The Berlin Board of Education

The Bulletin Board


A Summary of the May 9, 2011 Board of Education Meeting



The Berlin Public Schools  □  238 Kensington Road  □  Berlin, CT 06037  □  (860) 828-6581



Berlin Bravos □ Berlin Bravos is a program where the Board of Education recognizes students, staff, parents, and volunteers who have had a significant achievement, gone well above and beyond, or have overcome a significant challenge or obstacle.  The Board of Education acknowledged the following individuals: Samantha Negrao, a student at Griswold School, for coming to school each day with a smile and positive attitude, interested and enthusiastic about what she is learning.  She is a kind and caring friend and enjoys helping others; Lillian Lauria-Bierwirth, a student at Griswold School, for being a role model to all with her fantastic work habits.  She is extremely kind and very compassionate to all of her peers; Sam Enes, student at Hubbard School, for being an excellent role model for his peers in both work ethic and behavior.  He is always willing to follow instructions and assist other students with classroom activities; Rebecca Mayer, student at Hubbard School, for being an exceptional third grade student who consistently rises to classroom expectations and serves as a constant role model for peers.  She demonstrates a love of learning on a daily basis, challenging and pushing herself to learn and succeed within the curriculum presented to her; Dan Cervoni, student at Willard School, for working hard each and every day as a positive and supportive member of the school community; and Jack Crowley, student at Willard School, for contributing to the classroom in a way that is supportive of his own learning and that of others.  He is a student who gives his “all” every day.


Resignation □ The Board approved the resignation of Matthew Harnett, Berlin High School principal, to be effective June 30, 2011 and wished him well in his new principalship in Region 1.


Facilities Related Updates □ Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta reported on the status of facilities projects.  High School Code and Accessibility Renovations:  Work continues with the architect concerning the materials needed to submit the paperwork to the state to open up the project.  It is anticipated that the paperwork will be completed and submitted electronically on May 10th.  McGee Indoor Air Quality Project:  The last two weeks have been spent dealing with the issues regarding the new transformer installed at McGee over the April vacation.  Unfortunately, on April 27, 2011, the transformer failed.  A lot of work was done by the Town, especially Town building maintenance staff, BVH Integrated and the general contractor.  School did open on time the next day.  A temporary transformer and generator were brought into the school.  To date, that transformer has held, which continues to be monitored for its usage as it is a smaller unit than what will be in place for the final project.  Once warmer weather begins, the transformer will need to be monitored more closely.  The new transformer will not be on site for another seven weeks.  General Electric is doing a thorough review of what happened to the new transformer that failed on April 27, 2011.  McGee School Roof:  The contract continues to be hammered out with the successful bidder, Silktown Roofing. 


Summer Instructional Programs □ Assistant Superintendent Brian Benigni reported the district will not offer any other additional programs this summer.  Last year, the district did offer the Summer Sun Days Program, but based on the budget, the district will not be able to offer that program this summer.  Supervisor of Special Education Linda Holian reviewed the extended school year programs for students with disabilities, which are mandated by IEPs (Individualized Education Programs).  Ms. Holian reported the department is in the middle of PPT recommendations, which include extended school year/summer school for those students who require consistency in reading, writing and math instruction.  Without this consistency, these students would begin the year with the loss of previously acquired skills.  Currently there are 52 students recommended at the elementary/preschool level and 42 at the secondary level.  The majority of the students will participate in a four-week summer school program during the month of July.  There will also be one preschool classroom that will run for six weeks - five days a week for three hours each day.  Ms. Holian reported a number of students require continued work on specialized reading programs.  There will be two teachers who specialize in reading instruction to deliver these services to the students individually or in small groups.  In addition, some of the students will continue to receive related services in occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech and language therapy.  Ms. Holian reported the program will also continue to offer a structured class each day for all students in the areas of art, movement and group games. 


