Present: Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino, Lynn Guelzow, Melissa Migliaccio, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster, and Dwaritha Ramesh (Student Representative).
Absent: Jack DeGray (Student Representative)
There are a lot of new after-school programs taking place at Kelly Lane this year in collaboration with the Town Parks and Recreation Department.
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. The members reviewed project details and discussed challenges and next steps.
The high school security vestibule project is on schedule with “groundbreaking” taking place Oct. 9, weather permitting. Mike Dunn will be sending out information to parents and students about some changes which will be necessary during the time of construction.
A new recognition program in the Facilities Department, called “Employee of the Month,” 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 club has been doing a lot of outreach events and receiving many donations.
The countries the Model UN Club will be representing this year are Italy and Iceland.
Teaching and Learning—Equity Taskforce Update/Annual Equity Report
Assistant Superintendent Christopher Tranberg updated the board on the Equity Taskforce and presented the Annual Equity Report for the 2018-2019 school year. Tranberg informed the board that the Granby Equity Taskforce is now the Granby Equity Team (GET). He shared the statement of equitable practices that tie in with the board’s core values. The focus areas of the Equity Team are: underrepresentation of minority students in college readiness course; overrepresentation of black male students receiving referrals/discipline; overrepresentation 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 and the equity indicators with definitions. He stated Granby’s greatest point of pride 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 that for reports 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 to Granby compare data regarding Open Choice students. Tranberg stated there are other districts that are just starting to do equity work so this may be seen in the near future.
In 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 where money is needed and for what reason. Tranberg said the grant funding is no longer available and in last year’s budget, money was allocated 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 resources (staff) for student interventions. Mark Fiorentino said 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 intended that people talk in their network and feel courageous enough to have the conversations they need to have.
He said 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. 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 also that he would 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.
A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Jenny Emery to adopt the consent agenda. This motion passed with one abstention (Melissa Migliaccio).
Secondary School Improvement Plans
Middle school 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 monitoring data and student success.
Additionally, PLC 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 disciplines 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 students. 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. They plan to expand this year by increasing the number of teachers participating in coaching cycles.
High school principal 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. To 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 and an 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 focus 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 and C report, as well as inconsistences in homework through student surveys. Jenny Emery inquired if parents are aware of learning targets for students enabling parents to become engaged. Dunn stated a syllabus is shared in 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 where the line is for social-emotional learning not to stress out students. Dunn stated the line is individual for each student. 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 when planning their course load. Rosemarie Weber commented the guidance piece is very important for counselors helping to guide students. Fiorentino stated students should be challenged in all classes, not just be encouraged to take college-level classes. Migliaccio requested the Guidance Department come to a subcommittee meeting to speak on how it is 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. This motion passed unanimously.
Present: Mark Fiorentino; Lynn Guelzow, Melissa Migliaccio, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, and Dwaritha Ramesh (arrived at 7:12) and Jack DeGray (Student Representatives).
Absent: Jenny Emery and Brandon Webster
The high school vestibule project began on schedule last week and is going well.
Congratulations to Caroline Hall, 8th grader, and to Lizzy Cappelli, senior, who were chosen as the Farmington Valley Superintendents’ Association award winners. They will be recognized at a luncheon on Nov. 8.
The district will be removing the “after 6 p.m. ban” on activities effective Oct. 21. Despite the fact there has been no killing frost, the risk is extremely low and the district will ensure people take necessary precautions.
Communication sent to all parents and staff stating that when/if there is a need to delay school, there will be a two-hour delay vs. a 90-minute delay. The decision was made for the following reasons:
A half-hour makes a difference. Staff traveling into Granby from other towns. Hartford and Hartland students always have two-hour delays and it is an inequity to those students.
The fall coffeehouse has been rescheduled to Nov. 23, due to a conflict with a football game.
The last opportunity to take SATs will be on Nov. 2.
Melissa Migliaccio commented on the Hartford Courant article featuring senior Lizzy Cappelli.
Business Manager’s Report
Business Manager Anna Robbins presented the September statement of accounts and stated that as of Sept. 30, the BOE shows a negative forecast of $197K. Special education expenditures are projected to be unfavorable $321K. Regular education expenditures are projected to be favorable $124K. During the budgeting process, the BOE projects expenditures for out-of-district placements and personnel needs known at that time. Spending in the regular education category is on target. Salaries and benefits represent 76 percent of the budget and are slightly favorable. Natural gas is projected to be over budget but is offset in a projected savings in electricity. Excess cost funding from the state is expected to be lower than budgeted. Although out-of-district costs for special education are higher than budgeted, fewer students are meeting the stop/loss limits. The remaining revenue items expected to meet budget at this time.
Schools in the Spotlight
Denise Marti, family and consumer science teacher at the middle school, and some of her students shared how they use healthy food choices, and what they have learned from Junior Achievement to become wise consumers. Henneberry introduced Marti to the board and stated she has done a great job in shifting the program. Marti stated the main areas covered are financial literacy, nutrition and food preparation and that students love the cooking days. Students told the board how they have learned to be wise consumers and make good decisions. They also learned about different advertising techniques. Eighth grade students spoke about the Junior Achievement (JA) Program and stated JA comes every Friday for six weeks and every year there are different focuses. This year’s focus for Grade 6 is preparing students for the working world. Grade 7 will be applying entrepreneurial skills. Grade 8 will focus on personal finance and identifying education and career goals based on skills, interests and values. Seventh grade students have the opportunity to make healthy pumpkin muffins and made some to share with the board.
