The next meeting of the Capital Region Pre K-12 Emergency Planning Committee is Thursday, December 16, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. This meeting will be held via ZOOM.
An agenda will be sent out next week.
Please feel free to send Administrators, Facility Directors, Business Officials, SRO's, Security Personnel, Emergency Management Personnel, Mental Health Professionals, Technology Leaders etc. You can send a team.
Please contact Linda Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-844-5259 if you plan on attending or sending a representative(s) and she will send you the link. You must sign up to attend.
The next meeting of the Capital Region Pre K-12 Emergency Planning Committee is Thursday, December 16, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. This meeting will be held via ZOOM.
Amira Learning can help schools and districts meet Connecticut state requirements to provide early identification and intervention for students with disabilities in reading. Available for Grades K-5 in both English and Spanish, Amira listens without bias while a student reads out loud to assess oral reading fluency, screen for dyslexia risk, and place students directly into 1:1 reading tutoring rooted in the Science of Reading.
In alignment with Connecticut dyslexia legislation, Amira takes only 5-7 minutes to administer while meeting all domains of dyslexia screening, is backed by more than a decade of research, allows for screening multiple times per year, and provides fully automated administration and actionable reporting that saves teachers time.
For more information, visit hmhco.com/review/ct-amira-dyslexia.
VP Regional Sales
The CollegeBoard is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.
Founded in 1900, the CollegeBoard was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world's leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.
Dena Soled Johnson
State and District Partnerships
2021 DERA grant offered by the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) on a competitive basis.
- Funding up to 45% of the cost of replacing a diesel school bus with an EV replacement
- The EV charging infrastructure is included in the grant
- Bus and charger must be installed by August 31, 2021
In January 2021 the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) put forth a Blueprint to Transform Connecticut’s Public Schools. It is a comprehensive and long-term vision for continuous improvement. In this update we share again the 30 recommendations of the Blueprint as well as a commentary on what has changed in the last year and what should be Connecticut’s priorities for the next few years.
The UConn’s Neag School of Education is recruiting a new cohort of educational leaders for the Executive Leadership Program 2022-2023 cohorts. Starting in 2022-23 there will be two UCONN Executive Leadership Program cohorts—one in the greater Stamford area and one in the Hartford area. The Executive Leadership Program prepares educational leaders for district leadership positions with a primary emphasis on preparing for the position of superintendent of schools. Neag School’s ELP program has more than 450 graduates since the program started in 2000, with 60+ graduates now serving as Connecticut superintendents. Four current CT superintendents currently serve as co-instructors in the program. CAPSS has been an important partner in the program since the outset. Your recommendations have been instrumental in attracting candidates with excellent district leadership potential. Please forward the link below to educational leaders you recommend for the program.
Details on upcoming Information Sessions and UCONN’s Executive Leadership Program in general are available at:
Director, Executive Leadership Program
Neag School of Education
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 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:
Social-Emotional Learning: Leveraging Technology to Care for All
The third episode of Season 4 of the EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series aired on Monday, November 8, 2021. The title of the November 8 edWebinar was “Social-Emotional Learning: Leveraging Technology to Care for All”. In this EmpowerED Superintendent edWebinar Superintendents Dr. Ann Levett, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, GA, Dr. David Miyashiro, Cajon Valley Union School District, CA; and Mr. Glenn Robbins, Brigantine Public Schools, NJ, shared their knowledge and strategies for addressing multiple facets of Social Emotional Learning and how best to leverage technology to meet the SEL needs of all their students, staff, families and their broader communities.
CoSN’s 2021 Driving K-12 Innovation Report identified Social Emotional Learning as one of the three accelerators or mega-trends in K-12 education today. The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic heightened the need to address the social and emotional aspects of learning, not only for students and their families, but also for teachers, school leaders and administrators. The following recommendations from the CoSN 2021 Driving K-12 Innovation Report were highlighted during the November 8 edWebinar along with examples from each Superintendent on the strategies they are using to address each of the report’s three recommendations:
1) Provide SEL and well-being support for educators and students.
2) Integrate SEL into curriculum.
3) Build educator and community buy-in.
Additionally the superintendents shared the practices they are leading in their districts to leverage technology tools to address the challenges of social-emotional learning.
Free access to webinar recording: If you missed the Monday, November 8, EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar, co-hosted by CoSN, AASA and edWeb.net, and sponsored by ClassLink, you can still access the free webinar recording at https://home.edweb.net/supers/. You will also be able to access free recordings and podcasts of multiple previously broadcast webinars in the EmpowerED Superintendent series at https://home.edweb.net/supers/.
Resources Referenced During the November 8 EmpowerED Superintendent edWebinar:
CoSN 2021 Driving K-12 Innovation Report can be accessed at:
CoSN & CASEL Joint Report on Making Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) a Priority. This report identified four important ways that leaders overseeing educational technology can partner with SEL teams to promote high-quality implementation. The CoSN / CASEL Report can be accessed at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vOCSYmrBKugv_BWJLuCiCDD7gpl83jHq/view
Savings for Employees of Connecticut Public School Systems
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Government Program Sales
The coronavirus pandemic has affected our lives, our economy and nearly every corner of the globe. More than 3.84 billion people worldwide have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, equal to about 50 percent of the world population. However, there are stark gaps between richer and poorer nations. The United States has surpassed 700,000 known Covid-19 deaths, making the coronavirus pandemic the deadliest in American history.
As a covered employee in the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Paid Leave (CTPL) program can provide the opportunity for you to take time off from work to take care of yourself or your loved ones without worrying about lost income. Join this webinar to learn about who is eligible, what are considered qualifying events, and what your contributions can provide you for income replacement.
Our schools can support our overall health and well-being, but also can help us prepare for and respond to global health challenges like COVID-19. As teachers, students and staff become increasingly aware of the impact of their surroundings on their health, the concept of a “healthy school” is more important than ever and becoming increasingly prominent.
Delos advanced air purification technology was recently selected by the New York City Department of Education for implementation into all 1,800 schools in the New York City Public School System.
The Delos advanced air purification technology is capable of trapping and removing particles as small as 0.007 microns at 99.97% efficiency, which is smaller than the virus causing COVID-19. These are highly affordable, stand-alone, or wall-mounted portable solutions that don't require construction, labor, or access to existing HVAC systems.
About Delos: Delos is a wellness real estate and technology company guided by the mission to be the world’s leading catalyst for improving the health and well-being of people around the world by improving the indoor environments where they live, work, sleep and play.
Dell's Education Purchase Program is here to support parents, students, and educators as they seek out the best technology for home use. We have various programs and benefits in place to make this a easy process while also providing savings and benefits to your district, school, or PTA program.
Please contact G_Whitman@Dell.com to get more information on setting up your campus or district with the program. CAPSS members can access your benefits at www.dell.com/mpp/CAPSS.
