Sept. 18, 2019 Meeting
Present Board Members: Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino; Lynn Guelzow, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster, and Dwaritha Ramesh and Jack DeGray (Student Representatives).
Absent Board Members: Melissa Migliaccio
I. Administrative Reports
I.A. Superintendent’s Announcements
Interim Superintendent Mark Winzler welcomed Jack DeGray, a Junior, as the new BOE Student Representative. He also welcomed Julie Groene, assistant principal at the high school, and Jacky Paton, high school science teacher, who are here to present for Schools in the Spotlight.
The district participated in Sandy Hook Promise Safety and Assessment and Intervention (SAI) training. SAI is a national evidenced-based violence prevention program which establishes and trains multidisciplinary teams/school safety teams within schools to identify, assess and respond to threats of violence.
Student Representative Reports
Mark Fiorentino introduced BOE Student Representative Jack DeGray and stated that the BOE expects student representatives to not only report on the high school but to also be involved and ask questions. Fiorentino asked Jack to introduce himself to the board. DeGray stated he feels he will be able to contribute his peers’ ideas and thoughts to the board. He said that he takes a variety of classes ,including AP and Honors classes, as well as plays basketball, lacrosse and soccer. He also plans on joining the Spanish National Honors Society and the Model UN Club this year. He gave an update to the board as follows:
All fall sports are undefeated so far. There are 12 less students participating in fall sports this year vs. last year; however, student enrollment is down by 80 students so it is actually 42 percent of the student body participating this year and 39 percent participated last year.
Business Manager’s Report
Business Manager Anna Robbins presented the June 2019 and July/August 2019 statement of accounts. For June 2019, the results were as anticipated with special education expenditures unfavorable $668K and regular education expenditures favorable $348K. Salaries and benefits made up 76.3 percent of the total budget for FY19 and were forecasted with almost 100 percent accuracy. The additional appropriation for $320K was needed to balance the budget for FY19. The Quality and Diversity fund was favorable $77K largely due to savings in vocational and magnet school tuition as well as savings in transportation line items.
For FY20, the BOE is opening with a negative forecast of $52K. Special education expenditures are projected to be unfavorable $179K and regular education expenditures favorable $127K. The special education variance is due to the net change in out-of-district placements for students whose needs have changed since the budget was prepared. Robbins stated this is a very difficult area to project. Revenue to the town reflects a projection of additional revenue of $15K for tuition from other towns. Excess cost funding is lower than anticipated. Although out-of-district costs for special education are higher than budgeted, fewer students are meeting the stop loss limits. Jenny Emery stated these statements of accounts were reviewed in the Finance Subcommittee Meeting and the board will act on an end-of-year transfer later in the meeting.
Schools in the Spotlight
High School Assistant Principal Julie Groene and Director of Guidance Jacky Paton, high school science teacher, and a couple of high school students spoke about the Summer College Connections trip that took place over the summer. Groene stated the tour was held July 9-12 this year. She said that students who take the time to go on this tour really put themselves in the driver’s seat and are able to articulate what they are looking for in a college. Twenty-two students attended this year in Grades 10-12 with eight of those students being sophomores. Groene stated financial aid as well as transportation (for Hartford students) was offered to students who wanted to attend. Over 225 students have attended this program over the past 11 years.
Spencer Bennett, a junior, attended this year and said the tour gave him a great sense of what to expect with the application process as well as what college would be the best fit for him. Sophomore Alex Camilleri said she was not sure what she wanted out of a college and was very excited to learn of this tour. The tour helped her realize that she would like to go to a public college vs. a private college.
Both Alex and Spencer stated the tour should be better promoted next year because students do not seem to know about it. Paton said she has done this tour for 11 years and this is not only a tour of schools but a seminar because much discussion takes place regarding the college process. She spoke about the advertising of the program: students have advertised the program through the Summer Enrichment Academy; by having students walk around to advisories; students also received e-mails about the program and mailings about the program were sent home. Groene noted that the alumni panel is a great highlight of the week for students to speak to Granby alumni who are currently attending college.
Consent Agenda Minutes
A motion was made by Jenny Emery and seconded by Brandon Webster to adopt the consent agenda. This motion passed with one abstention (Lynn Guelzow) at 7:35 p.m.
Third Reading of Draft Policy 6159, Individualized Education Program
The Curriculum/Policy/Technology/Communications Subcommittee recommended draft revised Policy 6159, Individualized Education Program, to the Board for a third reading and approval. A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Sarah Thrall that the Granby Board of Education adopt Policy 6159, Individualized Education Program, with corrections as presented. Rosemarie Weber stated this policy was presented to the board at the last meeting and a few changes were made due to statutory language, which has been added. This motion passed unanimously at 7:37 p.m.
CABE Board Recognition Award Application
The board reviewed the final application for the CABE Level Two Leadership Award. A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Jenny Emery that the Granby Board of Education approve the submittal of the CABE Board Recognition Award Application for the Level Two Board Leadership Award. This motion passed unanimously at 7: 38 p.m.
