Lebanon Public Schools

Superintendent Gonzalez's Update- September 2021

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What a great start!

I have just sat down at my desk after returning from watching the arrival of our students at each of our schools. There is nothing like the first day of school! To see the joy and excitement of our learners as they return to school is invigorating and to see our back to school plans realized is gratifying.


Whether looking at a confident high school senior who has clear goals and desires for the year, with a vision for life after Lyman, or watching a Kindergarten student being guided into LES by a caring staff member for their first day of school with dreams of what the future holds, we cannot help but be energized to help prepare students to be contributing members of a diverse global society.

Our team has worked hard to prepare for this year and will provide a safe, nurturing, rigorous, and student-centered learning environment for all our learners to grow socially and academically.


Best wishes to all for an awesome 2021-2022 school year!

Andy

Untitled: Sep 1, 2021 3:03 PM
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2021-2022 Convocation

Since the day I was appointed Superintendent of Lebanon Public Schools, I have looked forward to the 2021-2022 Convocation--a time where our full team could be together to celebrate the start of an exciting school year.


We had so much to celebrate during the convocation exercises and it started by formally welcoming our new team members. This summer we appointed 31 staff members (as a result of filling retirements/resignations, internal transfers or new positions)! We also proudly acknowledged the dedication of team members who have reached impressive tenure milestones, honored our Paraeducator of the Year, Linda Peterson, and our Teachers of the Year, Jan Gervais (LES), Kate Confransesco (LMS & named District Teacher of Year) and Dave Covino (LMHS).


During my Superintendent's message, I focused on finding inspiration everywhere. I shared a few quotes from the motivational calendar I keep on my desk. Two in particular stood out to me and coincidentally were present on the months immediately following my appointment. "Do not be pushed around by fears in your mind but be led by the dreams in your heart" and "You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore".


As Superintendent, I have made a decision not to be pushed around by fears but to follow the dreams in my heart. I am now comfortable in losing sight of the shore while swimming for new horizons. I encourage staff to do the same in their roles. Try new things. Take risks. Dare to be great knowing they will have my support and that of our community. We are all in this together and are here for each other to provide encouragement and support as we face the challenges this year will bring.


I shared with them that In these new situations, we might fail (highlighted by a somewhat embarrassing video of my attempt to wakeboard which resulted in a face plant in the water). Another quote I referenced was "Failure is part of life. If you never fail, you’ll never learn. If you never learn you’ll never grow. If you don’t grow you can’t be great".


Last year forced our hand to try different approaches and many of you may have felt like me on the wakeboard where your effort fell flat. But think about how you felt when you got back up, dusted yourself off and gave it another shot. Think about the powerful example we set for our learners. Remember we model the way for our students. We want them to grow into critical thinkers who are innovative problem solvers and lifelong learners. Our actions are always being observed and we are a powerful influence on our students.


I found the next piece of inspiration while at my daughter’s dance class at a local recreation center. The poster that was hanging on the wall read, “Strength does not come from winning, you develop your strengths when you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength”. There were no winners in dealing with COVID. But we all did go through hardships and never gave up on our learners, each other, or this community. We did things that we may have never thought possible. We are Lebanon strong! This year, again, will require a growth-mindset. We will need to see challenges as opportunities. We will need to rally together to persevere.


The last source of inspiration I shared was the slogan on a UCONN men’s basketball t-shirt. The shirt was fired out of a t-shirt cannon and landed in my son’s arms. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, but the other day while preparing to head to the gym, the slogan stood out to me. The shirt reads “Honor the past, believe in the future”. Lebanon has a rich tradition of excellence in our schools. I am humbled and honored to be a part of this tradition. But I am equally excited about what the future holds.


We got this! I look forward to supporting everyone’s efforts and celebrating our collective greatness every step of the way!

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Article Reflection

If you haven't already noticed, I have a love for positive quotes. I shared the above quote with our administrative team but I think it is a good thing to include in this update for everyone to see. Our motto for this school year, Lebanon 2021-2022- Perseverance, Pride and Pursuit of Excellence, will define our work.


