EASTCONN Annual Report _2022-2023

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Annual Report 2022-2023

Established in 1980, under Connecticut General Statute 10-66a, EASTCONN is one of Connecticut’s six, public, non-profit, Regional Educational Service Centers (RESC). EASTCONN was formed when two small, eastern Connecticut public service agencies merged in order to more effectively provide regional, affordable education programs and services to the region’s smaller, often under-resourced, schools and communities. Initially, EASTCONN started with a small staff, but quickly grew as it demonstrated its expertise across a range of programs and services, including K-12 professional learning, special education, adult education and early childhood.

Today, EASTCONN employs nearly 590 staff who work in specialties like early childhood, K-12 student programs (magnet high schools; autism; clinical, developmental and therapeutic programs; psychological-behavioral consultation; related services; transition programs), adult education, employment and training, leading and learning, organizational support services, technology solutions and student transportation. Entrepreneurial by design, EASTCONN provides high-quality, competitively priced educational and related services to the 33 towns and 36 school districts in northeastern Connecticut that comprise the EASTCONN region. The agency is governed by a Board of Directors, who are also members of locally elected Boards of Education.

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Executive Director Letter District Participation RESC Alliance EASTCONN Leadership Member Needs Assessment EASTCONN Map & Locations Board Member & Member Districts Partnerships & Collaborations EASTCONN Programs & Services Org. Chart Mission, Vision & Goals Funding Detail 4 58-59 12 5 13 6-7 14 10-11 16-57 8-9 15 ANNUAL REPORT EASTCONN EASTCONN Annual Report 2022-2023 eastconn.org • 3 TABLE OF CONTENTS

Dear Colleagues,


It is with great pleasure that I present to you EASTCONN’s 2022-2023 Annual Report. What an exciting year!

In particular, I am eager to share with you our many collaborations. This is where EASTCONN has always excelled: building partnerships and nurturing existing relationships across Northeastern Connecticut and statewide. I firmly believe we all do better when we can work t ogether.

A brief example: in October, the six RESCs across the state held a conference – boldly called Igniting Change – where hundreds of Connecticut and out-of-state educators convened to develop and share transformative practices in the name of equity and inclusion. For many educato rs, it was thrill¬ing to return to a large-group setting for the first time since the start of the pandemic, to engage in one-on-one conversations between sessions and to share ideas across a table. The RESC Alliance has since hosted a spring 2023 conference and has generated considerable interest in its 20232024 offerings.

EASTCONN’s primary purpose has always been to serve the 36 towns and districts in our region and to enhance the educational services they provide. As you read through this report, you’ll likely notice the many efficiencies we’ve created to support our districts during these challenging times. The pandemic taught us that there will always be some new obstacle to overcome, but I am confident that EASTCONN is setting a steady course for the next decade and beyond.

On behalf of everyone at EASTCONN, I thank you for your partner ship and support. We are at your service.


EASTCONN Annual Report 2022-2023
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Eric Protulis Executive Director

Shawn Brodeur Facilities

Kimberly Bush

Transportation Services

Larisa Carr ECHIP Administrator




Justin Phaiah

Brooklyn Public Schools

Vice-Chairperson: Sonia Greene

Woodstock School District


Katherine Paulhus

Mansfield Public Schools


Jennifer Beausoleil

Coventry Public Schools

Amy Blank Union Public Schools

Terry Cote

Eastford Public Schools

Maryellen Donnelly

Hampton Public Schools

Sarah Haynes

Lebanon Public Schools

Sara Kelley Stafford Public Schools

Jamie Kleinman

Canterbury Public Schools

Susan Lannon Killingly Public Schools

Michael Morrill Putnam Public Schools

Mike Morris Region School District 8

Rod Perry Scotland Public Schools

John Rauh

Pomfret Public Schools

Diane Summa Plainfield Public Schools

Andrew DePalma CTO/Technology Solutions

Diane Dugas

K-12 Student Services; Leading & Learning Services

Diane Gozemba

Early Childhood Initiatives

Kristin Hempel Adult & Community Programs

Melanie Marcaccio

Human Resources

Amy Margelony

K-12 Special Education Services

Heather Plourde Food & Hospitality Services

Dona Prindle

Marketing & Communications

Patricia Ann Proctor CFO/Finance

EASTCONN Annual Report 2022-2023 eastconn.org • 5


Annual Report 2022-2023


Killingly Locations (from top): Killingly Head Start & Early Head Start locations Northeast Regional Program (NRP) Northeast Learning Center

Columbia Locations (from top): Bridges Community School Transportation Educational & Vocational Center (EVC) Plainfield Location Moosup Head Start Putnam Putnam Head Start Hampton Location Administrative Offices & Conference Center Quinebaug Middle College (QMC)
1 2 3 1 5 4 6 2 3 4 5 6
Windham Locations (clockwise): Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) Community Learning Center EASTCONN Transition Academy Windham Early Head Start
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Eric S. Protulis, Executive Director



376 Hartford Turnpike, Hampton, CT 06247

860-455-0707; 860-455-8026 FAX

Adult Programs, Assistive Technology, Conference & Food Services, Early Childhood Initiatives, Facilities, Finance, Human Resources, K-12 Student Services, Leading & Learning Services, Marketing & Communications, Organizational Support Services, Technology Services


Kristin Hempel, Director of Adult & Community Programs



Tyler Square. 1320 Main Street, Suite #25 Willimantic, CT 06226

860-423-2591; 860-450-0853 FAX


562 Westcott Road, Danielson, CT 06239 860-779-3770; 860-779-3384 FAX


Diane Gozemba, Director of Early Childhood Initiatives 860-455-1518

• EARLY HEAD START & HEAD START AT MOOSUP 10B Gorman Street, Moosup, CT 06354 860-564-7199; 860-564-2630 FAX


562 Westcott Road, Danielson, CT 06239 860-779-0410; 860-779-1377 FAX

• KILLINGLY HEAD START AT KILLINGLY HIGH SCHOOL 226 Putnam Pike, Dayville, CT 06241 860-779-6793; 860-774-0846 FAX

• PUTNAM HEAD START 33 Wicker Street, Putnam, CT 06260 860-928-0004; 860-963-6922 FAX


860-455-1586; 860-455-1005 FAX


1320 Main Street, Willimantic, CT 06226

860-455-1586; 860-455-1005 FAX

EASTCONN Annual Report 2022-2023



Amy Margelony, Director of Special Education



10 Commerce Drive, Columbia, CT 06237

860-228-3240; 860-228-3206 FAX

Erin Crosby, Principal


1320 Main Street, Suite 27, Willimantic, CT 06226


Nicole Constantine, Principal


14 Route 66, Columbia, CT 06237 860-228-4317; 860-228-1147 FAX

Gregory Biggs, Principal


79 Westfield Avenue, Danielson, CT 06239

860-779-6794; 860-774-0006 FAX

Kurt Mias, Principal


79 Westfield Avenue, Danielson, CT 06239

860-933-1257; 860-774-0006 FAX

Christine DiGiacomo, Coordinator


Diane Dugas, Director of K-12 Student Services 860-455-1569


896 Main Street, Willimantic, CT 06226 860-465-5636; 860-465-8115 FAX

Sarah Mallory, Principal


742 Upper Maple Street, Danielson, CT 06239 860-932-4100; 860-932-4950 FAX

Edward Keleher, Principal



109 Route 6, Columbia, CT 06237 860-228-6751; 860-228-6756

Kimberly Bush, Director of Transportation

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Annual Report 2022-2023







Adult Education & High School Completion

Community Education

Employment & Training Programs

English Language Services & Citizenship

Parent & Family Programs


Birth to Three General Program Development & Coordination of Statewide Professional Learning Services

Early Childhood Coaching & Consultation

Head Start/ Early Head Start Programs for Young Children & Families

School Readiness Support to Districts & Region


Academic Enrichment Programs

Clinical, Developmental & Therapeutic Programs

Magnet High Schools Programs for Students with Developmental Disabilities

Psychological & Behavioral Consultation Services

Related Services (AT, OT, PT, SLP)

School-to-Career Programs

Student Transportation

Summer, Vacation & After-School Programs


Center for Educational Leadership

Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment & Interventions

Professional Learning

Regional Groups & Councils

School Improvement Strategies


Business Office & Employer Services

Finance Office

Conference & Hospitality Services

Cooperative Purchasing

Driver Education

Facilities Services

Human Resources & Staffing Solutions

Marketing & Communications & Website Content

Security & Investigations

Student Food Services


Data Solutions, Support & Training

Educational Technology Integration

Student Information Systems Support & Training Technology

Infrastructure Support Technology Products & Services

Video Production Services

Web Application Development

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EASTCONN will initiate, support and facilitate partnerships, collaborations and regional solutions that are responsive to the needs of all learners through exemplary programs, products and services.


When the vision of EASTCONN is realized, schools and communities will collaborate effectively to provide opportunities for learners of all ages. All community members will have expanded life choices as a result of higher levels of learning and training. EASTCONN employees will consistently anticipate and meet the changing needs of schools and communities. As lifelong learners ourselves, we will continually increase our skills, particularly those that contribute to greater teamwork and problem solving. Open communication and the inclusion of diverse perspectives will drive decision-making, which will be based on the broadest available data. We will be valued for the originality of our leadership and the quality of our service.



To provide exemplary programs and services for learners, especially those with significant barriers, so each can achieve individual success.


To engage in strategic collaborations that result in positive outcomes for learners.


To enhance the knowledge and skills of educators and the whole community, so they can effect change and facilitate positive outcomes for learners.

EASTCONN Annual Report 2022-2023 eastconn.org • 9


Annual Report 2022-2023



Camp Quinebaug

CT Commission on Culture & Tourism

CT Department of Higher Education

CT Dept. of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

CT Distance Learning Consortium

CT Adult Virtual High School

CT Quality Council

CT State Collaborations: Alternative Sanctions

Bureau of Rehabilitation, Children and Families

Commission for Educational Technology

• Department of Corrections

• Department of Education (CSDE)

• Department of Labor, Energy & Environmental Protection

• Health, Income Maintenance, Justice, Labor, Developmental Services, Mental Health, Policy and Management, Public Health & Addiction Services, Social Services, Teaching & Learning, Workers’

Compensation & Rehabilitation

CT State Library

CT Tech Act Project

CT Virtual Learning Center

Court Support Services Division

Juvenile Residential Services

DCF Willimantic, Norwich, Manchester & Hartford Offices

Eastern Highlands Health District

Northeast District Department of Health (NDDH)

North Central District Health Department

Office of Early Childhood

Office for Workforce Competitiveness

Birth To Three System


Center for Legal Studies

Charter Oak ARC

The Consultation Center at Yale University

Eastern Connecticut State University

Emerson College


Gateway Community College

Mitchell College

Neag School of Education/UConn

NOVA Southeastern University

Quinebaug Valley Community College

Three Rivers Community College

University of Connecticut

UConn Center for Applied Research in Human Development

UConn Extension Food & Nutrition Program

UConn Health Disparities Institute (HDI), UConn


University of Missouri

University of St. Joseph


American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE)

American Cancer Society

American Job Centers

Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA)

Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE)

CT Association for Adult and Continuing Education (CAACE)

CT Associations of: Boards of Education (CABE), Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), School Nurses, School Personnel Administrators, Schools (CAS), Secondary Schools, Supervision and Curriculum & Development


CT Educators Computer Association (CECA)

CT Educators Network

CT Reading Association

CT School Public Relations Association (ConnSPRA)

CT Society of Health-System Pharmacists

Learning Resources Network (LERN)

National Association for Music Education

National & CT Associations for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC/CAEYC)

Nonprofit Alliance of Northeast CT (NANC)

Northeast Area Superintendents’ Association (NASA)

Research for Better Teaching

University Region Superintendents’ Association (URSA)


CT General Assembly




All Our Kin

Backus Hospital

Benton Museum

Capital Workforce Partners

Center for Latino Progress

CLiCK Willimantic

Colebrook Village at Hebron

Community Health Center of Middletown

Community Foundation of Eastern CT

Covenant Soup Kitchen

CT Audubon

CT Center for Advanced Technologies, Inc.

CT Children’s Medical Center

CT Fair Housing Center

CT Historical Society

CT Legal Services

CT Parent Advocacy Center (SPAC)

CT United Way

Davis Place

Day Kimball Hospital

Dempsey Center

Douglas Manor

Early Childhood Consultation Partnership

Eastern Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

Eastern CT Health Network

Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB)

Even Start

Family Center for Natural Wellness

Family Resource Centers

Family Service Coordination Centers

Food, Resources, Education Security & Health (FRESH) of New London

4-H LIFT After-School Program

Generations Family Health Center

Goodwill Norwich

GROW Windham


Hartford Foundation Head Start

Hartford Healthcare

Head Start State Collaboration Office

Health Education Center

Heart Life CPR

Historic New England

Holy Family Shelter




Institute for Community Research

Joshua’s Trust


LanguageLine Solutions

The Last Green Valley

LEGO Foundation

Mansfield Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation

Natchaug Hospital, Joshua Program

NECCOG Regional Animal Shelter



New Britain Museum of Art

New England Office of the College Board

New England Science and Sailing (NESS)

New Haven Chamber of Commerce

New Life Residential Services

New London Adult Education

New London County 4-H Program

New London Youth Affairs

Northeast Alliance for Economic Development

NE CT Chamber of Commerce

Northeast Opportunities for Wellness

Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board

Norwich Regional Adult Education

Norwich Youth, Family and Recreation Services

OSA Foundation

Ossen Foundation

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Pediatrician Offices throughout the Region

Plainfield Early Childhood Center

Perceptions Programs I

Prevent Child Abuse CT

Priority Family Healthcare


Prudence Crandall Museum

Putnam Chamber

Putnam FRC

Root Center Willimantic

St. Joseph Living Center

Salvation Army

Senior Resources Agency on Aging

Special Education Resource Center

Step-Up New London

Sturbridge Village

SUEZ Foundation

Thames Science Center

The Arc Eastern Connecticut

Third Thursday

Tri-County ARC


United Connection Action for Neighborhoods, Inc.


