Minutes For BOE September 11, 2006 Meeting




September 11, 2006


Members Present:   Joseph Arcuri, Beth Duffy, Barbara Gilbert, Paul Omichinski, Elaine Schiavone, Ray Sikora, Jayne Stocker, Karen Sullivan-Shepard, Peter Turner

Members Absent:   Catherine Bergstrom

Also Present:   Paula Schwartz - Superintendent

                        Michael Landry – Assistant Superintendent

I.   Call to Order - The regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting was held in the Lake Garda School Library, and was called to order at 7:34 pm by Chairperson Beth Duffy.  A moment of silence was observed in remembrance of the 5th anniversary of 9/11.

II.   Pledge of Allegiance - The Pledge was recited.

Chairperson altered the order of agenda items to accommodate visiting exchange students from Spain.  Thanks were extended to the Parma family for hosting a barbecue, Beth Lapman and Virginia Powell for facilitating the exchange.  Members of the Spanish delegation expressed their thanks to Region 10 for allowing them to participate in this program.  Region 10 students will be traveling to host Spanish families in February.

P. Schwartz introduced Region 10’s Teacher of the Year Mary Newman, Special Education instructor at Har-Bur Middle School.  Also, introduced David Telesca, Principal at DePaulo Middle School in Southington, as her intern from the UCONN Graduate Program.

III.   Communications, Resignations -

Letter of resignation received from Jill Ryan, Reading and Language Coordinator at Lake Garda School.

IV.   Consent Agenda - A motion to accept the meeting minutes of August 28, 2006 and the financial report dated August 31, 2006 was made by P. Turner and seconded by P. Omichinski.  All in favor none opposed

V.   Public Participation – Chairperson reiterated, from prior Board meeting, that complaints and concerns should also include suggestions for solving the problem(s).

Janet Burritt of Harwinton expressed concern over report from prior meeting showing decline in reading scores from Harwinton Consolidated and Lake Garda.  It was explained there were different tests done in the Spring from the Fall, which were more difficult and, therefore, the results were different.  J. Burritt suggested hiring a professional to oversee the theater project because of the depth of understanding necessary for the job.

VI.   Business -

A.   Update on Breathalyzers.  K. Neihoff and P. Bogen stated the breathalyzer was well-received by students at both the Junior and Senior proms.  All students and their guests were tested. Large bags were prohibited and others searched to make sure students did not smuggle or partake of alcoholic beverages once they had been admitted.  For those who needed to return to their cars for forgotten items, chaperones were on hand to accompany them. 

Chaperone presence was highly visible and effective.  No backpacks were allowed.  There was no overt evidence of any smuggling of alcohol at either prom.  There was a suggestion of using it at the middle school but because students are dropped off and picked up by parents, it was not deemed appropriate for that level.

Phil Penn of Burlington asked about using the breathalyzer when students leave to make sure no one is driving under the influence.  This is something that may be looked into.        

The breathalyzer unit could also be used if a student is suspected of coming to school under the influence of alcohol.

B.   School opened with very few problems.  There were some glitches during lunch periods due to the new system and students’ unfamiliarity with it, but by the third day, things were operating smoothly.  There is dust in parts of the complex but once tile is put down, much of this will be eliminated.  Thanks were extended to Dave Fortin and his staff for not only getting the middle and high school areas cleaned up and ready, but also for the maintenance and sprucing up at Lake Garda and HSC done over the summer.  Teachers and secretaries were also thanked for their cooperation.

C.   CMT Testing Results.  M. Landry gave a PowerPoint presentation on the CMT results from the Spring of 2006.  Some highlights include students reaching 80% of goal in math for the 6th and 7th grades.  The statewide figure is 60%.  Grade 7 reading was 89.2% of goal, Grade 8 reading was 80% of goal and grade 5 writing was 85% at goal.  The lowest score was 68% at goal for 3rd grade math.   Some suggestions for improvement include matching curriculum to the tests, identifying math words used in CMT that might not be in the curriculum, focusing on estimating solutions to problems, estimation, metric measures, reader/text connections, composing/revising, looking at how questions are written and comparing them to how questions appear on regular tests and quizzes.  Additional goals include reviewing and working on weaknesses, setting benchmarks, developing a District goal of achieving 80% proficiency, and tracking students progress throughout the year.

D.   CAPT Testing Results.  M. Landry just received results and did not have time to prepare a full report at this time.  Results were disappointing as goals scores dropped.  Proficiency scores remained high.  We will need to find out if there were outside factors which may have distracted students during CAPT testing.  Will also ask students for feedback on why scores dropped.  Other districts have also reported drops in goal scores.  P. Turner offered that perhaps this was due to loss of more experienced teachers.  A discussion ensued between Board and the various schools’ administrators, who were in attendance at the meeting.  The administrators did not feel the new teachers were at a disadvantage due to the various BEST and mentoring programs in place.  A report of CAPT to be made at the next Board meeting.

E.   Discussion of Website Modifications/Improvements.  The website has been commented on by parents and administrators that it does not have current information.  It was suggested that perhaps a designated person per building could be responsible for either updating their school’s information or providing information to the Webmaster.  Another suggestion was to have one or more individuals be end users and report on areas that might not work or work incorrectly.  P. Turner suggested a tech subcommittee be formed to come up with a plan to work on this problem.  Ray Sikora and Joseph Arcuri will be part of the committee.

VII   Action -

A.   Second Reading of the Student Representative to BOE Policy.  A motion to accept the second reading was made by E. Schiavone and seconded by B. Gilbert.  Some suggestions for changes include adding to item 2, that students interested in the position must attend at least one Board meeting.  Adding to item three that students will be selected by the administration and then voted for by their respective grade levels (e.g., juniors will vote for their rep. and seniors for theirs).  Voting will occur in the Spring for the following term, September to June.  A motion to accept the revised changes was made by E. Schiavone and seconded by B. Gilbert.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.

B.   Second Reading of School Social Worker Job Description.  L. Carabis contacted local schools to obtain the job descriptions of their social worker and, from these, came up with a job description she felt meet the District’s needs.  Lori Hoyt, an alumnus of the Class of ’99 was chosen for the position and introduced at this time.  A motion to accept the reading was made by P. Turner and seconded by P. Omichinski.  All in favor none opposed.  Motion carries.

VIII.   Board Committee Reports

A.     Facilities and Grounds Committee – Have not met yet.

B.     CREC Committee – Nothing new to report.

C.   Curriculum Committee – Meeting in October.

D.   Negotiations Committee – First formal meeting this Wednesday to start planning teacher/

         administrator negotiations.

E.   Technology Committee – Servers are now in one, air conditioned location.

F.   Building Committee – Provided update on status of project.

G.   PR Committee – Will have first meeting on September 25th, at 7pm at the Har-Bur Learning Center.

B. Duffy suggested the formation of a policy committee to review and make changes to current policies and develop additional ones, as needed.  K. Sullivan-Shepard expressed interest in being a member.  All Board members were provided with an updated policy book.

A motion to go into Executive Session was made by K. Sullivan-Shepard and seconded by R. Sikora.  

Meeting ended at 9:55 pm.

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting will be held on October 16, 2006, at 7:30 pm, at the Learning Center of Har-Bur Middle School.

Karen Sullivan-Shepard, Secretary

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