Congratulations to Addyson Earl, a 6th grader at GMMS, who was a finalist in a PBS talent competition that had over 1,000 entries.
Middle school students Kylie Coxon, Galen Platt, Alexa Becker, Caelum Janski, Jason Brown, and Alec Jedamonov participated in a regional history day competition at Manchester High School and will advance to the state contest in April.
Assistant Superintendent Christopher Tranberg, along with members of the Equity Task Force Committee, presented an executive summary to the board on the work and recommendations of the committee.
Patrice Nelson and Kerry Lord from the Connecticut Center for Change gave an overview of the report stating Granby was partnered with Bridgeport Public Schools to use focused strategies to get to root causes, particularly in the classroom. Kerry spoke about building a capacity for change, stating it was an iterative process during which the task force looked at many data sources. She stated the task force has recommendations for the district and hopes to continue the partnership to continue building and improving upon the work already being done. Four categories were discussed: Professional Capacity, Special Education Identification, Climate and Achievement. Commendations and recommendations for each category were reviewed.
In the professional capacity category, it was found that although Granby does not employ many minorities, teachers do stay employed with the district.
For special education identification, Granby has a tiered intervention support model designed to provide appropriate instruction and behavioral support services to students.
Lynn Guelzow presented on Climate and stated being on the task force was one of the most rewarding things she has done while being on the board. When looking at office referral data, she said there was no obvious answer for disparity in black male vs. white male referrals. Teachers openly participated in a survey to provide insight into this problem. The next step is additional interviewing and creating a more consistent data collection process.
Jacky Paton, Science Teacher at the high school, presented on the Achievement subgroup that looked at AP Enrollment and PSATs for Grade 11. Grade 11 students were surveyed and a smaller subset of students was interviewed. It was discovered that students did not know they do not have to be recommended to take AP classes. Additionally, some students did not realize the PSAT tests are mandatory and it is an indicator for SAT achievement. Guidance practices will be revised to target groups and provide differentiated developmental programming and course planning.
Jenny Emery inquired if there is a parallel effort for diversity and equity for community members and if this is an opportunity for the Granby Education Foundation. Ken Mouning, a task force member, spoke about being a black person living in Granby and about the book Waking up White. He recommends this book for high school students.
Brandon Webster inquired if the task force will continue. Tranberg stated there is a chance for some new memberships and moving forward there will be quarterly meetings. Webster echoed J Emery’s concerns about educating the community. Tranberg informed the board that policies and practices will need to be in place to help guide the work.
Mark Fiorentino commented it should be an easy fix to inform students they can get on track to take advanced courses and inquired if taking one advanced class could be a graduation requirement. Fiorentino inquired what the board’s next step is and how it will see if these strategies are implemented. Tranberg stated it is part of the charge for the task force to report progress to the board.
Sarah Thrall inquired if students from the Bridges Program could contribute to the task force in any way. Tranberg said, yes, perhaps students from the Bridges Program could join the task force. Dr. Addley hopes Granby can continue working with the Connecticut Center for School Change.
Sarah Pomponi, West Granby, requested the board change its decision regarding reinstating the teaching assistants at Kelly Lane, stating it ties to the achievement gap spoken about during the meeting. The proposed budget takes away resources and sets students up to stay behind. She stated the district receives $12,500 for Open Choice Kindergarten students and inquired if the district could add back the teaching assistants. She also inquired if there is money in the Q and D fund that could be tapped into or if the board could reduce its contribution for the HSA accounts for teachers. She also inquired about electricity usage and computer leasing agreements for cost-saving measures.
Dr. Addley stated if there is another snow day, Tuesday, May 29 would become a school day for students and Friday, June 22 would become a professional development day for teachers. Addley recommended Thursday, June 21 as graduation and the last day of school. A motion was made by Lynn Guelzow and seconded by Jenny Emery that the Board of Education set the graduation date and last day of school for Thursday, June 21, 2018. This motion passed unanimously.
—Linda Powell, Board Recorder