May 14, 2012




Attendance:      Gary Brochu                                                    

                        Kristin Campanelli                    Absent

                        Jeffrey Cugno                           Arrived at 8:18 p.m.                

                        Julie Erickson                                                             

                        Cynthia Kobus                                    

                        Irene Matulis                                                               

                        Timothy Oakes                                    

Kathleen O’Donnell-Moss        Absent                                    

                        John Richards                                                  


Also in attendance:  Superintendent of Schools David B. Erwin; Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Brian 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 School Laurie Gjerpen; Assistant Principal of Griswold School Christian Strickland; Principal of Hubbard School Alfred Souza; Principal of Willard School Salvatore Urso; 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 7:26 p.m. in the Board of Education (“the Board”) meeting room at238 Kensington Road,Berlin,CT. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by student Lindsay Walsh.  A Moment of Silence was observed.




Ms. Parsons reported the first negotiation meeting for paraprofessionals is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22, 2012, and the mediation for cook managers is also scheduled for later this month.


Ms. Holian reported Pupil Personnel Services is getting ready for the summer school program. Ms. Holian reported on her visit toChina.


Mr. Benigni provided a TEAM Program Update.


Ms. Erickson reported on the recent Student Achievement Committee meetings at which time there were discussions concerning the summer reading program and the goals and indicators of success for the Student Achievement Committee. 


Ms. Matulis reported she attended the National School Boards Association (NSBA) annual conference inBostonand the UpBeat open house parent program for eighth grade students and their parents on Monday, May 7, 2012.  Ms. Matulis reported on her attendance at the District-Wide Art Show at the New Britain Museum of American Art.  Ms. Matulis reported on her attendance at the town-wide spelling bee, sponsored by the Junior Woman’s Club of Berlin on Saturday, April 28, 2012.  Ms. Matulis reported her daughter, Sarah, a formerBerlinHigh Schoolstudent, graduated from college this past weekend magna cum laude.


Mr. Oakes reported on his attendance at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) annual conference in Boston; the District-Wide Art Show at the New Britain Museum of American Art; and the Willard talent show on Wednesday, April 12, 2012.


Ms. Kobus reported she attended the recent Student Achievement Committee meetings as well as the National School Boards Association (NSBA) annual conference inBoston, noting Superintendent Erwin and Board President Brochu did a wonderful job on their presentations.


Mr. Richards reported he attended the Public Building Commission meetings on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, Thursday, April 26, 2012, and Thursday, May 10, 2012. Mr. Richards reported on his attendance at the recent Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) finance committee meeting and regular meeting.  Mr. Richards reported both the regular meeting and the annual meeting are scheduled for  Wednesday, May 16, 2012.  Mr. Richards reported the budget referendum failed, and the educational reform proposal was approved.


Mr. Erwin reported on his attendance at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) annual conference inBoston.  Mr. Erwin reported he had the good fortune of presenting on instructional rounds at theNationalCenterfor Education Research and Technology conference.  Mr. Erwin reported on his attendance, along with Mr. Brochu, at the Kensington-Berlin Sunrise Rotary Club breakfast on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.  Mr. Erwin reported he has been involved with instructional rounds in the schools the past few weeks and has been busy with the interviews for the Athletic Director position.  Mr. Erwin shared correspondences received from Sheila King and family and The Connecticut Association of Schools concerning Francis Kennedy’s appointment as its President.

Mr. Brochu reported he was involved with Mr. Erwin in the Athletic Director search.  Mr. Brochu reported that he attended the town-wide spelling bee, sponsored by the Junior Woman’s Club, on Saturday, April 28, 2012, serving as the Bee Master.  Mr. Brochu reminded Board members as June approaches there are a lot of upcoming ceremonies and to please keep them on their calendars.  Mr. Brochu reported he attended the Kensington-Berlin Sunrise Rotary Club breakfast on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.  Mr. Brochu reported on his attendance at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) annual conference in Boston, where he was part of a panel discussion for high performing Boards of Education with author Nancy Walser serving as the moderator and he, along with Mr. Erwin, gave a presentation on conducting board meetings.  




Mr. Erwin presented Daniel J. Scavone as the candidate for Athletic Director.


Moved by Mr. Richards, seconded by Ms. Erickson, that the Board of Education appoint Daniel J. Scavone to the position of Athletic Director, effective July 1, 2012.


FAVOR:         ALL  

MOTION CARRIED:  6:0, including President Brochu



  1. 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


Judy McCormack – Judy is theGriswoldSchoolnurse and was honored for her dedication to nursing andGriswoldSchool.  She is one of the recipients of the 2012 Florence Nightingale Awards for Excellence in Nursing which is a state-wide nursing recognition program celebrating outstanding nurses from all practices.


