From the Superintendent
Welcome to Regional School District 13: Durham/Middlefield. Together our two communities combine to create an outstanding school district and learning community that is characterized by pride and commitment. Our decisions are based upon our District mission and our individual and collective actions are predicated upon our Core Ethical Values. Our mission statement highlights our reverence for the traditions that exist in our communities and within our schools while acknowledging the importance of challenging yet caring learning experiences. We understand and embrace the concept of change and acknowledge that we are contributing citizens of the world. Our shared Core Ethical Values of respect, responsibility, honesty, kindness and courage provide us with a shared sense of pride. We are guided by our values and they provide both a guiding star and a measure of our integrity. We support one another, we believe in the good work that we do on behalf of children and we know for certain that collectively we are contributing to our community and to the world.
As we begin 2014 our work is marked by significant firsts in educational history. With states from across the country we are embarking on changes in curriculum due to the framework of the Common Core State Standards that in turn effects changes in teaching and learning. Our statewide assessments have changed to match these changes and this spring will mark the first full-district administration of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The framework and process by which teachers and other certified staff members are evaluated has also changed across the state. While these significant shifts are an indication of increased knowledge and a more targeted and refined focus on teaching, learning and accountability, it represents a remarkable commitment of time, energy and resources at the local school level.
In Region 13 we are currently working as an administrative team with the Board of Education to present a budget to the community that is clear and responsible and is easy to understand in terms of its connections to our mission and the District goals. Our budget must maintain and enhance the programming, staffing and other resources that make our students successful. The process of building a responsible budget includes keeping a careful eye on the future. Similar to the trend in Connecticut and across the northeast, our enrollment projections in the foreseeable future show a decrease. This is also an important variable in our decision-making as we move through the Utilization Study process which is coordinated by DRA with an intended outcome of making an informed decision about our building usage.
Our work is truly courageous in our refusal to compromise our Core Ethical Values in pursuit of our shared mission.
Kathryn Y. Veronesi, Ed.D
Dr. Veronesi sends out a monthly update to parents and families in District 13. Read the latest update here. Past months updates will remain on the site, just in case you miss one.
April 2, 2014
Dear Parents and Families,
Over the course of the last month I have had the opportunity to meet many of you at school and community events. I want you to know what a pleasure it is to meet you and learn about your children, your experience with District 13, and to hear your questions, concerns and ideas. This helps me to understand more completely the story of our unique district. I look forward to seeing you at other school and social events. I want to thank you for sending us your amazing children each school day.
A few April updates for you:
High School Principal Search
We were unsuccessful in finding a candidate during last week’s interview process. In particular the committee believes that a candidate with high school leadership experience is essential at this time. I am working on next steps including specific recruiting efforts. Please know this is a priority for me and when I have solid information to share with you, I will.
The Board of Education approved the proposed budget as presented at the March 19th Board of Education meeting. Changes presented from the originally presented budget included the reinstatement of 3.2 teaching positions due to higher than anticipated enrollments in kindergarten, technology education, and a slight increase in a high school position due to course selection. Additional monies were allocated to professional development, teacher tuition reimbursement, school engineering needs, and contractual obligations. These changes did not result in an increase to our originally proposed budget due to the insurance savings that were realized late in the budget process. The Public Hearing is scheduled for next week Thursday, April 10th at 8:00 in the CRHS auditorium. The District Meeting will be held on Monday, May 5th in the CRHS auditorium at 8 p.m. followed by the referendum on May 6th.
DRA is preparing a final report with a tentative presentation date to the Board of Education in May.
I attended the Scholarship Ball on Saturday night and was surprised and pleased to learn that this fund raiser provides scholarship funds to all seniors who apply. This event was another indication of the supportive parent and community group in our district.
Tomorrow night I will be at a function sponsored by the Durham’s Women’s Club at Perk On Main from 7-8:30 p.m. for the purpose of meeting and greeting people from the community…and drinking good coffee! I hope to see you there.
I have collaborated with Lainy Melvin, Henry Coe from the Durham Seniors Board, on an event to welcome Durham and Middlefield Seniors to our district. On Friday May 16th the seniors will be invited to a “Spring Back to School” luncheon held at Korn School from 1-3 pm. If you would like to volunteer to assist in any way at all, please contact Rosemary Allen. This is a first step in an outreach to our seniors to give them the opportunity to see the amazing things that happen in our schools.
Over the course of the last month it has become evident to me that an update on initiatives in the athletic department as well as plans and progress towards the CIAC report recommendations be available. You can anticipate this update in May. Also, as a means of gathering information from both on their athletic experience, parent and student surveys are available on our athletic web-site. Your feedback is encouraged.
The originally approved 14-15 district calendar was amended and approved by the Board of Education at the March 26th meeting. Changes include August 27th as a staff preparation day and August 28th as the first day of school for students, February 13th rather than February 18th as a full-day Professional Development Day and the elimination of the May 8th Professional Development Day.
As of this writing the last day of school is June 23rd with high school graduation to be determined at the Board of Education meeting on April 10th due to state statute which requires Boards of Education to determine the exact graduation date after April 1st.