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.
October 14, 2014
A few weeks ago I attended my first ever Durham Fair. Even though I grew up in CT, I never attended and now I know what people rave about. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was proud to attend with my fellow administrators as a part of this amazing community. Our students, whether performing or volunteering are an important part of this event and I have heard many compliments since that time about their unique contributions. This is a message that I am becoming accustomed to hearing: our students represent our school and community well.
As we move into the school year, we are once again a part of the vibrant and engaging dynamic of teaching and learning. This happens in classrooms, on playgrounds, on the court, the field, the stage and wherever we talk and work together. As a school district, we want to be sure we are effectively communicating at the classroom, school and district level with you about what is happening. This year we will put a more deliberate effort into communicating with you about learning, safety and available resources. In the next month you will have an opportunity to take an on-line survey to give us feedback in these and other areas. This survey is similar to the one you took last year with additional and more specific questions in the areas noted previously. Your feedback is important to us and I want to encourage you to contact your child’s teacher, administrator or me if there are questions that need to be addressed directly.
I have included below some information on the SBAC testing that was completed last Spring and that students in grades 3-11 will participate in this Spring. Additionally I have included information on the performance on the CMT and CAPT Science tests for students in grades 5, 8, and 10 which we received last month. Finally, I have attached a letter that reviews the district’s attendance policy. Daily, on-time, full-day attendance to school is of great importance in maintaining the continuity of learning.
The SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) testing will continue this year and will be administered to all students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 during the months of April and May. Our district along with other school districts around the state administered these tests for the first time last Spring. We are awaiting results of the test which was a pilot test that was a “test of the test,” a means for determining how effectively the newly created and administered test is measuring what it is intended to and rendering data that will be accurate and helpful to school districts. This means that if your child took the SBAC test last Spring you will not receive information specific to your child’s individual performance. The SBAC test is aligned with the Common Core State Standards, thus the test should be an indication of exposure to and skills in the particular area tested. You can access more comprehensive information on the SBAC test by visiting the CT State Department of Education’s website: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2748&Q=334488.
In addition to the SBAC pilot test that our students in grades 5, 8 and 10 took last year, they also took the CMT (5th and 8th grades) and CAPT (10th grade) Science test. The results on these tests indicate that relative to comparative school districts in our DRG (Demographic Reference Group) our students scored as follows:
• Grade 5: a ranking of 14th out of 29 schools, with 75.6% of our students scoring at or above the state goal, in comparison to the state average of 59.6%.
• Grade 8: a ranking of 10th out of 20 schools with 82.0% of our students scoring at or above the state goal, in comparison to the state average of 62.5%.
• Grade 10: a ranking of 3rd out of 16 schools, with 72.1% of our students scoring at or above the state goal, in comparison to the state average of 46.8%.
A power point presentation that was created by Dr. Berry and presented by me to the Board of Education last week can be accessed by going to the assessment link on the curriculum tab of the district homepage. These results indicate that relative to our DRG, schools/districts that are comparable in the areas of socioeconomic status, need and enrollment, we continue to move closer to the top of our group as our students progress through the grades. I am continually reminded by parents of our graduates that our Science department provides students with rigorous, high quality instruction; the foundation of which begins in elementary and middle school. These tests measure students’ cumulative skill and knowledge on the science skills and concepts included in the Science Curriculum Framework. You can access more comprehensive information about these tests by visiting the CT State Department of Education website at;
Senior Citizen Event:
This month we will once again host an event that welcomes senior citizens from Durham and Middlefield. We have invited our senior neighbors to attend a school visit at Brewster School on October 21st which will highlight the integration of technology amongst our youngest learners. A soup and salad lunch will also be provided. If you know a senior citizen who you think would enjoy this visit, please reach out to them and have them contact Joan Lombardo (Middlefield) at 860-349-7121 or Lainy Melvin (Durham) at 860-788-3337.
Thank you for your continued support.
Kathryn Y. Veronesi