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.
The mission of Regional School District 13, a community that celebrates learning, honors tradition and embraces change, is to ensure that all students will be engaged and ethical lifelong learners and citizens who will thrive, excel, and contribute in an ever-changing, interdependent world by providing challenging, diverse, and nurturing experiences that empower each student to succeed through meaningful partnership with family and community.
September 9, 2014
This week marks our first full week of school, so we are officially back in the swing of things. I hope you had some time to enjoy the summer months with your family. We have happily welcomed your children back to Regional School District 13 for the 2014-2015 school year and if our opening of school is any indication of the year ahead, we will have a great year. We did have an unexpected event on the first day of school just before 2 p.m. when just minutes before the buses were due to arrive at CRHS from Strong Middle School, an enormous tree fell across Pickett Lane close to Maiden Lane. Rob Francis, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds worked with the Durham town crew to move the tree and make the road passable again, so that buses were rolling up to the high school by 2:15. Team work between the school and the town made what could have caused a major disruption, a short delay.
Please continue to be familiar with the traffic patterns if you drive your child to or from school. Please pay very close attention to the buses when you are pulling in or out of our schools as this continues to be an area of great concern for us. Please be mindful of the stop signs that have been placed in several of our schools for drop-off and pick-up. At Coginchaug Regional High School in particular due to the one entry into the high school campus, please be aware of the speed limit on Maiden Lane which is 25mph. When you are coming down Maiden to Pickett please be sure to use your right side blinker so that cars pulling out onto Maiden Lane can pull out and keep the flow of traffic moving at both drop-off and pick-up time. Although we have been fortunate to have a police officer assisting with traffic, this will not always be the case so we appreciate your attention to this matter. Our officers have suggested that if you are going either north or south on Rt 17 to use Brick Lane to Haddam Quarter to take advantage of the traffic light.
Core Ethical Values:
A defining feature of our district is the existence of Core Ethical Values. These values include respect, responsibility, kindness, honesty and courage. Core Ethical Values in our district are talked about, recognized and promoted in a variety of ways depending upon the school and/or grade level. They are the foundation upon which we build our goals and help guide us in our decision making from program creation to student discipline. I will be working with a team of school personnel in building some common practices across the district regarding these values. If you are interested in sharing your input with me as a parent I would love to hear about your experience with our Core Ethical Values as well as their impact on your child/children.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our district goals this year include a focus on five general areas including curriculum and instruction, culture and climate, collaborative accountability, talent development, and operations. These goals broadly outline our focus in each of these areas.
Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
• Ensure that Regional School District 13 is adhering to best practice in the areas of curriculum, instruction and assessment.
Culture and Climate
• Ensure that Regional School District 13 is a safe environment that upholds our core ethical values.
• Ensure that Regional School District 13 participates in effective teaming practices that positively impact student learning.
• Ensure that resources exist so that the talents of faculty and staff in Regional School District 13 are developed.
• Ensure that resource allocation processes are in place to support effective teaching and learning in Regional School District 13.
We are working together at all levels of our school organization from our Board of Education to our grade level teams to assure that our focus on our students is unwavering and that we are involved in activities and practices for children and adults alike that will ensure the best possible learning experiences for children. I am proud to say that the commitment to children and the passion for teaching and learning is unparalleled in our district. This is truly a unique school within two wonderful communities with exceptional students, families and staff.
I know that a hallmark of a great school system is clear and consistent two-way communication at all levels of the organization. Within the month you will receive a parent feedback survey. I would ask that you take the time to complete the survey so that your honest feedback will help us to improve. Don’t forget that if you have a question or concern, please reach out to us. We are here to work with you on behalf of your child. Please be sure to read the letter from our Board of Education Chairperson, Kerrie Flanagan for an update on the Utilization Study, so that you can be apprised of the current status and projected next steps as we look at declining enrollment and building use.
I hope to see you soon at one of our schools or at a sporting event.
Kathryn Y. Veronesi, Ed.D.