Joint Regular Meeting of theEaston and Redding Boards of Education
June 7, 2016
Easton Board of Education: Bindelglass, Bobroske, Chieda, Hicks, Parker, Underberger
Redding Board of Education: Sobel, Hoffman, Denny, Gaspar, Irwin, Florkowski
Administration: McMorran, Sullivan, Pierson Ugol, Edwards, Freeston, Fox Santora, Brownstein, Kaplan, Burke, Martin, Wessman Huber, Basta
Others: nine members of the staff & community, & representatives of the Redding Pilot & Easton Courier
Mr. Parker called the Easton Board of Education meeting to order at 7:30 pm.
Mrs. Sobel called the Redding Board of Education meeting to order at 7:30 pm
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion; move that the Easton Board of Education accept the minutes of the May 10, 2016 meeting as submitted. Hicks, Bindelglass. Approved. 5-0-1. Dr. Underberger abstained.
Motion: move that the Easton Board of Education accept the minutes of the May 17, 2016 Joint Meeting as submitted. Bindelglass, Hicks. Approved. 5-0-1. Dr. Underberger abstained.
Motion; move that the Redding Board of Education accept the minutes of the May 4, 2016 meeting as submitted. Hoffman, Irwin. Approved. Unanimous.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education accept the minutes of the May 17, 2016 Joint Meeting as submitted. Irwin, Denny. Approved. 5-0-1. Mrs. Florkowski abstained.
Sara Broas, Easton’s Literary Specialist: Ms. Broas expressed her gratitude to the Easton community, administration, and Board of Education for her 13 years in Easton. She has taken a position as the ELA Coordinator in New Canaan.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS
Easton board members thanked Ms. Broas for her dedication to the Easton students.
Mr. Hicks questioned the recent communication sent to parents regarding a program for the 8th graders and why there was no advance notice of the program.
Mr. Parker commented that Dr. Underberger would be retiring from the Board of Education, that he was a wonderful mentor and the “godfather” of the Easton Board of Education. Dr. Underberger responded that he will remain on the board until a replacement is found.
Mr. Parker commented that Ms. Broas has been a wonderful leader, teacher, mentor and friend, and that HKMS will miss her.
Mrs. Sobel and Dr. Gaspar also thanked Dr. Underberger for his leadership.
Motion: move to scramble the agenda, moving Discussion of Middle School Grading Study to the next agenda item. Underberger, Hicks. Approved. Unanimous.
Motion: move to scramble the agenda, moving Discussion of Middle School Grading Study to the next agenda item. Florkowski, Denny. Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION OF MIDDLE SCHOOL GRADING STUDY
The presentation of the Middle School Grading Study was done by John Read Middle School Principal Diane Martin and Easton’s Ann Mohr, and representing the team of teachers including Amy Weiss (Art, JRMS), Courtney Papallo (SPED JRMS), Brian Walsh (8th Grade Social Studies HKMS), and Lena Green (5th grade Math & Science, JRMS).
The presentation highlighted the changes being made to more accurately reflect student growth and learning. The presentation was following by questions and answers. Board members stressed the importance of communicating the changes with parents as early as possible to avoid questions and confusion.
DISCUSSION AND UPDATE OF TEACHER EVALUATION PLAN
Dr. Pierson Ugol provided a summary or overview of the current Teacher Evaluation and Support plan and the changes or revisions that will be in place for the 2016-17 school year. The Evaluation plan was reorganized and revised for readability and to reflect the current status of tri-district strengths and needs. The changes are consistent with state statute and do not require resubmission of the plan to the CT State Department of Education for approval. Discussion and questions followed.
UPDATE ON JOINT LONG-RANGE PLANNING WORK
Dr. McMorran reviewed the work on long-range planning for administration to be done during the summer months. Various topics will be explored including the relationship between the two towns’ Net Grand List and the cost of operating our tri-district structure; the projected enrollments, the demographic projections, the real estate market in both towns, the relationship between the needs of elementary, middle, and high school students and the buildings in which they should be educated and the space needs of Central Office.
Dr. McMorran intends to provide an update of the findings with the tri-board Joint Long-Range Steering Committee in July.
Special Education: Ms. Edwards reported that goals for next year have been set and some procedures and organization changes have been made. Hiring for the open positions is being done and the summer program plans for students have been completed. She thanked the Easton Community Center and the Redding Park & Recreation Department for their collaboration in planning and providing program assistance for the students.
John Read Middle School: Mrs. Martin reported on the activities centered on Taking Care of Self, Others, and Place. She added that most of the staff is busy packing up classroom materials and equipment in advance of the HVAC work that will be done over the summer months. The administrative staff will be housed at Redding Elementary School for the summer months.
