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February 26, 2021

CAPSS Blueprint to Transform Connecticut's Public Schools_LR page
General News & Announcements
CSDE and Bloomboard - Explore and Deepening Our Equity Mindset Professional Learning

To support our collective commitment to advancing equity to accelerate learning, the CSDE has partnered with Bloomboard to provide a professional learning course focused on deepening our equity mindset at no cost. This opportunity will grow our professional learning network to engage in courageous conversations to create equity-based classrooms, teaching and learning. This course creates a foundation for all district work specific to growing an equity mindset.

More information will be forthcoming.

SAVE THE DATES: CCSU Superintendent and Executive District Leader Preparation Program

Ten highly regarded Connecticut superintendents will serve on panels to share the challenges and rewards of the superintendency. Learn about Central Connecticut State University's Superintendent Certificate Program. Click for details regarding the virtual information sessions to be held on February 17 and March 4.

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Legislative Leaders Available to Meet with Students or Virtual Classes

We are reaching out to you because lately when you turn on the news it's impossible to escape headlines focused entirely on the division in Washington D.C., the lack of cooperation between two political parties, and the turmoil caused by partisanship.  But in reality, differences in policy and approaches do not result in the destruction of government. As we have experienced firsthand as legislative leaders representing two different political parties, government works best when a difference of opinions is seen as a strength, not a weakness.
 
Over the last six years we represented our respective political parties in the Connecticut General Assembly as Democratic Speaker of the House and Senate Republican Leader. Over those years, we worked together, we reached across party lines, and we brought different perspectives together in productive debates that led to historic bipartisan policies to help the people of our state.
 
It is alarming to us that young people growing up now and watching Washington politics may get the impression that all government is hamstrung by toxic political division. What we see on the news every day in Washington is not how our nation was intended to operate – and it is not what happens here in Connecticut, as well as in many states across our country. Division can be captivating. Political differences often make it into the headlines, while instances of cooperation don’t get the same attention. But it is important to learn about how government, even when parties disagree, works when lawmakers from different parties and walks of life bring our ideas together.
 
During our time as legislative leaders we didn’t always agree, but we always worked through our differences. Our nation was founded on the unique principle that all voices deserve to be heard and the people who lead our government, especially in the legislative branch, are responsible for bringing different perspectives together. Differences of opinion are a good thing for democracy and our constitutional republic. They lead to robust debate and lawmaking that truly embraces an open marketplace of ideas to create the best legislation possible.
 
While we represented two different parties, we always shared the same goal – to help the most people in our state. We also shared the same approach to lawmaking. Neither of us thought we alone had all the answers. We both understood that the best legislation is that which has input from all sides and perspectives.
 
Our ask is given the national political climate, we hope to share our experiences with the next generation and would be honored to speak to your students, side by side as a Democrat and a Republican, about our experiences in government and politics. Having both retired from the state legislature this year and both having leadership experiences to share, we are in a unique position where we are both fresh out of the legislature and are eager to make time to spend with students to share our experiences.
 
More about who we are:
 
Joe Aresimowicz, former Democratic Connecticut Speaker of the House (2014-2020), state lawmaker since 2004 Represented Berlin and Southington.
 
Len Fasano, former Senate Republican Leader (2014-2020).  Represented the 34th Senate District communities of Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford from 2003 -2020.
 
What we propose:
 
This is an important and confusing time in our history and we hope to meet with students to discuss our experiences leading the state legislature, including how we worked through differences and embraced diverse political perspectives in the lawmaking process. The national political climate appears to thrive on division. But our real-life experiences in politics and government here in Connecticut thrived on respectful debate, working through our differences, and bringing all perspectives to the table. We don’t want our future leaders to grow up thinking the headlines on the division in Washington D.C. is how government in our great nation operates.

We can be available for in-person socially distanced conversations with students, as well as available to meet with classes in a virtual format.
 
To discuss further, please contact Len Fasano at 203-640-4176 or Joe Aresimowicz at 860-371-6887.

Just Drive PSA Video Contest

The first 20 schools to register automatically get a $500 grant!

