March 12, 2012




Attendance:      Gary Brochu                                        

                        Kristin Campanelli                               

                        Jeffrey Cugno                                      

                        Julie Erickson                                       Absent                                    

                        Cynthia Kobus                                    

                        Irene Matulis                                                               

                        Timothy Oakes                         Absent            

Kathleen O’Donnell-Moss                                                       

                        John Richards                                                  


Also in attendance:  Superintendent of Schools David B. Erwin; Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and InstructionBrian Benigni; Director of Business Operations Roman Czuchta; Director of Human Resources Denise Parsons; Director of Pupil Personnel Services Linda Holian; Principal of Berlin High School Francis Kennedy; Principal of Griswold SchoolLaurie Gjerpen; Assistant Principal of Griswold School Christian Strickland; Principal of Hubbard School Alfred Souza; Assistant Principal of Willard School Lauren Feltz; and District-wide K-12 Literacy Coordinator Debra Thibault. 


I.          CALL TO ORDER


Mr. Brochu called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. in the Board of Education (“the Board”) meeting room at238 Kensington Road,Berlin,CT. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by student Colin Asklar.  A Moment of Silence was observed.


At this time, Items III. and IV. were moved up in the agenda.  Hearing no objection, these items were addressed. 




Ms. Holian reported Sonya Kunkel, Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) consultant, will meet with the McGee teachers on Monday, March 19, 2012, working on co-teaching.  Ms. Holian reported Pupil Personnel Services is in the planning stages of planning for the summer school program.


Mr. Benigni reported he had an opportunity to observeBerlinHigh Schoolstudent’s art work at the art show at the Sandman Gallery and Frame Shoppe inMeriden.


Ms. Matulis reported she attended the Educational Resources Committee meeting held prior to tonight’s meeting.


Ms. O’Donnell-Moss reported on the Education Council meeting held on Monday, March 5, 2012, at which time the plans for the high school and the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school calendars were discussed.  Ms. O’Donnell-Moss reported she will be attending Connecticut Association of Boards of Education’s (CABE) A Day on the Hill on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, at which time she has scheduled a meeting with Representative Catherine Abercrombie.


Mr. Richards reported he chaired the Educational Resources Committee held prior to tonight’s meeting, and he attended the Public Building Commission meeting on Thursday, March 8, 2012.


Mr. Cugno reported over the past five weeks he has attended leadership classes at CABE.


Ms. Campanelli reported she attended the Education Council meeting on Monday, March 5, 2012, and the Educational Resources Committee meeting held prior to tonight’s meeting.


Mr. Erwin reported he attended the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education/Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CABE/CAPSS) convention planning committee meeting on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 and the Education Council meeting on Monday, March 5, 2012.  Mr. Erwin reported the Parent Advisory Council recently met at which time Dean Petrucelli did an overview of the proposed changes at the high school. Mr. Erwin reported the Board will present its budget to the Town Council Budget Committee on Thursday, March 15, 2012.  Mr. Erwin reported on an email received this afternoon concerning a listening tour Governor Dannel Malloy may be doing on March 20, 2012.  Mr. Erwin shared correspondence received from Carol Mongillo.


Mr. Brochu reminded Board members of CABE’s A Day on the Hill on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.  Mr. Brochu reported he has spoken with Representative Joe Aresimowicz’s office to coordinate a morning meeting withBerlin’s local representatives and state senator.  Mr. Brochu reported he has put in proposals for the CABE/CAPSS convention and will keep Board members posted.  Mr. Brochu reported the Board will present its budget to the Town Council Budget Committee on Thursday, March 15, 2012.  Mr. Brochu reported he, along with Mr. Erwin, met this morning with Mayor Adam Salina and Chairman William Rasmussen concerning the budget.  Mr. Brochu reported tomorrow morning he will meet with the heads of a number of educational forum groups at theLegislativeOfficeBuilding concerning the legislative proposals. 



A.       BerlinBravos


Berlin Bravos is a program where the district 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:


1. MaryE.GriswoldSchool


Cynthia Fox and Lisa Asklar – for their contributions toGriswoldSchool.  Mrs. Fox has been coordinating the cultural programs for years and Mrs. Asklar has been an Eagle Publishing Volunteer “forever.”  Their support is so appreciated, and they will be missed at Griswold as they move on to the middle school.