Strategic Account Manager
Something magical happens when you put Apple products in the classroom. Teachers can create unique opportunities for personal learning at every level. Lessons become more immersive through the power of touch, motion and sound. Assignments can be sketched, scored, chartered, coded, or performed.
When you bring Apple products into a school, they transform traditional classrooms and lessons into learning experiences that inspire creativity and encourage collaboration—experiences that profoundly impact a student’s curiosity for learning and path in life.
Everyday we work to bring teachers the resources they need to design and deliver engaging lessons, and offer students the tools to communicate their best.
Norma Jean Loftus
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 to support the work of current and aspiring superintendents and district leadership teams in leading all aspects of digital learning transformations.
October is designated as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In keeping with the focus on cybersecurity, CoSN is pleased to offer multiple pathways for school leaders to learn how to identify, manage and prevent cybersecurity attacks within school and school district settings.
The EmpowerED Superintendent edWebinar Series:
Cybersecurity: School Leadership Strategies for Preventing and Responding to Cyberattacks
The second episode of Season 4 of the EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series aired this past Monday, October 11, 2021. The title of the October 11, 2021, webinar was Cybersecurity: School Leadership Strategies for Preventing and Responding to Cyberattacks. In this EmpowerED Superintendent edWebinar, Superintendents Matt Miller, Lakota Local Schools, OH, Dr. Michelle Reid, Northshore School District, WA and Dr. Hank Thiele, Community High School District 99, IL, shared their knowledge and experiences in leading cybersecurity awareness in their school systems. They reviewed the liability concerns that arise when schools experience network security incidents and the impact those events can have on a district’s professional reputation as well as the effects cyber-attacks have on teaching and learning and district operations. Strategies for preventing cyberattacks and recommendations for responding effectively when they do occur were also discussed.
Free access to webinar recording: If you missed this past Monday’s, October 11, EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar, co-hosted by CoSN, AASA and edWeb.net, and sponsored by ClassLink, you can still access the free webinar recording at https://home.edweb.net/supers/. You will also be able to access free recordings and podcasts of multiple previously broadcast webinars in the EmpowerED Superintendent series at https://home.edweb.net/supers/.
1) Critical Focus Areas: Issue One-Pager on Cybersecurity
CoSN’s one-page document on The Importance of Cybersecurity defines the top five reasons why school system leaders must make cybersecurity a priority. It is available to view and download at: https://tinyurl.com/cybersecurity-CoSN.
2) CoSN Cybersecurity Risk Assessment - Powered by S2 - Preliminary Self-Evaluation of District’s Cybersecurity Risk
CoSN shares this risk assessment as an opportunity for education organizations to conduct a preliminary self-evaluation of their cybersecurity risk. Developed as a collaboration between CoSN’s and Security Studio (S2), this assessment is free and vendor-neutral. It incorporates topics specific to the K12 environment such as educational technology and remote learning.
3) CoSN Cybersecurity Workshops
101 – Creating Cybersecurity & Incident Response Plans, Oct 19 - Oct 21
201 – Advanced Cybersecurity for Remote Learning Environments, Nov 30 - Dec 2
4) Additional CoSN Resources on Cybersecurity
CoSN provides additional tools and resources that provide insight into how risk can be further reduced which can be found at https://cosn.org/cybersecurity.
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 email@example.com.
Achievers Continuously Exploring (A.C.E.), Inc. is a dynamic socio-educational organization whose mission is to inspire, guide, and prepare African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and Latinx students to successfully graduate from high school, enter and successfully complete post-secondary education, and enter the global workforce. A.C.E. is empowering and developing students to increase their grades and aptitude in math, science, cultural history, and equity. We accomplish this by strategically providing targeted tutoring, positive youth developing activities, and cultural competency with the goal of inculcating a lifelong confidence, interest, and love of learning.
For over 35 years, PARS has worked exclusively with school districts and other public agencies to design and implement strategic retirement solutions that address specific organizational and budgetary needs. We are the national leader in customized, locally controlled voluntary separation incentives and also administer one of the largest and fastest growing OPEB trust programs in New England.
Orbic is a US based mobile device manufacturer with a global resource network. Over the past five years, Orbic has seen considerable growth and is currently in an expansion phase with plans to bring new, competitive items to market. Orbic's mission is to provide premium communication devices at prices that are considerably less than the competitors.
Senior Vice President, Finance & Enterprise
Vice President, Business Development
Dalio Education is launching Teachers of Connecticut, a new platform that gives teachers a channel to share their stories, have their voices heard, and raise awareness around their experiences and ideas.
Over the next few weeks Dalio will be sharing stories from educators throughout the state on the dedicated website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, where you will find inspiring teacher stories, images, news clips, and more, including videos from WTNH News Channel 8, which will be featuring the platform beginning with a segment this Wednesday, August 18th.
We hope that you will join us in elevating these wonderful educators who are shaping the leaders of tomorrow by following and reposting the content, and please encourage your networks to do the same!
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a learning technology company committed to delivering connected solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K–12 core curriculum, supplemental and intervention solutions and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students' potential and extend teachers' capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 3 million educators in 150 countries. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com/CT
VP Regional Sales
UniteCT Program is administered by the Department of Housing on behalf of the US Treasury. UniteCT provides up to $15,000 rental and up to $1,500 electricity payment assistance on behalf of Connecticut households financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tenants and landlords use the UniteCT Rent Relief software to submit their own sections of the application creating a unique case file for decision making evaluation. Please visit the UniteCT website for more information.
Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) wants to remind school leaders that it takes at least five weeks for students between 12 and 17 to be vaccinated and fully protected against COVID-19. Please encourage your unvaccinated students and staff to get their first vaccine this week. You can find a list of vaccination locations on our website at https://www.chc1.com/covid-19-vaccine/ If you are interested in hosting a vaccination clinic at your schools, please contact Lilian Gutierrez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-815-2867.
CHC has administered over half a million COVID-19 vaccines in the State of Connecticut and runs School Based Health Centers at schools across the state.
Since 2009, the mission of ESS has been to provide high quality and cost-effective in-district clinical programming for students with emotional and behavioral challenges. ESS has pioneered a new model of in-school intervention, organized around a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework. We introduce mental health best practices and innovative clinical programs into the traditional school day, providing each student with comprehensive support tailored to their needs. ESS currently partners with over 90 districts across 9 states, including a number of CT districts.
Senior Director of District Partnerships
Thank you to everyone who attended the CAPSS x IntelliBoard July Webinar! For those who would like to catch it but were unable to attend, a recording of the session can be found here.
IntelliBoard, as a proud Connecticut-based CAPSS partner, is helping K12 institutions such as your own Create Better Learning Experiences for students. Their reporting and analytics platform provides valuable insights; giving teachers and administrators the confidence that they're effectively serving their learner population. Watch the webinar or reach out directly to Gregory@intelliboard.net for more information.
