Annual Board Update 2010-2011
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.
Cover Photo: 100+ students from 4 towns team-build at the top of a beautiful hill on a Joshuaâ€™s Trust property in Mansfield during an Interdistrict Grant Learning Lands program.
From the Executive Director Dear Reader, The end of the school year presents an ideal time to pause and reflect on the highlights and accomplishments of the past year, as well as the challenges they present and their attendant implications. While I know that our 550 employees are providing a vast variety of services in a high-quality manner, it is important that we collect data to more fully understand just how much we are doing, how well we are doing it, and most importantly, what difference it has made in the lives of those we serve. From there we determine what our next targets should be and what next steps we should take. I asked each of our program directors to prepare an analysis of the progress they have made toward the accomplishment of their program goals as well as the contributions they have made toward the achievement of our agency goals, with special attention paid to answering those three critical questions: how much did we do, how well did we do it, and what difference has it made? This report contains their responses, a small sampling of which I excerpt here as a preview of their assessment of the range and reach of our services. These and many more responses appear in their entirety throughout this update. All the Best, Paula M. Colen Executive Director
Examples of How Much We Did: • 560 Early Head Start, Head Start children and their families served • 230 high school diplomas issued through Adult Education programs • 5,230 students, grades 2-12, from 33 districts, participated in CSDE-funded Interdistrict Grant programs • $15-million in programs and services purchased through Cooperative Purchasing • 31 member-districts accessed 1 or more Assistive Technology services • 211 Professional Development workshops scheduled and supported by Conference Office staff, along with 581 meetings, serving 2,000+ educators • 4,966 new teachers & 4,174 mentors statewide used our Web-based, agency-developed data tool for the new TEAM accountability and data management system
Examples of How Well We Did It: • 95-100% of our combined employment-and-training youth participants returned to school, enrolled in post-secondary institutions, or entered subsidized employment • “I feel confident in the [NRP] staff’s abilities and am impressed by the progress my students have made at Northeast Regional Program.” • “The grantee [EASTCONN] had a true partnership with the community and public schools in providing services to families and children prior to entry into public school and preparing Head Start children for future success.” [Federal review] • “The IT staff is very friendly, very helpful and VERY knowledgeable. Whenever I have a question or need help, I get a quick response from the staff...” • Won 8 awards for “Excellence in Communications” in CABE’s statewide contest
Examples of the Difference We Made: • “I believe the Early Head Start Program has been the saving of him!” [Guardian] • “[I] don’t think I would finish high school if I didn’t have this place.” • “Regionalized health insurance could provide one of the best opportunities for savings in our region.” • “I’ve changed a lot. I’ve matured, I do better, I actually care about my education... [QMC] has greatly changed my life...” [Quinebaug Middle College student] • “We have all found the new TEAM process to be very helpful and well-aligned to district expectations for beginning teachers in Windham.” • “Transportation staff make the entire process user friendly and easily accessible, so our families have one less thing to worry about.” • “The expertise of...the [Conference Office] staff is an asset to us as we plan and budget our events, [enabling us to]...fully optimize our efforts.”
EASTCONN At-A-Glance...........................................................................................page i 2011-2012 Highlights and Accomplishments: Agency Goal 1: Low-Incidence Learners...........................................................page 5 Economically Disadvantaged Individuals...................................................page 5 Educationally Disadvantaged Individuals...................................................page 7 Services to Individuals with Special Needs.................................................page 9 Agency Goal 2: Strategic Expansion...................................................................page 11 Regional Initiatives......................................................................................page 11 New Programs, Products & Services...........................................................page 13 Program Expansion and/or New Customers................................................page 14 Agency Goal 3: Enhancing Leadership & Improving Student Learning........page 16 Research-Based Best Practice.....................................................................page 16 Collaborations & Partnerships with Other Organizations...........................page 18 Collective Agency Goal Challenges from 2010-2011.................................................page 20 Collective Agency Plans and Implications for 2011-2012.........................................page 21 Program Updates: Adult Services.............................................................................................page 23 Cooperative Purchasing...............................................................................page 27 Early Childhood Initiatives..........................................................................page 28 Facilities/IT Services...................................................................................page 31 Finance........................................................................................................page 34 Human Resources........................................................................................page 36 Marketing & Communications....................................................................page 39 Planning & Development............................................................................page 44 Student Services..........................................................................................page 47 Teaching & Learning Services....................................................................page 55 Technology Solutions..................................................................................page 60 Transportation Services...............................................................................page 64 Contacts........................................................................................................................page 66 EASTCONN Executive Board....................................................................................page 67
Windham Middle School “birders” work with Connecticut State Ornithologist Dr. Margaret Rubega, far left, during a “Junior BioBlitz” to catalog wildlife at Ashford’s historic Church Farm. This year, 20 educational Interdistrict Grant programs, administered by EASTCONN and funded by the CSDE, served 5,230 students, grades 2-12, from 33 northeastern Connecticut towns.
Created in 1980 under Connecticut General Statute 10-66a, EASTCONN is a public, non-profit, regional educational service center. EASTCONN exists to provide high-quality, competitively priced educational and related services to 36 member Boards of Education and the 33 communities they serve in northeastern Connecticut. We are governed by a Board of Directors who are members of locally elected Boards of Education. Our funding comes from the fees we charge for our services, supplemented by competitively awarded grants and contracts.
REGION • AT • A • GLANCE
33..... Communities 36..... School Systems 85..... Schools 342 . .. Administrators 3,579..... Teachers 41,426..... Students
160...... Programs & Services 550...... Employees 21...... Locations 173,296 . ... Facilities’ Square Footage 103...... Student Transport Vehicles $42 million...... Annual Budget
EASTCONN • AT • A • GLANCE
EASTCONN’s Six Divisions & Their Programs STUDENT SERVICES
EASTCONN works with local school districts to ensure that all the children in our 33-town region, from preschool through high school and beyond, have access to a rich variety of learning opportunities. From in-district support services to regional schools, EASTCONN provides a valuable, additional resource for students, parents and educators. Our student services include: • Assistive Technology • Career Transitions • Interdistrict School-Year Programs • Magnet Schools & Other Options for Students • Professional Development & Support for Special Education & Related Services Professionals • Programs for Students with Developmental Disabilities • Schools for Non-Traditional Learners • Schools for Students with Behavioral Challenges • Services for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders & Other Developmental Disabilities • Summer, Vacation & After-School Programs • Other Student Services
EASTCONN promotes and supports lifelong learning for parents, workers and residents of northeastern Connecticut. Whether it’s high school completion, job training, workplace literacy or parenting support, EASTCONN’s services are designed to help adults develop new interests, increase their skills, and expand their options. Our adult services include: • Adult Basic Education & Credentialing • Community Education & Programs • Employment & Training Programs • English Language Learner Services • Parent & Family Programs
EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVES EASTCONN works with parents, communities and schools to ensure that all children enter school ready to succeed. EASTCONN is able to design and implement highquality, early-childhood education programs and services. We can also assist with data collection, planning and policy development, facilitation and community engagement, workshops for parents and professionals, facilities consultation, and program design and evaluation. Our early childhood initiatives include: • Early Childhood Consultation & Professional Development • Early Childhood Materials & Products • Early Childhood Programs & Services • Early Head Start & Head Start • Services for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders & Other Developmental Disabilities
TEACHING & LEARNING SERVICES EASTCONN works with educators across northeastern Connecticut to substantively improve instruction, with the goal of increased learning for all children. From standards-based curriculum design to data-driven school improvement, our specialists offer a broad range of expertise. Our teaching and learning services include: • Educational Leadership • Professional Development & Coaching • School Improvement
ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES EASTCONN is committed to facilitating collaborative, regional approaches to administration operations. From cooperative purchasing to regional staff recruitment, EASTCONN works to find more cost-effective ways of using local resources. Our organizational support services include: • Administrative Support • Communications Services • Conference & Event Management • Employer & Business Services • Facilities & Information Technology Services • Human Resources Management • Personnel & Staffing Solutions • Program Design & Development • Transportation Services
TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS EASTCONN helps schools envision, acquire and maintain technology systems that enhance student learning. From on-site technology integration training to customized database development, we are committed to ensuring that our schools keep pace with the accelerating demand for the effective use of technology. Our technology solutions include: • Customized Technology Products • Data Solutions Support & Training • Educational Technology Integration • Technology Planning & Development
Agency Goal #1 To be the primary resource to our communities for low-incidence learners
“…a very wise DCF worker got [G.] into the Early Head Start Program…He wasn’t yet a year old. When he first entered the program, he seemed an extremely stressed and somewhat aggressive little boy. This was the first time in his life that he had ever had any structure in his life, or feeling of security. The support and guidance that his teachers in the Early Head Start Program gave to both [G.] and my family was Lifesaving and got us through. Once we obtained Legal Guardianship of [G.], his teachers and I worked diligently as a Team to make [G.’s] life as stable and secure as was possible. A year and a half later [G.] is thriving and we have all adjusted well! He is now such a happy-go-lucky little kid. I believe that the Early Head Start Program has been the saving of him! — Tianna M., guardian, Early Head Start
EASTCONN Board Chairman Herbert Arico, left, shares a proud moment with Early Childhood Director Elizabeth Aschenbrenner as they hold a Connecticut General Assembly Citation, hailing Aschenbrenner’s division for its exemplary work.
Overview Among the regional solutions that most benefit our member districts are the services that we provide to their low-incidence learners, from birth to maturity. Low-incidence learners, while few in number, present with significant barriers to learning. Their often unique and specialized needs require expertise that is difficult and costly to access, particularly for small districts with few resources. By sharing staff, programs or services on a regional or multidistrict basis, needs are addressed more cost-effectively. Where possible, staff expertise is brought to the student in the local community; sometimes, the learner travels to a neighboring community or a regional site in order to access a more appropriate learning environment. Among the low-incidence learners we support are preK-12+ students with documented disabilities, and their families, as well as those with educational disadvantages due to their life situations or academic, social and/or emotional barriers to learning. We provide direct support to English-language-learners of all ages, as well as supporting those who teach them through the provision of professional development, curriculum and assessment resources. We provide services to economically disadvantaged youth and adults, including those still in school and those who have dropped out, lost their jobs, or who are unable to find employment or continue their education.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments Economically Disadvantaged Individuals Economically Disadvantaged Families with Young Children As the sole provider of federally funded Head Start services in Tolland and Windham counties, we currently serve families from 11 communities in northeastern Connecticut (Plainfield, Canterbury, Sterling, Killingly, Brooklyn, Putnam, Woodstock, Thompson, Vernon, Stafford and Windham). Programs are designed to provide comprehensive services, including education, health, mental health, dental and nutrition services, family support and parent involvement opportunities for young children and their families; participants must meet federally defined income guidelines, which are 130% of, or below, the federal poverty level. Our Early Head Start served 168 children and their families; Head Start served 392 children and their families. g
Employment & Training Programs for Economically Disadvantaged Youth A variety of programs, largely funded by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB), provide educational and career transition support to young people who meet income guidelines. g
Goal 1: Accomplishments & Highlights “Our partnership with EASTCONN is exemplary. We feel we can confidently count on EASTCONN to develop and provide quality programs. Their delivery skills range from the Out of School Youth collaborative program to workshops for adults at CTWorks like “Surviving Tough Times.” Additionally, their reading and math refresher courses for the unemployed have become a key ingredient for our workers seeking to re-join an economy where skills are in high demand. EASTCONN is a primary contractor for workforce development services in eastern CT and we’re proud to have them on our team.” — John Beauregard, Executive Director, Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board
Gov. M. Jodi Rell, center in white, thanked a team of Summer Youth Program participants for rebuilding Connecticut state park structures like this boardwalk. health-related career areas; 100% returned to high school or enrolled in post-secondary education.
Among these programs last year were:
“While it seemed like a small decision at the time, signing that dotted line on the new school application changed the whole course of my life. The day I decided to accept my spot at Quinebaug Valley Middle College High School [QMC’s original name] was the day I finally came into my own and determined my own destiny. I discovered my true potential academically and that when I work hard and put in the extra effort, I can really make something of myself. I learned to appreciate diversity and to open my mind to everyone and what they have to offer as human beings. Growing pains turned me into a happy, confident, dedicated citizen ready to take on the world.” — Danielle Comeau, QMC Alumni (January 2011) and Sacred Heart University Student
• COOL (Careers of Our Lives) Directions: 58 high school juniors and seniors from 7 eastern Connecticut districts received yearround academic and career transition support. • Summer Youth Employment and Training Program: 488 youth, ages 14-18, from 35 participating schools across eastern Connecticut, received employability skills training and paid, community-based internships; 97% returned to school, enrolled in post-secondary education, or entered unsubsidized employment. • Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) Program: 28 BRS clients from 8 eastern Connecticut school districts participated in the summer pilot project; 95% either returned to school or entered employment upon completion. • STEM/Health Pipeline: 50 young people from 5 eastern Connecticut schools completed coursework and an internship in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or
Economically Disadvantaged Under- and Unemployed Workers • Primary provider of Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB)-funded employment and training services to underand unemployed workers from 40 communities in eastern Connecticut, where the average unemployment rate remains in excess of 10%. g
• Nine-hundred-plus (900+) individuals participated in services provided through EWIB contracts totaling more than $1 million last year, ranging from case management and job development services for Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) recipients, to remedial workshops for individuals seeking employment and entry to job training programs.
Goal 1: Accomplishments & Highlights The three things individual students say they like best about adult education programs: — Smaller classes, more flexible schedule, fits with my job schedule. — Teachers, staff and students are nice; I ‘seem’ to be learning! Convenient location – close to home. — How the staff understands us and tries to help out with problems; like the packets; love the hours – also close to home. — Environment – no fooling around like in high school – easier to focus – higher maturity level here. — Staff here almost uniformly pleasant to deal with; scheduling is fairly open –they are good at what they do; curriculum itself is challenging. Most valuable aspect of their participation: — Actually seeing myself finish. — Don’t think I would finish high school if I didn’t have this place. — Probably that I’ve improved my education. — Now realize what I need to do to be successful in life – want to go to college to become a substance abuse counselor. — Teaches self-discipline. Benefits, now and in the future: — Getting my diploma … see my future as a job coach or child psychologist, so will need to go on. — Will help me go to college, good reference for jobs. — I will be able to get a different job and move on in life. — If I didn’t find out about here, don’t now what I would have done. — I’m going to have a high school education, which will allow me to pursue my ultimate goal of college, for which I’ve been saving for the past two year with my job earnings.
Educationally Disadvantaged Individuals Community Arts After-School Program Sixty (60) young residents of Windham Heights, a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing development in Willimantic, participated in a community-based, after-school program funded by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), providing daily after-school and vacation programming that integrates academics with project-based arts enrichment activities. Bilingual staff work with limited-English-speaking participants and UConn students to provide academic tutoring as volunteer mentors. g
Expelled Students • Four (4) districts, up from 2 last year, participated in the Principal Referred Expulsion Program (PREP), providing a no-cost alternative to oneon-one tutoring of expelled students. Located in the Windham regional Community Learning Center, expelled students attend 12 hours of classroom instruction weekly that allows them to continue toward the attainment of their high school diploma without interruption. g
• Four (4) of 8 PREP students will earn their high school diploma in June and the other 4 will return to their high school in the fall to resume their studies. High School Students with Limited Credits Thirty-seven (37) high school students, at risk of not graduating, enrolled in a new after-school credit-recovery program, implemented in partnership with Windham High School and designed to allow students to recover lost credit due to absenteeism and/or failure; 20 students earned ½-credits in English or math. The program is offered at no cost to students, many of whom lack the resources to pay for summer school credit recovery programs and is expected to contribute to the Windham High School graduation rate. g
Students At Risk of Not Completing High School • In its third year, Quinebaug Middle College (QMC), which is designed for disengaged students at risk of not completing high school, grew from 70 students from 10 towns in 2009-2010, to 105 students from 17 different communities in 20102011. In addition, 27 students are on the QMC waiting list. g
These dedicated Quinebaug Middle College students graduated early. • QMC focuses on meeting the needs of at-risk high school students in northeastern Connecticut who benefit from high-quality, highly individualized educational support, personalized instruction, and a wide range of opportunities, in order to achieve academic excellence, a high school degree and college credits. • In June 2011, QMC will celebrate the graduation of its first cohort of 30 seniors who successfully completed their high school careers. Seventeen (17) plan to pursue higher education, while 4 others are employed, and 3 are entering military service. Adults Seeking a High School Credential Two hundred and thirty (230) high school diplomas will be awarded at the Adult Education graduation on June 8, a 15% increase from last year. Growth continues in all three highschool credentialing programs, due to new program options, expanded locations and student retention initiatives. g
Goal 1: Accomplishments & Highlights “Me siento que el programa me ha ayudado mucho en aprender diferentes estrategias en como ayudar a[ J.] y [R.] con sus destrezas de motricidad y de comunicacion, y tambien como ayudarlos a interactuar y compartir entre ellos mismos y otros ninos de su edad. [I feel that the program has helped me learn different strategies on how to help [J.] and [R.] with their fine motor skills and their communication skills, and also in how to help them interact with each other and share with other children their age.] — Laura H., parent, Birth-to-Three
“When it is time for a child being serviced by EASTCONN Birth to Three to make the transition to preschool, the EASTCONN providers provide invaluable information and assessment. The providers help get both the child and family ready to make the transition to preschool. EASTCONN providers are skilled at building relationships with both children and parents and this paves the way for the family to make a successful transition to Goodyear. EASTCONN providers are consistently invested in assisting with the process and we join together to assist young children and their families. The solid partnership with EASTCONN providers is a critical component in helping young children to reach their full potential.” — Barbara Mudd, LCSW, Social Worker, Killingly Public Schools
tening, reading/writing skills and knowledge of American cultures that non-native adults need, so that they can more effectively participate in the educational, work and civic opportunities of our county.
Non-English Speakers/ English Language Learners Services for Spanish-Speaking Families of Young Children with Special Needs Birth-to-Three services, including evaluations, are provided to children and families in either English or Spanish. The Birth-to-Three program provides individualized services to children that have been identified as having a disability or a developmental delay, and their families. g
Supporting Teachers of English Language Learners (ELL) Coordinated the Title III ELL Consortium, enabling 13 districts to access a funding source that they would not be able to access on their own. Provided ELL teachers with professional development and materials to support the instruction of ELL students: provided LAS Links testing materials and support, and facilitated a regional network of ELL teachers. g
Adult English Language Learners • Three hundred and twenty-three (323) non-English-speaking students participated in our English-as-a-SecondLanguage (ESL) programs, an increase of 10% over the previous year. A new, district-wide, technology-enhanced curriculum was implemented with a focus on developing the lisg
English-as-a-Second-Language students can improve their language skills, thanks to Adult Education classes offered at EASTCONN Learning Centers in Willimantic and Danielson.
• A supplemental ESL Civics grant that funded the new curriculum also provided educational field trips to historic and cultural sites, including New York City’s East Side Tenement Museum, Plimoth Plantation and the Pequot Museum. These field trips reinforced and extended classroom learning. Spanish-Language Print Materials • Retained a certified Spanish translator so that promotional and informational materials, particularly magnet school materials, can be made available in Spanish with the confidence that they are accurately translated and appropriately represent the agency. g
• Continued sending press releases to, and advertising our magnet schools in, Identidad Latina, the monthly Spanish-language newspaper that reaches 50,000 readers in the greater Hartford and eastern Connecticut regions. Public Information Broadcasts for Spanish Speakers: Helped produce a total of 7 television shows on a variety of educational topics in partnership with Charter Cable that feature periodic Spanish translations, making them accessible to Spanish-speaking viewers who otherwise have more limited access to information about educational programs, services and practices that may benefit them or those they know; this year’s subjects included: adult services, autism services, SRBI, and public education funding (how education budgets are created and funded). g
Goal 1: Accomplishments & Highlights What’s Being Said About Northeast Regional Program (NRP): — Working with NRP has been an outstanding experience. The staff keeps in such close contact with us that I feel truly connected to the students and their programs. I feel confident in the staff’s abilities and am impressed by the progress my students have made at NRP. I will absolutely continue to utilize NRP as a resource for our district. — Dr. Marni Elinoff, Director of Special Education, Sterling Public Schools — NRP has done a wonderful job with the student’s from Killingly. They maintain an incredible balance between a rigorous academic course load and a strong, intensive behavioral component. Their thoroughness with IEP’s is remarkable. — Jodi Davis, Assistant Director of Pupil Services, Killingly Public Schools — I love this place. I have seen a huge difference in my grandson. I wish I knew about this program years ago. He finally looks forward to coming to school and is happy to be here. — Grandparent of 1st grade student — The teacher is able to accommodate a learning schedule for my son that enabled him to transition less frequently. His schedule is clearly posted so he can quickly remind himself of what comes next, reducing fears and anxiety. He is eager to come to school. The staff is getting through to him and I am truly grateful to have the support for my son your school provides. Keep up the great job! — Parent of a 6th grade student with autism spectrum disorder
Two much fun! Playtime in the Birth-toThree program promotes cognitive and social skills, as well as an understanding of the physical world.
• Autism Program: Increased enrollments in the regional autism program, exceeding 2010-2011 goals. Students from 7 different districts are currently enrolled and are receiving high-quality, individualized instruction. Expanded EASTCONN’s assistive technology learning and lending library for educators and parents of students with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities through private and public foundations; obtained additional resources aimed at improving student literacy skills.
