The Region 9 Board of Education can now breathe easy and enjoy the summer sun.
Tuesday marked the last meeting of the school year and it came with a couple of bittersweet goodbyes. Dr. Michael Cicchetti, superintendent, and Interim Assistant Principal Anne Kipp each attended their last Region 9 meeting, and were greeted with warm support and thanks from fellow board members.
Cicchetti, who stated at one point in the meeting that “you need to change practice before you change belief,” retired from his post before his three-year contract was completed. Cicchetti warmly welcomed .
Redding resident thanked Cicchetti for his involvement in the district.
“It’s a special thing that you attend these events,” D’Agastino said to Cicchetti. “It’s not just a 10 minute cameo, you actually stay and enjoy the events and that means a lot to the kids. I hope it continues with Josefsberg.”
Cicchetti, who received tickets to Fenway Park as a gift from the district, was given a good laugh when some of his fellow board members slipped on baseball caps with Yankees logos. (The tickets were not paid for with public monies, Board Chiarman Mark Lewis told Patch.) Cicchetti said he plans to enjoy a Red Sox game quite soon with his wife. D’Agostino joked that he should use them before October.
Kipp who Barlow Principal Tom McMorran thanked for her way of re-directing and guiding students throughout the years, received flowers and Joel Barlow’s biography from the board. This past year, Kipp has maintained relationships with students of all levels and did her utmost to see them best succeed, McMorran said. Towards the end of the year, Kipp worked closely with students who struggled to meet the requirements for graduation and had no hesitation in helping them in any way she could.
Continuous Improvement Plan
The board then got down to the business of the Continuous Improvement Plan.
“I have to commend and thank Mike Cicchetti for leading us through this process,” McMorran stated.
With teachers working on their individual plans, McMorran said he's seen growth in each of his staff members. With the goal being to turn teacher methodology into student performance, McMorran expressed confidence that each teacher involved is on the right path, which he said will result in strong success in students.
“From my professional view, it is extremely exciting to see the collegiate form of exchange,” he said.
Teachers and board members have measured success rates of students’ learning capacity before and after the new methodology. The trick to turn learning into an intensive and understandable conversation will be an imprint in the future of Barlow students, McMorran said.
“We would like to be intervening early in the kids’ experience with us,” McMorran said.
“It’s about finding legitimate pathways,” Cicchetti stated. “You allow a student to demonstrate mastery and our job is to open those pathways.”
Jonathan Budd and Jack Powers, the directors of the Barlow Writing Center, presented their 2010-2011 report to the board. The two men compared the center's traffic in 2000-2001 to that in 2010-2011.
According to them, the daily average of students in 2000-2001 using the Writing Center was 38. In 2010-2011, an average of 163 students used the Writing Center. In 2000-2001 a total of 369 individual appointments were made between students and writing specialists compared to the 1,741 that students made in 2010-2011 (to date).
“In general, the higher we get that number, the more likely we are to get a broad range of students, not just the gifted or the sincerely interested and on the other hand, the mediocre,” Budd said.
With more of a focus on writing portfolios, in 2010-2011, Budd and Powers said they've seen more students appreciate the importance of writing. With the portfolios remaining in their cumulative folders, all teachers will have access to students’ progress.
“It’s very important that the students take writing seriously, and they really, really did,” Powers said.
“We want to encourage students to come into Barlow wanting to be good writers,” Marie McPadden said. “I think the reflection in the [feedback] letters we received [from students] was telling."
The majority of the feedback that the board received from students stated that the students didn't enjoy timed writing.
“They need to learn how to be reflective writers,” she said.
McPadden, the district's assistant superintendent, continues to push teachers to give students honest and specific feedback. The advantage of the feedback process is that teachers do not provide feedback to their own students, but rather to students from other districts, so they receive feedback based upon the submitted piece, not their past progress.
“I give the faculty a solid A- on this,” McMorran said of the board’s level of success in their efforts.
“The quality of the [students’] writing has been very impressive,” Cicchetti stated.
“I want to thank John and Jack for maintaining the quality of their writing,” McMorran said.
- A special education teacher and an English teacher straight out of UConn’s graduate program have been hired.
- The district is in the process of hiring a new Spanish teacher.
- The district is having difficulty finding new science teachers and will continue the proccess.