BERLIN BOARD OF EDUCATION

June 11, 2012

MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING

 

Attendance:      Gary Brochu                                        

                        Kristin Campanelli                               

                        Jeffrey Cugno                                      

                        Julie Erickson                                                                          

                        Cynthia Kobus                                    

                        Irene Matulis                                                               

                        Timothy Oakes                        

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; Assistant Principals of Berlin High School Janet Parlato and Amanda Gagnon; Principal of Griswold SchoolLaurie Gjerpen; Assistant Principal of Griswold School Christian Strickland; Principal of McGee Middle School Dr. Scott Ratchford; Assistant Principals of McGee Middle School Barbara Ventura and Pamela Hamad; and District-wide K-12 Literacy Coordinator Debra Thibault.

 

IA.       CALL TO ORDER

 

Mr. Brochu called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. in the Berlin High School Media Center, at139 Patterson Way,Berlin,Connecticut.  The Pledge of Allegiance was led by student William Cavedon.  A moment of silence was observed.

 

IB.       SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

 

Mr. Erwin announcedBerlinSchool District’s 2013 Teacher of the Year, Sharon Roeder.    

 

Mr. Kennedy recognized the followingBerlinHigh Schoolstudents and Dr. Ratchford recognized the following McGee students:

BerlinHigh SchoolRecognition – Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Valedictorian – Holly Robillard

Salutatorian – William Cavedon

CAS Scholar Athletes – Brittany Labbadia and William Cavedon

CAS Art Awards – Shawna Rosol and Nicole Whitehill

CABE Student Leadership Awards – Andres Calle-Otero and Holly Robillard – BHS

                                                           AlexandriaPerrone and Mack Bowen – McGee

Class of 2012 Officers:

President – Michael Rocco

Vice President – Rachel Zelek

Secretary – Chelsea Farrington

Treasurer – Caitlyn Mangiafico

Social Chairs – Lia D’Amato and Kelly Josephson

                        National Honor Society Officers 2012:

                                    President – Michael Rocco

                                    Co-Vice Presidents – Chelsea Farrington and Robert Morrin

                                    Secretary – Amanda Calderone

                                    Treasurer – Megan Pitkin

 

Brian Benigni Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction recognized the following students as distinguished senior writing project authors and finalists for the Redcoat Writer Award:  Jessica Bosco, Riza Brown, Cora Ottaviani, Holly Robillard, Anna Switzer and Catherine Tencza    Jessica Bosco was the recipient of the Redcoat Writer Award.  Authors Jessica Bosco, Riza Brown, Cora Ottaviani, Holly Robillard and Catherine Tencza read a portion of their writing project pieces to the Board and audience.

 

BerlinBravos –BerlinHigh School

                         CatherineM.McGeeSchool

 

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. BerlinHigh School

 

Mariam Hassan – Mariam is one of the most polite, respectful, and personable students atBerlinHigh School.  In each of her classes, she is diligent and participatory; she enjoys the knowledge brought forth by her teachers; and she appreciates every aspect of the education process.  Mariam always has kind words for others in the classroom and is willing to help with any task that needs to be accomplished.  She proudly shares information about her culture when asked to, which broadens the learning of her peers.  She has shown all students atBerlinHigh Schoolthat the meaning of “fashion” extends beyond North Face jackets and jeans from Hollister.  For her thoughtful ways and excellent effort with her studies, the district acknowledged Mariam Hassan with a Berlin Bravo.

 

Alice Mitchell – With this Berlin Bravo, the district thanked Alice Mitchell for her mentorship of over 300 students per year and for her dedication to theBerlincommunity through her work with the UpBeat program.  It is easy to take for granted that which is constant, reliable, and ever-present.  She expertly leads and coordinates the Upbeat program, which is a mainstay of theBerlincommunity.  What began as an idea on a training weekend inMassachusettshas blossomed into the largest and most comprehensive peer leadership and community involvement program in the state.  Most notable about the program is that it is largely student-run with a range of programs including project planning, community service activities, tutoring at all grade levels, volunteering at the Hospital for Special Care, and staffing McGee School drop-ins.  The workshops develop life-long skills such as public speaking ability, organization, management of groups of peers, teaching lessons to younger students, and interacting with adults from various schools and community organizations. Aliceis the heart of the UpBeat program and the prime reason for its tremendous success.