United Labor Agency (ULA)

United Services

United Social and Mental Health Services

Vanderman Place

Villa Maria Nursing & Rehabilitation

Villages at Killingly

Visiting Nurses Association


Waterbury Adult Education

Westview Health Center

The Wheeler Clinic

Wilderness School

Willimantic River Alliance

Windham Area Interfaith Ministries

Windham Arts

Windham PRIDE

Windham Region Chamber of Commerce

Windham Heights

Windham Regional Arts Council

Windham Region Community Council

Windham Region Health Council

Windham Rotary

Windham School Readiness Council

Windham Textile and History Museum

WorkForce Alliance

Youth Engagement Team Initiatives


Library of Congress

Retired Seniors Volunteer Program

U.S. Departments: Education, Health & Human Services, HUD, Labor


Ampersand Consulting

Bob’s Discount Furniture

Capitol Collision

Career Step

Certified Auto Repair LLC

Chelsea Groton Bank


Columbia Ford

Connecticut Casket Co.

Conway Tours

Discovery Education


Eastbrook Fitness

Edible Arrangements


Friendship Tours

Giant Pizza

The Harp on Church

The Ice Box

JASON Learning

Liberty Bank

Linda’s House Pediatric Daycare & Preschool

Mansfield Discovery Depot

Maple Shade Service

Milltown Grill

Mohegan Sun

Morgan Corporations

Old Navy

Pleasant Pizza

Price Chopper

Princeton Review

Putnam Cyclery

Putnam Supermarket

Renaissance Learning

Riley Farms

Rose Brothers Garage

Sabor Latino Radio

Silver Mill Tours

Smith and Walker Funeral Home



Tara Farm Rescue

T&A Tours

Thunderbird Cafe

Tsunami Tsolutions

VESTA Corporation

Village Heights



Westminster Tool

WILI Radio

Windcrest Farms Inc.

Windham Early Childhood Center (WECC)

WINY Radio


Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES)

Cooperative Educational Services (CES)

Capitol Region Education Council (CREC)



Alliance of Regional Educational Service Centers


Abington Social Library

American School for the Deaf

Bolton Public Schools

Town of Bolton

Town of Columbia

Douglas Library (Hebron)

Eastern CT Libraries

E.O. Smith

Federal Church of Christ, Brooklyn

Goodwin Conservation Center

Interdistrict Grant Partner Schools

Jonathan Trumbull Library

Town of Norwich

Park Church

Preston Public Schools

Putnam Library

36 School Districts in the EASTCONN Region

St. Mary St. Joseph School

Stafford Library

Thompson Public Works

Thompson Recreation Department

Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group (TEEG)

Thread City Development (WilliNext)

Town of Willington

Willimantic Public Library

Windham Family & Community Partnership

Windham Recreation Department

EASTCONN Annual Report 2022-2023
eastconn.org • 11

EASTCONN Annual Report 2022-2023


EASTCONN collaborates with the other five Regional Educational Service Centers (RESCs) - ACES, CES, CREC, EdAdvance, and LEARN - to provide quality programs and services that result in cost efficiencies to districts throughout the state. Together, the RESCs also advocate at the state legislature for laws that address and respond to the education needs of all Connecticut residents.

• Digital Learning Initiatives

• Early Childhood Nutrition and Exercise Programs

• Early Learning Initiatives

• English Language Learner Support

• Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER)

• Igniting Change Conferences and Pathways for Professional Learning

• Increasing Educator Diversity Program

• Quality Improvement Support Grants

• Social and Emotional Learning Support Services

• Teacher and Administrator Evaluation and Support Systems

• Teacher Education and Mentoring Program

• The Science of Reading

• Trauma-Informed Care Training and Support

For additional information on the RESC Alliance, go to www.rescalliance.org

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EASTCONN leaders meet regularly, either in person or remotely, with member district leadership and staff to assess how well we are meeting their needs and to identify areas where we can provide added support. We solicit feedback, analyze data to identify regional trends, and respond as quickly as possible to districts’ educational and operational needs.


Each request for service reveals a district need. Program staff are trained to work in collaboration with EASTCONN customers to define and articulate the need that underlies each request for service. These data are then used to refine our understanding of regional needs. When additional data are required, needs assessments are conducted, using focus groups, regional forums, surveys, benchmarking and bestpractice research.


Regional forums provide another critical source of data. We host and facilitate free, regional meetings and councils across a range of pedagogical, job-alike and schoolrelated topics, including: URSA/NASA with our region’s Superintendents, the Regional Staff Development Council, ConnCASE, English Learners Roundtable, Increasing Educator Diversity Consortium, Language Arts Council, Math Council, Regional Library Council, Regional Transition Network, Science Council, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Council, Social Studies Council and Technology Council. These groups explore regional challenges and solutions, as well as opportunities to collaborate in cost-effective, efficient ways in response to a range of needs (mental health services, improved public transportation, distance-learning strategies and early childhood programs, for example). Agendas are designed both to identify and address the needs of members. EASTCONN uses these data to expand its regional needs profile.


Agency division leaders work together to develop new products and services and to recommend their phase-out when no longer needed. Staff collect and interpret regional data, identify new service needs, recommend the allocation of resources and ensure the open flow of information with stakeholders and member districts.


Our Leadership Team oversees the strategic interests of EASTCONN and the customers we serve. The team includes: the Executive Director; the Chief Financial Officer; the Director of Human Resources; and the Directors of Adult & Community Programs; Conference Office and Food & Hospitality Services; Early Childhood Initiatives; Facilities; K-12 Special Education Services; K-12 Student Services; Leading & Learning; Marketing & Communications; Technology Solutions; Transportation; and the Administrator of ECHIP, the agency’s regional collaborative health insurance program. Each member of the Leadership Team develops annual program goals that respond to an assessment of our customers’ needs, as well as to federal, state and regional mandates, best practices and research in their respective fields. Collectively, the Leadership Team monitors progress toward both agency and program goals and ensures that we are collaboratively meeting our district member needs.

EASTCONN Annual Report 2022-2023
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Annual Report 2022-2023



Vacant, Chair

Valerie Bruneau, Superintendent



Cynthia Ford, Superintendent



Debbie Grant, Superintendent


• Justin Phaiah, Chair

EASTCONN Chairperson

Peter Dart, Superintendent


• Jamie Kleinman, Chair

Dr. Christopher Bitgood, Superintendent



Ken Henrici, Superintendent



Daniel Sullivan, Superintendent



Barbara Wilson (Interim), Superintendent


• Jennifer Beausoleil

David Petrone, Superintendent


• Terry Cote, Chair

Donna Leake, Principal/Superintendent



Greg Keith, Superintendent



Sean McKenna, Superintendent



• Maryellen Donnelly, Chair

Samantha Sarli, Superintendent



Thomas Baird, Superintendent


• Susan Lannon, Chair

Susan Nash-Ditzel, Superintendent


• Sarah Haynes, Chair

Andrew Gonzalez, Superintendent



Sally Keating, Interim Superintendent


• Katherine Paulhus, Chair

EASTCONN Secretary/Treasurer

Peter Dart, Superintendent



Holly Hageman, Superintendent


• Diane Summa, Chair

Paul Brenton, Superintendent


• John Rauh, Chair

Mike Cummings, Superintendent


Steve Rioux, Chair

• Michael Morill

Daniel Sullivan, Superintendent


• Rod Perry, Chair

Valerie Bruneau, Superintendent



William Hull, Superintendent


• Sara Kelley

Steve Moccio, Superintendent



Theodore Friend, Superintendent



Melinda Smith, Superintendent



Walter Willett, Superintendent


• Amy Blank, Chair

Steve Jackopsic, Superintendent



Adam Burrows, Superintendent



Phil Stevens, Superintendent



Tracy Youngberg, Superintendent


• Sonia Greene, Chair

EASTCONN Vice-Chairperson

Viktor Toth, Superintendent



Chris Sanford, Superintendent


• Michael Morris Chair

Colin McNamara, Superintendent



Ken Henrici, Superintendent



Sharon Cournoyer, Superintendent

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$3,151,094 | 9.1%


$6,000,406 | 17.4%


$8,959,752 | 26%


$16,331,506 | 47.4%


$31,408 | 0.1%



EASTCONN Annual Report 2022-2023
22022 0 2 3 FUNDINGDETAIL eastconn.org • 15
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In her home country of Venezuela, Krislia Grisman has a degree in digital marketing/graphic design. But here in the U.S., she cannot work due to her husband’s visa status. She’s currently a stay-at-home mom.

The couple left Venezuela to flee the economic blockade and communist regime. They currently live with their young daughter in a one-bedroom apartment in Willimantic. They have no family here.

Although she studied English in Venezuela, Krislia knew that she needed to take classes in the U.S. to improve her speaking and writing skills. Seeing numerous street signs for EASTCONN services throughout town, she registered for classes and got to work.

“In the past, I was scared about talking to other people,” Krislia said. “I hated to have a group conversation in English, because it was so scary.”

At EASTCONN, Krislia found the respect and confidence with language she was looking for.

“Typically, I have felt insecure about how to ask questions if I’m not 100 percent sure how to pronounce a

word,” she said. “It is the first time that I am finally able to improve my English and see that I am actually advancing in my language development.”

Krislia has participated in several EASTCONN programs over the past year, including Family Literacy, and has taken advantage of the agency’s child care services at school. “It’s a big deal for moms and their children,” she said. “I have never experienced this type of service at a language school. At EASTCONN, mothers go to their designated classroom and their children go to theirs with their own teachers – so I feel that they are also learning.”

Krislia also said she feels a great deal of support from her EASTCONN instructors. “When you arrive in a new country, you are typically alone – and you need to learn more things other than English,” she said. “This is very important for my personal development – for learning how to navigate a new city and not feeling alone is very important for me in my life. What I experience here with my teachers is more of an equal adult relationship.”

“In short,” Krislia added, “I think of EASTCONN as a family.”

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023
I have never experienced this type of service at a language school.
eastconn.org • 17
EASTCONN A&CP student Krislia Grisman reads to her daughter.



EASTCONN’s 21-town, northeastern Connecticut Adult Education Consortium offers residents a wide range of free adult education services, ensuring that Consortium members could afford to provide mandated education programs. Programming is held both virtually and on-site at our regional Community Learning Centers, co-located in partnership with EWIB’s American Job Centers in Danielson and Willimantic.

Adult and Community Programs includes 3 divisions: Adult Education; Workplace Education; and Employment and Training. We offer free education classes to residents, ages 17+, which include high school completion, English-Language-Learners (ELL), American Citizenship, life and basic skills, and college transition support. Workplace Education offers certificate training programs and workplace ELL, HSE, and skills training. Employment and Training manages 2 regional American Job Centers, provides free employment assistance and training for job-seekers, oversees the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and administers job-training programs for the region’s youth (ages 14+).

• Served 2,327 individuals in programs throughout the region.

• Enrolled 163 adults who participated in our Adult Workplace Education certificate classes and work-site education and training programs.

For more information, contact Kristin Hempel, Director of Adult & Community Programs

860-455-1562 • khempel@eastconn.org


High School Completion

Our pathway to high school completion begins with Basic Skills instruction for individuals functioning at the elementary or middle school level or those transitioning in from ELL programming. Intended for adults who are at least 17, are not enrolled in high school, and lack a US high school diploma, this program helps students improve their math, reading, writing and technology skills. The program offers a free evaluation, individual guidance, and convenient day/evening in-person or virtual classes. The goal is to help students obtain a high school diploma and prepare for employment, the military and/or post-secondary training. Our counselors can help adults select between our three alternatives for high school completion, determining which program will best meet their needs: GED Preparation, Adult High School Credit Diploma Program (CDP) or the National External Diploma Program (NEDP).

• 218 adults sought to improve their basic skills and/or earn their high school diploma through one of EASTCONN’s three high school credentialing options.

• GED: English and Spanish GED classes will graduate 38 students in June 2023.

• NEDP: 4 students are expected to graduate in June from this individualized program.

• CDP: Virtual course options are popular; 15 students are expected to graduate.

English Language Learners (ELL) Instruction

Our Adult Education certified staff provide free instruction for non-English-speaking adults who are 17 and older, with beginner- to intermediate-level classes. Daytime, afternoon, and evening classes are offered both virtually and in-person at convenient locations throughout northeastern Connecticut. Direct instruction is supported by on-site learning labs and self-paced, online platforms to extend learning opportunities and provide tailored access to industry contextualized lessons.

• EASTCONN served 212 ELL students this year.

American Citizenship Preparation

These classes and individualized programs prepare non-native adults to pass the American Citizenship Test, with a special emphasis on questions used by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

• Many of our students are non-U.S. citizens who benefit from efforts to incorporate preparation for the Immigration and Naturalization Service exam into their English language classes.

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Program Enhancement Project (PEP) Grants

We were awarded 7 competitive PEP grants from the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), totaling $330,000. Through partnerships with the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB), Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC), school districts, Family Resource Centers, libraries, and other non-profit and social services agencies, these funds provided specialized services to 106 eligible students. Highlights included:

• Integrated English Language and Civics Education: Through a collaboration with Norwich Adult Education and EASTCONN Transportation, we increased access for high-level ELL students to a rigorous curriculum that integrates workforce readiness skills, citizenship preparation, leadership, and college preparation. 21 students are participating, including 15 students who are also enrolled in certificate programs for CNA or the Bridge to Manufacturing certification.