Impact Teen Drivers invites young people to create original works showcasing their SOLUTIONS or STRATEGIES to fix the very real problem of distracted driving. Thanks to the generous support from NJM Insurance Group, students aged 14-22 can enter a 30-second PSA into the individual category and win up to $5,000 in the form of an educational grant!

In addition to the individual category, we have another exciting category for teachers and advisors to participate in a distracted driving social media campaign with their students. Teachers can win up to $10,000 for their classroom/school.

MORE INFORMATION

Sacred Heart University 093 Cohort for Fall of 2021

Sacred Heart University is now accepting applications for its next 093 cohort for fall of 2021. This weekends-only program begins in September and concludes in May. If you know of qualified aspiring superintendents, please have them contact Dr. David Title, Program Director at titled@sacredheart.edu or go to the website at this link. An on-line information session is scheduled for February 25. Registration can be done at the website.
 
David G. Title
Clinical Assistant Professor
Director, Ed.D. Program
Director, 093 Superintendent Certification Program
 
Sacred Heart University
Farrington College of Education
Fairfield, CT
 
203-365-4810 (office)
203-610-2413 (cell)

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Workshops: Fostering a Learning Environment For All

CES presents Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Workshops
February-May

The Professional Development Services team at Cooperative Educational Services (CES) has three workshop series this winter and spring that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. The virtual, multi-workshop series are designed to give educators tools needed to create educational environments that foster the DEI principles. The first series begins Feb. 11. For more information and links to register, visit www.ces.k12.ct.us/dei. Spots in the workshops are limited.

The virtual, multi-workshop series with hosts and dates are:

Building LGBTQ-Inclusive Schools
Seth Wallace / Feb. 11, March 4, March 18

Fostering Cultural Humility in Ourselves & Our Students
Michele Stewart-Copes / March 4, March 11, April 8, April 29

Fostering Equitable Changes in Policy, Practice & Curriculum
Femi Skanes / Feb. 23, March 23, April 20, May 18

CES is one of the six Regional Educational Service Centers established by the state legislature to provide supports and services to the public school districts. Together they make up the RESC Alliance.

Are You Proud of Your School Business Official?

Recognition Award Nominations

CASBO is dedicated to acknowledging exemplary business managers and their service to the betterment of education for the students of Connecticut. CASBO has three recognition awards—Connecticut Celebrated School Business Official Award, Rising Star Award and Best Practices Award.

The Connecticut Celebrated School Business Official and Rising Star Awards were created to acknowledge the value and contributions of outstanding school business officials. Nominees are evaluated based upon their contributions to their profession, regardless of the size of their districts and their job titles. These awards are meant to honor an individual both for current accomplishments and sustained contributions. The Rising Star Award is reserved for those who have had their certification for 10 or less years.

The purpose of the Best Practices Award is to identify effective and innovative uses of public resources in support of education, and to disseminate the ideas or practices for the benefit of public schools in Connecticut.

Please consider nominating your district's school business official.  Deadline for nominations is March 18, 2021.

Learn More

Teacher Residency Program (TRP)

The Teacher Residency Program (TRP) in partnership with CREC and the RESC alliance is still seeking districts in the ACES, CES and LEARN regions and accepting applications for Residents for all four locations including CREC.   This program is an alternate route to elementary certification that provides college graduates with eighteen months of coursework and a full-year residency with pay and benefits and specifically designed to recruit and retain teachers of color. Recently, it has been determined that Title I funds can be used to support resident salaries and benefits and the mentor stipend in Title I schools.

For details, registering for events and more information about applying to be a resident, visit our website.  Also check out this video with a few of our residents and President-Elect Joe Biden’s pick for U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel A. Cardona. 

Blended Learning

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and its Connecticut State Chapter, Connecticut Education Technology Leaders Association (CTETL), are pleased to collaborate with the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) to support the work of current and aspiring superintendents and district leadership teams in leading all aspects of digital learning transformations.

