Lebanon Public Schools

Superintendent Gonzalez's Update- February 2022

Mario Andretti

Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek.

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Ralph Marston

Excellence is not a skill, it's an attitude.

Budget 2022-2023

Thanks to the staff and community members who participated in our first informal conversation regarding the 2022-2023 Lebanon Public Schools budget. I look forward to continued collaboration as we work together to build a robust and responsible budget to support all our learners!
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UConn Early College Enrollment

Please read this outstanding news from the UConn Early College Experience program #LebanonPride #PursuitOfExcellence

It is with great excitement that we announce that you are part of our Top 10 High Schools for highest percent enrollment increase in the UConn Early College Experience program from 2020-2021 to the 2021-2022 academic year.

You are our #3 High School in the program this year with 240% increase in your UConn ECE enrollment.

We want to congratulate you on an extremely successful year despite all of the continuous difficulties and uncertainties, and thank you for your dedication and hard work. We know this success would not be possible without you, and we look forward to continuing to grow our partnership with you and Lyman Memorial High School.

Congratulations from all of us here in the UConn Office of Early College Programs! Look out for the complete list of Top 10 High Schools which will be announced in our Winter Newsletter within the week. We hope you will share this great news and please be sure to tag us!

Facebook @uconnece

Twitter @uconnece

Instagram @uconn_ece


The beginning of a new year is often a time to set new goals. Goal setting in Lebanon Public Schools is an interactive and ongoing process. We work to include our learners in setting rigorous and relevant goals to challenge them to grow across academic areas. This picture below is from a bulletin board in our middle school and describes the SMART goal setting process. In the featured article, educators from across the country share ideas and reflections on goal setting with their students. I hope our teaching team and families alike find it informative.
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Student Goal-Setting in the Classroom By Larry Ferlazzo

How can we use goal-setting with our students?

Research, and the practical experience of many educators, suggest that encouraging students to set their own goals can assist academic achievement and student engagement. As one student said to me last year, “When you set a goal, it just makes you want to work harder to make it.”

This series will explore ways to apply this kind of goal-setting in the classroom.

Dr. Sanée Bell, Kevin Parr, Rita Platt, Dr. Jennifer Davis Bowman and Matt Renwick share their ideas.

Response From Dr. Sanée Bell

Sanée Bell, Ed.D. is a middle school principal and adjunct professor who resides in Houston, Texas. Dr. Bell recognizes her impact as a leader and uses her role to inspire, motivate, and empower others. Sanée shares her thoughts on leadership on her blog saneebell.com and via Twitter @SaneeBell:

The purpose of using goal setting with students is to help understand their role during the learning process. To frame this discussion, I want to use the letters in the word G.O.A.L. to define the importance of establishing goals with our students.

Growth. Without setting how goals, how will students know when they are learning and improving? We certainly cannot rely on grades to be a measure of growth. In fact, grades measure compliance more than student growth. Grades are teacher directed and involve no collaboration. On the other hand, goals should be collaborative decisions made by the teacher and the student and include various measurements of progress along the way.

Ownership. Through goal setting, students become owners of their learning. They are not able to be passive participants who await for the teacher to determine if they have mastered the learning objectives. When students own their learning, they understand the standards that have been set, and through scaffolding and support from the teacher, they have a clear path on how to improve. Standards should be written in student-friendly language so that students can articulate exactly what is expected of them. Students should be given exemplars for self-evaluation and reflection, as well as a place to collect evidence that demonstrates their progress toward the learning standards. Lastly, when students are able to facilitate a student-centered conference about their progress, it gives them the opportunity to share their learning with their parents and teachers.

Awareness. Typically, student awareness toward progress occurs during progress or report card time. On most occasions when students receive graded work, they often look at the grade without little thought about the learning that occurred. Goal setting helps students to be more aware of the learning that they are expected to experience. This awareness helps students to be engaged in the learning process. Mastery-oriented goals give students the opportunity to focus on learning standards and their own growth. Without goals, student motivation and engagement decreases because students are not aware of what they should be learning and have no idea about their role in the learning process.