Lindsay Walsh – Lindsay is a grade five student who was honored for going above and beyond in all that she does.  She completed an independent research project explaining animal cruelty and held a fundraiser to collect money for an animal shelter.  The executive director of the Connecticut Humane Society sent her a letter of recognition for her contributions.


  1. RichardD.HubbardSchool


Kennyluy Marzan – Kennyluy is a grade two student who was honored for being a model student.  He always gives 100% effort, even on difficult tasks.  He consistently demonstrates the Husky Pride character traits of respect, responsibility, honesty, care, and citizenship.  He was selected as Ms. Rouleau’s character student of the month for responsibility.  Kennyluy always has a positive attitude and comes to school eager and willing to learn.


Stephanie Poulin – Stephanie is a grade three student who was honored for being a role mode for all students in Mrs. Hubbard’s classroom.  She is always prepared and ready to learn.  Through her hard work and dedication, Stephanie has made great strides in reading this year.  She exemplifies all the Hubbard Husky character traits, is a team player and a great, caring friend.


  1. EmmaHartWillardSchool


Cortney Braga – Cortney is a grade four student who was honored for always doing her best.  She is described as kind and patient.  She serves as a kindergarten helper who supports students in the review of their sight words.  She has made excellent gains over the years in all subjects but especially in math.  She is a true learner and has made progress in advocating for herself.


Gabriel Matta – Gabriel is a preschool student who has made excellent gains both academically and socially.  He is praised for his ability to participate and engage in preschool circle time.  He has learned to interact effectively with his peers and Willard is proud to report that he is reading and completes jobs at his table in the classroom. 


A short recess was taken from 8:03 p.m. to 8:12 p.m.




Nothing to report.



  1. Approval of Minutes - Regular Meeting of April 9, 2012
  2. Payment of Bills – Period ending April 30, 2012
  3. Resignations –BerlinHigh School
    1.  Social Worker


Laura Abbatemarco, social worker atBerlinHigh School, submitted her letter of resignation to be effective June 30, 2012. 


  1. Teacher of Special Education


Shawn Cyr, teacher of special education atBerlinHigh School, submitted his letter of resignation to be effective June 30, 2012.


  1. Request for Leave of Absence –GriswoldSchool– Grade 4 Teacher


Danielle Matrullo, teacher of grade 4 at Mary E. Griswold School, submitted a request for a leave of absence, for childrearing purposes, to begin immediately following her maternity leave (anticipated to begin on or around June 3) and continue through the end of the 2012-2013 school year.  This leave would be unpaid.


            E.         Transfers


Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta provided a listing of transfers.


Moved by Ms. Erickson, seconded by Ms. Matulis, to approve the consent agenda as presented.


FAVOR:         ALL  




  1. Facilities Related Updates

1.  Code Renovations –BerlinHigh School


Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta reported the plan review meeting with the State did go forward on Monday, April 23, 2012. The State is not able to complete the review within 30 days.  Although it was thought the Town staff could conduct the review, it has become more complicated, and the Public Building Commission is looking for a third party to conduct the review. Mr. Czuchta reported he received an email this morning from Gilbane Building Company that they have been in contact with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the EPA has begun the process of the review of the environmental plan.  Mr. Czuchta reported a letter has gone to the State Traffic Commission as there was a question as to whether the addition on site would have any impact on the traffic.  Gilbane Building Company is working that process, and they do not anticipate any problems.  Mr. Czuchta reported he, along with Principal Kennedy and representatives from Gilbane Building Company and FIP Construction, have had two meetings, the most recent this afternoon, concerning the schedule of the project through completion and expects to report to the Board at the next Board meeting what that schedule looks like.  Mr. Czuchta reported the State has scheduled the plan review meeting for Phase 2 for January 8, 2013.  Mr. Czuchta reported the Board will be kept informed as to the process through periodic updates from Gilbane Building Company, Silver Petrucelli + Associates and FIP Construction.


                        2.  Indoor Air Quality –CatherineM.McGeeSchool


Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta reported a commissioning meeting is scheduled for tomorrow.  There are 60 items that have not been satisfactorily addressed, most of which are minor, with 20 being mechanical.  These need to be worked through Ferguson Electric and the commissioning agent.  The Public Building Commission requested the Town send correspondence to Ferguson Electric that the job be completed in ten days and notification be sent to the bonding authority for Ferguson Electric.  With regard to the wall braces, Mr. Czuchta reported a meeting was held with the contractor, the school administration and custodial staff to go through the schedule and define what areas will be affected and when.  It is anticipated the wall braces will be completed August 15, 2012.


