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we have managed to transfer religious belief into gullibility for whatever can masquerade as science.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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The Broken Rung

During the last month, the administration at Housatonic has moved to revamp the class schedule to implement personalized learning. The new schedule must necessarily be an extended period schedule (block schedule) in order to provide time for extended instruction. Parent complaints about this change are mounting. I believe that the community should be aware of some aspects of the situation that may not be obvious, to the parents or to the boards of education.

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The Skating Rink

In the last few years, The Connecticut State Department of Education created a new system of accountability for the state’s schools. This system includes measurement of academic performance for each school in the state. Their intention appeared to be an expansion of simple measures of student achievement to a broader set of indices to include student growth. However, the change to using SAT scores at the high school level appears to have defeated part of that purpose; individual students are harder to track. Still, if high school test results are combined with the entrance of graduates into post-secondary education, the results are informative. Housatonic Valley Regional High School appears to be in the lower third when compared to other area schools. And the academic performance at Housatonic is getting worse.

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Apoplectic

What does Housatonic Valley Regional High School have in common with the high schools in Hartford, Waterbury, Derby, Meriden, and Westbrook? Really really poor performance on the Advanced Placement (AP) tests for the class of 2016. Even hyperbola cannot cover these results.

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Shoulder The Burden

Governor Malloy

Earlier this year, Governor Malloy presented a proposed budget to the state legislature that includes passing on part of the cost of teacher retirements to the towns. That proposal would expect each town to pay one third of the cost of the state’s retirement allocation based on the actual number of teachers currently employed in that town. For Regional school systems, each town would also accrue costs proportional to the number of students enrolled multiplied by the number of regional teachers. Thus, the cost for the high school and special education teachers employed by Region 1 would pass to each town by the appropriate average daily enrollments.

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The Wind in the Willows

Andrea Downs, Chairman, Region 1 Board of Education

Subject: March 6th BOE meeting

Dear Parents and Students,

I am writing to you today as the Chair of the Region 1 Board of Education. I think it is important to share some thoughts and procedural issues with all of you prior to our monthly business meeting on March 6th, 2017.

The BOE is educating themselves about the many concerns parents, students and staff have in relation to the proposed schedule changes for the 2017/2018 school year. We were not at the meeting on February 23rd because it was a parent meeting and not a board meeting. The link to the video has been sent to all of us for our review. Each of us has also spoken to a number of parents, students and staff on a one on one basis and we will continue to do so.

Unfortunately, it would appear that a lot of misinformation was disseminated throughout our broader community in a way that is causing all stakeholders to feel fearful and anxious about this change. We can understand this when parents and students do not feel that they have all of the information, or if no venue has been proposed in which to ask their questions.

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Toboggan Run

The projections for the enrollment of students in Region 1 continue to decrease. The projections by NESDEC show the result of net aging and migration. They said, “K-8 enrollments in Region #1 are forecast to decrease by 110 students; and the high school level to decrease by about 36 pupils…all within the next three years – as the smaller classes move up the grades.” For Housatonic Valley Regional High School, this means that the enrollment will drop to 377 students next year, and 349 by 2020. However, having six towns in the Region does make a difference compared to Region 12 and Shepaug.

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Region 1 Assistant Superintendent of Schools

LisaCarter@carterteach111

On Thursday, February 16, 2017, the Region 1 Board of Education formally selected Lisa B. Carter as its new Assistant Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1, 2017.  Carter, an educator in Region 1 for more than 14 years, has served as Principal of Salisbury Central School since 2011. She began her education career as a Social Studies teacher at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, where, in addition to being an exceptional teacher, she collaborated with her colleagues to initiate the student exchange with China and the Civic Life Project.

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Region 1 Search Committee

At the Region 1 Board of Education meeting this evening [1/09/17], the Board accepted a Leadership Profile to guide the selection of a new assistant superintendent of schools. This action completes the first phase of the search process to fill the vacancy that will be created when Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain retires in June and Assistant Superintendent Pam Vogel becomes Region 1’s next superintendent. Mary Broderick, our consultant with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Search Services, presented the Leadership Profile to the Search Committee (comprised of Region 1 Board and ABC Committee members), last week. The report is based on conversations with over 60 individuals and 111responses to an online survey. The Search Committee deeply appreciates the time and commitment staff and community members demonstrated by participating in this process. The Leadership Profile will be posted on the Region 1 website on Tuesday, January 10. The website is located at: http://www.region1schools.org/. The Search Committee will conduct semi-finalist interviews later this month.

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Dishonest State Government Strikes

The governor of Connecticut, bless his heart, has cut the Educational Cost sharing funds to our towns at year end, long after the budgets are in motion.  The cuts for each town, with Salisbury taking most of the hit in Region 1.

Town ECS Cuts
Canaan ($9,421)
Cornwall ($16,523)
Kent ($25,634)
North Canaan ($19,984)
Salisbury ($49,305)
Sharon ($32,143)
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Two Questions

nesceckentenrollment

The Kent Board of Education faces two very urgent questions. First, how does Kent Center School change to better prepare their students for high school? Second, what is the staffing plan for Kent Center School when enrollment falls to 180-190 students in three to four years? At their regular meeting this week, Assistant Superintendent Pam Vogel asked them to understand the changes taking place at the high school and what that implied for Kent Center School. They also heard from a high school student from Kent who outlined the perceptive differences of the education in each elementary school as viewed in high school classes. The Board responded by verbally attacking Vogel while demanding local autonomy and input from local teachers.

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