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Annual Board Update 2016-2017


EASTCONN’s Mission

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.

Index From the Executive Director.........................................................................page 1 Agency Goal Updates: Agency Goal 1: Exemplary Programs and Services..............................page 2 Agency Goal 2: Strategic Collaborations .............................................page 13 Agency Goal 3: Knowledge and Skills of Educators............................page 27 EASTCONN’s Six Divisions........................................................................page 35 EASTCONN Administrative Team...............................................................page 36 Program Updates: Adult Programs..............................................................................page 37 Early Childhood Initiatives............................................................page 43 K-12 Student Services....................................................................page 50 Organizational Support Services....................................................page 58 Teaching & Learning Services.......................................................page 66 Technology Solutions.....................................................................page 71 Transportation................................................................................page 78 n

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EASTCONN Board of Directors..................................................................page 80

REGION • AT • A • GLANCE

EASTCONN • AT • A • GLANCE

33..... Communities 36..... School Systems 83..... Schools 254.....Administrators 3,007..... Teachers 37,079..... Students 265,284..... Residents

150.......Programs & Services 550.......Employees 16.......Locations 196,715.......Facilities’ Square Footage 100+.......Student Transport Vehicles $76.7 million......Annual Budget


2016-2017 . . . From the Executive Director This will be my final annual report to our Board of Directors, as we once again mark the progress we’ve made toward achieving our agency goals. I will retire in Fall 2017. As I reflect on my 12 years as Executive Director and on my 40 years in education -- 37 of them with EASTCONN -- I can’t help but be proud of this agency’s many accomplishments and the important work we have done to serve and advocate for our 33-town, 36-district region. With that in mind, as you read this report, I hope you’ll note the internal collaborations among EASTCONN divisions that are having a far-reaching external impact, not only on Quiet Corner learners, schools and communities, but across eastern Connecticut and beyond. Examples below range from the marvelously practical to the cutting-edge: • Adult Programs staff worked with Early Childhood Initiatives to offer the forward-looking Two-Generational (2Gen) program, which connects Windham Head Start parents with ESL and GED classes, while their children attend Head Start. As a result, parents are able to overcome language barriers, improve their earning potential and more easily navigate complex bureaucratic challenges.

Paula M. Colen, Executive Director

• Early Childhood Initiatives staff collaborated with several EASTCONN divisions to bring the region’s first Mental Health Summit to fruition this June, when area health professionals, leaders and educators will investigate the growing concerns and implications of children’s mental health issues on schools and communities in northeastern Connecticut. • K-12 Student Services continued to work closely with Teaching & Learning staff to pilot innovative instructional rounds in our magnet schools, improving teachers’ classroom practice and providing enriched learning environments for hundreds of our students. K-12 staff also collaborated closely with our Transportation Department to safely convey hundreds of students each day to dozens of special education programs, magnet schools and other out-placements that ensure their learning needs are met. • Teaching & Learning science staff worked with K-12 Student Services educators to provide Next Generation Science Standards-aligned learning for hundreds of our region’s students and their teachers on our new, state-of-the-art Mobile STEM Laboratory, providing sophisticated STEM learning opportunities that supplement low-resource science classrooms. • Technology Solutions is partnering with Early Childhood Initiatives staff to build pioneering, online data collection and management systems that streamline and simplify data collection and reporting; these high-impact systems affect thousands of preschool students statewide, increasing the quality of assessments and improving student outcomes. Technology staff have also collaborated with Teaching & Learning to develop and manage the statewide TEAM website that provides online, interactive support to thousands of Connecticut’s new teachers. There’s so much to learn about the depth and breadth of EASTCONN’s programs and services. I hope you’ll take the time to grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in for a good read as we share the best of our efforts to provide quality, cost-effective programs and services to the schools and communities that we have served since 1980. I will miss all of it, and all of you. I wish EASTCONN every success as it begins this next chapter. Warm Regards,

Paula M. Colen, Executive Director

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AGENCY GOAL #1

To provide exemplary programs and services for learners, especially those with significant barriers, so each can achieve individual success. “EASTCONN is known for their talented staff who go above and beyond just doing the job; they understand and care deeply about how well they do their work because it truly has an impact on children and families.” member districts when children transition at age 3. On average, we managed more than 12 referrals monthly, and maintained an ongoing caseload of 57 children per month. Family Survey results were very positive, showing that we’d received 98% positive answers on Federal Guideline questions in the areas of parental involvement, their understanding of their child’s disability and child development facts. • Connecticut Early Learning & Development Standards (CT ELDS): Helped Connecticut’s Birth to Three Central Office by providing information on how our Birth to Three program is using the CT ELDS to guide goal development in relation to services provided to children. A total of 90% of Birth to Three specialists across Connecticut are integrating the CT ELDS in their home visits with children and families.

2016-2017 Highlights & Accomplishments Young Children & Their Families

Economically Disadvantaged Infants & Toddlers Provided center-based Early Head Start services for 48 infants and toddlers, home-based services for 119 infants and toddlers, and served 8 children who had a locally designed program combining center-based and monthly home visits. This year, 17% of the children enrolled in Early Head Start qualified for Birth to Three services and were on an Individualized Family Service Plan to address developmental delays identified through early screening processes.

Early intervention services provided for young children who are indentified with disabilities have proven highly effective when transitioning them to preschool programs at age 3.

Economically Disadvantaged Pre-K Children Through our federally funded Head Start children Child Development programs, served 215 low-income pre-K children and their families... families with comprehensive services, including health, nutrition, education, disability, dental, mental health and family support at a total of 6 sites in Tolland and Windham counties. Our integrated,

Head Start programs

Infants & Toddlers with Our Developmental Disabilities EASTCONN’s Birth to Three program served served families in all 33 towns in the EASTCONN region. Providing earlyand their intervention services to infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities results in significant developmental gains and special-education savings to our

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“My experience with EASTCONN has been nothing but amazing. They have helped my family reach so many of our goals and continue to do so. I am grateful my family gets to be a part of the EASTCONN family.” – Jennifer Beals, Early Head Start and Head Start Putnam parent “I have had a wonderful experience with EASTCONN Head Start and Early Head Start - loving, caring, reliable care for my children while I’m at work. Being able to go to work with no worries, because your child is being cared for with 100% care and love makes work so much easier. Also, they’ve provided resources for my family as we were not aware of what was available to help our family in need or my child that was having difficulties.” – Lorry DeBella, parent of a Head Start/Early Head Start student

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AGENCY GOAL #1 center-based model, combining Head Start children in regular public school preschool programs, continued to produce significant gains made by all participating children as compared with children attending other, non-integrated programs. After 4 years of professional learning support and implementation of strategies designed to increase executive function and other skills, our Head Start children continued to show significant gains on the Connecticut Preschool Assessment Framework (CTPAF).

This approach has resulted in positive student outcomes, as evidenced by an anticipated 96% graduation rate and many acceptances at first-tier colleges. On average, nearly 80% of ACT students will go on to post-secondary study, including college. Of note again this year, ACT students have won awards and recognition from numerous state, regional and national arts contests.

Dual-Language Support An increasing number of families in Head Start/Early Head Start require translation services. In the interest of serving our children’s families’ and classroom teachers’ communication needs, we have created a bilingual home visitor position to help us communicate more effectively, both during home visits, and in our center-based programs. Social/Emotional Health of Young Children As part of our ongoing efforts to support developmental and social-emotional needs of young children and their families, staff worked with the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children as a Tier 1 strategy for early childhood programs in our region. The Pyramid Model, recently adopted by Connecticut, has proved to be a sound framework for early care and education systems. • Regional Mental Health Summit: Coordinated, will host and present “Mental Health in Northeastern Connecticut: A Growing Concern,” a half-day regional summit with school leaders, mental health providers and juvenile justice professionals, in early June. Goals of the summit are to address the increasing challenges of student behaviors in classrooms, identify causes, find solutions and create systematic approaches to resolving larger issues.

A QMC student tests his engineering knowledge as he constructs a 3D model by hand during a STEM-focused lab course. • Independent Learners who Thrive in Rigorous Learning Environments: Located on a college campus and featuring a student-driven democratic learning community, our Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) regional magnet high school enrolled 164 students from 23 different towns in its rigorous, humanities-rich and STEM-integrated program, with student access to college courses at no cost; 33 QMC students enrolled directly in Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) courses for free college credit, with 87% of students in 27 courses earning passing grades last fall, and 72% earning passing grades in 30 courses this spring. Another 13 students enrolled in the UCONN Early College Experience for free UCONN credit. – A carefully constructed sustainability plan for a $1.4-million federal grant, which concluded last fall, allowed QMC to continue to expand its STEM-infused curriculum, while supporting the EASTCONN Mobile STEM Lab, which made its official debut in fall 2016; the Lab provides authentic STEM education opportunities for QMC students and other districts in the region. In 2016-2017, 8 districts, as well as 5 EASTCONN schools, contracted to use the Lab, providing more than 700 students with on-board,

School-Age Children & Their Families High School Students with Special Interests • Students with an Interest in the Performing Arts: 121 students from 25 towns were enrolled at our Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) regional magnet high school. ACT provides a highly student-centered education in a rigorous, arts-infused program that takes into account each individual student’s talents and interests, ensuring that their motivation for learning remains high. The curriculum and performance-based programming at ACT provides interdisciplinary education in arts and academics, and enhances learning for all students.

“I love the fact I have access to college classes from QVCC; I think this is an amazing opportunity people should really grab … I believe anyone who’s enrolled at QMC, can truly reach the dreams they want to reach. They helped me do it, and I am confident they can help anyone do it.” – Quin, QMC student “… This school has proven to me, that through hard work, team work, and doing what I love, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to … If I had to describe ACT in only three words, I would describe it as Diverse, Artistic and Home. I can conclude by saying that ACT isn’t just a good school, it’s an amazing school. I am proud to be an ACT student.” – Maria, ACT Student

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AGENCY GOAL #1 • Students Benefiting from a Highly Structured, Therapeutic Learning Environment: Our 2 Clinical Day Treatment (CDT) programs, Northeast Regional Program (NRP) in Killingly and Educational Vocational Center (EVC) in Columbia were fully enrolled and served 120 students from 28 sending districts. NRP merged with our former Plainfield site, increasing the number of students attending NRP by 300% over last year. These programs served students, ages 5-19, with significant social, emotional and behavioral challenges and provided them with highly individualized and structured academic instruction and clinical support. Of note, nearly 10% of our students returned to less restrictive settings and 10 seniors in our CDT programs are on track to graduate in June 2017.

STEM investigative experiences. Of note, 2 STEM-themed summer camps for students were held for the first time, using the STEM Lab as a base of operations. A $25,000 grant from SUEZ Foundation will defray the cost of taking the Mobile STEM Lab to 20 member school districts.

• Students with Autism & Other Developmental Disabilities: Our inclusion-driven, regional autism programming provided direct services to students, both in-district and at our center-based program, as well as through on-site, in-district coaching for school personnel. This year, student enrollment increased to 12, up 20%, with students representing 8 districts; students received comprehensive educational and behavioral services during the school year, in addition to extended, school-year programming.

A QMC art teacher walks a NEASC team member through the details of curriculum documents, illustrating the school’s fidelity to teaching and learning practices aligned to standards.

• Students with Related Services Needs: Our Related Services Group worked with 26 of our districts to support 654 students, from preschool to age 21, an increase of 17% over last year. Students benefited from direct and/or classroom-based therapy, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and/or speech-language services.

– QMC and ACT hosted New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Visiting Committees this spring to complete the first self-study phase of NEASC Accreditation for both schools. The school communities engaged in the work of demonstrating our fidelity with NEASC standards in teaching, learning and support for learning.

• Students with Assistive Technology (AT) Needs: 36 students, preschool to age 21, from 22 member districts, as K-12 Students with “The staff at EASTCONN go above and well as 8 adult clients from 2 Special Needs State of Connecticut Bureau of beyond in their teaching to understand Student Services offers a Rehabilitative Services offices, continuum of services throughout my son on a personal and intuitive level.” received assessment services the region for students with a from our AT staff. AT provides wide spectrum of challenging communication and assistive technology tools and resources academic, behavioral and social/emotional needs. From onto mitigate educational challenges. Through our grant with the site professional development, training and consultations Connecticut Technology Act we were able to bring the latest for educators supporting in-district students to our regional in technology innovations to the region’s school districts and Clinical Day Treatment programs, we offer a full range of students. student support. Using data-based decision-making, we build district capacity toward the ultimate goal of least-restrictive • Students Benefiting from Behavioral Supports: Our environments. Psychological and Behavioral Consultation Services (PBCS) “... Having these services available will provide seamless supports for students, especially those in crisis.” – Fran Lagace, Director of Pupil Services, Killingly Public Schools, discussing EASTCONN’s new regional Clinical Day Treatment in Killingly “My husband and I could not be happier with our decision to enroll our son D. at EASTCONN Autism Program. We love the high level of education and specialization each faculty and staff member possesses. Since starting at EAP a little over a year ago, D. has made great strides and incredible progress behaviorally, academically, socially and also in the way of life skills. We believe the progress we’ve seen in his ability to adapt to change in routine in his home life is a direct result of the help and intervention he’s received at EAP.” – Jaime H., parent of Autism Program student “The staff at EASTCONN go above and beyond in their teaching to understand my son on a personal and intuitive level. Because of this, he can finally learn to the best of his ability by using kindness and caring for others.” – P.F., NRP parent

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AGENCY GOAL #1 team supported school-based teams, benefiting more than 3,000 students, in 31 districts through Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), designed to address a range of students’ needs from individual to school-wide supports, including academic, behavioral, social, functional and adaptive skills. District special education costs are greatly reduced when students receive early, high-quality, in-district support. PBCS also developed in-district supports for students with autism spectrum disorders in 17 districts, representing a 70% increase over last year. Another 19 districts contracted for neuropsychological assessment services, newly available through PBCS. Systems-based development and implementation of behavioral supports has resulted in marked improvements in student outcomes.

RTS support with study skills, time management and access to college assistance. Strong partnerships were developed with families, QVCC Student Support Services and adult service providers, including the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), which helped provide students with transition-to-adulthood supports. • Students Traveling to Out-Placement Programs: Transported 367 special needs students and 249 regular education students from 29 districts last year, and used our online database of outplacement destinations designed to encourage shared runs. Our Transportation Department continued to assist districts, as well as other public agencies, in reducing the barriers that individuals with special needs have in accessing their programs. Our services are customized to the needs of the individual, whether that’s through our 10 wheelchair-accessible vehicles or by providing additional paraprofessional support on a vehicle.

• High School Students with Intellectual & Other Developmental Disabilities: EASTCONN’s Woodstock Academy Cooperative, a collaborative program between Woodstock Academy and EASTCONN, provided services for 8 high-school-age students from 3 different districts in the region, who have intellectual disabilities and other significant developmental disabilities. All students increased their use of technology and applied new math and literacy skills in vocational settings.

Our Summer Youth Employment program teaches job-specific tasks and soft skills that will benefit students in future careers. Employment & Training Programs for In-School Youth More than 75 youth from 11 eastern Connecticut high schools received services throughout their junior and senior years and in their first year post-graduation from this Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB)-funded program. EASTCONN, in collaboration with New London Youth Affairs and Norwich Human Services, provided a continuum of services. Together, partners identified career pathways that would keep participants in school, while providing direction for post-high-school education and work opportunities. Student

RTS students attend QVCC classes, developing technology, community, vocational/career and/or college readiness skills. • Young Adults with Disabilities Transitioning Out of Special Education Services: EASTCONN’s Regional Transition Services (RTS), located on the campus of QVCC, served 9 students, ages 18-21, with a broad range of disabilities. Several students made great gains in both the amount and type of work that they were able to perform. Students attended QVCC courses independently and received

“I have worked with [an EASTCONN therapist] for several years. During that time, I have found [her] to be extremely competent as a physical therapist and a wonderful person. She and I have worked together on program specific activities and skill practice for our students with special needs as they participate in the regular physical education program here at Goodwin Elementary School. She is always happy, smiling and is always willing to provide me with extra help in the gym.” – Stephen Dean, P.E. Teacher, Goodwin Elementary School, Storrs “I loved getting a chance to work in a human service area, help all types of different kids and keep smiles on their faces. I think the youth employment program did a great job helping me and the other youth. I realize I can take on more than I thought, and that working hard pays off. Thank you for the experience.” – Mikeila, student participant in EASTCONN’s Youth Employment & Training Program

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AGENCY GOAL #1 outcomes included positives like: 80% of students increased their math, reading and occupational skills; 97% of exited youth graduated from high school or received their GED; 95% of the group experienced a paid internship compatible with their career interests and skills; one year after high school, 86% of exited youth were employed, were attending post-secondary school or were enrolled in the military. Summer Youth Employment & Training A total of 400 people and 120 community work sites participated in the 2016 Summer Youth Employment and Training Program, a 5-week summer work experience for eligible youth, ages 14-21. Area employers provided learning-enriched job experiences, and all youth received interviewing skills and youth worker safety training. Businesses in the Willimantic, Danielson, Norwich and New London labor markets provided a variety of work-based learning opportunities and evaluated youth on their work maturity and job performance. Program outcomes included: 96% of youth achieved an attendance rate of 85% or better; 95% of in-school youth returned to high school, obtained employment or enrolled in post-secondary school after completion of the program; 96% showed an increased understanding of workplace responsibilities based on work-readiness instruction.

Adult learners in our ESL classes improve their English proficiency, which dramatically brightens their employment prospects and lifetime earning potential.

All Adult Programs Across all adult and community programs this year, we served a total of 1,268 adult learners, including 669 who attended free classes offered in high school credentialing, English-as-aSecond-Language (ESL), American citizenship preparation, life/ basic skills instruction, and employment/ college transition support; and 561 others 2,800 INTERDISTRICT participated in our community education Program STUDENTS programs.

Racially Isolated Students A total of 2,800 students, grades 2-12, and 100+ of their teachers from 15 different districts benefited from one of our 10 increased their CSDE-funded Interdistrict Grants. Students Adults Seeking a High School from racially isolated rural districts joined knowledge of bullying, Credential peers from racially isolated urban districts & their acceptance of Across our 3 high school credentialing to engage in authentic, project-based & respect for others programs, 375 students were enrolled learning that integrated core academic and 60 are on track to graduate in June study with multi-cultural education. Upon 2017. A high school diploma is a necessary credential for most completion of the program, 80% increased academic knowledge continuing education opportunities and jobs that offer a living and 85% increased their knowledge of bullying and acceptance wage. Because our adult learners have widely varying educaof and respect for others. tional backgrounds and life experiences, we offer 3 high school credential program options to best match their unique needs and educational goals. They are: the GED; the Adult High School Adult Learners & Their Families Credit Diploma; and the National External Diploma Program (NEDP). As a result of their educational and economic disadvantages, each of the adult learners we serve has a unique profile and Adult English Learners life story. They all face common barriers to self-sufficiency. The English Learner (EL) population continued to increase To ensure that every adult student has the support necessary to across our region and limited English proficiency was a signifsucceed, we offer a broad, comprehensive continuum of services icant barrier to their continued education, vocational training through our highly personalized, student-centered approach to and employment opportunities; 267 students were enrolled in learning. “I came to get my education and better myself as a person and as a parent. I hope if I lead, my children will follow. It is a challenge, but worth it. Happy to have the help to change my future.” – Crystal Bellows, Adult Programs GED student “Yo necesito el GED para poder superarme y ayudar a mis nietos en sus tareas. Gracias a los maestros y a todos los que trabajan en EASTCONN por la oportunidad que nos dan a todos nosotros.” Translation: “I need the GED to improve myself and help my grandchildren with their homework. Thank you to all the teachers and employees at EASTCONN for the opportunity that they give us.” – Carmen Gonzalez, Adult Programs Spanish GED student

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AGENCY GOAL #1 our programs this year. Our EL classes connected their English language instruction with practical activities to help our students more easily navigate day-to-day challenges. • Jump Start: Our partnership with UCONN Jump Start, in collaboration with Head Start, has resulted in 29 evening ESL class enrollments for higher-level EL students in need of childcare. While the adults worked on English skills needed for employment advancement, their children received dinner provided by Windham Public Schools and quality care by UCONN students, supervised by Head Start staff.

Adults with Employment & Vocational Training Needs We continued to be the largest provider of employment and training programs for economically disadvantaged adults in the northeastern Connecticut region this year, administering $1.4 million in contracts through the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB). Of note: • Vocational Skills Training: Through our programs, a total of 359 unemployed and under-employed, economically disadvantaged adults attained the educational and vocational skills and credentials needed to access further training and/or better-paying jobs; 61% obtained employment upon completion. Certifications included Microsoft Office Specialist, National Retail Foundation Customer Service and Sales, ServSafe, as well as specialized trainings for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Commercial Driver License (CDL) and Cosmetology. • Integrated Education & Training (IET): Formerly known as I-BEST, our IET program offered National Retail Foundation (NRF) Customer Service and Sales certifications at 3 locations. The ESL Customer Service class was offered at Windham High School to parents participating in the family literacy program; 19 participants will take the NRF test in June. Unlike our programs funded with basic adult education grants, we were able to serve individuals who have their high school diploma, but who lack the basic skills needed to find and retain employment, a population of learners who are at high risk for underemployment or unemployment.

2016-2017 Challenges Changing Demographics Demographics are changing across the state and in our region. Connecticut’s population of school-age children declined by 3.46% between 2010 and 2015, and is projected to decline an additional 10% by 2025. Young peo• Bilingual Support & Outreach: In ple are moving to jobs in urban areas. an effort to increase participation in Unemployed, low-income Schools must also serve an increasing our program, we dedicated resources ADULTS took vocational number of students whose primary to hiring outreach staff and developclasses, resulting in... language is not English. Economic ing Spanish-language program and recovery in the region has been slow, recruitment materials. We provided resulting in job losses, stagnating Spanish-language transition services getting wages and a shrinking tax base. All and Spanish-language program of this challenges our districts to pass advising. Our expanded engagement healthy budgets, and to set aside and justify adequate funding in the Spanish-speaking community has resulted in increased for teacher professional learning and/or other special education enrollments, greater retention and enhanced partnerships. services, like those we have long provided region-wide. It is consequently a challenge to fully enroll our PD workshops. Spanish translation of agency materials allows us to more effectively reach our target audience with valuable information.

jobs

“It is really important for me to learn to write and speak English. It helps me to achieve my goal in the future so that I can communicate … It gives me an opportunity for a better future.” – English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) student “…When I started, I could barely speak English and I was very shy to try… Now I feel great because I can read and understand and communicate with my teacher. When you can’t speak English well, it is hard to get help from places because they don’t understand you and you just give up. I can speak and read English fluently now. I do help other people now. I encourage them that studying English is important for you and this country.” – English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) student

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AGENCY GOAL #1 students with very low literacy levels in their native language, as well as little-to-no experience in formal school settings. This challenge has been compounded by the federal shift from the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which has mandated an increased focus on embedding career pathways and job readiness, regardless of program content and level. We are challenged to develop new curriculum and programming that bridges the gap, strengthens language and literacy, develops student capabilities and prepares students to seek citizenship.

Aging Population The population in our region is aging. With fewer young families, we will continue to see declines in public school enrollments, which will further stress our small districts’ capacity to meet the diverse needs of their students. As enrollments decline, so will the tax base, and local resources will grow leaner. This makes it more difficult to respond to the needs of students, whether through professional staff development, specialized staff support for students or other educational services. State Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) dollars are being reduced and local budgets are strained as fewer taxpayers have children in the school system and as more of them struggle with fixed incomes. We must find more costeffective ways to help our districts address their growing needs.

• Increased Need for Pre-K EL Support: Increasingly, we have been called upon to provide support to districts or preschool programs when English Learners (EL) have enrolled. We need to build the capacity of early childhood providers across the region to better meet the needs of their young English Learners and their families. • Capacity to Meet Magnet School EL Needs: As we continued to expand the diversity of our student body, we sometimes lacked the capacity to fully meet the needs of all our English Learners and their families. While we have made great progress in providing Spanish language materials, many of our promotional and informational materials are not available in multiple languages, making full access and engagement a challenge.

Increasing Mental/Social/Emotional Health Needs Mental health demands continued to grow across all student age groups, both in frequency and severity. Many teachers have not been trained to address the mental health needs of children and their families, and we have limited numbers of skilled practiEarly Childhood Staff Capacity tioners and resources in our agency Requests from across the state for trainor across the regional social services ing, coaching and curriculum develop“... I love EASTCONN and all of the system available to support them. ment exceeded current staff capacity. staff, and recommend this program • Young Children and Their Families: We continued to see a to anyone who has a child who Increasing English Learner rise in mental health challenges in needs ‘a little extra something’ to (EL) Challenges very young children. The resources Our region is rapidly becoming more get them through to a mainstream to support teachers, families and diverse with growing populations of school. EASTCONN is #1.” children are extremely limited within English Language Learners, both in the our region and there are few skilled pre-K-12 systems, as well as in our adult practitioners who have the expertise education and employment/training programs. These learners to handle mental health and behavioral concerns in young are coming from diverse cultural backgrounds and their primary children. languages are increasingly diverse, as well. Resources to sup• K-12 Students: Mental health needs are increasing in public port dual-language learners are scarce and many of our smaller schools as well, contributing to the rise in our center-based districts lack certified, multi-lingual educators. We need to build program enrollment; 100% of students in our Clinical Day our own, as well as the region’s, capacity to respond to cultural Treatment programs, as well numerous students in our magnet and language differences, while promoting long-term solutions. schools, have diagnosed mental health needs. • Adult English Learners: There are increasing numbers of Early Childhood specialists focus on producing measurable results that improve youngsters’ chances for school success.

“I want to truly thank EASTCONN for being a part of my granddaughter’s life and her educational program. The staff have nothing but love and encouragement for her … I have had the honor to work with EASTCONN for 3 years now and love the program. The staff are very special people and have helped my granddaughter understand that people care about her. Staff at EASTCONN have brought her out of her comfort zone and have helped her socialize with others more. If the families of the students need any help, staff do whatever they can to assist. – J.S., Northeast Regional Program (NRP) Grandparent

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AGENCY GOAL #1 However, it is a challenge to move from identification of need Economic Constraints to long-term solutions that stabilize and support the learner’s In response to statewide budgetary concerns, towns and schools continued pursuit of academic progress. For example, we have are working to keep budgets in check, and school budgets have struggled to provide consistent educational services to those not increased in proportion to the rising learners who do not have stable cost of operations. District leaders have housing. In some cases, social little discretionary funding to pay for “Coming to QMC was the best services prioritize short-term goals the professional learning necessary to over progress toward long-term help staff respond to the rising number decision I have ever made. It has put goals, such as the preference for me on the pathway to college ... and of students with barriers to learning. finding part-time, minimum-wage Costs for out-placements and transa successful future.” employment over the completion portation are pressuring local budgets. of a high school credential. Declining enrollment in almost every district results in less state and federal funding, even though Available Funding for Professional Learning there are greater demands for resources due to new education Given districts’ increasingly limited budgets, it’s difficult to mandates and a marked increase in learners who have signifiprovide cost-effective regional training to build their profescant barriers to learning. sional learning capacity. As schools struggle with the cost of substitutes, travel and workshop expenses, they are participating in fewer events and sending fewer educators. The availability of substitute teachers is a related challenge. Fewer participants result in a higher cost per participant for us. Agency Regionalization While Windham County suffers from a well-documented lack of community resources compared to the rest of the state, there are quality agencies, initiatives and programs that are designed to provide support and aid to families in these communities. Unfortunately, due to decreased funding, many community programs have chosen to regionalize their services in order to accommodate budget cuts, while still trying to provide the recommended level of needed services. As a result, families face greater traveling distances, longer waiting lists, limited hours of operation, and many in the Windham area have had to forgo receiving important services.

ACT students were honored by the Connecticut Writing Project for their original works of poetry and prose; 5 were selected for publication in the Connecticut Student Writers magazine. Magnet School Funding State funding policies and constraints, combined with local district budget difficulties, continued to challenge the viability of our 2 regional magnet schools. State magnet school funding was flat for the 6th consecutive year, and new cuts have been proposed for 2017-2018. At the same time, our magnet school operating costs continued to rise due to increases in wages, maintenance and utilities. When we are forced to raise tuition to cover these expenses, the financial burden is shifted to our sending districts, causing a strain on local budgets, and making it difficult for our member districts to support school choice.

Public Transportation Public transportation is extremely limited in our region, making it a critical barrier for many families who need services, seek resources or who want to take advantage of training opportunities or educational programming. When transportation is available, it is not always well coordinated and many clients are not made aware of the opportunities. Reductions in State Funding for Adult Education We anticipate that State Adult Education reimbursements to towns will be reduced next year, even as our operating costs, including personnel costs, continue to rise. We will be requesting a 0% increase for the 2017-18 school year from our districts and will reduce our budget accordingly.

Adult Learner Barriers When students share barriers, we refer to appropriate agencies.

“ … Coming to QMC was the best decision I have ever made. It has pushed me in the right direction and has put me on the pathway to college and having a successful future.” – Hannah, Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) student “Before I came (to QMC), I was failing out of high school, but now I have good grades and I don’t like missing school anymore … I think that if you are not enjoying your high school experience, why not give QMC a try? It is a community, not a school. They are here to help you become a better person.” – Kaleb, Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) student

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AGENCY GOAL #1 English Learners (EL) • Magnet School EL: EASTCONN’s magnet schools and programs will collaborate with the Teaching & Learning division to provide instructional and assessment resources, as well as professional learning, to better address the needs of our EL students. • Transitions for Adult EL Students: One of our priorities is to continue expanding our EL program support, with a particular emphasis on the successful transition of students from our adult education programs to QVCC. We will continue to explore strategies for ensuring a smooth transition from Adult Programs EL to college-level EL. We will collaborate and design a program that prepares certified educators to teach Adult Programs EL.

Our customized transport services provided 616 regular and special education students busing to out-placement programs.

• Professional Development: Expanding our capacity to provide professional development for teachers, as well as direct instructional support to students, is a growing priority in order to ensure that we have the expertise needed to support our districts’ EL challenges. We will expand professional development opportunities that better prepare teachers across the region to address the needs of students who have cultural and language differences. This will occur through the Title III Consortium and other regional offerings.