I know I share your sentiments in wanting this school year to be great. Our learners deserve this year to be great. We need to work hard to make every day, every lesson, every experience great for them. And we are looking for our learners to reciprocate this effort in their attempts to be great at growing towards our Portrait of the Graduate dispositions- Effective Communicator, Innovative Problem Solver, Engaged Collaborator, Critical Thinker, Responsible Citizen and Lifelong Learner.


In the featured article that you can download below, Carol Dweck of Stanford University details how beliefs about intelligence can have a major impact on teaching and learning. In Lebanon, we will work to develop growth mindsets in all our learners and instill a firm belief that everyone's intellectual ability can grow when we approach learning with relentless effort.


Andy

The Curriculum Corner

To prepare for the beginning of the new school year and our initial professional days together, Lebanon Public Schools set out to establish learning goals and objectives for teachers and staff. These goals centered on supporting students and families with Covid-related social and emotional challenges and analysis of student progress in order to target Tier 1 instruction.

On the morning of August 31, teachers and paraprofessionals across the district focused on the social emotional learning of our students. At both the elementary and middle school, teachers engaged in collaborative discussions and presentations from colleagues on the available resources and relevant lessons aligned with Second Step or CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning ) - evidence-based-scientific research programs. At the high school, teachers explored a new social emotional program called ONEder: a social emotional curriculum aligned to the 5 Core Competencies identified by CASEL - Discovering Self-Awareness, Building Social Awareness, Developing Self-Management, Responsible Decision-Making, and Growing Healthy Relationships.

In the afternoon, elementary and middle teachers engaged in data driven work. This work focused on the review of data such as SBAC results to help target standard based instructional goals and small intervention groupings. High school departments collaborated, reviewed their curriculum, and held vertical and horizontal articulation sessions. A big thank you to Stephanie DeLucia, Stephanie Roberts, Amanda Mansfield, Erica Strong, Barbara Archer, Caitlin Aissis, Hannah Bowen, Jeanette Picard, Christopher McClean, Heather McCluskey, and Genevieve Nowosad, for helping with PD presentations. Our next professional development session (on October 8) will continue this theme as we strive to support social-emotional learning and continue our focus on purposeful, targeted instruction at all grade levels and subject areas.


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Connecticut Commissioner of Education

Please follow the highlighted and underlined text to view Governor Lamont's press release announcing Charlene Russell-Tucker as our Commissioner of Education.


Governor Lamont Nominates Charlene Russell-Tucker as Education Commissioner

Posted on August 19, 2021

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

Honor the Past, Believe in the Future

In the picture below you see our new staff getting a tour of historic Lebanon led by our 4th grade teacher Kathleen Smith. We feel it is important for our team to know more about our community and its rich traditions before leading our learners on the pursuit of excellence in our classrooms.
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Life in Lebanon, Connecticut 221715-10X | Footage Farm

#closeknit

This picture is an example of how small our world is but how powerful the Lebanon connections are. LYMAN Senior Kristen Goodrich and LMS 5th grader Siena Wales met while completing their open water dive certification through New England Ski & Scuba this summer
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Tour of Cushman Farm

A few of our students took advantage of the last few days of summer and visited Cushman Farms to learn more about the inner workings of the farm and got a chance to view and feed the cows. While they were there, they got to see their teacher which was an added bonus and helped ease the transition of back to school.
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Important Dates and Events

9-6- Labor Day- No School

9-7- LES PTA Meeting- Lazur Pavilion- 6:00

9-14- Board of Education Meeting- 7:30- Lyman Memorial High School Library

9-22- Open House- Lebanon Middle School- 6:30 p.m.

9-30- Open House- LES Grades K – 4 – 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

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Ensuring Safe Return and Continuity of Services- Update

Hello Lebanon Families,

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we awaited guidance from the Governor, the State Department of Education, the Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control to inform our Continuity of Service Plan.


Governor Lamont’s press release of Thursday, August 5 indicated that the Connecticut State Department of Education and the Connecticut Department of Public Health were in the process of reviewing statewide policies on masking in schools and that an updated school masking policy would be issued before the start of the 2021-22 school year.


