REGION 9 BOARD OF EDUCATION REGULAR MEETING
November 17, 2020 – 7:30 p.m.
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Board members: Johnston, Graziano, Berry, D’Agostino, Denny, O’Brien, Pampel, Williams
Administration: Harrison, Zachery
Others: 18 members of the staff and public, and the recording secretary.
CALL TO ORDER
T. Johnston called the Region 9 Board of Education Regular meeting to order at 7:36 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the minutes of the: October 20, 2020 Region 9 Board of Education Regular Meeting; October 27, 2020 ER9 Joint Boards of Education Regular Meeting; and, October 30, 2020 ER9 Joint Boards of Education Special Meeting, with the following revisions on page 2 of the October 30, 2020 meeting, “Recess to Executive Session,” should be removed and replaced with “Recessed the Meeting;” strike “the Easton, Redding and Region 9 Boards of Educations went into Executive Session at 5:24 pm;” and, “Return to Public Session to Discuss the Item in Executive Session,” should be removed and replaced with “Re-adjourned the Meeting.” (Graziano, Pampel). Approved. Unanimous.
Student Council Representative, Max Monson, reported on the Spirit Week that is currently taking place and answered questions from BOE members about how Barlow students are feeling at the moment.
Drew Luca, Fire Hill Road, Redding, said that with the rising number of cases around us and the shape of the curve going up, he wonders why we are still in a hybrid or all-in model. He asked if it would be more prudent for the kids to be at home.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
M. Williams said welcome to Mr. Zachery.
T. Johnston said welcome to C. Zachery.
J. Berry said welcome to C. Zachery and that they are working hard to make the meetings concise.
M. D’Agostino said welcome to Mr. Zachery.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education amend the Agenda to add “Capital Plan Consideration and Review” to Item VI. A. and move all other Items in VI. down one space in alphabetic order. (D’Agostino, Berry). Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: CAPITAL PLAN CONSIDERATION AND REVIEW
M. D’Agostino explained that the current tractor/backhoe owned by JBHS is very old and beyond repair; he said that the tractor/backhoe is a very important piece of machinery to have on campus as it is used for a multitude of projects and tasks.
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the purchase of a John Deere tractor/backhoe, and attachments, in the amount not to exceed $60,000, and funded from the Capital Reserve Fund. (D’Agostino, O’Brien). Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: CLASS OF 2020 GRADUATION STATISTICS
Director of School Counseling, Paula Panos, shared a document with data on the 2020 graduation class that included numbers for: 2-year colleges; 4-year colleges; post grad; work; apprenticeship; military; and non-graduates. The document also included data on the college acceptances in the categories of: early decision; most competitive; highly competitive; very competitive; and, Ivy League. P. Panos said that this was the most current data she had and that it has been an unusual year. She said that for the 2020 class, the rate of deferring college for a year had increased, but that acceptance rates did remain solid across all types of colleges. She also said that the number of early decision applications for the class of 2021 is down at Barlow, as it is all over the country. A further discussion took place about the process of going to a community college first and then on to a four-year college, with P. Panos saying that the JBHS Guidance Department provides all the information to the student and their family and then guides them to a solution that works best for them.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: UPDATE ON HEALTH INFORMED HYBRID MODEL AND OTHER OPERATING MODELS
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Rydell Harrison, first spoke about the District’s decision of last week to switch to the hybrid model of learning, and explained that the decision was based on: current health data numbers per 100,000 people over a 14-day rolling average; advice to decrease the density at the schools; positivity rate; ability to staff the buildings; and, the spread within the buildings and towns around us. Dr. Harrison said the decision was made in consolation with the health directors from Easton and Redding, and that it is a proactive approach in a data driven way. He added that contact tracing is being conducted in an efficient manner, but most of that detailed information cannot be shared with the public. Dr. Harrison added that, with most of the State of Connecticut in a new range, it would be prudent to be prepared for having to make the shift into remote learning. Dr. Pin said that there has been a rise in the number of students in Cohort C. T. Johnston asked about the period of time for being out (remote). Dr. Harrison replied that Central Office will look at data and considerations in two-week periods of time. An extended discussion took place about early release on Wednesdays for professional development. Several BOE members questioned these days and expressed the need for them to now end. Dr. Harrison said that he will be meeting with administrators and they will review this topic.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: 2020-2021 JOEL BARLOW HIGH SCHOOL SCHOOL-WIDE GOALS
Joel Barlow High School Principal, Dr. Gina Pin, read aloud the school-wide goal, which is divided into the three areas of: Social/Emotional Learn, Engagement, and Academics. She read, “Social Emotion Learn: Given the extraordinary stress and trauma experienced by many students and adults, an educational environment that is safe, personalized and academically rigorous will be promoted. As a result of this supportive, inclusive and equitable learning environment, all students will recognize growth in SEL competencies as outlined by CASEL (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making). Growth and achievement will be measured using CASEL, school wide SEL indicators tools as well as tools from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence resources. Engagement: Given research in student motivation (intrinsic and extrinsic) as well as instruction that maximizes student voice, students will be included in planning, decision making, and communication in order to promote their learning targets. Growth and achievement will be measured on standardized, curriculum-based and/or teacher-created learning experiences. Academic: After identifying current student performance in curricular priority standards and implementing instruction to close learning gaps created by the disruption of the pandemic, all students will demonstrate growth on standardized, curriculum-based, and/or teacher-created learning experiences.”