The Connecticut State Department of Education, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, Connecticut Association of Schools, American Federation of Teachers Connecticut, and Connecticut Education Association are committed to the Connecticut State Board of Education’s goal of improving the academic lives of Connecticut’s increasingly diverse student body. This includes sustaining equitable and welcoming learning environments in which all students feel valued, respected, and safe to learn and grow.
This diversity, which represents a multitude of backgrounds and identities encompassing race, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, nationality, status of citizenship, and sexual orientation, is a strength to be celebrated. In response to challenges to our public education system, and to continue the mission of advancing opportunity for all, it is our shared priority to affirm, value, and leverage this diversity as an asset embodied and mirrored in teaching and learning.
Education must continue evolving to remain relevant to, and reflective of, students’ social, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds to assist in the development of their lifelong respect and compassion for themselves, their classmates, their communities, and the world around them. Engaging in inquiry-based learning that broadens students’ appreciation of perspectives beyond their own results in stronger motivation, open-mindedness, and critical thinking skills.
We want our students to graduate as responsible, well-rounded, and productive citizens who are ready to engage with others and thrive in our interconnected, diverse global society. Our students are best served when empowered with the tools to understand and investigate the countless lived experiences that exist in the world around them.
To ensure the well-being of and positive life outcomes for Connecticut’s students, we pledge ourselves to carrying out the following:
- Building a culturally sustaining and responsive education system that fosters our children’s cultural awareness and development.
- Cultivating authentic relationships with all members of a school community, including culturally diverse families, via two-way, reciprocal conversations around the development of curriculum, instructional methods, and expectations for student learning.
- Supporting the State Board of Education’s 2020 Position Statement on Culturally Responsive Education – updated from 2011 – which strongly encourages public school districts to adopt policies that demonstrate their commitment to all students because we know there is a greater impact on student outcomes when we meet them with culturally and socially relevant content that resonates.
- Aligning and providing resources, guidance, and support to districts to continue developing and implementing policies, procedures, and relevant curricula that affirm their students’ identity and their sense of belonging.
We believe and fully support fostering inclusive and culturally responsive educational environments that welcome, respect, and acknowledge the individual identities of all members of a school community as a cornerstone of preparing each and every student to succeed in college, career, and civic life.
For Grads In Need of a Plan!
Applications are now being accepted for Student 5.0, a free program for just-graduated seniors to find their way to success!
Program participants work virtually with a peer mentor -- a young adult who has recently navigated the postsecondary transition -- to connect their skills and interests to attainable goals. A key element of Student 5.0 is the ongoing support peer mentors provide, because once the plan is created there can be significant need for ongoing support to put the plan into practice!
Student 5.0 peer mentors are uniquely situated to offer this support, particularly for participants from high-need, vulnerable communities. Often, peer mentors and participants find they have shared experiences and things in common. With a real eye on meeting the participant where he or she is, the experience results in a true partnership between the peer mentor and the participant while exploring:
• career research
• college/training program enrollment
• financial aid forms
• job interview readiness
• resume writing
• personal budgeting
• and more, including an opportunity to earn a $200 e-gift card!
Student 5.0 is operated by ReadyCT, a Connecticut nonprofit working to advance academic excellence and career-connected learning.
NOTE TO SUPERINTENDENTS: You can copy/paste the text above for distribution to Class of '21 graduates and their families. Contact email@example.com with questions. You can also raise awareness through social media engagement with @readyCTED.
Defined Learning is a K-12 online project-based learning platform that provides teachers with the educational and assessment tools needed to implement high-quality PBL. Our hands-on projects are based on real-world situations in careers to help learners discover their passions and choose a pathway to a promising future.
Vice President of Partnerships
Want to maximize your district's ESSER funds? The School & State Finance Project can help.
Newsela takes authentic, real-world content from trusted sources and makes it instruction ready for K-12 classrooms. Each text is published at five reading levels, so content is accessible to every learner. Today, over 2.5 million teachers and 37 million students have registered with Newsela for content that’s personalized to student interests, accessible to everyone, aligned to instructional standards, and attached to activities and reporting that hold teachers accountable for instruction and students accountable for their work. With over 10,000 texts in Newsela’s platform and 10 new texts published every day across 20+ genres, Newsela enables educators to go deep on any subject they choose.
District Partnership Manager
Elizabeth St. Onge
District Partnership Manager
For the past several years, the CSDE has partnered with the University of Connecticut, a recipient of a Wallace Foundation University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI). The CSDE has used grant funding to support CT’s administrator preparation programs, as well as current administrators who mentor and support aspiring and new administrators, in developing and supporting equity-driven, antiracist school leaders.
In support of new administrators, we are pleased to share that the CSDE is partnering with CAS and the CT Center for School Change (CCSC), who will co-facilitate EdLeadership Simulations beginning this Fall, for administrators new to their role within the past five years. The Simulations selected from the SchoolSims Simulation Library will provide opportunities for participants to engage in facilitated decisions throughout the Simulations, which reflect current, authentic situations that school leaders face on a regular basis. At each decision point in the Simulation, participants discuss options in breakout rooms, and upon returning to the larger group, the risks and potential outcomes are discussed with the group.
CAS and CCSC, as well as CT’s APP faculty, will have access to the SchoolSims Simulation Library through December 2023. While the facilitation of the Simulations in the attached flyer are supported with Wallace Foundation funding, schools and districts can reach out to CAS and CCSC directly to arrange for professional learning using the Simulations. The attached graphic shows the alignment of SchoolSims Simuations to PSEL Standards.
For additional information, please contact: Sharon.firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you missed it—A recording of Academic Planning in Action: Achieving Equitable Outcomes for Connecticut Students is now available for viewing on-demand. This thought-provoking webinar hosted by CAPSS Business Partner HMH along with special guest Whiteboard Advisors introduced strategies and frameworks that district leaders can use to address unfinished learning from the past year and close longstanding instructional disparities, plus reviewed current and forthcoming funding available to help support these initiatives. Watch it here.
IntelliBoard provides analytic and reporting services to education communities and institutions that want expanded reporting and analytics for their Learning Management System.
IntelliBoard is the most comprehensive reporting and analytics platform of any LMS on the market today. Data coming from Blackboard, Canvas, Google Classroom, Brightspace D2L, Moodle, Zoom, MS Team, Student Information System, and more is available to view on simplified, shareable, and printable charts, graphs and analytics.
IntelliBoard is comprised of data-loving, education-focused, and care-centric folks brilliant in the skills they bring to you. We dream BIG! We all share the same vision, but each provides a unique perspective. We strive to provide a well-rounded approach to all that we do.
