November 4, 2020
Present: Mark Fiorentino, Melissa Migliaccio, David Peling, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber and Student Representative Jacob Scotto. Absent: Jenny Emery, Brandon Webster and Student Representative Jack DeGray.
Guidance was received from the Commissioner of Education’s office regarding closings for inclement weather. This does not mean every “snow day” will be a remote learning day. It is a superintendent’s call to cancel, have late arrival, early dismissal or remote learning day. He will advise the community of his decision as quickly as possible.
Elementary School Improvement Plans
Pauline Greer, Principal at Wells Road presented highlights of her School Improvement Plan and reviewed three specific goal areas: Vision, Mission, District Achievement Goal: The school culture will be enhanced through building positive relationships for all students, staff and families and develop opportunities to create diverse experiences through literature.
Student Achievement Goal: Through the STAR assessment, at least 80 percent of students will make an average growth of 40-60 percentile in reading and math. This year, data will be tracked for students actually making the growth marker in reading and math.
Instruction Goal: Ensure students apply their learning to real-world and authentic projects.
Colleen Bava, Principal at Kelly Lane Primary School, presented highlights of her School Improvement Plan and reviewed the three specific goal areas: Vision, Mission and District Achievement Goal: To support a positive, safe and collaborative environment by focusing on building and maintaining positive relationships with staff, students and families.
Student Achievement Goal: By June all students will increase achievement in literacy and numeracy standards across all disciplines. Kelly Lane is looking at what is currently in place, what needs to be adjusted and what can move forward so all students achieve.
Instruction Goal: Teachers will increase opportunities for students to take ownership of their learning to foster an environment of independence and engagement. Kelly Lane is working with teachers in professional development, as well as working with coaches, on goal setting for students.
AP/SAT Testing Report
High school Principal Michael Dunn and Julie Groene, assistant high school principal and director of guidance, presented the AP/SAT Testing Report for 2019-2020. Dunn said normally SBAC scores would also be presented, however, tonight only AP/SAT scores are being presented. The spring SAT day was cancelled. Of the current senior class 76 percent (114/150) tested in the fall, which was an optional test for students. He said most colleges and universities have announced testing is optional for this year. The spring AP testing was truncated and offered online. Dunn presented mean SAT scores for GMHS, the state, and national results, as well as benchmark scores. Granby’s mean score of 576 in Reading and Writing and 558 in Math were above all of the other mean scores listed.
He then presented Granby’s SAT “Best Score”/Superscore for combined reading and math. Regionally, Granby scored a little above last year. Scores were very strong for the spring SAT CT Test for Grade 11, which was taken this past September.
Addressing AP, Dunn said there are 22 AP classes offered at the high school combined with ECE and college and career pathways with upwards of 30 classes at the high school. AP students who scored 3 or higher for the Class of 2020, was 156 or 81.3 percent.
AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A were added this year. Two Granby scholars earned national AP scholar recognition.
Draft 2021-2022 School Calendar
The draft 2021-2022 school calendar mirrors this year’s calendar. The first day of school is Thursday, August 26. and the last day on June 7; however, this will not necessarily be the date of graduation—the board can set that date sometime next year.
Granby Education Association Contract Ratification
The board discussed ratification of the Granby Education Association Contract effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2024. A motion was made by Migliaccio, and seconded by Peling, that the Granby Board of Education ratify the Granby Education Association Contract effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2024.
Grossman presented his goals for the 2020-2021 school year. He said there are things that need to be worked on, such as achievement gaps; the schedule at the middle school; sequencing of world language; strategic plan; vision of the graduate; continuing to develop relationships with the community;, social/emotional well-being implementation in the Stronger Together Plan; emergency operations plan, and IBAC. He said he is very excited about embracing diversity and going one step further to focus particularly on minority students who may want to be teachers. Students would come back to the Granby public schools for potential employment.