End-of-Year Curriculum Projects □ Assistant Superintendent Brian Benigni reviewed the curriculum work and professional development scheduled to occur throughout the district on June 20-24, 2011 and responded to questions from Board members.  After several meetings with principals, PPS administration, K-12 coordinators, the K-12 literacy coordinator, and K-8 math coordinator, a comprehensive plan was collectively designed for all teachers, special services providers and paraprofessionals.  The elementary schools will focus on developing scope and sequence for phonics instruction and align Fountas & Pinnell units of instruction to support prioritized grade level expectations and developing new curriculum, assessments and lessons in the content areas of science, math, and reading.  All elementary teachers will participate in a full day in-service program on Launching the Writing Workshop by Leah Mermelstein on Thursday, June 23, 2011.  McGee teachers will be working by department to develop common assessments, revise units of instruction to support prioritized standards, and create interdisciplinary lessons.  McGee integrated language arts teachers and special education teachers will also participate in a full-day in-service program on Launching the Writing Workshop by Erica Denman on Thursday, June 23, 2011.  Berlin High School teachers will be developing curriculum for the numerous new courses that will be offered next year.  In addition to the new curriculum, high school teachers will be designing common unit assessments for each course offered and focusing on designing lessons which allow for varied instructional delivery methods.   All curriculum work that is completed will be documented and uploaded or linked to Atlas Rubicon, the district’s curriculum mapping software.  Director of Pupil Personnel Services Dr. Valentina Parchin reviewed the curriculum work and professional development scheduled to occur on June 20-24, 2011 for the Speech-Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Pre-School Team, Physical Therapy, School Psychology and Social Work departments.


Monthly Reports Each school submitted a report to the Board that highlighted significant events and accomplishments during the month of April.


Discussion of the 2011-2012 Board of Education Operating Budget □ Mr. Richards, on behalf of the Resources and Capacity-Building Committee, reported he met this evening with the administration and other Board members.  No action was taken.  Mr. Richards recalled the approved budget is less than the Board requested so there will be reductions made to get to the 2.4%.  The Resources and Capacity-Building Committee should have more to report at the Board’s next meeting. 


Policy Review/Revision – Second Reading/Adoption The Board of Education adopted a new policy pertaining to visitors to the schools and adopted revisions to current policies that resulted from state legislative changes and others as a result of their ongoing policy review process.  The recommendations were reviewed by the Ad-Hoc Committee for Policy Review/Revision at their meetings on January 5, 2011 and March 28, 2011, and a first reading was conducted at the April 25th BOE meeting.  Revisions were made to the following policies:  3100 – Board Budget Procedures and Line Item Transfers, 3524.1 – Pesticide Application on School Property, 4112.51 – Employment Checks, 4115.3 – Evaluation, Termination and Non-Renewal of Athletic Coaches, 4118.112 – Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, 4118.232 – Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug-Free Workplace, 4118.5 – Employee Use of the District’s Computer Systems, 5113 – Student Attendance and Truancy, 5125 – Confidentiality and Access to Education Records, 5131.83 – Student Use of the District’s Computer Systems and Internet Safety, 5131.911 – Bullying Behavior in the Schools, 5141 – Wellness Policy, 5141.21 – Administration of Student Medications in the Schools, 5141.4 – Reports of Suspected Abuse or Neglect of Children, 5144 – Student Discipline, 5145.5 – Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (Students), and 6135 – Parent-Teacher Communication.


Rescind the Educational Specifications/Statement of Need for a New High School The Board voted to rescind the educational specifications/statement of need, dated June 25, 2007, for a new high school.  The “renovate as new” plan was approved by referendum and remains with the Town Council and Public Building Commission as the plan that will be followed.

This meeting will be cablecast on May 15th at 6 p.m. on Nutmeg TV Educational Channel 95 (Comcast) and 99 (AT&T U-Verse).



The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be held on Monday, May 23, 2011, at the Berlin Board of Education, beginning at 7:00 P.M., in the Board Meeting Room, 238 Kensington Road.  The agenda will be available online at


The Bulletin Board provides a summary of Board of Education meetings.  Official minutes from Board meetings are available at the Board of Education offices, the Town Clerk’s office, the Berlin Public Library, or on the district’s website at