2. RichardD.HubbardSchool


Anne Marie Dunn and Stephanie Lukens – for being selected by staff as CAS Parent Volunteer Award recipients.  Both have selflessly served the school and classroom communities for a number of years, actively and consistently supportingHubbardSchool.  They are committed volunteers who willfully dedicate their time and talents towards the betterment of Hubbard students.  Mrs. Dunn has been a member of the PTO and served as vice president in past years.  She is currently a grade-five committee member and co-chair of the Yearbook Committee.  Anne Marie has been a room parent, classroom volunteer, and has actively facilitated and taken part in numerous school fundraisers.  Mrs. Lukens has also been a member of the PTO and currently holds the office of treasurer.  She has served as a room parent and classroom volunteer, supporting students in a range of educational endeavors.  Stephanie is also a familiar face at school fundraisers and events, contributing in any and all capacities.


3. EmmaHartWillardSchool


Erin Roche – Ms. Roche is a volunteer who has a special musical talent.  She has visited in preschool for the past two years to facilitate hands-on experiences with musical instruments, vocals, and movement activities.


Jen Chant - Mrs. Chant is a tireless volunteer and PTO vice president.  She always assumes a positive attitude and approaches her work with high energy.  She has been instrumental in support of fundraising, student and family programs, and the grade-five pasta supper. 


II.        SPECIAL RECOGNITION – Board Member Appreciation


Mr. Erwin recognized Board of Education Member Appreciation for all the work the Board does on behalf of the staff and students. 


A short recess was taken from 7:26 p.m. to 7:38 p.m.




Mr. Patrick Veley, 225 Newton Street, Kensington, Connecticut and Mr. Kevin Cassidy, 235 Highland Street, Manchester, Connecticut addressed the Board requesting Spanish teacher Deborah Cassidy’s contract be renewed.  Mr. Cassidy also provided materials to the Board.  Mr. Brochu responded (1) nothing has come before the Board; (2) the Board of Education cannot comment on individual matters involving teachers because the Board of Education may have to serve as an impartial hearing board if matters come before them; and (3) materials cannot be reviewed until a matter comes before the Board of Education because otherwise the Board of Education is barred from considering the matter.



  1. Approval of Minutes – Regular Meeting of February 27, 2012


  1. Payment of Bills – Period ending February 29, 2012


  1. Resignations –BerlinHigh School
    1. Teacher of Technology Education


Jeffrey Rodriguez, teacher of technology education atBerlinHigh School, submitted his letter of resignation to be effective at the conclusion of the 2011-2012 school year.



  1. Teacher of English


Jason Ritz, teacher of English atBerlinHigh School, submitted his letter of resignation to be effective at the conclusion of the 2011-2012 school year.


Mr. Richards requested that one word change in the minutes from the February 27 meeting:  Page 2 under III. Information and Reports, section 1. Code Renovations, fifth line down change “consultation” to “consultant”.


Moved by Ms. O’Donnell-Moss, seconded by Mr. Richards, to approve the consent agenda as presented with the word change to the February 27, 2012 minutes.


FAVOR:         ALL  




  1. Observation 360


Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and InstructionBrian Benigniand District Literacy Coordinator Debra Thibault presented information and a sample observation of the newly adopted informal observation process utilizing Observation 360.  The Board was provided with a paper version of the electronic form utilized when Observation 360 is implemented in the classroom.  This process began implementation this year as one of several revisions to the Berlin Public Schools Professional Growth and Evaluation Plan.


C.        Activity Fund Reports

1.  BerlinHigh SchoolEnterpriseFund – Period ending January 31, 2012

2.   Berlin Public Schools Activity Fund – Period ending January 31, 2012


These reports were noted with interest.


