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It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

Upton Sinclair

the height of irony

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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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Climate Models Reviewed

The use of climate models is difficult for many people to understand, yet the results are important to the economy. Using these models, politicians make demands on energy restrictions and cost. In Connecticut, we pay a premium on electricity to install “clean” energy. Recently, Professor Judith Curry released a paper at the Global Warming Policy Foundation discussing the formation and use of climate models. Professor Curry is the author of over 180 scientific papers on weather and climate who recently retired from the Georgia Institute of Technology after numerous attacks on her scientific work as she has discussed here.

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Through The Looking Glass

One aspect of the science of global warming is the measurement of ground temperature on a local basis. This is followed by placing the data on a worldwide grid and extrapolating to areas that don’t have data. The local measurement site in the northwest corner of Connecticut is in Falls Village, near the old powerhouse. The data from that site appears to start in 1916 according to NASA records; it shows intermittent warming of about 0.5 degrees C over the last 100 years. However, NASA recently decided to modify that data in a direct display of political convenience to exaggerate the current rate of warming. What follows is a look at the data record as given on the site for NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), a look at alternate facts.

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The Magic Wand

As a physicist, I am frequently asked about global warming and climate change. Global warming has been on again, and off again, for the last 160 years coming out of the Little Ice Age. The increase in temperature has been largely beneficial allowing for greater food production and more livable land.

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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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Merry Christmas

… and a happy new year

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The Boojum

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;    They pursued it with forks and hope;   They threatened its life with a railway share;    They charmed it with smiles and soap.

Such runs Lewis Carroll’s description of the Hunting of the Snark. His imaginary images of people and prey ring as true today as they did over a century ago. And presidential elections are hunts of the first kind, where the prey is demonized in order to allow all sorts of ridiculous analogies. But the hunt must end, even if the delusions it created go on.

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