Regional Special Education Transportation Specially equipped vehicles designed for transporting special needs populations are costly. In addition, we have had recurring difficulty recruiting and retaining highly qualified drivers, which challenges our ability to respond to unexpected district transportation needs. Although fuel costs have dropped, the cost of transportation to distant gained out-placements is expensive for districts. Often, our smaller districts have only 1 or 2 students traveling through our Summer Youth to these destinations, resulting in very high costs per pupil. Employment & Training Program

youth work experience

• Marketing & Communications: We will expand our capacity to communicate in multiple languages to ensure that more of our English Learners and their families have full access to information about our programs and services.

2017-2018 Plans & Implications Capacity Building In order to best serve the region’s changing population of learners, we must help our districts expand their capacity to meet the needs of all students in their schools, especially those with the most significant barriers. At the same time, we need to expand our own ability and capacity to provide that assistance. While our goal is to help districts educate students in local schools, there will continue to be a need for center-based programs where our expert specialists can work with district personnel to provide special needs students with individualized support. Whenever possible, these placements will be nearby and temporary.

Social/Emotional Health • Tier 1 Support for Young Children: Our Early Childhood Initiatives staff will work with a developmental, socialemotional model and introduce the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children as a Tier 1 strategy for early childhood programs in the region. The Pyramid Model is a conceptual framework of evidence-based practices developed by 2 eminent, national, research and training centers. • Regional Mental Health Summit: A mental health summit, titled “Mental Health Issues in Northeastern Connecticut: A Growing Concern,” is planned for June 2017 to address the increase in challenging behaviors in classrooms, and as a

“EASTCONN Transportation is my go-to place when I need to transport a student to an out-of-district placement. They are responsive, accommodating and reasonably priced. They work to accommodate our needs at every request. Just not sure how we would manage without [your] team!!” – Dr. Rachel D. Leclerc, Director of Special Education and Support Services, Mansfield Public Schools “ … I love EASTCONN and all of the staff and recommend this program to anyone who has a child who needs ‘a little extra something’ to get them through to mainstream school. EASTCONN is #1.” – Guardian of Clinical Day Treatment student

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AGENCY GOAL #1 coordinated system of transportation, particularly for children with special needs. Continue to work collaboratively with districts in identifying more shared routes to cut costs and increase efficiencies by encouraging them to utilize the regional database we’ve developed. New website pages will continue to be modified to simplify information-sharing with districts, parents and drivers.

means to identify causes, find strategies to address them, and create systematic approaches to solving larger issues. • DMHAS Partnership: In an effort to address the mental health challenges young children experience, Head Start is growing its partnership with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to provide our Head Start services at the New Life Center, a residential treatment facility in Putnam.

• Collaborating with Other Providers: Take full advantage of services available from other community providers for clientele that we share.

• K-12 Consultation & Training: Our Psychological and Behavioral Services Consultation team will continue to work with district personnel to increase their capacity to identify and respond to Tier 1, 2 and 3 student needs. In addition, we will increase our capacity to provide crisis intervention training and support to districts.

Advocacy & Collaboration Advocacy We will continue to keep decision-makers aware of our region’s unique challenges, as we shine a spotlight on the needs of northeastern Connecticut, and especially of our most vulnerable citizens. Given the state’s budget shortfalls, state resources will likely be reduced, especially in human services, and small towns in our region will be significantly impacted. Unlike large cities, our region’s needs rarely rise to the top of the state’s priority list. We will continue to advocate for our districts and seek alternative funding sources to support them. Collaborating with Mental Health Services Providers • Comprehensive Assessment: We will continue to work with the UCONN Psychological Services Clinic for observations, training and referrals of children who require comprehensive assessment services in our Early Head Start and Head Start programs.

Clinical Day Treatment students benefit from interventions and teaching strategies that include the latest technology tools.

• EASTCONN Schools: – Clinicians from our Clinical Day Treatment programs will actively engage with mental health providers from community health agencies and social services agencies to provide services for students under their care. – Staff members in the Autism Program will actively work with the Department of Developmental Services to ensure student access to needed services outside of the school setting. – Our recently hired neuropsychologist will expand our ability to support the mental health assessment and intervention needs of students across all EASTCONN programs/schools, as well as to assist our memberdistrict schools with their neurological assessments and implementation strategies.

• EASTCONN Programs: Our Clinical Day Treatment and Autism programs will continue to enhance their multi-tiered systems of support in order to increase our capacity to support students with more significant behavioral needs. • Consultation & Training: We are exploring ways of increasing the availability of staff with expertise in social and emotional learning for our districts. Transportation • Magnet School Transportation: Continue to work with our district partners and families in an effort to find cost-effective regional solutions to magnet school transportation challenges. • Regional Special Education Transportation: Continue to increase the number of districts participating in a regionally

“Our daughter has received physical therapy through the school system and EASTCONN for many years and it has always been a positive experience. Her therapists have been extremely knowledgeable and caring and always make the sessions fun. They set goals for our daughter and help her master them and it is very gratifying to consistently see the progress she makes. Our daughter uses both a manual and power wheelchair and her physical therapists have been very helpful with their evaluations and recommendations when it comes to making modifications and selecting new equipment. Their expertise in this area has been invaluable and we are grateful for the help they have been able to provide.” – Joanne Everett, parent of a student in the Region 19 STARR Program

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AGENCY GOAL #1 Saving Through Innovation To continue addressing the needs of low-incidence populations in a time of rising need and diminishing resources, we will look for innovative solutions that meet or exceed quality standards at a reduced cost to our member districts. We will harness the power of technology to drive innovation that results in higher quality, increased options and lower costs. We will continue to provide a variety of programming, both in-district and in center-based locations, that addresses the special needs of low-incidence populations who present the greatest challenges to our member districts. At the same time, we will continue supporting districts’ internal capacity.

J.StarBarnPhotography

Adults of all ages and a variety of backgrounds are able to earn their high school diplomas through our Adult Programs. Older Learners Recognizing that the general population in our member-district communities is aging, we will look at ways to better serve them and assess how to better utilize their skills and life experiences in support of our core mission. Among promising vehicles for promoting new learning opportunities are our Adult Programs high school completion and Community Education programs, multi-generational initiatives, and “maker-spaces,” where experienced craftspersons can mentor peers and young innovators.

Double Robot takes video conferencing to a new level, allowing users to attend a class or meeting from a remote location. New/Expanded K-12 Programming • Using Robot Avatars to Support Special Student Needs: We will continue to assess the potential classroom use of robot avatars by homebound students to determine whether this strategy may be useful for districts and students.

Two-Generation (2Gen) Initiative We will continue to expand our 2Gen approach to support our region’s most vulnerable populations. A coordinated • Motor Competence: The Related effort to build a regional, multi“The array of clinical support Services Group (RSG) is increasingly generational continuum of working in collaboration with classhigh-quality, integrated services and related services that room teachers in the early grades to and programming promises to EASTCONN can provide will be enhance student motor development increase the educational success, and competence, an integral factor in economic security, community of great benefit for our students student success. connections, and health-and... especially those in crisis.” • RSG Library Grows: Building on the well-being of eligible children, success of its AT Resource Library, the parents and families. By building RSG’s new library of therapeutic equipment is expanding to such supports, many more underserved residents will have allow therapists to try out equipment with students before access to opportunities that contribute to their success and their districts commit to expensive purchases. communities. “It has been great to give the kids the opportunity to work with students from other schools. They love it.” – Bill Green, Region 19, Depot Campus program “At ACT, we aren’t just a high school, we are a family. We always encourage one another and always respect one another. As a community we come together and do what we all love to do... the arts. Arts at the Capitol Theater is a place filled with love and kindness. The staff and students are all lovely and get along with one another. ACT is so amazing and it is my favorite place to be.” – Juliana S., ACT student

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AGENCY GOAL #2

To engage in strategic collaborations that result in positive outcomes for learners. “My experience working in partnership with EASTCONN goes back about 20 years, and their quality service has always hit the mark ...” 2016-2017 Highlights & Accomplishments Member District Partnerships & Collaborations Eastern Connecticut Health Insurance Program (ECHIP) This regional health insurance collaborative is concluding a successful 5th year with membership that includes 4 municipalities, 4 school districts and EASTCONN. Savings to all ECHIP members averaged 6.2%, with comparable savings anticipated for 2017-2018. All members continued to expand their range of wellness initiatives, which are designed to encourage employees’ healthy living. The collaborative, which added dental insurance in 2016-2017, is exploring the addition of other areas of health coverage, including student accident insurance, life insurance, disability and long-term care. ECHIP launched a new wellness website in the fall of 2016. • Technology Solutions staff are designing a new data system for ECHIP to facilitate its data entry and reporting needs. The new system will enable the regional health insurance collaborative to more easily view real-time data and create timely reports through an online portal.

The power of numbers: Our Cooperative Purchasing members saved nearly $1.35 million on useful, everyday products. Adult Education Consortium As a result of long-standing and voluntary collaboration, a regional consortium of 21 districts continued to offer a wide range of basic adult education services at a variety of locations across the region, maximizing local district resources and providing a depth and breadth of service that districts would be unable to provide on their own. This year, 1,268 adult students were enrolled in all programs across the consortium, including 669 who attended our free classes in high school credentialing, Englishas-a-Second-Language (ESL) and American citizenship.

Regional Cooperative Purchasing All 36 of our member districts have free access to our regional purchasing cooperative. Collectively, members in 2016-2017 purchased items in excess of $9 million through the cooperative, a 300% increase over the previous year. The average savings was between 10-15% (with a total value of between $900,000-$1.35 million), depending on which items were purchased. Among the many items available at a reduced cost were food, cafeteria supplies, custodial supplies, kitchen supplies and equipment, office paper and supplies, and fuel. Vendors returned $16,000+ in rebates to our members.

District Collaboration Initiative Brought together superintendents and Boards of Education chairpersons/members from 15 different EASTCONN-region districts in order to develop collaborative plans around identified areas, such as back office services, professional development (PD), hiring, recruitment, benefits management and transportation. The group sought new ways to continue

“ECHIP is an excellent example of regional cooperation between towns and board of educations and EASTCONN. The ability to come together has allowed us to move to a self-insured program for health benefits, something each of us could not do alone due to size, and in so doing we have saved individually hundreds of thousands of dollars in administrative fees and reduced costs for other related insurance products that we can now bid on collectively. It’s an honor to serve as Chairperson of this forward-thinking organization, whose goal is to continue to provide a reasonable health benefit package for employees at a sustainable cost.” – Steven Werbner, Tolland Town Manager and Chairman of the Eastern Connecticut Health Insurance Program (ECHIP) Executive Board

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AGENCY GOAL #2 Performed analysis of data systems for 1 regional district. Provided workshops to improve the SIS skills of about 80 users in 11 PowerSchool-based districts throughout EASTCONN’s service area and the state. In collaboration with LEARN, esBack Office Support tablished a PowerSchool user group serving eastern ConnectiEffective back office support requires strong collaboration becut with participation by 30+ districts. Continued to provide tween our member districts and the agency’s in-house admintraining at the national level, through istrative staff who provide the services. the Northeastern U.S. PowerSchool We continued to sustain the range of workshops Conference. Partnered with both the back office services that we provide to CSDE Performance Office team and the our districts, as well as the number of provided for PowerSchool corporate product develdistricts accessing them. In addition users in districts opment team to provide input on prodto the fiscal services we provided to uct design and reporting methods. Also 3 districts, we provided HR, facilities districts joined our oversaw improvements to EASTCONN and technology services this year. PowerSchool Users Group student information systems, resulting in increased efficiency and accuracy. IT Support for Member providing the most cost-effective, high-quality programs and services possible.

PowerSchool 80

30+

11

Districts & Municipalities Technology Solutions staff provided on-site support to 7 school districts and municipalities, an increase of 133% over last year, more than doubling the number of supported sites. This service was especially beneficial to our smaller partner districts and municipalities that lacked on-staff IT expertise. Our IT staff provided a diverse range of services, with benefits that included lower costs, access to our entire team of IT analysts and specialists, flexible scheduling, and both on-site and phone support. We also delivered assistance with technology auditing and strategic planning to 4 partner districts, including mapping their curricular requirements to technology, assessing infrastructure and reviewing staffing and capacity.

Standardized Testing & Reporting (STAR) 360 Assessments A total of 1,096 participants from 5 districts in our regional consortium accessed online early literacy, reading and mathematics assessments at a discounted price as a result of our collaboration with Renaissance Learning, an educational assessment and learning-analytics company. The STAR360 program allows educators to screen and group students for targeted instruction, measure student growth, predict performance on Smarter Balanced Assessment exams, and monitor achievement in Connecticut Core Standards. School Readiness Early Childhood Initiatives staff provided School Readiness Liaison staffing for 11 communities, an increase of 57% over last year; staff were also responsible for ensuring that the School Readiness Grant was set for submission and for developing both a consistent process and tools for monitoring grant activities. As a result of EASTCONN’s understanding of School Readiness requirements and quality grant-writing, more communities continued to request these services, and were able to maximize capacity and provide high-quality, part-time staffing in a cost-effective manner. Regional Early Childhood Planning In collaboration with 5 member districts, Early Childhood staff served on the Northeast Early Childhood Council Leadership Team, supported the Regional School Readiness Council and met regularly with Family Resource Centers. These collaborations promoted region-wide planning and coordinated delivery of services; as a result, resources were maximized and

PowerSchool workshops attract data specialists and technology directors who want to streamline their use of student data. Student Information Systems (SIS) Support Provided on-site professional development and consultation for 7 PowerSchool Consortium districts and 2 regional districts.

“I would like to take this opportunity to say what a pleasure it is to work with the EASTCONN Finance Office personnel. Whether it is budget development, budget reviews, help with purchase orders, payment requests or review of questionable billing, the staff is always willing to help in a timely manner. It is rare these days that you can pick up the phone and talk with a live person about a billing procedure or concern and come to a resolution, but this is the case with EASTCONN’s Finance office. Because of this relationship, C. H. Barrows STEM Academy has a strong partner in which both parties benefit from the association. We look forward to working with your staff in the future.” – Alan Cox, Principal of C. H. Barrows STEM Academy, Windham Public Schools

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AGENCY GOAL #2 efforts weren’t duplicated. A regional approach to setting goals for developmental screenings, vision and hearing screenings, mental health and school readiness resulted in opportunities for communities to come to together to address issues that impact young children.

Instruction at NRP incorporates project-based learning and real-life applications to maximize student success.

Woodstock Academy Cooperative Eight (8) high school students from 3 districts who have intellectual and other significant developmental disabilities attended this collaborative inclusion program. As often as possible and appropriate, students were able to access aspects of the Woodstock Academy curriculum. Member districts of the Cooperative received reduced tuition for students and enjoyed the benefits of this long-standing partnership, which provided comprehensive support for students, including participation in unified activities and educational services. This year, the Woodstock Academy Unified Sports Team was recognized by Special Olympics International as a 2017 Unified Champion Banner School. Regional Consortia • Perkins Consortium: 8 districts participated in our Perkins Consortium, which gave them access to a funding source that they would not otherwise have on their own. Consortium membership provided participating districts with nearly $75,000 in professional development and networking opportunities for 73 educators, including teachers, administrators and school counselors. • Frontline Education Professional Growth System: 17 districts continued in our regional consortium to access reduced pricing for the online observation and evaluation management system with Frontline, formerly My Learning Plan. Administrators continued to refine their use of this tool to provide more timely and descriptive feedback to teachers through the formal evaluation process. provide us with

Collaborative Clinical Day Treatment (CDT) In partnership with member districts across the EASTCONN region, we continued to provide district-based, regional programs for students with significant social, emotional and behavioral challenges through our highly regarded Clinical Day Treat“You consistently ment programs. This year, we served • Renaissance Learning/STAR a high level of appropriate, on-target a total of 120 students, an increase of Assessments: Continued to coordiassistance. Thank you for, 300%, from 28 districts. In collaboranate a statewide licensing agreeas usual, making my days easier.” tion with Killingly and Plainfield, we ment with Renaissance Learning combined 2 CDT programs (Northto make the STAR Early Literacy, east Regional Program in Putnam STAR Reading and STAR Math onand Southeast Regional Program in Plainfield) to create 1 new, line assessments available to 9 districts at a discounted price. expanded-capacity CDT in Killingly’s former high school. We • English Learners (EL) Title III Consortium: 16 districts also continued to partner with LEAs across the western tier of participated in roundtable discussions through our regional our region to provide Clinical Day Treatment programming in Title III Consortium, enabling educators to access a funding Columbia, serving grades 4-12. Providing regional programs source that they would not be eligible for individually. This allows students who live in and around them to be educated partnership brought in nearly $40,000 in extra resources closer to home, increasing opportunities for their participation to our region this year. Teachers from consortium member in district activities and community events, and saving transdistricts received PD and access to resources designed to portation costs. “EASTCONN’s Cooperative [Purchasing] is an outstanding resource for food service directors. With EASTCONN doing most of the administrative bidding and procurement work, food service directors are able to focus more time on managing operations and keeping their bottom line healthy.” – Eric Volle, Food Service Director, Windham Public Schools “You consistently provide us with a high level of appropriate, on-target assistance. Thank you for, as usual, making my days easier.” – Lauren Fierman, Title III Consortium English Learner Support, Region 8 “I want to learn English because I need to talk to other people in my work. I need to learn a second language.” – Yajaira Chaparro, ESL student

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AGENCY GOAL #2 support the teaching and learning of ELs. They also had access to LAS Links language assessment materials and opportunities to network with colleagues in other districts.

Collaborative Regional Planning A total of 4 networking meetings helped keep 20 public preschool administrators informed about state and national policies, changes in NAEYC criteria and best practices in early childhood, saving them precious time as they worked to meet requirements, share resources and take regional approaches to providing PD.

Regional Magnet School Transportation Provided transportation for 171 regular education students from 19 districts to the 3 magnet schools in our region. The number of students transported was up 15% from last year.

Regional Community Collaboration

Parent/Family Partnerships & Support

Employment & Training Family Night • Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board Recognizing the role of parents as first teachers, Adult Pro(EWIB): Worked in close collabgrams partnered with a local LEA oration with EWIB in the design to provide a collaborative, famiand delivery of programs for both “This place will open doors and ly-friendly educational event. Literadults and youth who are economicreate a vision for fulfilling the acy and math, as well as homework cally disadvantaged and in need of American dream. It’s a partnership of strategies, were the focus of the vocational training and/or emfederal, state and local governments.” night. Nearly 100 parents, students ployment. In addition to providing and teachers participated, as well direct services to 359 unemployed as 2 local state legislators, and all and under-employed adults, we received a book to take home. also served 75 out-of-school youth across our year-round and summer programs. As an added contracted service, Windham Community Collaborative our Transportation Department bused a weekly average of Strengthened our partnership with Windham Public Schools 3 low-income, unemployed adult riders traveling to skills and its Department of Family and Community Partnerships. development sites. Our shared goal was to bring EASTCONN’s Continuing Education, ESL and high school diploma programs together with Windham’s Family Advocates, Head Start and the After-School Collaborative in order to provide coordinated educational programming for the whole family. By leveraging the resources and expertise of these partners, parents and their children have access to higher-quality programming, designed to promote stability and opportunity. As a result, we successfully added an evening ESL class, and participated in weekend and evening outreach events. Families of Young Children This year’s Policy Council for Head Start is composed of a highly engaged group of parents and community members. Representation on the Council from a local Family Resource Center provided a mechanism for families to learn about programming in the region and to have experts in family services raise thought-provoking questions for discussion. As a result, additional resources are now available for children and families in the program.

Summer Youth Employment programs give students valuable hands-on work experience. • Summer Youth Program Partners: Our EWIB-funded regional employment and training programs for 400 youth involved numerous collaborators, including New London Youth Affairs and Norwich Human Services. Of note:

“This day really is a landmark. It’s a major breakthrough for workforce training and opportunity in eastern Connecticut … and is the first truly integrated workforce training establishment in the state. This place will open doors and create a vision for fulfilling the American dream. It’s a partnership of federal, state and local governments.” – U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, speaking at the collaborative EASTCONN Adult Programs and EWIB-funded American Job Center ribbon-cutting ceremony in Willimantic “When my daughter was starting school it was scary for me. Having a program to help guide a new parent through the scary everyday of school was amazing. Knowing that my child was in good hands was an added comfort. Then having them worry about my entire family as well made me feel welcomed.” – Diana Usher, Stafford Early Head Start parent

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AGENCY GOAL #2 96% achieved an attendance rate of 85% or better; 95% of in-school youth returned to high school, obtained jobs or enrolled in post-secondary school after completing the program; and 96% increased their understanding of workplace responsibilities.

for resolving common issues, such as improved sidewalks and lighting infrastructure along Main Street. These fruitful partnerships directly impact the quality of the neighborhood surrounding ACT.

• Community-Based Work Readiness Partnerships: All students in EASTCONN’s Clinical Day Treatment Programs who are over the age of 14 engaged in a variety of vocational activities that included building job skills, vocational tours and speakers, and paid internships in the community that also provided high school credit. Forty-five (45) students participated in paid, community-based internships at 25 area businesses, including Walmart, Rose Brothers Garage, Covenant Soup Kitchen and the QVCC kitchen, among others.

RESC and/or RESC Alliance Partnerships RESC Alliance Partner Coordination Connecticut’s non-profit RESC Alliance, consisting of EASTCONN and 5 sister RESCs, plays an important role in statewide advocacy for education, the procurement of school resources and the provision of high-quality, cost-effective education programs and services to districts. Monthly meetings are held by RESC Alliance division representatives, including the RESC Alliance Executive Directors. Other Alliance division Directors from Marketing & Communications, Teaching & Learning, Technology, and Early Childhood also meet regularly with their job-alike Alliance colleagues to share information, identify challenges and implement effective strategies that will maximize private, state and federal resources for member districts.

Regional Collaborative Learning Partnerships • Greater Windham Community Collaborations: Continued our partnerships with community-based organizations to help expand access to a variety of opportunities for the region’s students, families and educators. Collaborations of note: WindhamARTS provided funding for community-based Early Childhood Leadership Team programming that was arts and culture focused, creating an RESC Alliance partners met regularly with key members of the avenue for public displays of student artwork and increasing Connecticut Office of Early Childhood leadership team to stay student access to enriched learning experiences; the Williinformed and to discuss how to support state initiatives, as the mantic Public Library partnered with our after-school proQuality Rating Improvement System gram at Windham Heights, a HUD (QRIS) is being developed. This new development, to provide a curated, Our Cooperative Purchasing system will ensure that early care on-site library for students and their and education programs meet quality families; and Thread City Developmembers spent criteria statewide. EASTCONN parment, Inc., partnered with EASTticipated in the professional learning CONN and the Town of Windham to increase last year, a component of the new system. address infrastructure issues along Main Street in Willimantic. Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) • Robust Economic Development Partnerships: Chaired Grant Thread City Development, Inc., a non-profit organization Thanks to a collaboration between EASTCONN and LEARN, dedicated to revitalizing downtown Willimantic, the location the long-term benefits of this $1.4-million grant continued to of ACT, our arts magnet high school. Thread City works provide enhanced educational opportunities in STEM disclosely with Windham town officials and includes representaciplines for our Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) students tives from Cafémantic, Eastern Connecticut State University, and staff, as well as our region’s schools. While the MSAP Horizons, Inc., Willimantic Victorian Neighborhood Assogrant ended last fall, its benefits continued, not only through ciation and the Windham Theatre Guild, among many other the creation of 10 STEM-based classes at QMC, but through restaurateurs, retailers and organizations. In representing our member-district use of the EASTCONN Mobile STEM Laboramagnet school’s students, families, teachers and administratory. The MSAP-funded Laboratory enabled us to partner with tors in this organization, we worked to promote a thriving EASTCONN-region districts around STEM learning, not only and safe downtown neighborhood. Our performing arts high for students, but for teachers, as they used our state-of-the-art school continues to serve as an important anchor in WindLaboratory to travel to a variety of sites to conduct scientific ham’s downtown arts zone, making our collaboration with experiments. our neighbors and town representatives an important vehicle

$9 million + 300%

“Our partnership reflects our desire to reinforce work readiness skills development and core employability skills to youth while also mentoring them in a career area. They learn so much through their participation in your program as well as the benefit it affords families; it is a win-win situation. The program also provides a training opportunity and we are happy to have been able to offer them paid positions. So many of the youth have left a positive, lasting impression on the staff and children here.” – Cheri Rainey, Director of the Caleb Foundation, Dayville, a Youth Employment & Training partner

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AGENCY GOAL #2 State-Level Partnerships & Statewide Services Connecticut State Department of Education • Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 2016 Connecticut School Health Profile: In support of the CSDE’s effort to provide data to the CDC, Technology Solutions provided technical and logistical support for the administration of the 2016 School Health Profile, a statewide survey of health education policies and practices for grades 6-12. Surveys were distributed to principals and lead health educators. Data was collected on school health education requirements and content, physical education and physical activity, practices related to bullying and sexual harassment, school-based health services, family engagement and community involvement, among other things.

TEAM equips new teachers with knowledge, skills and a supportive network to ease their transition into the profession.

TEAM (Teacher Education and Mentoring) Collaborated with CSDE and our RESC Alliance partners in • Teacher of the Year (TOY): For the last 2 years, Technology the statewide provision of online TEAM training modules to Solutions has supplied a statewide online system for the subenhance Connecticut’s beginning-teacher support program. mission and scoring of Connecticut’s TOY applications. We • TEAM Online Training: Managed the EASTCONN-decontinued to work in close partnership with the Connecticut veloped, Web-based accountability and data management TOY Council and the CSDE to improve the application and system for TEAM, currently being used by 4,500 active scoring process. In 2017, the system successfully handled 93 beginning teachers, 10,000+ trained Mentors, Reviewers and applications and 764 scoring sessions, saving hours of paper district Facilitators statewide. This interactive, online trainhandling and eliminating the need for postage. ing site allows educators to enhance their skills and knowl• Improvements to CT Preschool Assessment Framework edge without losing time in their classrooms. A total of 750 (CTPAF): Maintained and supporteducators completed the most recent ed the system of reporting tools for Mentor updates, while 841 educators the EASTCONN-developed CTPAF finished their Reviewer updates. Imsystem, used in 700 preschool classreporting provements to online TEAM training Our rooms to support 14,000 students in modules have been implemented, and used in preschool communities across the state. The tools a new online dashboard has further gave users easy access to a variety of simplified access and navigation for classrooms, supported detailed, student-level and school-level teachers, Mentors and Reviewers. reports. Our multi-year project migratstudents statewide • Mentor Stipends: Processed more ed this service to a vastly more powerthan $2 million in stipend payments ful reporting infrastructure, decreasing to TEAM Mentors in all eligible Conthe time necessary to generate reports. necticut districts on behalf of the RESC Alliance. • Kindergarten Inventory: Continued to manage the CSDE annual online Kindergarten Inventory, in use in all ConnectiVirtual High School (VHS) cut school districts. The Inventory provides the CSDE with The RESC Alliance maintained its statewide VHS partnership, critical data on the developmental progress of approximately managed by CREC, offering online instructional opportunities 40,000 kindergarten students across the state, 2 times per to districts across the state. This system provided motivated year. students with opportunities to explore subject areas that would • Lighthouse Survey: In partnership with CSDE and the otherwise be unavailable in local districts due to low enrollConnecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the ment, high costs or unavailability of instructors. We have 3 online Lighthouse survey measures beliefs around student participating districts.

CTPAF 700

tool,

14,000

“I wanted to tell you all that the new TEAM website is great. I have so much useful information at my fingertips and it’s easy to navigate. Thank you for your hard work ... greatly appreciated.” – Joseph Campolieta, HR Director, Torrington Public Schools “Working with EASTCONN to develop our Connecticut Teacher of the Year [TOY] application and selection process through the use of a customized online portal has created increased accessibility and improved ease of use for our district candidates, application reviewers and system administrators. Moving from hard copy to web-based applications has saved time, been cost-effective, and invited more candidates to pursue our state honor.” – Kim Wachtelhausen, Teacher of the Year Coordinator, CSDE

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AGENCY GOAL #2 achievement potential in high-achieving and low-achieving districts, and also supports training for best-practices for boards of education. This year, the online service was modernized, implementing a results-on-demand model, reducing the time required to assess results for participating districts. CABE has retained EASTCONN to administer Coordinated the survey system with the potential for national momentum.

community connections, as well as help parents advocate for their children, and take action that positively impacts their communities. Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) • Assessment Advisory Group: Participated as a member of OEC’s Assessment Advisory Group to discuss issues related to building an observation and documentation modules system based upon the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS). Group membership included a broad range of OEC staff, service providers, program administrators and professional development providers.

1,300

CAT tests & scored

• Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT): Teaching & Learning staff continued to coordinate the statewide CAT planning team in support of the CSDE’s test, the successful completion of which is required for all aspiring school administrators in the State of Connecticut. Nearly 1,300 CAT tests were completed, and 3,328 CAT modules were scored by EASTCONN.

3,328 test

School Climate Surveys A total of 18 school districts across eastern Connecticut partnered with us to deliver School Climate Surveys to their students, teachers and parents. Survey results included data on bullying, safety, quality of instruction, communication and many other topics. Administrators used the results to identify areas of strength, and those that need improvement. Technology Solutions made additional enhancements to the administration and analysis of annual and biennial surveys sent to students, parents, and staff to gather their perceptions on a variety of issues, adding year-to-year comparison results for districts served in prior years. Connecticut Department of Children & Families (DCF) In an effort to provide coordinated support for the most vulnerable families in our region, our Early Childhood Initiatives and Birth to Three staff worked in close coordination with DCF, establishing joint goals when serving children under our mutual care. We attended DCF state-level Head Start meetings on a quarterly basis and collaborated closely with the DCF Birth to Five liaison, who coordinates the DCF regional meetings.

Early Childhood staff stay current on the latest instructional techniques and state mandates through ongoing PD that supports improved student outcomes in their classrooms. • Quality Initiatives: Early Childhood staff hosted a regional listening tour for the OEC as they continued to create the Quality Improvement System for Early Childhood in Connecticut. The 5 Pillars of Quality will be revisited later in the year as the quality rating and improvement system (called Thrive!) is developed, based upon community input and national trends.