November 18, 2020
Present via Zoom: Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino, Melissa Migliaccio, David Peling, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster, Student Representatives Jack DeGray and Jacob Scotto, Dr. Jordan Grossman and Aimee Martin, Director of Pupil Personnel Services.
Schools in the Spotlight
Wells Road Intermediate School distance learning teachers, Mrs. Bavol, Mrs. Proto, Mrs. Lagano, Mrs. Martin, and Mrs. Clough shared with the board what remote learning looks like for students in Grades 3–5 and how it has developed since the start of the school year.
Pauline Greer, Principal at Wells Road, said some families say that remote learning is not working for them and she is getting those students back into the building.
Assistant Superintendent’s Report
Assistant Superintendent, Jennifer Parsons provided updates and commented that remote teachers are doing a great job and are resident experts. She gave the board an update on COVID-19, stating Granby is extremely lucky to have completed over two months of school prior to getting its first case.
The first case was discovered on Nov. 4 at Wells Road with a second, unrelated case at Wells Road. On Nov. 11 one case was discovered at Kelly Lane followed by two more cases on Nov. 15. Two classes have been quarantined; however, there was a major impact on staff. This week, on Monday, there were two cases discovered at the high school.
The district reached out to FVHD as well as medical advisors. Each individual was contacted to answer questions. Parsons stated everything in the plan worked, as well as the ability to follow exactly as written. Six cases in a community Granby’s size is a minimal impact. The district verifies throughout each week on whether we should stay the course. The best place for our students is in the school building and we are going to keep that in place as long as possible.
Student Representatives Report
Congratulations to seven high school athletes who signed with colleges/committed to play a sport last week: Grady Kelly (Eastern Connecticut State University/Soccer); Abigail Maher (Wentworth Institute of Technology/Volleyball); Natalie Schock (St. Lawrence University/ Soccer); Avery Bryanton (Bellarmine University/Field Hockey); Tyler Mackowski (Tufts University/Baseball); Luke McFarland (Stanford/Gymnastics); and Lauren Roy (Lehigh University/Track).
Business Manager’s Report
Anna Robbins, business manager, presented the October statement of accounts and that reflects the forecast of the cost of reopening schools and a safe learning environment, and projects the receipt of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Refund Grant and the Coronavirus Relief Fund Grant which are two big grants that Granby was expecting to receive. After receipt of grant funds, the general forecast is still negative $202K. Special education is over-budget $171K and regular education is over-budget $31K.
The forecast for the Excess Cost Grant is better than projected last month but continues to fluctuate. Emery stated the bottom-line message is the $30K negative forecast for general education is a tremendous outcome given the extra expenses for COVID-19.
Draft 2021-2022 School Calendar
The board continued discussion of the 2021-2022 School Calendar. A motion was made by Migliaccio, and seconded by Thrall, to adopt the calendar for the 2021-2022 school year. The motion passed unanimously.
Pupil Services Department
Aimee Martin, director of pupil services, presented the Department’s Improvement Plan for the 2020-2021 school year. She shared the Vision, Mission and District Achievement Goal; the Student Achievement Goal and the Instruction Goal. Martin reviewed the action steps under the Vision, Mission and District Achievement Goal to work with teachers and coaches to determine priority standards in each content area; target students with disabilities for increased participation in high-level courses; partner with the newly-formed Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTO) to foster relationships and improve communication between professionals and families; and work with principals, teachers and specialist to develop preventative models of social and emotional learning.
Under the Student Achievement Goal, special education teachers need to be aware of the critical skills that need to be mastered at each grade/content level to keep pace with the curriculum; use a state-approved dyslexia screener at the K–3 level; and increase the capacity of special educators to provide robust specialized instruction to their students. Action steps under the Instruction Goal include evaluating current practices and new programs or instructional techniques that will elevate teaching and improve student outcomes; and provide teachers the opportunity to write more effective IEPs utilizing the student’s strengths to help mitigate their concerns.