Services to Individuals with Special Needs Children, Ages Birth-to-Three, with Disabilities or Developmental Delays Provided services to 185 infants, toddlers and their families as one of the regional providers of the Department of Developmental Services-funded Birthto-Three (B-3) programs. This reflects a 62% increase from the previous year. Participation in the B-3 program is for those children who have been identified as having a disability or a development delay. The design and delivery of services are specific to the needs of each child but can include: evaluation, case coordination, education, speech/ language, PT, OT and nutrition; family support is emphasized. Birth-to-Three services have been demonstrated to increase developmental skill levels and reduce the number and frequency of intervention services required when a child turns 3 years of age and becomes the responsibility of the public school system. g
Direct Services to K-12+ Students with Special Needs Enrolled 87 students with special needs across all magnet schools and regional special education programs, representing a 40% increase over last year’s enrollments. Among the highlights this year were: g
A mother and son share a moment of pride in his schoolwork during a recent Autism Program Open House. • Northeast Regional Program (NRP): Enrollment doubled at this K-12 program serving students in grades K-12 whose behavior or emotional needs have significant impact on their learning. Among the new districts sending students are Sterling, Canterbury, Middletown and Windham. Expanded programming is available, including studentspecific day-programming, vocational services and a K-12 summer program. Ninety percent (90%) of NRP high school students participate in community-based work-study placements. • Eastern Regional Academy (ERA): Continued to provide students in grades 4-12, whose primary disability is serious emotional disturbance, with a full complement of related services,
Goal 1: Accomplishments & Highlights What Work Study Employers are Saying:
including counseling, speech and language, occupational and physical therapy.
— [A.] is an asset to the program and my business – it simply works! —Donny D, Owner, Danielson Adventure Sports — EASTCONN’s NRP Internship Program has been a tremendous success here at Friendly Bowl. All the students and job coaches have been a pleasure to work with. We will continue to use and support this program as long as we are in business. Thank you to everyone who has participated. — Mr. Roger J. Paquin, Owner, Friendly Bowl — Northeast Regional Program is an asset for local businesses. It is a great experience for students involved. They have thrived considerably. We will use this program for many years to come. Communication between the vocational coordinator and business has been fantastic. — Mrs. Wendy Langiano, Owner, Quiet Corner Dog Grooming/ Daycare — [D.]. is in one word – fantastic, and the program is the same! — Mr. Ben Stone, Manager, Bicycle Concepts — Northeast Regional’s program has been a winner for the young people who are striving towards their futures in the hopes of fitting into the economic calibration of this increasingly complicated world. We are able to help these young people learn and accomplish actual skills; through this they build self-esteem and grow in the satisfaction of personal achievement and confidence. Conversely, this program has been very helpful to us at Quackin’ Grass Nursery - the extra pairs of hands take the edge off of the day to day grind of this under-staffed, small business. And it is my personal joy having become acquainted with these fine young folks. — Wayne M. Paquette, Owner, Quackin’ Grass Nursery
An Eastern Regional Academy student gets some one-on-one academic assistance from a dedicated teacher.
Transition Services Expansion of transition services across all programs has been an area of focus this year. • EASTCONN’s Young Adult Transition teacher was invited to present at the Parent Transition Workshops that were co-sponsored by EASTCONN, LEARN & SERC. g
• Initiated a pilot MAPPING/PersonCentered Planning initiative that supports long-range planning for students. Conducted on an individual basis, this pilot provided 2 students and their families with a facilitated process for defining goals for vocation, independent living and leisure. Adolescents and Young Adults with Significant Cognitive, Emotional and Behavioral Disability • Provided contracted occupational therapy and physical therapy services at the Susan Wayne Center, a private residential facility that provides services primarily for adolescents with significant cognitive, emotional and behavioral disability, who cannot be served in alternative settings. g
• Young Adult Program: Continued to provide progressive transition programming for young adults, ages 1821, with developmental disabilities, through meaningful vocational experiences and the development of independent living skills. In 2010-2011, the Young Adult Program served 9 students from throughout the northeastern Connecticut and neighboring regions, including Killingly, Plainfield, Woodstock and Regional School District 11, Plainville and Bristol. The successful collaboration with the Department of Developmental Services and Connecticut State Department of Education enables the program to provide successful transition-to-adulthood supports after participants complete their public school education.
The Young Adult Program teaches important skills like cooking, which can help students lead independent lives.
• Adding transition services for students, 18-21 years of age, who leave the residential setting to enter Susan Wayne Center group homes in the surrounding communities. On-site Adult Basic Education for Adults with Special Needs Twenty (20) United Services clients with mental health and mobility challenges participated in a new collaborative on-site English-as-a-SecondLanguage/GED program at United Services facilities in Putnam and Willimantic; this new program afforded these individuals, who otherwise would have had extreme difficulty accessing services, with the opportunity to pursue their educational goals in a familiar setting; United Services provided transportation. All 20 have demonstrated gains in their reading and listening tests, with several participants qualifying to take the GED exam. g
Agency Goal #2 To respond strategically to new, emerging and expanding needs of our present and future customers
Superintendents from across the region discuss pending legislation, budgets and other concerns with 12 state legislators at URSA/NASA’s annual Legislative Breakfast meeting at EASTCONN’s Hampton offices. Left to right, state Rep. Pamela Z. Sawyer, R-55th District, chats with state Rep. Kevin Ryan, D-139th District, and state Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams, Jr., D-29th District. “As a member school district, EASTCONN has been a valuable resource to us. Especially as we navigate through some of the most challenging economic times we have seen, the need to find efficiencies, and cost and time savings is more critical than ever. EASTCONN’s motivation in providing helpful services to us is not profit driven. They understand the needs of school districts. With an ear to the future, they anticipate the direction we must maintain to remain in compliance with federal, state and agencies’ mandates, and provide forums for discussion and services designed to meet these needs.” — Paul Noel, Director of Physical Plant & Facilities, Coventry Public Schools
EASTCONN is continuously scanning to identify new, emerging and growing needs through a variety of ways, from formal needs assessments, to regional forums, to ongoing dialogue with member districts. New state and federal mandates and initiatives always bring new challenges with them. As new member district needs emerge, new responses are developed; conversely, programs and services that are no longer in demand are eliminated, either because the need no longer exists or because local districts have developed the capacity to address their own needs. The steady growth of the agency’s programs and services over the last 30 years is testimony to the growing, unmet needs of our member districts. With a dramatically changing fiscal landscape, new needs are expanding dramatically, including the need for more collaborative, regional solutions to common challenges. Districts that once provided many essential services directly are now considering outsourcing or shared staffing solutions. Grant funding is one of the most critical strategies the agency uses to build capacity to serve our members at lowcost or no cost to them; grants make up about half our current revenue. We also seek new and expanded markets for our programs and services. By creating economies of scale, the costs of delivery to member districts can be lessened, while simultaneously enhancing our capacity and the quality of services.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments Regional Initiatives While the agency has a long and productive history of voluntary collaboration across the region, efforts have intensified in recent years due to the extreme budgetary constraints that public schools are facing. In response, and in support of voluntary regionalism, EASTCONN has facilitated regional conversations and initiatives across a broad array of challenges, seeking both new opportunities, as well as expansion of existing collaborations. Advocacy • In the interest of advocating for the unique needs of member districts in northeastern Connecticut, an Advocacy Committee composed of representatives from the regional superintendents’ association was formed to determine priorities for this legislative session. Identified priorities included: school funding, education mandates, regional transportation, early childhood education and serving high school students. Subsequently, agency staff tracked legislation related to these issues. g
• In March, an informational session about the regional priorities was given to state Rep. Timothy Ackert (8th Dist.) and state Rep. Susan Johnson (49th Dist.), who serve on the Education Committee. • In addition, Susan Keane, Appropriations Committee Administrator, provided a workshop
Goal 2: Accomplishments & Highlights “Regionalized health insurance could provide one of the best opportunities for savings in our region. We’re still in the formative stages, and it’s probably at least 18 months in the future, but if the regional insurance pool were to happen, it would allow a measure of independence to school districts, yet enable them to share the benefits of pooling.” — Robert Siminski, Superintendent, Regional District #8
Regional Calendar All regional districts have expressed interest in developing a unified, regional calendar that will provide consistency and promote cost-efficiencies through greater collaboration in such areas as professional development and transportation. Greater alignment has been achieved for 2011-2012 and dialogue will continue in the next school year. g
Regional Common Curriculum • Fifteen (15) member districts signed on to collaborate in the development of a regional curriculum in language arts and mathematics, based on the new Common Core State Standards. g
• The agency participated in a Connecticut State Department of Educationled initiative to develop a curriculum framework based on the new Common Core State Standards currently being implemented statewide. Conversations are focused as northeastern Connecticut leaders talk about the possible creation of a Regional Health Insurance Collaborative, one among a number of important, cost-saving, regional initiatives that EASTCONN and its member districts are exploring.
online payment systems. Savings from these new offerings will be in addition to the estimated $3 million in annual savings currently realized by our membership.
to area superintendents on the budgeting process and time lines.
Regional Cooperative Purchasing Initiatives • New products providing additional savings were offered in areas such as electricity procurement, desktop printer maintenance, office supplies, “green” cleaning products, vehicle navigation systems and cafeteria
• For the first time, “Sandwiches and Savings,” a regional vendor and product demonstration event, was offered, bringing together 13 vendors and 42 district participants, including superintendents, business managers, cafeteria operators and facility managers. These additional products and services have the potential to provide opportunities for further savings to member districts. Regional Health Insurance Coordinated and facilitated meetings with district and municipal representatives from more than 30 member districts, exploring the development and implementation of a regional health collaborative designed to provide high-quality health insurance plans at reduced costs; dialogue is ongoing. g
Regional Public Information Initiatives • Support for public education begins with an understanding of all it entails, but public information initiatives can be too costly for local districts to undertake. To g
Sandwiches & Savings” brought together 13 vendors and 42 visitors from member districts to consider potential savings across a variety of goods and services.
Goal 2: Accomplishments & Highlights My daughter, [T.] and I have been involved in the Stafford Early Head Start program since its inception over a year ago. I believe this program has provided countless opportunities for my family and most importantly my daughter…I am actively involved in my children’s education, I not only serve on the parent counsel for Head Start and Early Head start, I also serve on the Policy Council for these programs… Through this program I have learned about resources and programs for myself and my children that I probably would not have otherwise come across. I feel that this program has helped us so much…I have watched the children learn and grow in leaps and bounds over the last year, and I know that some families would suffer immensely if they didn’t have this program and the countless resources it has to offer. — Michelle H., parent. Stafford Head Start
Transportation offers 100 school vehicles in a variety of shapes and sizes, each intended to meet the specific needs of district programs and individual students.
support our member districts, we created and began implementing a no-cost regional public information campaign to increase awareness and understanding of preK-adult public education. • One of the most productive initiatives was a series of 3 talk shows on Charter Cable’s “Education Matters;” topics were Budget 101, Behind the Scenes in Public Schools; and Regionalism vs. Regionalization; superintendents from 4 districts appeared alongside EASTCONN staff. These shows are extremely wellproduced, translated into Spanish, and available for viewing on our Web site, thus expanding the potential audience well beyond the 16 towns and 30,000 viewers in the Charter Cable region. Regional Transportation Conducted a regional transportation survey with 23 member districts participating. The data is being used to identify areas for savings across the region. Some preliminary ideas include: common bids to lower costs and create an economy of scale; shared special education transportation; coordination of magnet and technical high school transportation, as well as sports, clubs and activities. In the coming year, dialogue will continue in search of savings that will lower transportation costs and keep more funding for the classroom. g
Early Head Start offers this toddler and his family a broad range of educational and support services.
New Programs, Products & Services Early Childhood Scientific Research-Based Interventions (SRBI) More than 60 preschool and kindergarten teachers and administrators attended training provided by agency Early Childhood staff on Early Childhood SRBI, universal screening, assessment and ongoing monitoring. Training was designed to help them recognize the importance of identifying young children that may be at risk for future school success and providing evidence-based intervention. Agency staff co-authored Embedded Strategies—Implementing Early Childhood SRBI, CSDE Publication, March 2010. g
Age 3 to Grade 3 Initiative Participated on a state team in a fourday institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, “PreK-3rd: The Foundation for Educational Success,” and served as a member of the team to develop and implement local, regional and statewide approaches addressing consistency and continuity of learning outcomes, instructional supports and assessment in preschool and the primary grades. Recent evidence of best practices to increase g
Goal 2: Accomplishments & Highlights
Early Head Start EASTCONN provides Early Head Start services to 168 children and their families, and offers Head Start services to 392 children and families from across northeastern Connecticut. Below are some of the toddlers, staff and parents who benefit from this important program.
National Retail Foundation Customer Service Certification test, ensuring that program participants leave not only with the marketable skills they need to provide exemplary customer service, but also with a nationally recognized credential in this growing sector of the economy. Will certify 20+ of the region’s workforce in 21st Customer Services Skills by January 2012.
educational success and reading on grade-level by grade 3 indicates the importance of consistency and continuity of expectations, curriculum, assessment and instruction, from preschool to grade 3. Transition Resources The agency has hired a Transition Resource Counselor for northeastern Connecticut for special education students who need Bureau of Rehabilitative Services (BRS) assistance with school-to-work planning. The intent of the Transition Resource Counselor initiative is also to develop effective working partnerships between the BRS and local school districts. The program will coordinate efficient transition-to-employment student services and increase the capacity of the state’s Regional Educational Service Centers (RESCs) and the State Education Resource Center (SERC) to work collaboratively with BRS and other state and local adult service agencies. As a result, students and parents will have increased access to resources and services for transition planning. g
New Programs and Services for the Unemployed • Seventy-four (74) under- and unemployed residents participated in the first 2 months of our “Surviving Tough Times” workshop series, designed to support individuals facing difficult economic times. g
• Supplemented Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Boardfunded services with the creation of 2 “interview clothes closets” at our regional facilities in Windham and Danielson, providing job-interviewappropriate clothes that job-seeking students can access at no cost; clothes are donated and students in the Credit Diploma program manage the closets as part of their required 15 hours of community service. Customer Service Training • Became the sole testing site in northeastern Connecticut for the g
• Nine (9) EASTCONN departments sent 30 employees to a new, customized, customer service training workshop, delivered by Adult Services staff and designed to help front-line personnel better serve the agency’s internal and external customers; 100% of participants reported that they would recommend this workshop to others; more workshops will be offered to area businesses and agencies. Facilities Consultation & Custodial Hiring Assistance Districts are struggling to maintain their facilities, given severe budget reductions, particularly in administrative budgets; in response, we are offering new services, including facilities consultation and custodial hiring assistance; in addition, an analysis is being prepared, assessing the cost of providing services in-house versus external contracting. g
Program Expansion and/or New Customers Early Head Start Expansion Served 45 new families in 3 different program options that best address the needs of families in the communities of Killingly, Stafford and Windham. Needs assessment data indicated the need for mental health and parenting education intervention. Program options include center-based and home-visiting components with an emphasis on parenting education, g
Goal 2: Accomplishments & Highlights adult education, job skills and mental health. UConn Psychological Services Clinic and the Center for Applied Research are our partners. Employment Transition Services for Incarcerated Inmates Thirty-three (33) inmates in the Brooklyn Bridge program at the Connecticut Department of Corrections facility in Brooklyn participated in a new employment transition initiative that included GED practice testing, resume writing and job-readiness training; 7 have successfully completed GED practice testing and all 33 have developed resumes and improved their interview readiness; all inmates are required to obtain paid employment soon after their transfer to halfway houses; extended unemployment is correlated with higher rates of recidivism.
applications in response to the increasing need for more efficient systems for the collection, management, analysis and reporting of data; 7 online systems have been developed to support multiple statewide initiatives on behalf of Connecticut State Department of Education and 2 systems have been developed to support district efforts.
A partial graphic, above, taken from MyRtI™ ,EASTCONN’s Web-based student assessment tool, depicts information that school districts can acquire to report student progress data.
“In general, EASTCONN has been a tremendous support to our district whenever we call for help - in any area! It is a huge relief to know that I can send an e-mail or place a phone call and know that someone will get back to me very quickly, with an offer of help or suggestion. From planning professional development offerings, to asking for guidance in looking at technology resources, seeking suggestions on directions to head regarding future PD plans… EASTCONN has helped our little district in numerous ways. Much to my surprise and delight, EASTCONN even installs servers, and recently installed one in our district for a great price and with superb service and assistance.” — Vonda Tencza, Director of Curriculum and Technology, Hebron Public Schools
Growth in Shared Services Provided short-term, alternative employment solutions through the Shared Staffing Program to member districts; grew from the placement of 45 employees in 2009-2010 to 50 employees in 2010-2011, reflecting the staffing challenges that districts face as they implement reductions in funding. g
New and Expanded Information Technology (IT) Support The agency is now offering IT services in response to growing demand from both member districts and their municipal partners; we have added an IT specialist who is focused on external support; to date, we have provided 8 (6 municipalities and 2 school districts) comprehensive IT audits, consisting of a thorough review and analysis of IT systems and recommendations for increased efficiencies, as well as providing IT services to 3 new external customers (2 districts and 1 municipality) while maintaining our internal, agency-wide IT infrastructure. g
Web-Based Application Development • Expanded the development and use of a variety of Web 2.0 technology tools and customized Web-based g
A MyRtI™ screen shot depicts an example of student data. The EASTCONN-developed online tool is easily customized for districts. • Partnered with an Educational Service Center in Massachusetts to provide wider access to EASTCONN’s online applications, including MyRtI, expected to result in enhancements and reduced subscriber costs for our members for these products and services. Fingerprinting Service Expansion The fingerprinting services program at the college & university levels expanded 22%, from 570 individuals in 2009-2010 to 695 in 2010-2011; on-site delivery of fingerprinting services provides an important and convenient service to future educators. g
Agency Goal #3 To improve outcomes for all learners in collaboration with our educational and community partners
Overview The ultimate measure of the agency’s success is the improved outcomes for the learners we serve, directly, through our own programs, and indirectly, in collaboration with member districts and other community organizations, and those they serve. Through the use of current research or best practice, we deliver programs and services that are designed to maximize impact on learner outcomes. Studies show that playtime is really valuable “learning time” and these Head Start children are actually experimenting with concepts like gravity, balance, angles and cooperation.
“The grantee [EASTCONN] had a true partnership with the community and public schools in providing services to families and children prior to entry into public school and preparing Head Start children for future success.” — Office of Head Start, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
We are committed to working in collaboration with member districts, other key partners and stakeholders, as well as state and national experts, to find ways to support and develop the capacity of educators who lead our districts, school buildings and classrooms, in order that learning outcomes improve for all students. The agency seeks new ways to collaborate, and new collaborative partnerships ongoingly. In addition, we create forums that facilitate regional dialogue for solving problems, building skills, and sharing resources and information. We work in a variety of ways to build capacity within the region so that districts can deliver the highestquality instruction and create positive learning outcomes for all students.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments Research-Based Best Practice Early Head Start and Head Start Triennial review conducted by the Office of Head Start indicated that the EASTCONN program was in full compliance. The report also recognized several program strengths, including collaboration with public schools, data-driven decision-making, alignment with K-12 expectations and the use of evidence-based curriculum and assessment. These findings demonstrate that the agency and its delegate partners, Stafford and Windham Public Schools, provide high-quality, comprehensive services to young children and their families, consistent with best practices. Our collaboration with the Vernon Public Schools, which provides comprehensive services in socioeconomically integrated classrooms, is consistent with research that indicates children demonstrate increased skills growth, as a result. g
Parenting Education Institute Acknowledging the critical role of parents in supporting their children’s growth and development, staff developed and implemented the Parenting Education Institute for parent educators, home visitors and Department of Children and Families (DCF) staff to increase skills in addressing risk factors associated with child abuse and neglect and to g
Goal 3: Accomplishments & Highlights What participating teachers are saying about Interdistrict Grant student learning: “…students observed, wondered, and made predictions, all skills needed to be successful on the CMTs.” [5th-grade teacher] “…students…learned to make telescopes and then connect with students in other countries… Connecting with other teachers was a real plus; we got to share ideas and enhanced our curriculum. We did things we would never have been able to do without this EASTCONN grant.” [6th-grade science teacher] “…students gained a lot of background knowledge and applied it in various “higher order thinking” discussion and activities with our partner schools.” [9th-grade teacher] “Many have never seen the ocean before. We are able to better cover Science Objectives 4.2 and 4.3 due to the visits. We can apply so much to our classroom learning.” [4th-grade science teacher] “Outdoor education is something I feel students at our schools are missing, so introducing them to outdoor inquiry activities is wonderful for them to gain background knowledge.” [10th-grade teacher]
“Thanks for your work – it has been meaningful and faculty have a new understanding of formative assessment.” — Barbara Gilbert, Director of Curriculum, Colchester Public Schools
develop common messages to families about parenting. The Institute, in its first year, was fully enrolled, including representatives from DCF, family resource centers, United Services, Day Kimball Hospital, Generations Family Health Center, Head Start, UConn and several community early-care providers from the region. K-2 Assessment Consortium Staff is part of a statewide team developing a repertoire of common formative assessments in the early grades in science and mathematics that align with the state’s Common Core Standards. Using authentic assessments aligned to standards allows teachers to determine and monitor children’s skills in content areas and provide consistency across schools and districts. g
Training Wheels Coordinated Training Wheels, a statewide project with the Connecticut State Department of Education to implement intentional teaching using state standards and assessment in preschool programs, resulting in increased learning outcomes for young children. The intentional teaching design has been recognized to be consistent with effective practices to increase children’s learning outcomes and aligns with the Connecticut Accountability for Learning Initiative (CALI). Staff provided training and support to project coaches and program administrators, as well as database development and maintenance and fiscal management. In 2010-2011, 32 preschool programs were engaged in training and on-site coaching, which reflects a 50% increase from the previous year. g
Interdistrict Grants Our approach to the 20 Interdistrict Grants funded in 2009-2011 has been recognized as an exemplary model of effective integration of multi-cultural education and core disciplinary studies. The grants have benefited 5,230 students, grades 2-12, and 103 educators from 33 different districts by bringing them together in sustained g
and exciting learning explorations, in collaboration with university and college faculty, and guest experts reflecting all core discipline studies. Using New Technologies Access to a wide variety of new technologies in the agency’s 2 magnet high schools and in 3 regional high school math classrooms has increased. As a result, 20 educators will improve their ability to differentiate instruction in Algebra I, and 300 students will be in a position to improve their learning outcomes and be better prepared for continued success in the study of mathematics; participating teachers will explore an approach to curriculum review that will lead to greater use of real-world mathematical thinking and problemsolving within the classroom, which research indicates leads to better learning outcomes. g
Effective Technology and WebBased Instructional Strategies Saw a 10% expansion in the delivery of professional development and embedded support to schools focusing on improving the proficiency of teachers in the application of effective technology and Web-based instructional strategies that engage students in 21st Century learning; provided training and access to Webinars and other Web 2.0 tools. g
Common Formative Assessment As educators strive to close the achievement gap, their need for access to assessments for student learning has increased. We have responded by providing professional development and technical assistance to 7 schools in developing and implementing common formative assessments that provide teachers with critical information about student learning; we have also developed 2 new formative reading assessments for grades 3-8, utilized by 8 districts. g
Goal 3: Accomplishments & Highlights Star Reading Initiative Forty-two (42) struggling adult readers participated in the STAR (Student Achievement in Reading) program, a federal model project focused on evidence-based practices in the adult education classroom with the goal of advancing participants’ reading ability to a 9th-grade-or-better skill level; 100% of participants have met the benchmark score of 4 points or better on the Connecticut Adult Education CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems) Exam with 5 testing out into either the agency’s GED Preparation Program or the Adult Credit High School Diploma Program. g
“One of my favorite EASTCONN tips this year came from Jim Huggins in December, when we were talking about the CCSS. Jim suggested I purchase and read the newest book out by Larry Ainsworth, “Rigorous Curriculum Design,” as that would lay the foundation for CT’s work with the new standards. When I tried to order the book on Amazon, only to discover it wasn’t available until April, Jim immediately e-mailed back the publisher link so I could obtain the book. That helpful tip has allowed our district to have several conversations and planning meetings regarding our work with the CCSS that would never have happened at this point.” — Vonda Tencza, Director of Curriculum and Technology, Hebron Public Schools
Fifteen (15) Connecticut school districts participated in a McREL workshop, challenging them to improve student outcomes. Afterward, the presenter, McREL President and CEO Dr. Timothy Waters, left, joined EASTCONN Executive Director Paula M. Colen and EASTCONN’s Director of Teaching and Learning. “This [Tim Waters] workshop raised fundamental questions, like how do we get the conversation on a broader level to more people in northeastern Connecticut, because we’re at a crisis point.” — Richard Murray, Board of Education, Killingly Public Schools
Collaborations & Partnerships with Other Organizations Mental Health and Behavioral Supports Collaboration with the University of Connecticut Psychological Services Clinic in the provision of classroom consultation and mental health support for children and families in Birth-toThree, Early Head Start and Head Start programs has eliminated referrals to public schools to address behavioral and social-emotional competence. Consultation services are provided for the Early Head Start program through center-based and home-based services (over 65 children) and to preschool classes in Plainfield and Putnam, serving 63 children and a home-based case load of 20 children. g
Research-Based School Improvement Partnership Partnered with McREL, the Denverbased Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory, to expand our capacity to provide district and school leaders with high-quality professional development in the implementation of successful, research-based practices that provide key leverage points, effecting school improvement; 45 educators and boards of education members attended a session this spring with Tim Waters, McREL President and CEO, to g
identify areas where their efforts and investments of time and resources will most likely result in high returns for student success. Bringing Visiting Artists to Schools Continued to partner with the WindhamARTS Collaborative to promote access to the professional artist network for all the region’s school districts; students benefit from increased learning resources in the arts, which research indicates can increase learning outcomes. As a result of grant funding, students have learned from many different well-established, professional artists; for example, students explored contemporary issues like bullying, bigotry, and biases with the Looking In Theatre group. g
Related Services Internships Physical therapy internship opportunities are provided for students attending the University of Connecticut. Interns spend 1012 weeks alongside our physical therapists, delivering services and planning in-service presentations, while completing their internship requirements. In the future, we will have the capacity to provide occupational therapy and speechlanguage pathology internships. These internships are an important recruiting tool for attracting potential related-services providers who are in high demand and short supply across the region. g
Assistive Technology Award: Connecticut Tech Act Project • The assistive technology team received an award totaling $30,000 from the Connecticut Tech Act Project (CTTAP), administered through the Department of Social Services. This award funds the creation of an Assistive Technology Consortium, that includes CTTAP, CREC and EASTCONN. The Consortium’s goal is to bring a package of training and services to school districts and support the g
Goal 3: Accomplishments & Highlights use of assistive technologies in these districts through the establishment of a lending library for Consortium member districts.