Learning. Learning cannot occur in the absence of feedback. Goal-setting with students must be accompanied with individualized, targeted feedback. Goals without feedback will not increase student achievement. Choosing a limited number of goals will help teachers focus on the most important needs of the student, and will help students focus on the most critical areas of their learning. Goals should be individualized for each student, and an entry point that is challenging but attainable for the student is a great starting place when it comes to setting goals. When students experience success, they are motivated to continue to push themselves.

Setting goals with students informs teacher practice, engages and motivates students during the learning process, and creates a partnership between the teacher, student, and parents.

Response From Kevin Parr

Kevin Parr is a fourth grade teacher in Wenatchee, Washington and a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader:

As educators, our task is to empower students and help them grow into lifelong learners. The purpose for goal-setting with students should be no different. Here are a few ways teachers can use goal-setting to empower students to become lifelong learners:

Expand the options: Many teachers limit student’s goals to current class topics or important grade-level benchmarks. While this is a well intentioned strategy, if we are serious about empowering students we should allow them to set their own goals. When we allow them to do this their goals become personal and they are invested in accomplishing them. We can help them create goals that are important to them by expanding the options. When setting goals with students I ask them to not only think about academics but also behavior, character traits, a sport or hobby of interest or even something at home.

Leverage parent support: If we want students (especially our youngest ones) to set goals that have any personal meaning, those goals need to be transferrable from school to home. In this sense, parents are a key player. One easy idea is to have students draft multiple goals and then review them with parents to identify those in which the parents can support from home. For me, these conversations have led to parents verifying goals they could support from home, excluding those they could not and adding some they felt were important to them. Goals that are meaningful for both students and parents are key in fostering long-term growth.

Track and evaluate progress: For any goal, tracking and evaluating progress is key, Far too often, however, teachers dictate how students should track their progress and even set benchmarks to tell students if they are on track to accomplish their goals. If we really want students to be accountable, however, we need them to not only create their own goals but also to design ways to track their progress. Students need to consider how they will evaluate their progress, how often, who their evaluator will be, and ultimately, and if they have met their goal. In addition, students also need to reflect on if they should keep working on a goal, modify it or create a new one.

Goal-setting does not only have to be a way for teachers to get students to meet an academic standard. By allowing students to set their own goals, including their parents, and developing ways to track and evaluate them, goal-setting can also help teachers achieve their higher purpose: fostering lifelong learning.

Response From Rita Platt

Rita Platt (@ritaplatt) is a Nationally Board Certified teacher and a proud #EduDork!. Her experience includes teaching learners of all levels from kindergarten to graduate student. She currently is a Library Media Specialist for the St. Croix Falls SD in Wisconsin, teaches graduate courses for the Professional Development Institute, consults with local school districts, and writes for We Teach We Learn:

Teaching students to set and meet goals is a skill that they will be able to use for the rest of their lives. I teach students to set goals in reading beginning in 2nd grade. This year, greater than 90% of students met their personal goals and enjoyed the pride and excitement that comes from knowing that they can work hard and achieve! Below, I will share my lesson sequence for goal-setting.

Growth Mindset

Introduce students to the concept that they can “grow their brains.” Researcher, Carol Dweck, compares the brain to a muscle and reminds students that they can grow their brains. To drive this home with students, I have them read and discuss the short article, You Can Grow Your Intelligence!


Teach students about goals and why goal-setting is important. I start by offering a student-friendly definition of the word goal. A goal is something that you work hard to be able to do. I then teach students that if goals are to be successful, they must be SMART. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Students must be taught to set goals that are smart.

Once they get the concept, I show students examples of simple SMART goals in reading.

  • I will read 5 picture books at my “just-right-level” before April 20th..
  • I will increase my oral reading rate from 70 WPM to 85 WPM by the end of the 2nd quarter.
  • I will read four books from the mystery genre by the end of the 1st quarter.
  • I will finish the second Harry Potter book by winter break.
  • I will earn 25 Accelerated Reader (AR)* points in the 3rd quarter.

Then, I ask students to think about the types of goals they would like to set. I always have students set a minimum of two per quarter. One for number of books read (or AR points) and the other for whatever they would like to work on. I share the following suggestions. Each is linked to the tools I use to help students keep track of and meet their goals.

