By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
The Board of Education began their meeting by nominating and voting on who would take on the roles of chair, vice chair and secretary. Those roles will be fulfilled by Chris Wilson, Karen Vibert and Karen Hintz, respectively.
From there, the board discussed its attendance at the CABE Convention. This year’s theme was “‘Out of the Public Schools Grows the Greatness of a Nation’ – Mark Twain.” Many of the board members shared their experience as well as some of the workshops that they attended.
Commissioner Tina Taylor attended one workshop entitled “Policy Impacted by New Legislation,” which discussed how recent changes in state legislation will affect school policies. “What I did notice,” said Taylor, “is that through all the hard work of (Superindent of Schools Dr. Susan) Moreau and the policy committee, we are definitely ahead of the game; most of our policies are pretty up to date.”
Taylor also attended the workshop, ‘Where Have We Gone Wrong? Why We Are Still Failing African American and Latino Male Students?’ She said that after comparing data from the Bristol schools, they too are noticing a gender gap between scores, especially as students get older.
An update on the happenings at Bristol Central High School and Bristol Eastern High School, which were presented by student body representatives Olivia Rajotte and Madison Fostervold, respectively. Both young women attended the CABE Convention as well, and were able to hear about concerns and issues happening in high schools across the state, reported Rajotte. “It was enlightening to have a sense of what other districts are dealing with in their student bodies,” she said.
Moreau discussed the school district’s accountability plan. She started by asking, “Who were our students in the 2016-17 school year?” In grades three through eight, 53 percent of the students qualified as high needs. This refers to economically disadvantaged, English Learners and students with disabilities. In the high school, more than 40 percent of the students qualified as high needs. This accountability plan will be set in place to help all students continue to work towards improvement in all aspects of the school. This includes looking at how data is collected. For example, there will be a new plan for counting absences that will take into consideration whether or not a student has transferred between schools or classes.
Moreau finished her report by highlighting the accomplishments of BCHS and BEHS. The Bristol Eastern Marching Band performed at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular; “The talent and professionalism of the band and the leader were exemplary,” read Moreau. “In truth, the quality of this band was one of the high lights of the parade; you can be very, very proud of the BEHS Marching Band and how proudly they represented the Bristol Eastern schools.”
And, Bristol Central High School submitted their two year report after evaluation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, with Moreau reporting that their review “was glowing.”