The Empowered Superintendent edWebinar Series
“Leading Learning in a Blended Environment: What Works for Students, Teachers and Administrators”

The upcoming episode of the monthly EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series, co-hosted by CoSN, AASA and edWeb.net, and sponsored by ClassLink, airs on Monday, March 8, 2021 at 5:00 pm ET. The March webinar is titled Leading Learning in a Blended Environment: What Works for Students, Teachers and Administrators. In this edWebinar, three superintendents, including Connecticut’s own Dr. Mark Benigni, Superintendent Meriden Public Schools, CT, Dr. Alan Siebert, Superintendent Salem City Schools, VA and Dr. Jason Van Heukelum, Superintendent, Winchester Public Schools, VA share the leadership strategies they have employed to get the most out of blended learning for their students, teachers and administrators. Diane Doersch, Technology Director for the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Program at Digital Promise will also join in the conversation. Examples of effective blended learning strategies will be shared along with resources to assist others in leading and implementing successful blended learning environments.

Free registration for the March 8, 2021 webinar is now available at: https://home.edweb.net/webinar/supers20210208/.
Webinars in this series are also freely available as recordings at https://home.edweb.net/supers/ and via podcast at https://home.edweb.net/podcasts/ a day or two after the initial live broadcast.

Leading Digital Learning – CoSN Resources
A one-page document,Leadership for Digital Learning provides leaders with four essential essential components for leading blended learning in 1-to-1 environments. Additionally the CoSN Leadership for Digital Learning Initiative web page is designed to help educational leaders overcome barriers to effectively develop, plan, implement and manage policies and best practices. The published resources are on-point and relevant to district leaders in the “new normal” of constant change.

COSN 2021 
The 2021 Annual CoSN Conference, scheduled for March 2-4, features interactive breakout sessions, LIVE keynotes, unique networking opportunities, and more. Learn more and register for CoSN 2021 at: https://cosnconference.org.

CoSN Membership
If your school or district would like more information about joining CoSN or getting more involved with CoSN, please contact Brian Calvary, CAE, CoSN Director of Membership and Chapters, at bcalvary@cosn.org.

Virtual College Fair

The College Board will be hosting a series of virtual college fairs coming in February and March.  There will be hundreds of colleges participating along with breakout sessions with the college admissions staff where students and parents can ask questions and learn more.  The virtual fair is called Big Future Days because it ties into the College Board’s Big Future website.  We hope to spread the word and get lots of students registered for the event.  

Big Future Days includes the following:

  • A regional series of free, virtual college fairs for high school sophomores and juniors.  Students can attend more than one.
  • Helps students connect with hundreds of colleges, admissions officers, and current college students
  • Gives students a tailored experience so that they can establish connections with colleges and take action on important college planning tasks like building a college list and identifying scholarships   
  • Includes workshops and seminars on topics of interest to help students understand the steps leading to college

We are asking schools to support this effort by ensuring your students and their families learn about these free, virtual college events by:

  1. Sharing the attached BigFuture Days flyer with counselors, teachers, students, and families.
  2. Using the attached educator toolkit to help you and your staff spread the word
  3. Having students register by visiting: cb.org/bigfuturedays

Check out the website (cb.org/bigfuturedays) to learn more, but if you have any questions feel free to reach out.  Take care and thanks for passing this along to the team.    

Alan Bernstein
Senior Director, State and District Partnerships

The College Board
1601 Trapelo Road, Suite 12
Waltham, MA 02451
617.455.5457
abernstein@collegeboard.org

Coronavirus Resources
CDC Publishes Guidelines for Reopening Schools - by Shipman & Goodwin

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) published in May 2020 its “interim guidance” for reopening various sectors of our communities, including schools.  The guidance provides the CDC’s “recommendations to keep communities safe while resuming peer-to-peer learning and providing crucial support for parents and guardians returning to work.”  

Interim Guidance on Scaling Up School Operations
The CDC’s interim guidance for schools is laid out in a series of three steps designed to inform a gradual “scaling up” of operations based on the “scope and nature of community mitigation.” For each step, the CDC provides recommendations and safety actions designed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as schools begin to reopen.  The interim guidance does not specify how or when a school would advance from one step to another.

