Lebanon Public Schools
Superintendent Gonzalez's Update- August 2021
“No matter how hard the past is, you can always begin again.”
Dear Lebanon Students, Staff, Families and Community Members,
First let me once again congratulate you on your herculean efforts to navigate through what was a uniquely challenging 2020-2021 school year! I look forward to partnering with you in 2021-2022 as we persevere through challenges, proudly celebrate our district and pursue excellence for all.
I hope you have had a healthy, enjoyable summer that has included time to relax, recharge and reengage in social activities. We have been working hard to prepare and are so excited to welcome you back to our schools.
As our district team collaborates with Uncas Health, the State Department of Education, Department of Public Health and local officials to create the safest return to school possible, we understand that there will be challenges along the way. We will actively communicate and respond to changes. We are confident that partnering with you in support of everyone’s health and wellness will lead to a safe and productive school year.
This new year provides us with optimism and excitement to continue to build on the rich tradition in our learning community while believing in the future of our learners. We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our students, staff and community while paving the way forward to collective greatness.
In 2021-2022 we will apply a laser-focused approach to strategically designed district goals that will have a direct through line from Lebanon Elementary School to Lebanon Middle School to Lyman Memorial High School. In utilizing this cohesive and powerful approach we will accelerate learning for all!
· District Goal 1 -- To accelerate learning for all students who have been disengaged and have experienced learning loss during the 2020-21 school year, we will increase opportunity for focused student support and, as a result, decrease the number of students not meeting grade-level benchmark standards by at least 20%.
· District Goal 2 -- To accelerate learning for students who have been disengaged in learning as a result of COVID during the 2020-2021 school year, the district's English Language Arts and Math performance will increase at every grade level by 10% using district and state benchmark data.
· District Goal 3 -- To strengthen community and family connections for the purpose of supporting student success, the district will increase by 20% the total level of participation in school/community programs.
· District Goal 4 -- To support students and families with COVID-related social and emotional challenges, the district will provide focused Social and Emotional Growth services to students with an emphasis on those students identified using a universal screening tool, as well as attendance and academic data.
As a close knit community, I am confident that together we will provide our students with a high quality, comprehensive educational experience for all.
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.
Thank You Lebanon Food Services!
Thank You ESY Team!
Thank You Uncas Health!
For example, I was inspired by the two high jump competitors who valiantly challenged and pushed each other to new heights only to end in a tie. They were presented with an option for continuing the competition but countered with their own idea to share the gold medal. In the video below you can see the exuberance and pure joy that this gesture brought to each athlete.
In the second video you see collective effervensce (the topic of the article in my last update) in action. Swimmer, and high school student athlete, Lydia Jacoby won gold as a watch party of her classmates cheered her on and celebrated this special moment with her, albeit virtually.
The last video shows a robot shooting a basketball with marksmen like precision. While the accuracy that the robot demonstrates is impressive, I thought about all the critical thinking and innovative problem solving that was needed to design this machine. The team that created this robot no doubt experienced a great deal of trial and error and needed to persevere during the productive struggle of learning and building this robot.
There was so much that we can take away from these games and translate into our lives as Lebanon educators and students who are engaged collaborators and life long learners!
Innovation is not just doing something new; it is thinking of new ways to improve a product, a method, or an idea.
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.
Important Dates and Events
8-13- Summer Mailing to Families and Staff
8-24- 11:00-Popsicles with the Principal at LES- Kindergarten students
8-25- 11:00-2:00- Freshman Orientation at Lyman
8-25 & 8-26- 9:00-12:00- High School Sports Clearance
8-26 & 8-27- New Staff Orientation
8-31- Back to School Professional Learning
9-1- First Day of School
9-6- Labor Day- No School
9-14- Board of Education Meeting- 7:30- Lyman Memorial High School Library
Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan 2021-2022
Connecticut Summer at the Museum
Governor Ned Lamont has launched the Connecticut Summer at the Museum – a new state program created in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that allows Connecticut children to receive free admission at more than 90 museums across Connecticut during the 2021 summer months.
Under the finalized program, from July 1 to September 6, 2021, all Connecticut children age 18 and under – plus one accompanying adult – will receive free admission to any of the participating museums, including historic house museums, historic sites, historical societies, art museums, children’s museums, science centers, special-interest museums, natural history museums, university museums, arboretums/botanical gardens, and zoos. Some of the participants include the Connecticut Science Center, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Mystic Aquarium, and Mystic Seaport Museum, among many others.
The full list of participating museums is available at www.CTSummerMuseums.com.
Connecticut residents are encouraged to take advantage of the Connecticut Summer at the Museum program and share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #CTSummerMuseums.
Keep Our School Zones Safe
Also, please remember that it is never okay to drive by/pass any school bus with flashing red lights.
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.