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May 7, 2021

CAPSS Blueprint to Transform Connecticut's Public Schools_LR page
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Retirement Planning Virtual Workshop
Thursday, May 20, 2021
12:45 pm to 2:15 pm

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CAPSS Welcomes New Business Partner
CAPSS Welcomes Adelbrook as Business Partner

Ädelbrook’s Learning Centers are private special education programs certified by the State Department of Education to serve students with autism, developmental disabilities, emotional and behavioral difficulties,  and other learning disabilities from pre-Kindergarten through grade 12.

Ädelbrook’s Transitional Academy is for students ages 18–22 that focuses on life-long learning, life skills, and employment proficiencies through meaningful work experiences and community engagement. The program includes work experience opportunities at Ädelbrook’s educational retail store, The Bark-ery.

Our primary objective is to create a momentum of success for our young people so they will continue to advance when they return to public schools or move on to post-secondary programs. Our goal is to provide each student with a positive, individualized, and highly engaging educational experience.

www.adelbrook.org

Contact
Dale R. Hoyt, Ed.D
Vice President for Education
dhoyt@adelbrook.org

General News & Announcements
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.

Announcement: Release of two School Security Grant Programs

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) is announcing the release of two competitive grant programs for Public and Non-Public Schools.

Public Act 20-1 established funding for two competitive grant programs:

  • Multi-Media Interoperable Communications Systems (MM SSGP)
  • Round 5 of the School Security Competitive Grant Program (R5 SSGP)

Separate applications are provided for eligible public school and non-public school applicants under each program.  Please note there is a $50,000 max subgrant award for non-public school applications.
 
Application materials can be found on the DEMHS Website: Grants (ct.gov)  - https://portal.ct.gov/DEMHS/Grants/School-Security-Competitive-Grant-Program

Questions on these programs can be sent to:  schoolsecuritygrant@ct.gov
 
Due Dates for both Programs:
•        Part 1:  Due June 15, 2021 by 3 PM (emailed Excel Application)
•        Part 2: Due June 30, 2021 by 3 PM (Safe Schools Checklist entered on-line (link provided in confirmation email when Part 1 submitted)
 
Multi-Media Interoperable Communications Systems (MM SSGP)
What is meant by “school security projects that involve multimedia interoperable communications systems?”
 
This grant sets aside $5 million for schools to be able to purchase interoperable systems that are capable of transmitting communications or notifications to law enforcement agencies and/or their call centers.  Of the $5M, 10% or $500,000 is available to eligible non-public schools and day care centers/pre-schools (that have received threats) and 90% or $4,500,000 is available to eligible public schools.
 
For a camera, radio, panic button, Internet of Thing (IoT) system to be included in this application, it must include the capability of transmitting communications/notifications to law enforcement and/or their call centers. It can also include system(s) that integrate existing cameras, radios, panic buttons, etc. for transmission over internet protocol to first responders and/or their call centers.  The goal is to make communications and information sharing between first responders and schools as quick and seamless as possible.  Each school can consider its needs and design a system that it as practical as possible.
 
Round 5 of the School Security Competitive Grant Program (R5 SSGP)
Public Act 20-1 also provided $5 million for Round 5 of SSGP.  Of the $5M, 10% or $500,000 is available to eligible non-public schools and day care centers/pre-schools (that have received threats) and 90% or $4,500,000 is available to eligible public schools.
 
Eligible projects under R5 SSGP include: Door locks, Penetration Resistant Window Film, Scan Cards- Access Control Systems, Fencing (6’ or higher), Security Lighting, Bollards, Interior and Exterior Camera Systems (that do not meet the definition of multi-media interoperable communications systems), etc.
 
William Turley MS, AEM
Region 3 Coordinator
School Safety Program Lead
SEOC MAC- Multi Agency Coordinator
Connecticut Division Emergency Management and
Homeland Security
360 Broad Street
Hartford CT. 06105
Office 860-529-6893
Cell 860-250-2548

Assuring Accessibility for All

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 – Monday, May 10, 2021, 5:00 pm ET
“Creating and Leading Equitable, Effective Learning Systems – Assuring Accessibility for All”  

The next episode of the monthly EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series, co-hosted by CoSN, This coming Monday’s, May 10, 2021, broadcast of the monthly EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series, co-hosted by CoSN, AASA and edWeb.net, and sponsored by ClassLink, airs at 5:00 pm Eastern Time. The webinar is titled “Creating and Leading Equitable, Effective Learning Systems – Assuring Accessibility for All”.  Accessibility has long been an essential principle for delivering equitable educational opportunities for all students, especially those with disabilities or learning differences, English language learners, and students from lower socio-economic communities. In this edWebinar, Dr. Michael Brophy, Superintendent of West Valley School District #208, WA, Dr. Nick Polyak, Superintendent of Leyden High School District 212, IL, Dr. Michael Salvatore, Vice President, Kean University and former Superintendent Long Branch Public Schools, NJ, and Marlon Styles, Superintendent Middletown City School District, OH, join in an interactive conversation to share how they are leading the complex issues involved in ensuring accessibility for all within their school districts. Five compelling steps for addressing accessibility will be articulated and illustrated through shared resources and real-world examples of successful strategies that have been used to assure accessibility for all.

Free registration for the May 10, 2021 webinar is available at: https://home.edweb.net/webinar/supers20210510/

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.

CoSN Resources: Accessibility Toolkit and One-Page Guide
As learning environments continue their increasing transitions toward digital learning settings, it is critical that all schools assure that an equitable, effective learning ecosystem exists everywhere, at all times, for all students.

