Governor Malloy’s outline for funding education, which includes changing the cost-sharing formula for towns and cities to make it “more equitable”, and its impact on CT public schools was the subject of an interview by Fox 61 with Dr. Joseph Cirasuolo.
CAPSS, as representatives for the superintendents of CT’s public school districts, is opposed to proposals that would allow school districts with a sufficiently small student enrollment to not employ a superintendent of schools. This opposition is based on the following facts:
- There are 28 school districts in CT with only one school in the district. Of those districts:
- Sixteen are led by part time superintendents who are paid to work only two days a week.
- Nine are led by regional school district superintendents who are shared with other school districts.
- Three are led by full time superintendents.
- Under present legislation, any two or more boards of education can hire the same individual to serve the two or more school districts as long as that individual is certified by the State of CT to be a superintendent of schools.
- Under present legislation, any board of education can select the same individual to serve as both a principal of a school and as the superintendent for the district as long as that individual is certified by the State to serve as both a principal and a superintendent.
- Under present legislation, any school board can make the superintendency for its district part time.
- Proponents of the proposal to allow certain boards of education to not employ a superintendent claim that if enacted, the proposal could result in cost savings without sacrificing efficient and effective leadership for a school district.
Impact Of Mid-Year ECS Reductions In State Financial Aid To Education In 2016-17 & Anticipated Further Reduction In State Financial Aid To Education In 2017-18
The What Will Our Children Lose Coalition (WWOCLC), composed of the CT Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), the CT Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the CT Association of Schools (CAS) and the CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), is concerned about the impact that the mid-year reduction in state financial aid to education in 2016-17 and the anticipated further reduction in state financial aid to education in 2017-18 is having on the quality of the educational programs that are being offered to Connecticut children. While the WWOCLC recognizes the apparently severe fiscal restraints that Connecticut now faces and does not second guess Governor Malloy or the Legislature in regards to how much governmental services they can provide, the WWOCLC wants to make it clear to all Connecticut residents the impact these reductions in state aid for education will have on the programs offered to public school children. That impact will be felt primarily in the areas outlined here:
The Windsor Locks School District (WLSD) presented at the NEASC Annual Meeting and Conference in December 2016. WLSD district leaders, school leaders, teachers, parents and students all contributed to the presentation on WLSD’s shift to student-centered, mastery-based instruction. The following profile is based on their presentation and conversations from the session.
Joseph J. Cirasuolo, ED.D.
Over many years, the state government has imposed on local and regional school districts over 380 mandates. Some of those mandates are directly related to the mission of public education and many of them are not.
All of those that are not directly related to the mission of the public schools have constituted a considerable mission creep that has diverted staff time and financial resources from efforts to accomplish the basic mission of the public schools.
Some of those that are directly related to the schools’ mission have been so crafted as to cause the allocation of more staff time and financial resources than are necessary to meet the basic mission of the schools.
Those that CAPSS is most concerned about this session are detailed here.
The search process to find a new CAPSS Executive Director guided by the CAPSS Board of Directors’ Executive Committee with assistance from Cooperative Educational Services is now complete.
At its meeting on February 3, the CAPSS Board of Directors unanimously voted to appoint Frances (Fran) Rabinowitz as the next Executive Director of CAPSS, effective July 1, 2017. Mrs. Rabinowitz will replace Dr. Joseph Cirasuolo who will retire after providing CAPSS with exceptional leadership for the past nine years.
Fran brings a wealth of experience to this statewide leadership position. In addition to serving as a classroom teacher and district administrator, she has served as the Associate Commissioner of Education for the State of Connecticut, the Superintendent of the Hamden Public Schools and, most recently, as the Interim Superintendent of the Bridgeport Public Schools. For over thirty years, Fran has proven herself as a strong, highly respected and terrific educational leader in the state.
These are both exciting and challenging times for the organization and public education in Connecticut. Fran possesses the vision, expertise and courage necessary to lead CAPSS into the future and she will be a passionate advocate for all of Connecticut’s public school students.
Upon learning of her appointment, Fran stated, “I am honored to have been selected to represent the superintendents throughout the state. It will be my priority to personally connect with superintendents and other stakeholders in every community so that I can best advocate for the educational needs and advancement of all students in Connecticut.”