  1. Media/Technology Presentation


This is the second year of integrating technology skills into the core curriculum through an integrated approach utilizing the expertise of our media specialists and technology teachers.  Debbie Lamond, Hubbard technology/media specialist; Marie Little, Willard media specialist; and Danielle Salina, Griswold media specialist prepared a presentation which highlighted the various skills, standards, and projects that are currently being integrated into the core curriculum at the elementary schools.  A copy of the presentation was provided to Board members.  These projects are the collaborative effort of the classroom teachers and the media/technology specialists.  The district’s ultimate goal is to have all of the information technology standards embedded within the core curriculum through a process that allows teachers to be supported while also building their capacity.


At this time Item VIII.B. was moved up in the agenda.  Hearing no objection, this item was addressed.


B.         Summer Reading


Berlin Schools and Peck Memorial Library Summer 2012 Reading Program


K-12 Literacy Coordinator Debra Thibault andBerlinHigh Schoolreading teacher Karen Pappas provided an overview of the summer 2012 reading program and recommended the adoption of the summer reading books listed below.


Goal:  To develop a lifelong desire to read for pleasure and acquire knowledge and the ability to respond critically to text.  The summer reading program provides a variety of opportunities for students and parents to read required and self-selected texts.




All students from pre-k – grade 4 are encouraged to read (or be read to) for at least 15 minutes for forty days in the summer.  A calendar is provided in the summer reading booklet for students to keep track of the days they read.  There is a special celebration in the fall at each school for all students who complete the reading and return the calendar.


A list of suggested books by grade level is provided in the summer reading booklet.


Students entering grade 5 are required to read The Kid in the Red Jacket by Barbara Park and respond in writing from a list of choices that are provided in the summer reading booklet. The 5th grade teacher will collect and review the responses.  Students will be engaged in learning experiences about the book in September.


Catherine M. McGee School:


Students entering grades 6-8 will be required to read three books.  Two of the books will be free choice.  There is a suggested list of titles in the McGee summer reading booklet.  In addition, students in each grade level are required to read a book by Mitali Perkins as follows:


Entering grade 6 — The Not So Star Spangled Life of Sunita Sen

Entering grade 7 — Secret Keeper

Entering grade 8 — Monsoon Summer


*Rickshaw Girl – alternate selection

*Bamboo People – alternate selection


Mitali Perkins will spend two days at McGee in October.  Students will be engaged in a writing workshop and an author presentation.  They will also write a response from a list of choices in the summer reading booklet for each of the books they read.


Berlin High School:


Students will be required to read two free choice books. Before the end of this school year, they will identify books of interest appropriate for their individual reading level.  On September 10, 2012, all students will participate in book discussion groups, using their journal entries which mirror the expectation of Reader’s Workshop. Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop are integral components of Berlin High School English instruction.  Staff and community members will be invited to participate in this event, which will include 6 or 7 book discussions throughout the day.  The date will be communicated to the students and community members.


Moved by Ms. Erickson, seconded by Mr. Oakes, to approve the adoption of the summer reading books The Not So Star Spangled Life of Sunita Sen, Secret Keeper, Monsoon Summer, Rickshaw Girl, and Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins.


FAVOR:         ALL  



  1. Discussion of the 2012-2013 Board of Education Operating Budget


Mr. Brochu on behalf of the Educational Resources Committee, reported the Operating Budget the Board had going into the referendum remains the same.  The only adjustment made to the entire Town budget was an adjustment to an interest account.  The Educational Resources Committee is to schedule a meeting to have an initial discussion with the administration focused on both what is to be done with any current funds as well as what adjustments need to be made for next year’s budget.


  1. Policy Review/Revision – First Reading

1.   (NEW) – Green Cleaning Program

2.   (NEW) –  Possession and Use of Deadly Weapons or Firearms

3.   1330 – Use of School Facilities

4.   3524.1-R – Pesticide Application on School Property (admin. regs.)

5.   4118.56 – Holds on the Destruction of Electronic Information and

Paper Records (including admin. regs.)

6.   4118.55 – Retention of Electronic Records and Information (including admin. regs.)

7.   (NEW) – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Fiscal Compliance (including

             admin. regs.)

8.   (NEW) – Concussion Training for Athletic Coaches (admin. regs.)

            9.   4118.5 – Employee Use of the District’s Computer Systems (including admin. regs.)

