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Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board of Education
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Present:        Thomas E. Bruenn, Michael P. Cardona, Mark A. Hughes, Frank J. Kogut, Robert E. Kosienski, Jr., John D. Lineen, Jr., and Leonard F. Suzio.  Absent: Scott R. Hozebin and Barbara R. Sokol.  Also present:  Mary N. Cortright, Robert J. Angeli, Glen A. Lamontagne, and David Roy; student representatives from Maloney High School:  Joshua Suzio; student representative from Platt High School:  Casey Camire and Josina James; Media and the general public.

Mr. Hughes reconvened the meeting at 6:30 p.m.

33348.          Pledge of Allegiance

Mr. Hughes requested that everyone join in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  Mr. Hughes requested a moment of silent meditation for Platt High School student, Melissa Gadwah, who recently passed away.

33349.          Petitions and Comments

33350           Approval of Minutes

Mr. Bruenn moved that the Board approve the Executive Session Meeting Minutes and the Regular Board of Education Meeting Minutes dated September 15, 2009, and the Special Meeting of the Board of Education dated September 14, 2009.    Mr. Cardona seconded the motion.  It was so voted unanimously.

33351.          Report of the Student Representatives

Mr. J. Suzio gave an update on student activities and announced upcoming events at Maloney High School.  The Parent Advisory Board will meet tonight at 6:00 p.m.  Teachers will have a Professional Development Day on Friday, October 9, 2009.  Parents were very impressed with the “Friends of Rachael” club created as a result of the presentation on Rachel’s Challenge that Maloney recently hosted.  Senior parents’ night will be held on October 15 in the cafeteria at 6:00 p.m. Ms. Erin Putnam, Guidance Counselor, hosted the  “Steps for Success” program which will help students’ start college planning early in their school career.  The homework club is now up and running.  Class of 2012 is holding student elections and students are participating in the democratic process.  National DECA week is next week.  Maloney students will have an opportunity to participate in DECA related events.  Youth and Government will hold its start-up meeting on Wednesday.

Miss James and Mr. Camire gave an update on student activities and announced upcoming events at Platt High School.
Class elections have taken place and results have been announced.  Parents’ Night will be on Thursday, October 15.  Many clubs and sports will be represented, including the Drama Club and Student Senate.  Music Booster Club night will be held at Friendly’s Restaurant tomorrow, October 7, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  All proceeds will benefit Platt High School band.  Girls swim team beat Rocky Hill today, 97-83; JV Volleyball beat Maloney yesterday.  GUS Robotics competed in the finals on Saturday where they won two awards.

Report of the Superintendent

33352.          Comments/Recommendations

Mrs. Cortright presented to the Board Meriden’s Teacher of the Year for the 2009-2010 school year, Shelley Chordas.  Mrs. Cortright stated that Ms. Chordas has been teaching in Meriden for 13 years.  Ms. Chordas started as a second grade teacher at Nathan Hale and was a reading specialist at both Nathan Hale and Pulaski elementary schools before going to Lincoln Middle School in 2007 to work in her present role as Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach.  Ms. Chordas has been a member of numerous committees including the District-wide Reorganization Committee and the SRBI Committee.  Mrs. Cortright read some of the accolades Ms. Chordas has received from her supervisor, Joanne Conte, and Lincoln Middle School Assistant Principal, Susanne, Perrone. Mrs. Cortright stated further that Ms. Chordas’ enthusiasm is infectious as she makes reading come alive and shows her students that she cares about them as individuals and students.  Mrs. Cortright said she was very proud to honor Ms. Chordas as Teacher of the Year this evening and presented a plague to Ms. Chordas in appreciation and recognition of exemplary contributions to the teaching profession.  A reception honoring Shelley will be held this Thursday, October 8, at Avanti Restaurant.  The reception is co-sponsored by the Board of Education, Meriden Federation of Teachers, and Meriden Federation of School Administrators. On October 29, 2009, the Connecticut State Board of Education will hold a recognition reception at Central Connecticut University.

Ms. Shelley Chordas expressed her appreciation to the members of the Board of Education, Mrs. Cortright, and Mr. Robert Angeli, administrators, and all the guests in attendance.  Ms. Chordas stated that it has been an honor and a privilege to have served the Meriden Public Schools’ system, and the parents and students of the community going on to the 14th year.  Ms. Chordas speech included, but was not limited to, expressing gratitude to those administrators past and present that have supported and encouraged her to persevere as an educator.  Ms. Chordas also stated that she was a representative of the many dedicated teachers in the district.

The Board recessed 10 minutes to meet and greet.

