Lebanon Public Schools

Superintendent Gonzalez's Update- March 2022

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

Teddy Roosevelt

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If you are positive, you’ll see opportunities instead of obstacles.

Widad Akrawi

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Connecticut Gold Medalist Lindsey Jacob Ellis

A motto we have been living by in our Lebanon Public Schools for the 2021-2022 school year is "Pride, Perseverance and Pursuit of Excellence".

Connecticut's own Lindsey Jacobellis personified this while winning Team USA its first gold at the Beijing Winter Olympics in the snowboard cross.

Up until these Olympic games, Jacobellis was best known for taking a massive lead into the final jump at the 2006 Turin Games, but tweaking her board as she road over the crest, then falling and settling for silver.

It really shaped me into the individual that I am. It kept me hungry and really kept me fighting in this sport.”

“It doesn't define you,” she said when asked what message she'd send to younger racers about mistakes of the past. “Especially if you've made it to this stage, you're a winner. And look at what you've learned from the experience, and take that with you later in life.”

Cold Noses, Warm Hearts

Lebanon School District is excited to begin our relationship with Cold Noses, Warm Hearts Animal Assisted Therapy program! During the month of February, Ms. Carpenter and her 9yo Shetland sheepdog, Brody, began their partnership with Lyman Memorial High School. Students were taught about the difference between therapy, service and emotional support dogs, the training and evaluation a therapy dog and handler need to undergo for certification, the medical and mental health benefits of animal assisted therapy for adults, children and teens and creative ways we can utilize Brody in our district! LPS is looking forward to incorporating Brody into our academic and social emotional learning programs for years to come!
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Lyman Welcomes Brody

LEBANON — Joy filled the cafeteria at Lyman Memorial High School last week, as Brody the tri-colored Shetland sheepdog was introduced to the junior class.

The 9-year-old canine is being considered as a therapy dog at Lyman, getting a chance to meet the school community last Wednesday.

This came after the Lebanon Board of Education approved the use of therapy dogs in district schools at its meeting back on Jan. 11.

Multiple times this month, Brody has been introduced to each grade level at Lyman during a presentation given by his handler/owner Terrie Carpenter of Cold Noses, Warm Hearts.

Cold Noses, Warm Hearts is a statewide nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that sends therapy dogs and their handlers into places to help people de-stress with the help of furry friends.

The prospect of having Brody in school on a regular basis has Lyman students and faculty excited.

“I think it would be helpful for some students,” junior Julia Lathrop said about having a therapy dog in school. “Having a dog here might cheer people up.”

Junior Cheyenne Cahoon also hopes Brody becomes a fixture at Lyman.

“I have hard days sometimes,” she said. “It’s good to have somebody here that can help you.”

Sabena Escott, a social worker at Lyman, said she believes a therapy dog would be a big help to students’ mental health.

“One of our goals in the district this year is to work on social-emotional learning for our kids,” she said. “Brody might be able to be a coping strategy and give someone a positive day.”

Carpenter said it has been proven that therapy dogs help people de-stress, especially during these stressful, pandemic times.

“It’s been documented that when you go into a hospital and a patient is petting a dog, their blood pressure and heart rate go down,” she said.

Brody is a veteran when it comes to calming people down.

He has been a therapy dog since June 2015 and has paid visits to many places such as hospitals, high schools and college campuses, where he has helped people relax.

Brody went through a training program to prepare him for his duties.

He learned how to obey his handler and behave around people of all different age groups.

During the presentation last Wednesday, Brody showed off his obedience.

With Carpenter’s direction, he sat, spun around and even sneezed on command.

Brody was to be introduced to the senior class Friday.

After that, Escott will send a survey out to Lyman students and faculty, asking them how Brody should be used.

“If all goes well, Brody will visit the elementary and middle school as well,” Escott said.

Masking Decision

February 25, 2022

Dear Lebanon Staff, Students and Families,

At yesterday’s Board of Education Special Meeting the board supported lifting the mask mandate in our schools. As of Monday, February 28, 2022 masks will be welcomed but not required in Lebanon Public Schools.

We thank you for your cooperation while we operated under the Governor’s Executive Order from the start of this school year until today. We have closely followed expert medical guidance in an attempt to create safe and healthy schools. While we will continue to do so, we look forward to supporting choice in this matter now that the mask mandate has been lifted.

We will continue to implement a suite of mitigation measures to keep our staff and students safe and healthy in our schools. You can find these measures and associated COVID-19 protocols in our Continuity of Services Plan which has been updated to reflect the newest guidance and recommendations from the State Department of Public Health. Please carefully review the highlighted sections- https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Iw7Tt_OP8jUdUrZHx2SWIfZjHYUCfWle22kPISn0pEQ/edit?usp=sharing

I have also included the guidance document from the State Department of Public Health that assists districts in transitioning to a model for COVID-19 management that aligns with our state’s general public health approach to the routine management of respiratory viral diseases. Please take a careful look at the routine strategies for COVID-19 prevention as well as the enhanced mitigation strategies for surge response and outbreak control and worsening COVID-19 transmission conditions. Our district will consult with Uncas Health and utilize these recommendations as needed.

This shift will take your continued support. While we have many who are excited for this change, we have others who have trepidation. We will respect the choice of our staff and students to mask or not to mask. It will be a shared responsibility to keep our schools safe and healthy. I know together we will navigate through this latest change with kindness and grace.



Dean Toepfer

Celebration of Life

Dean Toepfer was Superintendent in Lebanon from 03/30/1981 - 06/30/1987.