Board Member Announcements
Migliaccio stated it is with mixed emotions that it is her last night as chair, informing the board that she has come to realize that she cannot do it all. She will stay on the board but will step down as chair. Weber thanked Migliaccio for her leadership through a superintendent search, assistant superintendent search, COVID-19, successful budgets, while keeping what is best for our students at the forefront. Migliaccio’s knowledge and experience will continue to help the board in the many months to come.
Assistant Superintendent’s Report
Jennifer Parsons provided a report on contact tracing and stated Granby had no COVID cases until Nov. 4 and it has been a collaborative effort to do contact tracing. Granby has had 16 cases, which is still relatively low compared to our student population. Parsons reviewed contact tracing and isolation for a positive case: Notification of a case; outreach to the individual (parent if student or a staff member); questions regarding symptoms, if testing was done and when it occurred; the case is reviewed with FVHD and the impact on the school is determined. The FVHD speaks to individuals outside of the school community.
The timeframe is 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or the date the positive test was taken. If the person is asymptomatic, 48 hours prior to the test is the timeframe. Developed is a list of persons who were in close contact with the individual for 15 minutes or longer and within 6 feet. Parsons said that by removing the positive individual and quarantining their close contacts, we are trying to break the transmission line. Everyone in the household of a positive individual needs to quarantine. Individuals can go about their business unless the individual becomes symptomatic.
December 2, 2020
Present: Jenny Emery (via Zoom), Mark Fiorentino, Melissa Migliaccio, David Peling, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster (via Zoom), Jack DeGray and Jacob Scotto, student representatives and Dr. Jordan Grossman.
Mark Fiorentino announced that Melissa Migliaccio is stepping down as chair due to responsibilities at work. He thanked her for her dedication, leadership and hard work during the unprecedented challenges of the past year.
Migliaccio said that everyone on the board made this a labor of love and commented upon how well the board works together. She added that it is a privilege to have served and thanked everyone for their kind words.
Election of Board Chair
Fiorentino initiated the process of electing a new BOE chair. Normally, votes would be in writing. However, because two members, Emery and Webster were attending via Zoom, would there be objections to their voting on Zoom and sending emails to Linda Powell confirming their vote in writing. Mark Fiorentino nominated Thrall, Rosemarie Weber seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations. By a unanimous vote of 7-0-0, Thrall was named the new board chair.
Thrall shared a letter from the Granby Education Association regarding feedback from a survey conducted by the Connecticut Education Association. She thanked teachers for completing this survey and sharing their thoughts regarding COVID-19 infection rates and the transition to less in-person instruction
Grossman and his staff work closely with the FVHD and continue to follow their advice. The Stronger Together Plan allows the district to move into various models based on FVHD recommendations. Students and staff have been incredibly flexible and adaptable.
Webster also thanked teachers for submitting the letter and he echoes and shares their concerns. He understands that administration needs to take advice from local health officials and follow their guidance. Ideally, if it could be controlled where all students and parents go, we would be in a much better place. If that could have been managed, the district could have followed a different model like other districts and had full remote learning from Thanksgiving until the end of the holidays.
Weber echoed other board member sentiments. She is very proud of the Granby school community and our superintendent for the transparency of the work they do to keep our schools open. Weber served on the Reopening Task Force and noted there were a lot of concerns and challenges that had to be balanced in reopening. There were many stakeholders involved and 86 percent of the community wanted students back in school.
The Stronger Together Plan had provisions for a possible surge and following the science, which is being done. Migliaccio said that the district grounded reopening in science and data the entire way and to deviate from that now does not make sense.
In concluding her remarks, Thrall stated it is with great sadness to extend heartfelt condolences on behalf of the Granby Board of Education to Cathryn Kibby, a long-time teacher at Kelly Lane Primary School, on the loss of her beloved husband, Mark. The Granby community is heartbroken as Mark was a former Granby Public Schools teacher who taught hundreds of students and his sons, Ben and Owen, are both Granby High School graduates. Thoughts and prayers are with the entire Kibby family.