Goal-Focused Work

Students set their own goals and write down a plan to meet them. I frequently remind students to check their progress. If kids (or adults!) are to meet their goals, they must be front and center. I often pair students with “accountability partners” to check in with each day. I have students “tap out” to show me their progress at the end of class. I hold students accountable to their goals. When we meet to confer, goals are at the heart of our conversations, when I talk to parents, I share goal progress, and when the goal-period is up, we assess. If goals were not met, we problem-solve together for next time. I remind students that a goal is a promise they make to themselves and my job it to help them keep it.


Response From Dr. Jennifer Davis Bowman

Jennifer envisions classrooms filled with thinking caps-because uniforms are uninspiring as well as students with plastic utensils-because every student deserves a seat at the learning table. As an educator with a terminal degree in Special Education and a License in School Counseling, she’s written about her classroom and higher education experiences in Teaching Tolerance, ASCD, and Teach Thought. For education research and resources follow her on twitter: @DrJDavisBowman:

“But my students see goals as just something else they have to do!”

The other night I overheard my husband and son talking. My son was asking for another cell phone (his screen was cracked). I knew how this conversation would end. My husband would explain how he could reach the goal. The ways would include mopping floors, working in the yard, scrubbing blah, blah, blah...Then, my son would complain-feeling forced to do the chores in order to reach his goal.

But, I was wrong.

The lecture changed into a challenge. My husband challenged my son to fix the broken screen. Struck with intrigue, my son took the bait. Immediately, he fired question after question: “How long does it take?” “Where do I get the repair stuff?” “Really?...you’re saying I can figure it out myself?”

The take-away here, for educators, is that without the challenge element, a goal is just something else we expect the learner to do. It’s just another rung on a ladder or an additional landmark on the curriculum map. But, a challenge furnishes learners with the motivation to pursue the goal.

Reflecting on the phone incident, I’m reminded how learning principles illustrate the power of a challenge. For my son, the challenge fueled a series of questions that demonstrated genuine interest in learning (inquiry based learning). Also, because a challenge yields mental tension between if you are able vs. if you will attempt something, my son worked to relieve this. And ultimately, he took the psychological dare. Finally, a challenge builds confidence. For my son, it only took moments to realize dad believed in his potential and thus he began to believe in his own ability too (growth mindset).

Unfortunately, we’re satisfied with identifying goals and overlook the opportunity to incorporate a challenge. For our students, we naively believe, if we build it, they will come. Or worse, we assume if the goal is specific and measured over and over (a consequence of both the SMART goal and the standardized testing movement) students will magically meet our academic expectations.

Instead of going gently into the good night (a nod to poet Dylan Thomas), pledge to incorporate challenges with student goals. But...how? Maybe directly telling students, I challenge you to... Or asking students, “What if you push yourself a little harder and try____?” My favorite is attaching the word “challenge” to the assignment title. For instance if the assignment lasts a few weeks, it becomes “The 30 Day _____ Challenge.”

How have you faced the challenge of embedding challenges within your classroom goals?

Response From Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an elementary school principal in Mineral Point, Wisconsin and author of multiple books, including 5 Myths About Classroom Technology: How do we integrate digital tools to truly enhance learning? (ASCD, 2015). Learn more about Matt on his website, mattrenwick.com, and by following him on Twitter @ReadByExample:

Used smartly and with intent, goal setting can be a game changer in engaging our students in their own learning process. Writing down goals makes them concrete. Sharing goals with peers, teachers, and family members puts more accountability on oneself. Including others in setting the goals provides a support system to help achieve them. Others become invested in their success. When students finally do achieve what they set out to accomplish, everyone celebrates.

So how can we use goal setting with our students? I believe the first step in this process is asking students what they are interested in as well as their needs. In one 2nd grade classroom, one teacher I know (my wife) asked her students questions regarding their interests and needs. One student, who in previous years had significant behavior issues, said he wanted to “build more because I like to tinker”. This information translated into co-developed goals between teacher and student around creativity and the importance of choice in learning. Over the course of the school year, both his behavior and academics improved dramatically. Both the process (choice) and the product (building things) were a part of this example of student-involved goal setting.