Redding Elementary School: Dr. Wessman Huber reported on the activities of the TIP program (The Integrated Project), integrating the Arts into the Social Studies program. She noted that integration across disciplines has improved student learning and engagement by making clear the interconnections that exist in our world.
Samuel Staples Elementary School: Mrs. Fox Santora thanked the PTA for funding picnic tables. The 2nd graders researched the need for the picnic tables, the cost, the shipping cost, etc. and presented their research to the PTA. Recent events included art, choral and field days, as well as the 5th grade Nature’s Classroom experience. The Kindergarten enrollment, projected at 64, now stands at 84. Mr. Parker presented the school with an award issued by the CT DEEP as an Energy Star school.
Helen Keller Middle School: Mrs. Kaplan thanked the PTA for their donation of $5,405 to fund various requests by teachers for materials and supplies for their classrooms. Mrs. Kaplan also responded to Mr. Hick’s question regarding the communication of the 8th grade program. The intent of the communication was to alert parents that the talk was being given and that there was an opportunity to discuss it with their students. Mr. Hicks responded that he only questioned the protocol and a concern conveyed to him by another parent. Mrs. Kaplan noted that the topic is a part of the Health curriculum, and the notice was simply to suggest that parents discuss the topic with their children.
Motion: move that the Easton Board of Education add to the agenda the acceptance of donations from the PTA. Underberger, Bindelglass. Approved. Unanimous.
ACCEPTANCE OF DONATION FROM THE EASTON PTA
Motion: move that the Easton Board of Education accept with gratitude the Easton PTA donation of $5,405 for Helen Keller Middle School and $3,500 for Samuel Staples Elementary School, for instructional and non-instructional materials and supplies. Underberger, Bindelglass. Approved. Unanimous.
Director of Finance: Mrs. Sullivan reported that energy saving as a result of the change in lighting is about 10-15%. Health insurance claims for Easton for April were at budget and for Redding they were below budget. Mrs. Sullivan believes Easton will finish the year with a deficit, but there are sufficient reserve funds for Redding and Region 9 to cover the deficit. The final ECS monies have been received; the reimbursement rate was 70%. The rate for next year is unknown at this time.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction: Dr. Pierson Ugol provided an overview of the summer curriculum work that is planned. An update on the SRBI Study was also provided. The study refines and aligns the district processes for identifying and using data in a purposeful way. Priorities for the 2016-17 year were included.
Superintendent: Dr. McMorran commented that the work presented at the meeting reflects the movement to building capacity to provide the best education for Easton and Redding students. The focus has been and will continue to be on teaching and learning for both the staff and the students.
Bus Depot Update: Mr. Parker reported the Easton Board of Selectmen is moving forward with the consideration of building a bus depot at Veteran’s Park that would house and maintain the school’s transportation fleet. Architectural drawings have been completed, and cost estimates are being collected. The estimate to build the structure is about $500,000 and would be funded and owned by the Town of Easton. The estimated savings for the Easton Board of Education is about $200,000/year. The details of financial arrangement for the Boards of Education and the bus company have not yet been worked out.
Lisa Keane, Easton: on behalf of the PTA, Mrs. Keane thanked the administration and the Board of Education for their work. She added that the PTA is thrilled to support the programs.
John Reilly, Redding: Mr. Reilly commented that he was disappointed the transportation contract was not put out to bid but renewed. He cited the Town of Westport who went out to bid, got a better price and a new fleet of vehicles.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS
Mr. Hicks commented on the increase in the special education population. He also responded to Mr. Reilly’s comments regarding the transportation contract. He noted that the contract should not be compared with Westport because there are too many different components. Westport has a much larger population and larger transportation budget, and their vehicles are leased whereas Easton/Redding own their buses.
Motion: move that the Easton Board of Education recess to executive session for a discussion of the Superintendent’s Evaluation. Underberger, Bobroske. Approved. Unanimous.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education recess to executive session for a discussion of Building Administrators’ salaries. Gaspar, Hoffman. Approved. Unanimous.
Both recessed at 9:53 pm.
The Easton Board of Education reconvened in public session at 10:22 pm
Action: No action was taken
The Redding Board of Education reconvened in public session at 10:21 pm
Action: Board to reconvene on June 22, 2016 to vote on school administration salaries.
Motion: move that the Easton Board of Education adjourn the meeting. Bindelglass, Bobroske. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:23 pm
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education adjourn the meeting. Gaspar, Florkowski. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:23 pm
Submitted by Regina Bobroske, Secretary Easton Board of Education
Submitted by Allyson Florkowski, Secretary Redding Board of Education
Recorded by Mary Maday