Dear CAPSS Members,
First, let us say that we are inspired that over 24 education leaders from 16 districts took the time on Thursday to explore the power of equity in education. Several current partners joined Equal Opportunity Schools to share the meaningful impact of their partnerships. From superintendents and principals, we heard from leaders finishing up their first year as well as long-time advocates of EOS' work....
The COVID-19 pandemic has created extreme disruption and extraordinary circumstances for educators, students, and families. Still, we have seen amazing examples of strength, dedication, and passion in the K– 12 space—teachers and students bringing the classroom online and navigating new, and often imperfect, systems to connect with one another, and communities working tirelessly to ensure children are safe, fed, and emotionally supported.
Looking forward to the future, educators are reimagining the structure and culture of their schools and districts to establish a new connected learning environment that serves all students. Connected Learning Era: Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 is offered as a resource by HMH® summarizing “what works” in connecting educational technology with teaching and learning in both virtual and in-person classrooms.
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.
Dale R. Hoyt, Ed.D
Vice President for Education
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
Fax: (860) 541-5050
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 email@example.com.
Wearing masks has become common practice in certain schools across the nation. Ensuring every student receives proper volume, clarity and can understand what is being taught can already be a challenge with the normal background noise of a classroom environment. When teachers’ voices are distorted and mouths are hidden by a mask, classroom audio solutions become more important than ever in student education.
- Easily integrates to zoom and popular video conferencing software.
- Allows teachers to speak in a natural voice while wearing a mask.
- Portable and install options available.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Oak Hill Schools offer a 12-month community-based education program, serving students with moderate to severe disabilities ages 3 to 21 including autism, emotional disabilities, behavioral challenges, as well as students with multiple disabilities placed by public school districts. Each student receives a specialized program emphasizing in academic, social/emotional, daily living skills, motor development, communication, community participation, and self-advocacy. Secondary school students develop functional academic transition skills, including employment, post-secondary education, training, independent living, and self-help skills within community-based jobs and instruction. Instructional methodology is evidence based, follows best practices, and skills are taught within meaningful and functional activities.
Powerpoint presentation of the January 14th legislative session about how a bill becomes a law and how superintendents can positively impact legislation through their advocacy as bills are proposed and laws are created. Both new and experienced superintendents would benefit from knowing these details, especially in difficult times.
To address historical inequities in Connecticut’s public education system and provide all students with equal educational experiences, CAPSS has released the CAPSS Blueprint to Transform Connecticut’s Public Schools, which includes 30 recommendations the organization deems critical to Connecticut public education over the next 15 years and beyond.
The CAPSS Blueprint’s recommendations touch on every financial, educational and operational aspect of schooling, with the aim of equitable funding, economies of scale, and resources for all school districts.
by Betty J. Sternberg
Since March 2020, our brave-heart teachers have, out of necessity, single-handedly altered how they instruct their students. They have made changes to accommodate scheduling vagaries, sometimes teaching one group of children one week in their classrooms and then teaching that group solely online the following week. Sometimes they have been confronted with teaching some children in person, while at the same time teaching others online. They have done this while always keeping in the forefront how best to create a safe and loving learning environment for each of the students in their care.
I know this first-hand because I direct and interact with a group of amazing teacher leaders from schools throughout Connecticut who meet on their own time regularly — virtually now — to share their stories of resilience and swap techniques they have tried with their students to make learning viable and exciting.
As they return this January to teaching still under the cloud of COVID-19, my wishes for them and the children they teach in 2021 revolve around feelings and the culture they and their students share. The culture their students experience in their classrooms as a result of the environment their teachers set up, often reflects the environment of the school and the district in which teachers interact with their colleagues – an environment enabled by all the adults in the building and district.
Rethink Ed is a pioneering EdTech leader that believes lifelong learning brings out the best in everyone. Through innovative, technology-based platforms, Rethink Ed delivers professional development, academic instruction and data-informed assessments that simplify the school day, focusing on special education, social and emotional learning, and mental health, strengthen whole-child education, and inspire success in all learners. See how Rethink Ed is transforming education at www.rethinked.com.
Senior Account Executive
With expertise in industries ranging from hospitality and foodservice to healthcare and environmental protection, Ecolab is a global leader in cleaning and disinfecting expertise for commercial environments. Our team of more than 1200 scientists, engineers and technical specialists have combined our science-base solutions and decades of expertise helping keep hospitals clean with what we have learned from our own consumer research and working with businesses in nearly 3 million locations in 170 countries to develop the Ecolab Science Certified TM program. This comprehensive program was created to deliver a high level of cleanliness through science-backed products, including the fastest product available proven to kill the COVID-19 virus, and protocols to help protect the places you eat, stay, play and shop by reducing the risk of exposure to germs.
Street Sales Development Manager
Amidst the ongoing pandemic, educators and school leaders continue to work tirelessly and find innovative ways to navigate the new normal. As schools look to reopen and stay open, superintendents and directors of facilities are focused on strengthening disinfection protocols to make classrooms and school facilities safer.
Teachers’ and parents’ top concern: school disinfection plans
A recent survey revealed that 76% of teachers are worried they might get infected with the coronavirus at work, and 77% of parents are worried their children might get infected at school. And when asked about what public health safeguard was most important, 84% of parents and 90% of teachers indicated daily deep cleaning and sanitizing of school facilities are essential.
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and create truly safer environments for students and teachers to return, school leaders are taking steps to enhance disinfection across campuses.
What is UV-C Disinfection?
UV-C is a specific form of ultraviolet light with germicidal properties. It inactivates bacteria, molds and viruses — including SARS-CoV-2, E. coli and influenza — by disrupting the molecular bonds of their DNA and RNA and preventing the ability to infect humans.
UV-C is a clinically tested and proven technology that’s been used for over a century to disinfect air, water and surfaces. Mostly notably, it was the key to controlling the spread of Lupus, Tuberculosis and Measles. And for years, UV-C has been the gold standard for keeping viral load down in hospitals, and preventing hospital acquired infections (HAIs). Currently, there are no known UV-C resistant microorganisms on the planet.
Schools turning to UV-C disinfection
In addition to adhering to CDC recommendations, school leaders are looking to the healthcare industry for infection prevention best practices, which includes the use of UV-C technology. Hospitals have some of the highest disinfection standards in the world, and UV-C has been a critical part of their multi-layered approach to reduce the spread of disease for decades. While traditional cleaning and the use of chemical wipes play an important role, studies show that up to 49% of high-touch surfaces are missed when employing manual disinfection alone. UV-C’s powerful disinfection properties destroy 99.99% of pathogens on surfaces and air - reaching the areas manual disinfection can miss.
Meet R-Zero Arc: Designed for Hospitals, Innovated for Schools
Focused on designing the most effective and innovative infection prevention technologies, R-Zero is the first biosafety company making hospital-grade UV-C technology financially and operationally accessible to schools.