Including students in the goal setting process also benefits from making the learning process and eventual outcomes visible. By visible, this means documenting student learning as it is happening and sharing their work for a wide audience. Digital portfolios are an effective way for facilitating this approach. Going back to the previous example, my wife used FreshGrade to capture images and video of her students building during Genius Hour. Families could observe the idea generation, collaboration, prototyping, and collaboration that led to an exciting product as it was happening. By making visible a student’s pathway toward goal achievement, it takes the mystery out of the learning process and celebrates their work.

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa

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The Great Kindness Challenge

LES is participated in the Great Kindness Challenge the week of January 24th-28th!

During the week, children made goals and kept track of acts of kindness they saw throughout the school and that they performed themselves. We took the opportunity to discuss what it means to be kind and how no act of kindness is too small. We celebrated the impact we can make on someone else’s day and transformed how children view and treat others! In the school, we kept track of every act of kindness on a small checklist and the kids created and their own! Attached is a link for a family kindness challenge for you to participate at home as well and join in the positivity!


Did you know there are scientifically proven benefits of being kind?

Read the article below...
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CT Grown for CT Kids Grant

Working in partnership with Phil Chester, Lebanon Town Planner along with local farmer and parent, Charlotte Ross our district is pursuing an exciting opportunity by applying for this grant.

The purpose of the grant is to assist development and enhancement of farm-to-school programs that will increase the availability of local foods in child nutrition programs, allow educators to use hands-on educational techniques to teach students about nutrition and farm-to-school connections, sustain relationships with local farmers and producers, enrich the educational experience of students, improve the health of children in the state and enhance the state's economy.

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Don't Forget

Click "buttons" throughout update to view articles & important documents
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Lebanon Pride

Families, please feel free to send photos of our students in action so that I can celebrate them in the Superintendent Updates. Thanks for helping share our Lebanon Pride! andrew.gonzalez@lebanonct.org

Nothing like a new coat....

During these frigid winter months there is nothing like the feeling of slipping into a warm coat. But another type of coat really warmed up the appearance of Lebanon Middle School. Thanks the efforts of Scholar Painting and the support of our Board of Education our middle school has a fresh new look. Our staff and students deserved this! Please take notice next time you visit the school.
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LES Winter Door Decorating Contest!


Most Creative: Mrs. Pistel’s Classroom-Puzzle Winter Scene

Most Student Involvement: Mrs. Shuman’s Melodies and Rhythms Door

Best Overall Door: STEM/Library STEM Snowman Scene (Pictured)

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Lyman 100th Anniversary Logo

The Lyman 100th Anniversary Committee is pleased to announce that KALLIYAN PEARSON, Lyman Class of 2023, designed the logo we will use throughout our celebration!

Thank you to Roselyn Marino’s Graphic Design class for working on logos during the first semester.

This project was one that no other class had been asked to participate in before.

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Lyman's 100th Year Celebration!

Lyman Alumni, we are looking for you.

Lyman Memorial High School will celebrate its centennial during the 2022–23 school year. An Alumni Anniversary Committee is working in partnership with the Lebanon Historical Society to plan a series of events to honor this incredible milestone. In addition, our volunteers are working hard to find and identify the stories and objects from Lyman’s past, which will culminate in a commemorative history of the school. A published book will be available at a future date, comprising of a history and many of the components: Vo-Ag/FFA, sports, clubs and organizations, faculty, graduates, and much more.

Please refer to the anniversary Facebook page or the Lyman website for items we are looking for.

Please help us spread the word to our Lyman alumni and follow our Facebook page: “Lyman-Memorial-High-School-100-Year-Anniversary.” If you do not have Facebook, please email LymanMHS100years@gmail.com to be added to the list or for more information.

The opening celebration and an all-class reunion are planned for the weekend of September 9-11, 2022. Plan to reunite with classmates and old friends; enjoy sporting events, dancing, food, displays and tours of the Middle and High Schools. More details on this centennial celebration will be in print and posted on social media including the Lyman High School Facebook page and website.

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Community Conversations

Coffee and Chat sessions have proved to be challenging for people to attend. I have switched it up a bit with a new name and a virtual component. Please feel free to join me for Community Conversations on Thursday mornings.