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: SCHOOL STRATEGIC PROFILE
Dr. Pin presented the Joel Barlow High School Strategic Profile Data report. The report included information on the ten areas of: enrollment, attendance, discipline, staffing, students with disabilities, physical fitness, graduation rates, college readiness, accountability performance, and per pupil expense. Dr. Pin said that the report is available on the JBHS website.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: PROGRESS OF DIVERSITY & INCLUSION CONSULTING SERVICES
Dr. Pin reported that the new committee, JBHS DEI Advisory Committee, recently had their first meeting to establish working agreements, develop defining terms and share experiences and observations that represent challenges to DEI. She said they had this meeting with consultants from the Connecticut Center for School Change, and that the consultants are terrific and the committee is great. Dr. Pin said the consultants will hold a virtual session with JBHS support staff on December 2 and will also present at the December faculty meeting. M. D’Agostino said that it would be helpful to see an overview document for this group. T. Johnston said that receiving minutes from the meetings and having someone from the committee come to a BOE meeting would be helpful.
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: BUDGET COMMITTEE CHARGE RENEWAL
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education extend the charge of the budget committee as written on October 17, 2017 until such time the Board decides to change the charge. (Graziano, Williams). Approved. Unanimous.
Joel Barlow High School Director of Special Education, Michael DeStefano, reported that there has been an increase in the number of 504s, which the Bridge program now has 13 students and that outplacements have remained steady. He said that the recent change in law, for school districts to now provide support to students to the age of 22, will impact the program. M. DeStefano said that there has been an increase in student referrals, and that this is the case across Connecticut.
Joel Barlow High School Administrator, Athletics, Health and Physical Education, Michael Santangeli, reported that despite some set-backs and much juggling, the fall sports season was huge and many JBHS teams did very well. He said that the winter sports season has started out promising with huge numbers of students having signed up for a sport. M. Santangeli said that the CIAC announced that the winter season will not start until January 19, 2021 and that the CIAC will make a decision on conditioning for winter athletes later this week. C. Graziano asked about the stipends for the winter coaches.
Joel Barlow High School Assistant Principal, Julie McTague, reported on school activities saying that some clubs have been able to proceed on a virtual platform; these include the chess and debate clubs, and the literary magazine. She said that some clubs have been meeting for planning purposes only; these include the murals club, and the winter and spring theatre productions.
Director of Finance & Operations, Clarence Zachery, said that he has noticed some of the details of the financial documents are arranged in a manner that is not usually standard. He said he will make recommendations on a future set-up of these documents.
The BOE reviewed the report prepared by Dr. Stephanie Pierson Ugol about the 2020-2021 educator evaluations and the professional development days for JBHS staff, called Technology Integration Academy. M. D’Agostino and T. Johnson asked for a more detailed breakdown of what training took place during the professional development days. Dr. Pin said that 100% of the staff knows the basics of Google Classroom and Zoom and that the next step involves student assessments.
BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS
M. Williams said that the Policy Committee is moving along and making progress. C. Zachery asked if the Committee used policy templates from CABE or were writing originals. M. Williams replied they are using both.
Julia Pemberton, Umpawaug Road, Redding, welcomed Mr. Zachery to the District, and said that she wanted to commend the teachers and administration for teaching our students in these trying times.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education regular meeting be adjourned (D’Agostino, O’Brien). Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:17 p.m.
Submitted by Juliette Berry,
Secretary, Region 9 Board of Education