CT Education Leaders Write President TrumpPinned:
Posted 03/22/2017 10:36AM

(CBS Connecticut) – Connecticut education leaders have written President Donald Trump, seeking clarification about his administration’s policies regarding the roundup of undocumented immigrants.

Read complete CBS Connecticut article

Last week a direct appeal was made to President Trump from education leaders in Connecticut.

CAPSS Executive Director Speaks Out
Posted 03/22/2017 10:26AM

Dr. Joseph Cirasuolo, Executive Director of CAPSS, spoke with several Connecticut news agencies yesterday about the need to protect public school students from being apprehended in their classrooms by federal agents and/or state and local officials for the purpose of potential deportation.

CAPSS Comments on HB 7035
Posted 03/22/2017 09:00AM

The CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), which represents the superintendents of CT’s public school systems and the members of the central office staffs of those systems, has the following comments regarding the Governor’s recommendation for State financial support for public education in school years 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Read comments

CAPSS Supports a Number of Components of RB 7276
Posted 03/22/2017 09:00AM

The CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), which represents the superintendents of CT’s public school districts, is pleased to see that the legislature is considering giving school districts some relief from the approximately 400 unfunded mandates under which CT’s school districts are forced to operate often at the expense of providing for the children served by the districts the educational program that could be provided for them if the mandate burden was relieved.  Accordingly, CAPSS does support a number of the components of RB 7276 AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATION MANDATE RELIEF.

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We strongly support enactment of SB 1008
Posted 03/17/2017 10:00AM

CAPSS, which represents the superintendents of CT’s public school districts, strongly supports enactment of SB 1008, AN ACT CONCERNING THE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF BOARDS OF EDUCATION RESULTING FROM RESIDENTIAL PLACEMENTS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES (DDS), for the several reasons.

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CAPSS supports enactment of HB 7255
Posted 03/16/2017 10:00AM

CAPSS, which represents the superintendents of CT’s public school district, supports enactment of HB 7255, AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO CONDUCT A FEASIBILITY STUDY REGARDING THE CREATION OF A SPECIAL EDUCATION PREDICTABLE COST COOPERATIVE, for several reasons.

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We oppose enactment of HB 7252
Posted 03/15/2017 10:07AM

CAPSS, which represents the superintendents of CT’s public school districts, opposes enactment of HB 7252, AN ACT ESTABLISHING AN ADJUDICATION PROCESS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION AND THE RIGHT OF PARENTS TO OBSERVE THEIR CHILD AT SCHOOL, in its present form for several reasons.

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Appeal to President Donald J. Trump
Posted 03/14/2017 04:31PM

Dear Mr. President:

Members of boards of education, superintendents of schools and their central office staffs, school building administrators, especially teachers and most especially children in CT’s public schools are alarmed throughout the state by the specter of federal agents and/or state and local officials who assist them coming to schools and/or school events and apprehending children for the purpose of potential deportation.  The alarm itself is disrupting learning and if federal agents and/or state and local officials who assist them begin apprehending children in schools and/or school events, the alarm and the resultant disruption in learning will be extremely harmful to all children who attend CT’s public schools.

Read the complete letter

CAPSS Strongly Opposes HB 7050 Act
Posted 03/09/2017 12:36PM

The CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), which represents the superintendents of CT’s public school systems and the members of the central office staffs of those systems, strongly opposes the provision of HB 7050, An Act Concerning Enhancements to Municipal Finance and Accountability which would in effect require municipalities to cover annually 1/3 of the contribution that the State is obligated to make to the Teacher Retirement Pension Program.

CAPSS recognizes the need to make sure that the Teacher Retirement System is actuarially sound and that it does not place upon the State a financial burden that will be crippling in the future to the provision of State programs, assistance and services. The Act’s provision that in effect would compel municipalities to shoulder 1/3 of the financial burden for the System does nothing to make the System sound and sustainable. All it does is transfer from the State to local municipalities the result of the fact that the System has not been studied for soundness and sustainability.

This transferal to the local level is not without consequences because it is highly unlikely that local governments would accommodate the transferal without establishing school system budgets that would reduce the programs being offered to children served by the school systems.


Workshops Now Registering
Posted 02/22/2017 04:03PM

CAPSS presents a Leadership and Learning Series:
Technology Tools that Leverage Student Centered Learning

Designed for leadership teams consisting of Superintendents, board members, and key district/school leaders, this multiple session series will highlight the digital trends and tools that are transforming teaching and learning in support of student centered learning and 21st century skills.

April 26, 2017

Session 1 : Critical Thinking for the Information Age
8:30am - 11:30am

Session 2 : An Introduction to Skills 21
12:30pm - 2:30pm

May 18, 2017

Session 3: Leveraging Social Media to your Personalized learning Initiative
8:30am - 11:30am

Radisson Hotel
100 Berlin Road, Cromwell, CT

More Information

Position on State Aid to Public Education
Posted 02/22/2017 02:14PM

CABE, CAS, CCER, ConnCAN and CAPSS call upon State policy makers to initiate this year a collaborative process that includes representatives of all those who deliver public education services in CT as well as representatives of all those who are impacted by those services with a view to a recommendation for a new funding system being presented to the Governor and Legislature by January 1, 2018.

Read the complete Position Statement

Superintendents Release Statement on Burden of Proof
Posted 02/22/2017 01:20PM

The current "burden of proof" law forces School Districts to make a business decision about a child’s education to protect the financial interests of the District rather than an educational decision that benefits the needs of the individual child. Additionally, the law diverts increasingly underfunded resources away from all students in the district.

Read the complete Statement

Impact on CT Public Schools of State's Education Funding
Posted 02/15/2017 09:31AM

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.

View the interview

Opposition to Proposals Allowing Small Districts Not to Employ a Superintendent
Posted 02/14/2017 02:07PM

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.

Read the complete Position Paper

Impact of Mid-Year ECS Reductions in State Financial Aid to Education
Posted 02/08/2017 11:43AM

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:

Mastery-Based, Personalized Learning System in CT
Posted 02/08/2017 09:07AM

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.

Read the complete profile.

Unfunded State Mandates on Local School Districts
Posted 02/07/2017 01:06PM

Joseph J. Cirasuolo, ED.D.
Executive Director 

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.

CAPSS Announces New Executive Director
Posted 02/07/2017 10:58AM

Frances RabinowitzThe 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
CAPSS President

Social & Emotional Skills Critical to Achieving Academic Excellence
Posted 01/18/2017 03:11PM

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.

Webinar: Insights on Advancing Competency Ed in New England
Posted 01/17/2017 12:39PM

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.

View webinar

Budget Cuts Topic of Conversation on FOX CT
Posted 01/17/2017 12:13PM

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.

View the discussion

ESC Cuts Mid-Year Will Hurt Students
Posted 01/04/2017 11:46AM

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.

Budget Stability, Not Cuts, Critical to Superintendents
Posted 01/04/2017 10:10AM

"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."

Read the full article here

CAPSS 2017 Public Policy Agenda
Posted 01/03/2017 12:47PM

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

View/download the complete report

New England's HS Graduation Rates on the Rise
Posted 12/27/2016 11:45AM

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.


Media Contact
Blythe Armitage, Public Engagement Associate
207.773.0505 | barmitage@greatschoolspartnership.org

To lead the continuous improvement of public education for all students by advocating public policy for children and by developing and supporting executive school leaders.



Connecticut Association of
Public School Superintendents

26 Caya Ave | West Hartford CT 06110-1186
Phone: 860.236.8640 | Fax 860.236.8628
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