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Minutes of Region 9 Board of Education Special Meeting, 06/03/2020

AGENDA: Region 9 Board of Education Special Meeting

RECEIVED 06/04/2020 11:33am
Kathleen R. Miserendino - Redding Deputy Town Clerk

Special Meeting
June 3, 2020 – 5:00 p.m.

Location:  Virtual Meeting via Zoom – Access as follows:
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T. Johnston called the Region 9 Board of Education Special Meeting to order at 5:04 p.m.


Suzanne Krivit, Barlow Drive, Redding – asked about notifying the public of graduation plans since there is no town newspaper in Redding.

Tracy Kulikowski, Drummer Lane, Redding – would like to see more engaging learning if we continue in the distance model for next year.  She would also like to see a schedule and live classes.


M. D’Agostino would like to enhance the distance learning model for next year and if the board can provide additional resources.

G. Denny saw social media posts and people would like direct instruction online and more structure.  The majority of students are not good at managing time.  Feels there is an overwhelming need for structure, interaction, connections.  Weston has a model that seems to be working for live classes, privacy, and support.  She supports preparing physical space for return to classrooms.

K. O’Brien echoed G. Denny.  It seems that virtual learning is not equal between classes and teachers.  Some teachers are not providing personal feedback.

C. Graziano emphasized feedback on the positive that the staff, administration, and board have been working hard.  Know that we are working on it and support communication to the public.

T. Johnston would like to yield time to Dr. McMorran and Dr. Pierson Ugol on a reopening update.

T. McMorran commented that he meets weekly with other superintendents.  Other districts have been complementing our model.  In every district, there has been some exemplary design and instruction and some that has not worked well.  Dr. McMorran asked everyone not to assume that what everyone else is doing is phenomenal and we are not.  If we are forced to go distance learning in the 2020-21 school year, it will be by design and not by accident.  The Faculty of JBHS is the finest faculty in the world.  Everyone should put faith in the teachers and the administrators and good things will happen.  We can improve to be better than we have been in the past few months.   Dr. McMorran does not believe that our students in Region 9 are behind.  Extensive planning is occurring for next year.  What can we invest in now so that we are better positioned in the future?  Other districts in DRG A have many more people in central office to share the burden and Region 9 only has Dr. Pierson Ugol to prepare our model.  Dr. McMorran is confident that our students are getting a high-quality education.

Dr. Pierson Ugol commented that everyone received a reopening update today.  They are working on reopening and curriculum by design, instead of responding to the crisis.  Obviously, preparation still needs to be done in the physical space, along with curriculum planning.  Design units that can be flipped into distance learning models in case we need to go that route.  Identifying technology resources will need paid subscriptions for next year and we should secure those resources and make plans for shifts in budget money.  Teachers will be soliciting additional input to determine content modification and reinforcement from the current years learning.  We are going to move forward by design and to do this, the staff will need time for curriculum planning.  This will ensure that the learning is more equitable for all students.  Need to shift from a brick and mortar model to a distance learning model.  Emphasis is on the  preparation of distance learning and shifting to small group check in.  Will be offering parents and students to participate in focus groups to share feedback and input for planning next year.  Dr. Pierson Ugol advised that a parent survey will go out later this week.

Dr. McMorran commented that he does not want people to think that in the next town everything is phenomenal.  This is a problem everywhere.  We are mindful about parents going back to work if students are home.

T. Johnston commented that we can further discuss the distance learning issue at the June 23, 2020 regular board meeting and see if any additional items are needed to be purchased before the end of the fiscal year.


J. Desmarais shared a summary of the work and planning.  Advised that there is a working document which is still currently a draft.  The virtual ceremony on June 17, 2020 will include all aspects of a drive through ceremony and other student groups.

Drive through Ceremony to occur on June 12, 2020 from 12:00 – 4:30 p.m.  The details were discussed by J. Desmarais.  Once plan approval occurs, a communication to families will go out.  Email and flyer will go out to Barlow Dr., Picklewood Rd. to prepare for traffic routes.

T. Johnston stated the budget was $6,000 and we are currently under budget at approximately $4,500.

K. O’Brien had a question on photographers and information on Gilberties for flowers for J. Desmarais.  Waiting on an update on the video.

Next steps for approval from towns and board.  Dr. McMorran said Redding gave the green light and so it is a go.

M. D’Agostino thanked J. Desmarais for her hard work and impressive document with a level of detail and thought in planning.  He questioned if board member attendance was required this year.  T. Johnston said there is an area for board members and town officials to come and be represented.  M. D’Agostino also asked if masks were required to be worn and the answer was ‘yes’.

There is a 4×4 stage, with a 3-step stair which is being rented.  The steps are very small.  There was concern about code being too high and students falling on pavement.  T. Johnston gave clarification on the 24-inch stage, no railing.  He asked if  we expect any significant changes to the current plan.  The only changes would be problem solving changes.  It was noted that it is really important that we recognize student accomplishments.

J. Desmarais thankful for the support of the entire community to make graduation happen.

G. Denny stated that she would like to ensure that there is a plan for balloon pollution.  J. Desmarais replied that there is  a document update on clean-up for all balloons, masks, gloves, etc.

C. Graziano asked about additional PPE and cleaning products.  J. Desmarais replied yes and advised that the document was well thought out and planned.  Kudos to the planning committee.

G. Pin said to look for an email with details on the dignitary tent, refreshment area, and cooling tent.  A Nurse will be on site and Redding Ridge Ambulance will stage.  Rain dates are considered, but there are umbrellas however, they would cancel if there is dangerous weather.  The rain date is Friday, June 12 or Saturday, June 13.  A final committee meeting is scheduled for June 4.

Filming for video sections will occur on June 4.  Students will be filmed at a podium at the school.  The names of all graduates will be read,  A slide for each graduate will be displayed.   Outline of program in the back of the document.

M. D’Agostino questioned the video plan.  Are we providing it to each student for free?  The reply was yes, that is the plan and photos are gratis as well.  Families can order additional photos at their expense.

Motion:  The Region 9 Board of Education approves the 2020 graduation ceremony as outlined in the draft plan and direct administration to make any logistical changes deemed appropriate (D’Agostino, Denny).  Approved.  Unanimous.

Discussion of Motion
M. D’Agostino questioned the process if a family wanted to stop and take photos after they loop through.  Would there be someone who is going to enforce the social distancing policy?  The police will keep people moving and not allow them to get out at unauthorized locations.  There has been a trial run with caps and gowns, and it went well.  Temperature checks will be administered for all volunteers.  No one gets out of the car except the graduate to walk across the stage and get a picture taken.

K. O’Brien advised that she just heard back from Matt Pagliaro and he can’t do video.  Need to find a new person for the day of the event.



M. D’Agostino commented that it would be in best interest to hold a special meeting prior to the June 23, 2020 regular board meeting to figure out before June 30, 2020 what additional expenses and items are going to be needed for reopening in the fall.  If we are unable to get supplies, could this affect reopening in the fall?

T. Johnston wanted to thank everyone who has been participating to make graduation happen.  He also thanked everyone who is working on evolving plans for distance learning.  The Community really appreciates the hard work and planning.

Motion:  Move to adjourn the Region 9 Board of Education Special Meeting (Graziano, O’Brien).  Approved.  Unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:07 p.m.

Recorded and Submitted By
Juliette Berry, Region 9 Board of Education Secretary

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