Regional Efforts to Engage Parents of Young Children EASTCONN Head Start staff supported the Northeast Early Childhood Council (NECC) through on-site screenings at regional Family Resource Centers’ community events. Families were encouraged to participate in the People Empowering People (PEP) program, which is designed to build family and

• Connecticut Documentation & Observations Teaching System (CT DOTS): Early Childhood staff and Technology Solutions worked with the OEC to begin piloting this newly developed assessment system. It will guide and provide a process for early care and education teachers to gather

“I am navigating the new and beautiful TEAM website.” – Autumn Baltimore, Coordinator of Career Development/TEAM District Facilitator, Hartford Public Schools “Loved this!” • “Very easy to navigate!” • “Great use of technology for a test!” “Technology was excellent – no issues whatsoever!!” – Testimonials from educators who took the EASTCONN-developed, online Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT)

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AGENCY GOAL #2 Residential Treatment Center for Women in Putnam.

evidence and monitor children’s progress, as outlined in the CT ELDS. The new system helps early care and education providers make common observations in an electronic format that helps them organize, analyze and report observations about children in their care.

• Students in Mental Health Facilities: EASTCONN collaborated with DMHAS to provide educational support and oversight for 161 students who were admitted to 5 mental health facilities. We assisted DMHAS in providing a continuum of educational services, while addressing students’ mental health needs.

• Professional Learning for Coaches: On behalf of the OEC, provided coaching in 13 communities that received funding through the federal Preschool Development Grant. Sixty-five (65) classrooms received coaching to improve teacher practice. EASTCONN’s role of providing PD for coaches working for the OEC helped the OEC test professional-learning growth models that promote better outcomes for children and competencies in teachers. Staff supported this work through a collaborative effort with Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP).

Higher Education Partnerships & Collaboration

Connecticut Department of Rehabilitative Services/ Bureau of Rehabilitative Services (BRS) • Adults with Disabilities: BRS contracted with our Assistive Technology (AT) team to receive assessment services and support for 8 adult clients with disabilities who are seeking to obtain or maintain employment. • Adults with Hearing & Visual Impairments: Our Assistive Technology (AT) team expanded its partnership with BRS to include a specially designed program to assist persons with both hearing and visual impairments. To date, 3 adults have received services through this partnership, which provides assessment, followed by training and equipment set-up.

Our magnet school students focus on their learning passions, which helps propel them toward graduation and later success.

Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) • Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) Student Access: QMC continued to work with QVCC to align Connecticut Department curriculum and instruction so that of Developmental Services all students could access the college of (DDS) pathway after successfully completTransitions for Young Adults: Our earned , transferable ing the First Year Experience class. Regional Transition Services (RTS) More than 70% of QMC students were program, serving young adults with QVCC after passing deemed college-ready after passing a broad range of developmental and the Basic Skills Assessment exam at other disabilities, worked in close college courses QVCC. In addition to a 30% increase coordination with DDS to address the in the number of students participating needs of RTS students who will be in free, college-level courses at QVCC, transitioning to adult services. RTS program staff assisted stu87% of QMC students earned passing grades in 27 college dents and their families in the transition process and DDS will courses during the fall 2016 semester, a marked improvement be participating in the RTS Transition Forum for Families. over last year. – QMC students were active participants in the Climate Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Action Plan developed through a collaboration between Addiction Services (DMHAS) QVCC and QMC personnel. As a result, students learned • Collaboration with Residential Treatment Centers: Our how to engage in meaningful changes in their use of enerHead Start programs partnered with the Department of gy and natural resources. Mental Health and Addiction services to provide services for children whose mothers are residents/clients of the New Life

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QMC students free credits

“This year, Scotland Elementary School received our PT services from [an EASTCONN physical therapist]. We are very satisfied with the therapy our children are receiving this school year. [Your EASTCONN therapist’s] soft-spoken manner and child-centered methods blend wonderfully with our school philosophy. [She] is terrific and has quickly became a well-respected member of our staff!” – Cathy Pinsonneault, Principal, Scotland Elementary School

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AGENCY GOAL #2 • Regional Transition Services (RTS): In close collaboration with QVCC, our RTS group provided progressive transition services for 9 young adults (ages 18-21) with a broad range of disabilities at our QVCC-located site through meaningful community vocational experiences, the development of independent living skills, fiscal management and college readiness opportunities. Students enrolled as QVCC students, attended college classes independently and received RTS support outside of class with study skills, time management and access to college supports. Strong partnerships were developed with QVCC Student Support Services, families and other state agencies.

A student in the Community Arts Connection after-school program works with a UCONN student-tutor on a craft project. University of Connecticut (UCONN) • Early Childhood: Head Start staff worked in partnership with UCONN’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Center for Applied Research in Human Development, to measure progress of Head Start families on the goals that they set with their home visitor or family advocate. Over 590 goals were established, and are being used to measure Head Start parent progress related to family functioning and parent/child relationships. • Clinical Support: Continued our collaboration with the UCONN Department of Clinical Psychology for assessment support, as well as interventions to address mental health needs of children and families in our programs. • Doctoral Students Services: Worked in partnership with 3 UCONN doctoral students, who conducted mental health focus groups for families and provided consultation on classroom strategies, as well as case management for family service fingerprinting process was staff.

Work in an office setting is important for RTS students who develop skills that will take them into the workaday world. Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) • ACT Student Enrollment: A partnership with ECSU enabled ACT students to take for-credit ECSU college classes at no cost. This year, 6 ACT upperclassmen took 4 ECSU classes.

“The fast and easy to complete. The specialist was very professional. I enjoyed having a conversation with her to make the process easier. I would tell others it was a great experience.”

• Student Enrichment: UCONN students acted as tutors and mentors to children in our Community Arts Connection after-school program at Windham Heights, serving 75 elementary and middle-school-age youth and their families. In addition, UCONN provided free tickets to cultural events for our families, which we supplemented with free transportation.

• Fingerprinting: Our HR Department provided fingerprinting services to 159 future teacher candidates enrolled in ECSU teacher preparation programs, reflecting an increase of 20% over last year.

“[EASTCONN was] very accommodating to the times that I preferred. The specialist was very friendly, helpful and did a very good job. I have had my fingerprints done at multiple police departments before. This place is much more pleasant to be at.” – H. Smith, HR Fingerprinting customer “The fingerprinting process was fast and easy to complete. The specialist was very professional. I enjoyed having a conversation with her to make the process easier. I would tell others it was a great experience.” – C. Hatch, HR Fingerprinting customer

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AGENCY GOAL #2 • Free College Courses for QMC Students: 13 Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) students enrolled in the UCONN Early College Experience (ECE) Academic Reading & Writing class, earning free UCONN credits.

students who want to enroll in our Adult Program offerings, especially Spanish GED, citizenship, job training and ESL classes.

• Fingerprinting: Our HR Department provided on-campus fingerprinting services to 120 future teacher candidates enrolled in teacher preparation programs at UCONN; another 40 students visited our Hampton offices for fingerprinting.

Internal Collaborations with External Impact Two-Generational (2Gen) Family Programming Our Head Start and Early Head Start staff offered a locally designed, integrated programming option for ESL parents of young children. Adult Programs staff provided ESL instruction and workforce development preparation for parents/guardians, while Head Start staff were providing high-quality childcare. 2Gen opportunities are being expanded and intake procedures are being revised to better ensure that clients are aware of and accessing the many services for which they qualify agencywide. • 2Gen Work Team: An in-house interdisciplinary work team has been exploring the creation of a regional, multigenerational continuum of high-quality, integrated services and programming that will increase the educational success, economic security, community connections, and health and well-being of eligible children, parents and families. Agencywide recommendations are being developed.

ACT’s costume shop teems with imagination and creativity as students sketch designs for an upcoming theatrical production. • EASTCONN Magnet Schools Recruitment & Advocacy: Assisted our 2 magnet schools, QMC and ACT, with traditional media communications, such as press releases, print ads and TV ads to support recruitment efforts in the face of declining application and enrollment numbers. Increased the quality and frequency of social media efforts to improve the school’s regional exposure. Worked with both schools’ students and staff to implement advocacy efforts that included students and parents testifying at a public hearing before the Connecticut Legislature’s Appropriations Committee in support of magnet school funding. – ACT: Helped plan, write content for and launch ACT’s new webpages in spring 2017, refreshing and revising navigation, as well as simplifying menus to improve prospective students’ and parents’ browsing experiences. As a result, ACT pages are consistently in the agency website’s top-10 most-clicked-on links. – QMC: Worked with QMC staff to improve and redesign QMC web pages, enhancing their content, and creating a smoother, more satisfying online experience for prospective QMC students and parents.

• New 2Gen Services Portal: Technology Solutions has designed a new 2Gen, online portal that will allow EASTCONN program managers to more effectively collaborate and provide access to services for participants in our 2Gen education and employment skills-building classes. As a result, agency managers will be able to connect 2Gen participants with much-needed programs that will support their learning and human services needs. Student Recruitment • GED Enrollment: Continued marketing initiatives for Adult Programs that addressed a statewide and regional decline in GED student-enrollment numbers, following the national shift from paper to web-based GED testing. – Spanish Translations: Implemented content changes and new Spanish-language improvements for Adult Programs webpages to ease access for prospective Spanish-language

“Just sending along a note in praise of the new EASTCONN website. It looks fantastic! Kudos to EASTCONN for taking on such a mammoth undertaking and hitting it out of the park.” – Matt Engelhardt, LEARN Marketing & Communications “ACT is an amazing place to go to get an education, from the arts aspect to the teachers and the students…I love all the art classes we have the opportunity to take and we have a great chance to really expand on the things we really love doing, such as dancing, writing, or acting … I encourage people to come to ACT to have a memorable, exciting high school experience.” – Lia C., ACT Student

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AGENCY GOAL #2 Washington, D.C., 3 times as a representative of COABE’s Public Policy Committee.

Staff Participation and Leadership on Regional, State & National Organizations, Committees & Task Forces

• Assistant Director of Employment & Training is a member of the CSDE’s Career Pathways Taskforce. • Adult Programs teacher, who is also a graduate of the EASTCONN Adult Programs GED system, received CAACE’s 2016 Teacher of the Year Award.

Executive Director • Member of the Connecticut Legislature-created Performance Expectations Advisory Council (PEAC), responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of our statewide educator evaluation system.

Early Childhood Initiatives (ECI) Staff • Director is a member of the Connecticut State Head Start Executive Committee.

• Member of the Connecticut Legislature-created Task Force on Special Education Funding, responsible for making recommendations on how special education services should be funded statewide.

• Director partnered with the CT OEC to manage, coordinate and provide statewide professional learning for the CT Core Knowledge and Competency Standards (CT CKCs) for Early Childhood.

• Member of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) Board of Directors, representing the RESC Alliance.

• Director presented at the National Head Start Leadership Conference in Chicago, (NHSA): Serving Families: How Well are You Assessing It? Who is Better Off?

• Member of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) Early Childhood Advisory Council, • ECI staff presented at the Connecticut Association for supporting and promoting high-quality early childhood prothe Education of Young Children, gramming across Connecticut and (CTAEYC): Social Studies in the Early acting as a liaison between public “Just sending along a note in Childhood Classroom. schools and the Connecticut Office praise of the new EASTCONN of Early Childhood Education. • ECI specialist presented at the Neag • Member of the CAPSS Education Transformation Project (ETP) Advisory Committee, advocating for the transformation of public education in Connecticut.

website. It looks fantastic! Kudos to EASTCONN for taking on such a mammoth undertaking and hitting it out of the park.”

• Member of the Northeast Health District Health Quest Committee, overseeing the development of wellness programs and other health-related initiatives in northeastern Connecticut schools and communities.

School of Education PreK-Grade 3 Leadership Cohort.

• ECI specialist is on the Neag School of Education PreK-Grade 3 National Advisory Committee.

• ECI specialist served on the Advocacy Committee for the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. • ECI specialist served on the Connecticut’s Birth to Grade 3 Leadership Team.

Adult Programs Staff • Director and Associate Director served on the Connecticut Association for Adult and Continuing Education (CAACE) board of directors.

K-12 Student Services Staff – Professional • Director of Psychological and Behavioral Consultation Services (PBCS) was named “Model School Psychology Intern Field Supervisor” by the National Association of School Psychologists.

• Associate Director of Adult Basic Education chaired CAACE’s Professional Development Committee.

• Director of PBCS represented EASTCONN on the Connecticut PBIS Collaborative, a statewide CSDE and RESC Alliance task force that guides statewide initiatives in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

• Adult Education staff presented at statewide conferences and workshops on Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), ELL Customer Service, technology integration, 2Gen programming and Spanish GED.

• PBCS staff member co-authored an article that received the prestigious Kirk Award for best research article published in Learning Disabilities Research & Practice journal in 2016.

• As a member of the national Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE), our Associate Director traveled to

“The partnership with EASTCONN has always been very strong and the professionalism with which they conduct themselves is very welcome. EASTCONN’s commitment to getting this project done on time was truly amazing … we are excited to have begun this long-term relationship to benefit our students, and students from the region.” – Fran Lagace, Director of Pupil Services, Killingly Public Schools, discussing EASTCONN’s new regional Clinical Day Treatment program in Killingly

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AGENCY GOAL #2 Teaching & Learning (T&L) • Director belongs to the CSDE Professional Development Implementation Team, composed of RESC, CSDE Talent Office and Connecticut Association of Schools representatives. The group addresses educator evaluation processes and training, related to the evaluation of teachers and administrators. Also provided key contributions to design teams integrating professional learning standards. • Staff members are among the TEAM program Field Staff that develops, coordinates and delivers PD and related services for TEAM district facilitators and mentors.

Our Psychological and Behavioral Consultation Services staff provide critical supports for students with special needs.

Technology Solutions • Director presented at the Association of Educational Service Agencies’ 31st Annual Conference. • Director is a committee member of the Practices Advisory Council, Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology. • Director is a member of the Connecticut Technology Engineering Education Association.

• Transition Coordinator was responsible for coordinating the Regional Transition Network. She served as a member of the Connecticut Transition Community of Practice and facilitated a practice group, and was a member of the RESC/ SERC/CPAC Sustainability Committee and a member of the Connecticut Transition Task Force. • Transition Coordinator is a member of the Connecticut team attending the National Technical Assistance Center Capacity Building Institute in Kansas City, Missouri.

2016-2017 Challenges

• Transition Coordinator co-presented at the Connecticut Transition Community of Practice on AT for Transition.

Voluntary Regionalism Northeastern Connecticut has a long and positive history of voluntary regionalism. Nevertheless, it can be challenging to get all 36 member districts to voluntarily col“Your leadership has brought laborate with one another, as well this network to a whole new as with other municipal or regional agencies. It can often take more level of trust, communication time and resources to collaborate and shared optimism, which than to pursue the same task alone. I am witnessing for the very Multiple stakeholders with different constituencies and missions create first time.” delays and complexities.

• Transition Coordinator will co-present at the CT Transition Symposium at Gateway Community College in June. Organizational Support • Human Resources Director is cochair of CIRMA’s statewide School District Advisory Committee, responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of risk management products, services and programs in Connecticut schools.

• Director of Planning & Development represented EASTCONN and our member districts as the President of Thread City Development, which works to revitalize downtown Willimantic.

Limited Savings The savings realized by regional collaboration are often limited, and frequently apply only for a single initiative. Often, there is also a significant separation between Boards of Education and Boards of Finance, making municipal and district partnerships challenging. While EASTCONN continued to help facilitate these collaborations, both across and within districts, it is an unfunded and sometimes costly effort. Although the state Legislature and Office of Policy and Management have called for an increased role for RESCs, state support to EASTCONN

• Director of Planning & Development participated in the Racial Justice Forum with the state Department of Children and Families. • Director of Planning & Development partnered with the Northeast Connecticut Innovation Hub with UCONN, ECSU, local governments, agencies, businesses and industry leaders, to invigorate the local innovation economy.

“EASTCONN’s commitment to collaborative partnerships and solutions has created a conduit to bring together the entire downtown Willimantic neighborhood in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration. The guidance of EASTCONN’s leaders has helped our revitalization program blossom across each sector of our very diverse, small business community. Your leadership has brought this network to a whole new level of trust, communication and shared optimism, which I am witnessing for the very first time.” – Andrew Gútt, owner of Cafémantic, and a Thread City Development board member

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AGENCY GOAL #2 to facilitate such regional cooperation is projected to decrease again this year, down 13% - with the very real possibility of state support decreasing even further, as Connecticut continues to face a serious budget crisis.

2017-2018 Plans & Implications New & Enhanced Partnerships New Partnerships In support of the changing demographics in our region, we will reach out to establish new partnerships, such as one with the Department on Aging, along with other agencies/organizations, that support low-incidence populations of learners, in order to build our expertise, explore areas of common interest and identify opportunities for collaboration in the delivery of services.

A Head Start student builds literacy skills as she enjoys poring over a good book during a quiet moment in her day.

New Markets We will continue to seek new, regional markets for our existing programs and services, including Conference Services, Data Systems, Professional Learning and our Assistive Technology services. Revenue from new markets helps expand our capacity, while maintaining or reducing costs for our member districts.

University of Connecticut (UCONN) • Collaborative Planning: Continue to expand data collection for the 5-year Head Start planning process in partnership with UCONN’s Human Development and Family Studies program. The desired outcome is that our Head Start Prenatal-to-Five program will: be an exemplary program that engages families and community in closing the achievement gap to assure children are successful in school and beyond, especially those with significant barriers; be a model of excellence and innovation in promoting social emotional competency among staff, families, and children; develop cultural awareness and openness that will invite and encourage all families to participate in our program.

Regional Councils of Government Continue reaching out to Regional Councils of Government to raise awareness among municipalities of the EASTCONN programs and services that they can access, including ECHIP, Cooperative Purchasing, back office support, and more. Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) Our Early Childhood Initiatives group is in the process of planning for professional learning with the OEC for 2017-2018, in an integrated manner with the 3 strands of identified services to communities that have received this funding. We will be expanding our focus to include early childhood leaders in order to build sustainability in systems that support early childhood providers.

• Collaborative Research: Continue to strengthen our collaboration with the UCONN Center for Behavioral and Educational Research, as we conduct research together in schools. RESC Alliance Partners Continue collaborating with individual RESCs, as well as the Alliance as a whole, in the development and delivery of programs and services that address our local district needs. As an Alliance, continue to enhance and expand our partnerships with state organizations, including the CSDE, the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), and national organizations like Learning Forward, in a coordinated effort to

Department of Children & Families (DCF) We will work with the regional DCF office to problem-solve around issues related to the accessibility of their staff for our Head Start programs.

“ I would like to express my appreciation for the contribution that EASTCONN, especially the early childhood division, makes to the early childhood workforce. My experience working in partnership with EASTCONN goes back about 20 years, and their quality service has always hit the mark. Most recently, their work with organizing and providing professional learning to coaches who deliver services in the context of the Federal Preschool Development Grant with the CT Office of Early Childhood continues to impress … EASTCONN is known for their talented staff who go above and beyond just doing the job; they understand and care deeply about how well they do their work because it truly has an impact on children and families. Relationships are the key and I am lucky to have had, and continue to have, a positive and rewarding relationship with EASTCONN. I look forward to planning great work with EASTCONN that will move the early childhood workforce into a new era.” – Deborah Adams, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) Workforce Specialist

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AGENCY GOAL #2 support the implementation of education reform initiatives in local districts.

are able to meet the educational needs of their child more effectively, the achievement gap will decrease and more children will become engaged in meaningful learning at home and school; this leads to a more productive workforce in the future that is better prepared to face changing work conditions and other challenges.

Cost-Saving Innovations & Efficiencies We will look for new opportunities to collaborate in securing services and commodities. We will work to expand membership in, as well as the menu of services offered through our existing collaboratives and partnerships, including our Adult Education Consortium, our purchasing cooperative, our health insurance collaborative, and more. We will also grow the use of our back office support, regional transportation, joint professional development and the sharing of instructional and administrative staff. District Collaboration Continue facilitating partnerships among our member districts to promote voluntary resource-sharing and joint problem-solving. To that end, we will continue our regional superintendents and Boards of Education group in its efforts to develop collaborative plans around district issues and opportunities. In particular, we will work with them to address challenges collaboratively, and identify new ways to provide cost-effective, high-quality programs and services. Increased Back Office Support Continue offering direct, professional staffing support to districts, including back-office fiscal and human resources functions, IT and facilities support. We will promote the expanded use of our regional staffing database as a way of encouraging more collaborative recruitment and hiring, especially in shortage areas.

100% of EASTCONN’s 100+ transportation vehicles passed the Department of Motor Vehicles annual inspection in 2017. Regional Transportation Our Transportation Department will continue to seek new markets and facilitate informationsharing with districts through recently streamlined website pages, resulting in improved communication and the expedited coordination of bus runs for districts and clients. We will promote expanded use of the regional outplacement-destination database in an effort to increase shared runs.

“It has been a pleasure to develop and grow this essential partnership with our school to help ensure student and staff success. It is great to have EASTCONN as part of our school team.”

Regional Health Insurance Expansion Expand membership in the Eastern Connecticut Health Insurance Program (ECHIP). Also, expand ECHIP’s menu of services to include other health coverage, such as student accident insurance, life insurance, disability and long-term care. We will expand our wellness menu for agency staff, and continue to improve ECHIP’s wellness website.

Regional Coordinated Professional Learning We will take advantage of the regional common calendar to offer joint professional development during shared PD days across a variety of topics, such as Early Childhood, among others, as well as specialty, non-core areas like art and music.

Expanded Two-Generational (2Gen) Initiatives The collaboration between our Head Start and Adult Programs staff will continue. We are currently seeking funding to enhance programming that engages families and children through a strong family literacy component. When adults

“EASTCONN is a highly valued partner of the Union School District. Union relies on EASTCONN for a variety of services including: all related services (OT, PT, SLP, BCBA, psychological), back-office support, IT support, transportation, professional development/coaching, strategic planning, and curriculum development. It has been a pleasure to develop and grow this essential partnership with our school to help ensure student and staff success. It is great to have EASTCONN as part of our school team.” – Steven J. Jackopsic, Principal, Union Public School

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AGENCY GOAL #3

To enhance the knowledge and skills of educators and the whole community, so they can effect change and facilitate positive outcomes for learners. “Time and time again we have found that you have been able to guide and support our nuanced needs, as well as give us a clear and concise road map for the future …” 2016-2017 Highlights & Accomplishments Teaching & Learning Initiatives Embedded Professional Learning Support Provided 114 days of on-site, embedded professional development and support in 13 districts to assist with the development and implementation of customized, local plans for a variety of educational reform initiatives, including performance task development, differentiated instruction, applications of new Social Studies and Science Standards, and more. The provision of professional learning across multiple disciplines supported the practice of teachers and administrators as they engaged in the work of improving student outcomes. • Professional Learning (PL) Plans: Provided 57 days of training that contributed to the design, implementation and evaluation of articulated PL plans, leading to improved connections to existing school improvement initiatives.

Our Science Education Specialist offers PD for educators in NGSS subjects like water sheds, climate change and robotics. • Science: 25 days providing curriculum alignment and implementation strategies for the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Regional Professional Development • Math: 32 days collaborating with district math specialists and • Foundation Skills for Evaluators of Teachers: 27 teachers to model instruction and facilitate planning aligned educational leaders from 18 to their local mathematics programs, districts attended a 5-day series, the Connecticut Core Math Standards educational leaders from which provided them with details and corresponding instructional of the educator evaluation and shifts. districts were able to support system, the Common Core of Teaching (CCT) Rubric for • English Language Arts: 23 days demonstrate skill in conducting Effective Teaching 2014 and the supporting the implementation of observations, with more than CCT Rubric for Effective Service Readers and Writers Workshop and Delivery 2015. Administrators other critical skills-building initiaachieving proficiency were able to demonstrate skill in tives. conducting observations, with more • Social Studies: 20 days introducthan 97% achieving proficiency. ing teachers and administrators to the new Social Studies • STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Frameworks. Participants identified resources and artifacts for Math): Led by our Science Education Specialist, we expandinstruction, allowing connections to be made with other core ed our collaboration with EASTCONN’s Quinebaug Middle content areas.

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18

97%

“I have limited (even non-existent) opportunities to be groomed professionally and to collaborate with other [administrators]. EASTCONN is my only connection for engaging in collaboration and mentorship. Thank you for all you offer! EASTCONN has provided support for me this year that was invaluable.” – Diana Burns, Principal, Sprague Public Schools “…[I] wanted you to know that Day 2 of our [Planning for and Teaching Mathematicians through the Workshop Model] class was equally if not better than class #1! Best workshop ever!” – Beth O’Connor, Math/Language Arts, Canterbury Public Schools

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AGENCY GOAL #3 left with action plans for integrating these ideas into their learning environment.

College (QMC) science department and EASTCONN’s regional Mobile STEM Lab, providing on-board professional development for 25 teachers from 13 districts, while highlighting the instructional opportunities for both teachers and students through this portable science classroom.

Provided 114

• Yoga & Mindfulness for the Classroom: Forty (40) educators from 27 districts attended this full-day regional PD event to gain tools to improve self-regulation, learning and classroom climate of that will positively impact their practice and their student outcomes.

days embedded PD & support in 13 districts

• Special-Area Teachers Regional Training: 40 special-area educators from 13 member districts participated in regional workshops designed for art, music, physical education, library media and instructional technology specialists. This regional PD initiative explored connections to student-centered learning, and worked on best practice, which led to specific planning for additional offerings next year.

TEAM Online Training Maintained the interactive, online training site for TEAM Mentors and Reviewers, allowing them to enhance their skills and knowledge without losing time in their classrooms. A total of 750 educators completed the Mentor update while 841 educators finished the Reviewer update. Improvements to online TEAM training modules have been implemented, and a new online dashboard has further simplified access and navigation for teachers, Mentors and Reviewers. TEAM is the Connecticut State Department of Education’s new-teacher support and retention initiative.

• Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): Supported districts in the adoption of NGSS through a range of services that impacted 45 educators from 17 districts. Activities included NGSS curriculum alignment, rubric development, assessments and administrator support for implementation.

Blended Learning Strategies Elements of blended learning have been incorporated into more than 50% of the professional learning that Teaching & Learning staff provide. That includes digital distribution of materials (through Learning Management Systems such as Schoology) or the incorporation of online tools to foster remote and asynchronous collaboration through tools such as Google Apps for Educators. This enables educators to improve their practice through easily accessed supplementary learning tools and resources anytime, anywhere. Statewide Conference Services Provided and managed cost-effective CSDE-sponsored professional development, serving more than 725 participants, during 13 events that included overseeing vendor contracts, presenters and facilitators, event logistics and budget management. Notable CSDE events: Fall 2016 School Nurse Supervisor Conference, Adolescent Health through School-Based HIV/STD Prevention; and Private School Equitable Services through the Title IIA Grant.

EASTCONN’s professional learning communities guide school administrators in growth and reflection in supportive groups. • Regional Workshop with Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson: Last fall, more than 50 educators from 22 districts attended an interactive, full-day session with Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson, a nationally renowned educator and author. She guided the group through research-based material that addressed building leadership capacity to support adult development.

Regional Groups & Councils Teaching & Learning offered 8 regional councils for “job-alike” educators so that they could network with colleagues from other districts and hear from CSDE officials about new opportunities

• Mindful Leadership: 14 leaders from 7 districts participated in the series that provided research-informed strategies to bring mindfulness practices into their leadership. Participants

“On behalf of the Tolland County and East Central Multi-Disciplinary Teams, I would like to extend our sincerest appreciation for the opportunity to utilize your [Hampton] facility … for conferences on the investigation and prosecution of child abuse. Your [Conference Office] staff exceeded our expectations in terms of its hospitality, accommodation and flexibility in providing a spacious and comfortable training venue for law enforcement, social workers, medical professionals and lawyers from all over Connecticut who work every day in the fight against child exploitation. We truly enjoy partnering with you and look forward to working together again in the future. Thank you for your contribution to this important cause!” – Elizabeth C. Leaming, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney, Judicial District of Tolland

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AGENCY GOAL #3 and requirements. Highlights from several of EASTCONN’s councils:

Early Childhood

• Social Studies Council: 24 educators from 17 districts attended this council. The Council provided a forum for state social studies educational consultants to present the newest programs, resources and professional learning opportunities for K-12 social studies teachers in our region.

Supporting early childhood educators in both our schools and communities remains a high priority. Because of our capacity in this area, we are able to provide support to many statewide early childhood initiatives, teachers, groups and providers.

• English Learners Roundtable: 16 districts participated in roundtable discussions where educators learned about emerging trends in instruction for English Learners. Participants shared best practices and our staff provided current information on curriculum, assessment and effective instruction. • Arts Learning Council: This regional council engaged 28 participants from 8 member districts, as they connected with colleagues around common challenges and developments in the arts, and explored the new, National Core Arts Standards. EASTCONN was the first RESC to roll them out. • Technology Council: 52 technology specialists and teachers from 13 districts attended this monthly forum during the year to learn more about technology advances, tools and resources that will improve both their practice and student outcomes.

Early Childhood professionals from across Connecticut gained invaluable strategies and resources at our annual Infant/ Toddler Conference that support young children and families.

Center for Educational Leadership

Infant/Toddler Conference Our Early Head Start and Birth to Three programs co-sponsored the 4th annual, statewide, Infant/Toddler Conference, held at EASTCONN’s Conference Center. In attendance were 100 early childhood educators and administrators. The requests to attend exceeded our Conference Center’s capacity. The keynote speakers were renowned authors and educators, Jane R. Ellison and Glen Palm, who helped attendees focus on their practice through the lens of trauma and its effects on young children and families. EASTCONN Early Childhood Initiatives staff presented during the day-long conference, as well.

EASTCONN Center for Educational Leadership Providing personally engaging professional learning experiences that examine the nature of leadership in today’s world is at the heart of EASTCONN’s Center for Educational Leadership. This past year, the Center offered several research-based professional learning experiences exploring a range of leadership actions and instructional methods. The experiences offered were active and experiential with considerable time dedicated to evidence-based practices and personal reflection. The Center supported 51 administrators from member districts as they continued to implement and plan many new education initiatives.