 

  1. CatherineM.McGeeSchool

 

Craig Rogers – Craig is a technology education teacher and was recognized for being one of McGee’s unsung heroes.  In and out of the classroom, he makes a difference in the lives of young people.  His work is done with quiet humility and touches some of McGee’s neediest students.  Students who may struggle with academics are made to feel special for a different set of skills in his classes.  Whether serving as a sympathetic ear, wise advisor, tough-nosed limit setter, or wrench-wielding bicycle mechanic, he deeply touches the lives of those fortunate enough to have him in their corner.

 

Keshav Patel – Keshav is a grade 8 student and was recognized for his ingenuity, courage, and selflessness.  He saw raising funds for theWashington,D.C.trip as an opportunity.  His vision was to develop a means for students to capitalize on modern technology and the power of the Internet to bring people together around mutual interests.  With this vision, he created Meritbooster and took that idea to a competition in which he competed (and finished second) against over 40,000 aspiring startup teams to win the right to be given professional consultation and funding in order to bring his idea to fruition.  He used his talent and imagination to give back to McGee by organizing students to clean up around the school to raise $1,111 for McGee’s newest computer lab.

 

A short recess was taken from 7:59 p.m. until 8:24 p.m.

 

II.        BOARD AND ADMINISTRATIVE COMMUNICATIONS

 

Mr. Benigni provided a Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM) Program update.

 

Ms. Holian provided an update on the summer school program.

 

Ms. Erickson reported on her attendance at the UpBeat town-wide picnic on Thursday, May 31, 2012, and the reception to honor retirees within the district held this evening prior to tonight’s meeting.

 

Ms. Matulis reported on her attendance at the UpBeat town-wide picnic on Thursday, May 31, 2012; UpBeat’s “Up Half the Night” on Friday, June 8, 2012; the reception to honor retirees within the district held this evening prior to tonight’s meeting; and the Educational Resources Committee meeting, also held this evening prior to tonight’s meeting. 

 

Mr. Oakes reported he is looking forward to attending Regatta Day atMcGeeMiddle Schoolon Thursday, June 14, 2012.

 

Ms. O’Donnell-Moss reported she attended the UpBeat town-wide picnic on Thursday, May 31, 2012, and the reception to honor retirees within the district this evening prior to tonight’s meeting.

 

Ms. Kobus reported she attended the UpBeat town-wide picnic on Thursday, May 31, 2012.

 

Mr. Richards reported on his attendance at Capital Region Education Council’s (CREC) meeting on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, concerning the over 50 CREC programs and technology plan.  Mr. Richards reported CREC will hold its regular meeting on Wednesday, June 13, 2012.  Mr. Richards reported he attended the Public Building Commission special meeting on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. 

 

Mr. Cugno congratulated this evening’s award recipients.

 

Ms. Campanelli congratulated the retirees within the district.

 

Mr. Erwin reported on the hiring of new staff to fill various positions within the district.  Mr. Erwin reported on the phasing meeting he attended last week along with Messrs. Kennedy and Czuchta.  Mr. Erwin reported he had the pleasure to judge some scholarships.  Mr. Erwin shared correspondences received from Laura Berch and Judy Church.

 

Mr. Brochu reported he was unable to attend the UpBeat town-wide picnic due to work commitments.  Mr. Brochu reported on Monday, June 18, 2012, he will speak to a group of aspiring administrators at Southern Connecticut State University.  Mr. Brochu reported the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is accepting proposals until June 25, 2012 for next year’s conference inSan Diego,California.  Mr. Brochu reminded Board members that theBerlinHigh Schoolgraduation will be held on Sunday, June 17, 2012, and the McGee Grade 8 Promotion Ceremony will be held on Monday, June 18, 2012.

 

III.       AUDIENCE OF CITIZENS

 

Nothing to report.

 

IV.       CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Approval of Minutes - Regular Meeting of May 29, 2012
  2. Payment of Bills – Period ending May 31, 2012
  3. Transfers

 

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

 

Moved by Ms. Campanelli, seconded by Ms. O’Donnell-Moss, to accept the consent agenda as presented.

 

FAVOR:         ALL  

MOTION CARRIED:  8:0

 

V.        INFORMATION AND REPORTS

A.                 Facilities Related Updates

1.  Code Renovations –BerlinHigh School

 

Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta reported there was a special Public Building Commission meeting on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, and the focus of that meeting was to discuss the butler building, specifically cost factors.  Silver Petrucelli + Associates and FIP Construction did go through the project, and the estimate, at this point, has gone up approximately $200,000.  Mr. Czuchta reported, at that meeting, updates were received concerning the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) review, the State Traffic Commission’s review and the review going back to the State.  Mr. Czuchta reported there probably will not be much action on the project over the summer, and the project is well behind where it should be at this point. 