FY19 Year-End Budget Transfers
The Board discussed the approval of FY19 year-end budget transfers as recommended by the Business Manager and Finance Subcommittee. A motion was made by Jenny Emery and seconded by Brandon Webster that the Granby Board of Education approve year-end budget transfers for FY19 as recommended by the Business Manager and Finance Subcommittee. Jenny Emery stated this is standard procedure throughout the year. Between regular education and special education and a $30M budget, the $357K deficit all related to special education. She stated the Board of Finance knew the deficit would be there and made an appropriation for more than what is needed. Emery stated overall, the impact to a taxpayer was budget-wise and that education had a surplus of approximately $500K. This motion passed unanimously at 7:42 p.m.
Board Standing Committee Reports
Jenny Emery reported this subcommittee met to discuss the statement of accounts discussed earlier as well as cybersecurity. CABE sent out information to ensure school boards are on top of issues relating to protecting data. Jon Lambert, Director of Technology, attended the meeting and reviewed a lot of what is done in the district. The board encouraged Lambert to let the board know if there are resources he needs. The subcommittee received an update on the school vestibule project and also discussed health benefits and the Health Benefit Advisory Committee and making sure the right resources are in place to receive the correct information for the budget.
Other Board-Related Reports
Mark Fiorentino reported CREC met today. Information was provided on Open Choice enrollment. Generally, the trend is very static and is about the same as it was five years ago. A brief legislative report was given. CABE is not looking to finalize legislative priorities until after the convention. The Legislative Breakfast is scheduled for February 20. Jenny Emery inquired about magnet school tuition being held flat and wondered if that was reflected in the budget. Anna Robbins said a slight increase was budgeted. Mark Fiorentino stated there was a brief discussion about that and CREC was partially successful in getting the state to raise tuition rates for magnet schools by 5 percent and they got a little less than 2 percent.
Respectfully submitted, Rosemarie Weber, Board Secretary
Oct. 2, 2019 Meeting
Present Board Members: Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino; Lynn Guelzow, Melissa Migliaccio, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster, and Dwaritha Ramesh (Student Representative).
Absent Board Members: Jack DeGray (Student Representative)
Small capital, large capital and plus one budgets are complete. Operating budgets are due on October 16 and budget meetings will take place shortly thereafter with all administrators.
The Town Building Committee for the solar project held its first meeting last week and the Building Committee for the School Projects met earlier this evening. Both committees reviewed project details and discussed challenges and next steps.
The high school security vestibule project is on schedule with groundbreaking taking place on Oct. 9, weather permitting.
There is a new recognition program in our Facilities Department called Employee of the Month. It acknowledges employees that go above and beyond to make day-to-day life in the Granby schools better. Congratulations to Employees of the Month for July, August and September: Charles Watts, Jeff Larsen and Luis Sulca, respectively.
Student Representative Reports
Robotics was at Granby Days and the Simsbury fly-in as well as the Air Museum last Saturday. The team has been doing a lot of outreach events and receiving many donations.
The two countries the Model UN Club will be representing this year are Italy and Iceland.
DECA is electing new officers tomorrow morning
Teaching and Learning – Equity Taskforce Update/Annual Equity Report
Assistant Superintendent Christopher Tranberg updated the board on the equity taskforce as well as presented the Annual Equity Report for the 2018-2019 school year. Tranberg informed the board that the Granby Equity Taskforce has been newly named to the Granby Equity Team (GET) as it is now a continuous group. He shared the statement of equitable practices that tie in with the board’s core values. The focus areas of the Equity Team are: under-representation of minority students in college readiness course; over-representation of black male students receiving referrals/discipline; over-representation of black male students receiving special education services; and under-representation of minority teachers.
Tranberg then presented the Achievement Gap Report to the board and gave an overview as well as the equity indicators with definitions. He stated the greatest point of pride in Granby from year-to-year is the graduation rate of students. In the college readiness area, there is a 20-point difference in closing the gap in the areas of college course completion and college readiness exams. The district is close to goal in the college course completion area. Tranberg stated going forward for this report he would recommend comparing “race” instead of “residence.” For Grade Level Testing, there are wide achievement gaps that consistently persist by program and residence. Jenny Emery inquired if other districts of like size compare data regarding Open Choice students as we do. Tranberg stated there are other districts that are just starting to do equity work so this may be seen in the near future.