Mrs. Cortright stated that she was pleased to announce that Hanover Elementary School has received a 21st Century Community Learning Center federal grant which is administered by the CT State Department of Education.  The grant totals $276,250 to be spent over five years.  The grant is in collaboration with the YMCA.  Funding provides for a 20-week after school program for three hours a day, four days a week.  The program offers homework assistance, tutoring, and enrichment activities for the first part of the program and then children are bused to the YMCA for recreational activities for the second half of the program.  Mrs. Cortright congratulated Miguel Cardona, Hanover Principal; Lois Lehman, Director of Curriculum; and John Benigni, Director YMCA, for collaborating on writing this grant.

Mrs. Cortright presented Hanover Principal, Miguel Cardona, and the Hanover School 2008-2009 first grade data team: Ms. Elsie Torres Brown, Instructional Associate; Ms. Desiree Duong, SPED K-12; first grade teachers—Ms. Suzanne Orozco and Pamela Dominello; and Mr. Andrew Hutchinson, Math Resource.  The team detailed in their power point presentation how last year the instructional data team not only worked to identify students and areas of weakness, they also shifted their schedule to make this a priority.  Intervention times were created that provided focused support for each student’s needs.  What’s more is that they became creative with the use of interventionists.  In order to provide a small student-adult ratio, they enlisted the support of the school social worker, district math resource specialist, paraprofessionals, and even parents to foster small group instruction.  Goals were implemented based on data available; analyzing core curriculum instruction to see if it was effective for their students.  In the end, their ability to work collaboratively and creatively resulted in phenomenal student gains.  

33353.          Announcements by the President

Mr. Hughes stated that he had received a request from Washington Middle School on behalf of students and staff that the month of October be proclaimed Month of the Adolescent.  Mr. Hughes stated further that he spoke to Mayor Rhode who will present this citation at the October 19 City Council Meeting and will use some of the wording from the Washington Middle School proclamation to officially name the  month of October , Month of the Adolescent.  Mr. Hughes congratulated Washington Middle School on this effort.

Mr. Hughes stated that he and Mr. Cardona did their annual school visits throughout the district.  They were able to visit nine schools.  Mr. Hughes further stated that they received requests to visit classrooms, and that they were able to visit all classrooms although sometimes because of the schedule missed seeing a particular teacher.

Mr. Hughes stated that at the high school level they saw the effectiveness of the tardy policy at Maloney High School; sat in on a University of Connecticut Psychology college course; and saw the driving simulators. At the middle school level, they were impressed at the level of French being discussed in the eighth grade class at Washington Middle School and impressed with the art projects at Lincoln Middle School.  At the elementary schools, they observed the effectiveness of the Positive Behavioral Support (PBS) program in action.

Mr. Hughes stated that they received requests from Kindergarten teachers.  Mr. Hughes stated that that they saw first-hand that some classrooms had 27-28 students and noted the effects of the loss of paraprofessionals in the past few years.   Mr. Cardona reiterated his appreciation to the Administrators and teachers that welcomed them to the schools and classrooms.
Unfinished Business
33354.          School Building Committee Report

Mr. Lineen stated that the Hanover project is progressing according to the timeline.  Mr. Lineen expressed his appreciation to Deputy Mayor Matthew C. Domenillo, Sr., School Building Committee Chair, for submitting to the City Council and supporting the bond resolution totaling $50,000 to buy new library materials for Lincoln Middle School.  Mr. Lineen stated further that the City Council debated on the manner of how to allocate the money but all councilors supported the need for funding library books.

New Business

33355.          Field Trip Request

Mr. Kosienski moved that the Board approve the Field Trip Request by the Platt High School and Maloney High School French class to travel to Quebec City, Canada, from April 9-12, 2010.  Mr. Bruenn seconded the motion.  It was so voted unanimously.

33356.          Correspondence

No correspondence.

33357.          Personnel Matters

Mr. Cardona moved that the Board accept the personnel matters as recommended by the Superintendent and presented in executive session.  Mr. Bruenn seconded the motion.  It was voted unanimously.

Special Education
Platt High School
Payroll Clerk
Business Office
Head Custodian
Lincoln Middle School
John Barry School
Resignation for Retirement
Washington Middle School
Lincoln Middle School
Cafeteria Worker
Casimir Pulaski School

33358.          Announcements

Mr. Kosienski stated that the Thomas Edison Steering Committee will convene on Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at 5:00 p.m.

Mr. Cardona moved that the Board adjourn at 7:22 p.m.   Mr. Bruenn seconded the motion.  It was so voted unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Norma I. Hernandez
Secretary to the Board of Education

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