Trauma-Informed Care/Social-Emotional Competence Provided professional learning on trauma-informed care to 130 teachers of infants and toddlers. Learning was focused on building relationship-based competencies as a means of providing consistent care and communication with young children.

Specific cohorts included: • Communities of Practice for Principals • Communities of Practice for Curriculum Directors • Common Core Leadership Cohort • Instructional Rounds Cohort • Mindful Leadership

Improving Executive Function, Language, Literacy & Math Skills We provided training and on-site coaching in 14 communities in 108 classrooms. The impact was remarkable, with a total of 1,728 children receiving focused attention to increase

“The EASTCONN [Center for Educational Leadership] team provided our district with the assistance we needed when we were struggling with what our future would be. From start to finish, our strategic planning was guided by knowledgeable professionals who were dedicated to meeting our schedule, even with a very comprehensive process that included all the stakeholders in our town. Parents were impressed, citizens were engaged and the school leadership is very pleased with the final product. Our school now has a bright and promising future.” – Peter Calvert, Franklin Board of Education Chairman

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AGENCY GOAL #3 their executive function and social skills. Literacy and math gains were evident in our collaborative programs, as well. We continued to see increases in executive function, social skills, literacy and math in our collaborative programs, where integrated curricular approaches and strategies are being used to support positive child outcomes.

assessment system that gives early childhood providers and teachers an improved, common format to monitor, analyze and report observations about children in their care, as outlined in the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS). Playful Learning Initiative With funding from the Lego Community Foundation and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and in collaboration with the Hartford Area Child Care Collaborative, EASTCONN developed training modules for “Supporting Educational Success through Playful Learning: A Focus on Preschool and Kindergarten.” These sessions, which are designed to help teachers and families collaborate around purposeful play that supports learning standards, brought classroom strategies and materials to 76 kindergarten and 1st-grade teachers in 19 schools, impacting more than 1,216 students. The modules will eventually be available statewide, as research continues to show that play is critical to child development and great learning outcomes.

Best-practice teaching strategies for social skills development is evident in regional Head Start/Early Head Start classrooms.

Preschool Development Grant In collaboration with the state Office of Early Childhood (OEC) and the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP), we developed and coordinated statewide PD for 13 communities involved in the federally funded Preschool Development Grant, reaching a total of 190 early-childhood educators and paraprofessionals in 65 classrooms. With a focus on the CT ELDS, this project promotes an integrated curricular approach and emphasis on supporting paraprofessionals who implement programming. EASTCONN and the OEC provide a framework for giving professional guidance and support to early-childhood coaches.

Professional Learning for Community-Based, Early-Care Providers Regional Workshops: Provided 26 different workshops for 725 community-based, early-care providers, on a wide variety of content and pedagogy topics. Attendees included pre-K and kindergarten teachers, paraprofessionals, teacher assistants, curriculum coordinators, early childhood administrators, infant/ toddler teachers and paraprofessionals, Birth to Three providers, program administrators and related services staff, as well as social workers, DMHAS and DCF workers.

Special Education Professional Learning

Statewide Professional Learning to Improve Student Outcomes in Young Children In order to approve learning outcomes for children across the state, EASTCONN Early Childhood staff:

Psychological & Behavioral Consultation Services (PBCS) Professional Development Provided professional learning for educators in 31 districts, impacting more than 3,000 students across our region. PBCS staff also provided more than 30 formal, professional development sessions in 15 districts for audiences of up to 100 people, including paraprofessionals, special education teachers, school psychologists, other school-based mental health providers and administrators. Delivered a regional session attended by more than 70 area professionals from 25+ districts focused on assessment and interventions for students with executive functioning and attention difficulties.

• Provided coaching in 13 communities and 65 early childhood classrooms as a means of improving teacher practice. • Coordinated the roll-out of the Connecticut Core Knowledge & Competency framework (CT CKC) for 150+ coaches, trainers, PD designers and higher education faculty working with young children and their families. The CT CKCs provide the foundation for expectations of early childhood practitioners’ knowledge and skills. • Piloted a new, EASTCONN-developed, preschool-student

“ … It is no easy task to cover the logistics of scheduling and designing learning to meet the needs of a variety of styles, and to be accountable for evaluating the project. Specifically, [your staff member] utilizes her experience from higher education, Head Start, cultural competence expertise, and personal open-mindedness to help [early childhood] coaches examine their true selves in the context of their work. This type of enlightenment about how process and content are inter-related makes all the difference when supporting coaches to help others find their true self in their teaching practice.” – Deborah Adams, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) Workforce Specialist

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AGENCY GOAL #3 Multi-Tiered Supports for All Students Consulted with more than 30 districts to enhance their capacity to implement multi-tiered supports for all students. Provided onsite support to cross-functional, school-based teams of paraprofessionals, regular/special education teachers, counselors, school psychologists, social workers and administrators. • Documented Results: Reduction in office discipline referrals; development of best practice behavioral supports in least restrictive environments; application of skills modeled/ practiced in training; independent implementation of strategic problem-solving; and action plans that resulted in increased rates of active engagement among students/systems targeted for intervention. Assistive Technology (AT) Provided a variety of professional learning opportunities both on-site and in regional settings, as well as in our resource library, giving district personnel an opportunity to try the latest assistive technologies for their students. Direct AT services and technologies improve access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities, helping them to reach their maximum potential and independence. • Professional Learning & Site-Based Support: The AT team delivered 57 trainings to staff in 19 schools on a range of AT topics, and provided 57 student-specific consultations in 17 school districts. Thirteen (13) districts joined our AT Consortium, giving them priority scheduling of services, access to our expanding AT Lending Library, and Students participation in Consortium trainings. – Related Services staff worked with 26 of received our districts, supporting in-district profes- Related sionals, as well as 654 students, preschool Services to age 21, an increase of 17% over last year. Related Services include AT, OT, PT and Speech-Language therapies.

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Regional law enforcement and school district administrators strengthen their relationships during EASTCONN-facilitated meetings that engage them on issues of mutual concern. • Connecting Law Enforcement & Schools: 2 “Supers and Troopers” meetings engaged 50 area school superintendents and 50 state troopers this year, with another event planned for fall 2017. Supers and Troopers workshops are intended to connect superintendents and law enforcement officials as they grapple with common concerns around students, schools and the law. This year’s sessions covered truancy and residency laws, as well as child human trafficking.

That’s Up

Teaching, Learning & Technology • Student-Centered Learning: Led by EASTCONN Teaching & Learning staff, 18 leaders from 15 districts attended a Lunch & Learn session, gaining insight into the essential components of the student-centered learning approach to instructional design. The interactive session included an overview of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation tenets and related practices.

• PowerSchool Support & Consortium: Provided on-site professional development and consultation for 7 Consortium districts and 2 regional districts. Performed purchase recommendation analysis of data systems for 1 regional district. Facilitated workshops to improve the student information skills of about 80 personnel in 11 PowerSchool-based districts throughout EASTCONN’s service area and the state. Established a PowerSchool user group serving eastern Connecticut with participation by 30+ districts, in collaboration with LEARN. Continued to provide training at the national level,

Other Regional Professional Learning Initiatives Safety & Security • Regional Trainings: Our school safety coordinator, who is a certified instructor through the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children, trained more than 200 educators on proper protocols and procedures when responding to abuse disclosures.

“When we began to explore EASTCONN’s Executive Function [EF] training program, many teachers were skeptical. Now teachers are visiting EF classrooms, implementing strategies with support of trained teachers, and are ready to participate in the next cohort of trained staff. These strategies work!” – Lynn DePina, Norwich Public Schools “The Voluntown Public Schools System readily approves the annual contract for the Truancy & Residency services provided by [EASTCONN]. We continue to enjoy our working relationship with [your staff member]! He is always available to lend advice or support, as needed. His advice and knowledge of federal and state law is greatly appreciated. He gets back to us in a timely manner and his recommendations are extremely accurate and cost-effective.” – Alycia Trakas, Principal/Assistant Superintendent, Voluntown Public Schools

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AGENCY GOAL #3 through the Northeastern U.S. PowerSchool Conference. Provided input on product design and reporting methods to both the CSDE Performance Office team and to the PowerSchool corporate product development team.

Teacher Release Time While EASTCONN is well-positioned to deliver targeted professional development, our opportunities to provide additional learning experiences have been negatively impacted because educators lack sufficient release time and compensation to develop their professional proficiency.

2016-2017 Challenges

Other Professional Learning Challenges Substitute Teacher Shortage We repeatedly hear from school leaders about the challenges of finding qualified substitutes, as they are in short supply in our region, and are too costly to hire, with often limited availability. Without daytime substitutes, districts cannot release teachers from the classroom to attend PD events. This directly impacts participation in regional PD offerings, and limits growth opportunities for educators. The Regional Staff Development Council shares learning about educational issues that affect schools and students. Traditional Professional Development The “Baby Boomer” generation is retiring and a younger, a more technologically savvy generation of teachers is taking over the field. Traditional delivery models of professional development are often costly, inadequate and unappealing to a generation of digital learners. We are challenged to find innovative and cost-effective ways to create integrated and embedded cultures of professional learning that offer blended approaches and prepare educators to help their students achieve. From our smallest school districts to the CSDE, our customers continue to seek effective strategies and face-to-face staff development. Faced with decreasing budgets, mandates and district-level demands for increased proficiency, educators are less able to attend our professional learning events. We need to continue creating alternative professional learning models.

Our Center for Educational Leadership engages dedicated educators who seek to become more effective district leaders.

Initiative Overload & Budgetary Constraints Connecticut’s educators face numerous state and federal initiatives that directly impact their classroom work and professional experience. They have to implement many recent initiatives, such as Connecticut Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and Social Studies Frameworks, to name a few. As a result, they are experiencing initiative overload, even as state budgetary constraints significantly reduce funding for required PD. Many face proficiency challenges that require learning opportunities beyond curriculum and assessment, which are unaffordable for both teachers and districts.

Customized Leadership Support Leaders at the district and school levels are challenged to rapidly learn new processes, and then effectively lead their stakeholders through the professional learning. Individual and small cohorts of leaders require focused and customized responses that are adjusted for their school communities. Helping both new and veteran leaders manage their time, the talent in their schools, and the tools available to teachers continued to require that our staff have a wide range of expertise and the skills necessary to provide individualized coaching and support.

“EASTCONN’s PowerSchool assistance has given us an affordable option to train and support our staff. Time and time again we have found that [your staff member] has been able to guide and support our nuanced needs, as well as give us a clear and concise road map for the future, which I would like to note is unavailable in any other forum. This support has not only reduced the man hours needed to manually enter data but it also has streamlined the bulk of our processes so that we can focus more on the analysis of student data.” – Joseph B. Torres, Data Systems Manager, Stafford Public Schools

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AGENCY GOAL #3

2017-2018 Plans & Implications

learning that can be jointly shared. With district input, we will provide common resources and time for educators to collaborate across district boundaries. Our staff can facilitate peer-learning opportunities in formats where dialogue, problem-solving and teaching strategies amplify learning. Inquiry-Based Instruction Both the new Social Studies frameworks and the Next Generation Science Standards place significant emphasis on inquiry-based instruction. That same theme is also reflected in the Connecticut Core Standards for Language Arts and Mathematics. Collectively these initiatives present a significant need to increase professional learning opportunities around best practices in inquiry-based instruction. With the input of EASTCONN’s Regional Staff Development Council members and other district educators, we’ve identified the need to offer professional learning opportunities across core content areas.

Our streaming services allow people to watch and/or participate in an event or training in real-time, in remote settings, saving travel costs and time out of the classroom.

Regional Collaboration to Meet Mandated Requirements

Innovation in Professional Learning By taking full advantage of current learning technologies, social media and incorporated elements of blended learning systems, we will continue to revise and expand the options we offer for the delivery of professional learning to educators and administrators. We are continuing our move away from short-term, one-time workshops, whenever possible, toward more sustained, systemic professional learning that integrates the many challenges that educators currently face. We will also work with districts to address the problem of getting substitutes. Personalized Professional Learning We will seek partners and funding to strengthen our capacity and support our region’s educators as they master changing demands on their instructional practice. We will continue to develop and promote new learning opportunities for educators that are personalized and responsive to their individual learning needs.

Using jump-ropes, area educators simulated computer circuits during an innovative, combined RSDC/Tech Council meeting.

Developing Virtual & Blended Learning Opportunities We will continue to encourage informal learning experiences that complement the work of classroom educators by encouraging and fostering virtual learning for our teachers; this may translate into fostering the same for students.

We will seek creative ways to meet district needs where funding for essential programs such as Educator Evaluation and TEAM is reduced. We will explore cross-district collaborations and other strategies to provide the services to districts at reasonable costs. That will also include our RESC Alliance partners, where we will continue collaborating with individual RESCs, as well as the Alliance as a whole, in the development and delivery of programs and services that address our local districts’ professional learning needs.

Regional Planning & Development EASTCONN recognizes the need to help districts maximize resources. We will support regional planning for professional learning by capitalizing on professional learning options. Small districts are encouraged to collaborate and plan professional

“Your presenter was great! Very understanding of where teachers/staff are coming from when we need to apply our learning to our work in reality.” • “Very well planned, organized, and you provided materials that we could use immediately.” • “I value the presenter’s ability to help frame research questions and provide meaningful feedback.” – Post-PD assessments from Tolland special-area teachers, following embedded EASTCONN PD on Collaborative Action Research

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AGENCY GOAL #3 Other Content Areas Connecticut Core Knowledge & Competency (CT • Special Area & Essential Arts Educators: We will offer CKC) Framework for Professionals Working with more regional sessions, and explore avenues to host those Young Children & Their Families events in satellite and/or in-district locations region-wide. Our Early Childhood staff will support a statewide effort to plan meaningful professional • Social Studies: We will exlearning for early childhood pand resources to help districts educators and early-care providers implement practices that align Provided different workshops for on this assessment system; the with the Social Studies Framecommunity-based, early-care new professional learning will works, including direct PD and be rolled out with the CKC’s in coaching for Social Studies providers, on a wide variety of topics. collaboration with the state Office curriculum designers. of Early Childhood (OEC).

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Psychological & Behavioral Consultation Services (PBCS) PBCS will continue to take advantage of our crisis intervention work in districts to simultaneously build capacity and skills that support prevention and systemic supports for all students, including those with special needs. We plan to continue expanding our practice of embedded, ongoing coaching and consultation to build and sustain programs for students within their home districts, consistent with our commitment to least restrictive environments and inclusive education for all students. In-District Professional Development Technology Solutions will continue to provide in-district PD for teachers who need to increase their facility with technology applications in order to enhance their teaching and learning. We anticipate that the demand for on-site technology support, like that which we provided this year to 80 teachers and instructionrelated staff in 7 districts and municipalities, will continue to expand in 2017-2018.

The EASTCONN Mobile STEM Lab travels to distant locations across northeast Connecticut, increasing student access to advanced technology, often unavailable in their home schools. • Science: A renewed interest in professional learning for science educators has emerged with the recently adopted Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Projects for next year will include additional week-long institutes to address NGSS science curriculum alignment, and also regional cooperative sessions to build understanding and networks within the EASTCONN region. Increasing the availability of coaches with this expertise is also a priority to meet district needs. We will continue to expand learning opportunities for the region’s teachers on the EASTCONN Mobile STEM Laboratory.

An arts educators workshop fine tunes teachers’ abilities to link learning through the arts as a means of engaging students. “We all know that STEM really is the future, and teaching our kids to engage in the sciences and manufacturing – and the learning that comes from those disciplines – is really critical.” – Connecticut Rep. Doug Dubitsky, R-47th District, speaking about the importance of EASTCONN’s new Mobile STEM Lab, during the Lab’s ribbon-cutting ceremony “You have been extremely helpful in our grant pursuing process. We are starting to reach out into different funding facets, and this is a great connection. Your help writing our (latest) grant was over the top and provided a lot of support and education in grant writing.” – Samantha Schadtle, teacher, Region 8, and a member of EASTCONN’s Grant Development Council

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EASTCONN’s Six Divisions ADULT PROGRAMS

ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT 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 Programs include: • Adult Education & High School Completion • Community Education • Employment & Training Programs • English Language Learner Services • Parent & Family Programs

EASTCONN is committed to facilitating collaborative, regional approaches to administration operations. From cooperative purchasing to regional staff recruitment, EASTCONN works to find more costeffective ways of using local resources. Our Organizational Support services include: • Administrative Support for Schools • Business & Employer Services • Communications Services • Facilities Services • Human Resources Management • Personnel & Staffing Solutions • Program Design & Development • Technology Services • Transportation Services

EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVES EASTCONN works with parents, communities and school to ensure that all children enter school ready to succeed. EASTCONN designs and implements high-quality 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 • Early Childhood Materials & Products • Programs for Young Children & Families

TEACHING & LEARNING SERVICES EASTCONN works with educators across northeastern Connecticut to substantively improve instruction, with the goal of increased learning for all children. From standardsbased curriculum design to data-driven school improvement, our specialists offer a broad range of expertise. Our Teaching and Learning services include: • Center for Educational Leadership • Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment • Professional Learning • Regional Groups & Councils • School Improvement Strategies

K-12 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 K-12 Student Services include: • Academic Enrichment • Clinical Day Treatment Programs • Magnet Schools & Other Options for Students • Programs for Students with Developmental Disabilities • Psychological & Behavioral Consultation Services • Related Services • School-to-Career • Schools for Non-Traditional Learners • Services for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders • Summer, Vacation, After-School Programs • Other Student 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: • Data Solutions Support & Training • Educational Technology Integration • Technology Infrastructure Support • Technology Products

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EASTCONN Administrative Team 376 Hartford Turnpike, Hampton, CT 06247 Telephone: 860-455-0707; Fax: 860-455-8026 www.eastconn.org Executive Director............................Paula M. Colen Hampton..............................860-455-1505.......... pcolen@eastconn.org Adult & Community Services...........Richard Tariff Hampton..............................860-455-1562.......... rtariff@eastconn.org Early Childhood Initiatives...............Diane Gozemba Hampton..............................860-455-1518.......... dgozemba@eastconn.org Facilities Services.............................Michael Akana Hampton..............................860-455-1500.......... makana@eastconn.org Finance..............................................John Baskowski Hampton..............................860-455-1502.......... jbaskowski@eastconn.org Human Resources.............................Steve Wapen Hampton..............................860-455-1554.......... swapen@eastconn.org K-12 Student Services.......................Thomas Cronin Hampton..............................860-455-1512.......... tcronin@eastconn.org Marketing & Communications.........Teddie Sleight Hampton..............................860-455-1553.......... tsleight@eastconn.org Planning & Development..................Maureen Crowley Hampton..............................860-455-1513.......... mcrowley@eastconn.org Teaching & Learning Services..........Scott Nierendorf Hampton..............................860-455-1621.......... snierendorf@eastconn.org Technology Solutions........................Andrew DePalma Hampton..............................860-455-1620.......... adepalma@eastconn.org Transportation Services.....................John Vitale Columbia.............................860-228-6751.......... jvitale@eastconn.org

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, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, genetic information, gender identity or expression, veteran status, disability or any other classification protected by state or federal law.

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ADULT PROGRAMS OVERVIEW Adult Programs comprises four main divisions: Adult Education, Community Education, Employment and Training, and Parent/Family Programs. Adult Education provides regional adult education services to a consortium of districts that includes 21 northeastern Connecticut towns. Adult Education services are free to residents 17 and older, who reside in consortium towns. Services include: multiple high school completion programs; English-as-a-Second-Language instruction; American citizenship preparation; life and basic skills instruction; college transition support; out-of-school-youth services; and workplace literacy. Community Education provides low-cost, lifelong learning opportunities for residents of all ages, who can take personal and arts enrichment classes, as well as trips, workshops, online learning and career-advancement skills training. Employment and Training provides job transition support, skills training and customized workplace literacy instruction, in addition to overseeing the Out-of-School-Youth employment program. Parent/Family Programs are provided in close collaboration with the agency’s Early Childhood Initiatives staff, offering both parenting skills instruction and parent-child literacy support.

2016-2017 Highlights & Accomplishments

GOALS 1. To continue growing our Adult Education consortium offerings and membership, and producing highquality outcomes for all our adult learners. 2. To meet or exceed the performance criteria for our out-of-school and adult employment and training programs. 3. To expand participation in our Community Education programs.

High School Credential Adult Education offers 3 alternatives for completing a high school education: the GED; the Adult High School Credit Diploma Program (CDP); and the National External Diploma Program (NEDP). Among the 375 students enrolled across all 3 credentialing programs, the overall graduation rate has risen from 26% to 34%.

Adult Education

• GED: Adult Programs offers GED classes at 8 different locations, supplemented with online preparation. Forty-five (45) students are projected to graduate with their GED in June 2017. • Spanish GED: Continued Spanish-language curriculum and assessment development, enabling us to provide more customized programming for English Learner (EL) students. • The National External Diploma (NEDP): Students work online independently, then meet one-on-one with our teachers as they work to achieve 100% mastery of the 70 competencies required to earn this nationally recognized diploma. EASTCONN offers this program at 4 different sites. In June 2017, 5 students are projected to graduate with their NEDP.

A Spanish GED student at our Willimantic-based Adult Learning site focuses on improving her math skills with an instructor.

• Marketing & Recruitment Initiative: Lower enrollment in GED and CDP classes continued statewide and our programs were no exception. In response, we continued our recruitment initiative. Our efforts have included cable TV commercials, direct mailing, internet outreach, a range of print advertisements, an increased presence at community events, Spanish translation of materials and more.

Across all adult and community education programs, we enrolled 1,268 adult learners, including 669 who participated in our free High School Credentialing, English-as-a-SecondLanguage, and specialized Program Improvement Project (PIP) Grant programs, all of which offer innovative, basic education options to specialized target groups.

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ADULT PROGRAMS • Retention Initiative: Implemented a retention initiative to classes were supplemented by 8 classes, located at communitykeep students from leaving our programs before they earn based sites, where an additional 95 students were enrolled. their high school degree. Many students report that the online More than 75% of students improved their reading and listening GED test, rolled out in 2014, is more demanding and requires skills. a longer preparation period. As a result, many students are challenged to stay enrolled. Retention strategies include staff Advocacy Pilot with Commission on Adult Basic follow-ups with students, and connecting our successful Education (COABE) GED-program alumni with current students. Thanks to our As key participants and contributors to a new, nationwide efforts, GED program completions have grown. COABE Advocacy Project, EASTCONN staff wrote a new – Efforts to make students feel more connected and curriculum for adult students. The curriculum, which was reassured have increased enrollment numbers for ESL, piloted with EASTCONN Adult Spanish GED and Citizenship this Education students, taught them how year, in spite of the fact that many write testimonials, sharpen their Adult Students enrolled to undocumented immigrants in our literacy, critical thinking, writing and region are concerned about federal English language skills, as well as in classes & immigration policy proposals. how to present their ideas publicly. – Our new retention initiative, This curriculum will be piloted improved their reading skills Alumni Gathering, has received nationwide through COABE, and will positive feedback. It has two goals: also support COABE’s nationwide (1) to increase the sense of cohort student-testimonials drive. among our recent graduates; (2) to feature inspiring, adult education graduates who share their personal stories to Multi-Generational Learning Initiative encourage current students. Offered regional, multi-generational programming that co-locates high-quality GED, Spanish GED, and/or ESL instruction for parents with developmentally appropriate and educationally rich childcare provided through partnerships with providers such as Head Start, Early Head Start, Family Resource Centers and member districts. This year, programs were offered at 3 locations: Windham Public Schools (Willimantic), the Plainfield Family Resource Center and the Putnam Family Resource Center. These partnerships enabled parents and children to access essential educational services and helped parents develop critical work-readiness skills. This family-centered model allowed more responsive programming to meet the needs of both children and adults, while creating opportunities for the collaborative delivery of other services, including transportation and credential preparation classes.

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ESL

• Windham Parent Partnership: Relocated to Windham High School with the Windham Head Start program. The program collaborated with the Windham Early Childhood program which oversaw the renovation of 2 classrooms at Windham High School for our portion of the program. We continued the evening ESL class in partnership with UCONN Jump Start (through Head Start) and Windham Public Schools, allowing us to offer instruction to 18 higher-level EL adult students in need of childcare. While the adults were working to improve their English skills to levels needed for professional advancement, their 10 children received snacks from Windham Public Schools and high-quality

A total of 326 students enrolled in our ESL programs to improve their English skills and increase both their employment options and wage-earning capacity. English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) Programs The majority of ESL programming was delivered at our 2 regional community learning centers; 199 students were enrolled in one of 12 classes at the Community Learning Center in Windham; and 32 were enrolled in one of 3 classes at the Northeast Learning Center in Danielson. These center-based

“I am currently in adult education to obtain my GED to better my life. It is helping me to achieve my goals to become successful and getting over my first stepping stone to get my GED. It is helping me to show my children that being successful and school are very important in life. EASTCONN has helped me with achieving my goal by offering me childcare while I am in class. My main setback was child care. Knowing she has been through the same thing with her children and is successful helps me believe I can do it, too.” – Kayla Birsell, Plainfield Adult Programs GED Student

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ADULT PROGRAMS childcare from UCONN students, all under the supervision of Windham Head Start staff. The class has had outstanding attendance, with adult students making significant gains. Family Nights at Elementary Schools Adult Programs again partnered with Plainfield Memorial School to offer a family night, recognizing the important role parents play as their child’s first teacher. This year’s focus was literacy. Nearly 100 people participated and all received a book to take home. Two (2) local state legislators also participated by reading books. Citizenship & Immigration Responses Many of our Adult Programs students are non-U.S. citizens, who may be undocumented. Given recent changes in federal immigration policy proposals, and non-citizen residents’ concerns about related issues, which include the long-term viability of their residency in the United States, Adult Programs responded with increased access to related resources and information.

In consultation with Adult Programs staff, students select from a range of high school credentialing options, allowing them to tailor their education to their learning style and skill level. • National External Diploma Program Project: 12 students are enrolled in the program and we expect 5 will earn their diploma through this individualized, portfolio-based approach to learning, where students meet one-on-one with an assessor to demonstrate their mastery of core competencies.

• For the first time, collaborated with St. Joseph’s church in Willimantic to offer a Saturday citizenship class on site. Currently, 7 students are attending. This number reflects an increase over past years.

• Non-Traditional Adult Education Project: 25 adults, historically underserved due to significant barriers to participation, were enrolled in this project. One class was held at United Services in Putnam for individuals with diagnosed mental illness, while others were held at two Willimantic housing • Transition: Preparing for 21st-Century developments (Windham Heights Careers/Secondary: 50 adults and older “I am currently in adult and Village Heights). Students who youth without a high school diploma education to obtain my traditionally would not be able to prepared for 21st-century careers through GED to better my life ... My attend classes were able to access the this grant. All participants developed a same educational opportunities as portfolio based on their individual career teacher has been helpful the those who attend classes at our main goals, whether they were about postmost with motivation and sites. Several students in the Englishsecondary education, training, military understanding.” language classes are now exploring service or employment. high school credentialing options. • Windham Family Learning Project: • Integrated English Language/EL Civics Project: 30 30 economically and educationally disadvantaged, limitimmigrant and limited-English Windham residents received ed-English, immigrant parents from the Windham community English reading and communications instruction, so they attended classes where they learned to speak, read and write could better understand the rights and responsibilities of English; develop numeracy skills; and gain strategies for citizens and immigrants, navigate naturalization procedures increasing literacy development in their children. Parents also and learn about the U.S. government and history in order to took technology classes to learn basic computer skills, which become informed parents, workers and community members. they used to search the Internet and write resumes. Program Improvement Project (PIP) Grants We were awarded 7 competitive PIP grants from the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), totaling $255,000, including:

“Deseo terminar mi GED para poder ingresar al colegio y seguir mis estudios y asi poder superarne y cumplir todas mis metas. Gracias EASTCONN y el maestro por la oportunidad.” ENGLISH TRANSLATION: “I would like to obtain my GED so that I can go to college and continue my studies to be able to do better in life and achieve my goals. Thank you EASTCONN and [my professor] for the opportunity.” – Cristina Gregory, Adult Programs Spanish GED student “From the perspective of the Community College, I feel that the Citizenship class is a great opportunity for would-be citizens to learn all the rights and responsibilities of native born citizens including access to all the programs that a community college can offer.” – Elkin Espitia-Loaiza, Professor of Spanish, Quinebaug Valley Community College

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ADULT PROGRAMS Again this year, students not only earned their American Red Cross First Aid/CPR certification, but also learned the skills needed to pass the National Retail Foundation’s Customer Service Exam.

school youth in eastern Connecticut and beyond. Across our adult employment and training programs, we served more than 419 high-need, underemployed Jobs First Employment Services (JFES) and Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) clients. JFES clients are recipients of Temporary Family Assistance and are expected to move rapidly into the labor market; WIOA clients are either dislocated workers or low-income adults lacking the in-demand job skills needed to obtain employment. Upon completion of our programs, 219 entered employment and another 72 entered advanced skills training programs.

• Transition to Post-Secondary: This program provided exploration, encouragement and transition services to more than 200 adult education students in large group, small group and individualized settings. Through this grant, we supported and guided students through the process of defining an individualized career-ladder plan and researching postsecondary education or skills-training options. About 75 students are projected to enroll in post-secondary college or skills training. We have expanded our offerings to include bilingual transition services. • Integrated Education & Training (IET): Formerly known at I-BEST, through IET, 12 adult students are earning their GED, improving their English or basic skills, while also earning a nationally recognized customer service credential in this integrated, contextualized learning experience. The vocational training component was funded by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB).

Employment & Training Local, state and federal officials celebrated the opening of our American Job Center, a crucial new resource for job-seekers.

Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) This 4-year grant provides opportunities for 40 (a total of 160 over 4 years) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals to enter and advance along 4 healthcare career pathways: patient care and nursing; emergency medicine; community health and patient navigation; and health information management. The program is being delivered in collaboration with EWIB, Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) and Three Rivers Community College (TRCC). EASTCONN will continue to provide a work readiness and contextualized, basic-skills “boot camp,” just one component of the HPOG program. Of note: We also provided the “boot camp” program for the New Haven and Waterbury workforce boards. New Haven will serve a total of 320 participants, and Waterbury will serve a total of 160 participants.