• English Language Learners (ELL) Family Literacy: EASTCONN Adult Programs partners with Head Start to provide Family Literacy classes to eligible Windham families. This regional, multi-generational program combines academic instruction, work-readiness, and positive parenting strategies for parents with high-quality educational programming for children. This program allowed us to provide instruction to 18 English Learner parents.

• Non-Traditional Learner: EASTCONN provides non-traditional clients with technology-rich classes in hard to reach locations to prepare them for the GED exam and/or improve their English reading, writing and speaking skills. Participants also develop problem-solving, decision-making and other critical-thinking skills all within a workplace-readiness context.

• Transitions to Post-Secondary Education: This program supports students who are completing one of EASTCONN’s high school or English Language programs as they transition into a variety of post-secondary education and training programs. Through a partnership with QVCC, adult education students can co-enroll in college-level courses and earn credits while receiving support and tutoring through EASTCONN. We anticipate students completing six classes and earning 18 credits.

• Transitions to 21st Century Careers: Workforce Readiness: This multifaceted program provides support and guidance for adult education students and graduates. These services include: embedded classroom support for career pathway development; program-wide transitions events; integrated digital literacy and workplace communication skills; and contextualized academic instruction in manufacturing and healthcare content areas. 54 students accessed these services.

• IET (Integrated Education & Training): IET is an innovative education model that integrates basic-skills adult education with technical instruction. The curriculum is designed by certified adult education instructors and specialists in the industry. Classes are co-taught by adult education and technical training instructors and help students prepare for the GED or master the English language while earning certification in the manufacturing or healthcare field.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023 eastconn.org • 19


WORKPLACE EDUCATION Customized Workplace Training

Local businesses can customize cost-effective training packages in literacy and English-Language Learners (ELL) instruction, customer service, Microsoft Office or manufacturing that meet their workforce development needs. Training can be provided in the workplace or at a convenient EASTCONN adult education site. In addition to pre-designed virtual training, which served 10 individuals, staff developed contracts for customized, on-site and/or virtual workplace education programs, including:

ServSafe and First Aid/CPR: Trained 25 individuals in both Hartford and Fairfield counties through partnerships with youth correctional residential services. Work Readiness: Provided long-term, scaffolded, work-readiness training to 30 individuals in Windham County through a partnership with local youth correctional residential services. Content included CPR/First Aid, applied digital literacy skills, career planning, and kitchen basics.


Volunteer Literacy Tutoring

Volunteer tutors work with adult learners on basic reading, writing, math or English Language (EL) skills. Tutoring, provided free of charge, can be on a one-to-one basis or in a classroom setting. Tutoring is offered at multiple sites in EASTCONN-region towns. Adults interested in volunteering are encouraged to apply.

• 10 students were supported by 6 community volunteers.

Distance Learning Initiative

To support our region’s learners, we offer a full range of online and virtual instruction supported by certified staff. These distance learning opportunities provide access to high quality instruction for those who otherwise would not be able to enroll in classes due to barriers such as transportation, child care, or work schedules. In order to set our distance learners up for success, we continued to provide both a Distance Learning Orientation and a technology loan program for students without adequate technology.

• 74 students took distance learning classes and 47 accessed our technology loan program.

In Partnership with the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB), EASTCONN continued as the regional leader for workforce development providing oversight of the American Job Center locations in Danielson and Willimantic and collaborating in the design and delivery of remote programs for economically disadvantaged individuals in need of vocational training and/or employment. The American Job Centers provide employment assistance to job seekers, such as employment/career guidance, job search information, potential training funding for eligible applicants, an ongoing connection to employer recruitment opportunities and on-the-job training opportunities. To extend services throughout the eastern Connecticut region, EASTCONN subcontracts with Thames Valley Council for Community Action.

• Ticket to Work: EASTCONN served 12 adult job-seekers with disabilities through Ticket to Work, ensuring access to job search, training funding and support services.

• Jobs First Employment Services (JFES): Case management services and job search assistance were provided to 298 Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) customers

• Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA

Adult/Dislocated Workers) Case Management: Case

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management services and job search assistance were provided to 220 newly enrolled jobseekers, an additional 189 continuing their services with us from prior year enrollments, and supporting 125 job seekers with retention services their first year after program exit. 87 completed job skills training and achieved an industry recognized credential. 115 job seekers achieved new employment.

• Eastern CT Healthcare Pipeline: This allows eligible job seekers to begin and advance in a healthcare career at no out-of-pocket expense. Through this program, 31 adults received person-centered case management, support services and job development.

Connecticut Youth Employment & Training Program

Our EWIB-funded, regional employment and training program for young adults, aged 14-24, provides an opportunity for youth to participate in paid, work-based learning opportunities, at individual and group community work sites to learn career pathway, communication and financial literacy skills. Partners include New London Youth Affairs and Norwich Youth, Family and Recreation. Participants must meet guidelines. Internship areas include Health, Manufacturing, Retail, Human Services, Day Care, Landscaping and more.

• 453 youth participated.

• 93% of the participants achieved an attendance rate of 80% or better.

• 95% of youth participants returned to school or found jobs.

In-School & Out-of-School Youth Programs for 17-24-year Olds

Funded by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) and in collaboration with New London Youth Affairs and Adult Education and Norwich Human Services and Adult Education, the COOL Directions and JET (Jobs, Education & Training) programs offer intensive career pathway programming and wrap-around case management services to 160 young adults from nine high schools, three Adult Education offices and various community partners. Participants explore career options and participate in paid internships and on-the-job training. Work-readiness skills include resume writing, dressing for success, interview techniques, and more. Education and training classes help participants complete a high school diploma/equivalent and/or earn a

nationally recognized Customer Service credential, as well as other industry recognized credentials.

• Data showed that 90 graduated or earned their GED; one year after graduation, 76% had jobs, were enrolled in the military, or were attending a post-secondary school.

• A total of 160 youth received supportive services, such as transportation and technology assistance, food and tuition payments.


Manufacturing Bootcamp

Course participants prepare for the EWIB’s Manufacturing Pipeline initiative by taking a 5-week workshop on essential mathematical and spatial reasoning skills.

• 35 adults attended basic skills boot camps in preparation for the Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative.

Healthcare Seminar: This two-week course prepares prospective participants in Eastern CT’s Healthcare Pipeline by working on the contextualized communication and professional skills for the healthcare industry.

• 10 adults attended the Healthcare Seminar.

Customer Service & Sales Academy

Throughout this 6-week workshop, participants prepare for the National Retail Foundation’s Customer Service and Sales credential. Individuals taking the course learn about products and services; assessing and meeting customer needs; preparing for selling, gaining customer commitment and closing the sale; store operations and inventory control; the process of merchandising; the importance of common employability skills; and how to craft a polished résumé.

• 10 adults attended the program.

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Trying new skills. Empowering families with knowledge. Seeing different points of view. Focusing on “what’s strong, not what’s wrong.”

Participants at this year’s Infant/Toddler Conference (pictured), which took place in March, said they’d take these approaches – as well as many others discussed at the event – back home to their classrooms.

“The real-life examples the speakers gave to connect to the material being presented – insights and solutions to parent problems, a sense of community, engaging discussion, information relevant to my practice – were all presented in a way that was easily understood,” one conference participant said.

The more we can understand and develop empathy for the multiple “balls in the air” parents and families are living with, added EASTCONN Director of Early Childhood Initiatives Diane Gozemba, the more we may be able to increase family strengths, partner to support the child’s development, and ultimately reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.

“All families deserve to be understood and treated in a humane way, in their

individual context to help them identify ways to guide and support their child over time as their child’s first teacher,” Gozemba said.

In addition to the Infant/Toddler Conference, learning opportunities took place in multiple formats, including ECI’s professional learning community and through ongoing discussions with EASTCONN staff members.

This past year, the heart of ECI’s work with families included opportunities to engage around five key factors: parent resilience; social connections; knowledge of parenting and child development; concrete support in times of need; and promoting the social and emotional competence of children with families.

ECI also brought the Strengthening Families and Protective Factors Framework alive as a core consideration for staff doing direct service work through home visiting, center-based Early Head Start, Head Start, and Birth to Three early intervention services. In addition, ECI expanded the reach of its professional learning supports to the broader community for all staff that work with young children and families.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023
A participant finds she has a few too many balls in the air at ECI’s 2023 Infant/Toddler Conference.
eastconn.org • 23
All families deserve to be understood and treated in a humane way, in their individual context to help them identify ways to guide and support their child over time as their child’s first teacher.



Early Childhood Initiatives (ECI) focuses on children, prenatal to grade 3, offering a wide array of consultation, professional learning (PL), technical assistance, coaching and direct services to the region’s early care and education programs, school districts and communities. PL includes support for strategic planning, program development, accreditation and professional learning on standards, curriculum, assessment and instruction. Parent education is also provided to the communities we serve. ECI administers and provides direct services to children and their families as the grantee for the state-funded Birth to Three program and the federally-funded Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Windham and Tolland counties.

For more information, contact Diane Gozemba, Director of Early Childhood Initiatives

860-455-1518 • dgozemba@eastconn.org

Birth To Three Program

Building on the support and skills of families, this early-intervention program was designed to meet the developmental and health-related needs of infants and toddlers who qualify for services, based on delays or a diagnosis that impacts development. Intensive services are also provided for children with more significant needs, such as medical complications, autism and Down Syndrome. Staff help families and caregivers support children’s learning and development, using practical strategies, research-based and evidence-based practices. Birth to Three continues to serve children and families across 21 towns in the EASTCONN region. Visits are provided in-person in the child’s natural learning environment, which may be at home, childcare location or community setting. Throughout a child’s time in Birth to Three, the staff work with families to ensure a smooth transition out of Birth to Three services into local school district programs, and other community programs.

• Our monthly, program-wide caseload averaged 200 children and families, with 400+ participants receiving evaluations and/or services within the last year.

• Of the infants and toddlers with Individual Family Service Plans, 81% demonstrated improved social-emotional skills, including social relationships; 92% showed improved acquisition and use of knowledge and skills, including early language/communication; and 84% improved their use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs.

• Birth to Three Annual Family Survey: Families enrolled for more than six months were surveyed and reported feeling more confident and competent; 93.9% reported Birth to Three helped them effectively communicate their child’s needs; 98% reported Birth to Three helped their child develop and learn; and 95.9% felt informed about their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) law.


EASTCONN administers Head Start, a comprehensive, federally- funded program for income-eligible preschool-age children and their families in Windham and Tolland counties. Center-based programs are available in Killingly, Plainfield, Putnam and Windham. A home-based program is available to families in Tolland County. Head Start programming looks to educate children and prepare them for future learning, through the implementation of school readiness goals and family involvement.

• Head Start mid-year data showed education goals with the two highest areas of focus as 31.72% in social emotional learning and 18.28% in literacy & language.

• Highlights from the comparison of the two sets of data show improvement in child outcomes in both areas. Overall growth in reference to the Social Emotional domain went from a 2.64 to a 3.49, which is an increase of 85%. The highest increased subset under Social Emotional Development was Building Relationships with Other Children. Period one was 3.12 and Period two was 4.08, which is an increase of 96%.

• Child Outcomes for Language, Literacy and Communication had an overall increase of 72%, going from a 2.54 to a 3.26. The area with most improvement in the Language and Literacy domain was Book Enjoyment and Knowledge. An increase of 90% from 2.69 to 3.59 may be reflective of the professional development opportunities presented this year as well as volunteers that have re-entered our program. Partnerships with the local community libraries and Storytellers of America have brought such joy to the classrooms, and as seen here an overall surge in literacy.

• The Education team implemented two new supplemental curriculums this year to continue strategic work on literacy and language acquisition. This includes Heggerty and Learning without Tears. Final data will be gathered in COR period 3, when classrooms close out their reporting in June 2023.

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EASTCONN Early Head Start

EASTCONN administers the Early Head Start program in Windham and Tolland Counties. This program serves incomeeligible pregnant women and children, birth to age 3, and their families, in home-visiting and year-round center-based programs. We offer EHS programming in northeastern CT and Windham County, while Windham Public Schools provides a center-based program for the greater Windham area. Benefits of Early Head Start include strong family involvement and support with health, dental, nutrition and mental health needs.

• For the 2022-2023 program year through March 30, EASTCONN Early Head Start programs, including contracted programs in Stafford and Windham Public Schools, have had 26 open concerns for children identifying possible delays in development. EASTCONN had a total of 24 children, Stafford had 2, and Windham had 1. Supports are provided to staff and families serving children with open concerns in the hopes that a referral and services are received if deemed eligible for early intervention. Total enrollment for each program: EASTCONN Early Head Start 102, Stafford Early Head Start 18, and Windham Early Head Start 51.

• An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is provided if a child is found eligible for early intervention services by a local intervention agency, such as Birth to Three. We encourage families to think of the IFSP as the foundation - and road map - for a family’s involvement with early intervention services.

• For the 2022-2023 program year through March, EASTCONN Early Head Start served 35 children from age birth to three that had an IFSP in place.

• EASTCONN Early Head Start Center-Based programs had 8 children with IFSPs. Of the 8 children, 7 came into the program with an IFSP. Early Head Start Home Based had a total of 27 children with an IFSP. Of the 27, 17 came into the program with an ISFP. The remaining 10 children received an IFSP while in the Early Head Start Program.

• Our contracted Early Head Start programs in Windham Public Schools and Stafford Public Schools had 17 children with IFSPs. In Windham there were 8 children entering the program with an IFSP and 6 that received an IFSP while enrolled. Stafford had 2 children enter the program with an IFSP and 1 receive an IFSP while enrolled.

• Support from the Education team continues to build partners and knowledge within the staff to better work with children who receive services or who have an open concern. Modeling and training have become an integral part of transitioning a child into a classroom.

Education/Parenting Workshops

Workshops on a range of topics are available to help parents increase their parenting skills, improve their knowledge of children’s growth and development, and learn how to support learning. Early childhood specialists are available to provide regional or on-site training. EASTCONN is also able to provide age appropriate activities for districts in a Play Lab format or Transition to K activities.