On behalf of our entire membership, the CAPSS Board of Directors congratulates Fran on her appointment as the next Executive Director of CAPSS and wishes her much success in her new position.
Best regards and with appreciation to the members of the Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Cooperative Educational Services.
Dr. Alan Addley
Evidence suggests that emotional intelligence is a better predictor of success than intellectual aptitude. With today’s students living in a world of increasing stressors, social and emotional learning (SEL) skills are critical in helping our students achieve academic excellence.
One of the eleven themes in CAPSS’ NextEd: Next Steps report, Social and Emotional Learning, elaborates upon the vision and strategies to integrate SEL in schools, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school.
Through a collaboration between educators, the State Department of Education, counselors and others, a process needs to be established to help our students develop self-control, social awareness and group participation skills, in addition to strategies for making decisions and problem-solving skills, while teaching our students how to use these skills when under stress.
CAPSS’ report, NextEd: Next Steps, A Vision and Plan for Transforming Connecticut’s Education System, proposes ten other themes to transform education, putting students at center of a mastery-based, personalized learning system. The full report may be downloaded here.
CompetencyWorks recently released a report titled Reaching the Tipping Point: Insights on Advancing Competency Education in New England, which explores the core concepts of competency education, provides insights in policy and practice across six New England states, and analyzes the impact of competency education on quality, equity, scaling and sustainability.
Competency education is expanding across the country as a means to ensure all students are mastering the skills and knowledge to be successful in college, career and civic life. This webinar draws on lessons learned and insights from leaders and policymakers in New England and is intended for district leadership and policymakers seeking to introduce competency-based education within their states.
Guests Joseph Cirasuolo, Ed.D., Executive Director CAPSS, and Patrice McCarthy, Deputy Director and General Counsel for CABE (Connecticut Association of Boards of Education) join hosts from The Real Story.
Governor Malloy's $50M midyear cut in aid to cities and towns is hitting them hard. Money they need for local schools, money they had budgeted for, is no longer there.
Leaders are also worried about Malloy's plan to revise the formula for doling out state aid. It would give poorer municipalities a lot more, and richer ones, a lot less. They warn that layoffs of teachers and staff could result.
The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) are very concerned about the mid-year cut of $20 Million in education aid to municipalities announced by the Office of Policy and Management yesterday. These cuts are scheduled to take effect immediately and will result in diminished educational opportunities for the students who attend Connecticut’s public schools.
In the few communities where there is the option of a municipality reducing a school system’s budget mid-year, those reductions will take place at a point in the year when just about all of the non-personnel budget items have already been spent. That means that any budget reduction will result in staff reductions and staff reductions result in diminished programs for students. "While we are aware of the difficult budget situation for Connecticut right now, pulling the fiscal rug out from under 169 municipalities is no way to conduct business" said CAPSS Executive Director Joe Cirasuolo. "Stability is critical to superintendents and school boards to ensure that programs and services, long planned for, can be continued as planned.
CABE Executive Director Bob Rader stated that "ECS has always been considered a moral contract between the State and school districts. All districts receive funding as representation of the State's responsibility to ALL students, no matter where they live. Some of the cuts to school districts were so large that they call into question whether that moral contract still exists."
CABE and CAPSS and their members understand the challenge that OPM has with respect to balancing the State’s budget. School system leaders address such challenges every year. In that effort, however, these leaders have first-hand knowledge of the impact of their decisions on students. The decision by the Governor to cut aid to all districts and some by 70, 80, and even over 90%, will make it very difficult for districts to provide the education services students need as we go forward. Accordingly, we stand ready to engage in a conversation with OPM officials with a view towards helping them understand the impact of the decision that was made on the education and therefore, the future lives of Connecticut’s public school students.
Both CABE and CAPSS call upon the Governor to restore the ECS funding and urge the leaders and all members of the Connecticut General Assembly to take all action necessary to protect education funding for all districts.
"While we are aware of the difficult budget situation for Connecticut right now, pulling the fiscal rug out from under 169 municipalities is no way to conduct business" said CAPSS Executive Director Joe Cirasuolo. "Stability is critical to superintendents and school boards to ensure that programs and services, long planned for, can be continued as planned."