New Co-Location of EASTCONN Adult Education & American Job Center EASTCONN Adult Programs and the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) collaborated to open Connecticut’s first-ever co-located facility combining both adult education and American Job Center programs in one convenient location. This combined education/employment center, located in downtown Willimantic, gets 1,000’s of visits from unemployed or under-employed adults who benefit from seamless access to basic education classes, job skills instruction, employment options and job placement assistance. This new model also responds to recent WIOA mandates that require EASTCONN’s adult education PIP grants to include employment and training opportunities for participants.

Partnership with EWIB Continued our partnership with the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) in the delivery of a wide variety of programs and services for economically disadvantaged, unemployed and under-employed adults, and out-of-

Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) Grant This 3-year manufacturing pipeline initiative grant, serving 425 eastern Connecticut residents, is in its second year of providing

“A job is the best social program. It gives you dignity and provides you with a way to support yourself and have a future for your family. That’s really what this Willimantic Job Center is all about.” - U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, speaking at the co-located American Job Center/ EASTCONN Adult Programs ribbon-cutting ceremony in Willimantic “EASTCONN adult education has been great. I have been attending since 2015 and the teachers all go the extra mile to be helpful and answer any or all the questions that I have in regards to my school work. I would highly recommend EASTCONN to anyone looking to further their education.” – Glen Brodeur, Adult Programs GED Student

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ADULT PROGRAMS

2016-2017 Challenges

training and job opportunities at Electric Boat and other local manufacturing employers. Delivered in collaboration with EWIB, 2 community colleges and the Thames Valley Council for Community Action (TVCCA), the program includes basic skills and work readiness training (EASTCONN); occupational training, i.e., machinists, pipe-fitters, welders, electricians, sheet-metal workers (QVCC and TRCC); supportive services through case management (TVCCA); and on-the-job training (EWIB).

Capitol Theater Arts Academy (CTAA) Tuition The cost of tuition continued to be an issue for enrollment in CTAA programs; tuition was insufficient to make the program fiscally viable. Thus far, no outside funding sources have been secured to underwrite the cost of the program. Competition with outside programs also continued to limit the after-school arts-program market.

Customized Workplace Training Developed 2 contracts for customized, on-site, workplace education programs. • Microsoft Office Training: 12 paraprofessionals in Preston Public Schools participated. We plan to train Windham Public Schools paraprofessionals in June. • Spanish-Language Training: 60 educators employed by Windham Public Schools enrolled in our 8-week program, offering both beginner and intermediate/advanced Spanish language instruction. This conversational curriculum is designed to emphasize words and phrases that are most useful for educators, in order to have a direct impact on their daily practice in the classroom and outreach to parents. An adult education student participates in job-skills training, acquiring invaluable, in-demand technology skills.

Community Education Our Community Education program featured performing arts classes, in addition to enrichment classes, job-skills training opportunities and trips. The program enrolled 561 participants. • Community-Based Classes & Special Events: Provided a variety of classes and learning experiences for 275 participants. Offered 66 new classes and 19 new bus trips. Some of the new and popular classes included Essential Oils and Reiki. Sporting-event bus trips continued to be well received with more than 50 participants per trip.

Reductions in State Funding for Adult Education We anticipate that State Adult Education reimbursements to towns will be reduced next year, even as our residents received operating costs, including personnel training and job opportunities costs, continue to rise. We will be requesting a 0% increase for the 2017through the Workforce 18 school year from our districts and Innovation Fund (WIF) Grant will reduce our budget accordingly.

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WIOA Requirements Beginning July 1, 2017, Title II Federal PEP grants (currently called PIP grants) will be tied to the same program outcomes as our Title I programs. These outcomes include employment, credential attainment and/or post-secondary training. Additionally, we will be required to track participants for a year after they complete each program. Since these are new requirements, procedures must be developed and new staff hired and trained.

• Capitol Theater Arts Academy (CTAA): CTAA, our regional, after-school, community arts outreach program, had 286 enrollments in 63 classes and private lessons. CTAA produced both dance and musical theater performances, attracting 900+ audience members.

“The MS Office Suite training provided to our staff by EASTCONN was very successful. Our presenter worked with us to individualize the training based on our needs. As a result of participating in these sessions, our Instructional Assistants are able to operate all three programs (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) and to support our students in using their programs.” – Ivy K. Davis-Tomczuk, Ed.D., Principal, Preston Plains Middle School, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Preston Public Schools “I really enjoyed the summer yoga class with [EASTCONN] … All in all, my experiences with EASTCONN have been great and I hope to be able to take another class or trip in the future. Thanks for all you do!!!” – Community Education student and bus trip participant

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ADULT PROGRAMS Enrollment Statewide, enrollment in adult education programs continues to be lower than it has been historically, and EASTCONN is no exception. It is believed that the transition to electronic testing for both the GED and the NEDP diploma is a major contributing factor, as well as the declining population in northeastern Connecticut and the continued lack of regional, public transportation. Spanish GED Tools While publishers have continued to expand the variety and availability of resources for preparing English-language students for the GED, they have been slow to create materials for students preparing for the new version of the Spanish GED. Our teachers have had to create their own materials and translate them into Spanish.

Adults of all ages benefit from refreshers in math, English and a variety of subjects as they seek to earn a high school credential.

Plans & Implications for 2017-2018 CTAA The CTAA program will close for the 2017-18 school year. However, through the energy and commitment of a parent group, EASTCONN Community Education will step in to administer a 5-week summer theater program in 2017 to students in grades 4 to 12.

Enrollment in our Spanish GED classes continues to grow, as dual-language residents focus on improving their job prospects. GED Recruitment Initiatives We will continue to expand our social media and community presence as we did in the 2016-17 school year, and seek to engage viewers with our GED commercial on cable TV. We plan to include video testimonials on our newly revised, easier-tonavigate EASTCONN Adult Programs web pages, which have also been translated into Spanish. We are continuing to reach out to our districts about co-locating GED classes and interfacing adult education on their websites. Two-Generational (2Gen) Partnerships We will continue to expand our partnerships in order to develop our multi-generational, 2Gen initiatives and provide 2Gen programming to more adult students. Through a focus on delivering educational opportunity, job-skills training and other supports to low-income families, our 2Gen collaborations will continue to reduce barriers to socioeconomic and educational achievement, helping parents and their children move toward whole-family success at home and in their communities. classes to try

“I am in GED to finish school so I can set an example to my kids ... It is helping me get better at stuff and to go far in life.”

Post-Secondary Transition of Adult English Learners (EL) We will continue to expand our EL program support through counseling and transition services, job development and contextualized instruction (EL Customer Service), with a particular emphasis on the successful transition of students from our programs to Quinebaug Valley Community College. We will continue to explore strategies for ensuring a smooth transition from Adult Education EL to college-level EL and plan to collaborate on the design of a program to train teachers for Adult Education EL certification.

Adult Education Consortium We will maintain the same fees for our member districts, despite our rising costs. To offset increased costs, we will continue to look for new sources of funding and opportunities to implement innovative, cost-saving practices.

“Despues de mucho tiempo de haber dejado mis estudios tengo la oportunidad de retomarlos y espero y tengo mucha fe en que llegue a obtener mi diploma de GED y asi poder seguir cumpliendo mis metas y en su momento poder ayudar a mis hijos y demostrarles que nunca es tarde para poder cumplir todas las metas que uno se propone. De antemano le agradezco a todas las personas que me apoyan dentro de la escuela EASTCONN y principalmente a mi maestro por la paciencia y enseñanza que me da.” ENGLISH TRANSLATION: “After having left my studies for so long, I have the opportunity to start again and I strongly believe that I will obtain my GED and that way continue to achieve my goals and help my children. I want to show them that it’s never too late to achieve the goals that you set. I would like to thank in advance the people that helped me within EASTCONN, especially my teacher, for his patience and the lessons that he gives me.” – Leticia Romero, Adult Programs Spanish GED Student

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EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVES OVERVIEW Early Childhood Initiatives, which focuses on children from birth to grade 3, offers a wide array of consultation, professional development, coaching 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, program development, accreditation and professional learning on standards, curriculum, assessment and instruction. Parent education is also provided. We administer and provide direct services to children and their families as the grantee for the state-funded Birth to Three program, and the federally funded Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Windham and Tolland Counties.

GOALS 1. Families access and use resources and services to support the positive social-emotional, physical development/health, language and cognitive development in their children. 2. Programs serving children from birth to age 8 are of high quality. 3. Children enrolled in the Early Childhood Initiatives programs develop knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to be successful. 4. EASTCONN early childhood programs and services are models of evidence-based practice and serve as a resource to families, programs, agencies and schools.

2016-2017 Highlights & Accomplishments Regional Programs for Young Children & Families Birth to Three EASTCONN’s Birth to Three program served families in each of the 33 towns in EASTCONN’s catchment area, averaged more than 12 referrals each month and maintained an ongoing caseload of 57 children per month. • Child Outcomes: 97% of children exiting from Birth to Three met their Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) goals; all children in our program made gains. Eighty percent (80%) of children receiving services transitioned to preschool with age-appropriate self-regulation skills.

Head Start children role-play a doctor’s visit, developing their higher-order thinking skills and cultivating social intelligence. Head Start Our federally and state-funded Head Start and Early Head Start programs served a combined total of 398 low-income children and their families at 9 sites and home-based programs across Tolland and Windham counties.

• Family Surveys: Results were very encouraging, with 98% providing positive answers on the Federal Guideline parental feedback questions, including their awareness of their rights and responsibilities, their ability to describe and discuss their child’s disability and their increased understanding of child development. Eighty percent (80%) of parents reported an increase in knowledge of child development; 90% of families were consistently using resources provided to obtain better child outcomes.

• Early Head Start: Provided center-based services for 48 infants and toddlers, 119 home-based infants and toddlers, and 8 children who had a locally designed program combining a center-based experience with monthly home visits; an 11% increase from last year. Our capacity to serve children in Early Head Start increased to meet the growing needs in the community. This year, 17% of the children enrolled in Early Head Start qualified for Birth to Three services and were on an Individualized Family Service Plan to address developmental delays identified through early screening processes.

• Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS): Supported Connecticut’s Birth to Three Central Office by providing information on how our Birth to Three program is using ELDS to guide goal development in relation to services provided to children. Ninety percent (90%) of Birth to Three specialists across Connecticut integrate ELDS in their home visits with children and families.

• Head Start: Provided 215 low-income Pre-K children and their families with comprehensive services including: health,

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EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVES nutrition, education, disability, dental, mental health and family support at 6 sites in Tolland and Windham counties. Head Start children continue to show significant gains on the Connecticut Preschool Assessment Framework as a result of continued professional learning support and implementation of strategies designed to increase executive function skills.

• Collaborative Planning: Continued to analyze data for the 5-year Head Start planning process in partnership with UCONN’s Human Development and Family Studies program. The desired outcome is that our Head Start Prenatalto-Five program will engage families and the community in closing the achievement gap to assure children are successful in school and beyond, especially those with significant barriers; be a model of excellence and innovation in promoting social emotional competency among staff, families and children; and develop cultural awareness and openness that will invite and encourage all families exiting from our to participate.

• Family Goals & Stress Factors: Continued to use the multi-dimensional Family Functioning Scale to measure the achievement of family-defined goals and the stress factors in their daily lives. of children – Seventy-one percent (71%) of families indicated a comBirth to Three program met their plex series of needs: 34% of • Collaborative Research: Individual Family Service Plan Goals families made goals related to Strengthened our parent Basic Needs, 15% created goals engagement strategies through related to Caring for Child, and participation in a study with 22% demonstrated needs in Understanding Child Developthe University of Chicago on Head Start stories shared by ment. Survey results indicated the need for comprehensive families. services. Of note: Increased functioning was statistically • Child Outcome Data: Continued our work with a psychosignificant in all domains except for Stress and Family metrics expert to optimize the data from observations related Fights, and Mental Health for families in their third year of to school readiness indicators for the purpose of improving participation. instruction. Related data will be analyzed to study the impact – By mid-year, 29% of families enrolled in Early Head Start of our work in communities promoting the development of and Head Start had already met their goals, and 41% were executive function in young children. making progress. A total of 750 goals were originally created and in some instances multiple goals were set in more than one domain to address the complex needs of families. Results helped guide intervention and program improvement efforts. Staff received ongoing professional development through our Family Services Manager and UCONN Project Manager from the Center for Applied Research in Human Development.

97%

• UCONN Collaboration: Collaborated on a research project studying attainment of goals set by families in our homebased and center-based Early Head Start and Head Start programs. During fall and winter of the 2016-17 school year, the number of goals identified rose from 344 to 750. In addition, a 48% increase in the number of goals with documented progress was reported from fall 2016 to winter 2017. • Home Visitors: Collaborated with UCONN’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies Center for Applied Research in Human Development on the Home Visitors Project. Early Head Start and Head Start home visitors contributed to Two-Generational goal setting. A total of 264 goals were reported, up from 117 in 2015. Overall, the majority of documented goals were parent-child related (n=194) compared with family-related (n=70). The increase broadens our understanding of families’ needs and family growth across service areas and programs.

Early Head Start helps youngsters to engage in positive social interactions that will help them navigate school and life. • Head Start School Readiness: Continued to show significant progress in comparing kindergarten-eligible children, using the Connecticut Preschool Assessment Frameworks. By the end of 2016-17, the data preliminarily indicates that 82% of our Head Start children will meet the benchmarks. • Dual Language: Early Head Start and Head Start programs have seen an increase in families that require Spanish translation services. As of September 2016, a new Federal

“Amazing is an understatement for Emily’s [EASTCONN Birth to Three teacher]. She put every ounce of energy into helping Emily and us. Emily has made enormous progress!” – The mother of Emily, a child in Birth to Three

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EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVES requirement mandated that if a majority of children in a class or home-based program speak the same language, at least one staff member must speak such language. Therefore, we created a bi-lingual position to assist in translation and interpretation with Spanish speaking families during home visits and for classroom staff in center-based programs.

children in 108 classrooms throughout 14 communities. Literacy and math gains are evident in our collaborative programs, where integrated curricular approaches and strategies continue to support positive child outcomes. This leads to individuals learning how to make healthy choices for themselves and their families throughout their lives, and experiencing other lifelong benefits, like interacting positively with others in situations that require problem-solving.

• National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation: All 4 of EASTCONN’s Head Start and Early Head Start center-based care programs maintained their accreditation by NAEYC, and 1 of the programs will receive an accreditation visit this spring.

Professional Learning & Support for Early Childhood Educators

An Early Head Start child has fun with a gooey project that reinforces her ability to follow directions and complete a task. Preschool Development Grant Collaborated with the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to develop and coordinate professional development services for the federal Preschool Development Grant. EASTCONN is responsible for managing the coaches who are delivering comprehensive professional learning in the priority areas of the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS); social-emotional development; cultural competence; dual-language learners; developmental screening; Response to Intervention (RTI); and referral to special education. EASTCONN supports this work through a collaborative effort with Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP). EASTCONN and the OEC also provide a framework for giving professional guidance and support to coaches, as they engage with teachers and administrators to improve their coaching practice.

Early Childhood staff provide regional professional development forums that draw nationally renowned experts in the field. Early Childhood Professional Development • Infant/Toddler Conference: Coordinated a 4th annual regional conference focused on infants and toddlers, with a concentration on a incorporating a trauma lens into one’s practice in working with young children and families. More than 90 early childhood professionals attended from across the state. • Regional Workshops: Provided 26 different workshops for 725 community-based, early-care providers, on a wide variety of content and pedagogy topics. Attendees included pre-K and kindergarten teachers, paraprofessionals, teacher assistants, curriculum coordinators, early childhood administrators, infant/toddler teachers and paraprofessionals, Birth to Three providers, infant/toddler program administrators and related services staff, including occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Department of Children and Families workers.

• Coaching: Early childhood coaching was provided in 13 communities that received funding for preschool expansion. Sixty-five (65) classrooms received coaching as a means of improving teacher practice. EASTCONN’s role of providing professional learning for coaches working on behalf of the OEC helped the latter test professional-learning growth models where individualized professional learning focuses on promoting better outcomes for children and teaching staff competencies.

• Improving Executive Function, Language, Literacy & Math Skills: Provided training and on-site coaching to 1,728

“On-site [Executive Function] coaching provides teachers with support to implement fun, interactive and individualized strategies to support ALL children. This comprehensive program encompasses what we value as Early Childhood Educators: hands-on learning, personal social development, and positive expectations for all.” – A teacher from Norwich Public Schools, referencing EASTCONN’s Executive Function coaching program

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EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVES tool to ensure that the requirements for the School Readiness Grants were met. Staff were also responsible for ensuring that the School Readiness Grant was set for submission to the OEC. As a result of EASTCONN’s understanding of School Readiness requirements and quality grant-writing, more communities continued to ask for these services.

Playful Learning Pilot Nineteen (19) schools used “Purposeful Play” and “Executive Function” to inform professional development and materials in preschool through 1st grade. Teachers implemented purposeful play aligned with standards, including science and social studies, in their classrooms.

• Last year’s pilot, Supporting Educational Success Early Childhood Round Table Through Playful Learning: Originally for Pre-K and Networking meetings for administrators of public preschools Kindergarten, the pilot has expanded to include 1st grade. are now offered to keep district administrators informed on These training modules, developed by EASTCONN in state and national policies, changes in NAEYC criteria and collaboration with the Hartford Area best practices in early childhood. Child Care Collaborative with funding EASTCONN facilitates professional from the Lego TM Community children who reside in learning opportunities, which allow Foundation and the Hartford districts to meet required trainings, Foundation for Public Giving, are Connecticut communities share resources and approach PD designed to help teachers and families regionally. benefited from educator coaching collaborate around purposeful play • Collaborative Planning: Early that supports learning standards. in Childhood staff served on the Facilitation guides for administrator Northeast Early Childhood Council professional learning communities Leadership Team, coordinated the were also designed to promote Regional School Readiness Council and met regularly with rigorous discussion of the cognitive benefits of play. Family Resource Centers. These collaborations promoted region-wide planning and the coordinated delivery of services; as a result, resources were maximized and efforts Early Childhood Consultation & Support weren’t duplicated. A regional approach to setting goals for developmental screenings, vision and hearing screenings, mental health and school readiness resulted in communities working jointly to address issues that impact young children. Several awareness-raising screening events to meet the developmental needs of children were offered.

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Executive Function

Regional Efforts to Engage Parents • NECC: EASTCONN Head Start staff supported the Northeast Early Childhood Council (NECC) by providing on-site screenings at regional Family Resource Centers community events. Families were encouraged to participate in the People Empowering People program (PEP), which is an innovative personal and family development program with a strong community focus. PEP training is designed to build upon the unique strengths and life experiences of participants and emphasizes the connection between individual and community action. Participants learn how to advocate for their children as they develop community-based projects that would have a positive impact in the community.

A Plainfield Head Start student explores new concepts and develops motor skills during a drawing activity with his teacher.

• Head Start partnered with the Plainfield Family Resource Center, School Readiness Program, Recreation Department and Public Schools to provide an early-literacy series for

School Readiness Grants Staff served in the school-readiness-liaison or monitoring role for 11 communities, where they used a consistent process and

“EASTCONN has been an asset to the teaching staff and children at our program. Over the past six months the agency has been working with our staff to incorporate executive functioning strategies and supports to prepare the children for kindergarten. The training and coaching that has been provided has supported the continuing education for the teaching staff which has enhanced the classroom to be more engaging and the children have a true passion for exploring new topics and writing about what they are going to do in school for the day.” – Easterseals Children’s Academy, Kate McGinnis, Program Director Waterbury

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EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVES families, helping them learn how to promote emerging reading skills in their homes.

upon creating a Quality Improvement System for Early Childhood in Connecticut. The 5 Pillars of Quality will be revisited later in the year as a quality rating and improvement system (called Thrive!) is developed, based upon community input and national trends. Expanded Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) ECI provided reliable observers in 7 communities for Head Start and Preschool Development Grant classrooms. Observers provided teachers with direct feedback about their classroom practices. Coaches and administrators use this information to provide teachers with ongoing, flexible, individualized and collaborative support to improve their interactions with children. Connecticut Documentation & Observations Teaching System (CT DOTS) ECI and Technology Solutions are working with OEC as they begin pilot testing this newly developed assessment system. The system will provide a process for early care and education providers to monitor children’s progress on the skills, abilities and behaviors defined in the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS). CT DOTS helps early care and education providers make common observations in an electronic format. Used in conjunction with the CT ELDS, the new system will provide a foundation for gathering evidence about children’s progress, planning additional supports (e.g., curriculum, instruction, professional development, family activities, adult support) and communicating around common goals.

150 early childhood educators attended an interdisciplinary training on CT Core Knowledge and Competency Frameworks. Connecticut Core Knowledge & Competency Framework for Professionals Working with Young Children & Their Families (CT CKCs) ECI staff collaborated and coordinated on the roll-out of the CT CKC’s with the OEC and 150+ coaches, trainers, PD designers and higher education faculty. The CT CKCs refer to the expectations for what the early childhood workforce should know and be able to do in their role working with and/or on behalf of children and their families. The frameworks provide a foundation for professional learning decisions, professional development design, and quality improvement efforts. The CKCs were developed based on the recommendations outlined in the Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation, authored by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies (2015). EASTCONN coordinated the spring roll-out of CT CKC’s for directors and teachers across the state.

Early Childhood Leadership Team RESC Alliance partners met regularly with key members of the Connecticut OEC leadership team to discuss how to best meet the needs of early childhood initiatives in member districts, inform the new Quality Improvement System for Early Childhood and to advocate for RESC participation in creating and promoting quality professional learning and coaching across the state. Social/Emotional Health • Tier 1 Support for Young Children: Staff continued to work with a developmental, social-emotional model and introduced the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children as a Tier 1 strategy for early childhood programs in the region. Education specialists from ECI have been trained on the Pyramid Model as a conceptual framework of evidence-based practices. Developed by 2 national research and training centers, the Pyramid Model, recently adopted by Connecticut, has proved to be a sound framework for early care and education systems based on evaluation data over the last 9 years.

Accreditation Quality Improvement System (AQIS) We provided support to 10 sites receiving state funds to work on re-accreditation and improving the quality of early care and education by pursuing National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation. ECI staff conducted site visits, provided training and performed portfolio reviews. New this year, public schools were able to apply for funds to receive accreditation support, which includes those programs previously accredited or new to the process. Quality Initiatives ECI hosted a regional listening tour for OEC as they embark

“Our teachers, and more importantly, our students, are embracing teaching strategies supported by EASTCONN’s Executive Function initiative. How exciting it is to observe children counting days to an event on their linear calendar, planning play, creating materials, and more! They are developing skills to support life-long learning!” – Early Childhood educator, Norwich Public Schools

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EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVES • Regional Mental Health Summit: A Mental Health Summit is planned this June. Goals of the summit include addressing the increasing challenges of student behaviors in classrooms, identifying causes and strategies to address them, and creating systematic approaches to solving larger issues. The summit will offer an opportunity for community members to discuss the implications of mental health issues in northeastern Connecticut, and act as a call to action.

participants documented rich learning opportunities between colleagues, who were able to share information about regional services and collaborate to problem-solve around services that are still needed. Collaborating with Mental Health Services Providers and Department of Children & Families • Comprehensive Assessment: We will continue to work with the UCONN Psychological Services Clinic for observations, training and referrals of children who require comprehensive assessment services in our Early Head Start and Head Start programs.

• DMHAS Partnership: In an effort to address the mental health challenges young children experience, Head Start expanded its partnership with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to provide our Head Start services at the New Life Center, • Trauma-Informed Care: Growing a residential treatment facility in “I hope to continue this journey awareness of the impact of trauma Putnam. Circle of Security Trainand toxic stress on very young with [EASTCONN] as we are ing and wellness groups were children requires a new lens for those both passionately committed provided to mothers in a local of us working in the field of early substance-abuse rehabilitation to increasing the quality and childhood. The theme of the Fourth program, while funds to enhance opportunities for young children.” Annual Infant Toddler Conference the play space at New Life were was Integrating a Trauma Lens into secured through the Connecticut Practice with Young Children and Head Start Collaboration office. Their Families. National consultants shared the types and • Head Start Policy Council: This year’s Policy Council for frequency of trauma or toxic stress experienced by very Head Start engaged an enthusiastic, involved group of parents young children and the neurobiological impact of trauma on and community members. Representation on the Council infants, toddlers and preschoolers. from a local Family Resource Center and DCF provided a mechanism for families to learn about programming in Department of Children & Families (DCF) the region and to have experts in family services and child Collaboration protection services raise important questions for parent In an effort to provide coordinated support for the most members to discuss and consider. vulnerable families in our region, our ECI and Birth to Three staff worked in close coordination with DCF, establishing joint goals when serving children under our mutual care. We attended DCF state-level Head Start meetings on a quarterly basis and collaborated with the DCF Birth to Five liaison, who coordinates the DCF quarterly regional meetings. Two-Generational (2Gen) Initiatives Facilitated a multi-disciplinary team of agency colleagues in response to the identified need to build a regional, twogeneration-focused (2Gen) continuum of high-quality, sustainable, integrated services and programming that increase the educational success, economic security, community connections, and health-and-well-being of eligible children, parents and families in our region. The team’s initial focus was to create a working model of 2Gen programming and services across EASTCONN by connecting and building inter-agency partnerships. This effort has helped increase inter-agency communication and resulted in a new database system, designed to track client inquiries and referrals across the agency. Private/

Professional learning workshops help early childhood teachers stay current on a variety of content and pedagogical topics. • Collaborative Service Delivery: Participated in a regional service agency collaborative with DCF, Generations Health Center, family resource centers, public schools and dental services in an effort to coordinate support for area families in greatest need of services. Regional meetings featured focused presentations and resource sharing. Feedback from

“[Your Early Childhood staff member] believes very strongly in working collaboratively with stakeholders to further the goals of the Early Childhood community. Because of this commitment to and belief in collaboration, she is well respected in the field and her thoughtful work is appreciated by many. It has been my pleasure to work with [her]. ...“I hope to continue this journey with [EASTCONN] as we are both passionately committed to increasing the quality and opportunities for young children.” – Sue Vivian, Early Childhood Consultant

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EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVES public funding will be sought to support 2Gen program implementation.

Connecticut Core Knowledge and Competency Framework for Professionals Working with Young Children & Their Families ECI will support a statewide effort to plan meaningful professional learning on the assessment system, which will be rolled out with the CKC’s in collaboration with the OEC.

2016-2017 Challenges Contractual expectations With Connecticut United Way becoming the sole coordinator of AQIS contracts, staff is stretched to the limit, as their related workloads have grown dramatically. In addition to providing NAEYC support, a substantial number of hours were added to the contract for training that exceeds the hours needed to prep, travel and provide quality PD. Staff Capacity Requests from across the state for training, coaching and curriculum development exceeded our current staff capacity. Part-time contractors are being used to help support some of the work. Increased Mental Health Needs in Younger Children Few resources are available in the region to sufficiently address the demand for mental health services for children and families, resulting in difficulties in scheduling and long wait-times for critical services. Of concern, our programs are seeing indications of children who have experienced trauma that impacts their ability to self-regulate and be successful participants in center-based care. State Budgets State budget deficits presented challenges for families as the Care for Kids state-sponsored childcare subsidy was suspended for all families, with the exception of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) who must now choose between working and being able to afford childcare for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, or school-age children.

Our Birth to Three program provides in-home, early intervention services to families across the EASTCONN region.

Birth To Three Funding We are planning for the Birth to Three transition to a “fee-forservice” model for Medicaid reimbursement, which is expected in 2017. Pending legislation suggested moving Birth to Three from OEC to Department of Social Services (DSS) because both accept Medicaid for services. Birth to Three is not a social service, but rather a program designed to support families with “How exciting it is to observe children with developmental needs, children counting days to an event so being housed at DSS does not on their linear calendar, planning make sense for the service delivery that is being provided. Some play, creating materials, and more! representatives have suggested that They are developing skills to DSS will be able to absorb some of support life-long learning!” the monetary losses, which remains to be seen. Two-Generational (2Gen) Initiatives 2Gen programs directly serve children and their parents simultaneously. Co-locating in Killingly with Adult Education services will allow for an integrated model that will maximize resources and impact family functioning. A primary goal in the coming year is to support an internal referral system for EASTCONN customers that will meet both the child and parent’s educational needs. Efforts will be made to connect clients with supports that are available for families at risk and vulnerable populations. Through increased awareness of the model, the agency will seek funding to support this initiative to expand these services.

Plans & Implications for 2017-2018 Coaching Our Summer Institute is being planned to look at state capacity and other models that support improvements in the way coaching is structured for maximum impact. Direct Service Early Head Start and Head Start will align internal coaching through a practice-based coaching peer model. Staff have received training and a transition plan for implementation has been created.

“Thank you so much for working with Gabe and giving me all those great tips. We’ve come so far and I can’t thank you enough. I hope our paths cross again someday!” – The mother of Gabe, a child in Birth to Three

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K-12 STUDENT SERVICES OVERVIEW K-12 Student Services offers a comprehensive continuum of services for students with a wide range 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.

GOALS 1. To prepare all students in EASTCONN magnet schools and special education programs to successfully pursue their college and career aspirations. 2. To implement high-quality, best-practice programs and instructional approaches that will better serve students in our region.

2016-2017 Highlights & Accomplishments Regional Magnet High Schools EASTCONN continued to operate 2 regional magnet high schools in collaboration with member districts that elect to be our partners. These 2 schools, a performing arts high school (Arts at the Capitol Theater – ACT) and a middle college (Quinebaug Middle College – QMC), expand the public school choices available to high school students in the 33-town/36district region that we serve. These magnet schools are designed for students with special interests, whether they connect with a performing arts-infused curriculum (ACT), or a non-traditional college campus experience (QMC).