Executive Function & Purposeful Play

Our staff works with school districts to increase the executive function skills of preschool through grade 1 students. We provide training and on-site coaching to administrators and teachers in implementation strategies that support children’s executive function skills and purposeful play scenarios to address content standards.

• EASTCONN provided a combination of in-person and virtual trainings and coaching in 5 communities statewide. This past year, early childhood specialists have presented 3 times at CT Association of Schools (CAS) as a means of bringing this work to a broader audience. Coaching supported teachers as they considered the whole child in all domains of development, including higher-order thinking and supporting their executive function skills development through evidence-based practices. Additionally, Purposeful Play was used as a means to support children’s executive function skills and social competence.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023 eastconn.org • 25


• This year, programs also received funding for DOTS (Documentation & Observation for Teaching System) Online and technical assistance in its use. Each program also received a dedicated coach to support meaningful application of the CT DOTS Online functionality, specifically with regard to communicating with families about their children’s progress and ways to support ongoing learning at home. 45 programs received free use of the DOTS Online system. 238 additional iPads were distributed for use in child assessment.

EASTCONN has also supported the consultants statewide who are assigned to coach program staff in their use of this software.

Over 30 Tech-to-Go Tutorials to make available on the GEER Online Learning Hub. These tutorials are intended to be short, digestible opportunities for learners to close technology skills gaps, or troubleshoot issues they may be having on their device.

Nutrition & Physical Activity Initiative

RESC Alliance early childhood partners are collaborating on Go NAPSACC (Nutrition and Physical Activity Self- Assessment for Child Care) and PALS (Physical Activity Learning Session), funded through a contract with the state Department of Health (DOH) to emphasize nutrition and increase physical activity in early childhood programs.

• RESC Alliance early childhood staff also provided the DOH with technical assistance on nutrition and exercise for 28 programs statewide.

Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER)

As the pandemic impacted classrooms across Connecticut, the Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) asked EASTCONN to extend services with GEER funding to provide statewide professional learning to early-care programs and families, using individualized supports and the development of training resources. Our proposal for GEER 2 focused on advancing equity through access to technology, done through the continued distribution of iPads, Chromebooks, and Kajeets and by creating an online learning hub, Tech-to-Go Tutorials, Pint-Sized online PD and a Parent Academy to ensure that lower-income families, young children and ECE staff have these supports during the pandemic, and beyond. In Year Three of this initiative, the focus shifted as programs were back to in-person teaching.

• Coaches provided personalized coaching and technical assistance focused on the implementation of new learning.

• 85 programs participated statewide, including 15 from the EASTCONN region.

Over 400 hours of direct coaching and technical assistance were provided to programs across the state based on the technology integration needs in their program.

GRANTS Quality Improvement Supports Grant

EASTCONN continued as the lead early childhood RESC, collaborating and project-managing six areas awarded last year from the Connecticut OEC, which had extended the two-year grant through December 2022. Professional learning services include providing supports for technical assistance providers, coaches, early childhood programs, public schools and family child care homes. EASTCONN’s Director of Early Childhood Initiatives is the grant’s project manager. The Five Quality Improvement Support Grants include:

• Connecticut Core Knowledge & Competency (CT CKC) Framework Support: This training and coaching focuses on early childhood competencies and developing individualized professional learning plans, based on a personalized approach; 20 programs across the state participated.

• National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation Support: This provides direct services based on individual program needs and action plans; statewide study groups on NAEYC standards; and professional development related to increasing quality in Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs.

• Quality Assurance & Technical Provider Support: Serving as project facilitator with early childhood colleagues, we made recommendations to the OEC on developing a technical assistance provider system and ensuring this system

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supports both the news as well as veteran ECE providers. EASTCONN also facilitates a new coaches’ group, statewide TA providers supports and professional learning communities.

• Standards, Curriculum & Assessment Support: Through this grant, we developed workshops on CT ELDS, CT DOTS, Family Engagement, Diverse Learners, Meaningful Curriculum, and Supporting Young Children and Families through Distance Learning. All sessions were offered and completed as virtual trainings; 34 programs received coaching.

• Trauma & Insecure Housing Training Support, Training of Trainers: This grant is focused on ensuring that those working with vulnerable populations have the necessary resources and strategies to share with family-service staff and families.

Early Childhood Continuous Quality Improvement Grants (CQIS)

January 2023-June 2026 CQIS funding was awarded to provide accreditation support services in the Northeast Region, Technical Assistance Provider Supports and Coaching Framework; $1,466,672.

Technical Assistance Provider Supports

This grant provides support for technical assistance providers under the CQIS contract including coaching supports for novice coaches and for experienced coaches, pilot mentoring supports and to recruit diverse, bilingual providers to engage in the Office of Early Childhood TA system. A Mentoring Framework will be developed in collaboration with ECE TA Providers that includes peer support to enhance training skills, coaching skills, and general consultation. The framework will be tested out with TA providers interested in providing this support to the workforce.

Accreditation Quality Improvement System (AQIS)

The Connecticut Accreditation Quality Improvement System (AQIS) is an established resource system of regional teams providing critical leadership and support for the achievement of quality standards and excellence in early childhood programs. AQIS services include overviews of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Program Standards and Accreditation Performance Criteria; technical assistance with the process of accreditation; and individualized support for programs engaged in the self-study.

• Provide “intensive supports” to programs seeking accredi-

tation or reaccreditation through AQIS.

• Provide training, self-study, portfolio supports and on-site supports to programs pursuing accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

• Offer study-group discussions based on the NAEYC Early Learning Program Accreditation Standards and Assessment Items.

School Readiness Grants, SR Liaisons and Monitoring

School Readiness liaisons work with School Readiness Councils to help them meet grant requirements. A comprehensive, staff-designed tool is used to monitor School Readiness programs, based on requirements set by the state OEC. Districts receive feedback, ongoing resources and PD to ensure program quality.

• Staff provided School Readiness liaisons and monitoring services in 13 districts.


Early Childhood Administrators Networking Meetings & AQIS Supports

Early Childhood Administrator Networking meetings, facilitated by ECI staff, help districts share resources, receive updates on statewide and EASTCONN initiatives, and strategize on how to best meet the needs of their pre-K children and families while improving program quality.

CT DOTS (Documentation & Observation for Teaching System)

Our early childhood specialists work with classroom teams to utilize CT DOTS. Support can include coaching teachers to consider how to use the tool to better understand their students’ current levels of development and approaches to learning. Staff assist classroom teams in planning how to document growth and to consider how to partner with families to gather input. Specialists provide technical assistance in developing systems to organize observational notes and other evidence. Staff assist teachers to use data to make informed decisions about supporting early learning while also reflecting on their own practices. CT DOTS provides online tools that help early-care and education providers monitor children’s progress across criteria defined by the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS).

• Funding is through the GEER Initiative and the Quality Improvement Supports Grant.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023 eastconn.org • 27


Social Emotional Health - Executive Function

The Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children is implemented in our direct service programs as well as in several school districts in Connecticut. Teachers self-assess their goals on Pyramid Model practices and work with the coach to implement those changes.

• This year, the Northeast Early Childhood Council contracted ECI to develop and provide asynchronous learning opportunities for Brooklyn, Canterbury, Plainfield, Putnam, Thompson and Sterling with follow up coaching sessions. This effort is in response to districts wanting to have shared PD opportunities, but inconsistent days in their calendar adopted by their districts. The emphasis is on Supporting Social Competency in Young Children – With a Focus on Self-Regulation and Executive Function Skills.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

EASTCONN ECI continues to support early childhood programs as they seek to provide equitable and inclusive programs for all children they serve. Issues of equity and bias require opportunities to reflect and learn about practices that can support the belonging of all children. ECI provides training on Culturally Relevant Practices, Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners, Exploring Equity and Bias through the lens of Social and Emotional Learning.

Professional Learning for Community-Based Early-Care Providers

Staff provided workshops for hundreds of community-based, early-care providers on a wide variety of content and pedagogical topics. Attendees included pre-K and kindergarten teachers, paraprofessionals, teacher assistants, curriculum coordinators, early childhood administrators, infant/toddler teachers and paraprofessionals, Birth to Three providers, program administrators and Related Services staff.

• Staff produced the Digging Into Play Fall Conference for 65 participants. Research shows that young children learn best through play. Our early childhood classrooms should be a place for children to explore, be curious, collaborate with peers, and engage in activities that foster development. Participant experiences were designed to dig deeper into the importance of play and to support early childhood educators to use play as a pathway to honor and support all children in the classroom.

• 9th Annual Infant/Toddler Conference, Building Strong Relationships Between Families, Caregivers and Staff Members, provided 115 participants in shared learning

around the implementation of the Strengthening Families

Protective Factors Framework. Strategies for partnering with parents, ideas for structures and engagement, and many other opportunities and challenges to ensure the programs’ value and support of all families.

Connecticut Early Learning & Development Standards (CT ELDS)

Training and consultation are available for educators on the CT ELDS, with an emphasis on linking curriculum development with ongoing assessment to monitor each child’s development to create meaningful learning opportunities for young children. Technical assistance on planning developmentally appropriate activities for individual children, classrooms, and programs is available. Our specialists can help identify areas of professional learning so that all children benefit from rich learning experiences in their homes, communities, and early care and education settings.

Early Childhood Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

Our certified CLASS staff are available to observe, record and provide feedback for pre-K classrooms on the dimensions of emotional support, classroom organization and instructional support. The CLASS tool scientifically identified specific early experiences that children need in order to succeed in school and life. It has organized these experiences into teacher classroom behaviors that are observable and that support high-quality care and education as it provides data for program planning and classroom support systems.

• Provided services in 3 districts and 6 Head Start sites

Regional Early Childhood Planning

In collaboration with seven member districts, our Early Childhood staff served on the Northeast Early Childhood Council Leadership Team, supported the Regional School Readiness Council and ensured the structure of the council was meeting new legislative requirements.

• This work provided a regional approach to setting goals for improving transition to kindergarten; improving overall preschool experiences in our communities; closing the preparation gap for birth to age three; continuing to provide opportunities to attend the Mental Health Task Force meetings; advocating for equitable access to preschool; and providing professional development for faculty, staff and families.

• Regional programs were encouraged to apply for Gov. Ned Lamont’s pandemic-related GEER funding opportunities.

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Early Childhood Council Facilitation & Strategic Planning

EASTCONN staff with experience in community collaboration, early childhood policy and practice, as well as comprehensive services, works with communities to support the development and implementation of an Early Childhood Council. Staff can also serve as school-readiness liaison to the Connecticut OEC, or fulfill the role of school-readiness monitor for state-funded programs. We can develop a strategic plan for increasing district capacity and improving the quality of early childhood services and can assist with grant-writing services.

• Provided services through NECC Regional School Readiness Council and a shared School Readiness Council in 2 districts

Early Childhood Training, Consultation & Coaching

Early childhood specialists provide a range of professional development services customized to meet district program needs. Professional development related to curriculum, teaching and assessment, and learning environments is directly connected to state and national standards. On- site training and coaching is aimed at accomplishing program improvement goals that lead to improved child outcomes. Our early childhood specialists can help to create or improve early childhood programs, birth through grade 3. Consultation can include program and curriculum design, as well as facility and learning environment design and evaluation with feedback loops, reports, or technical assistance.

NAEYC Accreditation Consultation

Our expert Early Childhood staff will provide information, consultation and training to preschool and kindergarten programs that want to pursue accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Language & Literacy Assessment Practices

EASTCONN staff will work with your school district to review its current practices in language and literacy assessments so they align with critical, grade-level reading skills and Connecticut Core Standards for kindergarten through second grade.

PreK-Grade 3 Alignment

EASTCONN staff facilitate a review of components of aligned pre-K-grade 3 structures and components that address the alignment of standards, instruction, assessment, family engagement and transitions, using a research-based tool. Staff will work with local schools, districts or community team to develop improvement plans.

Pyramid Model Supports

The Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children is a widely used framework for addressing the implementation of practices that support social and emotional development through a prevention and promotion lens. EASTCONN ECI has provided training and coaching to a wide range of early childhood educators on the framework and practices.

• Provided services in Killingly, Lisbon and new Britain

Transition Planning: Preschool-to-Kindergarten

Early childhood specialists offer consultation to communities and schools regarding best practices for transitioning children into kindergarten. By facilitating a broad-based group, we can assist communities and schools in developing comprehensive transition plans that support successful, positive experiences for children and families.

• Provided services in 8 NECC communities.

Early Childhood Public School Administrators Networking Meeting

Early Childhood staff continued to facilitate network meetings for EASTCONN-region administrators of public-school preschools to keep them informed about state and national policies, best practices and professional learning options for program staff.

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Students thrive when given opportunities to lead their own learning – when, in other words, we give them “voice” and “choice.”

There’s no better way to experience this powerful phenomenon than to attend a class at EASTCONN’s Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) or Quinebaug Middle College (QMC).

At our magnets, students set goals by identifying learning targets and determining how best to demonstrate them. Throughout the year, our teachers act as facilitators, guides, and instructors in the learning process.

On the surface, learning experiences at ACT and QMC appear to vary wildly; an ACT student might demonstrate mastery through a stage performance, while a QMC scholar may apply academic skills in college courses that may lead an associate’s degree before graduation.

ACT junior Enzo Miglietta, for example, recently produced a documentary about Willimantic’s Hosmer Mountain Bottling Company. With continuous guidance from teachers Chris McGrath (social studies) and Dan Boisvert (technology), Enzo progressed quickly towards

mastering his learning targets. Then, through weekly check-ins, he identified his own need to work on pre-production and post-production.

His takeaway? Everything has a history, and local business owners have captivating stories to tell.