CAPSS advances its 2017 Public Policy Agenda for purposes of fostering equity, excellence and innovation in Connecticut’s public schools in alignment with a vision that articulates a schooling that is personalized so that every child learns what they need to know and be able to do to be successful in post high school endeavors.
Priority recommendations include:
- Unfunded Mandates
- Special Education
- 2.5% Cap on Municipal Budgets
- State Budget
- Alliance District Funds
- Personalized Learning
- Stability of School System Leadership
- Student Data Privacy Act
- Statutory Time Requirement Regarding the Programs Provided for Students who are Expelled
Other recommendations include:
- Districty Capacity for Personalized Learning
- Minimum Budget Requirement
- Revenues and Expenditures
The Latest Report from New England’s Common Data Project Shows Regional Gains in Student Attainment
PORTLAND, ME – New England’s four-year high school graduation rate increased by nearly eight percentage points from 2009 to 2015, according to an annual report from the New England Secondary School Consortium’s Common Data Project, which was publicly released today. This increase in graduation rates represents several thousand additional high school students earning diplomas in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont than would have graduated if rates remained the same as in the project’s baseline year of 2010. During the same six-year period, all five Consortium states enacted or strengthened education policies that support proficiency-based, student-centered teaching and learning practices. This is the Consortium’s fourth annual public report on Common Data Project findings.
“The New England Secondary School Consortium is the best example of regional collaboration for educational improvement. It's the only regional example of high schools, universities, and policy makers working in concert to improve achievement levels—and it’s working. This report shows that high school graduation rates have improved from 80 percent to almost 88 percent,” says Tom Vander Ark, Chief Executive Officer of Getting Smart.
Despite significant progress, the report shows that gaps remain between the educational achievement of economically disadvantaged students (i.e., students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch) and other students. The graduation rates of economically disadvantaged students, which make up 40 percent of public high school students in the five Consortium states, fell slightly from last year. And although regional dropout rates are on the decline, economically disadvantaged students continue to drop out of school at significantly higher rates than their peers.
For the first time this year, the report included a six-year graduation rate: across the five Consortium states, 88.7 percent of high school students graduated within six years, which suggests that providing extra time for students to master knowledge and skills—a hallmark of many proficiency-based education systems—can improve graduation rates for all students, especially those who are economically disadvantaged.
“We are proud of the progress we have made in Rhode Island toward improving our graduation rates,” says Ken Wagner, Rhode Island’s Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “This report shows that we are on track toward attaining a graduation rate of 90 percent within four years. While we recognize that we have a lot of work to do to close achievement gaps, we are pleased to see relatively strong graduation rates for English learners. Data reports such as this one help us identify weaknesses and build upon areas of strength.”
Since 2009, the state education agencies from the five Consortium states have used common procedures and methodologies to collect, calculate, and report not only public high school graduation and dropout rates, but also postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and completion rates. Postsecondary data, in particular, shed light on the crucial connection between secondary and postsecondary institutions, and on their shared responsibility to prepare all New England students for meaningful careers and fulfilling lives. This year’s report shows that enrollment in two- and four-year postsecondary institutions rose by three percentage points from 2011–2015, and jumped two percentage points between the 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 school years.
“On the national level, we have realized the importance of states using comparable data and providing transparency in achievement. Data comparability allows us to understand how well our public schools are serving all students from state to state,” says Susan Patrick, Co-founder of CompetencyWorks. “The New England Secondary School Consortium’s Common Data Project is part of a larger call to action to move away from a fixed, one-size-fits-all system toward one that truly supports every learner in building mastery and empowers educators to personalize instruction. As this report suggests, through its impressive collection of comparable data, competency-based learning holds promise to boost learning outcomes.”
The report, as well as the guidelines developed and followed by the participating states, are publicly available on the New England Secondary School Consortium website.
“This fourth report shows that we are on our way to meeting the Consortium’s goal of a 90 percent graduation rate in the five Consortium states,” says David Ruff, Executive Director of the Great Schools Partnership. “The six-year graduation rate, which has reached 90 percent in two of the Consortium states, is particularly promising. It is encouraging to see that even as the New England states work to increase academic expectations and ensure that students meet high standards, our youth are more than capable of rising to the challenge.”