Todd Klein, Strawberry Fields Road, shared with the board that many middle school dances are scheduled on the same night as football games and requested that more coordination with the middle school dances and Friday night home football games be considered going forward.
Kim Becker, 149 Loomis Street, said she appreciates all of the work put into the community and the schools and that the superintendent search is the most important thing that the BOE will do for the community. She hopes that a new superintendent will be curriculum-focused, all about program evaluation and developing the “kids can” culture in Granby. She stated the BOE’s work in finding the right superintendent is going to be a turning point. Becker closed by again expressing her appreciation for the work put into finding the right person who has Granby’s academic interests at heart.
A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Sarah Thrall to adopt the consent agenda. This motion passed unanimously.
First Reading of Policy 6111 – Calendar
The Curriculum/Policy/Technology/Communications Subcommittee recommended Policy 6111, Calendar, to the board for a first reading. The changes in this policy reflect a change in the state statute and gives districts more latitude with the date for graduation. This policy will go to the board for a second reading at the next meeting.
Annual District Testing Report
Assistant Superintendent Christopher Tranberg presented the Annual District Testing Report to the board saying that this is a more in-depth report compared to what the equity report showed at the last meeting.
The first category presented was the smarter balanced testing for ELA. Tranberg stated there was cohort growth across all grades and average performance grew from 73.5 to 76. In math, there is a disparity between the math and ELA scores because they are the same group of students. Tranberg stated there is a lot of work to do with the curriculum and the average performance year-to-year is consistent where other districts within our DRG have made some improvements.
AP participation rates were presented and there is consistent performance with graduating students taking at least one AP exam. Lynn Guelzow inquired if there are courses notable for their pass rate. Tranberg stated there are not high pass rates in the social studies area, however there are high pass rates for AP Calculus BC. Tranberg stated he can send a breakdown of the pass rates to Guelzow.
SAT CT Test Day for the class of 2019 was presented and 11th grade students scored consistently over 1100 and 84.8 percent of students were at goal in ELA. Tranberg reviewed some strategic actions for ELA and Math as follows: Implementation of new and revised curriculum for ELA and begin curriculum revisions for math. Align school improvement plans with strategic actions. Implement SRBI and PLC recommendations from collaborative action teams. Improve vertical articulation of curriculum with a math focus and connection to standards. Refine practices with student-centered coaching model. Incorporate Granby Equity Team recommendations; Revisit universal screening tools. Continue to develop enrichment programming in grades 3–8.
Sarah Thrall commented that many parents may not understand what the math students are doing. Tranberg said this has been discussed and that perhaps some instructional videos could be made for parents. Fiorentino inquired if the fact that middle school students are taking Algebra and this content is not on the test could be investigated. Migliaccio inquired if Tranberg could make two recommendations about math. Tranberg said he would like to see priorities for the general education portion of the budget, but his two recommendations would be to hire an interventionist at Wells Road for math and provide resources to support teachers in the classroom for all students. The board inquired how long would it be before results are seen from the revisions in the curriculum. Tranberg said the next math revision is this coming June through next June. The board should expect to see an improvement in next year’s scores due to working with resources already in place and Tier I interventions. Mark Winzler said unless you have interventionists who can work with students who need help in math, you will not see improvements. Tranberg said that looking at the great spots is a great way to work on what needs improvement and not to work from a deficit model. Guelzow inquired if the district is giving enough PLC time to teachers to share what is working for them. Tranberg said teachers have approximately seven hours per week of collaboration time. Fiorentino said he would like to see a goal next year and have the report speak to how that goal was or was not achieved. Melissa Migliaccio thanked Tranberg for delivering the results in a way that is understandable and points out that he is always prepared.
Present: Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino, Lynn Guelzow, Melissa Migliaccio, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, and Brandon Webster.
A motion was made by Lynn Guelzow and seconded by Jenny Emery for the board to enter into an Executive Session to discuss the employment contract of a new Superintendent of Schools. This motion passed unanimously at 6:02 p.m.
A motion was made by Jenny Emery and seconded by Rosemarie Weber to return to regular session. This motion passed unanimously at 6:03 p.m.
Appointment of Superintendent of Schools
The board discussed the appointment of the new Superintendent of Granby Public Schools. A motion was made by Lynn Guelzow and seconded by Sarah Thrall that pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 10-157, the Board of Education hereby elects Dr. Jordan E. Grossman to serve as Superintendent of Schools for the Granby Public Schools for a term of three years, January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2023 and further moved that the board hereby authorizes its chair to execute on its behalf the related contract of employment with Dr. Grossman as previously reviewed by the board. This motion passed unanimously at 6:04 p.m.
Dr. Grossman thanked the board for its support and the welcome he received yesterday. He stated knowing he has a board giving him support with his team benefits the children and families in Granby. He also thanked his administrative team members who attended this evening and stated he is very excited to work with the board and everyone in the years to come.
Melissa Migliaccio said the board is thrilled to welcome Dr. Grossman to Granby and Jenny Emery commented that she had the pleasure of accompanying him on his visit yesterday, and it was great to see the excitement in all of the schools.
A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Brandon Webster to adjourn the meeting.