“I enjoy how much freedom we have in our core learning targets, because it gives us more creativity and it encourages growth,” Enzo said. “Feedback is very important. Much of it comes from family and peers, and teachers very much help with that.”

QMC’s Capstone class, meanwhile, allows students to demonstrate their mastery of academic and Portrait of a Graduate standards. Through community-based service-learning projects, our students identify areas of need, create plans to address them, and take action. After peers ask questions and offer criticism, Capstone students offer assessments of their own projects.

Ultimately, at EASTCONN’s magnet schools, learning is in the hands of the students. Through “voice” and “choice,” they shape their own educational experiences. And that makes all the difference.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023
ACT junior Enzo Miglietta at a digital workstation.
eastconn.org • 31
I enjoy howmuch freedom we have in our core learning targets because it gives us more creativity and it encourages growth.



In collaboration with member districts that elect to be our partners, EASTCONN operates 2 regional magnet high schools: Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) in Willimantic and Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) in Danielson. Both expand the public school choices available to students in EASTCONN’s 33-town/36-district region, and beyond. Our magnet schools are designed for students with special interests, whether through a performing arts-infused curriculum (ACT) or a unique college campus experience with a STEM and humanities focus (QMC). Other options include EASTCONN’s after-school programming, academic enrichment, vacation and school-to-career programs.

For more information, contact Diane Dugas, Director of K-12 Student Services


• ddugas@eastconn.org

• Among awards and recognitions in 2022-2023: 9 students were inducted into the ACT chapter of the National Honor Society; Media Arts students continued their strong collaboration with the Willimantic Public Library; and many creative writing students participated in the scholastic writing competition.

• 20% of ACT’s senior class have applied to four-year colleges or universities, 30% have applied to two-year colleges or programs, and 50% have plans to enter the workforce or internship programs.

• ACT celebrated its 20th year, which included a community Gala featuring student performances and presentations.

QMC - Quinebaug Middle College Magnet High School

Magnet High School

ACT is a full-day, comprehensive, public, performing arts magnet high school located in the Capitol Theater in downtown Willimantic. Curriculum and instruction are guided by a personalized, competency-based framework. Students engage in integrated arts projects and instruction is personalized to address individual learning needs. Students study with certified academic teachers and professional artists in this small, arts-focused learning community. Each grade is limited to approximately 35 students, making this an intimate, focused, artistic learning environment for students in grades 9-12. Enrollment is open to all Connecticut residents.

• 131 full-time students (grades 9-12) attended from 33 sending districts. This June, ACT graduated its 12th class of full-time students with 44 seniors from 13 districts accepting their diplomas.

Located on the peaceful campus of Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) in Danielson, QMC offers high school students a middle college experience that enables them to earn a high school diploma while taking college courses, transferable college credits from QVCC. Our scholars select from one of our six learning pathways: Liberal Arts and Humanities, Education, Business Leadership, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Allied Health Sciences. Core academic and elective courses and mentorship opportunities are aligned to the individual learning pathways. In addition, our scholars gain real-world experience in project management, public communications, and community organization and leadership.

• QMC enrolls about 158 students, grades 9-12, from 18 towns across northeastern Connecticut. Enrollment is not limited to students in northeastern Connecticut.

• Students had free course access to QVCC and UConn college courses, and could earn transferable credits. In 2022-2023, 55 students took 65 classes at QVCC with a passing rate of 91%, earning a total of 252 credits.


• Seniors created a range of meaningful Capstone projects to benefit local communities, ranging from raising awareness about mental and physical health issues, multiculturalism and diversity, and sustainable food sources, to fundraising for charitable organizations, and organizing safe activities and clubs for peers.

Professional Learning, K-12 Services

During the 2022-2023 school year, QMC and ACT have collaborated to continue developing and implementing their personalized, competency-based learning focus. Through the identification of essential standards and the development of aligned rubrics and competencies, a grades 9-12 learning continuum has become the curriculum foundation.

Interdistrict Program Design & Management

EASTCONN collaborates with area school districts to respond to CSDE-funded Interdistrict Grant opportunities designed to boost students’ academic skills and increase their understanding and experiences of diversity. If selected for funding, programs are limited to districts that have signed on to participate in that funding cycle.

• Our grant facilitators led 3 state-funded grant programs that provided integrated learning experiences for more than 871 students, representing 11 rural and urban Connecticut school districts, 18 schools, 40 teachers and 44 separate classrooms.

• Students engaged with racially, culturally and economically diverse peers from different regions.

• This year’s themes included diversity and cultural competency; mindful practices to develop social and

Community Arts Connection

After-School Program

This program, which is housed at the Learning Center in Windham Heights in Willimantic, is led by our professional staff, who offer homework help, dramatic arts productions, and outdoor nature adventures for the complex’s young, school-aged residents.

• We have resumed community partnerships with UConn, Adult Services, Goodwin Forest, Windham Library and local storytellers. Through a partnership with EASTCONN’s ACT Magnet school, students performed on stage for their families and the community.

• This year, 27 students attended regularly, in person.

• Students took 25 Friday field trips to UConn between October and May.

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Back in January, millions of TikTok and Instagram followers witnessed Woodstock Academy student Matthew Myslenski’s reaction as he learned of his acceptance to Harvard University.

Getting into Harvard is no simple task. But for Matthew - an eagle scout, parttime worker and honor society student - it’s been just another life goal. Matthew has cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects movement, muscle tone, balance, and posture. While this may be viewed as an obstacle to some, it serves as motivation for Matthew.

Until about a year ago, Matthew completed his class notes and writing exercises manually - a laborious and exhausting process. Prediction software wasn’t helpful. And because of the differences in his speech patterns, Matthew couldn’t use existing speech-to-text software, which would have made his tasks even more frustrating.

At the request of Brooklyn, his sending district, EASTCONN evaluated Matthew last spring to recommend other program options. When our staff noted that speech-to-text technology had improved considerably, Matthew borrowed a computer loaded with Dragon Professional software from EASTCONN’s Assistive Technology Lending Library for both a trial and practice at home.

During his extended trial, EASTCONN staff met weekly with Matthew, training him on the more advanced features of the program. He embraced the opportunity, and - through much repetition and determination - learned how to pace his voice, training the program to understand his pronunciation, even for the high-level terminology needed for a college medical program.

“We take movement for granted, but for anyone with a movement disorder, the energy it takes to do any task is double, even triple,” said Stacey Fulton, an occupational therapist and assistive technology professional at EASTCONN. “Matthew always worked hard to train the program, so they work together.”

The more Matthew practiced, the more the program’s speech recognition improved. With continued hard work, determination and tenacity, Matthew will take this program with him to Harvard, where it will allow him to work much more efficiently.

As America’s oldest institution of higher learning, Harvard’s mission is to advance new ideas and promote enduring knowledge. And with smart, talented, and motivated students like Matthew joining the class, the sky really is the limit.

Congratulations, Matt. We can’t wait to see all that you will accomplish.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023
Woodstock Academy senior Matthew Myslenski is ready to take on Harvard.
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For anyone with a movement disorder, the energy it takes to do any task is double, even triple.



With highly regarded special education programs for children and young adults, EASTCONN provides options and opportunities for students with unique learning needs and special interests. Among the direct professional services EASTCONN provides to its own students and to districts across the EASTCONN region are its high-caliber professionals in Psychological and Behavioral Consultation and Related Services (Assistive Technology, Occupational and Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology).

For more information, contact Amy Margelony, Director of Special Education Services 860-377-7650 • amargelony@eastconn.org

Clinical, Developmental & Therapeutic (CDT) Services

Offered at two conveniently located sites, EASTCONN’s well-respected Clinical, Developmental & Therapeutic Program is designed for K-12 students who need a highly structured, supportive, therapeutic environment in order to achieve academic and behavioral success. The main goal of this program is to help students acquire the academic, social, emotional and behavioral skills necessary to successfully return to their local public schools, or to a less restrictive environment. Our dedicated, caring staff offer individualized instruction with a multi-modality approach and high-interest materials. Four core components are at the heart of this program: educational services, clinical support services, vocational services and family/community involvement.

• Operating five classrooms at our Educational and Vocational Center (EVC), eight classrooms at our Northeast Regional Program (NRP), and serving approximately 75 students from 25 sending districts, our CDT programs merge best practices in academic, vocational, clinical and behavioral programming to meet the needs of K-12 students with significant social, emotional and behavioral issues.

• We continued our work with clinical interventions through a research-based, trauma-informed approach at both sites.

• 36 Students participated in extended school-year services during the summer 2022.

• We graduated 12 seniors this year.

EASTCONN Bridges Community SchoolAutism Spectrum Disorder & Other Developmental Disabilities Program, PreK-12

This program provides a highly structured, intensive and individualized classroom experience for children ages 3 to 22 with autism spectrum disorder and other low-incidence disabilities. Students are supported by a multidisciplinary

team, including a special education teacher, a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), an Occupational Therapist, a Speech-Language Pathologist, a Physical Therapist and Assistive Technology Specialists. Together with the student and their families, the multidisciplinary team collaborates to identify meaningful skill areas for focus and develops a highly individualized program designed to meet each student’s unique learning goals.

• We provide 16 students from nine districts with a comprehensive, center-based educational and behavioral services.

EASTCONN EXCELS (Excellence in Community, Employment and Life Skills)

EASTCONN’s regional EXCELS classrooms provide transition and functional skills support for middle and high school students in grades 6-12+ at our Northeast Regional Program (NRP) building in Danielson. EXCELS offers staff expertise and quality programming in explicit instruction, data-based decision-making, team collaboration, tiered behavioral supports and transition supports and services. The goal of EXCELS is to maximize students’ independence as they prepare for the transition to adulthood and life beyond the classroom. The classrooms offer a comprehensive approach to education, consisting of one certified Special Education teacher, an ABA Instructor, an Instructional Assistant and the added expertise of a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst and Assistive Technology/Assistive Augmented Communication Specialist. With this multidisciplinary team approach, EXCELS has demonstrated a strong collaboration between Special Education Case Managers, Related Services Clinicians and Transition Coordinators.

• NRP currently has two EXCELS classrooms:

{ The high school classroom serves 8 students and is staffed with 1 Special Education Teacher, 2 ABA Instructors, and 3 Instructional Assistants. This classroom is currently preparing a grade 12 student for transition to continued supports until age 22.

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{ The middle school classroom serves 6 students and is staffed with 1 Special Education Teacher, 2 ABA Instructors, and 2 Instructional Assistants. This classroom is currently preparing a student for a successful transition back to their sending district.

EASTCONN Transition Academy (ETA)

ETA provides transition services to young adult students ages 18 through 22 who qualify for Special Education. Students at ETA learn and explore in many different areas, including var ious professions and skills that support their ability to gain and maintain employment; resources within the community; tasks related to daily living skills; and the numerous path ways towards adult learning.

• ETA provided transition services for 12 young adults from nine districts with a broad range of disabilities ranging from mild to severe.

• ETA has adapted and implemented a school-wide tier 1 behavior program, which teaches and reinforces students to be safe, respectful and responsible in all relevant settings. Students earn points that convert to monetary amounts, and have learned to use virtual banking apps to make withdrawals towards preferred activities or put their earnings into a savings account.

• The ETA staff team developed strong partnerships with our students’ support systems including partners from The Department of Aging and Disability Services: Level Up program and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) to ensure students are connected to the appropriate services and aids.

• ETA’s vocational staff successfully coordinated two guest speakers per month, which provided students with information and real-life stories, regarding what it’s like to work in various professions and earn certificates in differing fields. The students also had an opportunity to meet a therapy dog and to learn what it takes to become a therapy dog.

• Within two months of opening the doors at ETA, each student actively participated in a variety of transition and interest inventories, created a resume, and earned a job within the Willimantic or Hebron region. Some students have been hired by EASTCONN departments, including Food Services, Copy Center, and Facilities.

{ Two of our ETA students recently competitively interviewed for a job at a local horse barn, completed the interview without the support of a job coach and both earned part-time positions.

Neuropsychology Services

Psychological and Behavioral Consultation Services (PBCS) offers comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations to identify a child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses, determine how a child learns best, and outline appropriate and beneficial intervention strategies. Assessments are selected to address specific referral questions and could evaluate attention, memory, language, problem-solving, visual skills, executive functioning and other cognitive functions. Results and recommendations are shared with the child’s family and with the school team. Consultation services are also available to facilitate the implementation of recommendations and to consider how to proceed when a comprehensive evaluation may not be warranted.

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services have continued to develop in response to requests from LEAs across our region, with more than 50 assessments completed during each of the last three years.

• Through RESC Alliance projects, we expanded support to districts in the areas of trauma-sensitive practices, engagement and professional learning opportunities for building and district administrators.

• Partnered with and presented to Boards of Education regarding priority practices and initiatives to maximize student success.

Assistive Technology & Augmentative and Alternative Communication Services

This professional group is committed to assessment-driven intervention practices, using data-based decision-making to provide a continuum of support for students, teachers, teams, programs and systems. Assessment services include: Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA); psychoeducational assessment; ecological assessment/needs assessment; and diagnostic assessment. Services are delivered through a consultative framework and areas of support often include: School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS); academic, behavioral and social-emotional interventions; and autism programming. EASTCONN is staffed with licensed psychologists, Board-Certified Behavioral Analysts (BCBAs), school psychologists, special education teachers and behavior interventionists. Services are delivered to districts and schools across eastern Connecticut.

• Our team presented outcomes from technical assistance, coaching and training at regional and national conferences as virtual invited speakers. PBC staff continued to publish findings in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals.

• Services were accessed by more than 35 districts, benefitting more than 10,000 students district region/state-wide.

