Back To School 2019

It’s a new school year, and as fall approaches the leaves will not be the only things changing. The new school year brings new faculty and staff, and new programs throughout north central Connecticut.

East Windsor
East WIndsor High School Principal Edward Kelleher will be leaving to become principal of  Fitch High School in Groton. “We are looking to get an interim principal at this time and will make a final decision about timing the search,” Superintendent of Schools Christine DeBarge said.

Darryl Rouillard, who had been the assistant principal at the high school, is now the director of curriculum position for the district. Barbara Kaminski is the school’s new assistant principal. She had been a history teacher at Bristol Eastern High School.

“We continue to focus on meeting the goals of the Board of Education Strategic plan especially in the areas of instruction including moving forward with our work on Portrait of the Graduate; continuing to modify our Service Team process for students who need additional assistance; finalizing curriculum in a few areas, with a focus on our specials subjects like art, music, Family and Consumer Science electives. Our high school is continuing to get ready for the NEASC visit, scheduled for spring of this school year,” DeBarge said.

 “We also continue our professional development on restorative practice and using our beliefs in that to respond to students who struggle with behavioral expectations,” she said.

In Ellington there are new principals at Windermere, Center and Ellington Middle schools, Superintendent of Schools Scott Nicol said.

Michael Verderame is the new principal of Center School. He was instructional supervisor for curriculum and instruction for the Wethersfield schools.

Jennifer Hill is the principal of Windermere School. She was director of teaching and learning and learning/assistant principal of the Porter School in Columbia, Conn.

Michelle Murray and Michael Nash are co-principals of Ellington Middle School Murray was the Ellington district’s curriculum supervisor. Nash was an assistant principal at Ellington High and at the middle school.

Liz Cole has been promoted to assistant principal at the high school.

“It’s shaping up to be a calm and typical opening for the students,” Nicol said.

In Enfield the building committee is working on plans for work on the John F. Kennedy Middle School following the passage of the referendum. Superintendent of Schools Christopher Drezek said they hope to break ground on the project during the school year.

Eagle Academy Therapeutic and Academic School has opened. The program is aimed at bringing as many special education students back to Enfield as possible rather than being placed in programs outside of town. 

Head Start has been relocated to the Stowe Early Learning Center to allow it to be with the town’s other early learning programs.

Enfield High School students will be receiving iPads as part of the school systems effort to move to 1-1 technology. “Our hope is to expand that down to the middle school,” Drezek said.

The school system is implementing its strategic plan this year, Superintendent of Schools Brian Czapla said. Over the next five years, the schools will focus on high academic achievement for all, meaningful and personalized professional development and the skill sets students will need to succeed in an ever-changing global society.

Somers Elementary School is implementing a new language arts program, Fountas and Pinnell. It is a researched-based program that targets areas of language arts development. 

The Mabelle B. Avery Middle School has a new principal, Margot Martello, and a new assistant principal, Michael McDonnel.

Construction on the Somers High School Athletic Facility has begun. 

“This is one component of the $6 million Board of Education Long-Range Facility Plan that will be implemented during the next three years. The new athletic facility will provide our student-athletes with a great venue to practice and host competitions. It will include a new turf field, lights, a sound system, and bleachers capable of seating five-hundred fans. The projected completion is the spring of 2020,” Czapla said.

The Stafford schools have a new math curriculum this year, Superintendent of Schools Steven Moccio said.

The Bridges Math Program is being used in grades pre-K through 5. They are using illustrative math in the upper grades.

They are expanding the Foundations phonics word program this year to include the second grade.

Moccio said the school system held summer institutes where teachers with particular expertise could share that with other faculty and support staff.

“It’s nice to have the collaboration of the staff,” he said. “We’re on a positive upswing.”

Suffield schools begin the year with new top leadership. Timothy Van Tasel started as superintendent of schools on July 1. He is the former superintendent of the Hebron schools.

Van Tasel said the schools have a number of new programs this year, particularly focusing on social-emotional learning with a variety of programs at different levels.

The schools have a partnership with Teachers College using a readers and writers workshop model. They are working with those who wrote the curriculum, Van Tasel said.

The high school has a new Advanced Placement Class in human geography.

Van Tasel said the district is focusing on civic mindedness with the theme of “Making Connections.” They are reaching out to the community and supporting cancer research this year, he said.

“It’s about the community partnership,” he said.

Windsor Locks“The district is continuing its quest in promoting a mastery-based learning system that is personalized for students.  The class of 2020 will be the first graduating class to have fully performed under this system that began when they were sixth graders,” Superintendent of Schools Shawn Parkhurst said.

The district has embedded three new Adult Core Values as part of this, Parkhurst said — ensure equity, build relationships and set expectations.

“The biggest tweak that students, families and staff will see in the 19-20 school year is in the area of assessment. The district will no longer use the NWEA MAP testing which has been costing the district money each year, but shifting to embedding the CSDE interim assessments to provide our students with alignment to standards as well as familiarity with the structure and format of the high stakes test,” the superintendent said.

“At the high school level our students will be provided with targeted SAT lessons and personalize practice through the College Board materials as well as the use of Khan Academy during Raider Block,” he said.

He added the overall goal is to see an increase in students’ success on these tests without teaching to the test.

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