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Minutes of Redding Board of Education, 09/09/2021

AGENDA: Redding Board of Education

RECEIVED 09/14/2021 1:49pm
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk

John Read Middle School Community Room
September 9, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.

Board members: Parkin, Whaley, Pilato, Hocker, Hoffman, Oulton, Reilly
Administration:  McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Del Conte, Scrofani
Others:  3 members of the staff and public, and the recording secretary.

C. Parkin called the Redding Board of Education Regular meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

C. Parkin asked for comments and revisions to the minutes of: June 30, 2021 Special Easton, Redding, Region 9 Joint Boards of Education; July 6, 2021 Special Easton, Redding, Region 9 Joint Boards of Education; July 6, 2021 Regular Redding Board of Education meeting; July 16, 2021 Special Easton, Redding, Region 9 Joint Boards of Education; August 13, 2021 Special Redding Board of Education meeting; and August 24, 2021 Special Easton, Redding, Region 9 Joint Boards of Education.  Hearing none, C. Parkin deemed all the minutes approved by unanimous consent.

Mike D’Agostino, Glenn Hill Road, said that hot lunches will again be free in the District this year and asked the Board of Education to promote this offer.  He said that the more lunches we give out, the more subsidies the District will receive.

J. Reilly, asked the Board of Education to discuss a plan for continuing to reach and teach students if they need to quarantine.

Redding Elementary School Interim Principal, S. Weirsman, reported that the first day of school was a great success, and that even though staff members and students were wearing masks, it was easy to see that everyone was smiling and happy to be back.  She reported that: there are 10 new certified staff members; six new classified staff members; 2 new interns; 17 students have returned to RES; that the 2nd grade is heavy on new enrollment; and that the professional development with the math resource is being integrated into daily lessons.  A discussion took place regarding: any impact the 2nd grade enrollment is having; the number of people who may have held their children for another year of preschool; and, the number of sections per grade vs. the number of students in the grade.  S. Weirsman responded that there is no negative impact from the high number of 2nd graders; she will look into the number of kindergarten packets that were sent out vs. the number of students who ultimately enrolled; and that the sections of each grade level also took the number of students receiving special services into account.  She acknowledged Assistant Principal, J. Amodio, who she said had done the lion’s share of work over the summer to prepare for the new school year.

John Read Middle School Principal, M. Ward, reported that the first day of school included 334 students and that everyone’s spirit remained high throughout the day.  She said that there had been several tours for new students and students returning from Cohort C, as well as new parent orientations.  M. Ward reported that: open gym, clubs and grade-level socials will commence in the next few weeks; there are tables outside the cafeteria for students to use during their lunch; social studies classes will all conduct a special class on 9/11; and that Redding Girl Scout Troop 50004 had donated a buddy bench for the recess area.  She acknowledged Assistant Principal, D. Wallin for all the work she did over the summer to prepare for the new school year. A request was made for numbers of sections of each grade for the next Board of Education meeting.

Interim Superintendent of Schools, Dr. T. McMorran, noted that the last time the Redding Board of Education had had a meeting in the JRMS Community Room, he was still the Superintendent of Schools. He expressed appreciation for the three Board of Educations and thanked them for their service.  Dr. McMorran said that Central Office has brought in and processed 80 new staff members, and acknowledged the hard work of the Human Resources Manager, Vicki Cram, for making this possible. Dr. McMorran said that regarding student learning in the event of quarantining that it’s still being mapped out and will now involve the new superintendent, Dr. Jason McKinnon.  M. Hoffman said he had received letters from seven staff members who are not, and do not intend to be, vaccinated; he said these staff members are worried about the vaccine mandate and that they will be “outed.”  M. Hoffman said that the letters stated these staff members felt that they were not getting a clear response from the District concerning the vaccine mandate. Dr. McMorran replied that the District is subject to the Governor’s order and that the District and all employees must be in compliance with this order.  He said that the District is interested in protecting the privacy and rights of all employees and they should contact the HR department with any questions and/or concerns. Dr. McMorran went on to say that any fear that their status will be released by the District is unfounded, and that per the Governor’s order, any employee who is not vaccinated and does not submit a weekly COVID test will be terminated.  He said that the District’s overwhelming duty is to the children.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Pierson Ugol, reported on the Summer Academy, curriculum access and the Safe Climate Committee. She said that the Summer Academy was very successful and included a partnership with the Mark Twain Library.  Dr. Pierson Ugol said that they had received excellent feedback from the parents of the participants and that ESSER II grant money was used to underwrite the program.  She said that public access to the K-8 math curriculum should be available in October; the delay has been in transitioning the information to the new Google platform.  She said that professional development days have been scheduled for the elementary math resources and that Math Specialist, Melissa Null, will be conducting an informational session for parents this fall.  Dr. Pierson Ugol said that the District-level Safe Climate Committee will distribute the annual survey and review its findings, and that this committee will meet 12 times per year.  She said that parents may participate in this committee at the school level, but at this moment, community members who have no children in the schools can provide input and feedback, but cannot be a committee member.