• Neuropsychological assessment and consultation

EASTCONN offers specialized services to meet student needs, including assessment, training and consultation. Assessment Services: AT and AAC specialists are available to assess your students’ needs in their customary learning environment and identify potential AT and/or AAC solutions from low- to high-tech. Assessments include review of relevant educational records; consultation with the education team; trial use of AT/AAC solutions; the generation of an assessment report; and findings at a PPT. Consultation/ Support Services: specialists provide support in educational environments to ensure effective use and integration of AT and/or AAC tools. Consultative services are designed to provide observation and suggestions regarding the use of current tools. Results range from improved effectiveness and integration of current tools to a recommendation for further staff or student training or evaluation to determine whether new AT or AAC solutions are needed. Training Services: staff offer a range of AT and AAC training at EASTCONN’s facilities or at a location of your choosing. Training can be focused on the individual needs of a student or a specific technology solution, such as programming an AAC device. Training may also be adapted to explore a broader range of solutions for academic needs, such as AT tools to support reading or writing.

• In addition to providing Assessment, Consultation and Training Services to districts, the EASTCONN AT Team also provides these services for adults with disabilities who are working with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS). These consumers are able to utilize AT to assist with performing essential functions of their jobs. One such consumer has benefited from the creation of accessible forms that she can access, fill out and submit using an iPad. This has made it easier for her to complete required work in a timely manner.

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Assistive Technology(AT)/Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Private Pay Services

AT & AAC Private Pay Services are primarily for individuals with disabilities who are no longer in school (age 22+) and who are not receiving these services from other sources such as an adult services agency or an academic institution. Consumers and/or their legal guardians contract with EASTCONN to provide consultation, training and assessments related to AT and/or AAC needs. An initial meeting is held to determine needs and develop a plan that outlines services, timeline and costs. The consumer and/or legal guardian reviews the plan and decides if they would like to move forward with services.

• We have received requests for 6 individuals since launching this program only 5 months ago. Recently we were contacted by the case manager of a former student who attended EASTCONN programs for high school and transition services (18 through 21). At this time, this young adult needs an upgrade of her communication device as well as training for family and staff. This soft launch of private pay services has proven that having these services in place fills the need for ongoing support of AT/AAC for adult consumers.

Assistive Technology (AT) & Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Consortium Membership

The Consortium is offered as the result of continued collaboration between EASTCONN and the Connecticut Tech Act Project, and is offered to districts who utilize a minimum of four days of EASTCONN’s AT and/or AAC services. Membership provides districts with a flexible, customizable package of both AT and AAC services to meet the needs of students and staff. Packages include assessment, training and consultation. Consortium members can access EASTCONN’s continually expanding Assistive Technology Lending Library and are offered priority scheduling of services. Training videos on the use of effective education technologies are provided to families of students with multiple and complex needs to aid in supporting Continued Learning Opportunities at home.

• 8 EASTCONN Districts and 4 districts outside the region had memberships in the AT/AAC Consortium

Assistive Technology (AT) Lending Library

AT Consortium member districts have full access to the Lending Library, a continually expanding collection of AT and

AAC tools. These tools can be borrowed for student trial, ensuring that the device is a good match, or as a loaner when a student device needs repair. District staff can borrow AT and AAC tools in order to familiarize themselves with these devices and their features. The AT Lending Library, a project with the CT Tech Act Project, is housed at the EASTCONN Administrative Offices and Conference Center facility in Hampton.

• The AT Lending Library provided loans to 51 representatives of education.

Related Services Group (RSG)

Related Services includes Assistive Technology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Therapy. EASTCONN’s RSG team has 6 occupational therapists, 5 physical therapists, and 8 speech and language pathologists on staff that support 31 districts associated with either EASTCONN’s 6 internal programs or directly in the districts. Our experienced professionals are committed to providing the most current, evidenced-based interventions and data-driven progress monitoring strategies to enhance the participation of 685 students preschool through young adulthood. In addition to providing direct and indirect services to the students, RSG members work collaboratively with the academic team members to provide specific student and topic training.

• The RSG provided services to 30 districts during the 2022-2023 school year.

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Since 2021, EASTCONN has been working closely with Windham Public Schools to address chronic absenteeism within their district.

Chronic absence for students is defined as missing 10 percent or more of the school year for any reason. It’s an ongoing, statewide concern, especially since the coronavirus pandemic; research shows that when students miss school at this rate, it can have a significant impact on their longterm achievement and engagement.

Through the governor-initiated called LEAP (Learner Engagement and Attendance Program), EASTCONN and Windham leadership have partnered to tackle the issue in two specific ways: 1) working with school-based attendance teams and 2) helping the district to develop a community-based attendance action team.

In conjunction with school-based teams, EASTCONN and Windham developed new ways to review attendance data and to take action, implementing targeted strategies that support at-risk students and families.

Staff members make phone calls and conduct home visits, always making sure to focus on building supportive relationships with families. Incentives and rewards for improved attendance, meanwhile,

are significantly helping to build positive relationships with students.

Windham school and district leaders are also connecting with community partners - like locally-owned The Farmer’s Cow, a group of six family dairy farms, who recently delivered a surprise ice cream treat to Natchaug Elementary School students (pictured). The relationship has been a win-win for both the school and The Farmer’s Cow, who supports the district’s efforts to engage students and families and to show them that the entire community cares about the importance of attendance.

Eben Jones, principal at Natchaug Elementary, said his staff addresses the attendence crisis daily by creating a positive learning environment, where students never know what exciting surprises are waiting for them when they come to school.

“At Natchaug School, we have benefitted exponentially from our partnership with EASTCONN around supporting student attendance,” said Principal Jones. “In particular, they have helped us to access and establish relationships with local partners like The Farmer’s Cow, which has really helped our students and families to see that the issues of attendance and engagement are truly community-wide efforts.”

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023
The Farmer’s Cow scoops ice cream for Natchaug School students.
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At Natchaug School, we have benefitted exponentially from our partnership with EASTCONN around supporting school attendance.



EASTCONN’s vision is to integrate learning opportunities for educators so that professional learning is embedded in district culture and is no longer limited to events that occur periodically each year. We create opportunities for administrators and teachers to participate in regional professional learning communities, and have expanded our capacity to provide coaching to districts that are engaged in personalized, competency-based learning. We support the implementation of systems and structures to provide deep and impactful learning, both in our region and beyond.

For more information contact Diane Dugas, Director of Leading & Learning 860-455-1591 • ddugas@eastconn.org

Center for Educational Leadership

The EASTCONN Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) offers professional learning communities, cohorts, coaching and customized learning opportunities for educators that examine the nature of leadership in today’s world. Through research-based professional learning experiences, the Center supports district leaders as they consider and analyze a range of leadership options, actions and instructional methods. Administrators and other district leaders benefit from interactive, experiential activities that are dedicated to evidence-based practices and personal reflection.

Leadership Development

We provide professional learning opportunities that are grounded in the Connecticut Standards for School Leaders and Standards for Teacher Leadership. Through a variety of administrator groups, teacher-leader cohorts, online learning and job-embedded leadership coaching, we provide customized support to district administrators as they develop leadership capacity within their own district learning communities. Online collaboration and on-site coaching contribute to this work, maximizing time.

• CEL staff provided in-person, customized coaching to over 50 school and district leaders, addressing their unique needs and challenges.

• We utilized the CT Leadership Framework to guide discussions, while supporting new and veteran leaders with their current initiatives, challenges and opportunities.

• District-Based Teacher Leadership Academy: 15 aspiring leaders from a member district engaged in a multi-year cohort of professional learning, leading to increased coherence and the systemic alignment of key district initiatives.

RESC Alliance Igniting Change Conference

EASTCONN, in collaboration with the RESC Alliance, hosted the Igniting Change Conference, focused on equity to integrate equitable teaching, learning and leading.

• The Fall and Spring Conferences each saw 350 attendees, 10 breakout presenters and over 150 pathway participants.

Principals’ Community of Practice

We offer a consortium for principals in the EASTCONN region to network and meet the unique needs of small district leaders. Specific areas for collaboration and sharing are identified by the group. Face-to-face and online collaboration opportunities support this collegial exchange.

• A cohort of principals from four districts met throughout the year to discuss problems of practice and to share strategies and resources.

Strategic Planning for School Communities

Long-range planning involving the entire school community is essential for district coherence and continued advancement. Strategic planning is a process that engages multiple stakeholders in identifying priorities and developing an action plan to accomplish specific goals and outcomes. In this multiple component process, including focus group conversations, surveys, a scan of current data and work group sessions, a shared vision and road map are accomplished to achieve identified outcomes.

• Staff facilitated strategic planning support in 4 districts, resulting in customized plans for district advancement.

Social, Emotional & Academic Development

We offer districts a variety of coaching and support options as they pursue the task of addressing the growing social and emotional needs of students. Our staff is nationally trained in SEL and Restorative Practices and assists with system self-assessment, identification of needs, coherence planning,

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professional development training in SEL programs, processes and systems to address needs and advance supporting educators, students and families.

• We have supported 790+ educators and leaders through in-district coaching and professional learning.

• EASTCONN maintains partnerships with CASEL, IIRP and Aperture to create in-depth knowledge and support to districts to integrate SEL into academics and create a positive culture through restorative programs.

Personalized, Competency-Based Learning

EASTCONN offers districts support through multiple entry points as they pursue a personalized, student-centered learning system. We provide professional learning and support in developing the Portrait of a Graduate (or Learner); competency-based curriculum; instruction and assessment. Advancing the integration of SEL and Academics is a key focus.

• Staff supported 11 districts, over 360 educators and impacted over 6,500 students throughout the state, with Competency-Based Instruction & Assessment workshops, coaching and modeling.

Curriculum Development

Our expert staff help educators research, design and develop curricula in a variety of content areas, utilizing extensive experience with state and national standards, and assisting with developing a quality, comprehensive curriculum.

• Our team supported over 100 educators in 14 districts across the state of CT in Curriculum development and implementation within their schools.

Educator Supervision, Evaluation & Professional Development Plans - Consultation & Support

EASTCONN provides training, workshops and on-site support working with leaders, teams or individuals to develop quality supervision, evaluation and professional learning plans. Grounded in the high-yield practices of reflection and feedback, we provide assistance for educators at all levels.

• CEL staff provided educator evaluation calibration training to 88 educators, developing their capacity to provide rich feedback while strengthening their process and impact on student learning.

EASTCONN provides support for school and district lead ers in creating inclusive school communities that meet the needs of all learners. Educators develop their capacity to advance equitable practices and establish a warm, supportive environment that allows all learners to thrive. Services are tailored to the needs of each school and district and may include addressing topics such as supporting LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming students, students who are experiencing homelessness, and students with diverse cultural and language backgrounds. EASTCONN can also provide support related to review of data, policies and procedures that will help leaders ensure that all students benefit from equitable educational experiences.

• ARP ESSER Homeless Children and Youth (HCY) II grant consortium consisted of 8 participating districts; Bozrah, Canterbury, Chaplin, EASTCONN, Sterling Willington and Woodstock Academy. Collectively these districts were allocated over $18,000 to spend in support of Professional Development and plans to support their students at high risk of, and experiencing homelessness within their districts.

• EASTCONN hosted and facilitated 3 workshops encompassing Gender Inclusivity, Schools Recognizing and Supporting Homeless Students, and Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Students; all in an effort to help support schools in recognizing at-risk students and meeting the needs of the students and their families within these districts and across the state.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023 eastconn.org • 43


Mathematics Professional Learning

Professional development, technical assistance and coaching are available for schools seeking to align their mathematics curriculum, instruction, assessment and intervention with local and national standards to strengthen their mathematics program. EASTCONN provides support for developing the capacity of educators and leaders to meet the needs of all learners, implement best practices, administer and analyze mathematics assessments and use data to inform instruction and interventions decisions.

• Modeling, coaching and district-embedded professional learning was provided to math educators in 3 districts addressing curriculum needs and math program updates including pilot and adoption process.

• Staff have been providing district-embedded professional learning, modeling and coaching to over 50 math educators in 5 districts, focusing on writing and updating curriculum and piloting and adopting new mathematics programs.

Regional Groups & Councils

Literacy Professional Learning/ Science of Reading

Professional development, technical assistance and coaching are available for schools seeking to align their literacy curriculum, instruction, assessment and intervention with current research and best practices to strengthen their literacy program. We also support districts in learning about new state legislation on the science of reading.

• Supported 175+ staff and educators in 9 districts throughout the state of CT, to meet the needs of students and school leadership.

• In partnership with the RESC Alliance, a statewide book club was offered to our region on “Shifting the Balance”.

• EASTCONN hosted Barb Golub for The Science of Reading: A Balcony View of Foundational Skills Workshop in November 2022, with 22 registrants.

• Hosted 50+ districts from across the state to conduct a curriculum audit, which was followed by 2 workshop sessions to develop action plans for the Science of Reading.

Our free councils offer EASTCONN-region districts with opportunities to network and explore a wide variety of content areas. Participants connect with peers, share strategies and new resources, and learn about new developments at the state level and in their respective fields.

• English Learners Roundtable: In partnership with LEARN, 12 districts took part in discussions focused on emerging trends in instruction for English Learners. Participants shared best practices and received updates from the CSDE on curriculum, assessment and effective instruction strategies.

• English Language Arts: 149 educators from 31 districts attended this council. In addition to receiving updates from the CSDE, participants shared knowledge on effective culturally relevant curriculum and assessments, including discussion and work around the new African-American and Latino studies curriculum.

• Social Studies Council: 136 attendees from 31 districts were impacted by this council.

• Math Council: 64 educators from 27 districts participated regularly, receiving up-to-date information, resources and professional development around assessment, accountability and math progressions.

• RESC Curriculum Council: Representatives from EASTCONN’s 36 districts participated in RESC Alliance meetings, receiving updates on state education initiatives

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from CSDE officials, and engaged in collaborations around professional learning opportunities, current challenges and shared resources.