The New England Secondary School Consortium is a regional partnership working to advance forward-thinking innovations in secondary education that will empower the next generation of citizens, workers, and leaders. The Consortium is funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and coordinated by the Great Schools Partnership.
Blythe Armitage, Public Engagement Associate
207.773.0505 | email@example.com
If CT’s school districts are to be transformed so that they are designed to meet the expectation that every student will learn what they need to know and be able to do in order to be successful after they leave public education, the preparation of educators has to also be transformed so that they are prepared to be successful themselves in the transformed school systems. An essential component in the effort to transform preparation programs is the establishment of systemic relationships between the educator preparation institutions and the school districts that employ the educators being prepared by the institutions.
The move towards establishing these relationships has begun by virtue of the establishment of a consortium involving the School of Education at Southern CT State University (SCSU) and the school districts who are the primary employers of the educators prepared by SCSU. This consortium which is now approximately two years old has been the facilitator of a conversation between SCSU staff and the superintendents of the member districts.
Among the first topics covered in these conversations was the superintendents’ perception that SCSU graduates were not sufficiently prepared to teach reading in and of itself and also across the entire curriculum. SCSU has responded to this matter by agreeing to form a sub-committee of the consortium to identify what needs to be done in the preparation programs to remedy this situation. That sub-committee has just begun its work and the hope is that by the end of the 2016-17 school year, the sub-committee will arrive at decisions as to what actions need to be taken with respect to better prepare educators to teach reading across a broad spectrum.
It should be noted that a working understanding among members of the consortium is that the addressing of problems cannot be a one sided effort. In other words, for every problem identified, the solution has to involve actions to be taken not only by SCSU staff but also by the staffs of the school districts involved. The sub-committee just described will abide by this understanding as it develops its proposals for addressing the problem at hand.
Now that this consortium has been established and is functioning in a manner aligned with its purpose, consideration has to be given to establishing similar arrangements between other CT educator preparation institutions and the districts that employ the graduates of those institutions. The structure of these arrangements has to be one that aligns well with the culture of the institutions and the districts involved so that what is happening with the consortium centered at SCSU is not necessarily the best way to structure the relationships that will be centered at other preparation institutions. With that in mind, however, it is time for the establishment of these arrangements to become a high priority item. The degree to which educators are prepared to lead, manage and work in the transformed school systems of the very near future will depend on the success of these efforts.
...will raise the achievement of all students.
Students in the 21st century will live and work in a global society. To prepare them, teaching and learning must be aligned to standards and curricula benchmarked against high-performing schools in this and other nations; investing in ways that enhance opportunities for high-quality and equitable education for students in Connecticut shows the best promise of addressing the nation’s achievement gap.
In Raise the Bar, CAPSS’ NextEd: NextSteps report explores the vision behind “anytime/anywhere” learning opportunities and strategies to make preparing our students for the global economy a reality.
One of eleven themes in NextEd: Next Steps, A Vision and Plan for Transforming Connecticut’s Education System, the complete chapter of Raise the Bar in addition to the ten other themes may be read in their entirety by downloading the report here.
CT School Superintendents testified before the task force (from left to right): Matt Conway, Sharon Locke, Pat Ciccone and Kristin Heckt
The Task Force on Life-Threatening Food Allergies met today for presentations by the CT School Transportation Association (COSTA), Branford Fire Captain Michael Rebmann, and a panel of School Superintendents.
Costa President, and owner of All-Star Transportation Company, Leslie Sheldon began her presentation by noting that safety is a paramount concern for drivers and that all bus companies have safety protocols in place. That being said, drivers are not medical professionals or EMTS and there is already a serious shortage of drivers. Drivers are trained to call for assistance first and not try to intervene themselves.
Superintendent Hernandez and Captain Rebmann spoke about their experience in training bus drivers in the use of epi-pens. Superintendent Hernandez noted that it was a collaborative effort between the school, the bus company and parents. Captain Rebmann noted that, while initially some drivers did not know what to expect and were apprehensive, they quickly became comfortable with the training. The Branford Fire Department conducted the training at no cost to the District or the bus company.