  1.   4112.51 – Employment Checks
  2.   4152.6 – Family and Medical Leave
  3.   4118.11 – Non-Discrimination (including admin. regs.)
  4.   5141.4 – Reports of Suspected Abuse or Neglect of Children
  5.   5141.41 – Reports of Suspected Abuse or Neglect of Adults with an Intellectual


  1.   (NEW) – Social Networking
  2.   5125 – Confidentiality and Access to Educational Records (including admin. regs.)
  3.   (NEW) Health Assessments/Screenings (admin. regs.)
  4.   (NEW) Immunizations (admin. regs.)
  5.   5145.4 – Non-Discrimination (including admin. regs.)
  6.   5142-R – Restraint and Seclusion (admin. regs.)
  7.   5145.401-RF – Section 504  (admin. regs./forms)
  8.   5113 – Student Attendance and Truancy (including admin. regs.)
  9.   5144 – Student Discipline
  10.   5145.1 – Student Privacy
  11.   5141 – Policy Regarding Wellness
  12.   (NEW) – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Alternative Assessments
  13.   3541 – Transportation
  14.   (NEW) – Credit for Online Courses
  15.   (NEW) – Code of Conduct for Board Members
  16.   9040 – Minutes
  17.   9050 – Officers
  18.   9090 – Transaction of Business


Shipman & Goodwin LLP recommended some new policies and revisions to other policies listed above.  Some of the revisions resulted from State legislative changes, while others have occurred as a result of their ongoing policy review process.  The recommendations were reviewed by the Ad-Hoc Committee for Policy Review/Revision at their meeting on May 14, 2012, and it was decided that  #11.  4152.6 – Family and Medical Leave, #15. (NEW) – Social Networking, #27. 3541 – Transportation and #28.  (NEW) – Credit for Online Courses be pulled, subject to revisions.  Items #11 and #27 will come before the Board for a first reading at the next Board meeting; however, the Board decided Social Networking was a policy that required a more in-depth conversation both in terms of policy and administrative regulations as well as having a discussion with staff.  It is expected there will be a more detailed conversation at a future meeting. Credit for Online Courses has been sent to Principal Kennedy for input from the high school. Since this is a first reading, no action is required; the second reading/approval will take place at the May 29, 2012 Board meeting.



            A.        Perkins Innovation Grant


Berlin High School Principal Francis Kennedy and Technical Education Teacher Russell Fuller presented information to the Board concerning additional funding that has become available to schools through the State through the Perkins Innovation Grant.  Messrs. Kennedy and Fuller requested the support and endorsement of the Board as it is necessary and required for the Perkins Innovation Grant.


The Perkins IV legislation allows states to use the funding source to advance the goals established by the legislation and to promote innovative program development.  All initiatives must be designed to meet performance levels of the core indicators which include: academic attainment in math and reading; CTE skill attainment; graduation rate; and placement in military, employment and post-secondary education.  A grant proposal was submitted on April 23, pending the approval action of the Board of Education.  The grant focus is on alternative energy curriculum, obtaining the needed fabrication/test equipment along with a residential full-scale wind and solar energy system and the development of a potential senior project curriculum related to alternative fuels.  The goal of the grant program is to provide funds which will help to prepare the next generation of students with the knowledge and skills to compete in the global economy.

Moved by Ms. Matulis, seconded by Ms. Kobus, to support technology education at Berlin High School in development of alternative energy curricula and possible senior project based on our receipt of the Innovation Grant.


FAVOR:         ALL  




  1. Proposed Revision to the 2012-2013 School Calendar


Superintendent of Schools David B. Erwin proposed changing the professional development day (no school for students) scheduled for Monday, April 22, 2013 to Monday, April 1, 2013.


Moved by Mr. Oakes, seconded by Ms. Matulis, to approve revising the 2012-2013 school calendar to reflect a professional development day on Monday, April 1, 2013 instead of on Monday, April 22, 2013.


FAVOR:         ALL  





At 9:51 p.m., a motion was made by Ms. Kobus, seconded by Ms. Erickson, to go into Executive Session to discuss the Contract with New Britain Transportation.


FAVOR:         ALL  



In attendance for Executive Session were Board members Brochu, Cugno, Erickson, Kobus, Matulis, Oakes and Richards.  In addition, Messrs. Erwin and Czuchta were present.




Moved by Ms. Erickson, seconded by Ms. Kobus, to adjourn the meeting at 10:28 p.m.


FAVOR:         ALL  



Respectfully submitted,



Irene Matulis, Secretary,BerlinBoard of Education