With regard to school engagement, the district has done very well in the attendance and discipline categories when comparing programs and residences. Tranberg reviewed broad next steps the Equity Team would like to take. Melissa Migliaccio inquired about what area needs money and for what reason. Tranberg said the grant funding is no longer available, and last year’s budget allocated money to support the equity team and the administrator coaching positions. However, this was only instituted for one year so more funding will be needed for staff for student interventions. Mark Fiorentino requested that those items are easy to find in the budget. Dwaritha Ramesh inquired if there is a way to be more transparent about the Equity Team and if it is only communicated through the networks. Tranberg stated there will be a presentation at the CABE/CAPPS that will speak about that and how it is intentional for people to talk in their network and feel courageous enough to have the conversations they need to have. He also stated there is only one student involved and more are needed so if anyone knows someone who is passionate about this subject, have them get in touch with him. Melissa Migliaccio will be joining GET on Monday nights once a month and she encouraged other board members to get involved in a network. Fiorentino stated he would like to be put into a network, and he would also like to see another open house in Hartford again this year for parents. Tranberg reviewed the recommendations for the 2019-2020 Action categories as follows: professional capacity, achievement, climate, and program participation. Mark Winzler stated he never heard of an equity report in the past 10 years of being an Interim Superintendent in other districts and he congratulated Granby on doing this hard work.
Consent Agenda Minutes
A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Jenny Emery to adopt the consent agenda. This motion passed at 7:53 p.m. with one abstention (Melissa Migliaccio).
V. New Business
Secondary School Improvement Plans
GMMS Principal Susan Henneberry presented her School Improvement Plan to the board. Under the Vision, Mission and District Achievement Goal, the middle school has shifted a few teams to maximize effectiveness to increase student achievement. Henneberry stated all teams act as Student Intervention Teams that measure Tier I and Tier II intervention progress by monitoring data and student success. Professional Learning Community teams are aligning formative assessments with priority standards, and Collaborative Proactive Solutions Teams implement consistent behavior expectations. For the Student Achievement Goal to increase student achievement in literacy and numeracy standards across all discipline areas as indicated by standardized measures, 2019 SBAC target reports will be used to guide instructional plans and identify areas of growth. PLCs will be used to create common formative assessments to inform instruction of curriculum standards and progress-monitor student achievement. The Instructional Goal for the middle school is to utilize equitable instructional practices that personalize learning for all learners.
This is the second year for the school-wide enrichment program and gifted and talented program; Fall clusters with enrichment classes and enrichment opportunities embedded in lessons; and, student-centered coaching is also in its second year and hoping to expand on it this year by increasing the number of teachers participating in coaching cycles.
GMHS Michael Dunn presented his School Improvement Plan and stated the plan is about fostering and maximizing offerings for students. The Vision, Mission and District Achievement Goal is to improve systems and practices that maximize equitable opportunities for all students by enlisting staff to recruit and support an increased percentage of minority students in college-level courses; implement revised SRBI intervention practices and partner with CCSC and NCCJ to develop equity-focused culture.
For the Student Achievement Goal, all students will meet learning expectations as measured by departmental measure: increase in the percentage of juniors meeting benchmark from 2019 PSAT to 2020 CT SAT by refining measures of learning expectations, engaging teams in tracking cohorts to monitor student growth in college readiness standards, and focusing professional development and supports around practices to promote growth in SAT-assessed standards.
The Instruction Goal is to use formative assessments of clear learning targets to adjust instruction by focusing on educator feedback and coaching around standards-based learning targets and formative assessments. Supporting implementation of Pre-AP and engaging the school leadership team to reduce inconsistencies in formative assessment, homework, grading, and communication. Dunn stated inconsistencies in these areas were mentioned in the NEAS&C report as well as inconsistences in homework through student surveys. Jenny Emery inquired if parents are aware of learning targets for students in order for parents to get engaged. Dunn stated a syllabus is shared at the beginning of the year with parents as well as progress for students in PowerSchool and Google Classroom. Brandon Webster inquired if the increased percentage in college-level courses is geared toward freshmen. Dunn stated, “Yes, and the high school is always looking for ways to expand enrollment in these courses.” Sarah Thrall inquired what the goal is for work-force ready and career-ready students, and encouraging students to take challenging college-level courses and be successful, as well as, where the line is for social emotional learning not to stress out students. Dunn stated the line is individual for each student and college- and career-ready standards allow students on either path to do well with college-level courses. With regard to course level, it is necessary to look at a student as a whole person with regard to course load. Rosemarie Weber commented the guidance piece is very important for counselors to help guide students. Mark Fiorentino stated students should be challenged in all classes, not just be encouraged to take college-level classes. Melissa Migliaccio requested the Guidance Department come to a subcommittee meeting to speak on how they are aligned to the School Improvement Plan.
Authorized Signatures Change Form for the Agreement for Child Nutrition Programs
The board considered the approval of an Authorized Signatures Change Form for the Agreement for Child Nutrition Programs. A motion was made by Sarah Thrall and seconded by Brandon Webster that the Granby Board of Education approve the Authorized Signatures Form for the Agreement for Child Nutrition Programs.
Board Standing Committee Reports
This subcommittee met and discussed the Assistant Superintendent’s report including equity and the revamping of the STEAM mission statement. Rachel Schaumburger and Karen Richmond-Godard presented on the Seal of Biliteracy, a special testing for Level 4 and AP students that has a writing and computerized component. Students would receive a Seal of Biliteracy proficiency of foreign languages on their diploma. It has been adopted in other districts.
Respectfully submitted, Rosemarie Weber Board Secretary