REDDING BOARD OF EDUCATION
Regular Meeting Minutes
John Read Middle School – Community Room
November 6, 2019
Board members: Irwin, Hoffman, Parkin, Hoeing, Pilato, Reilly, Whaley
Administration: McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Reiss, Del Conte, Hankla, Hammond, Amori, Wallin.
Others: 8 members of the public, note taker.
Dr. Irwin called the meeting to order at 7:31p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the minutes of October 1, 2019, Special Meeting as submitted. (Whaley, Reilly). Approved. Unanimous.
Dr. McMorran read a letter submitted to him by Jamie Barickman, Church Hill Lane, that stated that the Redding BOF is intent on pursuing a three-year budget projection and invites the cooperation of the Redding BOE in participating in a complementary effort.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
H. Whaley said that the high rate of unvaccinated children at RES could be creating an unsafe workplace for the district’s employees. She said that while it is not our place to tell people to vaccinate their children, it is our place to provide the community with information on measles. H. Whaley said that it’s definitely something to think about.
J. Reilly said he was glad BOE members were re-elected and that he’s going to miss Dr. Irwin.
C. Pilato said congratulations to “Mr. B.” at RES; and congratulations to re-elected BOE members and new members.
Dr. Irwin stated that this was her last Redding BOE meeting and thanked her family and fellow BOE members for their support over the eight years of her BOE tenure.
Former John Read Middle School Principal, Dr. Martin, was presented with a plaque for her 15 years of service to the Redding School District. Dr. Martin said that JRMS will always be in her heart.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction: Dr. Pierson Ugol reported on the full day of Professional Learning that occurred on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. She said the day included vertical professional learning across all of the schools to focus on curriculum revisions, instruction methodologies, data to inform instruction and formative assessments. She said that all of the sessions for staff aligned with the district’s priorities of enhancing the ability to make data-informed decisions and to empower student ownership of their learning.
BUILDING ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
Redding Elementary School Principal N. Hammond reported that RES staff member Mr. Baraktaris had been named the 2020 Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year. She said that the annual Halloween Parade needed to be indoors this year and that the school was able to live-stream the event to parents. C. Pilato asked if there was a problem with the RES HVAC system. N. Hammond said that there is not a problem and that perhaps the humid weather on Halloween contributed to the warm temperature inside of the school building. C. Parkin encouraged Board members to attend the Veterans Day celebration. N. Hammond said that there will be a school-wide assembly and Veterans will be invited to the classrooms to talk with the students.
Interim John Read Middle School Principal Dr. Amori reported that the JRMS Halloween event was very successful, and people felt good about everything that occurred and that it was a wonderful day. She said that the extra one minute in-between classes is working well; that there is bell-to-bell instruction occurring. Dr. Amori said that the students seemed relieved that the cell phone policy, of keeping phones in the lockers, is being enforced. M. Hoffman thanked Dr. Amori for her many emails and updates.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: VOTE ON ASSOCIATION OF REDDING ADMINISTRATORS CONTRACT
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the Association of Redding Administrators Contract for the period of July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023. (Hoffman, Reilly). Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: STRATEGIC PRIORITIES
Dr. McMorran thanked Dr. Pierson Ugol for all of her work behind the scenes and her terrific leadership over the last several years and walked the Board through the administration’s strategic priorities. He said that quite a bit of work had been done and there’s still work to do. Dr. McMorran said alignment work is working well and that we see it by how well the students perform on diagnostic testing.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: HEALTH CURRICULUM
Dr. Pierson Ugol reported that at a curriculum meeting on October 29th minor adjustments had been made to the K-8 Health curriculum. She reported that they had a rich conversation on the curriculum and that the Danbury Women’s Center will teach a lesson on consent for the upper grades. Dr. Pierson Ugol also said that parents can opt their children out of the AIDS and puberty lessons. C. Parkin noted his discomfort approving a curriculum that was not provided for Board members to review in writing.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education approve the health curriculum for Redding and Easton as presented by Dr. Pierson Ugol at the October 29, 2019 Curriculum Committee meeting. (Hoeing, Reilly). Approved. 6-0-1. (Parkin abstaining).