R-Zero’s flagship product, Arc, delivers critical infection prevention capabilities needed to provide safer environments for students, teachers, and staff.
With Arc, school leaders can:
- Destroy 99.99% of Viruses in Minutes
R-Zero Arc was designed to be easy to use by any operator, in every space on campus, destroying over 99.99% of surface and air pathogens in a 1,000 ft room, in just 7 minutes.
- Disinfect without Chemicals
UV-C is a chemical-free disinfection solution, so Arc is eco-friendly and safe to use around food, plants, furniture and electronics.
- Gain Visibility into a Historically Invisible Process
With BLE, LTE-M and GPS connectivity, Arc provides school leaders with an auditable trail of all disinfection activities, for the first time. Data is shown in R-Zero’s custom dashboard, enabling organization leaders to track device usage and compliance in real-time, from anywhere in the world.
- Save on Labor Costs Associated with Disinfecting
With less than two minutes of touch time required per cycle, custodial staff can be productive in one classroom while Arc is running in the other. No additional FTEs required.
R-Zero is on a mission to not only help schools reopen safely today, but reduce sick days, long term. Arc is an eligible "disinfection equipment and services" expense under the CARES Act, with both purchase and lease options available.
To learn more about R-Zero’s hospital-grade solution for your school or district, visit www.rzero.com or contact email@example.com.
R-Zero is a biosafety company dedicated to creating safer spaces and reducing the spread of infectious disease by making hospital-grade UV-C disinfection technology financially and operationally accessible to schools for the first time. R-Zero’s touchless UV-C device, Arc, is the first hospital-grade UV-C disinfection device designed for a dynamic school environment. Arc takes just five minutes to disinfect the average classroom and is proven to destroy 99.99% of pathogens and the diseases they cause – including coronavirus, the common cold and the seasonal flu.
Senior Manager, Partnerships and Programs
R-Zero Systems, Inc.
Every school year brings technological challenges, but remote learning without internet is an entirely new type of challenge. This learning environment might not have come up when you were student teaching, but that doesn't mean you can't adapt. Consider this: Distance education doesn't just pre-date the internet, people were trying to do it before Mozart was born!
There are students who do not have reliable—if any—internet access. There is no question they are at a disadvantage, but they are still passionate and curious and able to be guided in their learning. Consider these ideas and strategies to ensure that even students on the unplugged side of the digital divide continue to learn.
Joint Statement from Education Commissioner, CAPSS Executive Director and CABE Executive Director on Importance of Strong Board-Superintendent Relationship to the Safe and Effective Delivery of Education this Fall
The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to adapt and innovate in our classrooms and schools in ways none of us ever thought likely, or even possible. Connecticut’s PK-12 leaders find themselves addressing an unprecedented educational emergency under ever-changing conditions. In this rapidly evolving landscape, leadership matters now more than ever.
As we prepare to return to schools this week and in the coming weeks, doing so safely is and always will be our top priority. At the same time, each and every single decision must be made using the lenses of public safety, and equity and access. While this decision-making is an imperfect science, we all share the same sense of urgency to serve all of our students.
A strong board-superintendent relationship has a direct correlation to the success of a district. In these unprecedented times with COVID-19, it is more essential than ever that Boards and Superintendents work together on behalf of their students and the community. It is imperative that Board members and their superintendents be accountable in their respective roles, lead by example, and be of one voice when decisions are made. These leadership actions are key to developing and implementing sound policy tied to the pandemic as well as the best possible solutions for individual school communities.
The state’s reopening plan, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve”, acknowledges the challenges Boards of Education and superintendents face recognizing that there is no one perfect solution that applies to every community in Connecticut. In fact, the diversity of our state is why “Adapt, Advance, Achieve” gives districts the flexibility to make decisions in relation to this pandemic based upon their unique conditions and leaders’ beliefs on what is best for the communities they serve.
As we embrace the uncertainty in education in our state and country due to COVID-19, please know that you have partners at CSDE, CAPSS and CABE committed to supporting and guiding you during this journey forward into uncharted waters. Take consolation in the fact that we are all in this together. By sustaining the degree of collaboration and partnership that brought us to this point, coupled with a deep commitment to serve all students across the State, we will prevail in these uncertain times and come through stronger on the other side.
Miguel A. Cardona, Ed.D.
Commissioner of Education
Frances M. Rabinowitz
Executive Director, CAPSS
Executive Director, CABE
Thanks to a unified movement across CT, starting this fall, all early childhood through high school, including afterschool program, staff will have the opportunity to take a course on managing emotions during difficult times from Yale at no charge thanks to generous support from Dalio Education. Social and Emotional Learning in Times of Uncertainty and Stress: Research-Based Strategies is a 10-hour online course to support school staff in managing the unprecedented emotions of the new school year to provide the best learning environment for students. Join the thousands of CT school staff who have already pre-registered for the course, and get ready to learn from leading experts in the fields of psychology, education, and research at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
Learn more at www.ycei.org/selcourse
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
COVID-19 has resulted in many uncertainties about our daily lives, and as educators, you're about to face some unique challenges as the school year begins. As of now, your school district has likely announced its plans for this coming fall—that is, whether classes will be held completely online, completely in person, or a combination. But in many cases, those plans are subject to change at a moment's notice.
"You’re going to have it, I think, pretty much all over the place. And it will depend on the state, and it will depend on the occurrence of COVID-19 in their communities," says MaryEllen Elia, Partner at the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), who previously served as the New York State Commissioner of Education and president of the University of the State of New York.
No wonder the reopening of schools has sparked debate among government officials, parents, educators, and staff in recent weeks. Regardless of the reopening plan that your district's schools pursue, there's no denying the fact that students will need to make up for the time spent away from the classroom this past spring. And this goes beyond just academics, extending to mental health and social-emotional learning.
August 14, 2020
(Hartford, Conn.) – Today, a new social and emotional learning (SEL) course was announced to help staff in Connecticut’s schools as they navigate unprecedented times of uncertainty and stress, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial, political, and socioeconomic divides.
Developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, in collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education, American Federation of Teachers Connecticut, Connecticut Education Association, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, and Dalio Education, Social and Emotional Learning in Times of Uncertainty and Stress: Research-Based Strategies will provide Connecticut school staff with the knowledge, skills and strategies to understand and manage their emotions and those of their students.
The 10-hour online course is being offered to all Connecticut school staff, including teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, principals, and non-teaching staff in preK-12 schools for free, thanks to the generosity of Dalio Education. Upon completion, school staff will earn a certification from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
John King Jr., President and CEO of the Education Trust and former U.S. Secretary of Education, is facilitating a roundtable discussion about this innovative new effort. Participants provided the following comments:
Governor Lamont: “Addressing the trauma and disengagement experienced by so many students and teachers over the spring semester requires that our school communities are supported with the most effective instructional and behavioral practices and interventions. Study after study shows us that healthy social-emotional development leads directly to an improvement in student academic success and behavioral outcomes to the benefit of both the student and the staff working with them. This course, developed by some of the best in the field of SEL, is a great opportunity for educators and staff to add to the knowledge, skills, and strategies they will need to reengage all students this fall.”
