REDDING BOARD OF EDUCATION REGULAR MEETING
October 6, 2020 – 7:30 p.m.
Redding Community Center
Public Attendance by Zoom
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Meeting ID: 5128278190
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October 6, 2020 – 7:30 p.m.
Board members: Parkin, Whaley, Pilato, Hoffman, Reilly, Oulton, Hocker
Administration: Harrison, Pierson Ugol, Reiss, Del Conte
Others: 36 members of the staff and public, and the recording secretary.
CALL TO ORDER
C. Parkin called the Redding Board of Education Regular meeting to order at 7:37 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of the September 1, 2020 Regular Meeting with one revision of, on page two, “Vanessa Visner,” should read “Vanessa Visners.” (Whaley, Hoffman). Approved. Unanimous.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
H. Whaley said that it was nice to see everyone.
BUILDING ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
Redding Elementary School Principal, N. Hammond, first said that she, and RES Assistant Principal, J. Amodio, give the staff so much credit for preparing for and welcoming back our children. N. Hammond said that the RES enrollment is at 478 students, with 44 students temporarily learning from home and 21 learning within a hybrid model. She said that they will be making slight adjustments to the drop-off and pick-up procedure and that a huge thank you goes out to all of the RES parents. N. Hammond finished by saying that the RES students are following protocols and that they are “rock stars.”
John Read Middle School Interim Principal, Dr. Amori, said that it turned out to be helpful to start the school year off in the hybrid model and it is now wonderful to have the students back. Dr. Amori said that the JRMS enrollment is at 328 students, with 33 students temporarily learning from home and 21 learning within a hybrid model. She said that the biggest issue is social distancing since the students are at the age when they like to be near one another and also since many have not seen one another for several months. H. Whaley asked if there was data that existed on how many students in Redding have opted for private schools and/or homeschooling instead of JRMS. Dr. Amori said that she would get that data for the Board of Education.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: UPDATE ON REOPENING AND TRANSITION TO IN-PERSON LEARNING
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Harrison, first said that back in August, the Tri- Boards of Education had decided to follow the health data in deciding when and how to reopen the ER9 schools, and that this consists of data from the State of Connecticut, Fairfield County, Redding and Easton. Dr. Harrison said that the District looks at the seven-day average infection rate per 100,000 people and that anything above 10% would trigger a change, but Redding’s current rate is 4.2%. (This is a different metric from the positivity rate.) Dr. Harrison said that he had been at RES that day and had seen students engaged in learning and teachers engaged in teaching; that this was a testament to the attention our teachers put on students.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: REVIEW AND PLAN FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Pierson Ugol, reported on the Professional Learning Plan for the Wednesdays in October by first clarifying that, although we call these “half-days,” the professional learning is actually one hour and forty-five minutes long. She said that the learning is being called “Technology Integration Academy,” and that it will afford the teaching staff the opportunity to become equipped with the necessary skills, resources and support to engage students in a virtual learning environment. Dr. Pierson Ugol said that part one of the Academy will focus on technology improvements, followed by skill building and finally, authentic learning. She said that this is important in order that professional learning aligns with our enduring goals and aspirations of: 1) Academic Excellence; 2) Building a Caring Community and; 3) Cultivating Future Ready Learners. Dr. Pierson Ugol said that there will be a number of common topics for all buildings, that teachers will also use the time for issues specific to them and that this work will continue throughout the school year. A discussion followed.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION FRAMEWORK
Dr. Harrison explained that it is important to think within frameworks because this keeps things cohesive and together; he then gave a brief overview of the ER9 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force and said that diversity, equity and inclusion must be embedded in everything that we do. Dr. Harrison explained the four parts of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Framework as: Governance & Finance, Teaching & Learning, Faculty & Staff, and, Partnerships & Public Impact. He went on to explain a three-phase model to guide this work as: 1) Review Assets and Challenges; 2) Develop a Theory of Action, and; 3) Develop and Implement a Plan and explained how this links directly to the enduring ABC goals and aspirations: Academic Excellence; Building a Caring Community; and Cultivating Future Ready Learners. Dr. Harrison said that they need to find a good balance in the timeline of this work to pace progress appropriately and effectively.
DISTRICT ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
Director of Special Services, J. Del Conte, shared her report on Special Services Comparison Data October 2019 and October 2020, and explained the terms “declassify,” and “exit,” as they relate to the area of special services. She said that five families have moved into Redding with IEPs and that in a couple of weeks she will have a better sense of the numbers.
Director of Finance & Operations, S. Reiss, first gave an update on two COVID related grants to the Redding School District: the Everybody Learns grant has initiated a second wave of donations and Redding will receive another 141 Chromebooks; through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, approximately $81,000 in expenses will be submitted for reimbursement funds. S. Reiss said that the 2019-2020 accounts are closed and that the new financial management system will take effect in January 2021. He said that the budget year so far is not worrisome, but that it does need to be monitored and January is the time to really pay attention to the actuals. He also said that the August health insurance claims were higher than typical, but this is being viewed as residual healthcare visits.
J. Reilly acknowledged S. Reiss’ scheduled departure from the district and thanked him for his work, and the work with the grants. S. Reiss said that it has been an honor to work for the District and that he would like to recognize the Central Office team; that their dedication is exemplary.
BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
C. Hocker said that the meeting went a lot better than he thought it would.
C. Pilato thanked the Chair of the Redding Board of Education for the amount of time and effort he has dedicated to the work of the Board and to organizing the first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 safety protocols began.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education Regular meeting be adjourned. (Hoffman, Reilly). Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:09 p.m.
Submitted by Colleen Pilato
Secretary, Redding Board of Education
Recorded by Sarah Ota