CABE/CAPSS Conference – November 18th &19th
CABE/CAPSS Convention was held on November 18th and 19th. The theme of this year’s conference was “Opening Opportunities for ALL”. Board member that were able to participate were Jennifer Weigel, Ned Gow, and Jonathan Moore. I found the keynote presentations to be inspirational especially for school leaders. Dr. Tony Wagner, world known and currently serves as an Expert In Residence at Harvard, was the Friday morning keynote. He has spent a life time researching school change and innovation in schools working to bridge the gap between theory and practice. He has recently authored another book called: Most Likely to Succeed. He spoke about the need for creativity and personalized learning. His book promises to be a great read for those that have not yet read it. We ended the day of busy workshops by being entertained with a dramatic presentation called “An Evening with Abraham Lincoln” where we were reminded that strong leadership is not without challenges, and historically, we need unity to solve the challenges we experience today. Playing the part of Abraham Lincoln was actor Frtiz Klein. Lastly, the final keynote presentation was exceptional. Nadia Lopez, founder and principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, narrated her story of success for scholars in a high school with many obstacles for learning. Nadia has been honored for many achievements and celebrated in a blog when one of her students named her the most influential person in his life. She has been featured in the New York Times, The Atlantic, and NBC News. I found her story to be inspirational and a reminder that all levels of school leaders matter in the lives of our students.
Interesting workshops included topics related to reimagining schools with regard to innovation which were in keeping with CABE/CAPSS theme for the conference. Again, we all had a wonderful opportunity to learn from each other in order to enhance our professional practice. Some titles of workshops that I attended were:
NextEd – Personalized Learning – Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) revisited the NextEd Next Steps, 2015 – publication. Danbury and Manchester have progressed with personalized learning to offer students with multiple opportunities and pathways to success. Sal Pascarella, Superintendent of Danbury Public Schools presented with Matt Geary Superintendent of Manchester Public Schools along with their respective principals from multiple high schools.
Leadership for District Coherence and High Performance: A Case Study- Vernon Public Schools superintendent presented their Strategic Plan developed around multiple theories of action. A focus on the theories of action enable to district to work toward shared goals providing cohesion across schools.
Reclaiming School Climate and Culture entailed a discussion of how Newtown rebuilt climate and culture through partnerships with teacher leaders, administration and board of education.
In summary, the conference reminded us that we have begun an exciting year filled with ideas to expand opportunities for all children to succeed. Our Strategic Plan in conjunction with the School Improvement Plans provide a shared pathway to move toward personalized learning while remaining focused on the importance of innovation.
Policy Highlights: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its focus on English Learners:
The Connecticut State Department of Education has recently issued guidance on how school districts can better serve students whose first language is not English. The ESSA federal legislation allows districts to utilize both Title I and Title III funding (moving
Title III into Title I) to support English Learners. The revised ESSA requires districts to:
Reach out to families, parents and communities;
Monitor district’s implementation and reporting requirements (identifying percentage of students in program supports both short and long term (four year progress monitoring to determine if they are on par with their peers);
Develop a uniform process for identifying English learners with the assessments aligned to the State’s English language learner standards;
Measure and report the entrance and exit of EL students for instruction; and,
Revise policy such as - policy 6141.311- accompanying CABE policy and forms may be of benefit – this should be in place for the 2017-18 school year. (See attached)
Wishing each of you a wonderful Holiday filled with joy, rest, and renewal for the New Year ahead!
December 1, 2016