“The grantee [EASTCONN] collaborated effectively in a unique partnership with multiple community agencies and local public school systems to provide high-quality, thorough services to pregnant women, children and families.” — Office of Head Start, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
• In 2010-2011, training and services were delivered to 10 districts and 2 programs in our region, 3 districts in the LEARN region, and 1 CREC district. Additionally, the creation of the lending library has allowed member districts to access over $15,000 in assistive technology devices. Districts are able to borrow devices purchased through the award to try potential assistive technology solutions with students in their natural learning environment prior to purchase. This allows districts to make informed decisions about the best choice of assistive technology to meet student needs. YouthBuild Collaboration Thirty-nine (39) ACCESS Agency clients at the Rise Program received educational services, integrating GED preparation and construction skills training, designed to prepare students to obtain work in the construction trades and/or to enter post-secondary education and training programs. This national model program is targeted for socially and economically disadvantaged young adults, 16-24 years of age. Of the 20 students who have so far qualified for the official GED test, 19 (95%) have passed one or more subsections, and 100% also earned their Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification. g
Participants in Adult Education’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program focus on math and science disciplines, with the ultimate goal of preparing for future employment in those burgeoning 21stcentury fields.
STEM Collaboration Forty-seven (47) individuals, including 15 high school graduates, enrolled in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) exploration and developmental algebra courses through our pilot adult STEM program, funded collaboratively by the Connecticut Women’s Educational and Legal Fund (CWEALF) and Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB). Designed to stimulate adult learner interest in and qualification for the growing STEM-related job sector, this g
program helps participants “test out” of developmental level courses at community colleges, saving them time and money in the completion of their education. Adult Education’s STEM pilot project has become the model for pending state legislation to fund similar initiatives at other adult education programs across the state.
Out-of School-Youth students work with Young Adults on a SmartBoard during class. Service Learning for Adult Education Students Teamed with Eastern Connecticut Area Health Education centers and AmeriCorps to offer Youth Health Service Corps (YHSC) opportunities to Adult Credit High School Diploma students at EASTCONN’s Community Learning Center in Willimantic. This program provides mentoring and support services along with health-related service learning projects that help students build leadership, communication and problem-solving skills, acquire reallife and work experience, and help neighbors in need, while working on local health issues. All 8 enrollees in EASTCONN Adult Education have completed one or more communitybased projects, which along with successful completion of related coursework will qualify them to earn credit toward the EASTCONN Adult Credit High School diploma and the nationally recognized Youth Health Service Corps Community Service certificate. g
Collective Agency Goal Challenges from 2010-2011
Accountability for Student Achievement
Funding Last year, we described the challenges resulting from rising accountability and diminishing resources; those same challenges continue, exacerbated by new mandates and the collective, systemic impact of sustained underfunding. Costs for existing operations are rising, from personnel costs to energy costs, while local budgets remain at level funding and fewer state, federal and private dollars are available to help supplement expenses. Districts are struggling to respond and are looking to EASTCONN for new approaches to low- or no-cost support. EASTCONN, however, faces the same rising costs and diminishing grant opportunities. In response, internally, we continue to increase efficiencies, share costs across agency programs, and take full advantage of the creative and resourceful ideas of our staff at all levels of the organization. Externally, we are making a sustained effort to explore all opportunities for regional, collaborative efficiencies. g
Staffing Finding and retaining highquality staff at a salary level that allows us to provide services at a reasonable, affordable cost to our g
member districts is a challenge across the agency. In some cases, we are responding to district requests for staff expertise in critical shortage areas, and qualified staff is difficult to find at any cost. In other cases, we are competing with private-sector employers who are able to offer more attractive compensation packages. In still other areas, non-professional staff require additional and time-consuming, statemandated training and certifications before they can be hired, and we lose them to other employers during the extended pre-employment period.
Discussions about a proposed regional Health Insurance Collaborative for northeastern Connecticut school districts and municipalities attracted 40+ participants, who met during a midwinter meeting, hosted by EASTCONN.
Regional Initiatives The opportunity for savings through regional efficiencies continues to offer great promise; however, it is not without its challenges. Central to the discussion is the need to balance what is best directed and managed locally, against what might be more effectively managed collectively across several districts or the region. Different districts
have some similar needs and some very different needs that must be accommodated in any collaborative, problem-solving process. We continue to facilitate regional and sub-regional dialogues around a number of costsaving initiatives in hopes of finding solutions, particularly those that will save money that can then be used to support direct services to children. Accountability for Student Achievement As the mandates for teacher evaluation and administrative accountability begin to roll out, so do the challenges. Central to the implementation is determining how best to respond to the need for improving instruction and raising student achievement in a reliable and responsible way. It will necessitate a holistic approach to assessment, data systems capable of tracking individual student learning gains, professional development and support for those charged with implementation, and stakeholder engagement within schools and across local communities. g
â€œCommunities want control of their individual schools, and regionalism can provide opportunities for both savings and control.â€? â€” Robert Siminski, Superintendent, Regional District #8
Collective Agency Goal Plans & Implications for 2011-2012
Biennial State Budget
Regional Cost Savings
Professional Development Center
Regional Food Services
Early Childhood and High School Initiatives and Mandates
Biennial State Budget The new 2011-2013 Biennial State Budget will necessitate even more cost-consciousness and creativity in the design and delivery of programs and services. With the projection of level funding of the state’s Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grants and local budgets being funded at 0-1% increases, resources to support public education will be even more strained at the local level. We will continue to work in partnership with our member districts to find affordable, high-quality solutions to the challenges they will face. g
Regional Cost Savings In collaboration with member districts, we will continue to focus on finding regional cost-efficiencies that will produce savings that can be redirected to support student instruction. Among the continuing priority regional initiatives for 20112012 are: regional health insurance; a regional common calendar; regional transportation solutions; and regional cooperative purchasing. g
Conference Center The fall 2011 opening of the new conference center in Hampton will g
provide savings to the agency and enhanced conference and professional development resources to the region. This new adult learning space has been designed to accommodate more people in more flexible and diverse ways. In addition, it will allow for the co-location of Teaching, Learning and Technology staff with the central administrative staff, which is expected to enhance collaboration, cooperation and efficiencies. Information Technology (IT) The agency will continue to expand its ability to support districts as they acquire, install and maintain increasingly complex information technology systems and equipment. Small districts frequently rely on staff who provide a basic level of IT support but may lack the training and specialized knowledge to install, repair and maintain more complex equipment. Private IT providers can be expensive and frequently require an up-front time commitment that is often more than districts need. We are building an IT team that can provide a range of “payas-you-go” services, from lower-cost “break and fix” to higher-cost network troubleshooting, so that districts are accessing only what they need, when they need it. g
Regional Food Services As a result of an internal evaluation of the food services needs of EASTCONN schools and programs, we discovered that some member districts struggle to effectively manage their federally funded Free and Reduced Lunch Program. As a result, they have experienced financial losses, including g
wasted food, shrinkage, ineffective tracking and incomplete reporting. We provided a staffing referral for 1 district, resulting in savings and improved accountability, and plan to continue contributing to the development and implementation of regional food services solutions. Early Childhood and High School Initiatives and Mandates Districts are facing new challenges at both ends of the preK-12 education continuum with the implementation of both early childhood and high school initiatives next year. At the early childhood end of the spectrum, we will help districts include preschool in the vertical alignment of K-3 curriculum, assessment and instruction. And, given the growing number of young, dual-language-learners in our region, we will work with teachers to expand instructional strategies to better support these students. g
The July 2011 implementation of the extended legal age for withdrawal from high school presents a number of implications. Support will be provided to districts as they develop alternative approaches to educating increasingly disengaged youth in local programs; access to regional magnet schools and other choices will also be expanded. Additionally, collaboration will continue with the post-secondary institutions and the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board in the design of effective transition choices for young adults.
EASTCONN will provide equal employment opportunities to all persons without discrimination with respect to race, color, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, genetic information, or physical or mental disability. Further, it is the policy of EASTCONN that no person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or otherwise be discriminated against under any program because of race, color, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, genetic information, or physical or mental disability. EASTCONN will not knowingly use the services of, nor otherwise deal with, any business, contractor, subcontractor, or agency that engages in unlawful discrimination.
Adult & Community Services Pomfret, Putnam, Scotland, Stafford, Sterling, Thompson, Union, Windham, and Woodstock.
Overview Adult Services comprises four main divisions: Adult Education, Community Education, Employment and Training and Parent/Family Programs. Adults attend the intensive and popular English-as-a-SecondLanguage (ESL) class at EASTCONN’s Community Learning Center in downtown Willimantic “The EASTCONN Adult Services Program provides a comprehensive, innovative array of educational opportunities, including a Summer Youth Program, for youth through adult. The Program, whereby participants work together in a happy, safe environment, enhances current abilities and compliments the community’s needs to prepare for the work world. Lebanon students and adults have benefitted from its numerous locations, class schedules, and its Virtual High School Credit Diploma Program.” –Janet Tyler Superintendent, Lebanon
1. Adult Education provides regional adult education services to a consortium of districts that include 21 northeastern Connecticut towns. Adult Education services are free to the residents of participating towns and include the high school completion programs, GED, Credit Diploma, and the National External Diploma; English-as-a-SecondLanguage (ESL) instruction; American citizenship preparation; life and basic skills instruction; college transition support; out-ofschool-youth services; and workplace literacy. Participating towns: Andover, Brooklyn, Canterbury, Chaplin, Columbia, Eastford, Hampton, Hebron, Killingly, Lebanon, Marlborough, Plainfield,
Goals 1. Adult Services will expand options and participation rates in high school credentialing. 2. Adult Services will expand workplace skills across the region to benefit incumbent workers, employers and the future workforce of Connecticut.
All set to graduate! Adults across a broad range of ages and backgrounds prepare to receive their high school diplomas. This year’s graduates will number 226, a 15% increase over 2010.
3. Adult Services will expand the enrichment opportunities in and improve access to its Community Education program, so that it can provide customers with an improved quality of life. 4. Adult Services will expand the quality and quantity of partnerships with member districts and all critical stakeholders.
2. Community Education provides personal enrichment classes, as well as workshops, online learning and career-advancement skills training. These offerings provide low-cost, lifelong-learning opportunities for residents of all ages in our northeastern Connecticut communities. 3. Employment and Training provides job transition support, skills training, and customized workplace literacy instruction. In addition, this component oversees the Outof-School-Youth employment program. 4. Parent/Family Programs works in collaboration with the agency’s Early Childhood Initiatives staff to offer both parenting skills instruction and parent-child literacy support.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments High School Credentialing Options • Had a 15% increase in high school completion programs and a 30% increase in student attendance hours, due to successful implementation of new program options and student retention initiatives, including the addition of new guidance counselors; also, new partnerships provided resources and access to underserved populations. g
• Two hundred and twenty-six (226) high school diplomas were awarded at graduation on June 8, 2011, a 15% increase over 2010.
Adult & Community Services “Quinebaug Valley Community College has had the privilege of working with EASTCONN Adult Services for many years. This partnership has continued to strengthen over the nearly seven years that I have been a part of the college staff. As a staff member at QVCC, I continue to be impressed with the quality, caliber, and commitment of the EASTCONN Adult Services staff and look forward to a long and beneficial relationship!” – Pamela B. Brown, Director of Transition Services, Quinebaug Valley Community College
Connecticut Department of Corrections Collaboration • Providing, in partnership with the Department of Corrections, on-site transition support services and GED practice testing to 33 incarcerated inmates at their Brooklyn Bridge program; transition services include resume writing and job applications. • Seven (7) inmates have successfully completed GED practice tests, and all have worked on resumes and interview skills. • Four (4) inmates studying English-asa-Second-Language are concentrating on speaking skills as they prepare for interviews upon their release from Brooklyn Bridge to a halfway house. After-School Credit Recovery Program Partnered with Windham High School to provide a new after-school creditrecovery program for 37 eligible students, who are at risk of not graduating. This allows students with limited resources to recover credits at no cost to themselves, their families or their schools. g
One among dozens of Prides Corner Farms employees in Lebanon happily holds his English-as-a-SecondLanguage certificate of completion, awarded by Adult Education staff.
Working and learning together, Adult Education students sharpen more than their English language skills.
to produce a 15% increase in enrollments by the end of the year.
Remediation Services for High School Graduates • Ground-breaking supplemental funding from the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board and Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund allowed admittance of auditing high school graduates, in need of remediation or review, into our new STEM initiative’s Credit Diploma Program courses in “Foundations of Algebra,” “Design Squad” and “Adult Learner’s Guide to College Success” as they prepare to apply to post-secondary college or training programs. Such individuals are usually ineligible for free Adult Education basic services as a result of traditional funding restrictions. g
• To date, 15 individuals with high school diplomas have taken advantage of this opportunity, which when added to participation in new outreach programs, is expected
EASTCONN Adult Services Passport As a combined student-retention and employer-relations initiative, staff visited local businesses across the region to solicit discounts for Adult Services students. An “EASTCONN Passport” of local discounts was created, encouraging students to patronize local businesses throughout the year. Fifty-two (52) businesses participated, including tanning studios, restaurants, a hardware store, bookstore and clothing stores. g
YouthBuild Entered into a new partnership with Access, the Community Action Agency, to provide all of the academic components of their YouthBuild Program; served 43 students over 2 semesters, integrating GED preparation with constructionskills training. g
Online Job-Training Course Expansion Added 15 new Workforce Investment Act-approved Ed2Go online courses for incumbent workers to assist them in gaining or improving their job-related skills, improve their chances for a promotion or obtaining a higher-paying job, and boost their companies’ productivity. g
Workshops for Unemployed/ Underemployed Workers • Five (5) new workshops were added to offerings at CTWorks East to benefit unemployed and underemployed workers, including: “Surviving Tough Times;” “Adult Learners Guide to College Success;” “Foundations of Algebra;” “Reading and Writing Foundations;” and a math tutoring program for adults who did not pass the entry exam for Three Rivers Community College ComputerAided Drafting and Dental Assisting programs. g
Adult & Community Services What our Community Education Students Are Saying: “My son took 2 wonderful art courses…He’s looking forward to taking more courses in even more subject areas in the next session.” – Bonnie Glow
• Experienced a 90 % increase in attendance at all CTWorks East workshops, with numbers growing from 247 last year to a projected 470 this year. In particular, the new “Surviving Tough Times” series served 74 people in its first 2 months. Continued Community Education Growth • Doubled enrollment in Community Education programs, from 1,000 to more than 2,000 registrations this year. g
“It [Bohemian Bag Making] was wonderful. I learned better sewing techniques and how to be more accurate.” – Joan Adams “It [Beginner Sewing Course] was a great way to build my confidence in basic sewing and taught me some simple techniques to make my projects look more polished.” – Katie Quackenbush “Lori’s experience in yoga is evident in her ease of guiding each person at their own level in a way that everyone benefits…Thank you for offering such a great class.” – Sandra Lozeau
• Expanded access to Community Education programs by increasing from 9 to 16 sites, including local workplaces; for example, provided on-site Zumba classes for employees of St. Joseph’s Living Center.
A Summer Youth Program group, devoted to sprucing up Connecticut’s beach parks, grabbed a moment in a cool, shaded pavilion during their final summer project along the shoreline.
“I took the Zumba class…great class & great teacher.” – Paula Gauvin
“One of the best classes [Zumba] I have ever taken!” – Deana Gleason “Linda kept the [Zumba] class running and upbeat while keeping in mind our needs by pacing the intensity as needed…I would definitely sign up for another session.” – Jessica Zdanys
• Adult Education teacher Shelly Ratelle and 2 STEM students were selected by CAACE to present an interactive workshop, “Design Squad Expo,” at the annual CAACE Conference in March 2011, attended by adult education educators statewide.
• More than 300 adults and their families participated in bus trips, including trips to New York City; “Haunted Happenings” in Salem, Mass.; Red Sox baseball games; and a Blue Man Group performance in Providence.
“I love your programs…‘Just Once Guitar’ was the motivation I needed…This course is perfect to jump start any level of interest.” – JoAnne Lussier
“My Zumba experience was delightful!...I’d recommend this class to anyone who can’t seem to find the right exercise class.” – Francine Piela
Staff Recognition • Rich Tariff, Director of Adult Services, received the 2011 Connecticut Association of Adult and Continuing Education (CAACE) Adult Leadership Award in recognition of his years of advocacy and leadership in adult education at the local, regional and state level. g
JFES Subsidized Employment Program Grows More than 30 northeastern Connecticut residents took advantage of the Jobs First Employment Services (JFES) Subsidized Employment Program. JFES is funded by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board and offers an opportunity for qualified, unemployed participants to sharpen work skills and obtain valuable work references. For example, one success story involves JFES participant Jeremy Malcein, who was hired as a full-time seasonal employee by the Connecticut Department of Protection. g
A Community Education gardening class is ready to go, after they’ve acquired a deeper understanding of horticultural facts and options. Program Improvement Grants Maintained all supplemental initiatives, despite funding reductions, including English-as-a-Second-Language Civics, National External Diploma Program, College Transition Skills, Workplace Education, Family Literacy, 21stCentury Skills and non-traditional learner initiatives. g
Adult & Community Services
2010-2011 Challenges Legal Age for Withdrawal from High School Effective July 1, 2011, the age that a student may withdraw from high school was raised to 17. For many students, an alternative high school credentialing option, such as those offered through our regional Adult Education programs, may be a better fit than a traditional high school diploma, due to the many different life circumstances they face. Access to these programs will now be delayed, raising concerns about students’ ability to remain engaged and committed to the attainment of a high school diploma in traditional high school settings. g
An Out-of-School-Youth student brushes up on his computer skills.