 

  1. Indoor Air Quality –CatherineM.McGeeSchool

 

Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta reported at the last Board meeting that the Public Building Commission had given Ferguson Electric a deadline of May 30, 2012 to complete their work.  Mr. Czuchta reported the Public Building Commission did receive a letter stating that the work was completed; however, as of a 5:20 p.m. email received this date, Mr. Czuchta reported, approximately eighteen items remain outstanding.  There will be a discussion concerning this outstanding work at the Public Building Commission meeting on Thursday, June 14, 2012.  Mr. Czuchta reported preliminary work for the wall braces will begin next week.

 

  1. BerlinHigh SchoolChemistry Update

 

Brian Benigni, Assistant Superintendent, Mary Salerno, Science Department Head, and BerlinHigh Schoolscience teachers Megan Hurley, Jennifer Pawlow, Brendan Wilkosz and Morgan Hanna updated the Board of Education on the first year implementation of Advanced Chemistry for 9th grade students.  Information shared included teacher-prepared comments and perspective, student performance data, and student focus group responses.  They provided the Board with a comprehensive picture of how this course sequence is impacting students.  A handout was provided to Board members showing Grade 9 and Grade 10 unit averages and medians. 

 

  1. Policy Review/Revision – First Reading
    1. 4152.6 – Family and Medical Leave

 

Shipman & Goodwin LLP recommended revisions to the district’s Family and Medical Leave policy to reflect the requirement of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.  In addition, the 12-month entitlement period has been changed from the fiscal year commencing each July 1st to the initial date of an employee’s first leave under this policy.  The recommendations were reviewed by the Ad-Hoc Committee for Policy Review/Revision at their meeting on May 14, 2012.  Since this is a first reading, no action is required; the second reading/approval will take place at the June 25, 2012 meeting.

 

  1. 5113.3 – Religious Holy Days (NEW)

 

Currently, the district does not have a policy that addresses religious holy days.  This very short policy will provide broad-based guidelines to assist administration and staff in planning to accommodate the needs of all.  The Ad-Hoc Committee for Policy Review/Revision did not see this policy; however, it was discussed at their meeting on May 14, 2012.  Since this is a first reading, no action is required; the second reading/approval will take place at the June 25, 2012 meeting.

 

VI.       RECOMMENDED ACTION

            A.        Policy Review/Revision – Second Reading/Adoption

                        1.   6172.61 – Credit for Online Courses (NEW)

                        2.   3541 – Transportation

 

Shipman & Goodwin LLP recommended a new policy for Credit for Online Courses and revisions to the Transportation policy.  The recommendations were reviewed by the Ad-Hoc Committee for Policy Review/Revision at their meeting on May 14, 2012.  A first reading was conducted at the May 29, 2012 Board meeting.  Copies of the revised policies (purple) were provided to Board members at the May 29, 2012 meeting. 

 

Moved by Ms. O’Donnell-Moss, seconded by Ms Erickson, to adopt new policy 6172.61 – Credit for Online Courses and approve the revisions to policy 3541 – Transportation, as presented.

 

FAVOR:         ALL  

MOTION CARRIED:  9:0; including President Brochu

 

            B.         Educational Technology Plan

 

Each school district inConnecticutis required to submit an educational technology plan to the State Department of Education every three years.  The Board was provided with a copy of the educational technology plan that was developed by the District Technology Committee.  Assistant SuperintendentBrian Benignihighlighted aspects of the plan, including the process used in developing the plan, the vision statement, targeted goals, and action steps needed to achieve the goals of the plan.  The plan was submitted to CREC for preliminary approval and will be submitted to the State Department of Education upon Board of Education approval.  Messrs. Benigni and Czuchta and District Technology Specialist David Evon responded to the Board’s questions.

 

Moved by Ms. Richards, seconded by Ms. Kobus, that the Board of Education approve the district’s Educational Technology Plan for the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015, as presented. 

 

FAVOR:         ALL  

MOTION CARRIED:  8:0

 

VII.     ADJOURNMENT

 

Moved by Ms. Campanelli, seconded by Ms. Erickson, to adjourn the meeting at 10:18 p.m.

 

FAVOR:         ALL  

MOTION CARRIED:  8:0

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Irene Matulis, Secretary,BerlinBoard of Education