CoSN is pleased to provide a Digital Accessibility Toolkit that offers resources, tips, and information for state and district leaders on how to ensure that accessibility is part of the educational equation. CoSN’s EmpowerED Superintendent Critical Focus Area  One Pager on Accessibility provides school leaders with five compelling steps to take now to ensure accessibility for all.
CoSN Membership

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.

Information about Child Tax Credit and Economic Impact Payment

As you’re probably aware, the American Rescue Plan Act has added another round of stimulus and additional moneys available to individuals, but they all require filing taxes. It is a LOT of money. For a parent with two children with income less than $75,000 that means (3 x $1400) for the stimulus plus (2 x $3000) for each child over 6 years old (for children under 6 years old, it’s $3600 for the year) for a total of $10,200 for the year. If they did not collect the stimulus last year, it could be over $15000. The Child Tax Credit is fully refundable, and will be paid out monthly beginning in July. Also, this year, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit is fully refundable, which will benefit many more families than last year’s version.

The Earned Income Tax hasn’t gotten as much attention, but it has also been strengthened. It’s now open to individuals over 19 years old (it had been limited to people over 25). Former foster kids qualify at 18 years old, and homeless youth, defined as “an individual who certifies, in a manner as provided by the Secretary, that such individual is either an unaccompanied youth who is a homeless child or youth, or is unaccompanied, at risk of homelessness, and self-supporting” also qualify with no age specified. The amount available under the EITC for individuals without children has more than doubled to $1,500.

In order to get these benefits, people have to file a tax form.   

My colleague Lucy Potter and I have been trying to figure out how best to connect people with the information they need to collect the money, since there are thousands of people in Connecticut who were eligible but did not receive the stimulus last year. We presume all these people did not file tax forms last year (because if they had they would have gotten the stimulus). Unlike last year, unless one is already in certain federal benefit programs (SSI, SSDI, veterans benefits or railroad retirement),  there is no way to claim the stimulus without filing taxes.  We’ve created the attached flier to urge people to file, along with a website from the United Way they can use to file their taxes themselves or do so with assistance. The website is mobile compatible. Additionally, here is a phone number—(844) 322-3639—they can call for additional information.

FIlers can check their status at  irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.

Alison M. Weir
Policy Advocate/Staff Attorney
Greater Hartford Legal Aid
999 Asylum Ave., 3rd Fl.
Hartford, CT 06105
(860) 541-5053
Fax: (860) 541-5050
Email: AWeir@ghla.org

Flyer

The Dos and Don’ts of Separation Incentives as a Fiscal Tool for Connecticut School Districts

A well-crafted separation incentive can be a win-win approach for management and educational employees to achieve fiscal savings, avoid layoffs, and restructure departments or positions. The key to constructing a successful incentive is considering when and how it should be implemented. Below are crucial points to examine:

1.    DO Properly Analyze Whether an Incentive Will Work
One of the biggest mistakes districts often make is failing to properly analyze the costs of an incentive over multiple years, then implementing a program that does not truly save dollars over the long-term.  A key focus of any incentive, therefore, is to ensure that a comprehensive analysis is conducted that accounts for costs such as retiree health care, natural attrition, and the incentive itself. The likelihood of plan success should also be analyzed based on different benefit offerings, current workforce demographics, and the re-staffing needs for projected retirements.

2.    DON’T Offer A Cash Incentive
Separation or retirement incentives in school districts are often offered as a one-time, lump sum “cash” payout option. This has distinct and significant drawbacks: Uncle Sam takes a large portion of the benefit upfront, employers are subject to paying payroll taxes on the benefit, and the incentive itself must be paid in one lump sum, which puts a great strain on the budget. There are more valuable alternatives that should be considered prior to implementing a cash incentive.

3.    DO Use a Tax Deferred Vehicle
Instead of a cash offering, consider a locally-controlled tax qualified retirement vehicle, such as a 403(b) plan which allows employer-to-employee contributions for 5 years post-employment, making it an ideal tax deferral vehicle for a separation incentive. The employer can also fund the incentive over 5 years for cash flow purposes, and employees gain more flexible distribution options such as IRA rollovers, which typically end up increasing participation.

4.    DON’T Do if Salary Differentials are Small
Retirement incentives generally focus on near-retirement-age employees that are clustered at higher salary levels and protected by seniority. Cost savings are achieved by replacing these employees with those that are lower on the salary scale (such as entry-level employees) or by eliminating certain positions altogether. Larger salary differentials, commonly seen with teachers, make the savings happen, whereas narrow salary differentials can often cause an incentive to cost money, rather than create savings.

5.    DO Only if You Can Beat Natural Retirement Attrition
A separation incentive only works, and creates savings, if a district offers enough of an incentive to significantly exceed natural retirement attrition in any given year. This means that if you typically have 10 retirements in a year, you need to incentivize at least 20 or 25 employees to leave to achieve savings. This is because the first 10 employees would have retired regardless which means they must be considered a cost in the analysis, not a savings.

6.    DON’T Try to Do It All Yourself
Whenever possible, have seasoned firms with separation incentive experience help your district properly analyze, design, and communicate the incentive. Find an expert in the consulting and design of school district or higher education retirement incentives (not to be confused with 403(b) vendors) that will not only assist your district in the development of the program but can also handle all of the communication with employees and retirees.

By Kathryn Cannie, Senior Manager at Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS)

Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) is the nation’s leader in the analysis, design, administration, and communication of locally controlled, customized voluntary separation incentives. We have administered over 1,000 incentives for 450+ school districts and colleges since 1984 and have completed over 5,000 analyses. For more information on our services, or to receive a complimentary analysis based on your district’s demographics, please contact PARS Senior Manager, Kathryn Cannie, at (617) 549-6555 or kcannie@pars.org.

Website: www.pars.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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