Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Board of Ed Holds First Meeting With New Members

(UPDATED 11/22)

In its first order of business, the Board of Education nominated and elected Chris Drake (D) as chair, Cheryl McClellan (R) as Vice Chair and Marilyn Rios (D) as Secretary.  All votes were unanimous.

After the officer elections, the board received the winners of the annual anti-bullying poster contest conducted by the Middletown Federation of Teachers.  The winners in three categories were: Autumn Russell (k-2), Sara Hammi (3-5) and Safara Samadi (6-8)

Much of the meeting was given over to Dr. Michael Conner's plans for his first one hundred days as new superintendent.

Conners explained that in the two weeks he's been at the head of the district, he's already met with teachers, administrators, students, parents and Common Council members.

His entry plan, entitled Explore Middletown, which he admitted was ambitious, but doable, entails meeting with all education stakeholders, collecting and analyzing data, and beginning to draw up plans for moving forward in the district.

Conner emphasized the importance of talking to all members of the community, particularly students.

"They give us the best data," Conner said.

As a result, he is instituting the Superintendent's Student Advisory Committee, suggesting that admission to the committee would include elections for leadership roles.

Conner also said that he would be conducting two intensive workshops with the Board of Education.  One, a two-day retreat, would allow the Board members to explore their duties and responsibilities, and explore the ways in which they, as elected representatives of the community, could work with him and the educational community to meet the goals of advancing student achievement.  The second, to be held in August, would review duties, responsibilities and the goals the Superintendent will set for the district.

The board also heard a presentation from Farm Hill principal Jennifer Calabrese and Associate Superintendent Enza Macri on a pilot effort to bring social and emotional learning to all students at Farm Hill.

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