Funding for Basic Adult Education Services Continuation of the cap on state funding for Adult Education continues to limit our ability to serve individuals who are seeking a high school credential, citizenship and the ability to communicate in English. g
“The [Adult Education] programs we participate in have provided additional opportunities for residents and [out-of-school] students that we really couldn’t provide on our own... Region 8’s high school completion program at RHAM is especially near and dear to my heart, because it gives the non-traditional student in our region an opportunity to get his diploma, which opens up a myriad of opportunities.” — Robert Siminski, Superintendent, Regional District #8
Adult Education Director Rich Tariff was honored with the 2011 Connecticut Association of Adult and Continuing Education (CAACE) Adult Leadership award for his years of advocacy in the field.
Shortage of Connecticut-Certified Adult Educators With a growing population of Adult Education students, there is increasing demand for a limited supply of certified adult educators; this includes credit high school and English-as-aSecond-Language teachers, as well as bilingual guidance staff. Without access to additional, qualified staff, g
our ability to expand programs and services in response to the growing need for Adult Education services in northeastern Connecticut is compromised.
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012 Legal Age for Withdrawal from High School The change in the legal age for high school withdrawal will necessitate a review and potential modification of the way services for 17-year-old drop-outs are designed, implemented and budgeted for; it is critical that the agency ensure an appropriate response to the needs of young people, who have experienced additional years of school failure before having access to alternative high school credentialing programs. In addition, other supports are available for the region’s districts to help them develop alternative approaches to keeping disenfranchised youth both attending and engaged in school. g
Shortage of ConnecticutCertified Adult Educators Under development now are “growour-own” strategies, including offering workshops that encourage qualified individuals to pursue Connecticut certification(s) in Adult Education. g
A special computer-skills class, offered by EASTCONN staff, teaches Adult Education staff how to manage unfamiliar new tools on the Internet.
“Cooperative purchasing has provided Regional School District #8 an opportunity to purchase supplies and materials at prices comparable to the largest districts in the state. Additionally, cooperative purchasing provides vendors an opportunity to combine/consolidate deliveries, thus further reducing shipping/ transportation costs. Because of careful analysis of the bids and samples provided with the bids, quality is not compromised in any way.” — Robert Siminski, Superintendent, Regional District #8
Overview This regional, cooperative purchasing initiative provides a cost-effective option to school districts and towns for the procurement of various commodities, services and online support systems, including custodial supplies, office supplies, heating oil, electricity procurement, cafeteria supplies, toner and printer management services, online cafeteria payment systems and substitute management systems. Expansion of the products, vendors and members has been a major initiative in 2010-2011 and is beginning to produce results.
Goal 1. To obtain the highest quality products and services at the most competitive prices by utilizing the purchasing power of the membership.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments
Cooperative Purchasing Volume More than $15 million was invested by Cooperative Purchasing members in a variety of products and services, resulting in savings of 10-20%, depending on the specific products that were purchased; in total, members from across the region saved between $1.5 million and $3 million. g
That’s a big “Hello!” from one of 13 different area businesses whose representatives participated in “Sandwiches and Savings,” where more than 40 visitors learned about cost-savings opportunities. “I applaud the efforts of EASTCONN in building a consortium to assist districts in purchasing items and services. This collaboration will lessen our costs, thus we will realize much needed savings. Thank you for finding ways to work together.” — Janet Tyler, Lebanon
Desktop Printer Management Services Began offering desktop printer management services that will save participating districts, including EASTCONN, thousands of dollars in toner and printer expenses. g
Sandwiches & Savings Forty-two (42) participants, representing member districts and communities, participated in a first-ever Cooperative g
Purchasing event called “Sandwiches & Savings.” Participants interacted with 13 vendors, who are being considered for future cost-saving opportunities. Savings for Office & Instructional Supplies Conducted an extensive search and negotiated a comprehensive package of savings for office and instructional supplies from W.B. Mason, a respected national vendor. g
Green Cleaning Mandates Connecticut requires that every board of education implement a green cleaning program. We provide free assessments to members, helping ensure they are in compliance with state mandates. g
Statewide Food Bids Seventy-four (74) school districts’ food service departments statewide take advantage of our cooperative purchasing food bids, saving thousands each year; 26 of the 74 food-bid participants are EASTCONN-region school districts. g
2010-2011 Challenges Reverse Auctioning Reverse auctioning has the potential to provide significant savings in the purchase of many commodities. However, start-up costs are prohibitively expensive. g
& Implications for 2011-2012 Reverse Auctioning Currently identifying and negotiating a strategic partnership as a way of reducing start-up costs for engaging in reverse auctioning. g
Increasing Regional Buying Power Must continue expanding the use of cooperative purchasing initiatives to enhance ability to negotiate greater savings in future bids and contracts. g
Early Childhood Initiatives “Thanks for your good support for the professional development session…both the good management of details and the on-going good work you do with the teachers. The ongoing good work created a wonderful environment and a rich context for having a productive day with me. Their engagement and thoughtfulness were impressive—a real community of learners with great instructional leadership and support. How I wish that were the case across the country!” — Judith A. Schickedanz, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Boston University
Overview Early Childhood Initiatives offers a wide array of consultation, professional development and direct services to the region’s school districts and communities. Through these initiatives, professional development is provided to early care and education programs and public schools in our region, including support for strategic planning, accreditation and leadership training. Parent education is also provided. As the grantee for Head Start and Early Head Start, we serve 560 children and their families. The agency is also the grantee for a regional, Connecticut Birth-to-Three program that serves 185 families from across northeastern Connecticut.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments
Raptly attentive Early Head Start children practice critical listening skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. Parenting Education Provided 62 workshops to more than 700 families in the region, supporting parents, grandparents and foster parents to increase their knowledge of child growth and development, behavior management, trauma and to improve parenting skills. g
1. To provide parent education consistent with best practices in the region. Dr. Judith A. Schickedanz, Professor Emerita, Boston University, presents “Story Reading in the Preschool and Kindergarten: What? Why? How?” to early childhood staff. “I have found the early childhood team at EASTCONN very helpful as BES [Brooklyn Elementary School] has worked on our NAEYC accreditation. As someone new to the accreditation process, your assistance has helped me climb the steep learning curve. Thank you.” — Thomas M. Caruso, Principal, Brooklyn Elementary School
2. To provide training and consultation, including the use of other technologies, to early childhood programs, in the alignment of curricula to standards, assessment and best practices in instruction. 3. To partner with School Readiness Councils and public school administrators to develop and implement policies and best practices, for children, birth to eight. 4. To establish and promote EASTCONN early childhood programs as models and as a resource to other programs, districts and other institutions.
“I know what this is!” An Early Head Start toddler gets involved with a Big Book story. Literacy Training Offered evidence-based training on best practices in early language and literacy, delivered by nationally renowned expert, Dr. Judith A. Schickedanz, to 30 preschool and kindergarten teachers, who reported g
Early Childhood Initiatives “It has been wonderful having Debbie Stipe available to our school district for professional support in the Kindergarten and 1/2 classes this year. Her extensive Early Literacy background has enabled us to enhance our program with immediately observable results. She has energized an already wonderful staff member and helped her to develop a developmentally appropriate writing program in the 1/2 class that stretches student abilities. Debbie taught lessons, modeled, and then guided my staff member through practice in Writer’s Workshop. The children are also excited when Mrs. Stipe joins them for Writer’s Workshop days, because they know they will learn how to do something new and great. They proudly share their stories with peers and staff, and our 3/4 classroom teacher is already looking forward to these students enhanced abilities, due in great part to Mrs. Stipe’s guidance and support.” — Donna Mingrone, Principal & Director of Special Education, Union School
an increase in their knowledge and skills for promoting oral language through the use of literature in the classroom. Web-based Professional Development Provided 6 Webinars to preschool, kindergarten and primary grade teachers and administrators on a range of topics, including National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation, results-based accountability and using assessment to inform instruction. Provision of online professional development recognizes the need for alternative strategies due to budget and time constraints. g
NAEYC Accreditation Support Eighteen (18) community- and schoolbased programs seeking National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation received training and on-site consultations. Consistently, 100% of programs that have participated in EASTCONN’s NAEYC-related professional development support have attained accreditation on the initial site visit. NAEYC accreditation is nationally recognized as a primary indicator of program quality and requires a comprehensive self-study process. g
Web-based Connecticut Preschool Assessment Framework Provided Web-based application of the EASTCONN-developed Connecticut Preschool Assessment to 310 preschool classrooms in 45 communities across Connecticut. This represents an overall increase of 50% from the previous year. Access to this data management application through ctpaf.org has proven to be a cost-effective way for early care and education programs to monitor and report individual children’s progress, as well as to target classroom instruction and to plan strategies that support individual children, in order to increase learning outcomes related to state standards. g
Head Start pals explore building blocks. “The Killingly High School students…volunteer about 10 hours in the Head Start classrooms in Dayville. These students are interested in the education and human services fields as college pathways…This helps them to gain the experience and confidence they need to enter such a profession in the future. It really is a mutually beneficial community partnership between the Killingly High program and EASTCONN Head Start.” — Martha Goldstein-Schultz, Killingly High School teacher
Staff Presentations Staff will join Connecticut State Department of Education colleagues at the NAEYC National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development in Providence in June, to present “Connecticut’s model for intentional teaching: Using authentic assessment information to guide decision-making related to learning experiences and focused supports.” g
Head Start staff consider new information during a professional development workshop. Regional Professional Development Committee Facilitated a regional professional development committee composed of individuals representing Family Resource Centers, school readiness programs, and community-based preschool programs, including Head Start, located in 3 different communities, to explore how to most effectively and collaboratively use limited resources for professional development. Child assessment results were used to assist in determining priorities for training. g
A Birth-to-Three teacher shows her young charge how to thread a block.
Early Childhood Initiatives “In a small district such as Eastford, we are very grateful for the timely and specific information provided to our preschool and special education staff by the Birth-to-Three program. It is always advantageous to meet with the providers of Birth-to-Three programs when planning our budget and programs for students who will soon turn three. The providers not only share information about the programs that students will need as they enroll in the district, but also share insights about the children whom they have often known since birth. …We have been fortunate to be able to plan overlapping services for some of our students as they transition from Birth-to-Three to the district. …We have found that when we work closely with Birth-toThree program staff, our students experience smooth and well-planned transitions to our preschool.” — Linda Loretz, Principal/ Superintendent, Eastford
The Head Start Policy Council recently recognized members for their years of excellence and service to the program. Direct Services to Children and Families • Provided Early Head Start services to 168 children and their families, and Head Start services to 392 children and their families from 11 northeastern Connecticut communities: comprehensive services included education, health, mental health, dental and nutrition services, as well as family support and engagement opportunities. g
• Provided services to 185 infants and toddlers, and their families, an increase of 62% from last year, through the Birth-to-Three program; offered individualized support to children that have been identified as having a disability or a development delay, and comprehensive transition support in coordination and collaboration with receiving school administrators.
2010-2011 Challenges Demand for Services • Demand for Early Head Start infant-toddler programs exceeds our capacity.
childhood programs and school districts, to support professional development.
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012 Pursue Additional Resources • Continue to provide high-quality, comprehensive services to children, birth to 5, and their families, while seeking additional grants and funding opportunities. g
• Pursue funding for the implementation of evidence-based programs that address executive functioning, numeracy and literacy in preschool, kindergarten and the primary grades. Research-Based Practices Provide leadership in the alignment of standards, curriculum and instruction from preschool to grade 3, and the implementation of evidence-based practices. g
This happy youngster is among the 185 infants, toddlers and families who received comprehensive education, health, and nutrition, as well as family support services, from the Birth-toThree program this year, an increase of 62% over 2010.
• Limited capacity to respond to all requests for training and on-site consultation. Limited Professional Development Resources Limited resources, both in early g
Support Early Childhood SRBI Provide collaborative opportunities for early care and education programs in public schools to implement Early Childhood Scientific Research-Based Interventions (SRBI). g
English Language Learners Build capacity in English-languagelearning and dual-language-learning strategies. g
2010-2011 A Winter to Remember
The primary responsibility of the Facilities and Information Technology (IT) Department is to maintain and support more than 162,000 square feet of agency-owned-and-operated facilities, including all exterior landscaping and maintenance. Facilities and IT support is also provided on a fee-for-service basis to member districts, their municipalities, community-based organizations and others as requested. Facilities helps internal staff and external member districts provide safe and healthy learning and working environments through services that include: asbestos inspection and management; hazardous materials management; training and consulting; radon testing; IT support; facilities/ maintenance audits; and facilities management and staffing consultation.
Goals 1. To continue to provide high-quality asbestos consulting services by a licensed asbestos inspector/ management planner to member districts, ensuring their compliance with federal and state Asbestos Hazards Emergency Response Act (AHERA) regulations. 2. To continue to build upon newly developed radon testing services for member districts and day cares, ensuring compliance with State of Connecticut Indoor Air Quality regulations. Facilities staff worked overtime to ensure that all the agency’s school roofs remained sound, as their capacity was sorely tested following record-breaking snowfalls in 2010-2011. Shown above: Staff used snow-blowers and shovels on the roof at ACT in Willimantic
supports enhanced educational applications along with Internetbased learning programs, which improve and increase student learning outcomes costeffectively.
3. To continue to provide quality services in a cost-effective manner, while competing against the private, for-profit sector in a challenging economy. 4. To continue to provide an IT network and infrastructure that
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments A Snowy Winter Plowed and shoveled 85.5 inches of snow from agency facilities during the winter of 2010-2011, more than 25 inches above the average expected snowfall in Connecticut; removal was followed by the spreading of more than 2,500 pounds of ice-melting product; more than 186,000 cubic feet of snow was removed from rooftops alone over a 10-day period in February to prevent roof collapse. g
Asbestos Reassessment and Consulting Services • Provided “Six-Month Asbestos Reassessment Designated Person Services” to 6 member school districts that lack trained persons on staff, helping them to meet federal and state requirements. As one of a diminishing number of properly trained providers that is willing to provide the locally designated person for asbestosrelated responsibilities in a school district (at a cost generally below other private sector providers), our asbestos services provide a critical function, particularly for smaller districts that often lack the specialized expertise to perform this mandated function themselves. g
• Provided asbestos emergency consulting service to 1 member school district that was facing a boiler abatement and replacement
Facilities/IT Services “I am extremely pleased with the service EASTCONN has provided for us! The [IT] staff is very friendly, very helpful and VERY knowledgeable. Whenever I have a question or need help, I get a quick response from the staff. I can’t thank them enough for their guidance and assistance.” — Gail Smith, Secretary, Preston Veterans’ Memorial School
issue shortly before the opening of school. Radon Testing • Listed with the State Department of Health as a certified and authorized provider of school radon testing because Facilities has an on-staff, nationally certified radon technician. Radon testing services provide assurances to member districts, which can obtain cost-effective assessments from our highly qualified technicians, who are also familiar with school facilities, thereby ensuring that schools are in compliance with Connecticut Department of Health regulations for radon testing. g
• Eight (8) member districts have contracted with us since the 2008 mandate was implemented; 2 originally contracted with private, forprofit providers to perform the initial testing, but have since contracted with Facilities for re-testing.
Facilities Director Michael Akana is one of a diminishing number of state-licensed asbestos inspectors willing to assume responsibility as the designated six-month reassessment person. Here, he checks for the hazardous materials. “EASTCONN Technical Services provided invaluable support to Hampton Elementary School this year. The team ... untangled our messy network, updated imaging, and fixed problems too numerous to mention ... and ... also developed a Web site for the school that was inexpensive and easy for school staff to implement and update. Hampton Elementary School is proud of our new Web site, thanks to the professional, competent technology from EASTCONN. — Marsha Willhoit, Superintendent/ Principal, Hampton Public Schools
participants each can send; this regional solution addresses the regional need for high-quality, low-cost, facilities-related training that is accessible, both in terms of location and number of participants.
• All in-house agency radon testing, which was previously contracted out at an annual cost of $5,000, is now performed by in-house, certified radon experts. Last year, staff provided radon re-testing at 3 agency sites and initial radon testing at 4 sites. Haz-Com Training Provided legally required regional HazCom Training to 8 new custodial and/ or maintenance staff from 3 member districts; this regional training provides a timely, convenient and cost-effective solution to member districts. g
Regional Facilities Director Forum • Continued hosting and facilitating the regional Facilities Directors Forum, with 15 districts actively participating. g
• Focused on regional solutions to common challenges facing districts, both legislatively and economically. Planning is underway for a summer 2011 regional workshop to provide advanced training in indoor airquality, at no cost to member districts and with no limit to the number of
E-Rate Funding Secured 2010-2011 E-Rate funding approval, resulting in a reimbursement in the amount of $198,955 and an equivalent offset in the agency’s administrative expenditures. g
IT Services to Districts and Municipalities • Began offering extended IT services to both member public schools and their municipalities. g
• Added a systems analyst position to the department team in response to growing demand for IT services from member districts, as well as to support the expanding needs of all internal agency programs. • Provided IT services across the agency, as well as to 3 new external customers, including 2 school districts and 1 municipality. IT Audit Services Provided comprehensive IT audits, consisting of a thorough review and analysis of IT systems from staffing to infrastructure, with recommendations for increased efficiency for 6 municipalities and 2 school districts; this new service is being provided in response to growing demand from both school districts and municipalities that are struggling to cost-effectively maintain or improve their IT systems; all are under intense pressure to reduce or maintain local administrative expenditures. g
“Break & Fix” Services • Provided short-term, affordable, “break and fix” services to 4 member school districts and 1 municipality, an increase of 3 new contracts; districts need only to g
Facilities/IT Services contract with us for specific services, rather than the industry practice of fixed-cost service contracts.
Asbestos trainings like this one, are critical to member school districts that need trained persons on staff in order to meet state and federal mandates. “The Facilities Directors’ forum held periodically at EASTCONN provides the opportunity for area leaders to discuss the issues we face and share solutions that have worked. I feel strongly that the collaboration seen at these meetings is reaching far beyond the conference center to foster more sharing of ideas, and could lead to novel ways to share resources in the future. Tomorrow is here!” — Paul Noel, Director of Physical Plant & Facilities, Coventry Public Schools
• As organizations acquire more technology and as technology systems become more sophisticated, there is an increased need to install and maintain those systems. In addition, the ability of districts to provide support can surpass the skill level of district personnel. New Professional Development Center The agency’s new, state-of-the-art conference center in Hampton is slated to be occupied by September 2011, as originally planned. Continuous oversight by the CFO, in collaboration with the agency’s Facilities director, architect and general contractor, is ensuring that the project is completed as designed and within budget. g
Energy Cost Savings • The rising cost of energy, combined with the need to be environmentally responsible, is a double challenge. g
• Fuel costs are projected to double in 2011-2012.
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012 g
Continue to assess demand for lead testing services, a requirement that became mandatory in April 2010; the certification and equipment required would be very costly, and private providers are available to deliver the services at this time. Work to increase the number of districts accessing one or more of our services (like asbestos, radon, network support and consulting) by 10%.
Technology Changes • To remain knowledgeable about new technology advances and their potential impact on services provided to customers. g
• Keeping staff trained in the latest technology, in order to increase technology support services. New Legislative Mandates • Green mandates continue to provide a range of challenges, in terms of product selection and costs, as well as procedures and policies. g
Under construction! As the agency’s new conference center in Hampton is built, the ever-changing “bones” of the well-built structure seem to emerge overnight. Visitors can watch construction day-to-day on real-time Web cams, easily accessible at www.eastconn.org.
• New regulations associated with the “Lead in Schools” mandate, implemented in spring 2010, continue to be a challenge; private labs currently provide this service to schools. Now exploring the feasibility of attaining necessary equipment and training required for staff to provide this service; prohibitive costs would require us to ensure that demand was sufficient to justify the investment
Facilities staff member John Griggs calculates and then sets up an on-site radon test in an area high school. g
Continue to expand IT support services to districts, including network administration and desktop maintenance.
Finance functions. Customer service demands have increased as the agency’s overall business volume has increased, from $42.7 to $45.7 million, necessitating the need for continued diligence in meeting these demands.
OVERVIEW “I work closely with her [Kristine Lynes] to coordinate the use of the funds. Her knowledge of the procedures for grants and expertise has been invaluable. Additionally, she is a pleasure to work with.” – Michelle L. Rosado, Education Consultant, CSDE.
Finance provides a full array of organizational financial services, including payroll, accounts payable, billing/accounts receivable, accounting/ bookkeeping administration, budgets, fiscal grants management, and financial management.
Goals 1. To effectively and efficiently manage financial resources to ensure the agency’s fiscal health. 2. To continue to provide the highest quality services to our member districts in the most effective manner possible.
Grants manager Kristine Lynes confers with agency CFO John Baskowski during a busy day in the Finance Department.
The Finance Department provides budgeting and expenditures support to internal programs, like Adult Education. Above, Tina Hart works on an Adult Education budget report.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments Technology Enhancements • Time and attendance software has been acquired to enhance biweekly timesheet reporting for the hourly staff, resulting in increased efficiency and accuracy; worked to ensure a seamless transition and coordinated implementation between the Human Resources Department and payroll staff. g
• Report-writing products are being evaluated, with a plan to migrate to a more capable and user-friendly product, thereby providing program and administrative managers with enhanced reports that supply the most timely and meaningful data for managing their activities. Financial Systems Assessment • An assessment of the agency’s finance needs was undertaken in order to ensure optimal support is provided to all programs and administrative g
• Payroll, Accounts Payable and Grants Management have all had increased transactional activity as a result of the increased volume. Additionally, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) reporting mandates have continued from last year, requiring staff to meet key reporting deadlines. • The agency’s banking relationship has been reviewed and is evolving with the directive of maintaining optimal financial services in the most cost effective manner. The agency has also secured a $2-million line of credit as a financial safety net. LEA Fiscal Administration Support Provided fiscal support to member districts during times of temporary staff shortages, including the completion of state and federal reports and forms; grant modifications; and construction project management and reporting assistance. g
2010 – 2011 Challenges Increasing Business Volume The increasing business volume, particularly with respect to grants, will challenge us to adapt to these demands beginning with a review of the financial systems and related processes to ensure all business activity is processed efficiently through the finance office. g
Fiscal Reporting Access to user-friendly, standard reports generated by FMS software g
Finance Progress Continues on the Conference Center in Hampton, below.
including new vehicle financing, with the expectation that all banking transactions will be managed as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.
is limited and, instead, requires customized analysis and report preparation; this makes providing justin-time reports difficult.