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Reminder of Mask Wearing

Thank you for your cooperation in following the mitigation strategies to help keep our students and staff safe so that we may continue to provide in-person instruction. Please remind your children about the importance of consistent masking as an important measure to protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19.
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Lebanon Covid-19 Dashboard

Please remember you can see our COVID-19 data that is updated in real time athttps://www.lebanonct.org/ There is a "button" on the main page that links directly to our dashboard.
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If you have individuals looking for their vaccination record, they can now access the information by themselves.

The link is below for patients and legal guardians to access official immunization records for themselves and their children using the CT WiZ Public Portal.


American Academy of Pediatrics

COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools

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American Rescue Plan for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief

The American Rescue Plan for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ARP ESSER) have been allocated to create programming that is not only innovative but allows our students to thrive in a safe, nurturing, rigorous and student-centered learning environment.

Lebanon Public Schools is projected to receive $347,039 ESSER II funds and $770,405 ESSER III funds that are to be used by June 2023.

Our team has developed a plan to apply these significant funds to support students who have experienced injuries of trauma as a result of necessary changes in the learning environment during the 2020-21 academic year.

Our plan addresses the following priorities:

■ Providing academic support to address learning loss and accelerate recovery

■ Partnering with families and the community

■ Ensuring our schools’ safety and well-being

■ Integrating Technology to support the success of all learners

Being responsive to the needs of the district and the students whom we serve, this plan will be reviewed and revised at regular intervals and updated materials will be posted on our district's website, shared with Board of Education as well as with our families by sharing at the building level through newsletters and other sources of communication.

As a result of a needs assessment and the collaborative conversations between administration, staff and Board of Education members, Lebanon Public Schools has hired a Math Interventionist and Literacy Coach to work at Lebanon Middle School. We have also contracted with Eastconn, our Regional Education Service Center, to provide K-12 Math support for our educators. Lyman will have a supported study hall to keep students on track. Our district added a Social worker to support our students social and emotional well-being. We also have invested in new educational platforms to support targeted instruction for our learners and teachers have been actively engaged in curriculum development this summer. Most recently the district posted, and has begun interviewing to fill positions that we feel will meet the priorities above. These positions include; a grade 4 & 5 teacher, a 7-12 Math position that will bring a concentrated focus to this subject and support 6th grade. These were initial steps towards addressing the needs of our district. Further communication will be sent to all stakeholders to engage in meaningful consultation for suggestions on educational areas to support.

If you have any feedback or suggestions on how we can grow our district through creative use of these funds, please reach out to me directly.

Keep Our School Zones Safe

Thank you for paying close attention to your speed while driving through our school zones. Our School Resource Officer and our Town Constable will be actively monitoring vehicle speeds to ensure we have safe school zones.

Also, please remember that it is never okay to drive by/pass any school bus with flashing red lights.

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Mission Statement

The Lebanon Public Schools, in partnership with families and the community, will prepare students to be contributing members of a diverse global society. We will provide a safe, nurturing, rigorous, and student-centered learning environment.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement of the Lebanon Public Schools:

The school community of Lebanon is committed to the mission of honoring and celebrating the diversity of our students, our community, and our nation. We strive to guide our students to conscious, deliberate, individual and collective actions that cultivate the respect of all races, religions, and social backgrounds. Our school community endeavors to produce graduates who are equipped with a greater understanding of the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Nondiscrimination Statement of the Lebanon Public Schools:

The Lebanon Board of Education, in compliance with federal and state law, affirms its policy of equal educational opportunity for all students and equal em ployment opportunity for all persons. It is the policy of the District to promote nondiscrimination and an environment free of harassment regardless of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, ancestry, disability (including but not limited to, intellectual disability, past or present history of mental disorder, physical disability, or learning disability), genetic information, marital status, or age or because of the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ge nder identity/expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, genetic information, marital status, or age of any persons with whom the individual associates. The District shall provide to all students without discrimination, course offerings, counseling, assistance, employment, athletics, and extracurricular activities. The District shall provide equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The District shall make reasonable accommodations for identified physical and mental impairments that constitute disabilities, consistent with federal and state statutes and regulations.