June 1, 2022
Present: Kristina Gilton, Monica Logan, Donna Nolan, David Peling, Whitney Sanzo, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, and Student Representatives Tess Bajek and Jacob Scotto. Also, Dr. Jordan Grossman.
Thrall welcomed the Granby Grunts Team who will be sharing information about the program and recent competitions.
Grossman congratulated retirees and 25-year employees who were honored at a luncheon. Retirees are Margaret Bastiaanse, Karen Bergmann, Ellen Buda, Marie Caruso, Michele Dafgek, Brenda Miller, Mark Neri, Jane Sullivan and Lisa Sweeney. Twenty five-year employees are John Bikowski, Ann Boardman, Marie Caruso, Caryn Neff and Don Scott.
Assistant Superintendent’s Report
Jennifer Parsons provided updates on professional development day, including vertical teaming and content specific teams. The Vision of the Graduate was reviewed for how it can fit into each content area. Teams completed some SEL training around suicide prevention.
The Granby Grunts Robotics Team provided an update and overview of the Robotics Program. Team members Noah Collen, Elliot Hosack, Charlie Krut, Eric Myers, Prior Waskan and Kian Woods explained what FIRST robotics means: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Prior said that FIRST robotics opens the door to a world of opportunities including soft skills —teamwork, interpersonal skills, innovation, and leadership— and hard skills —experience in engineering, computer science, business and problem solving. The Granby Robotics Team was founded in 2008 by Dr. Rethke (Dr. Flush), a NASA engineer. Students explained that the team is organized like a business and mentors teach the students how to build the robot. The build season begins with a kickoff event describing this season’s game. There are six weeks to design, build, program, wire and test the robot. This was the best year in Granby’s history ranking 31 out of 185 teams in New England. The team also won the Quality Award at the Hartford event. The Granby Grunts attend many outreach events, such as, the Simsbury Fly-In, Kelly Lane STEAM Night and the Memorial Day Parade. The team mentors were introduced: Dr. Don Rethke, founder; Mr. Puskar who has worked with the team since 2009, and Margaret Bastiaanse, faculty representative who has been with the program since 2009. Mr. Meyers and Mr. Kaufman are new mentors this year.
Weber inquired how strategy is used to form alliances to assist during competitions and the students answered that they approach their alliances prior to matches. Weber also inquired if an engineering journal is kept as part of the building and strategies. Elliot said this was not done this year; however, the entire process is documented with photos and drawings. Sanzo inquired if each robot is kept every year. Prior said very often robots are taken apart each year but robots that do especially well are still together. Peling inquired if this team is fully funded by the district and Grossman answered that an advisor is in the budget as well as $2-3K for transportation. The team also received grants and private donations. Peling inquired if the students have any interest in pursuing robotics in college. Prior, a senior, said he will be attending WPI for that exact reason.
Annual Technology Report
Director of Technology Jon Lambert, presented the Annual Technology Report and introduced the Technology Staff: Frank Melanson, systems support specialist; John Kroninger, technology support specialist contracted services; Carolyn Dei Dolori, software support specialist, and Ed Lyman, data specialist. The Technology Department supports the infrastructure of the school buildings, communications, administrative systems, and A/V equipment, cyber and physical security, software and information management, website; instructional technology, assistive technology, as well as supporting staff, students and community/special events. Lambert explained the technology support system in place creates work orders for the department as well as working with each school’s media specialist. He reviewed highlights for FY22 as well as initiatives for FY23 and said the district is moving away from projectors to interactive boards. There are 20 in the budget this year for the middle and high schools. Also, a grant was received which will enable the purchase of additional interactive boards and next year 20 additional boards will be added to the budget.
Lambert said all phone systems are being replaced. This year, Kelly Lane and Central Services were replaced. The entire district is on the same phone system enabling dialing by extension. Lambert reviewed ongoing projects such as the online employee portal, human resources records and application tracking program which will integrate with our student information system as well as include a teacher evaluation system; replacement of the IEP system for the Pupil Services Department to be uploaded into the new state IEP system; and, collaboration with the town as well as assisting them with events. He briefly discussed cloud-based software and products as well as Google workspace and Google apps that are used by students. Thrall inquired how the last two years has affected the Technology Department. Lambert stated they were well prepared for it due to the adoption of the 1:1 initiative.
Superintendent’s Contract Approval
The board renewed the Superintendent’s Contract effective July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2025.
Peling stated this subcommittee met to discuss the hiring process and schedules for next year; recent learning walk; town-wide composting initiative; summer enrichment program is back to pre-Covid style classes; curriculum work going on in the health and language departments; curriculum revision work to be done.
Board Member Announcements
Thrall thanked Jacob Scotto for his two years of service helping the board on the student perspective impact during a most difficult time in education. She stated Jacob performed in Grease, Mamma Mia, Damned Yankees; is a member of student choir and chamber singers and a three-time and two-time member of All State Choir. Thrall thanked Jacob for his contributions not only to the BOE but to the community and for his willingness to speak up and give his valuable insight. Jacob will attend Villanova University in the fall.
Donna Nolan, Board Secretary