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012 Process Improvements • Continue to investigate tasks and procedures that can be accomplished more effectively to produce both process and fiscal improvements. g
• Continue to investigate improved reporting features for FMS software, as well as new or improved reportwriting applications and training. • Continue to address the evolution of the agency’s banking needs,
Back-Room Support Given severe administrative budget constraints at the local level, continue to seek ways to provide supplemental or temporary support to LEA members for selected back-room support operations, such as payroll and accounts payable/receivable. g
Hampton Construction Project Oversee the fiscal tasks associated with the Hampton Professional Development Center construction project, including the submittal of all fiscal paperwork for both the Connecticut’s State Department of Education and the agency’s bank. g
Smile! The official ground-breaking ceremony, celebrating the start of construction on EASTCONN’s conference center in Hampton, allowed this group, above, to don hard hats and wield ceremonial shovels on a special November day in 2010. Represented at the ground-breaking ceremony were EASTCONN Executive Board and Building Committee members, agency staff, EASTCONN Executive Director Paula M. Colen (front, third from left), and representatives from both FIP Construction, Inc., the builder, and the architectural firm of Silver/Petrucelli and Associates, which designed the new structure.
Human Resources responded to more than 4,750 employment-related telephone inquiries during 2010-2011.
Overview “The HR department has been a huge asset to the Adult Services division this year assisting in many aspects of our numerous programs. Assistance with our Summer Youth programs, recruitment of teachers and providing assistance for our staff are a few of the ways they provided unconditional support to Adult Services. An exceptional addition to their services this year was the implementation of their mandated employee training. Accommodations were made to assist the Adult Education staff during the evening hours, as well. It is a professional pleasure to be connected with the EASTCONN HR Department.” — Richard Tariff, Director of EASTCONN Adult Services
The Human Resources Department provides services to a constantly changing agency, employing more than 550 people in a wide range of positions. Services include recruitment, newhire support, benefits management, employee relations and related administrative services associated with continuing employment.
Goals 1. To expand and enhance proactively the quality of human resources services and to assist program managers to encourage and support employees in the achievement of the agency’s strategic goals. 2. To support a diverse culture across the agency that fosters a respectful, inclusive, knowledge-based environment where all employees are culturally competent and have the opportunity to learn, grow and contribute to both their own, as well as the agency’s success. 3. To provide effective recruitment and hiring assistance to all program hiring managers and to assist them with staff-retention strategies.
Human Resources Director Steve Wapen shares important information about EASTCONN with new employees during orientation. New employees learn about the agency, its structure, its expectations and “The EASTCONN Way” of providing the highest level of customer service, both internally and externally.
4. To provide assistance to member districts in meeting their human resources management needs.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments Recruitment & Hiring • Received more than 2,500 job applications, conducted more than 500 employment interviews, and g
• The increased use of the agencywide “Applitrack” electronic job application system, adopted last year, continues to be a valuable process-improvement, saving significant time and resources, while shortening intervals between job advertising, interviewing, and filling job vacancies; the system also supports the agency’s green initiatives. Mandated Employee Training • Coordinated the delivery of agencywide mandatory training, ensuring agency compliance with legal mandates associated with annual training of both direct services and supervisory personnel. g
• Organized and delivered mandated employee training to more than 290 employees from 3 of our direct services programs: Student Services, Adult Services and Head Start. Sexual Harassment Prevention Training • Coordinated the delivery of sexual harassment prevention training to all managers and supervisors in fall 2010, meeting state requirements and fostering a positive workplace environment. g
• A refresher course on the prevention of sexual harassment, and other legalities, was delivered to 90 agency bus drivers, aides, and other staff in October 2010, allowing us to meet state requirements and foster a positive workplace environment.
Human Resources Diversity Training Coordinated the delivery of Principles of Diversity training to all direct services staff to promote and enhance cultural competency in the workplace. g
“The mandatory employee training supports staff so they have a better, clearer understanding of EASTCONN’s policies and procedures, and it also supports staff as they have an opportunity to meet and hear from key staff from HR, IT/ Facilities and others in the agency. Employee training has helped to build and strengthen relationships at EASTCONN.” — Kimberly Lewendon McClure, MPH, CPH, EASTCONN Assistant Director of Early Childhood Services
Workplace Violence Prevention Training Coordinated the delivery of workplace violence prevention training by Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) to all agency directors as a strategy for raising awareness and encouraging the development of preventative measures throughout the agency. g
Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) Transitioned the agency HRA health insurance from Anthem to Cigna for eligible employees; maintained comparable coverage, while realizing an approximate cost-savings of $250,000, enabling us to redirect funds to support direct services to students. g
Discount Benefit Program Implemented a voluntary discount benefit program, in collaboration with Great American Financial Resources, designed to save employees money on day-to-day expenses associated with medical and lifestyle issues. Expansion of our voluntary benefits enhances what we offer employees at no additional cost to the agency. g
These new employees share ideas and perspectives during an EASTCONN orientation, run by Human Resources.
Employee Wellness Promoted employee wellness throughout the agency with a wellreceived, monthly wellness newsletter and related informational materials provided by our health insurance company. g
Contract Negotiations Coordinated activities associated with the successful negotiation of new 20112014 contracts with both teachers and instructional assistants that included salary & benefits changes, as well as non-economic contractual language improvements. g
A job candidate, left, confers with Human Resources Director Steve Wapen at the Alternative Route to Certification (ARC) Teacher Recruitment Fair, sponsored by the state Department of Higher Education.
Time & Attendance System • Acquired new software to convert from a paper timesheet system for hourly employees to a Web-based time and attendance system. In the process of transitioning hourly employees to the new electronic system, to be completed by the end of December 2011. g
• This electronic time & attendance system is both a major process improvement and a contributor to the agency’s green initiatives; it produces greater data accuracy along with increased resource efficiencies through reductions in both support-staff time and paper. Minority Recruitment & Retention • Increased the total number of minority employees by 11% across all programs in response to agency-wide minority recruitment initiatives. g
• Participated in Minority Teacher Recruiting (MTR), a comprehensive Connecticut State Department of Educationfunded, Regional Educational Service Center Alliance program that encourages and supports minority teacher recruitment and retention. Administered more than 45 Praxis test preparation courses statewide through MTR; Praxis courses provide tutorial support for minority candidates planning to take the Praxis I and II examinations, required for teacher certification. Job Fair Recruitment Attended the Alternative Route to Certification (ARC) program job fair in May 2011 to recruit candidates for job openings; networked with graduates of the ARC program and provided information about the features and benefits of employment at EASTCONN. Twenty (20) ARC program graduates applied to us for employment at this job fair. g
Human Resources “We REALLY do appreciate the extra effort while our faculty and our students are in this transition of “background checks.” Also, thank you very much for quickly and willingly scheduling your wonderful people to come to Eastern to get the majority of the fingerprinting done in the days we have asked.” — Darren Robert, Eastern Connecticut State University
Health & Safety Committee Recognition Received a Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) achievement award for the outstanding commitment of our Health & Safety Committee and the results they have achieved, including an agency-wide promotion of health & safety awareness, reduction in lost time injuries, staff safety training, and continuation of the Tools for Schools (TfS) indoor air-quality program. The committee includes representatives from all our program operations, and oversees health & safety issues, safety training and accident prevention activities throughout the agency.
retire from the agency, it is essential that the knowledge, skills, institutional memory and culture are sustained through a combination of effective recruitment, induction and mentoring initiatives.
Shared Services Provided 50 alternative staffing solutions to member LEAs in 20102011, compared with 45 in 2009-2010, an increase of about 10%.
• Use Web-based technology for tutorial training, as appropriate, to increase and facilitate access to training.
The Health & Safety Committee, which includes representatives from across the agency, received a Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) achievement award for their outstanding commitment and results.
Staff Training Expansion & Enhancement • Facilitate and expand programlevel delivery of agency-mandated trainings, including elements of our newly redesigned “EASTCONN Way” training. g
Recruitment Initiatives • Explore the expanded utilization of specialized, commercial, online job boards and social media recruitment strategies for hard-to-fill technology positions to both reduce the cost of traditional employment advertising and to tap a pool of applicants who only use online job-seeking tools. g
Fingerprinting Services • Fingerprinted 625 LEA registry individuals applying to be substitute teachers in districts in 2011-2012, compared to 530 in 2009-2010, an increase of 18%. g
• Provided fingerprinting services to 695 university-based teacher preparation candidates in 2010-2011 compared with 570 candidates last year, an increase of 22%.
2010-2011 Challenges Electronic Time & Attendance Transition Transitioning from a paper-based timesheet process to an electronic time and attendance system has required considerable technical set-up and debugging, along with supervisor and employee training. g
Staff fingerprinted 625 LEA registry individuals applying to be substitute teachers in 2011-2012. Fingerprinting services were also provided to 695 university-based teacher preparation candidates in 2010-2011, an increase of 22%.
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012
Minority Recruitment Given the demographics of our 36-district region, minority recruitment is particularly challenging. g
Maturing Workforce As the most experienced employees g
• Develop an expanded outreach plan to attract the highest-quality candidates, including minority candidates, for agency positions. Emergency Management Training Organize and implement management-level tabletop exercises throughout the agency to increase appropriate incident-response awareness and preparedness in the event a critical situation arises. This approach has been shown to prepare individuals effectively for real-life scenarios that they might encounter.
Regional Recruitment Initiative Explore the expansion of the electronic job applicant tracking system to support a regional LEA recruitment initiative, including reduced cost-shared advertising and the delivery of realtime electronic job applications for participating LEAs. g
Marketing & Communications “We have all found the regional calendar a great visual that compacts all the needed information concerning meetings on one sheet of paper. We have it posted in several areas around the school and have discussed it at faculty meetings. Color-coding the types of meetings also makes it very easy to use! This communication alone has resulted in staff attending regional meetings and various council meetings. We now feel more connected with our colleagues from this region and aware of the changes and issues in education!” — Noveline Beltram, Principal, Mary R. Fischer Elementary School, Thompson
Overview Marketing and Communications is responsible for ensuring that current and potential customers, as well as other key stakeholders, have the information they need to access the agency’s employees, programs, products and services. This is accomplished in a number of ways, including through the maintenance of the agency’s Web site, www.eastconn.org; through the publication and dissemination of a variety of print and electronic materials; and through the management of special
Goals 1. To ensure that member LEAs and other key customers, as appropriate, are knowledgeable about EASTCONN’S capabilities, understand how they benefit from them, and are able to use that information to make decisions about purchasing and/or accessing our programs, products and services. 2. To support and enhance the ability of agency program staff to communicate effectively with their customers (both internal and external) about the features and benefits of their own, as well as other, EASTCONN programs, products and services, resulting in greater participation in, or utilization of, our offerings.
Materials design is among the many services offered by talented graphic design staff.
3. To enhance Marketing and Communications’ capacity to assist LEAs and others on a fee-forservice basis, resulting in increased revenue and enhanced perception of EASTCONN’s ability to serve our member districts and others.
events. In addition, Marketing and Communications provides direct services and support to colleagues throughout the agency to ensure that they have the skills and materials they need to communicate effectively about the features and benefits of their programs. Our division also provides the information colleagues need to explain other, related agency services and to make appropriate referrals; and continues to be available to help design and implement communications strategies on a fee-for-service basis.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments Collateral Materials Design & Production Produced 112 new brochures, including 31 for Adult Services, 12 for Head Start and 7 for Connecticut State Department of Education. g
Media Initiatives • Charter Cable: Expanded our media initiative with Charter Cable TV to include shows about content of strategic interest to the region. This school-year’s (2010-2011) 7 shows (4 more than last year) included these topics: autism; adult education; Project Opening Doors (Advanced Placement); school budget basics; a behind-thescenes look at schools; regionalism vs. regionalization; and SRBI/ MyRtI, all of which increased public awareness of our programs and services, especially within the greater Charter Cable region and among the Windham-area’s Spanish-speaking population, for whom periodic translations are provided by the show’s host; have g
Marketing & Communications “The success of the cable access television show, Education Matters, on Charter Communications CTV14, is greatly due to the significant contributions of the EASTCONN community. These contributions have been recognized behind and in front of the camera. Teddie Sleight, our collaborating producer, has sought out numerous educational professionals affiliated with EASTCONN to be guests on the show. … Not only did these shows address critical subject areas, the guests brought with them keen insight on the topics, thus creating an engaging show to watch.” — Scott Hill, Producer, Education Matters, CTV14, Charter Communications
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Northeast Utilities Foundation presented a $175,000 donation to Project Opening Doors, the Advanced Placement initiative being offered successfully in 23 high schools statewide; administrative, fiduciary, staffing, professional development and media support is provided to the AP initiative by EASTCONN.
again secured permission to post the shows on our Web site, enhancing the multi-media features offered and expanding the information that is available to customers. • Newspaper Coverage: Distributed 45-plus press releases, resulting in newspaper, radio and Web coverage (at no direct cost to the agency) estimated to be worth more than $55,000. Broad press coverage of the most positive agency programs and services has helped refine the public’s understanding of what the agency offers. – Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB)’s Press for Astronaut Visit: EWIB requested assistance with promoting the May visit and presentation by NASA astronaut Stephen G. Bowen; provided EWIB with a media promotion plan and a well-researched press release; drafted a letter of invitation to eastern Connecticut principals; and provided the content for a summary-flyer, the latter two of which was used to invite high school students with an interest in math and science to attend Capt. Bowen’s presentation. – NMSI/POD: Provided media support, including distributing press releases, for the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) Project Opening Doors (POD) Advanced Placement celebrations of success. Worked with POD’s EASTCONN staff, with Northeast Utilities Foundation media staff, and assisted Windham High School administrators with their press release distribution at the Windham rally. Wrote several stories on the successes of POD’s AP students that have appeared in the agency’s quarterly newsletter, Connections. Web 2.0 • Agency Facebook Page: Established a Facebook page, focusing on programs and services of interest
to the general public, including Community Education and Capitol Theater Arts Academy; Facebook fanbase continues to grow, with 108 fans interacting with us through posted comments; e.g. providing suggestions for new Community Education programs. This initiative provides a new, more interactive and collaborative way of communicating with current and potential customers, which expands our marketing scope at no additional cost. • Out-of-School-Youth Program Facebook: Worked with Adult Services program staff and IT staff to create a Facebook page for communicating with current and former Out-of-School-Youth Program participants; this is an essential tool for follow-up communications to assess postprogram impact with a population that frequently lacks the resources to access more traditional communications media. • Web 2.0 Best Practices: Produced new agency guidelines for the use of social networking and other electronic communications; arranged for attorney Anne Littlefield to attend an agency Teaching & Learning meeting to help staff understand new guidelines, as well as their role as Web 2.0 teachers and models. Digital Communications Initiatives • @eastconn: Continued to distribute over 7,100 eBlasts monthly, providing regular updates that link to upcoming agency events, professional development workshops and useful resources; they were opened by 11% (700+) of recipients with 31% of readers, on average, clicking through the entire document. g
• eConnections: The quarterly eConnections electronic newsletter was distributed to almost 2,400 subscribers; this electronic
Marketing & Communications
“EASTCONN’s WIA [Workforce Investment Act] Out-of-School-Youth program requires follow-up contact for one year after students exit the program. This can be a challenge as students often move or change phone numbers. Since the unveiling of the EASTCONN Out-of-SchoolYouth Facebook page, case managers Meghan Hayes and Tina Harris have reported that they have been able to contact six students whom they had previously been unable to reach through conventional methods (mail, phone and e-mail). The page also posts upcoming events and information for our OSY students. Case manager Tina Harris says, ‘It is very exciting to get an answer back and have another avenue of communication to use with them.’” — Suzanne Cimochowski, Adult Services Coordinator, EASTCONN Adult Services This new QR code instantly takes customers to our Web site for basic information. “As a new employee responsible for the Community Education program at EASTCONN, I was thrilled to learn we had an internal Marketing and Communications department. Cindy Laurendeau and Teddie Sleight are absolutely invaluable resources. Their expertise and skill creating and designing effective press releases, advertisements, brochures, invitations and flyers has helped double our enrollment over a 12-month period. The Marketing and Communications department can be relied upon to produce appropriate, accurate and professional quality products that represent and illustrate your needs. Thank you for all you do and I look forward to another successful year working together.” — Joan M. Trivella, Adult & Community Education Coordinator
publication features key stories from the agency’s quarterly Connections newsletter with hypertext links to EASTCONN contacts and additional online resources; it was opened by 294 (15%) recipients, on average, with about 22% of readers clicking through the entire document; the most viewed individual Fall article was on TEAM (50 readers), while in the Winter edition it was the Regionalism story (57) and the spring, the Regional Health Insurance Collaborative (20). • QR Code: Have programmed an agency Quick Read (QR) Code, which is being added to all appropriate agency collateral materials as a quick way to direct traffic to our Web site and Facebook pages; the code also directs users to agency phone, address and other key contact information. • www.eastconn.org: The Web site was visited about 15,000 times monthly; most often, 2 pages were viewed during each visit for a total of 29,800 monthly page views. There were about 30% discrete “new visitors” each month; since July 1, 2010 there were 51,323 absolute unique visitors; about 38% of the Web traffic was generated from search engines, while 50% came in directly; after the main landing page, agency job listings were the most frequently visited page and “EASTCONN employment” were the two key words most frequently used to find it; the professional development page was the next most-visited page with “EASTCONN workshops” the key words most frequently used to find it. • Intranet Redesign: Transitioned the internal agency Web pages to a new, more functional and more userfriendly format; the Human Resources Department is now managing its own pages, in addition to the IT and Marketing and Communications departments; new content is easily added by local content managers, making inter-agency communications easier and faster; it also makes more resources and tools available to
enhance employees’ technology capability and provides easier access to important Finance, HR and Conference Office documents, as well as IT/Facilities services agency-wide. • Customer Satisfaction Survey: The Marketing and Communications team received training in the creation of online surveys; created and distributed an online customer satisfaction survey in May; results were used as baseline data for the Leadership and Management teams to consider at their end-of year retreat. Materials for Key Stakeholders Copies of the annual Programs and Services directory, the regional council calendar, the desktop photo calendar and a listing of key agency contacts were mailed to every superintendent, assistant superintendent, curriculum director, special education director, principal, guidance counselor and other key decision-makers in each of our 36 member school districts. g
Planning and Promotional Support to Program Colleagues:
• Autism: Developed an autism services marketing plan in collaboration with key program staff that has subsequently been implemented and is contributing to increased enrollment. Provided publicity for free presentations at 3 locations in Plainfield, Putnam and Windham on “Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder;” 53 adults attended and staff received a request to provide ongoing staff training for Network, Inc., an Andover-based agency providing support to adults with disabilities. • MyRtI™/Data Solutions: Facilitated the planning of the expansion rollout of MyRtI™; and produced a written plan that is being followed. Purchased MyRtI™ tradeshow exhibit equipment; this modular system allows for
Marketing & Communications “The Marketing and Communications Department came alongside our Autism Leadership Team this year to help us create a marketing plan for our new EASTCONN Autism Program. The program was new, undefined to our districts and experiencing very marginal growth. The entire M & C Dept. fully participated in directing a process of articulating what we thought was best about our program and who we could effectively serve. For me, the outcomes were much more than just great marketing tools, including assistance in using technology and creating snappy printed material. The M & C Team helped us understand what mattered most to us about our program and what made our program special and effective.” — Tom Cronin, Director of Education Services, EASTCONN
an unlimited number of customized program banners to be inserted, enabling it to be used by any employee exhibiting at a trade show, conference or other event. Wrote a conference presentation proposal for the director of Teaching and Learning, promoting MyRtI; it was accepted and subsequently presented at AESA in Savannah, Georgia, and resulted in a pilot “franchise” project with a Massachusetts collaborative. • Latino Recruitment: Developed recommendations for marketing magnet schools to Latino students and their families; elements are being implemented by the Director of Education Services and his magnet school principals. Connected Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) with Identidad Latina advertising and news departments, enabling the school to start to establish a presence in the widely read Spanishlanguage newspaper, and to advertise at a reduced rate for new student enrollment from among Windham’s Latino community. Supporting the Communications Needs of Member Districts • In-service Training on Web 2.0 Legal and Policy Issues: Arranged for attorney Anne Littlefield to present at the agency’s September board meeting on legal issues associated with electronic communications, as well as providing an in-service to the regional superintendent group. g
“The invitation to discuss our Budget 101 Webisodes on Education Matters was a welcome surprise, and the exposure in Connections was a very helpful highlight of the work that we were doing locally. To know that other educators were viewing our materials and sharing our interest in broadening the discussion of school funding was affirming. To be given an opportunity to reach a wider audience was much appreciated, and to be part of the regional partnership that EASTCONN leads is, as always, a bright spot in the work of the Superintendency.” — Paul S. Freeman, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools, Griswold Public Schools
• Regional Public Relations Initiatives: Developed a regional public relations campaign in response to superintendent requests and suggestions; successfully negotiated the taping of 3 Charter Cable shows to reinforce regional messages, airing in as many as 21 northeastern Connecticut towns: “Budget 101;” “Behind the Scenes;” and “Regionalism vs. Regionalization;” this initiative demonstrates our capacity to provide communications and marketing support to public schools and may encourage potential customers to purchase our services.