Marc Brackett, Founder and Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and author, Permission to Feel: “Research shows that where there is an emotionally skilled adult present, students focus more, disrupt less, and perform better academically. These adults also have lower levels of stress and burnout, fewer intentions to leave the profession, greater job satisfaction, and more engaging classrooms.”
Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers: “We are living at a time with no modern precedent: we are in the midst of a health pandemic, an economic recession, and a long overdue reckoning with racism. People are scared, frustrated, and anxious. We need to be able to manage the compounded stress and trauma everyone is experiencing, and this course is a tool do that. The more we can equip our teachers to handle what we’re inevitably going to see in the classroom—in person or remotely—the more we will be able to manage our way through these global crises.”
Lily Eskelsen García, President of the National Education Association: “We know that the best learning happens with relationships that make learning challenging, engaging, and meaningful. The current pandemic crisis has brought into stark relief the inequities many students face, including the need for social and emotional skills that are critical to being a good student and a good citizen. We’re so thankful that the Dalio Foundation is launching this invaluable resource that will help our educators meet their students’ needs regardless of where they learn.”
Barbara Dalio, Founder and Director of Dalio Education: “One of the most important skills to develop during these very stressful times is social emotional learning. We are thrilled to make Connecticut the first state in the country to offer this free to all its teachers, paraprofessionals, principals, and school staff. We especially appreciate the support of Governor Lamont, Commissioner Cardona, Randi Weingarten, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, and all of our Connecticut partners.”
Miguel Cardona, Connecticut Commissioner of Education: “Our readiness this fall to tackle Connecticut’s educational emergency revolves around having in place the social emotional learning and mental health supports necessary to create compassionate academic spaces anytime, anywhere. Given the intensity of the trauma, anxiety, and isolation related to the pandemic, our department has prioritized assisting school communities with embedding the most effective social emotional and well-being practices into every aspect of teaching and learning. This professional development course will reinforce efforts to provide all students with equitable access to opportunities to thrive inside and outside of the classroom.”
Jan Hochadel, President of the American Federation of Teachers Connecticut: “Our teachers, paraeducators, and support personnel need resources and tools to help address the stress and anxiety of an unprecedented ‘back to school’ season. Helping them with their own ‘self-care’ empowers them to be more responsive to their students. We’re particularly concerned in this uncertain time about the healthy emotion regulation of children with special needs and those struggling with poverty. Their caregivers are often not able to work from home, making engagement in distance learning a greater challenge. Tragically, that also has made them more susceptible to COVID-19 infection. Bottom line — equipping our educators with strategies and support for dealing with their own emotions, as well as those of their students is a ‘win-win.’”
Jeff Leake, President of the Connecticut Education Association: “Strong student-teacher relationships are vital to students' success in school. Those relationships as well as trauma-informed practices will be more critical than ever this fall, as our teachers welcome back students who have faced significant challenges at home, many of them related to the pandemic. The partnership with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence will provide our dedicated teachers with the skills, resources, and knowledge to identify and address student trauma, ensuring students receive all the support they need.”
Fran Rabinowitz, Executive Director, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents: “Social and emotional learning is the foundation of a positive district culture in which all students and school staff flourish. It is more important now in these challenging COVID times than it ever has been.”
Jason Adler, School Counselor at Waterford High School and President of the Waterford Federation of Classroom Teachers, AFT Local 2038: “We need to support the social emotional learning of educators so that they may, in turn, create an emotionally supportive environment for their students. A social-emotionally literate teacher is far more capable of creating a safe and nurturing space for their students. This solace is desperately needed by our children in today's world. It will provide them the stability necessary to learn and build their own social emotional resiliency. Education is not (and may never) go back to what it was pre-COVID. This new program is a golden opportunity for teachers and students to make great strides together in this brave new world.”
Erin Daly, Third Grade Teacher, Danbury Public Schools and President of NEA Danbury: “Our dedicated educators understand the importance of a comprehensive approach to addressing student trauma and promoting social-emotional learning, especially in districts like Danbury where the need is high and the budgets for student support services have been decimated. We know that when students return to school they will have greater needs and trauma caused by the pandemic, and will require additional resources and assistance from school counselors, social workers and teachers. This professional learning program will provide educators with the training they need to integrate social emotional learning and trauma-informed instruction into the classroom and promote the well-being of their students.”
For additional information about the course, please visit www.ycei.org/selcourse.
# # #
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is releasing new science-based resources and tools for school administrators, teachers, parents, guardians, and caregivers when schools open this fall.
With states, cities, and communities around the United States experiencing different levels of coronavirus transmission, jurisdictions should ensure appropriate public health strategies are in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 as the first step in creating a safer school environment. Then, working in collaboration with their state and local health departments, school administrators can employ strategies that best match the local conditions and actions that are practical and feasible in their schools to help protect the health and safety of everyone – including students, teachers, and other staff.
“It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield. “The CDC resources released today will help parents, teachers and administrators make practical, safety-focused decisions as this school year begins. I know this has been a difficult time for our Nation’s families. School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth. CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable.”
The resources and tools made available today support how to open schools safely by promoting behaviors that prevent spread, altering how a school and school day is structured, and outlining how to keep the school environment healthy through cleaning, proper ventilation, and other practices. The resources and tools also describe what to do to guard against someone who might be sick from infecting others and what to do if this occurs.
The resources, available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html, also provide students, school administrators, parents, guardians, or caregivers the information they need to guide their decision-making on attending in-person curriculum and how to adapt to local conditions.
CDC will host a media telebriefing tomorrow with Dr. Redfield to discuss the new resources:
What: CDC will provide an update to media on the COVID-19 response, including school reopening guidance
Who: Robert Redfield, M.D., CDC Director
Mitchell Zais, Ph.D., Deputy Secretary of Education
Erin K. Sauber-Schatz, Ph.D., Lead, CDC Community Interventions and Critical Populations Task Force for the COVID-19 response
When: 12:30 p.m. ET Friday, July 24, 2020
A transcript will be available following the briefing at CDC’s web site: www.cdc.gov/media.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts throughout Connecticut face the paradox of decreasing budgets, due to state and local revenues losses, and increasing costs, due to safety mitigation in transportation, sanitization, temperature checks, personal protective equipment, and technology. With mounting pressure, many school districts are being asked to evaluate layoffs, furloughs, or other austerity measures to create savings.
