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May 5, 2021

Present: Mark Fiorentino via Zoom, Melissa Migliaccio, David Peling, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, and Jacob Scotto via Zoom and Student Representative Jack DeGray

Superintendent’s Announcements

Word was received from the State Department of Education that remote learning will not be mandated in the 2021-2022 school year. All families have been notified.

The district wellness program, Ball Parks of America Walking Challenge through Anthem, has been a success, attracting 165 participants. The program runs throughout May.

New Business

Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Parsons provided an update on K-12 math progression. The current Eureka math program is up for review this year, and is not meeting the standards for instruction. A review of last year’s data showed that overall the district trended at 62 percent with students scoring in the proficient range (and from 57 to 70 percent in the SAT). The current model shows that 95 to 99 percent of students stay on the grade level track and 1 to 5 percent accelerate through and track one year ahead.

Research was conducted for the best model moving forward. Math coach Dawn Olsen spoke with 13 districts, finding that most districts begin an accelerated pathway in grade 6 or 7. A majority of the districts have 25 to 40 percent of students taking algebra in ninth grade. Parsons stated no other district uses Eureka math.

Parsons noted that Granby needs to realign middle school math progression, utilize the Illustrative Math program in Grades 6 to 8 starting next school year, and continue standards to forward curriculum developments and resource exploration. This model also will have all students completing algebra by the end of ninth grade. Students who are ready can accelerate in grade 6 and study three standards over two years. The Curriculum subcommittee looked seriously at the Illustrative Math program. All materials are available online, are highly rated, and grounded in best practices with certified trainers provided.

Peling inquired what the plans are for K through 5. Parsons stated the district would be able to do some cross training to try out some of the Illustrative Math program. Fiorentino inquired if the new model has any measurable impact on student achievement goals. Parsons replied that the current model of pushing students into content does not give them time to absorb and show proficiency. She is hopeful every student will be supported along the way with a stronger foundation and higher mastery level. Migliaccio understands the open source concept of Illustrative Math but inquired why is the program free if it is such a great resource. Parson said it is supported by a variety of foundations and has been picked up by three different publishing companies in terms of creating manuals, etc. The core content is completely free, though there will be a fee if we decide to package in a certain way.

Student Representative Report

Jack DeGray noted that the boys’ tennis team is currently six wins, two losses; and the girls’ tennis team is currently four wins and four losses. The boys’ lacrosse team is two wins, five losses; girls’ lacrosse is two wins, three losses, baseball is two wins, seven losses and the softball team is undefeated at 11 wins, only allowing six runs this year.

Congratulations went to Sean Dowd who won the Avon invitation golf tournament and is ranked sixth amongst golfers at public schools.

Old Business

School improvement Plan Update: Granby Memorial High School

After updating the many-faceted high school improvement plan, Michael Dunn, GMHS principal, stated that the goal is to take time to integrate what was learned from this year and include the best practices, strategies and resources while promoting individualized practice through Khan Academy and AP Boot Camp.

New Business

Proposed GMHS News Studio

Parsons and high school teacher Nicholas Gaeta presented a proposal for a GMHS News Studio. The district would like to work with interested middle and high school students in starting a news club. The projected overall cost is a little over $100,000. Thrall inquired what would be needed to align the middle school. Parsons replied that additional equipment is included in the proposal to transition to the middle school. It would also mean looking at the technology curriculum. Some equipment could be purchased through a capital expense. 

Healthy Food Certification Approval

A motion was made by Migliaccio and seconded by Weber that the Granby Board of Education certify that all food items offered for sale to students under its jurisdiction and not exempted from the Connecticut Nutrition Standards published by the Connecticut Department of Education, will comply with the Connecticut Nutrition Standards during the period of July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. This certification shall include all food offered for sale to students separately from reimbursable meals at all times and from all sources including, but not limited to, school stores, vending machines, school cafeterias, culinary programs, and any fundraising activities on school premises sponsored by the school or by non-school organizations and groups. The motion passed unanimously.

Healthy Food Certification – Exemption of Food and Beverages

A motion was made by Migliaccio and seconded by Peling, that the Granby Board of Education allow the sale to students of food items that do not meet the Connecticut Nutrition Standards and beverages not listed in Section 10-221q of the Connecticut General Statues provided that the following conditions are met: 1) the sale is in connection with an event occurring after the end of the regular school days or on the weekend; 2) the sale is at the location of the event; and 3) the food and beverage items are not sold from a vending machine or school store. An “event” involves more than a regularly scheduled practice, meeting or extracurricular activity. For example, soccer games, school plays and interscholastic debates are events for soccer practices, play rehearsals and debate team meetings are not. The “regular school day” is the period from midnight to 30 minutes after the end of the official school day. “Location” means where the event is being held. This motion passed unanimously.