In his resignation, he listed a few major accomplishments -

Vo-Ag Addition, 1982

LES Gym, 1982

Instituted Adult Education Program

After a two year study, purchased computer hardware and software necessary to do our own accounting and payroll as well as our own scheduling, report cards and attendance

Dean Thomas Toepfer, 84, of Columbia, CT, passed away peacefully on January 25, 2022. He was born in Ware, MA, to the late Herman and Rose (Nutter) Toepfer and grew up in West Warren, MA.

Dean was a graduate of Warren High School and American International College (AIC) in Springfield, MA. He completed his M.Ed. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He fondly remembered his youth, nicknamed “Red”, a left-handed pitcher and homerun hitter at Dean Field in West Warren and throughout high school and college.

Dean started his career teaching business education at Tantasqua Regional High School, where he met his future wife, Sandra Varnum. He moved into administration as Assistant Principal at Southwick (MA) High School and Principal at Leicester (MA) High School. Dean advanced to become Superintendent of Schools in Lebanon (CT), Foxboro (MA), Columbia (CT) and Canterbury (CT). His favorite time was spent with students, frequently joining them for lunch in the cafeteria and attending concerts, plays and athletic events. He “allowed” the NE Patriots to practice on the Foxboro High School field, after the school’s team was finished.

Dean lived in Columbia, CT, since 1991, after becoming Superintendent of Schools. He was a very devoted and loved member of the community, serving in leadership roles on many town organizations while also being a dedicated member of the Columbia Congregational Church and Columbia Lions Club. Dean received the honor of Connecticut Knight of the Blind by the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation and was named Melvin Jones Fellow by the Lions Clubs International Foundation for his dedicated humanitarian services.

Dean was also an active member of the Foxboro (MA) Rotary Club while living in Foxboro and a Freemason at the Quaboag Lodge A.F. & A.M. in Warren, MA.

Dean’s passion was his love for his family, spending every minute possible together, coaching his daughters’ softball teams and proudly attending every possible event for his daughters and grandchildren. He spent his summers at Green Hill Beach in Wakefield, RI, as a member of the Mautucket By The Sea beach association, with a house filled with family and Red Sox games on TV every night. His love for the Red Sox and Patriots came in as a close second to his love for family, and he attended many games in Boston and Foxboro.

Budget 2022-2023

Thanks to the staff and community members who participated and provided feedback regarding the construction of the 2022-2023 Lebanon Public Schools budget. I look forward to continued collaboration and support for this robust and responsible budget to support all our learners!
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Invention Convention

The LES Invention Convention took place Tuesday, February 15. The Invention Convention provides students an opportunity to solve a real world problem by creating a unique invention. Children go through the exciting process of inventing and then share their invention with judges, classmates, and families. A few of our inventors have been chosen to represent LES in the state-wide Connecticut Invention Convention this spring.
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Here are the inventors that were selected to represent LES at the state Invention Convention:

Kai Raymond with his Clean, Clean Tooth Machine

Jai Polineni with his Lego Vacuum

Mila McGuire with The Stuffy Treehouse

Lillian Huntington with her Covers Off No More

Tanner DeLucia with the Earth Saver Opener

And Liam Charron with his Trash Time Trailer

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Reframing Work-Based Learning for Relevancy

This article focuses on how school systems and local industries jointly create apprenticeships and certification programs for high schoolers in high-needs fields. This article was a timely read for me as we are presenting enhancements within this year's budget to build our programming specifically at the high school to give our learners additional pathways to college or career. We feel that the Turf Management, Drone Piloting and Nursing experiences will set our students up for success whether they want to "jump-start to a career or as initial work toward a four-year degree program".

A quote from a Superintendent who was interviewed in the article really stuck with me, "either you're evolving or you're in the process of going backwards". In Lebanon we want to be continuously growing and pursuing excellence and we feel these enhancements are a step in that direction.

ASTE in Action!

In effort to grow interest in our ASTE program at Lyman our staff and students have begun a series of presentations within our elementary and middle schools. I was proud to see our high school students sharing their knowledge with our younger learners. The students were excited to have this experience.
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Curriculum Corner

Curriculum Spotlight

By: Rita Quiles-Glover, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

February Professional Development focused on data diving, curriculum work, and collaboration on the Portrait of the Graduate, phonics and other relevant topics of discussion directly related to our district goals. K-8 math pilot teachers met to discuss two potential math programs (Illustrative Math and i-Ready) and ultimately chose i-Ready to bring forward to the Board of Education for approval. These days also gave teachers valuable time to reflect on present instructional strategies and adjust as needed to better target individual student needs.

News from Pupil Services

Through the use of ESSER funds, our LES SCALES teacher and district BCBA attended a three-day training for Safety Care from February 15-17. According to the website: “Safety Care Behavioral Safety Training program provides the skills and competencies necessary to effectively prevent, minimize, and manage behavioral challenges with dignity, safety, and the possibility of change.” Stephanie and Nicole are now trainers and will be training relevant staff members.

How to Support Reading at Home

Lebanon Public Schools Department of Pupil Services presents:

How to Support Reading at Home

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

6:30 p.m.

LMS Media Center

Virtual Meeting Link:

Meeting ID


Phone Numbers

(‪US‬)‪+1 402-364-0224‬

PIN: ‪726 493 402#‬

Shawn Lucas, LMS Special Education Teacher will be leading a workshop titled: How to Support Reading at Home. Ms. Lucas’s passion regarding the Science of Reading helps her fuel creative ways for parents to assist their children with supporting reading at home.

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

If you build it, they will come...

Here are the first photos as we build our field of dreams.
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All you need is Love Spirit week at LMS

This is a picture of the culminating day of the All you need is Love Spirit week at LMS. We had P(b)J day where students and staff wore PJ's and also donated PB& J to a local food pantry, the

Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic.

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Bleed Blue

Check out some action shots of our winter sport student-athletes!

Ag-cellent News

Please enjoy the first Ag-cellent newsletter of 2022!

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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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.