• Science Council: 90 educators from 36 districts gained information and resources for advancing scientific thinking, curricula, assessment and instruction; educators benefitted from regular CSDE updates and collaborative sharing.

• Social Emotional Learning Council: Educators from across the state engaged in collegial conversations to share problems of practicing as well as strategies and resources that are working to address student and staff SEL.

Community of Practice Coaching

We facilitated a cohort of instructional coaches deepening their skill to develop the capacity of our educators.

• Supported 13 community school educators and coaches, from 13 districts.

• Hosted several Math based workshops providing additional support and resources, including the Using Math Practice Standards to Increase Classroom Engagement workshop; 8 participants learned about creating a more engaging learning environment, while adhering to state Math Standards. Curriculum program specific Collaboration Groups for both Illustrative Mathematics (IM) and I-Ready had over 20 participants as districts work towards adopting new Math curriculum programs and implementation of new teaching strategies.

Increasing Educator Diversity Consortium

• Through a partnership with the CSDE and the RESC Alliance, EASTCONN improved their knowledge and application of equity practices. EASTCONN provided assistance to public schools in our region to recruit, support and retain a diverse educator workforce.

• There were 6 participants in this DEI Consortium.

• Provided School Climate support to increase awareness and plan development and implementation for Equity and Diversity Inclusion, among 5 districts, 120+ administrators and educators, impacting over 6,200 students throughtout CT.

Advocacy for Equitable State Funding

As it has for decades, EASTCONN continued to host meetings for northeastern CT’s University Region Superintendents Association/Northeast Area Superintendents Association (URSA/ NASA) council. Representing EASTCONN-region school districts, this high-powered group collaborates with EASTCONN’s leaders, as they share valuable resources and strategies for manag-

ing common challenges across a range of topics. With EASTCONN’s assistance, URSA/NASA advocates in Hartford for more equitable state funding for northeastern Connecticut schools; the group also demonstrates the many long-standing, cross-district and municipal collaborations and partnerships that already exist to save resources.

Regional Consortia

EASTCONN’s Leading & Learning group continued to facilitate regional consortia, providing member districts with access to funding and resources that they would not otherwise be eligible to receive. Among them:

• Perkins Consortium: six districts gained access to $80,000 in federal funds, as we surveyed industries to gather insight into workforce success skills. Findings were used to help educators define goals for their Continuous Improvement Plans, strengthening their Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.

• Title III Consortium for English Learners: 17 districts participated in our regional Consortium, providing over $48,000 in resources and PD to teachers of English Learners.

• CSDE Homeless Grant: nine districts participated in a newly released grant providing funds to support educators in understanding and building capacity to help homeless students and their families.

In-District Support & Training

EASTCONN staff provided 301 days of on-site, embedded professional development and support in 17 districts for more than 700 educators.

• Staff also implemented customized, local, professional learning plans for a variety of education reform initiatives and leadership work, including personalized competency-based teaching, Readers/Writers Workshop, SRBI, social studies and math curriculum.

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EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023
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I’d hire him in a heartbeat.

Over the last two years, 18-year-old William has worked hard to overcome a number of personal obstacles.

Will came to EASTCONN’s Educational & Vocational Center (EVC) when he was in 10th grade. As his senior year comes to a close, he now believes in himself as someone who has developed perspective, social intelligence and humility.

Will’s teachers describe him as sociable, cooperative, and eager to help others. His mom, Rebecca Robinson, said he’s honest, brave, loving, kind, forgiving and funny. Will’s development while at EVC, she said, involved “growing in his insight and calm demeanor.”

Will’s challenges, in other words, have helped him to become the upstanding young man he is today.

In addition to his classes, Will works parttime in the EVC kitchen in a work-study program, where he’s perfecting his culinary skills in food preparation, planning, cooking and cleaning.

Soon after starting his job, Will’s focus and determination caught the attention of Heather Plourde, EASTCONN’s Director of Food Services, who quickly became a mentor. Plourde now works with Will as

he completes his senior year Capstone project: planning, preparing and serving a complete meal at Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic for residents in need, while also studying to earn his ServSafe certificate - a requirement for most positions in the food service industry throughout the country.

“I’d hire him in a heartbeat,” said Plourde. “His confidence in the kitchen, together with his emerging leadership skills, are the right combination for a culinary career.”

Will’s accomplishments make it clear: he found a second home at EVC and quickly made the most of his time there. He’s excited to be graduating from high school and ready to begin his next chapter. Those who know him understand that his future looks bright.

Most importantly: so does Will.

”Will’s compassion for others will serve him well in many fields, whether that’s working in a kitchen, volunteering to help the less fortunate, or working with young kids.” said EVC Principal Greg Biggs. “It’s been a privilege to work with him for the last few years.”

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023
EVC Senior Will handles food prep in the Covenant Food Kitchen, Willimantic.



Organizational Support services are delivered by agency departments that support not only day-to-day EASTCONN operations, but also supply assistance wherever needed to member school districts and other external partners, including governmental, non-profit and select organizations. Organizational Support includes: Conference Services; Cooperative Purchasing; ECHIP; Facilities; Finance; Food & Hospitality Services; Human Resources; Marketing & Communications; and Transportation.

For more information contact Eric Protulis, EASTCONN Executive Director 860-455-0707 • eprotulis@eastconn.org

COOPERATIVE PURCHASING Regional Cooperative Purchasing Program

Through EASTCONN’s regional Cooperative, members have the opportunity to purchase quality products from established providers at competitive pricing. Open to school districts, municipalities and non-profit organizations, the Cooperative saves its members time and money. Current contracts exist for custodial and cleaning supplies; grocery, cafeteria supplies and food service items; and paper and office supplies.

• This year, thanks to rates negotiated by EASTCONN, more than 177 schools and non-profits collectively saved an average of more than 20% on a range of discounted products.

ECHIP Eastern Connecticut Health Insurance Program

This regional health insurance collaborative enables its municipal and public school members to more effectively manage and reduce costs for their employees’ health insurance. Subject to approval by the collaborative’s executive board, public school districts and municipalities may apply for membership. Learn more at www.echipct.org

• The collaborative includes four municipalities, four school districts and EASTCONN; in partnership since 2012.

• ECHIP continues to help its members maintain stability as employee health insurance costs move up and down.

• Working together, and with a common insurance carrier, ECHIP’s nine northeastern Connecticut members have been able to cost-effectively navigate the healthcare and pharmaceutical rating systems to save taxpayer resources.

FACILITIES Facilities Audit Services

EASTCONN supports school districts that do not have the on-staff expertise necessary to make determinations about long-range facilities needs, including maintenance and overall improvement planning.

Facilities Supports for Member Districts

EASTCONN offers a wide range of facility supports to member districts, including on-site inspections; recommendations to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness; and personnel interviewing support.

Agency Facilities Management

This year, Facilities staff managed and maintained all details related to the safe and effective operation of all EASTCONN sites located in seven towns across a 33-town service region.

• Staff updated and installed health-and-safety equipment and reconfigured classrooms and work spaces agency-wide to help ensure safe working and learning spaces.

FINANCE Back Office Fiscal Management & Support

EASTCONN’s Finance Office provides back-office, financial expertise in a cost-effective manner, saving districts both time and money. We offer assessments of finance department needs and can develop a plan of support; supervise current staff; provide business management support to administrators; assist with state report preparation; manage end-ofyear fiscal close-outs and more.

• Finance staff supports all grant and non-grant financial functions of the agency, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll, as well as provides cost analysis for all programs to run more efficiently and effectively.

• Staff processed approximately 35,000 financial transactions in the management of the agency’s $40 million operating budget; provided fiscal management for

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approximately 65 grants and contracts, totaling approx imately $16 million; and provided fiscal management for the Student Activity Fund, supporting activities in our schools.


Food Services

EASTCONN’s experienced, creative and professional staff provides organizations, groups and school districts with a wide variety of services, including small or large group catering, the National School Lunch Program, School Break fast Program or After School Snack Program, and program administrative supports.

• Food Services managed 6 member districts under their National School Lunch Program sponsorship agree ment.

• EASTCONN’s Director of Food Services is the acting director in one member district and one non-member district as well as for all of agency schools and pro grams.

• Staff planned, prepared, packaged and served more than 525,000 fully reimbursable school meals from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

• The CSDE’s implementation of SMART funds enabled ALL children to eat for free until funds ran out. SMART Funds 2.0 continue through June 30, 2023.

• Vocational Training Program: EVC, Horace Porter and Brooklyn Elementary kitchens provide vocational training and job skills for ETA and CDT students.

Conference & Meeting Support

Professional conference staff plans and manages events, either virtual or at an EASTCONN facility. From initial event planning to assisting with on-site logistical support, we offer comprehensive event management that includes online and onsite registration, sourcing facilitators and presenters, materials production and mailings, registrant fees and event fiscal management, sourcing and supplying support materials, catering and vendor exhibit management.

• Conference Services has facilitated agency virtual workshops and in-house meetings, including maintaining registration and payments for participants, with ZOOM meeting connection support, and in-house IT and Facilities coordination.

• As of June 30, 2023, the Conference Center has had more than 819 booked events with over 9,500 guests attending in person and 775 participants attending online workshops.

HUMAN RESOURCES Electronic Fingerprinting Services

EASTCONN offers electronic fingerprinting services to Local Education Agencies and their job applicants in compliance with Connecticut state law. These services, provided by EASTCONN experts, provide fast results and help to ensure a smooth hiring process for potential employees.

• Human Resources staff implemented and provided new and enhanced electronic fingerprinting services for approximately 820 individuals.

• Employees and job-seekers used our fingerprinting services, including individuals hired by area Boards of Education and employees of organizations outside of Connecticut’s school districts.

Shared Staffing

EASTCONN offers professional resources to handle the recruitment and selection of qualified personnel for district staffing needs. Staff works directly with districts to provide specialized paraprofessionals for both short or long-term needs.

• Human Resources provided over 25 alternative staffing solutions for 3 member districts this year, eliminating the need for school personnel to manage the complexities of hiring critical staff.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023 eastconn.org • 49


and social media recruitment announcements utilizing print, community partners, radio, billboards, email and Career Fair participation.

Benefits Administration

Staff manages our employee benefit programs, which include group health, dental and vision plans, life insurance, disability insurance, workers’ compensation, health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, retirement options, COBRA, Employee Assistance Program benefits and more.

• Staff internally managed Open Enrollment and resulting benefit election changes for all benefit-eligible employees.

Labor Relations

Human Resources prepared proposals, participated in negotiations for expiring contracts and managed the implementation/administration of EASTCONN’s three collective bargaining agreements representing Teachers, Instructors and Instructional Assistants (IAs):

• EASTCONN Federation of Teachers

Human Resources Consulting & Training Services

Human Resources provides virtual mandated training solutions and tracks mandated training requirements for employees as well as HR consulting services/information upon request to member districts in the areas of confidential personnel issues, training and related technical assistance.

Human Resources Recruitment & Hiring

Staff members assist both external and internal customers interested in employment opportunities with EASTCONN, while also managing recruitment and hiring efforts necessary for our programs to achieve their mission and goals.

• Staff processed more than 1,000 applicants in response to 241 EASTCONN job postings.

• Recruitment strategy for certain positions was changed to continuous recruitment.

• Direct contact/outreach to 85+ minority, non-profit and religious organizations in our area was conducted periodically to promote available job opportunities in all EASTCONN divisions.

• In addition to outreach via Applitrack, Schoolspring, CTREAP, K-12 and Job Spot, we expanded our outreach efforts by subscribing to and utilizing Indeed, which allowed us to recruit and source candidates directly for positions.

• EASTCONN Marketing provided targeted promotional

• EASTCONN Federation of Instructors

• EASTCONN Federation of Educational Personnel


Marketing & Graphic Design Services

Experienced marketing and graphic design staff offers professional consultation or hands-on assistance or the rebranding of district schools, agencies or organizations. Backed by years of experience in graphic design, brand development, advertising and copywriting, staff can assist with all district communication needs.

• Staff designed, developed and executed email marketing campaigns and event peripherals for the RESC Alliance Igniting Change Conferences, held in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023.

• Staff continued to provide graphic design, writing, editing and ADA-compliant e-blast distribution for the state-funded CT Tech Act Project’s quarterly newsletter, which is dedicated to promoting and providing accessible access to information and resources for state residents with disabilities.

• Staff worked with school leadership teams to developed brand identities and toolkits for EASTCONN Transition Academy and Bridges Community School.

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Media & Communications Support

Experienced staff can help manage and increase positive press as part of day-to-day operations, helping improve your school PR, teaching how to publicize newsworthy topics, write successful press releases and/or distribute those press releases to appropriate media outlets. We are also able to assist with media during unexpected events.

Spanish Translation Services

Translation services are available to help improve communications with Spanish-speakers of all ages. Experienced and accurate, these services will ensure that districts are able to communicate clearly with Latino audience/s whenever needed to share either day-to-day or critical information.

• Our translator expertly translated parent letters and communications for the agency

Marketing & Communications with Web Development through www.eastconn.org

The EASTCONN website continues to function as a critical information hub supporting K-12 Student Services’ multipronged effort to communicate with students and families about education resources and much more. The agency’s website, designed and managed by internal Marketing and Tech Solutions staff, was redesigned in spring 2022.

• Since July 2022, eastconn.org has seen nearly 254,000 page views from over 82,000 visitors, an increase in page views of nearly 15% YOY.

• The website saw nearly 72,000 new users this year.

Ongoing Internal Marketing Support

Staff continues to support all EASTCONN divisions while marketing events, PL, schools, programs, services and workshops. Graphic design, photography, writing, editing, website management, organizational assistance, radio, digital and social media marketing options, video, and more were provided.

• In 2022-2023, staff conceptualized, designed and presented hundreds of digital and printed standalone pieces and numerous widely encompassing campaigns to support EASTCONN programs and to help meet program goals.