Grossman thanked Migliaccio for her guidance the past year as chair and that he looks forward to working with Thrall.
CIAC and DPH will meet in January and right now athletics are postponed until Jan. 19. Brian Maltese, athletic director, will give an update at an upcoming board meeting.
Met with the Intra-Board Advisory Committee (IBAC) last week and this year’s focus will be on technology initiatives between the BOE and the town.
Emery inquired if the almost double increase in student decisions to go to remote learning at the high school is just since the Thanksgiving holiday or if it is a longer timeframe and are there concerns about why a relatively large number of high schoolers have changed their mind.
Grossman said some students just do not want to quarantine and are therefore choosing to change to remote learning. Parsons added that some of the shift at the high school happened in early November. The very high quality of remote learning is one of the factors, as well as the fact that high school students can work independently, and the pause in activities is also a factor.
Assistant Superintendent’s Report
Jennifer Parsons provided a report on contact tracing and stated Granby had no COVID cases until Nov. 4 and it has been a collaborative effort to do contact tracing. Granby has had 16 cases, which is relatively low compared to student population. Parsons reviewed contact tracing and isolation for a positive case: Notification of a case; outreach to the individual (parent if student or a staff member); questions regarding symptoms, if testing was done and when it occurred; the case is reviewed with FVHD and the impact on the school is determined. The FVHD speaks to individuals outside of the school community.
The timeframe is 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or, if the person is asymptomatic, 48 hours prior to the test. A list of persons who were in close contact with the individual for 15 minutes or longer and within 6 feet. Parsons said that by removing the positive individual and quarantining their close contacts, we are trying to break the transmission line. Everyone in the household of a positive individual needs to quarantine. Individuals can go about their business unless the individual becomes symptomatic.
Student Representative Report
Jack DeGray thanked Migliaccio for her service as board chair and congratulated Thrall on her appointment.
Thrall reviewed public comment rules: Members of the public can address the board for items not on the agenda. Five minutes is allotted for each speaker and a maximum of 20 minutes per topic.
Kelly Lewis, Dana Hobson, Gennie Bussie, Whitney Sanzo, Danika Jansen, Sean Wilmington, Kristina Gilton, and Heidi Darling all spoke in support of the decision to go with in-person classes, while accommodating those preferring or needing remote learning.
School Counseling Department
Julie Groene, director of guidance and assistant principal at GMHS, presented the School Counseling Department Improvement Plan to the board and said that the school counseling goals differ greatly from the principal’s school improvement plans.
Goal #1 Academic: To review the current school counseling curriculum to align it with state and national standards. An action step is for middle and high school counselors to document school counseling lessons in Eduplanet 21. This will be done because professional development days were given to do this work. New state standards have been received and are posted on the state website.
A second step is the implementation of a school counseling council that would provide input on the delivery of counseling services at the middle and high schools.
Goal #2 College and Career Planning: To increase exposure to career exploration in Grades 6-12, by expanding use of Naviance. Specifically, Grades 6-8 as students prepare to move on to the high school. Also institute a workshop model in the College and Career Center (CCC) to support students and parents in the college planning process.
Goal #3 Social and Emotional Supports: Create opportunities for additional contacts with counselors to effectively support social/emotional learning needs. Emery inquired if there is increased attention to the support of non-college students. Groene said the survey she mentioned is looking at the student experience, which has been more valuable. She stated it is not formally in the plan and with regard to non-college bound students, teachers have been asked to identify speakers who have work experience and not graduates of two- or four-year colleges.
Fiorentino inquired who is on the School Counseling Council. Groene replied that an invitation was sent to parents; however, it is an open invitation that includes families from Hartland and Hartford.
Emery inquired if there is a question of in-school or remote as opposed to hybrid. Grossman stated Parsons will provide an update at the next board meeting with regard to hybrid and where the FVHD stands on it.
Rosemarie Weber, Board Secretary