Step 1 - Schools that are currently closed, remain closed. E-learning or distance learning opportunities should be provided for all students. Support provision of student services such as school meal programs, as feasible. Camps should be restricted to children of essential workers and for children who live in the local geographic area only.”

Step 2 - Remain open with enhanced social distancing measures and for     children who live in the local geographic area only.”

 The interim guidance does not address how such restrictions would be applied in the context of magnet schools, inter-district programs or independent schools.  

 “Step 3 -  Remain open with distancing measures. Restrict attendance to those from limited transmission areas (other Step 3 areas) only.”

The interim guidance provides recommendations that are specific to each “step.” For example, there are very specific recommendations regarding such matters as the spacing and direction of desks, mixing of student groups, food service operations, restrictions on visitors to schools and numerous other educational functions.  Additionally, there are many measures that are universally applicable to all steps.  Those measures include: promoting healthy hygiene practices; intensifying cleaning, disinfection and ventilation; limiting sharing materials; training all staff; checking for signs and symptoms of COVID-19; and planning for when a staff member, student, or visitor becomes sick.  

With regard to face coverings in particular, the interim guidance recognizes that “face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school.”  The guidance goes on to recommend that “face coverings should be worn by staff and encouraged in students (particularly older students) if feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.”   
Additionally, the CDC explains that the following should be maintained during each step:

  • Establish and maintain communication with local and State authorities to determine current mitigation levels in your community.
  • Protect and support staff and students who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as by providing options for telework and virtual learning.
  • Follow CDC’s Guidance for Schools and Childcare Programs.
  • Provide teachers and staff from higher transmission areas (earlier Step areas) telework and other options as feasible to eliminate travel to schools and camps in lower transmission (later Step) areas and vice versa.
  • Encourage any other external community organizations that use the facilities also follow this guidance.

Next Steps
The CDC interim guidance is one piece in an evolving puzzle related to the reopening of schools.  The Governor and the Commissioner of Education are engaged in addressing the multitude of considerations associated with the reopening of schools. For example, on June 1, 2020, the Governor issued the document, Rules for operating Summer School during COVID-19.  It authorized Superintendents to begin in-person summer school classes on July 6, 2020 only if (1) locations comply with the requirements set forth within the document and with the CDC Decision Tool (available here); and (2) plans have been reviewed with Local Directors of Public Health and school medical advisors, if applicable.  Independent schools and other non-public schools are encouraged to follow the same schedule and guidance.  The guidance concerning school reopening is continuously changing.  Schools should continue to monitor any Executive Orders released by Governor Lamont and guidance from the State Department of Education and relevant state agencies, as they relate to the reopening of schools. Schools should also continue to monitor the CDC and State websites for guidance regarding the same.

Please continue to monitor Shipman & Goodwin’s site for issues related to school law at ctschoollaw.com or our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center for updates concerning COVID-19. If you have specific questions about this guidance, please contact any member of Shipman & Goodwin’s School Law Group.

10 Social and Emotional Learning Strategies for Responding to COVID-19

This is the first in a series of blog posts based on HMH’s recent report titled The Connected Learning Era: Mitigating the COVID-19 Learning Loss.
 
This is an unprecedented time for education and the world. All of us are living history, and our children and youth will be defined in part by their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we prepare for their return to school for the 2020-21 academic year, we don’t know precisely where or how we will get started. But what we know for sure is that the well-being of students and the social justice issues being raised are the top concerns of educators and communities...

Read more

Your Feelings Matter. Hear Others’ Stories. Share Your Own.

Many of us are deeply affected by the anxiety and uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis. We can’t accelerate a resolution to this pandemic but there is something you can do: share your experience. 

Our friends at the Child Mind Institute have launched CrisisLogger.org to assess the impact of the coronavirus crisis on mental health and provide parents, educators, health workers, students and others with a way to express their feelings that will also help other families.