Superintendent Hernandez noted that the District is thinking about keeping epi-pens in the school cafeteria, just as defibrillators are. Cross-contamination and choking hazards were also cited as potential food-related issues.
The Task Force’s allergist noted that one typically has time to deal with an incident of anaphylaxis. Responders typically have minutes (not seconds) to appraise the situation and take action.
It was noted that one of the problems that needs to be dealt with is the “dead zone” issue, where a driver either cannot contact a first responder or there is a significant time lag between the call and the response.
It was suggested that a District should engage in contract negotiations with a bus company early on, and there may be contract provisions that discourage intervention. One example is contracts that prohibit drivers from leaving their seat. Unionized drivers present an additional layer to consider.
The Task Force next heard from a panel of superintendents who spoke about their school policies and experiences. The panel included the Superintendents of the Westbrook, Derby, Naugatuck, and Bolton, as well as Randall Collins of CAPSS. The Superintendents shared a number of different approaches to food allergies among students but one common theme was that all of their food services did not serve any food that contained peanut products or that were source from factories that provide peanut products.
It was noted that the CAPSS survey had been whittled down to five comprehensive survey questions and has been uploaded to Survey Monkey. The response date is November 28th.
“I have been blessed for the past four decades to work with exceptional boards of education, school board leaders, administrators, staff, and parents,” Erardi said in a prepared statement. “In receiving this award, I stand and represent each one of you who has made a difference in the life of a child, one student at a time.”
Dr. Erardi was given the 2017 Superintendent of the Year honor Friday at the convention of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and CAPSS in Groton.
Reported by Rob Ryser, NewsTimes, Nov. 21, 2016
One of the most challenging and, therefore, frustrating issues facing those who are responsible for leading public school districts is the recruitment of members of minority groups to serve as teachers and administrators. The matter is both challenging and frustrating because there are systemic factors that hinder the recruitment of minorities and because increasing the number of minority educators is a very important component of any effort to make sure that every child who attends public schools achieves what they need to know and be able to do to be successful after they leave public education and is also prepared to be an informed citizen in a democracy.
Just about every adult member of a minority group who has previously succeeded in public education can identify at least one minority educator who served as a role model. If you are a child who is a member of a minority group, you need to have direct experience with educators from the same minority group if you are to know fully the possibilities to which you can aspire.
Children who are in the white majority need to have experience with minority educators as a fire wall against the forces of institutional racism that can infect people who are otherwise good and decent. In other words, if a white child never gets to meet and interact with minority educators, that child can fall victim to the stereotypes that too often are promulgated about members of minority groups.
White teachers and administrators who never have an opportunity to work with minority educators and have never been long in any integrated environment can benefit from working with minority educators because they can explain to white educators things about the culture in which minority children live. This helps white teachers and administrators to in turn help minority children achieve to the same standards to which all children are held and engage in behaviors that support that achievement.
This is all by way of explaining why CAPSS supports all effective and reasonable efforts to increase the number of effective minority educators on the staffs of public schools in CT. To that end, CAPSS has entered into an effort with the School of Education at Southern CT State University (SCSU) to increase the number of minority teachers who will be available for school districts who hire most of the graduates of SCSU’s School of Education. Dr. Stephen Hegedus, the Dean of the SCSU School of Education, is providing the leadership at the SCSU level for this effort. His statement regarding this project is as follows.
“A priority for the School of Education at Southern is to attend to the needs of our local schools in the preparation of educators (teachers, school leaders and support staff). Our School-wide strategic plan 2015-2020 outlines several objectives to build collaborative synergies with school districts, learning centers and state agencies. We are committed to addressing the need to recruit and retain minority students and to provide excellent initial and advanced preparation routes into a wide variety of school professions. To move from talk to action I am launching the Minority Educator Initiative to develop concrete, actionable plans and goals to address these needs. Such an initiative will be in part funded by scholarships arising from generous donations to the School of Education and a recent $2.2m bequest.”
CAPSS and SCSU have tapped the expertise present in the CAPSS/SCSU Superintendents Consortium to begin the effort. As a result, several superintendents have volunteered to be part of the initiative; a sign of the collaborative spirit of our endeavors between Southern and its surrounding school districts.