Digital Ads

EASTCONN’s use of digital marketing continues, utilizing affordable Google ads, boosted Facebook and Instagram posts, YouTube ads and Craigslist ads, resulting in hundreds of measurable data points of customer engagement; these efforts

have saved thousands of dollars, compared more traditional advertising options.

• Digital Subscribers: Our list of 30,000 email subscribers was used to generate 45 e-blast communications to market a variety of agency events, workshops, newsletters, recruitment messaging and professional learning opportunities for divisions agency-wide.

• Media: Staff issued press releases to newspapers, generating free print and digital publicity, and wrote and distributed four agency Connections newsletters.

• Social Media: Our growing presence and engagement on social media supported our overarching strategy that leverages Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn to build a heightened awareness of, and support for, EASTCONN’s work, educational resources and services.

TRANSPORTATION Transportation Services

With a fleet of 150+ vehicles that includes sedans, minivans, SUVs, mobility vans & buses, and 77-passenger yellow buses, EASTCONN manages transportation needs for our districts and beyond. We supply day-to-day transportation services for both general and special education students traveling to destinations ranging from local areas to neighboring states. Our drivers and aides are trained carriers of both medically fragile riders and those with behavioral challenges. Charter bus transportation is available for during- and after-school field trips and athletics as well as special events such as weddings, family reunions, employee trips, and private excursions.

• Each day, we transported 323 special-needs students and 1,705 general education students from 43 districts, using our cost-saving, outplacement destinations database.

• Our Safety and Training Coordinator conducted safe driver training for all EASTCONN drivers.

• We helped districts and other public agencies reduce barriers for special-needs individuals who attended their programs, using a fleet of 150 vehicles, among them wheelchair-accessible buses and vans.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023 eastconn.org • 51
52 • eastconn.org


Learning to teach is a developmental process that begins with education-focused students and continues throughout an educator’s career.

The Teacher Education and Mentor (TEAM) program – pictured here in use by Northeast Regional Program (NRP) teachers Emile Hammett (left) and Hannah Seddon (right) – is an integral part of this process, pairing every new classroom teacher with a trained mentor who provides support for the first few years in the classroom.

Through a partnership with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the RESC Alliance, EASTCONN has supported districts throughout the state in providing technical assistance with the TEAM program.

EASTCONN’s Technology Solutions group maintains the program’s dashboard, supporting 291 districts and over 11,000 new educators, mentors, facilitators and administrators.

One user commented that “the dashboard continues to improve and provides

users with enhanced tools, important information, and practical resources.”

The CSDE’s partnership with EASTCONN and the RESC Alliance, program manager Claudine Primack said, is “crucial to the success of the TEAM program. We value this longstanding relationship.”

While the Technology Solutions team is continuously evaluating and improving the program, staff recently recognized the need to share insights, assistance and updates about the TEAM dashboard. A new quarterly newsletter, the CSDE said, “is deeply appreciated by the districts, resulting in fewer requests for assistance.”

To further improve communication, staff initiated a weekly email to TEAM district facilitators, supporting them in connecting new educators to the dashboard and offering reminders for time-sensitive deadlines.

EASTCONN looks forward to a continued partnership with the CSDE and the RESC Alliance in supporting this essential program.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023
The Farmer’s Cow scoops ice cream for Natchaug School students
Our partnership with EASTCONN and the RESC Alliance is crucial to success of the TEAM program. We value this longstanding relationship.
NRP teachers Emile Hammett (left) and Hannah Seddon (right).
eastconn.org • 53



Technology Solutions provides districts with a comprehensive array of services that support and enhance the effective implementation of technology in teaching and learning. Technology Solutions also provides professional development for educators in effectively integrating the latest technology tools and applications into classrooms; provides infrastructure and network support; and develops customized, cloud-based software solutions for efficient data collection and analysis.

For more information contact Andrew DePalma, Technology Solutions Director/CTO 860-455-1620 • adepalma@eastconn.org

DATA SYSTEMS, CREATION, MANAGEMENT & SUPPORT Teacher Education and Mentoring Program (TEAM)

EASTCONN provides regional and in-district professional learning support to districts implementing the Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM) program. The TEAM Collaborative provides support and professional learning for beginning teachers and mentors, along with district and school leaders. This model enables districts to continue using the online TEAM workspaces to meet statutory requirements, and facilitates support for beginning teachers.

• Staff continued to make system and program improvements for 2023-2024 in conjunction with the CSDE.

• There are over 11,800 active TEAM users.

• This year, we’ve celebrated over 1,600 successful TEAM completions.

eObserve Data Management System for Classroom Observation

eObserve is a customizable online observation tool for classroom assessments and/or informal or formal teacher observations. Designed to be used on a tablet or computer, this web-based program allows school staff to observe and input evidence as it’s happening and run real-time reports.

• eObserve is continuously being updated to maintain compatibility with current web browsers & devices.

GEER Fund Partnership Supporting Connectivity Statewide

The Office of Early Childhood’s (OEC) work under the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief (GEER) Fund project is a statewide initiative to support connectivity for families with preschool-age children by providing them with an iPad, digital resources and other supports. EASTCONN Technology Solutions serves as technical lead for the project, overseeing the OEC’s ambitious, logistically challenging, statewide tech-

nology roll-out. Tech staff also provides statewide Help Desk support mechanisms for families, while our Marketing and Website group designed, built and hosted the GEER website on behalf of the OEC.

• EASTCONN currently supports a fleet of 2,660 iPads, 300 Chromebooks, and 200 Hotspots.

• EASTCONN supports 175 early childcare providers.

CT DOTS (Documentation & Observation for Teaching System) Online/eObserve

The eObserve platform, or CT DOTS Online, is the only system specifically designed to meet the data entry and analysis demands required by the state’s DOTS child-progress framework. With CT DOTS, early childhood professionals have a paper-free method of observing children, collecting evidence/artifacts and evaluating their skills against a standard set of indicators. CT DOTS Online is available anytime, anywhere and from any device.

• This year saw 27 new program enrollments and 76 continuing programs with over 3,000 students added to the platform.

Connecticut Teacher of the Year Portal

Since 2015, the staff software development team has supplied a statewide online system for the submission and scoring of CT Teacher of the Year applications. The system, as it stands, provides self-registration, data entry, supporting-document uploads and scoring. The application process can easily be adapted to handle just about any type of application collection system.

• Work continues, in close partnership with the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council and the CSDE, to improve the application and scoring process.

School Lottery & Admissions Management

Using an online platform, staff can create custom student applications for district schools, featuring customized

54 • eastconn.org

questions, specific parameters for priority groups (if any), and delivered results. Staff can validate applicants, verify the random selection and provide the results, managing all communications with applicants, and ensuring compliance with all procedures as an impartial agent.

EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT Information Technology Support Services

Our staff offer support services with all computer and mobile devices, from deployment and set-up to preventive maintenance and repair. We provide trained Information Technology (IT) staff on a temporary, full- or part-time basis or for help with short-term projects. Services include: troubleshooting peripherals, desktops, laptops and chromebooks; networks; set-up for technology labs; preventive maintenance; desktop and server support; technology equipment repair; IT diagnostic services and audio/visual equipment support; end-user support and Google administration.

• In 2022-2023, staff provided IT support to member districts.

• Staff built ticketing services for internal Marketing and Facilities departments as well as for Andover and Hampton. Created special response option for CT-SEDS.

Network Management

EASTCONN networking experts provide on-site or remote support services, ensuring that networking equipment and servers stay running and are optimized, while improving network availability and overall performance. Staff provide support for Windows and Mac networks, servers, switches, routers, WAN connections and wireless networks. Team is available to supplement in-house staff; for long-term assignments; and for ad-hoc projects, including server and networking equipment upgrades, server migrations and wireless network upgrades.

• This year, staff upgraded Wi-Fi infrastructure in several EASTCONN locations and member schools.

• Installed enhanced email spam filtering.

• Added multifactor authentication to internal mail.

Student Information Systems Management & Support

EASTCONN’s Student Information Systems team consults on focused initiatives, or provides part- or full-time, on-site staffing. Services include needs analysis; implementation consultation and setup; application management and cus-

tomization; system integration; user support and training. Supported solutions include PowerSchool; Versatrans; Google Classroom; Google Workspace management and rostering; and Tyler Technologies’ student information product suites; other learning management, assessment, communication, transportation and education-focused systems; state reporting; and locally-developed applications.

• We currently support 7 districts and have created custom elementary school report cards for 3 districts.

• Staff assisted 2 districts with new implementations of PowerSchool.

Student Data Analysis & Consultation

EASTCONN’s Student Information Systems team supports all school personnel roles involved with student data: administrators and teachers, counseling, student services and office staff. Staff assist with new curriculum, intervention and evaluation initiatives; develop custom screens, reports and analyses; evaluate and improve operational procedures; and provide application training at all levels of your organization. Core products include PowerSchool and Tyler SIS, as well as related and integrated applications.

• Staff currently supports 7 Districts.

• Our team has created custom pages and dashboards for districts.

eastconn.org • 55
EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023


Technology Council

The Technology Council offers technologists and administrators the opportunity to come together in a collaborative forum and share information and effective practices. Experts in the field and outside consultants regularly attend meetings and provide valuable insights into the latest developments.

• Technology Council meets 5 times a year.

• The most popular topic this year has been security and disaster recovery planning.

Technology Professional Development

Knowledgeable staff provides professional development opportunities and can teach districts new and/or advanced technology skills. Subjects include gaming in the classroom, robotics, Making/STEM, Google apps for education, malware awareness, database creation, and Google training, as well as customized topics upon request.

• This year, staff offered 14 in-person, technology-based trainings focused on cybersecurity, Google Workspace, and Microsoft Suite.

Classroom Technology Integration

State & Federal Reporting Compliance

EASTCONN’s experts help districts interpret State and Federal education reporting requirements and determine appropriate sources and tools to meet submission deadlines for student, personnel or financial areas. We verify the collection of necessary information and extract, validate, and format data for easy submission. Staff can assist with CSDE reports such as PSIS, TCS, ED165 and ED166, EDS and EEDC; legislative initiatives such as the Student Data Privacy Act; and Federal reports such as the Civil Rights Data Collection.

School Readiness

The School Readiness online portal accepts applications, provides processing, and stores results for School Readiness programs. Our system offers a fully customizable application process; multi-language application support; and a full archival system for record retention, and is currently used in Windham and surrounding towns.

• Hundreds of student applications have been processed using this software.

EASTCONN assists districts in achieving the best possible results from technology, from planning to implementation, including lesson integration and training.

• Staff installed ViewSonic Touch Boards in 2 districts and trained teachers on their use.

• Installed large screen monitors at ACT.

• Purchased and supported Owl video conferencing equipment.

• Continued support of the 1:1 Chromebook initiative.

Digital Accessibility

According to the CDC, 1-in-4 adults in the United States live with a disability. Staff teaches how to create accessible documents in Word, PowerPoint, PDFs and web-accessible content using the tools already built into these programs, ensuring that screen readers and other accessible technology can properly scan and read text and photos properly. Ensuring content is accessible allows families and staff to more easily access products, services and information.

Web-Content Management

EASTCONN web experts assist districts with website needs, from brainstorming to buildout. Our experts can teach districts how to design and organize websites that provide

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efficient and effective access to relevant and up-to-date content. We can instruct local teams to manage their own content, while building in approval processes prior to publication to the website. Updates to a safe and secure site are quick and easy, and managing updates locally will also saving both time and money.

• EASTCONN currently manages websites for 2 member districts and our own ECHIP.

Video Production Services

Video Production engages students and enhances projects by creating visuals that speak for themselves. Our team can record class events; advertise a product, project or program; or create a webinar or a video for a training class. This can all be done through EASTCONN’s Video Services. We have all the tools necessary for recording, editing and creating a final product for your use.

• Staff produced three instructional videos for CT DOTS Online.

HABILIS Learning Suite

The staff-developed HABILIS Learning tool is used to provide training modules for school and business use.

• Developed 15 self-paced modules for TEAM mentor, reviewer, and trainer-professional learning.

• Designed a cybersecurity awareness learning module.

• Over 8,000 modules have been completed using HABILIS.

Virtual High School

This program offers more than 200 core and elective courses for middle and high school students, preparing them for college and careers. Courses are available in all content areas, including a selection of Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

• In collaboration with the RESC Alliance, EASTCONN coordinated the delivery of online VHS courses to three participating schools: Coventry, Woodstock Academy and Griswold.

EASTCONN Annual Board Update 2022-2023 eastconn.org • 57

EASTCONN Annual Report 2022-2023


Adult Education & High School Completion • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Employment & Training Programs • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • English Language Learner Services • • • • • • • • • • • Early Childhood Coaching & Consulting • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Programs for Young Children & Families • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Academic Enrichment Programs • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Magnet Schools & Other Student Options • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Clinical, Developmental & Therapeutic Services • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Programs for Students with Developmental Disabilities • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Psychological & Behavioral Consultation Services • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Technology Products • • • • • • • • • • •
Related Services • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Center for Educational Leadership • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, Interventions • • • • • • • • Professional Learning • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Regional Groups & Councils • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • School Improvement Strategies • • • • • • • • • • • • Administrative Support for Schools • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Business & Employer Services • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Data Solutions Support & Training • • • • • • • • • • Eductional Technology Integration Technology Infrastructure Support • • • • •


Hartford Turnpike, Hampton, CT 06247 www.eastconn.org 860-455-0707
inforequest@eastconn.org inforequest@eastconn.org EASTCONN
Hartford Turnpike, Hampton, CT
eastconn.org 860-455-0707
serving the education needs of eastern Connecticut’s schools and communities since 1980
inforequest@eastconn.org eastconn.org/socialmedia Address Phone e-Contact Social Proudly serving the education needs of eastern Connecticut’s schools and communities since 1980

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