July 19, 2019

Superintendent's Report to the School Board - September 2013

DATE: 09-27-2013

Instruction, Assessment & Curriculum


  • Teachers and administrators continue to work to be ready for the Common Core Standards.  Progress to date includes alignment of the Language Arts, math and science curricula. Several professional development activities took place this summer to bring staff up-to-date with the new standards and the changes expected in the curriculum and instruction. Implementation of the CC Standards is the single biggest change in our public schools in memory. They will have a huge impact. To date 45 states have adopted the CC and all will be measuring the same skills and knowledge.


  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is an area targeted to be expanded for student use this year. Policy and procedure around BYOD has been drafted and needs to be brought to the district policy committee for review. BYOD continues to be seen as a means to fulfilling our need for more technology.


  • The teacher leaders will continue to assist teachers to be ready for the SBAC (Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium) requirements and consideration for the amount and type of devices needed as well as the prerequisite student and staff      skills needed for success on the assessment.


  • The District Assessment Team E-portfolio pilot course took place this summer and will continue into this Fall. The piloting volunteers will be developing e-portfolios with their students this year in targeted areas. The Assessment Steering Committee will continue working to develop the district-wide implementation of the e-portfolio throughout this and next school year with full implementation the following 2015-16 school year.


  • School Board Action Planning continues with significant progress being made in identifying goals for this year and into the near future. Work will continue at the next Board meeting.


  • Hartford High School has a new schedule, new course offerings and a new advisory program this year. Reports so far from students and staff have been positive about the impact but it is still very early in the school year.


Safety Planning


  • Last school year, in the wake of the Sandy Hook School tragedy the Hartford School District Safety Team (DST) was formed to review and revise all emergency plans and protocols in our schools. Also recommendations for new or expanded equipment purchases to assist with our safety procedures would be encouraged.


  • The DST met throughout the Spring of 2013 to review safety plans and procedures. Numerous recommendations were made to modify procedures and to plan for any type of emergency in our schools.


  • New handheld radios have been purchased that provide two-way communication with the central office, within and between each school, the bus garage, maintenance and police and fire. Pertinent staff is being trained in the proper use of the equipment.


  • Clear the Halls (Lock Down) procedures are in place for each school and are practiced regularly. Evacuation sites have been identified for each school in the event one of our schools or programs needs to evacuate. Several equipment upgrades have been identified and are being pursued.


  • The HST will meet monthly throughout the year to make sure all safety plans are in place in each school and that we are doing everything we can to ensure our students are safe at school.


Finance and Operations


  • Teresa Taylor has been hired at the Central Office in the position of accountant. Linda Nash has assumed the role of Human Resource Specialist. Both positions have been long anticipated and much needed. Linda is working to update our employment practices and procedures while Teresa is focusing on accurately tracking every school district expense.


  • The Director of Finance has been working through all databases to insure the accuracy of district data in preparation for the FY15 budget process.


  • Our new phone system has been installed and most of the bugs have been worked out. This installation was not easy but I think we are beginning to see the positives of this advanced technology.


  • Over 500 new devices have been received in the technology office. The staff has been working nonstop to program the equipment and deliver it to schools as quickly as possible. The equipment includes new computers for district support staff and administrators as well as several Chrome Book Carts and computers for student and classroom use.  




  • 2012 HHS/HACTC Bond funds are now completely exhausted. This summer new condensers were installed and brought online to replace the 35 year old original units that were in use.


  • Demolition of the interior of the middle school cafeteria, locker rooms and gym is complete. The new cement slab has been poured and construction of the interior walls is scheduled for this week. A new fire alarm is being installed throughout the building. Several alarms have unfortunately interrupted the school day in the first weeks of the new school year. We believe the issue with the old alarm has been identified and resolved. The construction schedule for the middle school is on track with completion due November 7.


  • David Laurin, Byron Baribeau and I have been visiting schools in the area that have artificial turf and tracks. The sites that we have visited so far represent different products. Both were installed over 5 years ago. The facilities and coaching staff at both locations report high satisfaction with the products they have. There have been no concerns about the quality or durability at either location. Field maintenance has also decreased in both locations since the install of the artificial product.


  • The town and school continue to work well together on the shared utility and site needs for the recreation bond. Bid specifications go out this week for the renovation of the WABA and utility work to bring new power, sewer and water onto our campus for the field house and WABA.




  • This sub-committee of the Board has already met once this year. Their work has been outlined for the year and this committee will be meeting bi-weekly to complete a thorough review of all district policies.


Tom DeBalsi