Another option that Superintendents should consider are district-controlled voluntary separation incentives. If properly analyzed and designed, incentives can mutually benefit labor and administration, while creating budgetary and cash flow savings needed to help keep resources in the classroom. They can help with the retention of more recently hired and trained, lower paid staff, and Superintendents sometimes like to use them for restructuring or reorganizing the workforce. Incentives can also reduce or eliminate layoffs or other austerity measures that are less popular with Boards, employees, and the public.
A district-controlled voluntary separation incentive is separate and supplemental to TRS, MERS and local systems, and is typically a one-time, rare offer. The concept is to accelerate the natural attrition by encouraging top of the salary, senior employees to retire earlier than they would ordinarily.
When evaluating whether an incentive is right for your district, here are some key points a Superintendent consider:
1. Comprehensive Analysis Is Key – An incentive should be empirically evaluated based on your district’s actual demographics. The analysis should compare savings created over the next 5 or more years when offering an incentive and should take into account the cost of the benefit, retiree health care premiums, natural attrition, loss of future natural attrition, and projected replacement scenarios.
2. Natural Attrition Is a Cost – In any given year, a number of your employees (typically 6-10%) will leave or retire. These individuals must be considered a cost in the analysis, as they would have left even if an incentive was not offered. It is important to only count savings derived from those employees leaving above and beyond natural attrition.
3. Avoid Lump Sum Cash Incentives – IRS rules state that cash incentives have to be paid within first two years of separation, so they can create cash flow issues. A better approach is to use a post-employment, employer contributed 403(b) vehicle, which can be funded over 5 years and allows for different kinds of tax deferred payout options (including IRA rollovers) that help to increase participation.
4. Teachers Salary Differentials Drive Savings - Most savings from an incentive are created when nearer to retirement age teachers at higher salary levels are replaced by teachers at lower levels on the salary scale. Other groups often don’t have that same salary differential and therefore may not create savings without some temporary or permanent non-replacement of positions.
5. Have an Opt-Out for Board – An incentive can be structured so that your Board of Education has final approval to move forward or not after the enrollment window has closed and an analysis has been completed. This ensures that the plan is only implemented if it meets the district’s fiscal and operational objectives.
6. Seek Out Professionals – To maximize savings and success, we recommend that you use firms that specialize in plan analysis, design, communication, compliance and implementation of school district incentives to manage your incentive. Experienced professionals can help get the analyses right and will reduce the administrative burden on your staff.
By Kathryn Cannie, Senior Consultant 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 districts demographics, please contact PARS Senior Consultant, Kathryn Cannie, at (617) 549-6555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does wearing a mask affect classroom communication?
Audio Enhancement conducted research to understand how wearing a mask would affect communication in the classroom. The study was conducted with a video camera and real-time analyzer/sound level meter positioned 25 feet from the speaker to test what a student sitting furthest from the teacher would hear. The results show there is a significant difference in the quality of the teacher’s voice when he or she wears a mask. From a student listener’s perspective, masks interfere with the teacher’s ability to communicate effectively.
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...
“Public education is our greatest pathway to opportunity in America…”
— Former First Lady Michelle Obama
The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) stands with our nation in anger and grief over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. These three lives, needlessly ended, are the most recent manifestations of historic and systemic racism that permeates our society, our institutions and our laws perpetuating discrimination against people of color.
These events represent yet another blow to communities of color, which are disproportionately suffering and dying from the COVID-19 pandemic. Blacks and Latinos represent the majority of those employed in front-line retail, restaurants, transportation, delivery and hospitality sectors who have lost employment. Without income, they are now challenged to pay their bills, put food on their tables, and support their children’s education through distance learning while often not having the technology and support required for online learning.
We at CAPSS condemn all acts of violence, overt and covert, against Black and Latino communities. We also condemn the systems in place that promote and sustain discrimination against people of color. As an educational organization, we have a moral imperative to fight for justice for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, country of origin, religion, gender, gender identification, or intellectual ability. We also have an obligation to address within our schools any hostile environments, discriminatory attitudes and biased actions against students and families of color, knowing such actions limit their opportunities for success and cause them to distrust our schools.
Education is the strongest weapon we have to address the racial and economic disparities that have plagued our nation since its inception. Connecticut’s public school teachers must work every day to uphold ideals of equality, fairness, justice and democracy. It is essential to provide our students – every student – with the skills, knowledge and dispositions to succeed. This requires that every student is reading by grade three, because this is the most important predictor of success.
To achieve these goals, we must be vigilant in ensuring that the needs of each and every student is met. We must work tirelessly to create environments in which every student can grow and thrive emotionally, socially and academically.
As we head into a new school year, we will be challenged to help students and parents cope with upheaval, economic uncertainty and fear for their future. We must remain sensitive to the tremendous stress our students and families have experienced over the past few months.
While progress has been made in addressing the conditions, attitudes and environments that foment inequity, more has to be done to address the devastating impact of COVID-19 and civil rights abuses on economic inequality and mental health.
Historical inequities – and the resulting societal wounds laid bare in 2020 – will not be solved immediately or easily.
Governor Lamont, the state department of education, our school districts, educators and community leaders have been important collaborators with CAPSS in addressing these issues. This model of collaboration promises to help our state address and eliminate the roadblocks that perpetuate racial, social and educational disparities.
CAPSS’ October 2019 statement on schools’ role in addressing racial injustice:
Statement Regarding Issues Around Racial Intolerance
Resources to help families during Covid-19:
Dealing with Covid-19 Resources For Supporting Families
Our retired committee is very active and helpful with problems of practice for superintendents. If you are retiring and would like to remain a member of CAPSS or just stay in touch, please forward your name, address, telephone number, and personal email address to Dionisia Markopoulos at email@example.com.
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!
Betty Osga provided this excellent set of questions for the budget process. Her original intention was for me to send this toolbox to new coaches to use with their new superintendents, but I thought it would be a great resource for all of you during this difficult budget season.
In light of the passing of Public Act No. 19-12 An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Black and Latino Studies in the Public School Curriculum in June 2015, the State Education Resource Center (SERC) is facilitating Virtual Focus Groups to garner stakeholder input. These focus groups will provide administrators, educators, students, families, and community members the opportunity to weigh in on essential content/topics and concepts that they’d like to see included in the model, statewide curriculum.
As the COVID-19 outbreak transforms our education system, emotionally intelligent leadership from administrators and school boards becomes more and more critical.
Watch Dr. Marc Brackett and Scott Levy from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence present a webinar on Leading with Emotional Intelligence in Uncertain Times.
Keep in touch with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and stay up to date on resources, webinars, and articles on emotional intelligence and COVID-19 by following our COVID-19 Resources for School Communities webpage:
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.
Sarit Schneider Babboni
101 Marietta St NW, Floor 29, Atlanta, GA
O: 404.334.3545| C: 678.986.0704
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.