Director of Special Services, J. Del Conte, reported all certified Special Education positions have been filled, but they are still seeking paraeducators and behavioral therapists. She said that the numbers are consistent, but there has been a percentage drop in the overall numbers.  J. Del Conte said that the Junior Bridges Program has begun, with students in the building and participating.  Board of Education members had questions regarding: issues of which the Board of Education needs to be aware, how to service students in quarantine, any expectation of a change in the numbers and the Junior Bridges program.  J. Del Conte replied that there has been an uptick in anxiety and that they’re watching this data; servicing students in quarantine is done on a case-by-case basis; they’ll know if numbers will change in November; and, Junior Bridges has brought back an elementary student and has saved other students from being outplaced in the future.

Director of Finance & Operations: C. Parkin referenced the Budget Object Summary and Transfers reports that had been provided to the Board of Education.

Director of Technology & Digital Learning, Sara Scrofani, gave a presentation entitled “Understanding Needs & Opportunities,” which focused on the current strengths and needs, the immediate needs and the future needs for the District in terms of technology.  She said that the District’s vision, mission, ABC aspiration goals and DEI statements were taken into consideration in forming her report which was separated into the categories of: 1) Communication; 2) Curriculum; and, 3) Data.  In the immediate, S. Scrofani said she sees the 1) District’s website; 2) Google classroom; and, 3) understanding student assessment data as priorities.  In the future, she sees 1) a three-year plan; 2) plan for the use of network infrastructure; and, 3) identifying a shared tool as necessary actions. Board of Education members had questions about Google classroom and opportunities for efficiency. S. Scrofani replied that she favors Google classroom at this time because of its ability to integrate with many other products and because of the student-user control within Google classroom, and, that she sees a great deal of opportunity for efficiency with the District.


DEI Task Force: Chairperson, H. Whaley, reported that the Task Force will meet on September 29, 2021 and will review the results of the survey at the meeting.  She read aloud a list of eight recommendations compiled at the July/August meeting; she said the list is contained within the minutes of that meeting.

Policy Committee: C. Parkin reported that the Policy Committee continues to meet and complete a great deal of work.


Motion:  move that the Redding Board of Education change the authorized signer of the ED-099 agreement for child nutrition program to Dr. Jason McKinnon, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools.  (Hoffman, Whaley).  Approved.  Unanimous.


Cheryl Cowherd, Silversmith Lane, thanked C. Pilato and all the members of the Board for their work during a very challenging year.


C. Pilato welcomed all the new faces to the District and thanked Dr. McMorran for stepping in as interim superintendent.  She also reminded everyone that the school listserv cannot be used for political purposes or advocacy of a budget and asked if the exterior of the building and school property could be routinely cleared of trash.

C. Parkin thanked Jaime Bairaktaris for videotaping the meeting and setting up the live-stream.  He also thanked Dr. McMorran for being willing to come back and again serve the District.

Motion:  move that the Redding Board of Education regular meeting be adjourned.  (Hoffman, Reilly).  Approved.  Unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

Submitted by Colleen Pilato
Secretary, Redding Board of Education

Recorded by Sarah Ota