Staff Recognition Received 8 awards for Communications Excellence from the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), including five (5) 1st-place awards for: 2009-2010 Connections newsletter; 2009-2010 Celebrating Learning Calendar (new); “I have a student…” 2010; Programs & Services brochure 2009-2010 (new); ACT promotional video (new). And three (3) honorable mentions: 2008-2009 Annual Report; EASTCONN Professional Development Opportunities catalog, 2009-2010; and the www. eastconn.org Web site. Winning entries were displayed at CABE/CAPSS Conference in November 2010; these high-visibility awards are an indirect way of promoting our expertise and capacity to potential customers. g
2010-2011 Challenges Individual LEA Updates Although LEA participation in agency programs and services is overviewed in our Annual Report each year, the plan to publish more detailed, individualized LEA Updates this fall did not materialize; it led to changes in the Programs and Services Database, the creation of a cross-agency data work team and a 10-district pilot project currently in progress to assess how to collect, analyze and share more meaningful data about the level, quality and impact of the services that LEA customers purchase. g
Growing Need for IT Support As a result of the transition to a greater use digital media, the Marketing division has grown increasingly dependent on IT staff, at the same time that they are increasing their commitments to provide IT services to member districts and their municipalities. The agency has made it a priority to continue having enough capacity to meet growing internal needs, while meeting growing external demand; as a result, a staff person has been added to the IT team. g
Marketing & Communications “EASTCONN recently sponsored a vendor showcase under my leadership promoting our cooperative purchasing initiative. Our Communications department did an exceptional job marketing our program, making the brochures, invitations, signs and generating the press releases. There is absolutely no question in my mind that the design and finished product was equal to or better than what we would have obtained from an advertising agency. The quality of their finished products is superb; they are always a work of art.” — Richard Tariff, Director of Adult Services, EASTCONN
Fees for Services Although member districts have many high-stakes communications needs, it is very difficult for them to justify spending money in this area, given their extremely tight budgets and the desire to assign as many resources as possible to support direct services to students. g
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012 Key Communicators Initiative A Key Communicators initiative has resulted in the identification of 27 employees, representing every department across the agency, who are contacted monthly with requests for information that might be of interest and benefit to our internal and external stakeholders. Results have been mixed and this initiative has been identified by the Management Group for process improvements in 2011-2012. g
Data Work Team Continue to work collaboratively with colleagues on identifying and sourcing better customer data in order to produce useful and informative customer profiles that describe the level, quality and impact of the services they access. g
A screen shot of the agency’s main page at www.eastconn.org, which is administered and maintained by the Marketing and Communications Department, received recognition from the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) in its 2011 Excellence in Communications Awards.
EASTCONN staff, their board chair and a CABE representative show off the 8 CABE Excellence in Communications Awards for 2011.
Online Customer Surveys • The next planned online survey project is to profile the 7,000+ customers in our Customer Contact Database so that we can better customize our communications according to their interests and requests. A planned, coordinated effort has been established with the eCord team that is developing an online customer profile database for customers registering for workshops, conferences and other events. g
• Also being considered is another customer survey to assess the effectiveness of communications initiatives; it would be compared to baseline data collected in the fall of 2008. Expanded Latino Participation Facilitate a cross-agency initiative to increase participation in agency g
programs and services by the Latino community in our region, including but not limited to more effective communications. Content Management • Continue rollout plan for Web content management of the Intranet; work with Finance Department so they can begin managing their own pages and improving the quality of the content that appears there. g
• Work with IT Department to find a more user-friendly way to manage content, if the new Joomla is not soon available; Web pages for every school and student program should be in place by June 2012. Web 2.0 Continue to seek opportunities for program staff to better utilize Web 2.0 tools for the purpose of extending and expanding communications and the delivery of services. g
Strategic Communications Support to Member Districts • Continue supporting member districts in low- and no-cost ways, and seek outside funding to help provide strategic communications assistance to districts. g
• Continue the implementation of the agency’s regional public information initiative and include fee-based options for districts, so they may engage in customized information dissemination through a variety of mediums. New and Expanded Markets • To offer a package of conference and event management services that includes graphic design services and collateral materials production services. g
• To continue building a database of potential customers for marketing and communications services beyond our member districts, and to promote our services to them. • To consider offering Spanish translation services on a fee-forservice basis.
Planning & Development
“Maureen is by far the best researcher I have met. She stays current with what’s happening in the field – and with local data. She is also able to make research and data accessible to the reader – drawing them into the story being told. There is an art to doing this – being able to weave data into a narrative so that the reader can truly understand and respond to the narrative. …I also appreciate working with Maureen during the planning and development of a project. Her planning and systematic thinking of putting together a project is very thoughtful, creative, and mapped out – all the way from the initial and emerging ideas, to timelines, and including the research that supports it. She is always willing to find the time to help with any project – helping staff think through and reflect on service models, and, in the process, helping them make a potentially exciting learning opportunity realizable.” — Nancy Vitale, Interdistrict Program Coordinator, EASTCONN “The core of this work [Early Childhood Education framework]has been dynamically grown to incite early childhood programs to revisit and review their interests and begin understanding that this work encourages greater horizontal and vertical research with the development of children, further parenting processes and practices, and educational strategies that combine both areas within the scheme of early childhood growth and development. The EASTCONN researchers, scientists, and educators are bringing a breath of much needed excitement to a world somewhat forgotten for more than 20 years.” --- Grant Reviewer, U.S. Department of Education
Planning and Development provides customized services to both internal agency departments, as well as to member districts, such as determining customer need and assessing capacity, designing and developing new programs, products, and services in response to identified needs, and identifying and applying to funding sources
to expand education and support opportunities for learners of all ages. This agency division reviews and evaluates the impact and outcomes of programs and services, as well. Our work focuses on helping internal and external customers realize their goals by providing opportunities for educational success through a complement of planning, design, development, delivery and assessment strategies.
Goals 1. To collaborate with agency staff in developing and supporting rigorous, research-supported learning programs, services and products that better prepare learners of all ages for a changing academic environment and a technologically infused global economy. 2. To develop seamless relationships with our region’s school districts and expand our partnerships within a broad constituency of community representatives as a means of improving learning opportunities for students of all ages and strengthening our collective ability to identify and attract funding initiatives.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments g
Interdistrict Grants Expansion
Twenty-three (23) Interdistrict Grant proposals were submitted and all were selected for funding in 2011-2013 by the Connecticut State Department of Education; the level of funding and, therefore, the rate of student and district participation, are undetermined at this time.
An Interdistrict Grant-funded activity encourages fifth-graders to interact. Improving Teaching and Learning of Mathematics Developed a framework for systematically improving the mathematics curriculum and improving the conceptual knowledge in Algebra I for 300 students through an Enhancing Education Technology Grant, bringing an array of learning resources to EASTCONN’s magnet high schools and 3 regional district schools. g
Early Childhood Education Alignment Assisted in the articulation of an early childhood education framework that would promote greater systemic alignment and inter-service cohesion among diverse service providers that was submitted for federal grant funding consideration. g
Planning & Development “Over the past year, I have been part of the Grant Development Council facilitated by Maureen. This experience has produced a feeling of confidence in my ability to craft a purposeful grant and has given me a ‘sense’ of being a partner and collaborator...Recently, Maureen took time to help me…she asked questions, made suggestions, and synthesized ideas that prompted and guided me to actually homing in on our true objective, then suggested the possible path that would take us to that end. In addition to her willingness to assist us on a one-to-one basis, and as a larger group, Maureen has supplied us with resources and guest speakers that add to our base knowledge. Our little group has taken major strides in the pursuit of acquiring desperately needed monies and programs for our schools that would otherwise not be funded.” — Claudia Danno, Curriculum Coordinator, Bolton
“I have had the pleasure of serving with Maureen Crowley on the WindhamARTs Board of Directors for the last few years. As a representative of EASTCONN, Maureen has been influential in sharing her knowledge, time and skills to help us further our mission of supporting arts and culture as fundamental to improving the quality of life and economic development of the greater Windham community. I look forward to continued collaboration with both EASTCONN and Maureen, as we discover through working together, the many ways that we can make a difference.” — Karl Norton, President, WindhamARTS Collaborative Board of Directors
Teacher Evaluation Provided on-going support for the development of a new teacher evaluation model that will help ensure that every student and every classroom is served by teachers whose efficacy and effectiveness are an integrated aspect of their professional learning. g
Assistive Technology Resource Expansion Continued working with Related Services and Autism Program staff to expand and extend the assistive technology resource library so that educators and parents can receive professional development and technical assistance in the use of new resources to improve learning outcomes among students with development disabilities. g
Advanced Placement Expansion Continued working with Advanced Placement (AP) staff on the submittal of a new 3-year AP grant proposal to continue to expand course offerings, increase the number of students enrolling in courses, and increase students’ passing rates on associated examinations through professional development services to educators that will lead to a more rigorous learning culture for more students. g
Regional Grant Development Council Facilitated the region’s Grant Development Council as an ongoing means of building the skills capacity of district staff and promoting a collaborative culture among participating districts, leading to an increased and improved ability to identify and secure grant funding for individual and collective school districts. g
WindhamARTS Collaborative Served as a member of the WindhamARTS Collaborative Board; assisted in the re-design and redevelopment of the WindhamARTS Collaborative to ensure that it continues to provide access to professional artists to work in classrooms alongside our region’s educators, to promote arts education and creative expression as a vehicle for enriching learning opportunities, critical thinking, and innovation and invention for students of all ages. g
Public and Community Engagement Working with the Public and Community Engagement/PACE Program at the University of Connecticut to promote access to undergraduate and graduate students who can contribute their knowledge, talent, and skills to our underresourced districts, while at the same time, providing university students with authentic learning opportunities in EASTCONN’s magnet and special education schools, as well as our region’s public school districts. g
Thread City Development Board Represented the agency on the Thread City Development Board, working to increase opportunities for our region’s students to access service learning opportunities and engage in multicultural, social and arts activities that promote and improve foundational knowledge, while improving their sense of belonging and promoting community engagement. g
Windham High School Advanced Placement students file into a May pep rally to be cheered on by their classmates.
Planning & Development
“For the last two years I have worked alongside Maureen as a fellow board member with Thread City Development. Despite Maureen’s demanding schedule she has continuously been able to provide an unparalleled amount of guidance and insight to our board. She has guided us through several challenges including effective meeting planning, facilitation and grant writing. Her optimism, diligence and commitment to the community make her an exemplary person to work with. Maureen’s knowledge and experience in education, the arts and community development contributes a broad perspective and supports the progress of the Thread City Development.” — Andrew Gutt, President, Thread City Development Corporation
2010-2011 Challenges Staff Capacity Lack of sufficient staff devoted to identifying and seeking funding sources, producing and submitting grants, and meeting overlapping project timelines, continues to challenge our ability to respond effectively in developing and improving programs, services and products.
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012
Continued Reductions in Resources As the economic downturn continues, there are fewer funding and resource alternatives, creating a far more competitive environment than ever before, limiting the availability of external revenue needed to address districts’ rising costs. g
New Funding Sources • Increase the capacity of Planning and Development to identify and secure funding from a deeper and broader funding base. g
• Continue to invest in the development of a more seamless process for tapping internal and external resources to meet more aggressive goals, as opportunities arise. Internal Program Support • Dedicate staff resources to program directors to improve access to and quality of identified learning models. g
• Continue to dedicate time to research and trend monitoring to ensure that our programs reflect the most current data on strategies, service development, intervention and evaluation.
Interdistrict Grants in Action
Creating Community Builders
Waves of History
This year, 20 Connecticut State Department of Education-funded Interdistrict Grant programs served 5,230 students in grades 2-12, and 103 educators, from 33 different school districts across northeastern Connecticut. Participating students improved academic skills, made friends with peers from other districts and gained a fuller appreciation of diversity.
Minds in Motion
MAPPS: Matching Areas and People Project
Student Services Overview Student Services offers a continuum of services for low-incidence students with a wide spectrum of challenging conditions and academic interests. From magnet high school options to a range of services for students on the autism spectrum, this division is dedicated to meeting the needs and interests of students from across our region.
The focus is on serving each individual student. Our success is and will continue to be built upon improving the quality of our programs and services. We strive to achieve this by building our capacity, running programs that are financially sound, and producing outstanding educational results that satisfy parents, students, teachers, administrators and our regional partner school districts. Century Learning Expectations that are the foundation of teaching and learning.
Goals Hat-making is among the many skills that ACT costume design students learn during a day filled with both the arts and core academics at the magnet high school in Willimantic.
“ACT offers a rigorous curriculum which I know will prepare [M.] for college. The class sizes at ACT are ideal for creating smaller learning communities which foster strong classroom relationships. Teachers truly know their students and do an excellent job of reaching and supporting different learning styles. The opportunity to be an active participant in the classroom, as well as the relationships my daughter has established with her teachers are strong motivators for [M.] to do well. She honestly enjoys going to school! I have two older daughters who are enrolled in college. In hindsight, my only regret is that they did not have the opportunity of experiencing a learning environment such as [M.] has at ACT.” — Mary Ellen Johnson, Parent of an ACT junior
1. To promote success for all students through targeted services, supportive facilities, technological resources, and effective integration of curriculum, instruction and assessment. 2. To recruit and retain highly skilled, experienced staff to deliver consistent, high-quality services and instruction to our agency schools and member districts. 3. To expand and improve the quality and range of services offered within our schools and to member districts.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments g
Magnet Schools (General):
• New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC) Accreditation The NEASC accreditation process has begun at the agency’s two magnet schools, Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) high school and Quinebaug Middle College (QMC), resulting in the development of new statements of Core Values and Beliefs and 21st
• Curriculum Development ACT and QMC staff began the process of developing curricula that establish alignment with the schools’ learning expectations, state and national standards, and stronger links among content areas to enhance student learning and achievement. • Senior Capstone Projects Twenty-two (22) students at ACT and QMC were engaged in the new Senior Capstone Project program. The Capstone Project allows seniors an opportunity to apply the interdisciplinary skills and knowledge they have acquired during their years in high school toward an in-depth investigation of a topic of their choice, ranging from coordinating a Relay for Life event to a fashion show featuring garments made from recycled items. Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) • ACT Enrollment ACT experienced a 25% increase in full-time student enrollment this academic year, with a total g
Student Services enrollment of 115 students from 23 districts, 3 of which sent students for the first time.
ACT Mythology students dressed in togas for Greek Day, and then visited classrooms to perform skits about Greek gods and goddesses.
“Now that I am attending ACT I get to study the arts I really wanted and the academic classes are taught more thoroughly here. I am so glad I made the choice to enroll at ACT.” — [G.], an ACT student
• Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) Performances ACT continued to offer an increasing number and variety of performance opportunities for its students. In the 2010-11 school year, the number of performances increased by nearly 40%; among them were two Coffee Houses (November & March); the Showcase 2010 (November); Student Company Dance Show (January); “Songs, Scenes and Monologues” (January); Dance Fest, (April); “Holiday Hope and Hoopla” (December); and two Video Fests (February & June). More than 2,000 audience members have cycled through ACT to see students perform this year, representing a 50% increase over last year’s attendance. These public performances also perform an essential recruitment function by showcasing both the facility and the education experiences that the program offers.
“In my four years at ACT I was given many opportunities. My favorite was traveling to New York after we placed in the DMV contest (‘From the Driver’s Seat to the Director’s Chair.’) I really liked learning about A/V and making videos with Dan (Boisvert.)” — [J.], an ACT student A screen shot of the video created by ACT students illustrates the dangers of teen texting and driving.
“Transferring from Windham Tech to ACT for my junior year really helped me come out of my shell. I was able to feel much more confident at ACT and was free to express myself. ACT allows me to try new things and perform without fear. I never felt I was able to do that at my previous school.” — [S.], an ACT student, class of 2011
• ACT Student Achievements ACT students continue to win awards and honorable mentions for their work. This year, ACT students have achieved the following accolades: – Presidential Scholarship Award: Plainfield student planning to attend Johnson & Wales College – Admission to Honors Program at Centinary College: Putnam student – Participants in The Bread Loaf Writing Program at Middlebury
College, Vermont: students from East Hampton and Lebanon – Smith College Writing Program Contest Winner: Plainfield student – ECSU partnership: 10 ACT students from 8 different communities enrolled in an ECSU college credit course, Poetry 227 – ACT students continue to perform well on the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT), with 80% to 90% of students meeting state requirements in math, reading, and science and writing.
ACT students create sophisticated videos as part of their arts training. • Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) Student Videos Awards/ Recognitions For the third consecutive year, students from the Audio/Video production program at ACT placed among 10 finalists out of 164 entries in a contest to create a public service announcement (PSA) on distracted teen driving, sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Students’ ACT audio/ video teacher was also honored by the DMV for having submitted winning videos for 3 consecutive years. • ACT Technology Enhancements – Technology purchases and upgrades have created new opportunities for ACT students to acquire realistic, professional experiences in technical production.
What our QMC Students are Saying: [S.]: “What does this school mean to me? It means a lot to me. I’ve changed a lot, I’ve matured, I do better, I actually care about my education, it has greatly changed my life. I have more respect for teachers, I get better grades and do my work, I’ve become more involved in school by participating in meetings and open houses and other activities.” [C.]: “It’s easier to learn here. I’ve become a lot more open, I pay attention in my classes now. This school has provided me with second chances to succeed.” [B.]: “This school means big opportunity to me, in not only academics but in life. I’ve taken in so much Gino, it’s changed me as a person. I am by far more successful and more independent and I am now becoming my own person and who I want to be.” [M.]: “Honestly, what this school means to me is a second chance, I have another chance to lead a successful life. I’m more responsible in my life in and out of school. I appreciate that the teachers here will take the time to work with you, and stay after. The teachers here actually want us to pass.” [J.]: “To me this school means family, ‘ohana.’ It’s made me more responsible, I can handle freedom more responsibly and I appreciate that it’s helped me grow up and mature.” [K.]: “This school has changed me in so many ways, my attitude, attendance, behavior, and my grades. The opportunity that this school has given me is being successful in life and college credits. This school has given me great teachers that take their time and care about the students and the students’ success. This school has kept my mind in school and helped make my dreams come true, and taught me to keep being a leader and to never give up.”
– Upgrades were made to an existing computer lab at ACT in 2010-11. New desktops and software enabled more students to work with stateof-the-art digital design and Web software. • ACT Year-End Highlights – On June 3, 2011, ACT’s first junior/senior prom was held at The University Club in Windham. As many as 106 students and their guests attended. – On June 15, 2011, ACT’s first senior class graduated; 15 seniors from 7 different towns (Chaplin, Coventry, Gales Ferry, Norwich, Putnam, Willimantic, and Woodstock), were the “trail blazers” who were the first to enroll in ACT’s full-day, comprehensive program.
QMC students study in a unique, student-oriented learning environment. g
Quinebaug Middle College (QMC)
• QMC Enrollment QMC is at full enrollment and has a waiting list of students, should openings become available. • QMC/QVCC — Opportunities and Collaboration Thirty-one (31) QMC students were enrolled in 51 college courses at Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) for the spring semester 2011. Six (6) of the 15 students taking college classes during the fall of 2010 made the QVCC Dean’s List. This level of college inclusion is ahead of projections; the students’ accomplishments are exceptional. In addition, 5 staff members are currently teaching courses at the college.
• QMC Student Achievement Forty percent (40%) of QMC students made the honor roll in the fall semester of 2010-2011, the highest percentage thus far to earn academic honors. Thirty-four (34) QMC seniors graduated on June 16, 2011, while 2 QMC students graduated early in January 2011. One (1) of these students earned 28 high school credits and 4 college credits and is currently enrolled in the honors program at Sacred Heart University. The other student will begin attending Holyoke Community College this summer after working for a semester. • QMC Student Governance QMC was selected by Magnet Schools of America to present its school governance system at the National Convention in Indianapolis in May 2011. The QMC presentation, “Student Leadership Drives Learning,” describes the structures and activities of the QMC Advisory, Town Meeting, Peer Mediation and Judicial Board systems. These student-led programs empower all QMC students to be part of the decision-making process and governance of the school. QMC staff hope to influence the high school reform movement by sharing the school’s unique philosophy and methodology and encouraging student empowerment and connection to their learning communities. g
Special Education Programs
• Northeast Regional Program (NRP) Located in its new facility in Putnam, NRP experienced a 50% increase in enrollments and welcomed students from 4 new sending districts, including Canterbury, Sterling, Middletown, and Windham. NRP continued to merge best practices in academic and clinical programming to meet the needs of elementary and middle school students who have social, emotional and behavioral issues.
Student Services team; 5 districts participated in training and consultation, while 16 districts contracted for the AT Consortium package. As a result of partnerships with a number of vendors, students have access to alternative, augmentative communication devices for assessment and trial. EASTCONN has served as a host site for vendorsponsored training and has offered to the northeastern region several Open House opportunities to see and discuss devices.
For non-traditional learners in grades 9-12, NRP provides an integrated, hands-on day treatment program. NRP’s highly successful, comprehensive vocational program provided community-based workstudy placements to 90% of its high school students.
Northeast Regional Program students employ creativity, communication and patience as they build a tower out of unlikely materials: marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti — all part of an activity promoting teamwork.
“Putnam has gained an exceptional educational resource with the addition of EASTCONN’s Northeast Regional Program in its boundaries. NRP uses best practices in implementing intake procedures, developing highly specialized and successful student programming, maintaining frequent and effective communication to parents and LEAs and using sophisticated and detailed data tracking to provide and improve services. We highly recommend NRP.” — Jill S. Keith, Director of Special Education, Putnam
• Eastern Regional Academy (ERA) Redesigned the behavior intervention program to more comprehensively meet the needs of students, including the creation of positions for two new behavioral technicians, who worked in collaboration with instructional and clinical staff to promote a safe and positive school environment for all students and staff. As a result, classroom teachers have been able to dedicate more time to instruction with greater consistency and with fewer disruptions in learning, as the behavioral technicians devote time to addressing the emotional needs and behaviors of students.
• Related Services More than 1,100 northeastern Connecticut students, from preschool to 21 years of age, received related services; the Related Services team provided direct therapy, co-teaching, classroom-based therapy and professional collaboration across a wide range of settings. They provide additional support to districts through early intervention services, inform the Scientific Research-Based Interventions (SRBI) process and support Individualized Education Programs (IEP) and 504 plans.
Autism Program staff proudly wear blue in support of Autism Day 2011.
“Eastern Regional Academy has been a pivotal player in the success of our students. They commit themselves to the goals of the student, family and district. Our students have been able to grow academically, emotionally, and towards their post-secondary goals with the encouragement and dedication of the staff at ERA.” — Alison Orcutt, Out of District Student Liaison, Norwich Public Schools
• Autism Program Enrollment in the Autism Program increased by 60% and student learning time increased by 300% as a result of continued focus on professional development for all staff and the use of applied behavioral analysis (ABA). • Assistive Technology (AT) Expansion A total of 31 member districts accessed one or more of our AT services; 15 districts received assessment services from our AT
Success! Science students in the 4th R-Robotics Interdistrict Grant use a homemade tool with unusual skill.