Here’s how it works:

  • Share your fears, frustrations, and hopes in the form of an audio clip or video
  • You can share this publicly or you can choose to make them private
  • Answer a few questions to learn more about your situation.
  • The Child Mind Institute will analyze this information to generate recommendations for better resources to support you and others

We hope that you'll take a few minutes to participate and help researchers develop better mental health resources for children and families, and the educators who work with them. Your feelings during Covid-19 really do matter!

CrisisLogger.org

The Weather Channel - New Educational Programming for Kids

The Weather Channel television network is now airing new educational content for families with children currently staying at home due to school closures. The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has forced families across the country to transition to at-home learning, and the network is well-equipped to provide kids with a daily dose of science while their schools and classrooms are closed.

The Weather Channel is now dedicating time during each hour of live programming at :50 past the hour to share educational content. Scientific explanations on everything from how raindrops and rainbows form, to why thunder happens, how to stay safe in all kinds of weather, and more. More info can be found here.

Segment examples include:
Soap Experiment with Mark Elliot: Facebook / Twitter / YouTube
Tornado Watch vs. Warning: Facebook / Twitter / YouTube

CONTACT
Sarit Schneider Babboni
101 Marietta St NW, Floor 29, Atlanta, GA
O: 404.334.3545| C: 678.986.0704

COVID-19 Free Social Emotional Toolkit from Rethink Ed
rethinkED logo

 

March 13, 2020

Rethink Ed is Committed to Supporting Social-Emotional Wellness During School Closures

Fear and anxiety about the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has led to increased stress levels in both children and adults. School closure, abrupt changes in routine and a heightened sense of uncertainty can also have a detrimental effect on the social, emotional and mental wellbeing of students, educators and school staff. As educators work diligently to prepare and implement virtual academic learning plans, it is equally important to have a contingency plan and resources in place for social emotional learning as well. As our nation faces unprecedented school closings due to COVID-19, Rethink Ed is committed to keeping our students learning and providing schools with resources and tools that extend beyond the classroom.

Rethink Ed will provide districts that are planning closures for preventative health measures with a tool kit that will include webinars, whitepapers, tips and strategies for supporting your entire community during this time of uncertainty. We will offer free access to our online Social Emotional Learning Suite through the remainder of the school year. Please contact us for details.

While this is a difficult time, it is important for us all to continue to focus on our physical, mental, and social emotional health and to work on strategies for helping ourselves and others build resilience and community support.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the foundation for managing emotions, having healthy relationships, understanding and empathizing with others, being responsible and safe, and learning to cope with difficult situations and manage our stress, emotions, anxiety, and fear during this unprecedented situation.

Rethink Ed SEL is a comprehensive K-12 online platform that provides many opportunities for students of all ages and abilities, teachers, administrative staff, and parents to develop their social emotional skills. We provide on-demand professional development videos, grade level videos and curriculum that promotes well-being, connectedness and success for all students and adults. We are committed to supporting you as you navigate through this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Diana Frezza
Senior Vice President
diana.frezza@rethinked.com
49 West 27th St., 8th Floor
New York, NY 10001

rethinkED SEL Goals & Objectives

Discovery Education’s Comprehensive Response to the Worldwide Coronavirus Outbreak

Connecticut Superintendents and Educational Leaders-
 
Like educators everywhere, we are concerned about the coronavirus’ potential impact on student learning and it is our mission to help affected schools maintain normalcy and continuity during this difficult time. I encourage you to learn about Discovery Education’s Comprehensive Response to the Worldwide Coronavirus Outbreak and our response to Covid-19.
 
Below I’ve provided some important offers and resources to support your schools. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have any questions or wish to connect virtually next week.
 
Discovery Education is a company whose mission is to prepare learners for future success by connecting them to the world outside the classroom. We will continue to monitor this event closely and look for ways to help educators everywhere prepare students for success, no matter where they are.  
 
Sincerely-

John David Son
Senior Manager | Education Partnerships
Discovery Education
M. 270.210.0084
Follow me on Twitter

WAYS TO SUPPORT VIRTUAL LEARNING


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