ACT’s talented Creative Writing students earned statewide and national awards for poetry and fiction, in multiple competitions. • Creative Writing Student Recognition: 18 students’ creative writing works were among regional winners in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a prestigious national program that has supported teenagers’ artistic development since 1923. Students won a total of 26 awards, which included 7 Gold Keys, 8 Silver Keys and 11 Honorable Mentions in the annual contest’s New England-region competition, placing ACT in 2nd place statewide in the competition. Connecticut Student Writers, a magazine sponsored by the Connecticut Writing Project, honored 13 students for their works of fiction and poetry; 5 students were published in the 2017 magazine, the remainder received honorable mentions.

ACT students have many opportunities to perform throughout the year in plays, musicals, dance recitals, poetry slams, coffee houses, and more. Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) ACT enrolled 121 full-time students this academic year, from 25 sending districts. The overall retention rate at ACT (students returning each year) was 90%. ACT will graduate its 7th class in June, with 28 seniors from 14 districts.

• Vocal Awards: 3 voice-performance students took home 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards in the Windham Regional Arts Council High School Vocal Awards, 10-12th grade level. • National Honor Society: 6 new students were inducted into ACT’s chapter of the National Honor Society, in its 6th annual induction ceremony.

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K-12 STUDENT SERVICES • Advanced Studies: ACT students continued to have access to a program with Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) that enabled 6 ACT upperclassmen to take 4 ECSU college classes per year, at no cost.

from 23 towns in its rigorous, humanities-rich and STEMintegrated program, which offers student access to college courses at no cost. QMC enrollment continued to increase in size and diversity.

• Audio/Video Student Achievements: Students from ACT’s Audio/Video Production program entered 6 videos in Connecticut’s annual, statewide DMV Teen Safe Driving Video contest. ACT is the only high school in the state to have placed in the Top 10 each year since the contest began in 2007.

• Free College Credits: This year, 33 students took 27 free courses directly through QVCC. Another 13 students enrolled in our UCONN Early College Experience (ECE) Academic Reading & Writing class, for free UCONN credit. • Successful Outcomes: Over 70% of QMC students were deemed college-ready in passing the Basic Skills Assessment exam at QVCC. In addition to a 30% increase in the number of students participating in college-level courses, QMC had an impressive college course success rate this year. In the fall 2016 semester, 87% of students in 27 courses earned passing grades, and in spring 2017, 72% earned passing grades in 30 courses.

• Post-Secondary Plans: 22 out of 28 ACT seniors (79%) applied to colleges this year, and many were accepted into competitive schools, including UCONN, University of Maine, Champlain College, UMass-Amherst, University of New Haven, Simmons College, University of New England, Temple University, Colby-Sawyer College and ECSU. • Instructional Rounds: ACT continued to collect data from teacher-led instructional rounds, which have focused on personalization of instruction. A group of 9 teachers conducted school-based rounds, and used the data collected to develop a professional development action plan for the 2016-17 school year, specifically designed to meet ACT teachers’ needs. Currently, the impact of instructional rounds is being assessed. This model of instructional rounds has expanded to a pilot at QMC.

QMC students operate weekly Town Meetings, using Robert’s Rules, to help guide their democratic learning community. • Post-Secondary Plans: 27 of our 34 seniors (79%) have applied to colleges, and many have been accepted into competitive schools, such as Assumption College, Quinnipiac University, Boston University, College of the Holy Cross, Bryant University, University of Hartford, UMass-Amherst, UCONN and University of Maine.

QMC’s music program includes chorus and “Music Makers,” a service-learning group that performs at community events.

• Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) Grant: The $1.4-million MSAP federal grant awarded to QMC was completed in fall 2016. Through a carefully constructed sustainability plan, QMC continued to expand the school’s STEM-infused curriculum. QMC has added a total of 9 new classes to provide a more robust collection of STEM learning

Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) Located on the campus of Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC), and featuring a student-driven democratic learning community, QMC enrolled 164 students in grades 9-12

“Community: a group of people who work together for the benefit of all. I believe this is a word that truly describes ACT, but no single word can wholly describe this school. It’s a place where academics and fun go hand and hand, a place where acceptance is complete and understanding is second nature. A place where everyone is family and like family, we stick together...The teachers here are saints, aiding us to learn the arts and our academics while encouraging us to be ourselves. This place is heaven on earth to me, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.” – C. B., ACT Student “This school has helped me in many ways. Ever since I was little, I knew I was a hands-on learner. This school has smaller classes and the teachers engage me in hands-on work.” – S., QMC Student

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K-12 STUDENT SERVICES – STEM Summer Camps for Kids: 20 children from around the region participated in our STEM summer 2016 camps, using the Mobile STEM Lab and EASTCONN’s • Creativity through Engineering, robotics equipment to explore scientifRobotics and Computer Apps: ic concepts such as ecosystems, soil, Through courses in STEM/Robotics, students from districts erosion and deposition and to create Mobile Computer Science, and Elecprogramming for robots. Additional tronic Music and Recording, QMC conducted experiments on our camps will be offered in summer students explored elements of design, 2017. programming and computer science – SUEZ Grant: The SUEZ Founto build and operate robots, design dation (operator of the wastewater socially relevant mobile apps, and treatment facility in Killingly) awarded a $25,000 grant compose and engineer musical compositions using profesto defray the cost of bringing the STEM Lab to 20 resional engineering technologies. source-strapped schools across northeastern Connecticut during the 2017-18 school year, increasing student access to the Lab, its curriculum and its many learning features. options for students. Two of the newest interdisciplinary courses include Classics for STEM and STEM/Robotics.

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Mobile STEM Lab

New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC) Accreditation QMC and ACT hosted Visiting Committees this spring to complete the first “self-study” phase of NEASC Accreditation. All staff members, from administrators to teachers and instructional support staff – with the help of EASTCONN Central Office, community members and parents – have engaged in the deep work of analyzing our adherence to the NEASC standards in teaching, learning and support for learning. Professional Learning, K-12 Services In November 2016, offered a day of staff-developed, staff-led professional learning for personnel in our schools, special education programs and support programs. Attendees chose their learning experiences from a variety of half-hour workshops, taught by colleagues and students on such topics as Arts Integration in Foreign Language and EL Classes; The Creative Process; Google Classroom; Teacher Portfolios; Student Leadership; Social Emotional Learning, and more.

The Mobile STEM Lab, a 40-foot-long lab-on-wheels, boasts a curriculum aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. • EASTCONN/QMC Mobile STEM Lab: The EASTCONN/QMC Mobile STEM Lab was officially launched at its ribbon-cutting in October 2016. The Mobile STEM Lab provides authentic environmental education opportunities to QMC students, as well as K-12 students, throughout the EASTCONN region. In 2016-17, 8 districts (as well as EASTCONN’s ACT, QMC, NRP and EVC programs) contracted to use the Lab, providing well over 700 students with high-quality, inquiry-based STEM experiences. More than 20 teachers from 11 of our region’s districts received separate science trainings on the Lab.

Standards-Based Grade Reform ACT and QMC continued to apply standards-based grading in their courses, in an effort to more meaningfully convey information to students and parents about academic growth and achievement. Their work informs decision-making, as we make transitions in our grading policies.

“Before coming to QMC I was bullied by a few people…Coming here has given me a new lease on schooling. I no longer hate school…;things are starting to fall into place. I am getting an internship at a nursing home, which wouldn’t have happened before.” – A., QMC student “I think ACT is a good school because it’s a safe place where everyone is appreciated, and everyone cares about each other here. It’s a place where you can express yourself in so many different ways. ACT is like one big family. It’s such a fun school, with amazing teachers who really care about education along with the arts.” – S. S., ACT student “I was welcomed with open arms [at QMC]. Most of the teachers have been so kind, and they honestly care about you. I have never felt so safe and appreciated in a classroom.” – J., QMC student

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K-12 STUDENT SERVICES center-based educational and behavioral services, an increase of 20% over last year. We combined staff from multiple disciplines in a wrap-around model that followed best practices grounded in applied behavioral analysis. Inclusion remained the ultimate goal and drove the philosophy, staffing and instructional programming for our students.

Special Education Programs & Services

Assistive Technology (AT) • Direct Services to Students/Clients: 36 students from 22 member districts, as well as 8 adult clients from 2 statewide Bureau of Rehabilitative Services (BRS) adult services programs, received assessment services from our AT team. • Professional Learning and Support: 13 districts purchased an AT Consortium package, providing them with priority scheduling of services, access to our expanding AT Lending Library and participation in specially designed Consortium trainings. The AT team delivered 57 trainings to staff in 19 schools on a range of AT topics, and provided 57 studentspecific consultations in 17 school districts; 492 subscribers received digital notifications regarding new AT products and services through our online list-serve and web-based publication of Featured Assistive Technology items. In addition, the Connecticut Tech Act Report (submitted to the national organization overseeing Tech Act projects in each state) has published notes written by an AT team member, regarding our Assistive Technology Lending Library.

K-12 students continued to thrive in our Clinical Day Treatment programs, where caring staff and best practices in academic, vocational and clinical programming meet students’ needs.

Clinical Day Treatment (CDT) Programs Fully enrolled and serving approximately 120 students from 28 different sending districts, our two CDT Programs, Educational Vocational Center (EVC) in Columbia and Northeast Regional Program (NRP) in Putnam, merged best practices in academic, vocational, clinical and behavioral programming to meet the needs of students in grades K-12 with significant social, emotional and behavioral issues. NRP has experienced signifiWoodstock Academy Cooperative (WAC) cant growth in the number of students attending (up 300% over This collaborative program between Woodstock Academy and last year) due to the increased space offered at our new site, the EASTCONN provided services for former high school in Killingly. As 8 high-school-age students from 3 we continued our commitment to our districts who have intellectual and educational model and offered strong Northeast Regional Program, other significant developmental clinical support to students, we endisabilities. EASTCONN Special hanced instructional practices through one of our Clinical Day Treatment Education personnel and Woodstock the development of quarterly themes increase programs, saw a Academy educators worked that allowed all students across grade together with individual students levels to improve their academic skills in enrollment and families to facilitate student and knowledge through high-qualgrowth in identified educational areas ity differentiation. We focused our and transition planning. All students participated in regular academic data collection using a variety of research-supported, education courses and in unified courses, including music, food curriculum-based protocols and procedures for continuous aspreparation, physical education and extra-curricular unified sessment of student learning. Extended school-year services will sports that included basketball, soccer and more. This year, be offered again this summer. Nearly 60 students participated in the Unified Sports team was recognized by Special Olympics last summer’s extended school-year services (a 20% increase). International as a 2017 Unified Champion Banner School. A total of 10 students are on track to graduate in June 2017 and Students applied math, literacy and independent living skills two students graduated in January. during community-based field trips throughout the school year. Vocational opportunities were available through job-shadow Autism Program & Services experiences, internships and ongoing assessments of their career Provided 12 students from 8 districts with comprehensive, profile.

300%

“EASTCONN’s Northeast Regional Program [NRP] has built up a great facility with a lot of resources for students and families. Trained and talented staff operate a wonderful program and many are involved with additional programs and resources in the community. Ease of communication allows for a balanced approach to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of the families.” – J.K., NRP Parent

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K-12 STUDENT SERVICES a new service of the PBCS group, developed in response to requests from LEAs across our region. Comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations were conducted to support districts in determining how students learn best, and to outline appropriate intervention strategies to improve learner outcomes. We also developed comprehensive in-district supports for students with autism spectrum disorders in 17 districts, representing a 70% increase over last year. • Professional Learning: Delivered 30+ formal professional development sessions in 15 districts for audiences of between 15 and 100 per session, including paraprofessionals, special education teachers, school psychologists, other schoolbased mental health providers and administrators. Delivered a regional session attended by 70+ area professionals from more than 25 districts focused on assessment and interventions for students with executive functioning and attention difficulties. Workshops were completely full and feedback was extremely positive. Related Services staff, like physical therapists, provide one-onone support to autism students, who blossom with extra care. Related Services Group (RSG) RSG worked with 26 of our districts supporting 654 students, from preschool to age 21, an increase of 17% over last year. Students benefited from direct therapy, classroom-based therapy, co-teaching and professional collaboration, across a wide range of settings. Our RSG includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and speech-language pathology assistants. Of the 654 students served (and their educational teams), 103 students received support in occupational therapy, representing a 15% increase; 292 received support in physical therapy; and 259 received support from speech-language pathologists, nearly 2 ½ times the students served last year. Of note, 2 districts purchased new contracts for speech-language services, and EASTCONN was able to increase its speech-language pathologist personnel by 1.5 FTE to accommodate the new requests for services. Additionally, 2 private educational entities within EASTCONN’s geographic region purchased speech-language pathology services.

An RTS student familiarizes himself with the self-checkout process at a retail store, acquiring an important skill of daily living. Regional Transition Services (RTS) RTS provided progressive transition services for 9 young adults (ages 18-21) with a broad range of disabilities at our Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) site through meaningful community vocational experiences, the development of independent living skills, fiscal management and college readiness opportunities. Students attended college classes independently and received RTS support outside of class with study skills, time management and college supports. Strong partnerships were developed with families, QVCC Student Support Services and adult service providers, including the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, which helped provide supports for each participant.

Psychological & Behavioral Consultation Services (PBCS) Our neuropsychological assessment, behavioral consultation, and professional development services were accessed by 31 districts, benefiting more than 3,000 students; 19 districts contracted for neuropsychological assessment services,

“Our daughter has received physical therapy through the school system and EASTCONN for many years and it has always been a positive experience. Her therapists have been extremely knowledgeable and caring and always make the sessions fun. They set goals for our daughter and help her master them and it is very gratifying to consistently see the progress she makes. Our daughter uses both a manual and power wheelchair and her physical therapists have been very helpful with their evaluations and recommendations when it comes to making modifications and selecting new equipment. Their expertise in this area has been invaluable and we are grateful for the help they have been able to provide.” – Joanne Everett, parent of a 20-year old student at the STARR Program at E.O. Smith

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K-12 STUDENT SERVICES counselors, nurses and administrators, on proper protocols and procedures when responding to abuse disclosures. Trainings took place at schools in Windham, Tolland and New London counties. Trained and supervised approximately 30 EASTCONN staff, employed at the American Job Center. Agency guards are now certified Connecticut Security Officers (Connecticut Guard Card) with training in criminal law, medical protocols, de-escalation procedures and crisis response. Our Safety Coordinator is a member of the DCF HART Team (Human Anti-Trafficking Response Team), which focuses on reducing Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST). – ARC Training: Trained a total of 50+ employees in American Red Cross CPR/First-Aid in partnership with the nursing instructor. – Supers & Troopers: Held 2 sessions attended by 50 Connecticut State Troopers and other law enforcement officers, as well as 50 school administrators. This year’s topics included a close look at truancy and residency laws, and child human trafficking.

Security Services and Support Truancy & Residency Services Provided truancy, residency and investigative services in 11 districts and supervised 2 full-time, district-based truancy professionals. Investigated more than 400 cases, resulting in considerable district savings and improved attendance. Health & Safety Support Provided a variety of health and safety trainings, demonstrations and consultations, including: • Consultation: Conducted numerous lockdown drills for more than 400 students and 75 staff members at EASTCONN sites. Emergency response plans, with quick-reference books, were distributed and put online for all staff to access. Quickguides and all-hazard approach placards are now located in all EASTCONN sites, rooms and offices. Worked with local police to provide building access to all Willimantic and Columbia educational sites. Consulted with Head Start and Adult Education on security needs and consulted on best practices for on-site security staff. Continued to work closely with school nursing staff to develop and implement Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) protocols and medical supply bags. As a result, all EASTCONN sites have response bags and AEDs on site as of 2017.

2016-2017 Challenges Magnet School Challenges • Enrollment: Connecticut’s budget deficit poses a significant challenge to student enrollment and, therefore, to the longterm viability of EASTCONN’s magnet schools. This is a result of the increased financial burden of rising tuition costs for our region’s sending districts, given that there has been no increase in the state’s magnet school funding for the 6th consecutive year. • Magnet School Transportation: Transportation of students to magnet schools in our region continued to be under-funded by the state. As a result, we are challenged to get transportation for students who want to attend our magnet schools. • STEM Capacity-Building: As the demand for use of the EASTCONN/QMC Mobile STEM Lab increases throughout the region, we will need to enhance our capacity for teaching in STEM-integrated content areas, as well as find ways to sustain the creation of affordable learning opportunities for the region’s faculty and students.

EASTCONN program staff practice de-escalation techniques and crisis responses, during a training session at work. • Training: Our School Safety Coordinator, a certified instructor through the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children, trained 200+ educators, including guidance

“As a small rural district, Brooklyn does not have the capacity to follow up on the residency status of each student. Utilizing EASTCONN’s Truancy and Residency Services, has proven very beneficial. With one phone call, our secretaries are able to engage [your staff member] in the work that would have taken us days and weeks and might not ever be completed due to lack of time and other resources. Not only is the work of [your staff] enabling the district to follow the residency laws but it is also financially beneficial as Brooklyn tuitions approximately 410 students to area high schools and it is imperative that we know which students are actually Brooklyn residents before paying the bill! [Your staff member’s] background also lends itself to working with our families who are having trouble with school attendance. He works with families on an individual basis to support them in an effort to keep our students attending school on a regular basis. I am delighted with the opportunity EASTCONN has provided our district with the offering of these services and very pleased with the quality of the services, as well.” – Mary P. Conway, Ed.D., Interim Superintendent, Brooklyn Public Schools

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K-12 STUDENT SERVICES Autism Program & Services The population of our regional, center-based autism program more than doubled in the last 18 months, requiring us to hire a new teacher and plan for additional classroom space. Finding highly qualified staff with the necessary expertise presents a significant barrier to accepting new students. EASTCONN’s

Regional Transition Services/Woodstock Academy Collaborative Districts in our region have indicated that there are high school students requiring transition services who are not ready to access the community college setting because of the constraints of their highly structured high school programs. Psychological & An intermediate transition program Behavioral Consultation Services between high school and college would benefit these students, but we would students have benefited need to acquire significant resources for program development and impleNE CT districts in mentation.

Psychological & Behavioral Consultation Services (PBCS) Districts often obtain PBCS supports in response to problems (e.g. when a student is on the verge of outplacement; when office referrals are very high; when a specialized program is in crisis). However, the districts that need our services are often grappling with limited resources, which limits their ability to access PBCS services. Our staff services would result in the greatest outcomes if districts were able to receive more support for prevention and staff capacity-building.

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Increased Demand & Assistive Technology (AT) The demand for Augmentative and Alternative Communication assessment, training and consultation has increased significantly. At the same time, Connecticut school districts continued to face economic hardship, which has limited EASTCONN’s ability to meet the need for AT services. Related Services Staff Shortages Staff recruitment is a significant challenge for Related Services for both physical therapy and speech-language pathology specialists. It is has been very difficult to meet the burgeoning requests for services. Truancy & Residency Services Changes in truancy laws continue to create challenges for our districts in addressing truancy and school-avoidant behaviors.

Plans & Implications for 2017-2018 Professional Certification EASTCONN Educational Services and Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) are partnering to offer a northeastern Connecticut region cohort for the Sixth Year Certificate in Educational Leadership. Aspiring school leaders will work with faculty from CCSU’s School of Education and Professional Studies to learn and apply effective practices of school leadership and improvement, in preparation for the Intermediate Administrator 092 certificate. Program content is being customized to meet the needs of future administrators of small districts and communities in our region.

Our Clinical Day Treatment programs served 120 students from 28 different sending districts across eastern Connecticut. Clinical Day Treatment (CDT) Programs Given our students’ need for mental health and psychiatric services, providing adequate clinical programming is essential, and finding high-quality staff has been challenging. We continue to seek additional community-based mental health services to supplement our in-house clinical supports. Currently, over 30% of our students receive psychiatric services through our consulting psychiatrist. Unfortunately, this, too, is inadequate to meet the demands for mental health support in northeastern Connecticut.

Magnet Schools • NEASC: NEASC Visiting Committees were hosted by QMC

“I have had the pleasure of working with [the Director] and the Psychological and Behavioral Consultation Services staff at EASTCONN for four years. We have utilized this department for psycho-educational testing, functional behavioral assessment, behavior intervention planning and progress monitoring/consultation support. The knowledge, skills and expertise they possess have been key factors in our success! The department staff are true professionals; flexible, accountable and respectful. They work very closely with us and have become a part of our school team! We are so thankful for their assistance and support!” – Alycia M. Trakas, Principal/Assistant Superintendent, Voluntown Public Schools

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K-12 STUDENT SERVICES and ACT in spring 2017, as both schools continue to work toward achieving accreditation.

students can consistently access clinical services offered within the school setting.

• QMC: Work will begin this summer on revising curriculum and standards to align with standards-based grading reform. Teachers and administrators are working closely with the IT department to develop systems to effectively report this type of assessment information to students and parents. ACT will train new teacher groups both at ACT and QMC on instructional rounds processes, with a focus on student engagement and personalized instruction. Both schools will continue to explore enhanced performance assessments and grading reform. • ACT: Plans are underway to expand the use of standards-based grading after successfully piloting a standards-based-graded unit on Latin America, co-taught by social studies and Spanish teachers in spring 2016. ACT will continue to expand teacher-led, school-based instructional rounds, which are an essential element of instructional improvement that has helped pinpoint areas of strength and growth for our staff.

We help districts build internal capacity as we respond to the growing demand for psychological and behavioral services. Psychological & Behavioral Consultation Services PBCS will continue to take advantage of our crisis intervention work in districts to simultaneously build capacity and skills that support prevention and systemic supports for all students, including those with special needs. We plan to continue expanding our practice of embedded, ongoing coaching and consultation to build and sustain programs for students within their home districts, consistent with our commitment to least restrictive environments and inclusive education for all students.

• STEM Opportunities & Funding: a $25,000 SUEZ Foundation grant will fund opportunities for students in the region to experience STEM and environmental science, on site, using the Mobile STEM Lab. In addition, ECHIP will continue to support health education, using the STEM Lab. We will continue to seek additional corporate sponsorships to keep the Mobile STEM Lab on the road.

Regional Transition Services/Woodstock Academy Cooperative As a result of the Level Up initiative, part of the Workforce Autism Program & Services Innovation and Opportunity Act, awareness of the need for We will enhance support for the special educational needs transition services for students who may not receive adult serof students with autism by continuing to vices after graduation from high school take full advantage of the expertise of continues to increase in our region. EASTCONN’s Psychological and Behavioral “Before I came (to QMC), We are exploring options to create Consultation Services (PBCS). Through I was failing out of high classroom space for students who will expanded collaboration, we will produce need additional support in their transischool, but now I have a continuum of services, expand shared tion and may not be ready to access a good grades and I don’t like expertise and strengthen the bridge between service located on a community college districts and EASTCONN staff. We will missing school anymore ...” campus. Our program will focus on continue to recruit highly qualified staff so we improving post-school outcomes in the can effectively respond to district demand for areas of competitive employment, post-secondary education and center-based programming options for students. independent living skills. Clinical Day Treatment (CDT) Programs As regional demand for clinical day treatment support continues to grow in the region, we will assess how to best structure, staff and locate our programming. We are exploring options to increase the classroom space available at EVC to offer Extended School Year services and to meet the growing needs in the region for students with academic, behavioral and social needs. Additionally, we will work with districts to look at the development of a service to improve school attendance so that

Health & Safety, AED Units The EASTCONN Health and Safety Support Committee, with the assistance of the Nursing Unit, developed medical aid kits that will be incorporated into all Automated External Debrillator (AED) boxes. They will continue to train staff in Red Cross AED /CPR procedures and are developing a “Slips and Falls” campaign to raise awareness of the importance of workplace attire and footwear to reduce injuries.

“My staff is really enjoying consulting with [your staff member]. They appreciate all of her knowledge and find her approach to be a great match with how they work as a team!” – Kelly McNamara, Ph.D., Director of Pupil Services & Special Education, Colchester Public Schools

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ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES Overview Our Organizational Support services are delivered by a broad range of agency departments that not only support the day-today operations of EASTCONN and our staff, but also supply assistance wherever needed to member districts, as well as to other external customers across the region on a fee-for-service basis. From organizing conferences and workshops, securing discounted products for schools, running lunch programs and catering services, maintaining our facilities, managing budgets and payroll, writing grants, providing communications and marketing support, as well as meeting employment and HR needs, we respond to a wide variety of demands from inside the agency, across partner districts and on behalf of governmental, nonprofit and other select organizations.

2016-2017 Highlights & Accomplishments

development, serving more than 725 participants, during 13 events that included vendor contracts, presenters and facilitators, event logistics and budget management. Notable CSDE events: Fall 2016 School Nurse Supervisor Conference, Adolescent Health through School-Based HIV/STD Prevention and Private School Equitable Services through the Title IIA Grant.

Each of our internal administrative support departments provided varying levels of services to our member districts and others, in addition to managing agency administrative functions. Highlights follow:

Member Districts Usage Member districts are encouraged to utilize our facilities and conference services. Last year, 4 districts used our facilities and services to host professional development sessions for more than 90 teachers. Expanding Customers Continued increasing fee-based use of our facilities and conference services by external groups as a strategy for maximizing resources, reducing operating costs and improving our community relations. Participating clients include CSDE, Mystic Seaport JASON Teaching Academy, the state College Board, Friends of Goodwin State Forest (Connecticut Forest and Parks Association) and the United Services Board.

Conference services provided a full range of amenities to customers, welcoming 2,481 attendees to workshops in 2016-17.

Cooperative Purchasing Our regional purchasing collaborative is a free service offered to all member districts. Total cooperative member purchases exceeded $9 million this year, a 300% increase over last year. Members realized an estimated average savings of 10-15%, or between $900,000 and $1,350,000 – savings that could be redirected to support other local/educational needs. Cooperative purchasing vendors also paid a total of more than $16,000 in rebates to our members. Use of the cooperative’s kitchen equipment vendor increased this year, with members realizing savings that were 9% lower than state bid pricing.

Conference Services EASTCONN’s Conference Services provided logistical support to internal staff, as well as external customers, including 4 districts in our region, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and others. Conference Services planned and managed 1,127 workshops and meetings for 2,481 participants throughout the year. Services included registration and marketing services, catering, audio/visual support and reporting. CSDE Event Management Continued to manage CSDE-sponsored professional

“It was a pleasure to present the Yoga 4 Classrooms workshop at EASTCONN on March 24. EASTCONN was a terrific host for this conference. Everything was terrific; the facility, the conference room, the technology setup, the food service and most especially your attentive staff, made it a wonderful place to hold this workshop. I look forward to presenting again at EASTCONN and would highly recommend the facility to others as well. Thanks very much!” – Emily Rosen, CREC Mindfulness Teacher/RYT/Yoga 4 Trainer

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ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES • Radon Testing: Provided state-required radon testing services to 7 school districts.

Facilities & Maintenance

Facilities/Maintenance Training & Consultation • Training: Provided an Asbestos Awareness workshop to facilities and maintenance personnel from 3 member districts. • Facilities Back Office Support: Provided a range of back office facilities support to 1 member district, including on-site inspections, recommendations to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and personnel interviewing support. Provided lead testing consultation for 1 member district. • Emergency Maintenance: Provided emergency maintenance support to 1 district by repairing their science lab. Also provided personnel interviewing support and equipment loans.

The former Killingly High School now houses our NRP program, providing a larger, upgraded space for students and staff.

Agency Facilities Management Managed, maintained and oversaw all details related to the safe and effective operations of 20 different EASTCONN sites, located in 7 towns across the agency’s 33-town service region.

Critical Facility Moves In the space of 7 months, collaborated with external agency partners and managed all the details involved with making 3 major agency facility moves, improving our ability to deliver high-quality services to our district customers, including K-12 and Adult Program students. Of note:

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• Oversaw all major renovations to the former Killingly High School (KHS), in preparation for our Putnam and Plainfield Clinical Day Treatment (CDT) programs move there.

Agency Fiscal Management Processed more than 34,500 financial transactions in the • Directed the move from our former CDT in Putnam to KHS management of our agency’s $76.7 million budget. Provided over the summer and, in collaboration with Killingly, opened fiscal management for 74 grants and contracts, totaling KHS’s doors in time for the first day of classes, providing a approximately $18.2 million, most of which was competitively seamless transition to a larger, improved space. awarded from a variety of state, federal and private sources. These funds provide programs and services that would • Managed the move of our former CDT program in Plainfield otherwise not be available in to its new home at KHS. our region, at little or no cost to • Also oversaw the planning and EASTCONN member districts. processed execution of extensive renovations at our new, co-located Adult transactions & managed Back Office Financial Programs/American Job Center site Support grants, totaling at Tyler Square in Willimantic, and Provided fiscal management managed a major Adult Programs services to 2 member districts, move from Windham Mills to the Tyler Square facility. including budget management, accounts payable and payroll,

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which resulted in enhanced services, increased effectiveness and cost-savings over their previous in-house provision of comparable services. Additionally, initiated and facilitated a Business Manager search process for 1 member district.

Hazardous Materials Management Services Ensured that our districts complied with Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) regulations and facilitated the resolution of any compliance issues that emerged. • Asbestos Management: Provided 6 school districts with 6-month Asbestos Reassessments Designated-Person Services, and asbestos management re-inspections.

Enhanced Fiscal Security As part of our ongoing enhancement of EASTCONN’s fiscal security, operated and fine-tuned a Positive Pay System in conjunction with our bank, in order to better protect our bank accounts from fraudulent activity.

“It was a really informative session. You learn a lot about things you didn’t know were there. [EASTCONN Facilities trainer] really knows his job. He’s really smart, and really good at teaching.” – Mike Piantanida, custodian, Ashford Public Schools, following an EASTCONN Asbestos Awareness training

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ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES training at our QVCC kitchen. With the re-opening of the EVC kitchen, we will begin vocational training at that location for EVC students who attend the program.

Eastern Connecticut Health Insurance Program (ECHIP) Provided ongoing fiscal and clerical support to the ECHIP collaborative, of which EASTCONN is a member, by managing its investments and processing its invoices.

Food Services Student Food Services • Member District Free & Reduced Lunch Services: Food Services piloted a free and reduced-cost student meal program in Scotland Public Schools, serving breakfasts and lunches to 60+ children daily. As a result of the pilot, students and staff report that they have enjoyed the new menu, the improved quality of the meal offerings and the efficient cafeteria operations. This year, we also implemented a Universal Breakfast program in Scotland; student participation grew from 8 to 55 children per day who are receiving a reimbursable breakfast.