Superintendent’s Annual Report

Presenting his annual report for the 2020-2021 school year, Grossman said he is amazed and humbled by the work done this past year by the Granby school community. Granby is one of the only towns where schools opened for full, in-person learning this year.

Thrall thanked Grossman and stated it is beyond remarkable the work that was accomplished this year.

May 19, 2021

Present: Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino (via Zoom), Sarah Thrall (via Zoom), Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster, and Jacob Scotto (via Zoom) and Jack DeGray (Student Representative)

Absent Board Members: Melissa Migliaccio and David Peling

Superintendent’s Announcements

We are monitoring Kindergarten enrollment very closely. There are 119 students registered and we are awaiting the Open Choice enrollment.

The district will receive funds from the America Cares Grant of $516,901 with $102,380 devoted to student learning recovery for the next two years. Grant applications will be sent to us next week.

The collaborative effort of food services with the Granby/East Granby Public Schools continues to run smoothly. Conversations are going well with providing breakfasts and lunches next year which will be free for another year.

Emery inquired if the influx of students, other than Kindergarten, across the grade levels can be determined. Grossman stated that we are closely in line with our projections.

CABE Student Leadership Awards

The board recognized middle school students, Sydney Henry and Otto Gotberg, Grade 8, and high school students, Jacob Scotto, Grade 11, and Jack DeGray, Grade 12, as this year’s recipients of the CABE Student Leadership Awards.

Schools in the Spotlight

Shannon Branda, Resource Teacher and Student Council Advisor, and students Annie Baldwin, Natalie D’Amato and Lily Heitman told the board about the work done this year by the Student Council at Granby Memorial Middle School. 

The students said that they joined Student Council to make a difference in the school and in the community and shared what was accomplished this year, including a book drive, food drive and toy drive. Student Council also organized PJ Day raising $1,700 for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. 

Assistant Superintendent’s Report

Jennifer Parsons said that planning is full speed ahead for summer and fall opportunities. Some COVID restrictions are becoming more optional; however, the CDC guideline is that masks are still required in school buildings. The FVHD successfully launched its vaccination clinics for 12 to 16-year-olds. 

Emery asked for an update on the News Studio. Grossman said the GEF met on Monday evening and we should hear in the next few days if they will grant the project. Webster inquired about insight from the FVHD on a new plan for fall. Parsons said no other information has been received.

Business Manager’s Report

Anna Robbins presented the April 2021 statement of accounts and stated after the receipt of grant funds, the general fund forecast is better than the budgeted $66K. Special education is over-budget by $16K. Regular education is positive at $82K, which is better than the previous month by $52K. The balance in Q and D is better than budgeted by $99K with the savings due to limited extracurricular activities and reduced enrollment in the Asnuntuck and VoAg programs due to the pandemic. For FY21, the overall projection for revenue is good long after the budget was adopted, and it is nothing short of astonishing that the year is ending this way. In response to Weber’s question about enrollment in the Asnuntuck program, high school principal Michael Dunn noted it was reduced due to the pandemic. 

Old Business

School Improvement Plan Update: Middle School

Taylor Wrye, principal, presented an update to the School Improvement Plan for Granby Memorial Middle School and the middle school schedule for 2021-2022 school year. 

The GMMS master schedule for the 2021-2022 school year was discussed. Survey results from teachers, parents, students and administration were used as a guide. 

Board members asked several questions about student proficiency and student growth in performance. Webster commented that the board is accustomed to seeing goal action steps, Grossman replied that the baseline data is needed from the middle school and the specific plans.

Fiorentino said he would like the data from last year. Thrall inquired if the high proficiency is at grade level standards or above grade level and, if the latter, how do we reflect on students at grade level. Wrye stated students are achieving grade level standards on SBAC. Weber said this year it is hard to measure anything. Moving forward, she would like to see measurements for what we are putting in place and if it is effective for our students. Webster commented that the board is accustomed to seeing goal action steps and Grossman replied that baseline data is needed from the middle school as to where we are, where we are going and the specific plans.

Board Standing Committee Reports


Emery reported this subcommittee met this evening to discuss the statement of accounts; talked about the amendment of the food service contract and reviewed an updated needs assessment in anticipation of a little bit of surplus this year.