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: PRESENTATION – SCHOOL CLIMATE
John Read Middle School Assistant Principal Darlene Wallin reported that if students do not feel happy and safe, then they will not be able to learn. JRMS and RES conducted school climate surveys for students and parents in the Fall and will do the survey again in the Spring. D. Wallin said highlights from the surveys are: 97.58% of students at RES feel that adults in the building care about them; and 93% of students at JRMS feel that they are treated fairly by adults in the building. D. Wallin also said that there is a correlation between positive trends and a decrease in disrespectful behavior in the classroom. Brief discussion regarding potential contradictions between the data and what was presented by the ERCCC followed.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: PRESENTATION – SCHOOL-WIDE GOALS
Redding Elementary School Principal N. Hammond presented a report on RES’s 2019-2020 goals in the areas of: academic, social and parent/communication. C. Parkin asked to what extent are “more better” goals vs. actionable and measurable goals. N. Hammond said that staff has been embracing the idea of tying together data and information about the student, so that it doesn’t take months to figure out a child and that there was a reasoned process in place to set goals tied to realistic expectations. She said that staff had vertical meetings in August to achieve this.
John Read Middle School Interim Principal Dr. Amori presented a lengthy report on JRMS’s 2019-2020 goals of continuous improvement of school climate, strengthened home-school partnership and creating future ready learners. She said that a highlight for her was that the staff is focusing on something that is important to them because it will become important to their students. C. Parkin thanked the two principals and Dr. McMorran for the reports and working through the challenging process of articulating strategic goals.
DISTRICT ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
Director of Special Services: Jennifer Del Conte reported that it is a busy time of year. She said that parents are forming a SpEd. PTA. J. Del Conte reported that the number of students within special services is stable; and that in the spring there will be 11 special services students coming to the preschool. C. Pilato noted that the number of outplacement seems to be creeping up again. Discussion of the cost and utilization of the diagnostic seat at CES followed.
Director of Finance & Operations: Scott Reiss reported that the parent app for the buses is up and running; budget prep is fully engaged with all buildings working on it; and the kicking off of EFinance will occur on Friday, November 15. S. Reiss also reported that health insurance claims were unexpectedly up 20% and that he is waiting to hear from the insurance company for a more in-depth report on this to understand the trend.
BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS
Food Service Committee: H. Whaley reported that she went to a visit to RES cafeteria and discovered that the single use plastics rate is very high. She said that she will be meeting with Chartwell’s soon and that there is a Girl Scout troop that is willing to lead a composting effort.
Gifted and Talented: Dr. Pierson Ugol reported that the current design of the Gifted and Talented program is in its third year. She said that there will be an emphasis on increased communication about assessments and application to the program. D. Wallin reported that methods of math differentiation and math acceleration are being piloted.
Mike D’Agostino, Glen Hill Road, stated that if a member of the public sends a letter to a BOE member, it is tradition that the board member read the letter aloud. He also said he had not heard about the Barlow teacher coming to JRMS to teach a class.
Kristen Anstett, Whortlebury Road, stated that even though students get a religious exemption from having to be vaccinated for school, these same students often get vaccinated and no one at the school follows up with them so many may actually be vaccinated resulting in a discrepancy between reported numbers and reality. She also said that she would like to see a better culture surrounding the Gifted and Talented program.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
C. Parkin thanked Dr. Irwin for her service to the Redding BOE.
H. Whaley thanked Dr. Irwin for her service to the Redding BOE.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Education meeting be adjourned (Whaley, Hoffman). Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:17 p.m.
Submitted by Chris Parkin
Redding Board of Education Secretary
Recorded by Sarah Ota