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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.
John David Son
Senior Manager | Education Partnerships
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With the emergence of confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the United States and in communities surrounding Connecticut, Connecticut public school districts should continue planning for the possibility of community spread and responding to concerns regarding COVID-19. Given the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 outbreak and the information made available to us by public health authorities, it is critical that school districts partner with state and local health officials and regularly consult the latest official guidance as they implement measures to address COVID-19 in their school communities. The guidance herein is based on the information available as of the date of this publication, including guidance issued on March 6, 2020 by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services (DAS).
As we all continue to monitor the latest guidance from public health authorities, it is important for school districts to communicate clearly and regularly with families, students (as age-appropriate), and staff on the preventive steps the school district is taking to minimize the spread of any illness and to prepare for any potential outbreak, should it occur within the school community.
Classroom audio systems offer many benefits to schools. They have been shown to positively affect student achievement and engagement, as well as reduce fatigue and vocal strain for teachers. Some might argue that audio systems don’t offer the same benefits in today’s classrooms where traditional seating is shifting to flexible seating, and teachers don’t just lecture at the front of the room. How does classroom audio fit into new learning environments? How can teachers use today’s technology in conjunction with classroom audio to enhance the learning experience?
CHANGES IN MODERN CLASSROOMS
Teachers used to spend much of their day sharing information with the class from the front of the room, but teaching methods are changing. Teachers act as facilitators of learning, facilitating class discussions, visiting with small groups, or working with individual students. Class time is now dedicated to students researching and learning in small groups, and students spend more time in front of the class, presenting what they’ve learned. With the classroom environment changed so much, how does sound amplification fit into this mix?
The changes in today’s classroom environment make it even more important for teachers to have a microphone/audio system. As teachers move around the classroom, student seating varies, and the increase in students collaborating, hearing a teacher in the classroom has become more difficult. With a classroom audio system, students can hear the teacher, no matter their location in the room. When teachers need to talk to the class during or after small group work, having their voice distributed throughout the classroom makes it easier for everyone to hear a call to attention. When students are presenting their work with the class, they can also use the teacher microphone, or a separate handheld microphone, to make sure everyone can hear them clearly.
The advancement of technology in today’s classrooms provides additional options when using classroom audio systems. With a computer and classroom microphone, teachers can use lecture capture—software that allows the teacher to capture a desktop recording along with their voice from the microphone. This will enable teachers to create digital learning opportunities for students who are sick, away for extra-curricular activities, or hospital homebound, providing anywhere anytime learning.
Schools can integrate interactive displays with their classroom audio systems. These displays offer striking visuals, but their sound is not always clear, nor does it always carry well. With audio system integration, sound from presentations and videos can be distributed throughout the classroom, making multimedia more enjoyable for everyone.
Today’s classroom setups and teaching methods are always evolving, and classroom audio systems offer many benefits for teachers and students as a part of this evolution. As teachers use audio enhancement systems to enhance their voice or the voices of their students, lessons can be more engaging and understandable for everyone in the room. As technology is integrated, teachers can take advantage of digital learning opportunities that are created easily with lecture capture software to give students every opportunity to learn. With the increase of student presentations and the use of multimedia use in classrooms, audio systems can optimize technology utilized to create a more engaging environment for everyone.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?
In the successful publication of The Seven Secrets of Learning Revealed by Dr. Laurence Martel, Dr. Martel states one of the most important factors of learning is the factor of sound. Dr. Martel explains, “In today’s classrooms, teaching is done by talking. For people to process spoken language, the trainer, or teacher's voice, must be 17db (decibels) louder than the noise in the classroom environment” (The Seven Secrets of Learning Revealed by Dr. Laurence Martel). This is more evident in today’s classrooms than ever, and the use of an audio enhancement system can be a game-changer in the classroom.
Classrooms are noisy. Even when students are quietly working, you can hear computers humming, clocks ticking, air conditioners thumping, ceiling fans whirring, chairs shifting, feet shuffling, and many other competing sounds. If these sounds are reverberating off linoleum floors and bare walls, the noise level can make it very difficult for students to hear and learn. “It could be argued that all students can benefit from sound amplification, as it creates a more favorable learning environment. If children (and adults) could hear better, clearer, and more consistently, they would have the opportunity to learn more effectively” (The Seven Secrets of Learning Revealed by Dr. Laurence Martel).
It is safe to say that, if students can’t hear the lesson, they can’t understand what’s being taught. Whether it’s the teacher, another student speaking, or one of the many resource’s teachers use now, hearing and understanding material presented is critical to student learning.
Audio Enhancement, Inc.
Sustainable CT, a statewide nonprofit organization that runs a municipal certification to promote sustainability, equity, and community vibrancy, has recently launched a new funding program, the Community Match Fund. This program, which is open to schools, provides dollar-for-dollar matching funds, up to $25,000 per project, to support projects that make our communities more sustainable. Sustainable CT is already supporting various school projects and encourages schools to apply. Their program has no deadlines, no formal application, no lengthy review period, and minimal reporting requirements.
In order to help project leaders raise funds, Sustainable CT has partnered with ioby, a nonprofit crowdfunding organization that provides an online platform and fundraising coaching and support to help project organizers raise funds. Projects approved for this program will create an online crowdfunding page on ioby that enables them to publicize their projects and solicit contributions. Sustainable CT then matches all donations raised from the community, doubling local investment. In addition to individual donations from the community, Sustainable CT will also match grants, school dollars, municipal dollars, and business contributions, so long as these are part of a community crowdfunding campaign.
While their program is broad and can support many different types of projects, here’s an overview of some of the work that they’re focused on:
- environmental and climate programs/education
- energy efficiency and renewables
- composting & recycling
- food waste reduction
- community & school gardens
- arts & culture
- improving walkability and public transportation
- land and waterbody use and protection
- environmental justice
- creating green spaces
- promoting and increasing access to healthy and sustainable food networks
- And much more!
Community Outreach Manager
Audio Enhancement, Inc. began 40 years ago when a mother wanted to create equal learning opportunities for her hearing-impaired sons and all students in the classroom. Today, we continue her mission by creating innovative technology that promotes more effective classrooms. Audio Enhancement’s classroom solutions include a Classroom Audio System, SAFE System, classroom cameras, and Intercom, Paging, and Bells. Through these solutions, Audio Enhancement promotes student success, increases teacher development, and improves administrative efficiency.
Shipman & Goodwin LLP has more than 170 attorneys with five offices in Connecticut, an office in New York and Washington, D.C. The firm is recognized nationally for the depth and breadth of our education practice. Our school law attorneys represent over 125 public school districts and educational entities. Our online resource, www.ctschoollaw.com is dedicated to presenting the latest developments in school law.
Thomas B. Mooney, Esq.