer labs. The CAPSS Technology survey of technology leaders, available on the CAPSS Website, discusses the future of technology. • Leading for Equitable Classrooms: Research and Practice on What Works for Accelerating Learning and Performance Take a deep dive into data to understand the inequities in your school district. Identify issues that impact students across the district, each school and each class room. Board members need to ask tough questions about achievement gaps and how we will improve that gap. • How to Create and Sustain an Effective Advisory Program The workshop provided excellent information from administrators and students on beginning and sustaining

an advisory program. • Names Numbers and Narratives: Understand Students’ Stories and Experiences Climate and cultural competency matters and student voice should drive change. There is a need to establish an ongoing vehicle to listen and respect all stakeholders in school and the community. Robert Rader Executive Director, CABE

SAVE the DATE CREC/CABE Area 2 Legislative Breakfast January 26, 2017 State Capitol, 3rd Floor “Old Judiciary Room” Watch your mail for registration information.

The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016

Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn Thanks to the hospitality of the Connecticut Association of Schools/Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, I recently had the opportunity to attend a reception and presentation by Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn. The event was open to middle and high school student athletes and was held the day before the release of Vonn’s book “Strong Is the New Beautiful”. Watching this world champion skier interact with the attendees, primarily young women, was a delight. She shared compelling stories of her life growing up in Minnesota, her love of skiing, as well as the challenges she has faced, which have included injuries, illness and depression. Vonn emphasized the importance of finding a personal exercise and nutrition plan that contributes to making you strong

l. to r., Patrice McCarthy, Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE, Lindsey Vonn, and Don Kirshbaum.

mentally and physically. She focused on the importance of setting goals and maintaining confidence, a message which clearly resonated with the students. Patrice A. McCarthy

Deputy Director/General Counsel, CABE


(continued from page 18) called the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) that, along with the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), has created the K-12 School Service Provider Pledge to Safeguard Student Privacy. By signing the pledge, companies are agreeing to abide by best practices for storing and transmitting student information as well as ensuring that it will only be used to meet the intended educational purpose. Even further, they agree to not make changes to their privacy policy without first notifying the users or in this instance the district. Sure looks like they have the bases covered. However, it does come with a disclaimer. “This Pledge is neither intended as a comprehensive privacy policy nor to be inclusive of all requirements to achieve compliance with all applicable federal or state laws.” Recognizing that, with the focus on privacy, there will be new laws going into effect, this is a reasonable statement. So what should we do? Let’s revisit the basic goal of the district’s committee: to create a method for evaluating the Privacy Policy and Terms of Services agreement. The district’s committee currently has a draft checklist that covers each of the points noted in the Privacy Pledge. The purpose of the rubric is to provide a consistent method for

evaluating the safety of our students using online educational services and apps. It cannot, nor was it intended to, become a hindrance to staff ’s ability to locate and use new and engaging resources. It is there for student safety: a priority for every member of our district. Once we accept the checklist, we must then determine who should be doing the evaluation. We already recognized that the wording used may vary from vendor to vendor even when stating the same thing. Is it reasonable for each individual staff member to be required to do the initial read and submit the completed form or should it be a set of identified staff for a more consistent evaluation? This initial evaluation is only the first step towards compliance. It justifies the effort to begin negotiations and enter into a contract with the vendor. As a next step we will need to define how to address the remaining requirements of PA16-189. We will proceed with caution and diligence. The privacy and safety of our students is a high priority as it is for all school districts. This is the approach we have chosen when it comes to the use of online apps and resources. So, how does your school district address student privacy and the use of educational apps and resources? We would love for you to share. [Editor’s Note: The Legislature has established a task force on student data privacy. As of date of printing, they have not yet met.]

We Put STUDENTS FIRST Safe, Secure and Sensitive Special Education Transportation Management Services



Nearly twenty years providing Special Education Transportation Services to many CT School Districts

Specially designed for in and out-of-district placements

A partnership between CTS, schools, transportation coordinators, parents and students

A network of pre-certified transportation companies especially equipped and licensed to provide special education transportation

Service is available for students using wheelchairs; aides may also be provided if needed

Fully documented trip histories using our automated scheduling and reservation system

Customer service lines open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 5 pm for trip reservations and handling weather-related delays



The Journal – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education | December 2016

Serving the Legal Needs of Connecticut’s Boards of Education Pullman & Comley’s School Law practice works with school districts, their boards of education and administrators to find practical, innovative and cost effective solutions to the legal issues they face. We provide legal counsel to school districts in connection with reviewing and revising policies and procedures, Freedom of Information Act issues, student discipline matters, and addressing other challenges school districts face on a daily basis. Additionally, our attorneys have significant experience in successfully representing school districts with respect to: O

Special education issues


All aspects of employment and labor relations matters, including collective bargaining and counseling concerning employee discipline issues


Cases in the federal and state courts and before administrative agencies

William R. Connon 860.424.4385

Jonathan B. Orleans 203.330.2129

Rachel L. Ginsburg 860.424.4372

Stephen M. Sedor 203.330.2137

Donald F. Houston 203.330.2245

John P. Shea, Jr. 860.424.4387

Melinda B. Kaufmann 860.424.4370

Mark J. Sommaruga 860.424.4388

Michael P. McKeon 860.424.4386

Zachary D. Schurin 860.424.4389

Please visit Education Law Notes, our school law blog that covers issues of great interest to school districts, including labor and employment, special education, gender and disability rights, FOIA, social media, bullying and policies and procedures at












CABE Journal - December 2016  

Volume 20, Number 11