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June 7, 2023

Present: Kristina Gilton, Monica Logan, Donna Nolan, David Peling, Whitney Sanzo, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber and Student Representatives Chase Alexander and Tess Bajek.

Superintendent’s Announcements

Dr. Jordan Grossman read a statement—see below.

The retiree/25-year luncheon was June 7 and the following retirees and 25-year employees were recognized. Retirees: Sue Alender, Kathleen Allen, Ann Boardman, Shirley Cowles, Dale Heller, Lori Hoeckele, Henrica Holden, Pamela Mitchell, and Linda Touchette. 25-year employees: John Bikowski, Linda Powell and Laura Smith.

Assistant Superintendent’s Report

Jennifer Parsons shared current practices and comparisons of the new policy, Gifted and Talented Students Program, saying there is new legislation for districts to identify students who are gifted and talented. Granby will form a committee to look at current practices and revise them next year. Services are offered to students who are identified, and this policy will recommend using guidelines the state offers.

Student Representative Reports

Tess thanked the board for the opportunity to serve as student representative the past two years. Thrall presented Tess with a gift from the board with thanks for her dedicated service. Tess will head to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in the fall to study sociology.

Annual Technology Report

Jon Lambert, director of technology, presented the annual technology report and provided an update on security and disaster recovery, stating improvements were made to the existing system storage and software systems. Network infrastructure was updated to improve network speeds between school buildings, several new software platforms were rolled out and replaced, and Individual Education Plan software was migrated to the State CT-SEDS program. For further details, please see the Town of Granby website for BOE Meeting Minutes.

Superintendent’s Annual Report

Grossman presented his annual report and said accomplishments and progress are only possible with the efforts of the entire school community. To read further on Grossman’s review of goals, please see the Town of Granby website for BOE Meeting Minutes.

Thrall and other board members thanked Grossman for his service to the Granby Public Schools and wished him well in his new position.

The following letter from Superintendent Dr. Jordon Grossman was read to the Board of Education and meeting attendees on June 7 to address recent parental reactions to a video shown to students at Wells Road Intermediate School on June 1. The 45-second clip was part of the school’s observance of Pride Month. The lack of communication from the school to parents regarding the video was a major objection voiced to the board and the superintendent’s office. Public comment from the meeting minutes appears on this page. Visit to watch the meeting in its entirety.

Superintendent’s statement on the video

The district acknowledges that effective communication is the foundation of building trust and maintaining strong relationships with the school and community. The administration has heard from parents who voiced concern about some of the content in the video, from parents who would have liked to receive notification regarding the video, and from parents who support the principal sharing the [video’s] message with the students.

With this in mind, in the future the district will work to communicate more effectively with our families as we move forward together to best serve our students and to continue to build a supportive and respectful environment for all, grounded in our Granby Public Schools’ Vision of the Graduate to become powerful thinkers, effective collaborators and compassionate contributors.

Dr. Jordan Grossman

Public comment from June 7 meeting minutes

The public comment section of the agenda was amended to limit comments to three minutes and to extend the public comment period from 20 minutes to 30 minutes.

Liz Barlow stated she is a clinical social worker and is in full support of what the district does with regard to diversity and inclusion and stated she supports Principal Pauline Greer.

Nick D’Amato stated he supports students of all walks of life; however, it does not give the right to impede on other people’s rights. D’Amato continued beyond his time limit which led the board to take a brief adjournment. The meeting resumed at 7:52 p.m.

Matt Brady stated he is the father of a transgender student at the middle school who has significant anxiety but is very fortunate to have an amazing group of friends, teachers, and administrators. Brady was in favor of the video being shown to students.

Heather Lombardo stated she commends and is grateful for the video shown to students this week where the message was to accept students.

Nick Faraco stated he is a retired guidance counselor from Simsbury and has come across all types of students over the years. He inquired of the board if this were 10 years ago, would we be here.

Jay Brown stated he is a Granby graduate and presently attends UConn. He stated the video would be useful to students and wished it was available when he was that age.

Nick Dethlefsen stated he is highly disappointed in parents’ comments this evening and that the context in the video was specific. He stated there should be some sensitivity to other parents here this evening.

Ali Zafar stated he does not feel anyone in this room is advocating hate and that he had an issue with the video because he felt the video missed the mark on the message.

Kate Ciriello, a Wells Road parent, stated she supported Pauline Greer and the Wells Road school community and is in support of the video shown during Pride month.

Cathy Watso stated more attention needs to be paid to motivations in our community. Culture wars divide people and are dangerous.

Mike Kramarenko stated he is disappointed in the board and the school system for not notifying parents. These topics should be addressed at home and not in school.

Joe Wardrop stated he is disappointed, but the superintendent said going forward communication will be better. He also stated that reading, writing and arithmetic should be taught in schools.

Alexis Chhabra inquired why the video was not shown last year and what makes this year different.

Britta Gotberg thanked Principal Greer and hopes the BOE supports her. She stated she is grateful for Granby’s inclusive school community.

Editor’s Note: The Drummer adheres to the mission of the Citizen’s for a Better Granby – which is to inform and educate Granby residents on issues affecting our town. The Drummer exists to provide an independent platform to encourage participation in the civic, social, economic and cultural life of Granby. June was a tumultuous time in Granby, and we welcome respectful discourse.