Somers Public Schools
September 28, 2020 7:00 PM
Board of Education Meeting
1. CALL TO ORDER
Discussion

The regular meeting of the Board of Education was called to order by Superintendent Czapla at 7:03 p.m. in the SHS Media Center.

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
3. ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Mr. Brian Czapla
Discussion


3.1. Election of Officers
Rationale



Superintendent Czapla will open the floor for Board of Education Chairman election.

4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
4.1. Draft of Board of Education Minutes of September 14, 2020
Rationale

Board is to review, amend and approve the draft of the September 14, 2020 Minutes.

Attachments
5. AUDIENCE TO CITIZENS/STAFF/STUDENTS
6. OPPORTUNITY TO ADD/DELETE AGENDA ITEMS
7. CONSENT AGENDA
7.1. Warrant of September 28, 2020
Rationale

Board to consent to warrant of September 28, 2020 in the amount of $213,895.49.

Attachments
7.2. 2nd Warning of Somers Policy DBS 4118.11 Personnel Certificated/Non Certificated
Rationale

Board to review and consent to policy DBS 4118.11-Personnel Certificated/Non Certificated.  Policy Committee approved this change on November 11, 2019.

Attachments
7.3. 2nd Warning of Somers Policy 4118.112 Personnel - Certified/Non-Certified
Rationale

Board to review and consent to policy DBS 4118.112 Personnel - Certified/Non-Certified.  Policy Committee approved this change on November 11, 2019.

Attachments
7.4. 2nd Warning of Somers Policy DBS 5114 - Students-Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process
Rationale

Board to review and consent to policy DBS 5114 - Students-Suspension and Explusion/Due Process.  Policy Committee approved this change on November 11, 2019.

Attachments
Discussion

Discussion ensued regarding the wording of the policy.  Superintendent Czapla clarified the policy.

7.5. 2nd Warning of Somers Policy DBS 5145.5 - Students - Sexual Harassment
Rationale

Board to review and consent to policy DBS 5145.5 - Students - Sexual Harassment.  Policy Committee approved this change on November 11, 2019.

Attachments
7.6. 2nd Warning of Somers Policy DBS 5145.52 - Students - Harassment
Rationale

Board to review and consent to policy DBS 5145.52 - Students - Harassment.  Policy Committee approved this change on November 11, 2019.

Attachments
7.7. 2nd Warning of Somers Policy DBS 3541 - Transportation
Rationale

Board to review and consent to policy DBS 3541 - Transportation.  Policy Committee approved this change on November 11, 2019.

Attachments
8. NEW BUSINESS
8.1. 1st Warning of the 2021 Board of Education Meeting Schedule
Rationale

The Board will review the 2021 Meeting Schedule and vote on it at the next meeting.

Attachments
Discussion

A correction needs to be made regarding Tuesday, May 24, 2021.  The date needs to be changed to Monday, May 24, 2021.

8.2. Board of Education Discussion for Off-Site Meeting
Rationale

The Board of Education will discuss an off-site meeting.

Discussion

David Palmer suggested an off-site BOE meeting to discuss things that the BOE are doing well and ways to improve process and performance.  The BOE may consider including a FOI presentation by CABE as well.  Meeting dates will be circulated to BOE members and will be voted on at the next BOE meeting.  Location TBD.    

9. OLD BUSINESS
10. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
10.1. Teacher Evaluation Update
Rationale

Mrs. Dina Senecal will present the updated Somers Teachers Evaluation Plan.

Attachments
Discussion

Mrs. Dina Senecal, Director of Curriculum, updated the BOE on future teacher evaluations.  Due to the pandemic situation, the CT State Department of Education is providing flexibility within the requirements of State guidelines.  The State is allowing teachers to develop one student learning goal.  Observation requirements consist of two informal observations and one review for teachers with more than two years of experience.  There will be three informal observations and one review for first and second year teachers as well as those who have performed below the standard of practice the previous year.  Ratings will be waived this year.  The CT State Department of Education is supporting educators in their focus on family engagement.    

10.2. Somers Elementary School Remote Learning Update
Rationale

Mrs. Melissa Mucci, Principal of Somers Elementary School, will give the Board an update.

Attachments
Discussion

Mrs. Melissa Mucci, SES Principal, updated the BOE on SES's remote learning.  SES had to switch to full remote on 9/18/20 due to the number of Covid-19 cases as well as the potential for more cases to occur.  SES will return to the hybrid learning model on 10/2/20.  SES designed a hybrid and full remote plan, and the State designed a plan to follow as a guide.  The full remote plan was implemented quickly in a matter of a day.  Students and staff already had devices.  Finding a balance between technology and developmental appropriateness has been challenging.  SES is required to provide synchronous or live instruction for grades K-5.  Students in grades K-5 will also receive assignments via SeeSaw, a digital learning platform.  There continues to be revisions to the plans and schedules. 