Vocational training for interested students starts in QVCC’s kitchen, with basic skills for the food service industry.

• School Meals: Prepared, delivered and served nutritious, reimbursable meals to more than 250 EASTCONN students in 6 different locations on a daily basis, which met or exceeded federal requirements for a qualified-healthy meal. To accommodate the expansion of students in EASTCONN’s Clinical Day Treatment programs, the kitchen at our Educational Vocational Center (EVC) was reopened.

Human Resources (HR) Recruitment & Hiring Provided multiple layers of recruitment and hiring support to both internal and external customers.

• “Food For Thought” Café Management: Located on the Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) campus, the café is open 5 days a week, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., offering a full breakfast and lunch menu for EASTCONN’s Quinebaug Middle College students, as well as for college students, faculty and staff. On a typical day, the Café serves 325 people.

• Internal: Processed 1,500 applicants in response to more than 230 job postings/ads; conducted more than 500 employment interviews; and responded to more than 4,300 employment-related telephone inquiries. These numbers reflected strong preK-12 and Adult Basic Education program growth. The agency’s strong retention rate in key service positions ensured continuity and delivery of high-quality programs and services. Collaborated with IT and Finance departments in the upgrade of our MUNIS software and implementation of new Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance requirements.

• After-School Snack Program: In collaboration with the Windham Heights Community Arts Connection after-school program, provided 45 students with a daily, nutritious, reimbursable snack.

• Regional Recruitment: Provided free job advertisement and applicant referrals through EASTCONN’s Applitrack system on a pilot basis to assess whether there is sufficient demand to develop a fee-based regional service.

Catering Services • Catering: Accommodated groups of varying sizes with early morning breakfasts, working lunches, client receptions, annual meetings, holiday parties and more. Customers whose catered events were held on the campus of QVCC, included the college itself, as well as EASTCONN, Day Kimball Hospital, Putnam Bank, the Learning and Retirement group, among others.

• Shared Services: Provided 40 alternative staffing solutions to our member districts, resulting in fast and flexible staffing arrangements. • Time Entry & MUNIS Employee Self Service (ESS): Successfully converted from Time Clock Plus electronic payroll system to MUNIS Time Entry for all hourly employees. Also launched ESS, giving all employees access

• Vocational program: 10 QMC students, 6 Regional Transition Services students and 2 Northeast Regional Program students began working and receiving vocational

“Human Resources was very thorough and informative. If they were not 100% sure about an answer to my questions they went and double-checked with someone else and let me know. They were very personable, on time and professional. I was a little nervous coming in, but they were so nice and put me at ease. I liked how personable they were. They made me realize I made the right choice taking a job at EASTCONN.” – Barbara Reeves, EASTCONN Clerk

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ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES to personal demographic and pay history information, in addition to vacation time, sick time, personal time taken, and more.

Marketing & Communications District Communications Support Developed a long-range communications plan for a member school district that wanted to improve its connections with the community and increase town-wide support for its students, its programs and its budget challenges. Agency’s New Website After a year of planning and design work with a part-time, internal Web Development Team, we launched the agency’s new website in early April, featuring updated, sharper, more navigable pages, more photographs and improved content. The new site boasts a responsive design that enables customers to view and use the site from any device, including smart phones and tablets.

Marketing Support • K-12 Programs: Worked with the K-12 Student Services group on multi-media initiatives to boost recruitment efforts Our in-house fingerprinting specialist provides fast, convenient at our 2 magnet schools. Marketing efforts included frequent service to school-based job-seekers, helping them meet posts on social media, including paid, boosted posts, driving Connecticut’s stringent background-check requirements. greatly improved engagement; a TV cable television ad campaign; newspaper ads; and press releases that appeared in • Fingerprinting Services: 1,500 all regional news outlets. These efforts job seekers used our fingerprinting resulted in an increase in applications services, including individuals subscribers got our for both schools. Also supported efforts applying to be substitute teachers to introduce our districts and the public quarterly newsletters & in area districts, and candidates to the EASTCONN Mobile STEM in university-based teacher e-subscribers received Laboratory, which made its debut last preparation programs. Services fall. Communications efforts included multiple, targeted e-blasts about were delivered on-site to future assisting with web page development, teacher candidates at UCONN events, forums & PD workshops brochure and communications in Storrs. Began implementing materials planning, a ribbon-cutting electronic fingerprinting as a means celebration and media outreach. for improving customer service and expanding our customer • Adult Programs: Provided marketing and logistical base, resulting in an estimated 5% increase in revenue. support for the newly co-located Adult Programs/American Job Center open house, which was attended by nearly 80 Back Office HR Consulting Services people, including a U.S. Senator, a U.S. Congressman, state Provided specialized HR consulting services to 5 districts legislators, local government officials, business leaders in the areas of employee relations, HR audits, collaborative and other EASTCONN partners. Also helped secure media advertising, training and related technical assistance. coverage for the event.

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Print to Digital Continued to transition many of our agency’s collateral “EASTCONN’s marketing department … has been a wonderful new support system for our small school district. [Your staff] has collaborated with us on developing a comprehensive draft communication plan to fit the unique needs of the Union Community. This initial structure, support and guidance has helped us as we continue to implement our strategic plan. Thank you!” – Steven J. Jackopsic, Union School Principal, Union Public Schools “Helpful staff and fast service.” – Justine Lambert, Fingerprinting customer

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ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES materials from print to digital media in an effort to reduce costs, producing an estimated $4,000 savings on postage last year, while improving the speed and efficiency with which our key stakeholders receive essential information.

Regional Community Arts Grant Wrote and won this grant to fund Cultural Artways, an arts project that celebrates diversity as a cultural value. Awarded by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development/Office of the Arts, this grant provided children, youth and families in Willimantic and surrounding communities with access to diverse cultural arts forms, while inviting them to develop their own performing and expressive cultural arts skills. Public performances by students and a series of visiting artists were featured.

• Growing Online Audience: Our combined agency list of 13,085 e-mail subscribers, which grew by 14% this year, was used to generate 70 e-blast communications; those e-blasts detailed upcoming agency conferences, workshops and events, and shared division publications, program-specific newsletters and promotional information, and other events on behalf of divisions and departments across the agency. • Social Media: Our online presence continued to grow, as evidenced by a 25% increase in our Facebook followers and their level of engagement over last year. • Traditional Media: Continued our use of traditional media as a marketing and communication tool, issuing 45+ press releases, generating an estimated $40,000 in free publicity, in addition to 4 award-winning quarterly newsletters, with each print issue reaching 2,500 key stakeholders; an additional 3,500 subscribers, including school administrators, state and federal legislators, teachers and local political leaders, among others, received digital versions of the agency newsletter.

Planning & Development Regional Grant Development Council Ten (10) member districts participated in 1 or more of the 4 Council sessions we provided at no cost. These meetings were designed to increase the quality and success of participants’ grant submissions, as they sought to obtain new funding from a variety of private and public sources. As a result of Council sessions, individual districts have created their own in-house grant-writing teams, while others have successfully obtained and leveraged funding from private foundations to expand learning opportunities for students.

2,800 students benefited from 10 CSDE-funded Interdistrict Grants, with more than 80% of participants reporting an increase in academic knowledge and acceptance of others. Interdistrict Program Design & Development Three (3) collaborative Interdistrict Grant learning programs were developed: America, the Melting Pot; Farming Our Lands and Sea; and Forensics Detectives: Mysteries for Solving. Drawing upon successful earlier models, we collaborated with 2 member districts to revise these 3 popular experiential learning programs, with the goals of improving students’ understanding and appreciation of diversity, and increasing their academic success.

Mobile STEM Lab Service Expansion Applied for and received funding from a private foundation to extend our learning opportunities for the region’s students and educators on the EASTCONN Mobile STEM Lab. Funding enabled us to expand service delivery and put highly sophisticated technology tools and resources into the hands of many more students. Students are able to conduct handson research in the field, collect and analyze data on board the Mobile STEM Lab, and draw conclusions about our natural environment.

Robust Community Partnerships Thread City Development, Inc., is a non-profit communitybased organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents, students, visitors, businesses and organizations in downtown Willimantic. As a member, EASTCONN has

“I, along with other staff members, was thrilled to see how the students made an exciting connection with the story [an EASTCONN staff member] had told them in the morning and the science lesson they took part in after lunch.” – Ann Pronovost, 5th grade teacher, Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy, Windham Public Schools “The experience here today was great for my child and all the students. The kids had a chance to participate 100% in interactive learning, they also had the opportunity to meet children from another school and to build on their social skills.” – A parent chaperone, following a Creating Community Builders Interdistrict Program field trip

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ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES regional hosting of events by our Conference Office. This has also reduced Conference Office-related business for our Food Services group.

provided facilitation and leadership assistance. EASTCONN helped guide the recent community survey process to identify local issues, such as the safety and attractiveness of Main Street, which directly impact ACT magnet high school, also located on Main Street. This effort has resulted in improvements like sidewalk renovation and improved lighting infrastructure downtown.

2016-2017 Challenges As costs rise and resources decline, our member districts are looking for ways to channel more local funding into programming that directly benefits their students. Using regional and collaborative approaches to the delivery of administrative functions results in cost-savings, as well as comparable or higher levels of quality. A critical agency-wide challenge is to continue providing high-quality, in-house services, while also responding to growing external customer needs.

Facilities personnel stay current on the latest state and federal mandates, and assist member districts in meeting mandates. Facilities Facilities faced the challenging task of planning, overseeing and implementing 3 major EASTCONN program-site moves, in addition to overseeing moves in and out of temporary storage facilities. Among a number of very time-sensitive projects undertaken by staff were renovations to the former Killingly High School, overseeing the day-to-day work of 47 workers and sub-contractors. Finance • Fiscal Reporting: New reporting requirements, including mandated employer reports under the federal Affordable Care Act and new state requirements like the continued phasing-in of the Universal Chart of Accounts, require that the Finance Department staff institute new, increasingly complex policies and procedures.

EASTCONN Cooperative Purchasing members test discounted vendor products before buying them for their districts.

• Security: Fraudulent activity and other security threats continued to require ongoing vigilance and security.

Cooperative Purchasing Our ongoing challenge is to convince districts, municipalities and other organizations to take advantage of the free access they have to our cooperative purchasing services, goods and commodities that can help them manage their diminishing resources.

• Budget Constraints: There is an enhanced need for budget awareness as state and federal revenue streams may be impacted by fiscal constraints. Food Services Limited resources presented significant challenges for our region’s smaller school districts as they worked to provide high-quality, nutritious food to their students, as required by

Conference Services Fewer professional development opportunities due to a lack of state revenue, combined with an increase in districts offering their own, on-site PD and coaching, has reduced demand for

“I am honored to write in support of your work as President of Thread City Development (TCD). Dealing with a vast array of personalities in a community organization takes skill and a keen sense of the group. I am consistently amazed at how deftly you accommodate so many varied perspectives...You are keenly aware of the concerns we face in our community and take a leadership role in bringing new energy, investors, and developers to see what Willimantic has to offer. In my 43-year career I have served on many boards and worked with committees and agencies. Serving with you at the helm of TCD has been one of the more rewarding and productive experiences.” – Chris McNaboe, Chief Executive Officer, Horizons, Inc., and a Thread City Development board member

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ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES law. In response, we are challenged to help our LEAs provide budget-neutral, quality food options that are both cost-effective, and that help them meet their mandates.

Planning & Development Current economic conditions challenged our ability to obtain the funding we need to develop new programs and improve existing ones. Federal, state and private foundation funders are affected by today’s economic realities, with more organizations, agencies, service providers and school districts seeking to expand their access to increasingly scarce funding sources. EL Staffing Shortage Areas With the increase of English Learners (EL) in the region, accompanied by a historic, regional shortage of qualified instructors, it continued to be a challenge to find and recruit highly qualified Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)-certified educators, as well as duallanguage educators. Electronic Fingerprinting System Continued to deal with delays in administrative approvals through the statewide electronic fingerprinting system, administered by the Connecticut State Police.

Plans & Implications for 2017-2018

EASTCONN’s new website, launched in April, offers visitors improved content, a cleaner layout, bigger visuals and a more mobile-device-friendly design.

Cooperative Purchasing We are expanding the role of our existing Cooperative Purchasing coordinator, as we intensify our efforts to effectively market the Cooperative, grow our membership, and increase the quality and number of products available to member towns and districts.

Marketing & Communications Ensuring that timely and accurate information about how EASTCONN can be of assistance to both internal and external stakeholders, even as their needs are constantly job-seekers used HR’s Conference Office Services changing, remains our greatest The Conference Office will explore challenge; it requires the ongoing Fingerprinting Services this year alternative marketing strategies to assessment of member needs and expand its external customer base. EASTCONN’s evolving capacity to We are initiating conversations with meet those needs. districts to promote those services that we can provide for them on-site, including PD registration, food services and technical Human Resources support. Our ongoing, agency-wide challenge is to continue providing

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high-quality, in-house services, while also responding to growing district and other external customer demands among rising costs and declining resources.

Facilities • Regional Facilities Forums: Plans are in place for continuing these popular forums, during which facilities and maintenance personnel from member school districts learn about new state mandates and the latest in best practices, as they connect with colleagues who face similar professional challenges. We are exploring the use of a blended approach to future Facilities Forums. Many facilities directors are “one-man shops” and

MUNIS Systems Training MUNIS Time Entry and MUNIS Employee Self Service (ESS) systems require supervisor and end-user training along with technical debugging, as they are implemented agency-wide.

“EASTCONN’s Human Resources department has been incredibly responsive since day 1 of my hire. From initial offer to orientation, the staff has been professional, timely and keen on detail. The orientation appointment was a crucial piece in preparing me to be successful at EASTCONN and orienting me to the agency practices. I am very satisfied with my experience as a new employee.” – Kerry Markey, EASTCONN Marketing & Communications Specialist “Knowledgeable and friendly service.” – Ben Donnel, Fingerprinting customer

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ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES can’t leave their districts. By offering the option of joining us via live, streaming video, we hope to expand the audience beyond those who are able to attend in person.

We will continue expanding digital media as a way of reducing costs and increasing the ease with which information can be quickly and accurately disseminated to target audiences. As the numbers and accuracy of our e-mail subscriber lists grow, and as staff increasingly recognize the cost-savings and ease of sending out targeted e-blasts, we will work to grow, both in number and usefulness, our agency e-mail subscriber lists, as well as the number and quality of our electronic communications.

• New State Asbestos Reporting Requirements: We will need to be strategic in helping our districts manage and respond to new, more complex Connecticut Department of Public Health mandates for asbestos re-inspections. Finance We must institute new procedures as needed to meet changing state and federal requirements. We will also continue to explore new avenues to increase the security of the agency’s financial accounts and information, and work with budget managers to minimize the impact of reduced state and federal funding. Food Services We continue to plan a regional support service for the delivery of the National School Lunch program targeting our most resource-stretched districts that will expand their food services capacity at no additional cost. Human Resources Continue to increase the use of Applitrack, EASTCONN’s electronic job-applicant tracking system, as part of our initiative to support a regional LEA recruitment plan, including costshared advertising and the real-time delivery of electronic job applications for participating LEAs. “I ... was thrilled

Planning & Development worked to establish EASTCONN as a go-to resource for teachers of our region’s English Learners.

Planning & Development • English Learners: Work to establish EASTCONN as the region’s resource for English Learner support, including providing professional learning for teachers and administrators, managing to see how the resources that can be distributed and students made an exciting shared among low-incidence schools, • EL Instructor Recruitment: and promoting evidence-based The continued, regional shortage connection with the story [an strategies for family engagement, of TESOL educators will require EASTCONN educator] had told interpretation, assessment and other Human Resources staff to employ them in the morning and the support, as warranted. Build local creative approaches to recruitment, science lesson they took part in capacity among our low-incidence including working with local after lunch.” schools to improve the transitional districts and other regional partners experience of newly enrolling English to identify qualified staff. Learners and their families. • Fingerprinting System: Connecticut State Police • 2 Gen, Multi-Generational Services: Develop a regional, administrative approvals have been secured for multi-generational (also called Two-Generational or 2Gen) implementation of a new, statewide electronic fingerprinting continuum of high-quality, integrated services and programs system. Once fully implemented, the new system will result in that increase the educational success, economic security, faster results and fewer errors. community connections, and health and well-being of eligible children, parents and families. Payroll & Benefit Process Improvements MUNIS Time Entry and MUNIS Employee Self Service (ESS) systems represent significant progress in the administration of payroll processes, including expanded employee access to current and past pay and benefit information. Marketing & Communications “[Your Food Services staff] consistently provides high-quality food and arrangements for all of our functions, which have included everything from open houses for prospective and new students and families to regional meetings to visits from dignitaries from various organizations and agencies. We rely on Food Services for creative solutions (sometimes at the last minute!) for all of our catering needs.” – Toni Ryan, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, & Accreditation, EASTCONN Educational Services

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TEACHING & LEARNING SERVICES OVERVIEW

GOALS

Our vision is to integrate learning opportunities for educators so that professional learning becomes embedded in district culture and is no longer limited to events that occur periodically each year. We create opportunities for administrators and teachers to participate in regional professional learning communities, and have expanded our capacity to provide coaching to districts that are engaged in data-driven, school-improvement efforts and educator evaluation. Working collaboratively with colleagues from other EASTCONN divisions, we have expanded the delivery options for professional learning, and extended opportunities for educators in our region.

1. To enhance teacher knowledge, skills and pedagogy through the delivery of quality programs, products and services that positively impact students as they work to become college and career ready. 2. To extend the knowledge and skills of school leaders through the delivery of quality programs, products and services that enable them to create a positive school climate and a culture for professional learning.

2016-2017 Highlights & Accomplishments

arts (ELA) and math; participants received guidance in implementing and sustaining the expectations within the Connecticut Core Standards and corresponding assessments.

The Center for Educational Leadership (CEL)

• Instructional Rounds: Teaching and Learning staff collaborated with K-12 Student Services staff in 2 EASTCONN schools as they continued to engage in Instructional Rounds, involving 16 teachers. Through planning, classroom visits and debrief discussions, cohorts of educators developed powerful teaching strategies and models for effective instructional design and classroom management.

The EASTCONN Center for Educational Leadership creates personally engaging, professional learning experiences that examine the nature of leadership in today’s world. This past year, the Center offered several research-based professional learning experiences that examined a range of leadership actions and instructional methods. The sessions were active and experiential with considerable time dedicated to evidence-based practices and personal reflection. The Center supported our region’s administrators as they continued to plan and implement many new education initiatives. Some highlights: • Directors of Curriculum Communities of Practice: A total of 6 curriculum directors engaged in professional learning within a supportive, self-created community where they interacted with colleagues, explored ideas, challenged their inferences and processed new information. As new ideas were reviewed, multiple sources of knowledge and expertise were expanded and they evaluated the new concepts as part of the learning experience.

In a supportive environment, CEL Communities of Practice challenge school leaders to test themselves and their professional practice in order to improve their leadership skills.

• Principals Community of Practice: A consortium of 7 principals, including 3 who were new to their leadership roles, met 5 times during the school year to address the unique needs and challenges that school leaders confront. The Connecticut Standards for School Leaders provided a focal point for collegial conversations around performance expectations within small district leadership groups.

• Mindful Leadership: 14 leaders from 7 districts participated in the series that provided research-informed strategies to bring mindfulness practices into their leadership. Participants left with an action plan to integrate these ideas into their learning environment.

• Common Core Leadership Cohort: 8 leaders from 7 districts engaged in this year-long administrator professional learning community focused on the instructional shifts in Common Core Standards for both English language

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• Regional Session with Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson: In October, more than 50 educators from 22 districts attended an interactive, full-day session with nationally renowned educator and author, Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson. She guided the group through research-based material that addressed building leadership capacity to support adult development.


TEACHING & LEARNING SERVICES Professional Learning: Regional & Local Districts

Educator Evaluation Planning & Support

Foundation Skills for Evaluators of Teachers Embedded In-District Support & Training Twenty-seven (27) educational leaders from 18 districts Provided 114 days of on-site, embedded professional attended a 5-day series, which provided them with details development and support in 13 districts that implemented of the educator evaluation and support system, the Common customized, local plans for a variety of educational reform Core of Teaching (CCT) Rubric for Effective Teaching 2014 initiatives, including performance task development, and the CCT Rubric for Effective Service Delivery 2015. All differentiated instruction, applications components of the teacher evaluation of new social studies and science guidelines were addressed and administrators were able to demonstrate “The presenter is knowledgeable standards, and more. proficiency in conducting observations. and does an excellent job More than 97% of participants achieved Readers & Writers Workshop listening to and addressing our the proficiency level. Forty-three (43) teachers from 5 concerns.” districts received focused professional learning in-district, over 23 days. Standards & Assessment More than 30 educators participated in an overview session Teachers and administrators from 5 districts engaged in a provided to the English Language Arts Council, contributing variety of professional learning workshops as part of the to our planning and implementation. In June, we will host ongoing implementation of the Connecticut Core Standards separate 3-day Readers & Writers Workshop Institutes, with an (CCS) and implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment expectation that more than 50 educators will participate. Consortium (SBAC). Sessions with teachers focused on instructional strategies and the rigor of classroom lessons to lead students toward success with the annual Smarter Balanced Assessment. Professional Development & Evaluation Committee (PDEC) Eleven (11) districts received CSDE grant funding that led to focused, on-site support for their PDEC with an EASTCONN education specialist. More than 70 teachers and administrators participated in the professional learning and action planning process, leading to local PD more aligned to their evaluation plans and the Connecticut Standards of Professional Learning. Developing Student Learning Objectives & Goals Thirty-three (33) educators from 14 districts learned to develop school-wide student learning goals that hold the greatest promise for improving student learning. They gained strategies to communicate those goals to staff and engage them in determining their collective contributions to advance student learning.

Teaching & Learning staff developers provide workshops, as well as embedded district learning, to continuously improve instruction in partnership with educators across the region. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Supported districts in the adoption of NGSS through a range of services that impacted 45 educators from 17 districts. Activities included sessions on NGSS curriculum alignment, developing rubrics, assessments and administrator support for implementation of the new science standards. A 5-day curriculum development institute is also scheduled for summer 2017.

“[Your staff member] has developed a great rapport with the high school staff as she has worked with them to enrich their units and provide additional access points for students with different interests or lower reading levels. As a result of her work in our district, students have more opportunities to grapple with grade level content without a loss of rigor due to over scaffolding.... she has facilitated a discussion around the scope and sequence of the Social Studies curriculum, helping to identify redundancies and assisting in the development of a more vertically articulated plan.” - Kathleen Mozak-Pezza, Director of Curriculum, Lebanon Public Schools

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TEACHING & LEARNING SERVICES Other Initiatives Perkins Consortium Through this federally funded grant, provided strategic planning to 8 of our districts, and helped them define goals for their Continuous Improvement Plans (CIPs) that will improve their Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs, including strengthening college-career pathway programs; increasing student assessment scores by developing rigorous assessments; and increasing the size and scope of their CTE programs. As a result, students in these districts attended both an entrepreneurial skills workshop and the Connecticut Financial Reality Fair in May.

On the Mobile STEM Lab, teachers rediscover the exciting worlds of STEM before bringing the Lab to their school. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Led by our science education specialist, on-site demonstrations and professional development for 25 teachers from 13 districts highlighted the instructional opportunities for students in the EASTCONN Mobile STEM Lab, the agency’s new, portable science classroom. A regional STEM Laboratory ribbon-cutting event was held in October for more than 50 participants, including educators from the region and other noted officials. Additionally, 15 students in grades 6-9 participated in a Summer Robotics camp.

Title III Consortium for English Learners A total of 16 districts participated in this regional consortium, enabling them to access a funding source to support the teaching and learning of English Learners. Participating districts were able to access $40,000 in resources through the consortium ­­— funding that they would not have been eligible for, had they applied individually. Frontline Education Professional Growth System A total of 17 EASTCONN districts participated in this regional consortium, which provided access to discounted licenses for OASYS, an online observation and evaluation management system. Formerly known as My Learning Plan, Frontline is a leading provider of web-based education evaluation solutions.

Mathematics More than 30 days of district-embedded professional learning, modeling and coaching was delivered in 8 districts. There was also substantial interest in a series of regional professional development on using the Mathematics Workshop model that attracted 27 educators from 13 districts to learn about planning, instruction and assessment. Social Studies Over 50 educators in 7 districts received professional development and guidance with the Social Studies Frameworks, delivered across 20 days of on-site support. Participants identified resources and artifacts for instruction, and a range of assessment protocols. Regional Professional Learning for Special-Area Teachers Continuing to address special-area educators, more than 40 teachers, including art, music, physical education and library media from 13 districts engaged in regional professional development. They explored connections to student-centered learning, had sessions on best practices and participated in EdCamp.

Experienced teachers are great TEAM mentors. They work with new teachers, support their learning and help them succeed. Teacher Education And Mentoring (TEAM) Program Provided 4 training sessions and facilitated meetings for 153 participants, including beginning teachers, Mentors, Reviewers and District Facilitators in the northeastern Connecticut region. They participated in teacher orientation training, Mentor updates and reflection paper reviewer training. Mentors gained the skills

Yoga & Mindfulness for the Classroom A regional professional development event allowed 40 educators from 27 districts to learn about tools to improve selfregulation, learning and classroom climate.

“EASTCONN provided tools to support the growth and development of school staff and myself...We received valuable information and worked collaboratively with EASTCONN staff to implement instruction that is student centered and aligns to standards. I am grateful to have the professional learning community that EASTCONN provides to our region.” - Wendy Durand, Middle School Principal, Woodstock Public Schools

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TEACHING & LEARNING SERVICES needed to coach/support novice teachers as they developed new learning that improved their practice and outcomes for students. TEAM also expanded the availability of online sessions for Mentor-update and Reviewer-update trainings, and launched a new dashboard on the website to facilitate more efficient use of the online resources.

Regional Councils Continued hosting and facilitating 7 regional councils across a wide variety of content areas, all designed to provide member districts with opportunities to share resources, information and professional learning. • Regional Staff Development Council (RSDC): Regularly hosted educators from as many as 23 districts at monthly meetings, where they received updates on state education initiatives from CSDE officials, and engaged in regional collaboration around professional learning opportunities, current challenges and shared resources. • Language Arts (LA) Council: 38 educators from 21 districts participated in our LA Council, bringing literacy educators from across the region together 4 times during the year. In addition to receiving updates from the CSDE, participants shared their knowledge and skills. For example, some of our LA Council members who attended the SRBI Symposium III in the fall, offered to share their learning at the next Council meeting with colleagues who were unable to attend. This led to sharing strategies for cultivating executive function in the K-12 classroom, as well as practicing conversations for coaching their peers about literacy instruction.

EASTCONN facilitates opportunities for school district leaders to improve their practice through facilitated conversations, hard work and open, collegial group sessions.

• Math Council: 39 educators from 19 districts participated regularly, receiving up-to-date information, resources and professional development around the implementation of mathematics instruction and assessment.

Student-Centered Learning Led by EASTCONN Teaching & Learning staff, 18 leaders from 15 districts attended a Lunch & Learn session, gaining insight into the essential components of the student-centered learning approach to instructional design. The interactive session included an overview of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation tenets and related practices.

• Science Council: 27 educators from 17 districts gained the latest information and resources for improving science curricula, assessment and instruction; participants also districts participated in obtained the latest information about EASTCONN’s Regional Staff the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

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Statewide Professional Learning • CSDE Coherence Conference: EASTCONN again contributed as part of Development the conference planning and facilitation team for this event that hosted more than 210 educators from across the state. Seven (7) EASTCONN districts attended, and 2 facilitated presentations on the value of feedback within professional learning. • Statewide Planning for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Directors from Teaching & Learning and the Center for Educational Leadership collaborated with RESC Alliance and CSDE partners to conduct focus group meetings to obtain input for the CSDE, as they prepared their Connecticut response to the new federal law, ESSA. More than 50 people from the EASTCONN region participated, representing superintendents, administrators, teachers and students.

Council

• Social Studies Council: 24 educators from 17 districts attended. The Council provided a forum for state social studies educational consultants to present the newest programs, resources and professional learning opportunities for K-12 social studies teachers in our region.

• Arts Learning Council: 28 participants from 8 member districts attended this year. Connecticut adopted the CSDE’s new National Core Arts Standards, which were rolled out at EASTCONN, the first RESC to formally introduce them. The CSDE supports the learning of arts professionals through a focused effort to promote artistically literate citizens who are well-equipped with the creativity, communication and critical

“As a new principal, it was critical this year (and for many years to come) that I have opportunities to collaborate with other administrators. Attending [EASTCONN’s Regional Staff Development Committee] RSDC meetings and Principal’s Community of Practice gave me the chance to share a struggle [and] receive suggestions and solicit guidance/advice from other administrators. Additionally, the RSDC meetings have been an avenue for me to receive news about happenings at the state — in a setting where I can ask questions and have conversations with others about various topics. It is without question that all NEW administrators need this — especially for me personally, coming from a district where I only have two part-time administrators, who are new as well.” – Diana Burns, Principal, Sprague Public Schools

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TEACHING & LEARNING SERVICES thinking skills needed to live rich, meaningful lives.

impacted both Educator Evaluation support and TEAM, transferring more cost for professional development to our local school districts. Our challenge — which is consistent with our mission — will be to continue to be resourceful in creating regional solutions in cost-efficient ways.

• English Learners Roundtable: 16 districts participated in the roundtable discussions that enabled educators to learn about emerging trends in instruction for English learners. Participants shared best practices and EASTCONN staff provided current information on curriculum, assessment and effective instruction.

Plans & Implications for 2017-2018 Curriculum Development EASTCONN education specialists will work with districts to create a district-wide curriculum management plan that can include: establishing a curriculum leadership team; defining a curricular vision; assessing curricular need; and developing a curriculum development and management guide that defines curricular goals, objectives, protocols, templates, supports and accountability processes. Where possible, we will invite educators and leaders from multiple districts to collaborate on this work, adding value through the exchange of resources and ideas.

