Board members present: Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino, Lynn Guelzow, Melissa Migliaccio, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster, and Sarah Cusano, Student Representative.
• Dr. Addley read a statement regarding the Florida shootings: “It is a sad day when any Superintendent of Schools cannot confirm the safety of our staff of students” and went on to inform the Board of the recent state safety grant awarded to Granby for $1M. He also stated the district is in collaboration with the police department and continues to practice safety protocols stating the safety of students is always of the utmost importance.
• Tom Steinke, Director of Facilities, has been with the district for 20 years and retired February 28. Dr. Addley stated there is no one more dedicated and loyal to the school system than Tom. He wished Tom congratulations and thanked him for his contributions to Granby.
• Congratulations to high school juniors Madison McFarland and Jonathan Hacia who scored in the top 2.5 percent among Hispanic and Latino PSAT test takers. They are invited to participate in the National Hispanic Recognition Program.
Business Mgr’s Report
Business Manager Anna Robbins presented the January statement of accounts stating there is a negative forecast of $350K, which is $62K better than the prior month. Special education is unfavorable at $325K and regular education is unfavorable this month at $25K, due to long-term substitutes, expenditures in broken doors and the installation of a relay system to synchronize the lockdown system. Revenue to the town has been calculated and billed. Because of special education savings, our special education Excess Cost Grant will be lower, which is a good thing overall. Granby is projected to be reimbursed 70 percent but will actually be reimbursed at 73 percent, netting about $3-4K, which is lower than anticipated. The over-budget is due to special education out-of-district expenditures. Jenny Emery said the statement of accounts was reviewed in the Finance Subcommittee meeting this evening and the BOE is keeping the BOF aware and expects there will still be a deficit with special education.
In the Spotlight
Sue Alender and Anne Buckley, middle school science teachers, along with a few students presented an overview of Next Generation Science Standards’ (NGSS) instruction in the 6th and 7th grade classroom. Alender informed the Board that NGSS is being rolled out in both 6th and 7th grade this year. Melissa Migliacco inquired how the Chromebooks are integrated in the classroom. Alender stated Chromebooks are essential for evaluating and researching information. Jenny Emery inquired if there will be a need to develop new interventions for students who learn differently. Alender stated, yes, and it is a little uncomfortable at first and she tells students she actually wants them to make mistakes and learn from them and that students have to find a way that works best for them. Buckley stated engagement has increased with this learning method, as there is more ownership by the student.
Ben Perron, Chair of the Granby Education Foundation (GEF), informed the board that GEF has donated over a half million dollars to the community over the years and two months ago the GEF received a grant application for a unique opportunity, the possibility of a start-up music program. The GEF board agreed to endorse this grant for $40,000 over two years as it fits into the mission of continual learning. One requirement of the grant is not to fund the operational side (i.e., the instructor). The GEF would need a commitment that the BOE has secured a teacher for the program in order to release the grant to the school district. If the program does not happen this budget cycle, a decision can be made at another point in time. Perron stated the GEF looks forward to what this program can bring to Granby.
Improvement Plan Updates
Kimberly Dessert, Kelly Lane Primary School Principal, and Dr. Anna Forlenza-Bailey, Wells Road Intermediate School Principal, shared their respective School Improvement Plans with the board. Dessert spoke about chronic absenteeism and how it is being addressed at Kelly Lane. She also discussed the training for the mentorship program in March facilitating the launch of the program in April. For the Achievement Goal, Dessert stated her staff works collaboratively analyzing data and takes pride in knowing each student as a learner. She spoke about math strategies used for students and how students’ thinking becomes visible with problem solving. With regard to the instructional goal of utilizing equitable instructional practices to personalize learning, she discussed the junior achievement opportunity as well as collaboration with the high school DECA club working with Kelly Lane students
Dr. Anna Bailey invited the Board to the 5th Grade Capstone Fair on March 23. She discussed her first goal of implementing enrichment opportunities for all students stating there are problem-based learning opportunities under the Enrichment Coach. Alternative curricular options have been developed for students who demonstrate early mastery in math. The inclusion of journals is being used this year. Students plan in the journal about their clusters and reflect on their work. With regard to student achievement, teachers are reporting benchmark assessments in PLC meetings and teaching partnerships are strong and provide greater focus with less stress. For the instructional goal to improve teachers’ capacity to utilize equitable instructional practices, Dr. Bailey stated the partnership with Simsbury Farms has been very positive and that all fourth grade classes have been involved. Sarah Thrall inquired how the first year of the TEAM system was going at Wells Road for the younger grades. Dr. Bailey stated they had to work through some of the logistics of it and she is doing it a little different next year. She also stated the PLC meetings are either math or science and allow teachers to go deeper into their content area. Brandon Webster inquired if there are interventions or extra help for students who will not make their milestones. She stated there is discussion at PLCs throughout the year where students are progress-monitored every 4-6 weeks, assigned to a team and there is a meeting to determine what is needed going forward. Dr. Addley recognized Dr. Bailey for Wells Road as a Level 1 school primarily for students making progress and benchmarks.
Rosemarie Weber reported this subcommittee met this evening and discussed the Bridges Program and the impact the students are having during advisory. The subcommittee has asked Christopher Tranberg to do a future presentation to the subcommittee about advisory. Also discussed the new technology, flat panel, currently in the high school media center, which will be moved to the civics on-line class and allow teachers to bring in information from the outside. Also discussed the AP Capstone course, which the subcommittee approved. This is a two-year AP class with more coursework in the first year and in the second year, a dissertation-type class. The exam is given after the first year. If the student completes the second year of the program and completes four other AP classes, the student would be eligible to receive an AP Capstone Diploma. In terms of cost, there would be a cost for a teacher but this could be absorbed and training would be approximately $900. Concerns were raised about it being a two-year program. Students will be restricted as to how they can schedule their time. Three policies were discussed: the nutrition policy was approved to go to the board with one minor change; the attendance policy was tabled; and, the homeless policy student was approved to go to the full board. Lastly, learning styles were discussed as to what this is and how Granby perceives it.
Mark Fiorentino reported that CREC is experiencing some funding issues. The state aid received by CREC is shrinking and its costs are rising. CREC is anticipating asking districts to pay an increase in tuition to magnet schools. CREC will be hosting summer biodiversity camp/science contests over the summer as well as some workshops, one being math vigor. Fiorentino stated there was a brief legislative report and nothing is happening just yet but a lot will happen in the next couple of weeks. One thing on the agenda is a bill to modify to some extent the student achievement data.
Rosemarie Weber, Board Secretary