Superintendent Czapla stated that there was a lot of feedback from parents regarding distance learning last spring requesting more livestreaming and less paperwork.  Livestreaming has increased, but this may not be the balance due to developmental appropriateness.  Mrs. Mucci stated that there was never time to develop a rhythm with the students or recognize who the students were as learners.  Baseline assessments are being designed.  Superintendent Czapla stated that the use of Paraeducators will be extremely important and instrumental in smaller sessions.  Teachers have already sent out schedules to families, but these may be modified within the next couple of days.

Discussion ensued regarding the livestreaming information on the SPS website involving parental observation and student privacy.  Superintendent Czapla and BOE members acknowledged the hard work and dedication of Mrs. Mucci and the teachers at SES.  Superintendent Czapla stated that SES has been thoroughly cleaned and is in good shape as far as the positivity rate coming into the school.  Sarah Bollinger inquired about students on IEP's and 504's with distance learning.  Superintendent Czapla will ask Dr. Denise Messina, Director of Pupil Services, to report on Special Education in the Covid era.  


10.3. Superintendent Goals: District Improvement Plan
Rationale

The Superintendent will be there to discuss his goals.

Attachments
Discussion

Superintendent Czapla updated the BOE on the District Improvement Plan.  He decided that the Strategic Plan will continue to move forward while managing the Covid situation.  The goals remain similar to last year's goals:  student achievement, professional learning, and accountability.  Regarding student achievement, staff will need to evaluate ways to improve practices and student success skills.  He has asked the administrators to submit their goals that are reflective of district-wide goals.  Professional learning continues to be a goal with the new Director of Curriculum, Mrs. Dina Senecal.  There have been half-day Professional Development added throughout the year.  Some PD may now be livestreamed.  The teacher evaluation was based on federal mandates.  This didn't make sense from an educational standpoint.  The Commissioner now has said that it is time to take a look at the teacher evaluation and what makes sense while looking at factors such as social-emotional learning.  This will be a multi-year process.  Superintendent Czapla stated that while testing is important in order to assess students' baselines to direct appropriate instruction, it is burdensome and takes away from instructional time.  There may be adjustments regarding assessment strategies.  He stated that SPS will try to move toward attaining these goals, but it may be difficult this year due to all of the uncertainties regarding the pandemic.      



10.4. Superintendent Update
Rationale

Superintendent will give an update on the latest events at Somers Public Schools.

Discussion

Superintendent Czapla updated the BOE on the recent, drastic decision to close SES for two weeks due to the number of positive Covid-19 cases that ultimately impacted operations.  Classes were unable to be covered due to a lack of substitutes.  Guidelines were suggested by the State, and every decision has been made in conjunction with the local health department and officials.  There was a meeting with an epidemiologist who reviewed the processes as well.  There were a number of people who didn't feel well and were symptomatic.  There haven't been any additional cases at SES that have affected other people.  He is confident that SES will return on 10/2/20 under the hybrid learning model.  Ultimately, the goal is to return to full in-person school.  MBA and SHS are in good shape.  He does, however, have concerns regarding the start of the sport season.  Superintendent Czapla has met with the MBA and SHS administrators with a target date for a full return to school on 10/13/20.  This date is tentative and subject to change.  He's working with staff who will make a formal announcement by the end of the week.  He has been asking for perspectives and input from staff.  SES is more complicated, and he is not ready to announce the full return date as of yet.  Discussion ensued among the BOE members.

Superintendent Czapla discussed the transition into athletics starting 10/1/20.  Athletics will still operate under executive orders.  There may be 100 people at the athletic event until 10/8/20 at which time there may be 150 people.  Under the conference rule, only home fans may attend home games.  Visiting fans are not allowed at this time.  This will be difficult to monitor, but he is relying on SPS fans to not travel to an away game.  Social distancing and masks must be maintained while outside.  He has hired staff to help remind onlookers of the rules.  If onlookers do not abide by the rules, he may have to enforce shutting down the game and potentially cancelling home games.  He is relying on parental cooperation.  

The students have acclimated well to school and are doing fabulous.  There haven't been any disciplinary actions needed.  





11. COMMITTEE REPORTS
11.1. CURRICULUM
Discussion

No report.

11.2. POLICY
Discussion

Anne Kirkpatrick reported that the committee is on hold.

11.3. SALARY & NEGOTIATION
Discussion

David Palmer reported that the Administrators' Negotiations will begin this Tuesday.  There may be a meeting on the day of the next BOE meeting.

11.4. PLANNING
Discussion

David Palmer reported that the next meeting will be in October.

12. CREC UPDATE
Attachments
Discussion

Anne Kirkpatrick included a packet for the BOE members. She noted one item added this fall by suggestion from Council members was to add more time at the end of the meeting for comments. Comments made at the last Zoom meeting included districts' hybrid models. She stated that SPS was the only district to have five days of instruction. Other districts have also had to increase their substitutes’ pay.

13. ADJOURNMENT