Interdistrict Grants Were awarded $1.38 million in Interdistrict Grant funds from the Connecticut State Department of Education for the 2009-2011 fiscal years in collaboration with member districts. Twenty (20) grants were funded, serving 5,230 students in grades 2 to 12. Each Interdistrict g
What they’re saying about Interdistrict Grants “The social benefit of the grant is enormous. The students loved meeting kids of a different culture.” [Teacher, grade 4] “Students have demonstrated an awareness of the importance and magnitude of immigration to America; they’ve been able to meet and work with students from a different cultural background, which allows them to experience people from a different culture, which is precisely an element faced when immigration occurs. I am forever indebted.” [Teacher, grade 9] “My son really enjoyed expanding his horizons, meeting students from other towns and learning about various art forms.” [Parent of a 7th-grader] “This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn a new craft. Since working with this grant my daughter has purchased her own digital camera and has embarked on a brand new hobby!” [Parent of a 9th-grader] “The 2010 EASTCONN/ EWIB Summer Youth Program collaboration with DEP provided two of our prominent shoreline parks (Rocky Neck State Park & Harkness Memorial State Park) with work resources allowing the parks to accomplish projects that were not expected to be completed during the 2010 season. We appreciate the assistance provided by this program and look forward to future work project opportunities.” — John Cimochowski, Assistant Director, Department of Environmental Protection, State Parks & Public Outreach Division, Parks Operations & Management
Grant is designed to increase students’ academic achievement and their appreciation and awareness of diversity. A total of 33 districts, involving 103 teachers, participated. Post-Secondary Transition & Enrichment Programs g
• Summer Enrichment Programs More than 200 children participated in 2010 summer enrichment programs in the new ‘Summer Escapes” program offered through Community Education. • Capitol Theater Arts Academy (CTAA) CTAA has presented 4 productions this year to full houses, including Oklahoma!, The Nutcracker, Into the Woods Jr., and the Spring Dance Showcase; 135 students from 23 towns participated in over 50 classes. • Community Arts After-School Program A Connecticut State Department of Education-funded, community-based program provided daily after-school and vacation programming for 60 young people from the Windham Heights neighborhood in Willimantic. In partnership with Windham Public Schools and UConn, they provided academic tutoring along with projectbased enrichment activities in the arts, designed to reinforce academic learning. There was a strong family and healthy living component as well.
Summer Youth Program participants gained valuable, on-the-job experience as they prepared to add one more plank to the boardwalk they replaced at Rocky Neck State Park, along the shoreline.
• Summer Youth Employment and Training Program This multi-funded program provided workplace readiness training and paid internships to 488 income-eligible youth, ages 14-18, from 35 participating schools across eastern Connecticut; they received training in workplace safety, as well as core employability skills and expectations, concepts that were reinforced by their workplace mentors in paid, community-based internships for more than 100 organizations; 93% of participants successfully completed the program and 97% either returned to high school, enrolled in post-secondary education, or entered unsubsidized employment. • COOL (Careers of Our Lives) Directions This year-round employment and training program, funded by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB), is providing comprehensive career guidance and training to 58 Workforce Investment Act (WIA)eligible high school juniors and seniors from 7 eastern Connecticut districts. Designed to ensure that the youth in the program graduate high school and are prepared for the transition to work and/or further education, this program provides in-school, after-school, and online classes, as well as practical internships and capstone projects. All youth complete a portfolio demonstrating their learning, and are provided follow-up services for one year after graduation to measure retention in post-secondary education and/or employment. • Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) Youth Employment and Training Program A new, collaborative, Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board-funded summer project was successfully piloted, providing 28 BRS clients from 8 school districts in eastern Connecticut with internship
opportunities; 85% of the participants successfully completed the summer program and 95% either returned to school or entered employment in fall 2010.
An eastern Connecticut high school student, through the EWIB-funded Youth Pipeline Program, receives a certificate of completion after attending a rigorous program to build jobrelated STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills at Three Rivers Community College.
• STEM and Health Pipeline Youth Employment and Training Program – This Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Boardfunded program served 59 young people from 5 eastern Connecticut schools who met Workforce Investment Act (WIA) eligibility guidelines and demonstrated an interest in and the ability to complete both the coursework and an internship in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) or health career areas; 100% of youth successfully completed the program and 100% have returned to high school or enrolled in post-secondary education. – This successful partnership included the community colleges, local businesses and the online training program, Metrix. The community colleges providing classes on diversity, workplace safety and core employability skills and expectations and jobspecific STEM-focused training in manufacturing, solar energy and allied health; participants also received access to Accuplacer to assess their readiness for collegelevel courses.
Alicia Dinda, a speech-language pathologist on the agency’s Assistive Technology team holds the “Flip and Talk” low-tech communication support device at a February training titled, “AAC Solutions from Lo to High Tech.”
2010-2011 Challenges Data-Based Decision-Making in Agency Magnet Schools Increased availability of data culled from school-wide rubrics, formative assessments and standardized tests require professional development in the collection and use of that data. g
Continued Technology Investment Technology must be incorporated more extensively in instruction, and new g
pathways for student learning through technology needs more development. Training in new technology and equipment purchases, upgrades or replacements must be regularly scheduled to address advances in instructional software and hardware. NEASC Accreditation New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation requirements are complex and labor/ time intensive. More time is needed for effective and efficient professional collaboration, within and among magnet schools. g
Magnet School Transportation Issues Transportation issues for schools of choice continue to be a logistical and financial challenge, particularly given rising fuel costs and the long distances between magnet schools and sending districts. g
Expanding Need for Augmentative and Alternative Communications The demand for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) assessment and services has outpaced the Assistive Technology (AT) team’s ability to respond in as timely a manner as desired. In order to meet the needs of a burgeoning student population in need of these services and the increasing demand for specialists in this area, the agency must continue to recruit and retain more speech-language pathologists who can provide these services. g
Autism Program Staffing Challenges As the Autism Program continues to grow, there are staffing issues that must be addressed. The availability of trained substitutes who can provide student support during staff absences has been limited. Developing a staffing pattern that allows for additional coverage and the efficient and timely acceptance of new students is critical. g
“I would do anything for you guys. The changes in my son are incredible. This year he has grown so much. I will never take it for granted. No matter what ever happens, I will always be grateful for all the staff that work with him. They have him for 6 hours every day. I can’t imagine how tired they are. And they don’t have just my son…they have all the other students. They are amazing.” Mother of [T.]….student at the EASTCONN Autism Program
Students concentrate on a classroom assignment under the watchful eyes of caring instructors during a typical morning at Northeast Regional Program in Putnam. Regional Shared Staffing Needs Responding to requests from districts seeking part-time/temporary Related Services and special education staff support continued to be a challenge in 2010-2011. It is difficult to find highly qualified staff, particularly in shortage areas such as speech-language pathology, who are willing to work temporarily or part-time at a level of compensation that makes it costeffective for our districts to consider. g
Northeast Regional Program Lack of space and equipment for recreational opportunities has limited opportunities for Northeast Regional Program students to engage in therapeutic recreation and social skills development. The expansion of playground facilities will allow the program to better support the comprehensive needs of the students it enrolls. g
Eastern Regional Academy (ERA) The 2010-2011 school year was one of transition at ERA, which has been reconfigured to become the Educational & Vocational Center (EVC). As the new program evolves, EVC’s leadership team will work with district partners to provide top-quality clinical and academic support, and innovative programming for students with social, emotional and behavioral issues.
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012 Supporting Magnet Schools as They Grow • Total school enrollment at ACT for 2011-2012 is expected to reach capacity for the first time. In 20112012, there are 50 new student applicants from 23 sending districts, including Norwich Public Schools, which has joined ACT as a partner district for next year. g
• Expenses are being budgeted related to growing student populations in both magnet schools, in areas such as post-secondary counseling, preparation for graduation ceremonies, support for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation process, graduations, as well as transportation, materials and technology needs to support learning and data management in all programs.
Northeast Regional Program students eagerly logged-on to their computers during a busy morning of reading, writing and computer work.
Assistive Technology (AT) • Planning to encourage more districts to take advantage of cost-saving opportunities through AT services by increasing the number and variety of devices available for loan through the lending library; also expanding consortium training that delivers cost-effective and practical training to the districts’ doorsteps. g
Student Services • In order to meet the needs of a burgeoning student population in need of augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) services and the increasing demand for specialists in this area, the agency must continue to recruit and retain more speechlanguage pathologists who can provide these services. Autism Program • As the Autism Program continues to grow, efficiently accepting and integrating new students will be a primary focus for 2011-2012. Among the challenges that must be addressed is the hiring of additional, highly qualified instructors to support new students and the preparation of additional learning environments in the facility, all of which appropriately accommodate student needs. g
As a result of partnerships with a number of vendors, students have access to alternative, augmentative communication (AAC) devices like those above for both assessment and trial, through the agency’s AAC lending library.
• The availability of trained substitutes who can provide student support during staff absences has been limited. Developing a staffing pattern that allows for additional coverage is critical. Given the challenges involved in hiring substitute staff, adding an additional instructional assistant will address these needs. • The Autism Program’s 4-year goal is to grow its student population to full enrollment. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of that goal has been met in 2 years’ time. Preparing for additional students will require a growth plan for facility use, as well as staffing.
Puppets rule! at the Autism Program Open House, which offered young students in the Columbia-based program an opportunity to show off both social skills and classroom learning.
• As the Autism Program expands, the need for additional trained data experts will increase. The behavior analyst will train assistant board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) to assist in the data analysis and correlated program recommendations. Northeast Regional Program • Northeast Regional Program has instituted a summer program for students in grades K-12 in response to customer feedback. This program will provide a comprehensive, individualized summer school alternative for younger students who require clinical services during the summer, and for g
older students who would benefit from building vocational skills. Through the summer program, students will be able to continue to acquire academic and social skills, on-the-job paid vocational experience and high school credit. • The plan to open an additional classroom at Northeast Regional Program for the 2011-2012 academic year will allow the program to accommodate a total of 36 total students, an increase of 20% over current capacity and will ultimately represent a 100% increase in capacity over that of early 20102011. This expansion will allow us to meet the needs of more member districts. Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) Youth Employment and Training Program The summer 2010 BRS program was the only pilot project to receive fullyear funding. The collaborative Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board-funded BRS program will be expanded this year in both size and scope. The number of BRS clients will double as they receive 35 hours of employability training prior to their placement in summer internships. g
Increased Shared Staffing Collaboration and Cooperation As the need for special education and related services personnel grows across the region, a more collaborative approach to shared staffing is needed to better address competing demands for a very limited labor pool. g
Service Expansion Plans Due to increased enrollment in all programs (both magnet and special education), as well as direct services, requests for consultation, and assessments for member districts, there are plans to increase school psychologist staffing levels to meet these expanding needs. The program also continues to grow as more specialized consultation is provided to member schools for students on the autism spectrum. g
Teaching & Learning Services “The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has worked in collaboration with EASTCONN for many years through the development and implementation of the BEST Program and now with the new Teacher Education And Mentoring (TEAM) Program. EASTCONN’s support and service has been of the highest professional caliber.” — Bev Hartstone, Educational Consultant, Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification, CSDE
OVERVIEW Teaching and Learning’s vision is to provide systemic professional development support to districts, so that a culture of professional learning becomes embedded in district culture, and is no longer limited to an event that happens several days each year. Teaching and Learning has created opportunities for administrators and
Goals 1. To improve and enhance educator knowledge, skills and pedagogy through delivery of quality programs, products and services that positively impact students, enabling them to become college and career ready.
Questions are key during a TEAM training in Hampton for mentors.
“… I would like to compliment all at the State Department and the RESCs for the excellent revisions that have been made for the beginning teacher program. This year I am a mentor for 2 beginning teachers at Sweeney and we have all found the new TEAM process to be very helpful and well aligned to district expectations for beginning teachers in Windham. I have been involved with the beginning teacher program since its inception: first as a state assessor and then as a mentor for the BEST program. Now I can truly say that I can assist beginning teachers in a meaningful way!” — Sharon Bartlett, Instructional Consultant and TEAM Mentor, Windham Public Schools
teachers to participate in regional professional learning communities and has also expanded capacity to provide training and coaching to districts that are engaged in data-driven school improvement efforts. Delivery options for professional development will be expanding next year, as our region’s administrators and teachers are provided with more online resources and opportunities for professional learning and collaboration. TEAM activities this year included: 3 new Mentor Trainings for 83 teachers; 10 Mentor Update Trainings for 266 participants; 3 Reflection Paper Reviewer Trainings for 131; 1 TEAM Administrator Overview Session; 2 In-District Initial Support Trainings; 2 In-District Mentor Update Trainings.
2. To improve and enhance the knowledge and skills of school leaders through the delivery of quality programs, products and services that enable school leaders to create positive school climates and a culture for professional learning.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments Support for Statewide Initiatives Teacher Education And Mentoring (TEAM) Program Provided statewide coordination for the development and implementation of the TEAM Program for the purpose of providing support and professional development to beginning teachers. Developed 5 professional growth modules that provide a framework for support of new teachers. Regional g
Left-right: Nancy Pugliese, Chief of CSDE’s Bureau of Educator Standards & Certification joins EASTCONN Curriculum Coordinator Toni Ryan; Director of TEAM Training Nancy Celantano; and CSDE TEAM Unit Coordinator Beverly Hartstone. CT Accountability for Learning Initiative (CALI) – CSDE Support for Statewide Training • Continued to provide management and fiscal support to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) for the statewide implementation of CALI. The CALI initiag
Teaching & Learning Services
“CALI has been the intensive support that the staff and learning community of this school have needed and in one year the success can be felt and seen in a variety of ways. Climate has changed, conversations between faculty members have changed, and student achievement has greatly improved. …ConnCan has published that Mary R. Fisher is third in CT for student achievement showing a 20.4% gain in one year! With the support of EASTCONN and the knowledgeable expertise and guidance from its staff …our school is on the path to student success! … As a new administrator, seeing your school turn around with new direction, new energy, and renewed passion for teaching children in a very short period of time is the outcome from CALI and EASTCONN’s support.” — Noveline Beltram, Principal, Mary R. Fisher Elementary School, Thompson Public Schools
“The support provided by Jim Huggins and the staff at EASTCONN in managing the CSDE’s CALI and school improvement professional development money is invaluable. The expertise of Jim and the staff at EASTCONN is an asset to us as we plan our budget and events. They often make time and money saving suggestions to us so that we may fully optimize our efforts.” — Michelle L. Rosado, Education Consultant, Bureau of Accountability and Improvement, Connecticut State Department of Education
tive is a statewide comprehensive and systemic school improvement initiative that provides districts with a common language for school improvement and consistent, research-based practices. • Agency services: – Facilitated and managed all of the CALI statewide training sessions. In total, 65 sessions were scheduled and attended by more than 1,400 educators. – Provided fiscal management of 6 CSDE school improvement grants, totaling more than $11 million. – Coordinated the statewide delivery of 1,136 technical assistance days provided to schools by the Regional Educational Service Center (RESC) Alliance. – Coordinated the delivery of 800 service days in 40 CALI Demonstration School sites throughout Connecticut, providing CALIcertified data facilitators to support school and instructional data teams. • CALI Demonstration Schools Provided a data facilitator in 2 demonstration schools, resulting in more effective and efficient school and instructional data-team meetings; as a result, teachers were better able to analyze results of common formative assessments and they could more easily identify effective instructional practices that support improved student learning outcomes. • CALI Technical Assistance Service Provided 110 days of on-site training and technical assistance to 8 stateidentified districts around the core components of CALI, including: SRBI, Effective Teaching Strategies, Common Formative Assessment, School Climate, Data Teams, DataDriven Decision-Making, and Engaging Classroom Assessments. • CALI statewide professional development module training Provided training on the following statewide CALI modules: – Data-Driven Decision Making/Data
Teams Basic Training; provided 6 sessions for 176 educators – Effective Teaching Strategies Basic Training; provided 5 sessions for 142 educators – Effective Teaching Strategies Certification Training; provided 2 sessions for 22 educators – Scientific Research-Based Intervention Basic Training; provided 1 session for 20 educators – Scientific Research-Based Intervention (SRBI) Implementation Training; provided 1 session for 24 educators – Coaching Data Teams; provided 2 sessions for 39 educators – Common Formative Assessment Basic Training; provided 2 sessions for 45 educators
Praxis I As part of the statewide Minority Teacher Recruiting Alliance that is designed to increase employment of minority educators in Connecticut, our division scheduled and provided supports for 24 Praxis I Prep Sessions and 24 Praxis I Math Course Sessions to 150 educators; Praxis courses help prepare minority candidates for the Praxis I and II examinations that are required for teacher certification. g
Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT) One-thousand-one-hundred-andfifty (1,150) CAT candidates have registered to take the test and we have supervised the scoring of 2,950 tests as part of a contract with Connecticut State Department of Education, in which we manage the implementation of the CAT statewide. Aspiring administrators are required to pass this test in order to obtain administrator certification. g
Regional Initiatives Regional Councils Organized and facilitated a variety of regional councils for member districts. These regional councils provide districts with opportunities to g
Teaching & Learning Services share resources, information and access to professional development. Among those councils managed by the Teaching & Learning division are:
“I regularly attend DF regional meetings and PD regional planning meetings at EASTCONN and find them all professional, efficient, and filled with important and current information that helps inform and shape my work in my district. On occasion, I also attend the Math and Language Arts Council regional meetings, and wish that there was enough time to attend them all regularly, as the opportunities for collaboration and communication are rich and important.” — Vonda Tencza, Director of Curriculum and Technology, Hebron Public Schools
• Language Arts Council Sixteen (16) educators from 8 districts participated in this council, which provides districts with information and resources for improving language arts curriculum, assessment and instruction. • Math Council Twenty-six (26) educators from 14 districts participated in this council, which provides our districts with information and resources for improving math curriculum, assessment and instruction. • Regional Staff Development Council Twenty-eight (28) educators from 26 districts participated in this council, which provides our districts with current information from the Connecticut State Department of Education and provides a forum for regional collaboration around professional development opportunities and shared resources. • Science Council Forty-five (45) educators from 15 districts participated in this council, which provides our districts with information and resources for improving science curriculum, assessment and instruction.
Science Council members and Science Cadre staff posed for a quick snapshot after a productive meeting.
• SRBI (Scientific Research-Based Intervention) Council Twenty-eight (28) educators from 10 districts participated in this regional council, which provides schools with a network of educators that identify effective practices for successful implementation of SRBI. • PreK-8 Principals’ Consortium Facilitated a regional professional learning network for 17 area principals to promote collaboration for curriculum development and professional development, to share issues and concerns, and
to collaborate on strategies for success. • Reading Assessment Consortium Developed 2 sets of formative reading assessments for grades 3-8; one set in social studies and one set in science, aligned to Connecticut Grade Level Equivalents (GLEs), with open-ended questions related to the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) reading strands. Literacy Support Provided literacy services to 18 schools, an increase of 4 schools from last year, in the alignment of curriculum and instruction with the Connecticut Language Arts Grade Level Expectations (GLEs), resulting in improved instructional practices to support students’ acquisition of the GLEs. g
A flexible, inquiry-based, total math curriculum in a “real-world” context
OPEN HOUSE KICK-OFF EVENT
Inviting All Administrators and Elementary Math Teachers Dec. 9, 2010, 2:30-5 p.m., EASTCONN Windham Mills 322 Main St., Building 1, Willimantic R.S.V.P. to Ann Marie Milette at 860-455-1579, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Do the math materials you’re using provide a flexible, inquiry-based, total math curriculum, teach math concepts and skills in a “real world” context, include assessment strategies, and align with national and state common core standards?
Carolina Biological — Math-Out-of-the-Box Initiative Through a partnership with Carolina Biological, offered 14 workshops to 7 districts at no cost, providing math resources and professional development to educators to increase math content knowledge and pedagogy, addressing the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and the math section of the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT). gMath Out of the Box is an inquiry-based math curriculum that enables you to do all
this and more! All Math Out of the Box workshops are free to participants, thanks to funding provided by Carolina Curriculum, lunch and CEUs are included. In addition, all participants who complete a full-day workshop will be provided with the opportunity to pilot the associated Math Out of the Box unit in their classroom.
Register online at www.registereastconn.org. Click on the workshop title.
OPEN HOUSE KICK-OFF EVENT
g Grade 2
Audience: Grade 2 Teachers, Elementary Math Teachers Date: March 2, 2011(snow date: 3/3/11) Time: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Location: EASTCONN Windham Mills Course #: 102531479 Register by: 2/16/11
g Grade 5
Audience: Administrators and Teachers Date: Dec. 9, 2010 Time: 2:30-5 p.m. Location: EASTCONN Windham Mills R.S.V.P. to Ann Marie Milette at 860455-1579 or email@example.com
g Grade 3
g K-5 Crosswalk: Developing Number Sense
Audience: Kindergarten Teachers, Elementary Math Teachers Date: Jan. 6, 2011 Time: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Location: EASTCONN Windham Mills Course #: 102531480 Register by: 12/23/10
g Grade 1
Audience: Grade 1 Teachers, Elementary Math Teachers Date: Feb. 7, 2011(snow date: 2/8/11) Time: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Location: EASTCONN Windham Mills Course #: 102531478 Register by: 1/24/11
Audience: Grade 3 Teachers, Elementary Math Teachers Date: Feb. 2, 2011 Time: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Location: EASTCONN Windham Mills Course #: 102531564 Register by: 1/19/11
g Grade 4
Audience: Grade 4 Teachers, Elementary Math Teachers Date: Jan. 24, 2011 (snow date: 1/25/11) Time: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Location: EASTCONN Windham Mills Course #: 102531565 Register by: 1/10/11
Audience: Grade 5 Teachers, Elementary Math Teachers Date: April 8, 2011 Time: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Location: EASTCONN Windham Mills Course #: 102531566 Register by: 3/25/11
Date: Jan. 27, 2011 Time: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Location: EASTCONN Windham Mills Course #: 102531549 Register by: 1/13/11
g K-5 Crosswalk: Developing Algebraic Thinking
Date: March 31, 2011 Time: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Location: EASTCONN Windham Mills Course #: 102531550 Register by: 3/17/11
Curriculum Development Provided technical assistance to 8 districts, an increase of 2 districts from last year, in the alignment of local curriculum with Connecticut Standards and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs), resulting in the development of pacing guides that align instructional practices with Connecticut Standards. g
Differentiated Instruction Provided training and support to 8 districts, an increase of 2 districts g
Teaching & Learning Services Teaching American History (TAH) Project in 2010-2011
from last year, in the differentiation of instruction for students, so that teachers can provide strategies that meet the needs of all learners.