In recent meetings, the SCSU-CAPSS Consortium had expressed the thought that a major issue for the superintendents is the need to strengthen efforts to increase the pool of teachers in areas for which it is hard to find teachers and to increase the pool of qualified minority candidates for teaching positions in general. To this end, the Consortium members reached consensus that the following matters need to be considered:
- Funds have to be made available for minority students to attend a preparation institution.
- Districts have to be encouraged to establish grow your own programs.
- Preparation institutions have to lead students into being certified to teach in areas for which teachers are difficult to find.
- Action has to be taken to increase the attraction of the teaching profession by elevating the societal regard for educators and education
- Those aspects of current educator preparation programs and licensing requirements for being an educator need to be revised so that they do not act as a hindrance for members of minorities to become educators.
The committee of SCSU staff and Superintendent Consortium that will work on this project has the following roster.
Dr Joe Cirasuolo – CAPSS Executive Director
Dr Stephen Hegedus – Dean of Education, SCSU
Dr Marie Nabbout-Cheiban, Professor SCSU, CAEP Coordinator
Dr Deb Newton – Associate Dean of Education, SCSU
Caitlin Pereira, Office of Educational Services, SCSU
Two SCSU student representatives to be elected from organizations (e.g. Dean’s Student Leadership Group, Urban Fellows, Future Teachers)
Superintendent Jeff Solan, Cheshire
Superintendent Jody Goeler, Hamden
Superintendent Janet Robinson, Stratford
Dr Tom Danehy, ACES Executive Director
Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz, Bridgeport
Superintendent Portia Bonner, East Haven
Interim Superintendent of New Haven Public Schools – to be invited
Dr. Margaret Generali, Chair, Department of Counseling and School Psychology, SCSU
Dr. Helen Marx, Department of Curriculum and Learning, SCSU
Dr. Carlos Torre, Department of Curriculum and Learning, SCSU
Dr. Yan Wei, Department of Special Education and Reading, SCSU
Dr. Quintin Robinson, Department of Educational Leadership, SCSU
Dr. Gladys Labas, Chair, Department of Educational Leadership, SCSU
Jim Barber, Director of Community Engagement, SCSU
Representative from Division of Student Affairs, SCSU
CAPSS launched a free mobile app featuring one-touch access to information. Save time while on the go!
An individual student’s abilities and challenges will determine the pace at which they’ll progress through school, with support systems in place to assure they master graduation standards. This is the vision for Make it Personal.
Students learn best when they build on current knowledge and personal interests. Personalization recognizes this and further creates the ability for students to learn in a variety of settings as well as to demonstrate their proficiency and skills.
In addition, it is important to not only tailor learning to an individual student’s needs and abilities, but also to give each of them a voice in the learning process and choice on how to demonstrate their learning.
Today, CompetencyWorks released a new report: Reaching the Tipping Point: Insights on Advancing Competency Education in New England. This paper explores K-12 competency-based education policy and practice across six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Competency education is expanding across the country as a means to ensure all students are mastering the skills and knowledge to be successful in college, career and civic life. This paper explores the core concepts of competency education, provides insights in policy and practice across six New England states, and analyzes the impact of competency education on quality, equity, scaling and sustainability. This report draws lessons learned and insights from educators and policymakers in New England and is intended for district leadership and policymakers seeking to introduce competency-based education within their states.
On Sunday, August 28, 2016, Dr. Joseph Cirasuolo, Executive Director of CAPSS, discussed with Matt Dwyer the current issues that Connecticut's public schools are facing this coming school year.
Investment in preschool is one of the most effective reform policies.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, early exposure to language lays the foundation for literacy and multiple opportunities for complex play helps to develop social, mental, and physical abilities.
Start with Early Childhood, envisions every child in Connecticut having access to high-quality, developmentally appropriate educational opportunities to provide a strong foundation for formal learning.
Read about the importance of early childhood education and further strategies and action steps recommended by CAPSS in NextEd: Next Steps, A Vision and Plan for Transforming Connecticut’s Education System. The report may be read by downloading it here.