Superintendent's Update

December 2015

Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

If you were able to attend the Community Round-Up and/or the Holiday Concert on Sunday at the high school you were able to experience firsthand one of the many examples of a strong school and community connection. While the band played and the our chorus and community members sang the “Hallelujah Chorus” it was a tribute to our school community and the bonds of collaboration and support that exist here. Our students in District 13 are unique in their pride and genuine enjoyment in being connected to the families and communities of Middlefield and Durham.

Students in all of our schools have been involved in rigorous and exciting learning from kindergarten to 12th grade. Their learning in English Language Arts and Mathematics is guided by the framework of the Common Core State Standards. Each school has a Facebook page that highlights the exciting learning experiencing that are happening. Our youngest learners in kindergarten are identifying similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic with prompting and support, in fourth grade students are using the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems, in middle school mathematical problems, while our high school seniors are submitting applications for college. In addition to the learning that is guided by the common core, our students in elementary school are learning the basics of coding (and loving it), skyping with astronauts, supporting community outreach, and daily demonstrating our core ethical values of respect, responsibility, kindness, honesty and courage.

Please remember to reach out to your child’s teacher if you have a question or concern about their school experience whether it is academic, social, or emotional. If it is an issue that the teacher is not able to address, he or she will contact the appropriate school personnel. We are committed to working in partnership with you on behalf of your child.

I wish you the peace of the holiday season with your family and friends.

Transition Planning

After the Board of Education voted to close Korn School at the end of this school year, the transition planning formally began with a team of administrators and other school personnel. Current third and fourth graders at Korn School will be moving to Memorial School for the 2016-2017 school year. This year’s second graders will remain at Brewster School for 3rd grade next year, and fourth grade for the following year. At our weekly meeting we are addressing topics related to scheduling including lunch and recess, physical plant needs including all matters related to room moves and relocation of rooms and staff; parking lot and playground needs, transportation needs and changes, and plans for a Korn School celebration. A teacher leadership team is collaborating to support the actual transition of students and staff from Brewster, Korn, and Memorial, so that a smooth and positive experience is assured for all. The core committee will be reaching out to include parents and staff in certain facets of the planning.

Utilization

The Utilization Committee of the Board of Education is continuing their work in examining building and physical plant needs given the continuing pattern of declining enrollment. As a reminder our current pre-K through grade 12 student enrollment is just over 1700 and is expected to continue the pattern of decline for the foreseeable future. Our projected enrollment in 2020-2021 is just under 1400. The committee will continue to examine implications for our physical plant needs based on the projected enrollment and make a recommendation to the Board of Education. If you would like to read the full enrollment report prepared by Milone and MacBroom, it is available on our website www.rsd13.org. Utilization Committee minutes can be found on our website under the Board of Education link.

Additionally, a sub-committee has been formed with members of the Board and representatives for both towns to examine the future use of the Korn building. Members of this committee include Francis Willett and Merrill Adams, Co-Chairs, Laura Francis and Ed Bailey Selectpersons, Lorraine Coe and Bob Yamartino, Board of Finance Chairs, and Rebecca Adams Attorney CT Association of Boards of Education. Updates will be available as the committee begins its work.

How's the Weather?

As we head into the winter months, be sure that your contact information has been updated, so that you will receive voice and text messages regarding any school delays, early dismissals or cancellations. You can update your information by going to http://www.rsd13ct.org/Misc/Emergency-Notifications/index.html.