Grant Activities Perkins Consortium Coordinated the Regional Perkins Consortium, enabling 6 districts to access a funding source that they would not be able to access on their own. Collaborated on the design and implementation of pre-engineering, technology and Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) courses, benefitting more than 220 students. g
Teaching American History Federal Grant Nineteen (19) districts participated in the second year of this 3-year program, providing professional development and resources to 47 middle- and high school teachers of American history and 5 UConn graduate students, resulting in the development and enhancement of lessons and units. The program continued partnerships with the Connecticut Historical Society, American Antiquarian Society, Connecticut State Library, Museums of Northeast Connecticut, Historic New England, The Choices Program, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and the UConn Neag School of Education. g
Top, TAH Project teachers examine an artifact as they learn new ways to teach history. Above, TAH Coordinator Dan Coughlin, left, joins guest speakers, who shared experiences and information about the 1930s’ Civilian Conservation Corps.
Project Opening Doors & AP Students at Windham High
Project Opening Doors/Advanced Placement (AP) Awarded one of only 6 grants nationally, EASTCONN is leading the statewide Project Opening Doors AP initiative, providing project management services, as well as professional development and technical assistance to 23 Connecticut high schools, 5 of which are in the EASTCONN region. The project goal is to increase AP enrollment and improve the success rate for all students taking AP exams, while targeting an increase in the number of under-represented students in AP classes, including minority and economically disadvantaged students. This year, the number of students enrolled in AP classes grew from 3,307 to 4,111, an increase of 24%.
Access for All/Advanced Placement (AP) Managed Access for All, a federal AP and pre-AP grant, in collaboration with Connecticut State Department of Education. This program, coordinated with the Project Opening Doors AP initiative, provided professional development and support for pre-AP and AP teachers, aimed at increasing student enrollment in AP courses, especially minority and economically disadvantaged students; it also provides support for vertical teams and curriculum alignment in grades 6 through 12. Activities included: g
• Managed an AP Summer Institute in collaboration with Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) and the College Board; 87 teachers from 24 districts attended a 5-day summer institute that provided training for AP teachers in English, math and science in best practices in effective instructional strategies for AP students. • Provided a summer conference at ECSU for 20 school counselors in cultural responsiveness. • Supported a College Knowledge Day at ECSU for 500 middle school students to develop college aspirations and provide information about college readiness.
Windham High School AP students, above, display their Legislative citations for appearing in a national ad promoting AP programs and student success. Below, the AP students, just 3 among a total of 101 AP students at Windham, join their Windham AP teachers for a reception.
• Provided 6 workshops for school counselors and administrators to encourage advocacy and programs to expand access to AP classes.
Attentive teachers concentrate during a “Writing & Laughing” workshop.
Teaching & Learning Services Conference Office Services Managed 19 Connecticut State Department of Education professional development grants totaling more than $800,000. Scheduled and supported a total of 27 statewide events, serving more than 2,700 participants, including the annual Connecticut Assessment Conference, Connecticut Data Showcase and the School Climate Conference. Other activities included: g
“We’re always looking for subjectspecific professional development because providing that for ourselves is cost-prohibitive.” — Robert Siminski, Superintendent, Regional District #8
• Scheduled and provided logistical support for 211 professional development workshops, serving more than 2,000 participants. • Scheduled and provided logistical support for 581 meetings. • Processed and distributed a total of 8,800 CEU certificates to Connecticut educators statewide.
2010-2011 Challenges LEA Budget Constraints Limited local resources make it challenging to provide the comprehensive and systematic professional development that is needed to effect improved student-learning outcomes. g
development and alignment to the new Common Core State Standards. Secondary School Principals Network Establish a secondary school principals’ network for area principals to provide access to professional development and an opportunity to meet and address common challenges in implementing secondary school reforms. g
Expand Scientific ResearchBased Interventions (SRBI) Supports Expand SRBI-related services to support effective district implementation, including planning, data management and analysis, intervention support, classroom coaching, social-emotional and behavioral supports, and curriculum development. g
School-Improvement CapacityBuilding Increase capacity to support district and school improvement initiatives by increasing the number of staff trained in the Connecticut Accountability for Learning Initiative (CALI) and other evidence-based, successful professional development practices. g
Staff Capacity Maintaining a highly qualified professional development staff at a salary level that will allow us to provide cost-effective services to our member districts is an ongoing challenge. g
Conference Office staff managed 19 state Department of Education professional development grants, totaling more than $800,000. Staff also scheduled and supported a total of 27 statewide events to serve more than 2,700 educators and others.
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012 Online Learning Develop and provide more online learning opportunities for both educators and students. g
Regional Curriculum Development Establish regional curriculum groups to provide support for curriculum g
Staff will move into the new Hampton facility, whose interior is under construction, in September 2011. New Facility Manage the relocation of staff, equipment and supplies from the current site to the new conference center building in Hampton to ensure a smooth transition and the seamless delivery of programs and services. g
Technology Solutions Overview
New ways of using data to assess student progress can require multiple trainings and ongoing support. “Clearly, Brooklyn Middle School has benefited from our relationship with EASTCONN. EASTCONN has been a strong partner in securing grant money that was used to purchase major technology components…and training for our faculty. Moreover, the EASTCONN staff who work with our teachers are extremely knowledgeable, always helpful, and provide expertise and personalized service/ training. In these difficult financial times, I first and foremost hope we are able to retain all of our Brooklyn faculty, and secondly, continue to maintain a strong level of service from EASTCONN.” — Alan Yanku, Principal, Brooklyn Middle School
Technology Solutions provides districts with a comprehensive array of technology services that support and enhance the effective implementation of technology to support teaching and learning. Staff provide professional development in effectively integrating into the classroom the latest technology tools and applications; provide infrastructure and network support; and develop and provide customized online database solutions for efficient data collection and analysis. This year, in collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education, staff implemented the online data management system to support the Teacher Education And Mentoring (TEAM) Program, and developed an online registration and management system for the Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT).
Goals 1. To improve and enhance educator knowledge and skills in the effective use of technology through the delivery of quality programs, products and services that positively impact 21st-century teaching and student learning. 2. To enhance educator knowledge and skill in the collection and analysis of data through the development and delivery of quality, Web-based applications that support decision-making for improved student learning.
The use of online data-assessment tools to improve the quality of instruction has become increasingly important for teachers statewide.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments Grant-Funded Activities National Science Foundation (NSF) iTest Grant Provided professional development and technical assistance to 3 high schools, through a partnership with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and the Connecticut Science Center, using Web 2.0 tools, so that 9 Advanced Placement (AP) teachers and their students can more effectively use technology to problem-solve authentic, industry-designed challenges in the fields of science and math. g
Online Writing Grants Provided professional development for 3 schools that received Title II D competitive technology grants, resulting in an improvement in student writing through the use of online writing tools and other technology applications; these provide students with immediate feedback on their writing, as well as offering techniques for improvement. g
21st-Century Learning Environments Grant Provided professional development and support to 8 districts that received E2T2 competitive technology grants, designed to create 21st-century learning environments. These grants supported professional development activities and the acquisition of technology tools for 8 schools and 70-plus teachers, resulting in more effective integration and application of technology to support learning in 21st-century classrooms. g
Technology Solutions On-site Technology Integration Services and Coaching Combined federal, state and local funding to provide regional technology training and coaching to 12 districts that resulted in teachers more effectively integrating technology into classroom instruction and assessment. g
Technology Integration Professional Partner for the 21stCentury (TIPP21) Program Designed the TIPP21 statewide training and delivered professional development to 3 TIPP21 northeastern Connecticutregion cohorts with a total of 32 participating educators, who developed the capacity to provide technology integration training in their home districts. g
Specialists in teaching technology share the latest online techniques. “EASTCONN provided an opportunity for our staff members [SmartBoard/Technology Users Group] from a very small district, to network and share ideas with other colleagues regarding the integration of technology in their classrooms in a fun and relaxing setting. The time frame of 4–7ish was great, as teachers did not need to worry about being out of the classroom, and the variety of topics and skills provided something for everyone. I will be looking to EASTCONN for guidance next year as we begin to revise our five-year technology plan for our district, since that will be a process new to me.” — Vonda Tencza, Director of Curriculum and Technology, Hebron Public Schools
Intel Teach Leadership Provided professional development to 14 administrators across the region through 2 staff, who are certified as “Intel Teach Leadership Forum” trainers, resulting in administrators improving their efficiency through the effective use of technology. g
Discovery Education Partnership Provided teachers with access to a variety of online products, including streaming videos, lesson plans and virtual science labs, resulting in access to greater science resources for teachers and students through a collaboration with Discovery Education Partnership; 3 agency staff are Discovery Education STAR Educators and 2 staff are members of the Connecticut Discovery Education Network (DEN) Leadership Council. g
Regional Activities Statewide Webinars and Technology Professional Development Collaborated with the Regional Educational Service Center (RESC) Alliance on a statewide initiative to present half-day and full-day professional development sessions, online learning opportunities and hour-long Webinars on current topics in technology. More than 70 educators from 12 districts participated in the EASTCONN events. g
SmartBoard Users Group Thirteen (13) districts and 50 educators participated in our regional SmartBoard users group, created to assist teachers in designing more effective lessons, using interactive whiteboard technology in the classroom. g
Technology Council Met 5 times with an average attendance of 15 educators, representing 12 districts; provided a forum for district technology coordinators, technology integration specialists and teachers interested in using technology to enhance teaching and learning and access the latest information on state and federal technology initiatives; also provided an opportunity to share resources and information and receive training related to technology integration and emerging technology tools for teachers and students. g
Virtual High School (VHS) Coordinated the delivery of online VHS courses to 4 participating districts, enabling 80 students in our region to access courses online. VHS courses allow districts to increase the number of courses they can make available to students by providing access to more than 200 semester-long and full-year courses. g
Moodle Boot Camp Provided professional development to 15 educators on Moodle, a free, open-source software package, based on sound pedagogical principles that facilitate the design, development and delivery of blended learning courses for students of all ages. Participants were provided access to a Connecticut-hosted Moodle account to implement a model course for the 2011-2012 school year. g
ACT students in a computer technology class check with one another before moving ahead on a task.
“EASTCONN’s commitment to the support and professional growth of new teachers is evident in the professional staff that has guided the development and implementation of this program in partnership with the CSDE. Integral to the development of the program has been the Web-based system, designed and maintained by EASTCONN, which provides easy access to all participants, their mentors and administrators, thus allowing for accountability at both the local and state level.” — Bev Hartstone, Educational Consultant, Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification, CSDE
Information Technology Audits Provided a comprehensive technology audit for 2 districts and 8 municipalities, resulting in the identification of strategies for increased efficiency in the use of existing IT staff and cost-savings for purchasing new technology. g
Technology Network Support Provided network administration services and on-site technical assistance to 3 districts, 1 more than last year, resulting in more effective use of local resources to support and maintain their technology infrastructures. g
Database Development & Support Standards-Based Report Card System Developed an online standards-based report card system that integrated with an agency-developed student information system, resulting in greater efficiency for teachers as they report student progress. g
Connecticut PreSchool Assessment Framework (CT PAF) Online Database Provided upgrades and support to the CT PAF, resulting in enhanced data entry and reporting functions. CT PAF is used in 310 Connecticut preschool classrooms, up from 206 in 2009-2010. g
EASTCONN’s MyRtI™, a new Webbased tool that helps districts gather and analyze student assessment data to meet state mandates and improve intervention strategies, was among many new technology products on display at a recent Data Conference in Connecticut.
Based Interventions (SRBI) by providing real-time collection and analysis of student assessment data; this results in greater efficiency for educators as they evaluate and monitor core curriculum and instruction and assess the effectiveness of their intervention strategies.
eCord Upgraded the online conference registration system that is used to manage and coordinate in-house conference facilities and meeting rooms, as well as statewide events. This year, more than 8,800 CEUs were processed through the agency. g
CSDE Data Systems Support TEAM (Teacher Education And Mentoring) Program Developed, implemented and managed a new Web-based accountability and data management system for TEAM, currently being used by 4,966 active, beginning teachers and 4,174 mentors, as well as other educators. The online system provides all participating educators (district facilitators, new teachers, mentors, reviewers, principals and superintendents) with a real-time communication and data system that enhances communication between mentors and new teachers and provides a real-time record of their progress on module completion, as required by Connecticut State Department of Education certification regulations. g
Connecticut Accountability for Learning Initiative (CALI) Modified, enhanced and managed multiple online data systems for Connecticut State Department of Education, supporting the coordination and delivery of this statewide initiative, resulting in greater efficiency for data management and greater ease of use. g
State Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) Skills Checklist Implemented a statewide, online learning module for Connecticut educators to ensure that they are adequately trained in the implementation of the Connecticut State Department of Education CMT Skills Checklist assessment for students with alternative assessment needs. g
MyRtI™ Released a new version of this Webbased application that supports districts’ implementation of Scientific Researchg
Technology Solutions Kindergarten Inventory Implemented the annual online kindergarten inventory for all Connecticut districts that provides the Connecticut State Department of Education with critical data on the developmental progress of kindergarten students. g
Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT) Developed and implemented a new statewide online registration system and new data management system for the administration of the CAT that will make it easier for participants to register for CAT modules, and that provide the state and the Department of Higher Education with enhanced reporting capabilities, such as pass rates for higher education institutions. g
CTCurriculum.org Developed an enhanced version of CTCurriculum.org for the Connecticut State Department of Education to support the development and dissemination of quality lessons and assessments aligned to Connecticut Standards. g
Training Wheels Developed and provided support to the State Department of Education Early Childhood division in data collection for the implementation of Training Wheelsâ€™ professional development program. g
Common Core of Teaching Developed and implemented an online job analysis survey for Connecticut educators, so they can easily provide the Connecticut State Department of Education with input and feedback on revisions to the Common Core of Teaching. g
Program logos, above, are familiar to educators who work with EASTCONN to provide superior training and professional development statewide.
2010-2011 Challenges Staying Current with Technology Rapidly changing advances in technology, specifically Web 2.0 tools, create professional development challenges for helping staff to g
remain current in using the latest technologies effectively in the classroom. District Budget Constraints Limited local resources make it challenging to provide comprehensive, ongoing professional development, including on-site, embedded coaching and technical assistance, as well as access to regional professional development opportunities. g
Staff Capacity Hiring and maintaining highly qualified technology staff, particularly those skilled in database development and data analysis, at a salary that allows us to provide cost-effective services to our member districts, is a challenge, given the current market conditions and the demand for highly skilled technology staff. g
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012 Utilize Emerging Technology Tools Continue to leverage the power of emerging technology tools, such as iPads and Social Networking sites, to develop and provide more authentic and engaging online learning opportunities for educators and students. g
Web-Based Data Management Solutions Continue to develop Web-based assessment and data management solutions for schools, with an emphasis on tools that will enhance educatorsâ€™ ability to make decisions using data. g
Expanding Markets Seek new customers for technology products as a way of both reducing costs to member districts and providing a revenue stream for the research and development effort that is needed to remain current in the marketplace. g
Transportation Services Overview “[EASTCONN] has been providing transportation for our special education students for the past several years. They are a company who takes pride in their operation and performance and have always been available to fill our transportation needs. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. Many times we have a very late request for transportation and EASTCONN is able to fill the request on a timely basis. They are a company who is more than willing to work with a district and can combine routes, etc., to make the runs economical for the district.” — William Mazzara, Director of Finance, Regional School District #8
Transportation provides services to school systems throughout Connecticut and to agencies in the northeastern region. While our expertise is the transportation of students with special needs, this division also transports other riders, including students and clients, to job and training sites. In addition, the Transportation division provides specialized training, Student Transportation Vehicle classes for new drivers and yearly re-certification training classes for our present drivers, as required by the State of Connecticut.
Goals 1. Increase the number of districts that choose EASTCONN transportation services for their student transportation needs. 2. Continue to lower the costs of our transportation services for member districts through the implementation of cost efficiencies.
2010-2011 Highlights & Accomplishments Member Participation • Provided approximately 2.5 million miles of transportation assistance to more than 500 students, using a fleet of more than 100 specially equipped vehicles.
rising fuel, labor and maintenance costs, as a result of a focused, regionwide effort to consolidate student runs, thus saving district resources that can be redirected to support classroom instruction. GPS Technology Effects Savings Installation of GPS units in all vehicles has resulted in better fuel economy, communication and driver accountability, and an overall estimated savings of 20%. g
Regional Transportation Initiatives Contributed to the regional transportation initiative through the collection and analysis of current district transportation contracts for the purpose of identifying opportunities for collaborative transportation arrangements across districts. g
Driver Training Provided all agency drivers with state-mandated annual training that includes such topics as Blood Bourne Pathogens/Universal Precautions, Student Management, Emergency Procedures, Seasonal Safety, Substance Use and Abuse, Activity Trips, Communication Skills, Laws and Regulations, and Characteristics of Students with Disabilities. g
From individuals to larger groups, EASTCONN’s 80-plus highly trained drivers can safely and professionally move students from home to school, while accommodating special needs.
• Increased member participation in our regional transportation services to 24 districts. Cost Containment Continued to maintain the same level of pricing for the last 3 years, despite g
Adult Riders Doubled the number of adult riders who are transported to training and work sites under a contract with the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board. g
Driver Education Program • Now fully operational in 2 locations (Danielson & Willimantic) the program is more readily accessible to a greater number of people across the region. g
“EASTCONN Transportation’s ‘Rides for Jobs’ service provides an invaluable resource for the participation in the Jobs First program. In this rural area and these difficult times, reliable transportation can make the difference between success and failure for working families. The Transportation staff make the entire process user-friendly and easily accessible, so our families have one less thing to worry about.” — Mary Ellen Nedoroscik, JFES Case Manager, CTWorks, Danielson
A number of Transportation’s certified drivers pose in front of a few of the agency’s 100 specially equipped vehicles, which traveled 2.5 million miles this year, assisting more than 500 students in 24 districts across the region. • Increased the number of teen driving students by 25% from last year. • Increased enrollment in the mandatory 8-hour Safe Driving Practices class by 30%, a reflection of the current economy, with more parents electing to fulfill other, additional, driver education requirements through the home-training option. • Promoted the driving school at the Willimantic “Third Thursday” event.
2010-2011 Challenges Driver Personnel Shortages It is very challenging to find prospective drivers who are qualified and willing to participate in the pre-employment mandated training, and then who are able to wait the 12-16 weeks it takes to receive the required Department of Motor Vehicle-issued certification; many applicants lack the financial means to wait more than 3 months to begin earning a paycheck, and often find other employment in the interim; others lack sufficient English-language ability to participate in training or to carry out necessary job tasks.
Driver Education Expansion To increase the number of driver education classes offered, more licensed instructors, who are difficult to find, must be hired, particularly those who are also fluent in Spanish. g
Plans & Implications for 2011-2012 Expand Regional Participation Continue increasing the number of districts participating in the agency’s regionally coordinated transportation system for children with special needs. g
Driver Education, whose logo is above, increased enrollment in its 8-hour Safe Driving Practices class by 30% and increased the number of teen driving students by 25%.
Budgeting Challenges Fluctuating fuel prices make it difficult to budget effectively and efficiently. g
Staffing • Continue to seek effective strategies for recruiting and retaining quality drivers and driver education instructors, including exploring a “grow our own” initiative. g
• Explore collaborating with the agency’s Adult Education division to provide English-as-a-SecondLanguage instruction that is customized to include job-related language for potential driver applicants. • Aggressively market the new 8-hour defensive driving course.
Contacts Executive Director....................................Paula M. Colen
Adult & Community Services...................Richard Tariff
Cooperative Purchasing........................... Sue Lewis
Early Childhood Initiatives.......................Elizabeth Aschenbrenner
Facilities/IT Services................................Michael Akana
Human Resources..................................... Steve Wapen
Marketing & Communications................. Dotty Budnick
Hampton.......................... 860-455-1506............... firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning & Development..........................Maureen Crowley
Student Services........................................ Thomas Cronin
Teaching & Learning Services.................. Jim Huggins
Technology Solutions................................ Jim Huggins
Transportation Services............................. Frank Salce
The EASTCONN Executive Board
Chairman..................... Mr. Herbert Arico......................... Regional District #19
& Willington Public Schools
Vice-Chairman............ Mr. John Adamo............................ Windham Public Schools Secretary..................... Dr. Catherine Wade....................... Hampton Public Schools
Ms. Michelle Bibeault..................... Eastford Public Schools
Mr. John Bolduc.............................. Chaplin Public Schools
Mr. James Cherry............................ Regional District #8
Ms. Diane Clokey........................... Tolland Public Schools
Ms. Jane Dube................................. Hebron Public Schools
Ms. Diana Ingraham........................ Voluntown Public Schools
Ms. Sheila Johnson......................... Brooklyn Public Schools
Ms. Jean Lambert............................ Chaplin Public Schools
Mr. David Marcotte......................... Killingly Public Schools
Ms. Jennifer Nelson........................ Regional District #11
Mr. Tom Oâ€™Rourke.......................... Canterbury Public Schools
Ms. Katherine Paulhus.................... Mansfield Public Schools
Mr. Steve Rosendahl....................... Woodstock Public Schools
Mrs. Tracy Rummel........................ Stafford Public Schools
Ms. Donna Smith............................ Pomfret Public Schools
Bringing Learning to Life for All Students, of All Ages