D.        Facilities Related Updates

1.  Code Renovations –BerlinHigh School


Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta reported the Public Building Commission met on Thursday, March 8, 2012.  Mr. Czuchta reported the following:  (1) a meeting was held with an engineer from Silver Petrucelli + Associates along with a resident expert from Gilbane Building Company to review a checklist of items that will need to be accomplished to meet the High Performance Standard requirements for this job; (2) a commissioning agent will need to be brought on board as the state requires one for this project, and the state will want the name at the time of the plan review meeting scheduled for April 23, 2012.  The RFP (Request for Proposal) and RFQ (Request for Qualification) will be advertised this week, and the proposals will be due back to the Public Building Commission on March 29, 2012, with a special session on April 5, 2012 to interview the interested firms; (3) the architect reported he met with Planning and Zoning Director of Development Hellyn Riggins in preparation for a hearing with the Planning and Zoning Commission and suggestions were made about the appearance of the butler building.  There was quite a bit of discussion about the cost creep, with the construction manager concerned that it is a bit more than what was priced.  The architect is to go back and see if it could be rolled back to the original budget for this structure; (4) As of this evening, Mr. Czuchta reported he has been promised he will have the final environmental plan by the end of this week; therefore, the earliest the plan will go to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the end of this week.  Mr. Czuchta reported he was told at the last Public Building Commission meeting that approval of the EPA is not needed to go to the state on April 23, 2012; however the state will not issue authority to go out to bid if there is no approval from the EPA; and (5) before the plans and specifications are submitted to the state on April 23, 2012, the Board of Education has to approve them between now and April 23, 2012.  A special Board meeting will need to be scheduled.



2.  Indoor Air Quality –CatherineM.McGeeSchool



Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta reported he, along with Mr. Richards, attended the Public Building Commission meeting on Thursday, March 8, 2012.  The commissioning phase continues with 130 items remaining, which may be very minor items, but they are all listed out.  The commissioning agent is working with the contractor on these items.  Mr. Czuchta reported the other item discussed was the status of the second transformer that is being contemplated for the building.  Public Works Director, Arthur Simonian, is soliciting proposals for a secondary transformer that would share some of the load capacity at the school, which, best case scenario, will not be on site until the summer.  BVH Integrated Services is working on implementing the load management software and having some contingencies if there is a need to drop some load from the transformer.  Mr. Czuchta reported the information he has right now is that the existing transformer is not going to be replaced with a larger unit but what is being contemplated is a secondary transformer and some additional wiring in the building to shed some of the load so it is split between the two units. With regard to the wall braces, Mr. Czuchta reported he, along with Dr. Ratchford and Arthur Simonian, met with Newfield Construction concerning the affected areas and scheduling.  Although Mr. Czuchta feels the biggest issue will be scheduling the work at the building over the summer, he, along with Dr. Ratchford, feels comfortable that it will be completed.




  1. Proposed School Calendar for 2013-2014


The Board was provided with the proposed school calendar for 2013-2014.  The proposed calendar was reviewed and discussed by the Board’s Student Achievement Committee at their February 27, 2012 meeting.  Mr. Erwin reported the proposed school calendar for 2013-2014 is a fairly traditional calendar with the traditional holidays, Berlin Fair, Presidents’ Day Weekend, April vacation and adding professional development days at the end of the school year.  There is a possibility the Board will have to readjust the calendar once a schedule is in place for the renovate as new project at the high school.


Moved by Ms. Kobus, seconded by Ms. Campanelli, to adopt the 2013-2014 Berlin Public Schools calendar as proposed.


FAVOR:         ALL  

MOTION CARRIED:  7:0; including President Brochu


  1. Amendments to the 2011-2012 School Calendar


The Board was provided with amendments to the 2011-2012 school calendar.  The Board’s Student Achievement Committee met on February 27, 2012 to discuss amending the 2011-2012 school calendar due to the five days school was not in session (six days at McGee) to date.  The Committee recommended reducing the number of student days from 183 to 180 and moving the professional development day scheduled for April 23 to the end of the school year.  This would make the tentative last student day June 15, with the exception of McGee, which would be June 18.  Teachers (except at McGee) would work through June 22, and McGee teachers would work through June 25.  This would also keep the traditional graduation ceremony occurring on Father’s Day.  Obviously, any additional closings would alter this calendar.


In response to Mr. Richard’s question concerning why the amendments were not brought to the Board earlier, Mr. Erwin indicated he thought it would have been a bit too early.  The Board had a discussion concerning the loss of three days of instruction time for the second year in a row.


Moved by Ms. O’Donnell-Moss, seconded by Ms. Matulis, to approve the amendments to the 2011-2012 Berlin Public Schools calendar as presented.


FAVOR:         ALL  

MOTION CARRIED:  7:0; including President Brochu




Moved by Ms. Matulis, seconded by Ms. O’Donnell-Moss, to adjourn the meeting at 9:09 p.m.


FAVOR:         ALL  



Respectfully submitted,



Irene Matulis, Secretary,BerlinBoard of Education