Connecticut Superintendents were informed on Tuesday morning, August 10 by the State Department of Education that schools continue to be subject to Executive Order 13A by the Governor. In this Executive Order, the DPH Commissioner has the authority to determine where masks are to be worn through SEPTEMBER 30. Schools and school buses are among that list and therefore mask usage is required through SEPTEMBER 30.


In compliance, the Lebanon Public Schools will begin the school year with mask usage for all students and all staff in all indoor activity in schools and on all school buses. No masks will be required for any outdoor activity. As guidance is adjusted during the course of the year, the mask expectations may be adjusted as well.


Below you will find the Ensuring Safe Return and Continuity of Services section, pages 9-17 from our original plan, that has been updated to reflect the latest guidance. Changes to the proposed plan that was shared earlier this summer are in red font. I have consolidated this section into one column so that you can focus only on what the plan will be to start the school year. If you would like to reference the original proposal, you may also access it at the bottom of this update.

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*All cases reported in this week's dashboard are from before the start of school.

CT WiZ

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.

https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Immunizations/CT-WiZ-Access-My-Immunization-Record

American Academy of Pediatrics

COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools

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Daily Checklist

Daily Symptom Checklist

Lebanon Public Schools Students and Staff


Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to COVID-19 should not be at school.


1. Does the person have any of these symptoms?

Primary Covid-19 Symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.0 or above

  • Feeling feverish

  • Chills

  • Uncontrolled New Cough

  • Shortness of Breath

  • Difficulty Breathing

  • New Loss of Taste and Smell

Secondary Covid-19 Symptoms:

  • Muscle Pain

  • Sore Throat

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea/Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Congestion/Runny Nose


If a person has any of these symptoms, they should stay home, stay away from other people, and consider calling their health care provider.


Seek emergency care for: Trouble breathing, New confusion, Inability to wake or stay awake, Bluish lips or face, Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.


2. Has the person had close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) in the last 14 days with someone diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19?

  • No

  • Yes - This person should not be at school. They should quarantine for 7 days after the last contact. They should get tested on/after day 5.

- People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who has COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.


3. Since they were last at school, has this person traveled out of state?

  • No

  • Yes - Please see CT.Gov/travel.


4. Since last at school, has this person been diagnosed with COVID-19?

  • No

  • Yes - If a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19 based on a positive test, or based on their symptoms, they should not be at school and should stay at home until they meet the criteria below.


Returning to School


COVID Symptoms/No test/or Positive Test

  • Out 10 days from the day symptoms began.

  • 24 hours have passed since temp returned to normal with no fever-reducing medication.

  • Symptoms have improved


Positive COVID-19 test/ no symptoms

  • They should remain out of school until 10 days have passed since the date of the positive test.


Pending Test Results

  • If tested, do not return to school until test results are final.


Routine Illness: With no known travel history or close contact, no primary Covid-19 symptoms (Subject to change with school or community COVID spread)

  • Follow routine school guidelines:

  • 24 hours fever free (without fever-reducing medication)

  • 24 hours after vomiting or diarrhea have stopped

  • 24 hours after starting an antibiotic (ex.for strep throat)

  • Feeling better and symptoms have improved for 24 hours

  • Cough and Runny Nose/Secretions are improved and controlled

  • Allergy symptoms controlled and improved

  • May return any time with a note from the Healthcare Provider


Please contact your school nurse with any questions or concerns.


Updated 8/26/21 per CDC/CSDE

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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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Information for Families on the Advance Child Tax Credit

The Internal Revenue Service needs the help of Connecticut school districts in publicizing IRS Advance Child Tax Credit payments. Advance Child Tax Credit payments, up to $250 per month per qualifying child ages 6 – 17 and up to $300 per month per qualifying child under age 6, started in July and will go through December 2021. Most taxpayers will receive these payments automatically. However qualifying families who did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return must either file those returns or use the IRS non-filer sign up tool to receive Advance Child Tax Credit payments.

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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.