Our Science Council helps its K-12 teachers stay on top of new classroom strategies, NGSS standards and useful resources.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Curriculum Alignment Projects will include additional week-long institutes to address NGSS science curriculum alignment, and also regional cooperative sessions to build understanding and networks within the EASTCONN region. Increasing the availability of coaches with this expertise is also a priority to meet district needs.

2016-2017 Challenges Curriculum Development The recent release of new standards in Science (Next Generation Science Standards) and the Social Studies Frameworks have generated some urgency for districts to address their curriculum, including the mapping of core content areas across the preK-12 spectrum. Many smaller districts in northeastern Connecticut face the additional challenge of having limited staff capacity to update those documents and align them to the new standards.

Expanding Capacity to Lead Workshop Model: Reading, Writing & Mathematics In addition to the activities this year, we are investing in professional learning for internal EASTCONN staff in order to meet the needs of our districts. In June, we are hosting separate 3-day Readers & Writers Workshop Institutes, expecting 50+ educators to participate. We are also creating opportunities for our staff and consultants to collaborate on curriculum design for these popular topics. The expectation is that our services for districts will be deeper and wider next year. We will also actively seek to integrate elements of the Student-Centered Learning model, especially where it connects to systemic change.

Regional Interest in Workshop Models for Instruction – Reading, Writing & Mathematics Through a variety of data collection efforts, we recognize that more than 60% of the districts in our region use some form of workshop model, whether for reading, writing or mathematics. Based on a constructivist educational philosophy, this model engages students as active learners, and creates a framework for students across grade levels to develop and refine their skills. It incorporates a teaching and learning structure that pushes students to be creative and responsible in their own learning. This growing trend challenges us to increase our capacity to provide professional learning, coaching and other forms of district-specific support.

Regional Collaboration to Meet Mandated Requirements Where funding for essential programs such as Educator Evaluation and TEAM is reduced, we will seek to find creative ways to meet district needs. We will explore cross-district collaborations and other strategies to provide the services to districts at reasonFunding able costs. That will also include our RESC Alliance partners, As we have seen this year, districts must adjust their where we will continue collaborating with individual RESCs, as expectations for programs and initiatives that depend in some well as the Alliance as a whole, in the development and delivery way on fiscal support from the CSDE. These reductions of programs and services that address our local district needs. “On behalf of the CSDE, I want to thank all of you … for another great round of stakeholder engagement. I reviewed the materials provided and appreciate the input to our state plan very much. Many, many thanks.” – Ellen E. Cohn, Deputy Commissioner, CSDE, regarding EASTCONN’s feedback on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

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TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS OVERVIEW

Technology Solutions provides member districts with a comprehensive array of technology services that support and enhance the effective implementation of technology in support of teaching and learning. Technology Solutions provides professional development for educators in effectively integrating the latest technology tools and applications into the classroom; provides infrastructure and network support; and develops and offers customized, online database solutions for efficient data collection and analysis.

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 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 decisionmaking for improved student learning.

2016-2017 Highlights & Accomplishments

• Online Application Update: The TEAM program is a statewide effort to provide a common, mentor-led induction program to all new teachers. This powerful, web-based application supports all program administrative and instructional functions. This year, we replaced the base framework for this application and all dependent services were updated. This will ensure that the TEAM application remains compatible with newer web browser versions and is accessible to mobile devices.

Data Systems

Teacher of the Year Since 2015, Technology Solutions has supplied a statewide online system for the submission and scoring of Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year applications. We continued to work in close partnership with the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council and the CSDE to improve the application and scoring process. The system, as it stands, provides self-registration, data entry, supporting-document uploads and scoring. For the most recent Teacher of the Year process (2017) the system successfully handled 93 applications and 764 scoring sessions, saving hours of paper handling and eliminating the need for postage.

When in-person meetings are not possible, TEAM participants take advantage of real-time, online communication via the EASTCONN-developed, web-based TEAM management system.

Connecticut Preschool Assessment Framework (CTPAF) Improvements Maintained and supported the system of reporting tools for the EASTCONN-developed CTPAF system, used in 700 preschool classrooms to support 14,000 students in communities across the state. The tools gave users easy access to a variety of detailed, student-level and school-level reports. Our multi-year project migrated this service to a vastly more powerful reporting infrastructure, decreasing the time necessary to generate reports.

Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM) • Interactive Web Application Management: Managed the EASTCONN-developed, web-based accountability and data management system for TEAM, currently being used by 4,500 active beginning teachers, 10,000+ trained Mentors, Reviewers and District Facilitators statewide. The online system provides all participating educators (including new teachers, 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 the CSDE. EASTCONN created two online Professional Learning modules for all Mentors and Reviewers to keep their skills and knowledge current (as required by CSDE).

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Kindergarten Inventory Continued to manage the CSDE annual online Kindergarten Inventory, in use in all Connecticut school districts. The Inventory provides the CSDE with critical data on the developmental progress of approximately 40,000 kindergarten students across the state, 2 times per year.


TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS Early Childhood Literacy Rubric Data Collection Designed an online data collection system for the Early Childhood Literacy Rubric. This created a simpler method of data collection and provided more accurate and timely reporting on this data. In partnership with EASTCONN’s division of Early Childhood Initiatives, the project collected more than 8,000 data points on 1,600+ students in 41 classrooms.

MeasureSuccess.org Improvements Completed security and minor revisions to measuresuccess.org, an online professional forum for the development and sharing of standards-based learning tasks with embedded performance assessments. The site was selected by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) to pilot the newly developed Model Cornerstone Assessments that are part of the newly released National Core Arts Standards. The pilot project worked with teachers and leaders in higher education from across the country to implement the Model Cornerstone Assessments and develop a set of benchmarked student work samples. Future plans will focus on expanding markets for measuresuccess.org. Two-Generational (2Gen) Services Portal The Two-Generational Services Portal was created to help EASTCONN program managers collaborate to provide services for participants in the 2Gen education and employment skillsbuilding classes. The new data system allows staff to follow up with customers, share customer information among managers, and create reports to determine how effectively EASTCONN services are being used and delivered throughout the region. ECHIP Data Management Portal We are designing a new data system for Eastern Connecticut Health Insurance Program (ECHIP), the northeastern Connecticut collaborative that provides employee health benefits for 4 towns, 4 municipalities and EASTCONN. The system will facilitate data entry and reporting needs for ECHIP, allowing its administrator to provide timely reports to members and allow members to view real-time data using an online portal.

Technology Solutions develops cutting-edge applications to increase information-sharing and efficiencies for all customers.

New Portal for EASTCONN Software Products Collaborative Opportunities Database The site www.eastconn.org/itproducts Developed an online database for was created in 2016 to have a cusEASTCONN districts to communicate tomer-facing software product portal needs for shared staffing and Our for cloud-based applications, such transportation. When participants post online system handled as Manage My Applicants, Measure requirements, all member districts Success, eObserve and other upcomare notified via e-mail, giving them applications and ing products. The portal increases the the opportunity to reduce expenses scoring sessions chance of search engines locating our by sharing resources. Participants can in-house-designed products, and also post replies and communicate with serves as a destination for potential other districts within the system. The customers, who need to access demonstration systems and system also includes an e-mail list that members can use to watch informational videos. Soon, information will be added communicate with the entire group. to support field staff with resources like pricing models and documentation. Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT) This test is a benchmark of educator preparedness for leadership. Since its inception in 2003, the test has been

Teacher of the Year

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“The [EASTCONN-designed Teacher of the Year] software saved hours of work, especially in the second year of implementation, by which time we had worked out most of the kinks. It cut down on mailings, phone calls and a mountain of papers to handle. The screening committee loved its ease of use and straightforward on-screen directions. The cooperative team at EASTCONN gave us our lives back by building an electronic review process for the Teacher of the Year process. We are most grateful.” – Susan Pelchat, Teacher of the Year Development Team, CSDE

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TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS a traditional, pencil-and-paper test, an extremely limiting format in the digital age. In partnership with the CSDE and CAT Support Team, Technology Solutions was able to design, construct, test and release the CAT web-based application, a proctored, online assessment that provides an easy-to-use user interface and extremely fault-tolerant server system. In its third year of implementation, 1,287 tests were completed, with plans to increase the number to 2,900 tests for the 2017-2018 cycle.

time required to assess results for participating districts. CABE has retained EASTCONN to administer the survey system with the potential for national momentum.

School Climate Surveys Added enhancements to the administration and analysis of annual or biennial School Climate Surveys sent to students, parents, and staff to gather their perceptions on a variety of issues in the school environment, adding year-to-year comparison results for eObserve Preschool Observation districts served in prior years. School districts statewide worked Recording Tool with us to deliver surveys with the broadest possible distribuWith the need throughout education for a universal tool for tion. Survey results included data on bullying, safety, quality of observation-based storage and artifact instruction, communication and many collection, we began development of eObother topics. Administrators used the serve, a universal framework-independent results to identify areas of strength, and Our CT Preschool platform for observation-based assessment those that need improvement. Assessment Framework of child development milestones. This platform-independent tool will support the Quality School Strategic Planonline system supported use of tablets and other devices to directly ning Survey input scoring data, removing the need for Administered an online survey with a intermediate scoring sheets, and allowing focus group recruiting option designed to child- or task-centric scoring. This system assist districts in determining the values will ultimately support the CTPAF framework with a modern and beliefs held by their communities on what constitutes a tool, improving data-collection and reporting. quality school. This data is used to assist decision-makers in developing strategic plans and improving communications.

14,000 preschoolers

Data Collection & Research Services

Educational Technology Support

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 2016 Connecticut School Health Profile Provided technical and logistical support for the administration of the 2016 School Health Profile, a statewide survey of health education policies and practices for grades 6-12. In support of CSDE’s effort to provide data to the CDC, surveys were distributed to principals and lead health educators. Data was collected on school health education requirements and content, physical education and physical activity, practices related to bullying and sexual harassment, school health policies related to tobacco-use prevention and nutrition, school-based health services, family engagement and community involvement, and school health coordination.

In-district Professional Development Technology Solutions provided in-district professional development for teachers in 4 districts on several topics of interest: Introduction to Google Apps for Education, Intermediate Google Apps for Educations, Orientation to Chromebooks, Minecraft for Educators, and Minecraft Environment Design. Eighty (80) teachers or instruction-related staff benefited from these sessions. Participating districts with on-location instruction included Andover, Pomfret and Thompson, with additional attendees from Region 8, Norwich Free Academy, Region 11, Hampton and the CSDE. Technology Audit / Site Assessment Provided audit and assessment services to 4 partner districts and municipalities this year, delivering assistance with strategic planning, mapping curricular requirements to technology, assessing infrastructure and reviewing staffing levels and capabilities.

Lighthouse Survey In partnership with CSDE and the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the online Lighthouse survey measures beliefs around student achievement potential in highachieving and low-achieving districts, and also supports training for best-practices for boards of education. This year, the online service was modernized, implementing a results-on-demand model. This provided a high degree of automation, reducing the

“As a new reviewer of applications for Connecticut T.O.Y. [Teacher of the Year], I have thoroughly appreciated the system designed and offered by EASTCONN. The organizational structure facilitates the access to and careful review of the materials from each of the many candidates. The systematic review process is expedited by the structure of the program and contributes to the degree to which each of the reviewers can focus on the content. Any questions during the process were promptly addressed by expert staff.” – Ann Gruenberg, Emeritus, Eastern Connecticut State University

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TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS date districts’ changing needs, allowing school administrators and staff to focus on curriculum and direct student needs. Back Office Support Service In partnership with the Finance Office, provided technologyrelated support for school business service units. Largely centered around MUNIS, a popular software package supporting general ledger activity, we provide data system support for common business functions, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and inventory control. Web Presence Design & Management Rebuilt Andover Elementary School’s website, and trained administrators, teachers and staff on how to edit and maintain it. Created user guides for reference and continue web support throughout the year. The new website is accessible on any browser from any device. The site launched in August 2016 with a new domain name: andoverelementaryct.org.

Technology Council members stay on top of the latest and most relevant technology trends in education.

Technology Council This monthly regional council, hosted and facilitated by TechSchoology Learning Management System nology Solutions, provided a forum for EASTCONN-region Schoology is a learning management system that provides a district technology coordinators, technology integration speplatform for inter-district and cross-agency collaboration, as cialists and teachers interested in using technology to enhance well as direct services to students teaching and learning. The Council and teachers. In-system registracombined access to the latest Technology Support to tions grew from 1,201 to 1,286, an information on state and federal increase of 7%; groups that were Schools & Municipalities technology initiatives with the supported grew from 125 to 144, opportunity to share resources and an increase of 15%. information with educators across the region. Participants received PowerSchool Support & updates, training or support related Consortium to privacy legislation, 3-D modProvided on-site professional eling, Smartboard management, over last year development and consultation for 7 gaming in the classroom, desktop Consortium districts and 2 regional manufacturing, low-tech 3-D districts, and performed analysis design and computer science in of data systems for purchase recommendations for 1 district. K-12 education, among other topics. Of note, the Council drew Improved student information skills of about 80 personnel in 11 visitors from outside our region, due to the engaging topics and PowerSchool-based districts throughout EASTCONN’s service lively discussion. area and the state, through workshops. Established a PowerSchool user group serving 30+ districts in Eastern Connecticut, Information Technology (IT) Support for Member in collaboration with LEARN. Continued to provide training at Districts and Municipalities the national level, through the Northeastern U.S. PowerSchool Provided regular on-site technology support to 7 school districts Conference. Provided input on product design and reporting and municipalities, an increase of 133% over last year, more methods to both the CSDE Performance Office team and the than doubling the number of supported buildings. This marked PowerSchool corporate product development team. Oversaw the first year we’d contracted with a municipality to provide improvements to EASTCONN student information systems, regular service. This service was especially beneficial to small resulting in increased efficiency and accuracy. districts that lack IT staff. Technology Solutions provided a

increase

diverse range of expertise that could not be found in a single, full-time IT person. In addition, we delivered added value for districts that had an IT staff member, but occasionally required additional, specialized skills. Services are scalable to accommo-

Virtual High School (VHS) Coordinated the delivery of online VHS courses to 3 participating districts, providing their students with access to a wider variety of regular and AP courses online. Online course options

“EASTCONN’s IT Department … has been a reliable support system for Union School for a number of years. Whether it is onsite or remote support, EASTCONN has always been there to assist us in a prompt and professional manner. Thank you for your continued reliability and expertise!” – Steve J. Jackopsic, Principal, Union Public School

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TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS allowed districts to increase the number of courses they could make available to students by providing access to more than 200 semester-long and full-year courses.

(especially for transportation-challenged students) and decreased per-student expenses.

Standardized Testing & Reporting (STAR) Assessments A total of 1,096 participants from 5 districts in our regional consortium accessed online early literacy, reading and mathematics assessments at a discounted price as a result of our collaboration with Renaissance Learning, an educational assessment and learning-analytics company. The STAR360 program is now providing a comprehensive K-12 assessment solution, allowing educators to screen and group students for targeted instruction, measure student growth, predict performance on Smarter Balanced Assessment exams, and monitor achievement in Connecticut Core Standards.

60+ agency staff attended 10 Brown Bag lunch-and-learn sessions to gain insight into the latest tech innovations.

Double Robot Avatar Continued building our support mechanisms for the Double Robot avatar-based virtual presence system. This system was demonstrated at an all-EASTCONN event, where 55 staff members stimulated thinking and discussion on how it could be used in the classroom and beyond. This equipment is currently attached to our media technology services team, and is available for use by EASTCONN-member districts.

Brown Bag Sessions More than 60 agency staff attended 10 Brown Bag lunch-hour sessions on such topics as What to Do With Old IT Equipment, Guidelines for Employee Information to IT, Introduction to FileMaker Pro and Your Next Wallet Could Be Your SmartPhone.

Internal Administrative & Infrastructure Support

Mobile STEM Lab & Advanced Technologies Support Provided technology support for the EASTCONN Mobile STEM Laboratory. Supported the introduction of advanced technologies into the classroom to inspire students to adopt STEM-related education and career goals. Developed workshops and other activities to expose technology support professionals and teachers to such things as microcontrollers, sensors and the “Maker” culture.

Employee Self Service Portal As an enhancement of the newly updated MUNIS system, an Employee Self Service (ESS) portal was implemented, allowing EASTCONN staff members to manage many aspects of their employee records and benefits information, and reducing our Human Resources’ time in managing paper processes. This marks the first online system that all EASTCONN staff will be required to use. It will manage time cards, leave requests, contact information updates, benefits selection and other related functions. MUNIS Modernization MUNIS is the general ledger application used by EASTCONN, supporting most business functions. In an agency-wide effort, this software was upgraded, providing substantial new functionality. The core application will now be available through the web, vastly simplifying application management. This also included the implementation of a document management feature, in many cases eliminating the need for printing by attaching forms directly to e-mail, and an archival feature that increased security.

Technology Support to EASTCONN Staff Adult Education Support • Remote Classroom Support: Set up remote classrooms in New Haven and Norwich, an expansion of our Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB)-funded I-BEST academies, providing Internet access and reporting support. • Video Conferencing: Supported EASTCONN Adult Education in providing its first point-to-point simulcast, allowing instruction in one classroom to be delivered to another classroom on the other side of the region. This proof of concept was necessary to assess the economy and practicality of sharing instructional resources in this way. Benefits included increased class capacity, decreased student travel distances

Technology Planning Process Technology Solutions continued its comprehensive technology

“Very easy to access on my TEAM DF dashboard. Five module folks are separated from 2 module folks. Site is not ‘busy’. Only three steps! Like that the three step boxes light up as I successfully complete each step.” – Ellen Dalton, District Facilitator, LEARN

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TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS

2017-2018 Challenges

planning process. All EASTCONN departments participated in a planning process to determine their upcoming needs and to identify areas for future improvement. Interviews with each unit allowed us to jointly determine priorities for the upcoming year. Provided recommendations on how to best accomplish the projects that were identified, specifically identifying budget implications, allowing participants to better plan for next year’s expenditures.

Staff Capacity Maintaining highly qualified technology staff with the prerequisite knowledge, skill and experience, particularly those skilled in application development and data analysis that will allow EASTCONN to provide cost-effective services to our member districts, is an ongoing challenge. Growing internal server capacity: Technology Solutions is constantly 50% more processing power searching for talented individuals to 75% more server storage support our cutting-edge programs.

Wireless Network Upgrades EASTCONN Technology Solutions continued to upgrade all wireless access systems in our schools, offices 100% more and Hampton Conference Center. We upgraded service at the new Community Learning Center/American Job Center in Willimantic and at our Commerce Drive location.

active memory

Increased Virtual Server Capacity A new VMWare server was installed, providing 50% more processing power, 100% more active memory and 75% more storage for virtual servers at EASTCONN.

District & State Budget Constraints Limited availability of grants and local resources continued to make it difficult for educators to attend regional workshops and to access our technical assistance and application development services; such assistance is necessary for planned, functional and stable infrastructure — a vital element of the school environment. Compounding the lack of flexibility in local district budgets are current state budget difficulties, resulting in the possible reduction or cancellation of existing projects and extremely limited chances for new opportunities. Aging Software & Infrastructure Pockets of legacy systems that are running older operating systems represented a significant barrier to fully leveraging IT management tools. Supporting Technology & Proliferation of Connected Devices As the use of tablets and other mobile devices increases, both on and off the network, it is challenging to keep pace and provide high-quality network support that will adequately accommodate our mobile users with applications and communications tools. Mobile devices also present a challenge because they are often only connected to the network sporadically, and software management tools for their support are not as developed as those for personal computer support.

Our student information system and programming staff support PowerSchool districts with implementation and execution. Professional Development Technology Solutions provided a variety of professional development opportunities for educators and district staff, among them workshops on topics like: PowerSchool, including a new, regional PowerSchool User Group in collaboration with LEARN; Google Apps in education; Minecraft for educators; and R Programming, a cost-saving, open-source, software package for managing statistical analyses.

Student Privacy Legislation In October 2016, state legislation was enacted that vastly complicated software procurement in classrooms, both for EASTCONN schools and the districts we serve. This unfunded mandate has all but eliminated the spontaneous use of trusted cloud-based resources, and required an expanded review process, slowing the speed at which we can get new software and services into the classroom. It is hoped that the Legislature will revisit this legislation during its spring 2017 session.

“All [on the updated TEAM website] looks great! I was able to update my e-mail and I see the changes that have been made. Thank you so much.” – Darlene Listro, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, Rocky Hill Public Schools

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TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS Expand IT Support Services for Member Districts Seek to increase the variety and availability of IT support services for member districts, with an emphasis on EASTCONN’s ability to provide flexible support as needed. Build management, supervision, staff evaluation and placement services. Utilize Emerging Technology Tools Continue to leverage the power of emerging technology tools, including tablets and other mobile devices, social networking and video conferencing, to create more authentic and engaging online learning opportunities for educators and for students. Expanded Online Learning for Educators & Students As member partners of the Connecticut Education Network EASTCONN’s new videoconferencing capacity made it possible (CEN), we have the capacity to connect our teleconferencing to virtually connect students from two different schools during equipment to digital recording equipment housed at CEN, an interactive hour that enabled them to meet for the first time. allowing us to capture professional development presentations for online redistribution at a later date; it also provides educators Plans & Implications for 2017-2018 with increased, individualized access to professional learning. Increase Awareness of This technology permits the “EASTCONN’s IT Department … has Media Technology Capacity agency to reach and collaborate Seek to increase regional awareness always been there to assist us in a with teachers and students of our Media Technology services, prompt and professional manner. worldwide, greatly enriching the with an emphasis on our ability to Thank you for your continued teaching and learning experience; integrate them with existing districtreliability and expertise!” it also provides access to subject and school-based infrastructure and experts in a wide variety of fields. services. We have expertise with robot avatars, video production/post-production, A/V design, web design, video conferencing and live streaming.

Expanding Markets Seek new customers for our technology products and seek new development partners as a way of both reducing costs to our member districts and providing a revenue stream for the research and development effort that is needed to remain current in the marketplace. We need to recruit an IT professional with responsibilities as a software product sales specialist, to engage interested states and districts on the benefits of using EASTCONN’s established software base. Leverage Involvement in Statewide & Regional Surveys to Identify Best Practices As a result of our involvement in survey research, EASTCONN is in a position to identify districts and other partners who have achieved exceptional results and are on the cutting edge of best practices. The shared data we gather, as in the case of the School Climate Survey, could be used to identify and solicit high-performing districts to detail how they have achieved their results and ask them to facilitate regional discussions on these topics.

80 educators learned to further integrate technology into their professional practice at Technology Solutions in-district PD. Web-Based Data Management Solutions Continue to develop affordable web-based assessment and data management solutions for partners, with an emphasis on tools that will enhance educators’ ability to use data to make decisions and support changes in teacher evaluation.

“The videoconferencing was a very valuable experience. It gave students from two different schools the opportunity to get to know each other. Students were, and continue to be, very excited and look forward to meeting because they feel they have already made a connection.” – Enrica Desabota, 5th grade teacher, Brooklyn Public Schools, regarding an Interdistrict Program videoconference between 5th graders in Brooklyn and Windham Public Schools

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TRANSPORTATION OVERVIEW

GOALS

Transportation Services provides school districts and agencies in our region with a cost-effective and safe means of transporting their students and clients. We focus on individualized and specialized transportation solutions for districts and other agencies. Transportation is available for students with special needs, as well as for other public school students and adult clients going to job training sites. We also manage a Driver Safety School, providing specialized training for new drivers who will be driving for us, as well as yearly re-certification training classes for our current drivers. In addition, the Driver Safety School offers programs for area residents seeking to become safer drivers, as well as those pursuing an initial driver’s license.

1. Continue to increase the number of districts and customers in our regionally coordinated transportation system, especially for children whose special needs require outplacement. 2. Provide the highest-quality service, in the most cost-effective and time-efficient manner, to meet customer requirements.

2016-2017 Highlights & Accomplishments

Adult Riders Continued our contract with the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) to transport low-income, unemployed adult riders traveling to skills-training programs and job interviews, as well as to work sites. On average, 3 clients were transported weekly. Given the shortage of public transportation in northeastern Connecticut, this continues to be a critically needed service.

Client Transportation Pre-K-12 Transportation Safely transported 616 students daily, traveling a total of more than 2.5 million miles to 110 sites (up 22%) throughout Connecticut, as well as to Massachusetts and Rhode Island. • Provided transportation services to 26 member districts, including Head Start in Putnam, Killingly and Plainfield; 3 out-of-region districts; and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Driver Education & Training

• Transported 171 students from 19 districts to the region’s 3 public magnet schools: Windham’s Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy; EASTCONN’s Arts at the Capitol Theater high school; and Quinebaug Middle College high school. • Students traveling to out-placement programs: Transported 367 special needs students and 249 regular education students from 29 districts utilizing our database of outplacement destinations designed to facilitate the use of shared runs. Our Transportation Department continued to assist districts, as well as other public agencies, in reducing the barriers that individuals with special needs have in accessing their programs. Our services are customized to the needs of the individual, whether that’s by using one of our 10 wheelchair-accessible vehicles or by providing additional paraprofessional support on their vehicle.

Our fleet is operated by 80 highly trained drivers who are wellversed in student management, emergency procedures and more.

Regional Transportation Initiative Managed shared runs for 11 member districts with special education students placed in out-of-district programs in an effort to reduce costs and increase efficiencies across the region.

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Driver Training All 80 of our drivers participated in state-mandated training that included information about anti-bullying, blood-borne 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 special needs. The training was supplemented with a review of EASTCONN’s policies and procedures, including the prevention of sexual harassment, use of social media, and more.


TRANSPORTATION Equipment Upgrades Cell phones are being utilized to convey daily vehicle inspection reports. Safety monitoring was implemented through the use of our GPS system that provided feedback on a driver’s speed, stopping and cornering. Continued the use of video cameras to monitor and record student behavior, when requested.

Expansion & Improvements

2016-2017 Challenges Staffing Finding prospective drivers who must then participate in state-mandated training continues to be a challenge because of the 12-to-16-week waiting period required for a Department of Motor Vehicle-issued certification. Many qualified potential drivers cannot afford to be without employment for such an extended period of time.

EASTCONN continues to expand its fleet and look for efficiencies in transportation routes across school districts and towns. Fleet Expanded our fleet with the purchase of more than 20 new vans and minibuses, many of which are specially equipped to accommodate students with physical disabilities. The minibuses enabled us to transport larger numbers of students at one time, thus reducing costs. Our 120-vehicle fleet includes yellow buses, minibuses, vans and mobility vehicles. All vehicles have cellular communication, GPS, safety and first-aid equipment; some have integrated car seats, wheel-chair lifts and video cameras as needed to accommodate student needs. This year, 100% of our vehicles passed the DMV’s annual inspection. Improved Website Design & Function Collaborated on design and function improvements to our Transportation web pages, housed on the EASTCONN website. The new pages provide quick points of Transported access, simplify the way we process transportation requests, and streamline a total of lines of communication between external sites to customers and staff. Also available are online forms for a variety of uses, improving the customer experience for districts, potential customers, parents and drivers.

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Regional Collaboration Getting all districts in the region to participate in coordinating their out-of-district special education runs to ensure the most cost-effective special education transportation continues to be challenging.

Plans & Implications for 2017-2018 Expand Regional Collaboration Continue to increase the number of districts and customers in regionally coordinated transportation for children with special needs who travel to outplacement programs. Continue to work collaboratively with districts in identifying more shared routes to other common locations (e.g. magnet schools) to cut costs and increase regional efficiencies by utilizing our students transportation database.

616 2.5 million miles

Staffing Continue to seek effective strategies for recruiting or retraining qualified drivers, including collaborating with EASTCONN’s Adult Programs group to identify and train potential drivers. • Provide potential drivers who are going through both training and a waiting period, with the opportunity to work as a bus aide until they have been issued their driver’s certification. This helps address the challenge of the 12-to-16-week waiting period when prospective drivers are without employment.

in CT, MA & RI

Software Updates New transportation software was installed to ensure that all changes in transportation are accurately reflected on customers’ invoices. We pride ourselves on flexibility and fast response to our customer needs, and the new software is a key element of that service.

“EASTCONN is a pleasure to work with. You are on time, courteous and respond quickly and accurately with any needs that I have requested for our special needs students. I have also recommended you to others in the surrounding towns for their transportation needs when I have been asked who I use for help. It is and has been a real pleasure working with you.” – Linda Records, Director of Transportation, Killingly Public Schools I have found [EASTCONN] to be accommodating and easy to work with. Our district has a lot of transportation needs and EASTCONN has always tried their best to meet those needs.” – Karen Perkins, Special Education Secretary, Region 8

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EASTCONN Board Members Chairman.................... Mr. Herbert Arico............................ Willington Public Schools Vice-Chairman............ Mr. Douglas Smith.......................... Plainfield Public Schools Secretary/Treasurer..... Ms. Katherine Paulhus.................... Mansfield Public Schools

Dr. Judy Benson Clarke.................. Regional District #8

Ms. Aimee Crawford....................... Franklin Public Schools

Ms. Mary Ellen Donnelly................ Hampton Public Schools

Ms. Diana Ingraham........................ Voluntown Public Schools

Mr. Joseph Lewerk.......................... Lisbon Public Schools

Ms. Valerie May.............................. Pomfret Public Schools

Mr. Michael Morrill.........................Putnam Public Schools

Mr. Richard Murray........................ Killingly Public Schools

Ms. Jennifer Nelson........................ Regional District #11

Mr. William Oros............................ Coventry Public Schools

Mr. Walt Petruniw........................... Canterbury Public Schools

Mrs. Tracy Rummel........................ Stafford Public Schools

Mr. Murphy Sewall......................... Windham Public Schools

Mr. Steve Sokoloski........................ Eastford Public Schools

Ms. Anne Stearns............................ Scotland Public Schools

Ms. Joan Trivella............................. Brooklyn Public Schools

EASTCONN’s Board of Directors is composed of locally elected officials from our member school district Boards of Education. As a Connecticut Regional Educational Service Center (RESC), EASTCONN is locally governed and regionally focused.

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Eastconn annual board update 2016–2017  
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