Task Force Addresses Declining Enrollment Geri Lavallee Is CT's

Simsbury Public Schools—Continuously Improving Teaching & Learning
Dear Neighbor,
There is so much
great work from the students, staff, and teachers in our schools at
this time that we found it challenging to decide
what to include in this issue of The Communicator! As a partner with our school system,
we hope you take a few moments to read about
where we are now and where we're headed.
We are wrapping up some important work
by our Facilities & Enrollment Task Force to
address the issue of declining enrollment. The
conclusion at this is time is that our schools
will not need to be reconfigured. Please see the
article on this page for complete details.
We have collected some brand new data
about achievement, and the results show that
SHS students are among the best in the world!
In a random sampling of SHS students taken
in 2012, compared to 34 highly industrialized countries, SHS students performed at
an exceedingly high level. You can see those
and other achievement results on page 3. We
believe that technology is a vital part of a
world-class education. See page 2 for what our
teachers are doing to leverage technology for
enhanced student learning.
Winter 2014-15
Geri Lavallee Is CT's Paraeducator of the Year
Simsbury’s Paraeducator of the Year,
Geri Lavallee, has
been honored with
the Anne Marie
Murphy Paraeducator of the Year award.
The Connecticut State
Department of EducaConnecticut's
tion and the School
Paraeducator of the Year
Geri Lavallee
Advisory Council established the program to
recognize the important role of the paraeducator in supporting student achievement.
The program honors one paraeducator who
has demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication in the performance of his/her job.
Lavallee has been with the district for 18
years and has served as a Special Education paraeducator at both Tootin’ Hills and
Squadron Line schools. She currently serves
as a Behavior Coach at Squadron Line. Principal Meg Evans noted that Lavallee brings
a positive attitude and calm demeanor no
matter what behavior challenges a student
might be experiencing. Said Evans, “Students feel valued and supported during their
greatest time of need.”
Lavallee added, “All children are innately
wonderful and may experience struggles
which should not define them.”
A ceremony honoring all of the state
nominees took place on November 6th at
the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cromwell.
Task Force Addresses Declining Enrollment
For more than a year, the Facilities &
facilities be made at this time. The task force
Enrollment Task Force has been examining
has recommended that the administration
declining enrollment in our district. At the
revisit the issue on at least an annual basis.
Board of Education meeting on OctoThe group will meet again in the spring
ber 14th, Assistant Superintendent
to review the current plan for next
Susan Homrok-Lemke gave an
summer to remove the modular
update on the work of the task
classrooms at Central School,
force relative to the impact of
resulting in the centralization
Also supporting high achievement is our
enrollment on the capacity of
of preschool at Squadron Line
school budget, and we are in the thick of the
our buildings.
School, and at that point will
budget season. This is a time when we estabmake a recommendation to
The task force asked the
lish priorities that align with our new Strategic
the Board of Education. The
Plan. Our highest priority is to maintain excel- administration to conduct a
removal of modular classnumerical feasibility exercise
lence in our school system while controlling
rooms creates better efficienassociated with a potential respending and keeping pace with state mancies in the buildings and has
configuration to four elemendates. For a month-by-month outline of how
The Task Force
created cost savings thus far
our decision-making process works, please see tary schools. Particular focus
recommended that no
at Latimer Lane and Tootin’
was placed on the 2018-19
our budget process timeline on page 2.
change in the number or
school year, as that marks the configuration of our school Hills schools.
We are thankful for your proven support of
first year of projected stability facilities need to be made
When the modular classour schools and our ongoing work. We wish
at this time to address
in elementary enrollment.
project is complete, the
you much joy and peace this holiday season.
declining enrollment.
Based upon the data
total square footage removed
reviewed, the Facilities & Enrollment Task
will be 20,000 square feet, and the cost savMatthew T. Curtis, Superintendent
Force recommended that no change in the
ing resulting from utilities and maintenance
Lydia Tedone, Board of Education Chair
number or configuration of our school
will be approximately $159,000.
PreK/Kindergarten Census
Each year Simsbury Public Schools
conducts a census of all children residing
in Simsbury who are pre-school age. With
this information, we can more accurately
estimate the number of children who
will enter kindergarten from each area of
our community. If you have a pre-school
age child or children residing in your
home, we appreciate your assistance in
completing a brief survey. The deadline
to enter your data is December 31, 2014.
Go to www.simsbury.k12.ct.us and select
“Preschool Census” from the Community
Connection section. If you do not have
access to a computer, you may phone your
information in to Susan Caccamo, Enrollment Coordinator, at 860-651-3361.
Health & Wellness
l Garrity Gift: In a generous show of support for SHS athletics, the Simsbury Gridiron Club donated $25,000 to fund the first
phase of renovations and upgrades to the
SHS Strength and Conditioning Room. The
Garrity family bestowed an additional gift of
$20,000. The room was renamed the Thomas
F. Garrity Jr. Fitness Center.
l Bike/Walk to School: During October
Bike/Walk to School events, Squadron Line
had 189 K-6 students participate; Latimer
Lane had 215; and Tootin' Hills had 165.
Bike/Walk to School is supported by the State
of CT Safe Routes to School Organization,
which helps schools promote physical activity, teach safe pedestrian and bicycling
skills, and creates
awareness about how
walkable and bikeable the Simsbury
community is.
Chasity Bache accompanies
daughters Elizabeth and
Maya for Latimer Lane's
Walk/Bike to School Day.
Georgia Austin is Simsbury's Teacher of the Year
At the beginning of the school year, the Simsbury Public Schools
announced Central Elementary School kindergarten teacher Georgia Austin as Simsbury’s Teacher of the Year. Austin is considered
to be an exceptional teacher; she is well known for her abundant
warmth and sense of humanity, especially when it comes to children. In a speech this past August, she urged her fellow teachers to
“look out for the students who are trying to be invisible.”
Simsbury's Teacher of the Year Georgia Austin
greets one of her students on the first day of school.
At Work
The Simsbury
Public Schools has
welcomed new
faces to the district,
including Tim May, a
new School Resource
Officer at the middle
School Resource Officer Tim May
and elementary
schools. Samaria Campbell is the district's new Open
Choice Intervention Specialist and has been busy helping Hartford and Simsbury students make connections,
including inplementing Girl Empowerment clubs at
HJMS and SHS and helping a group of students reestablish the Multicultural Club at SHS.
Technology News
l Full-Day Professional Development:
On November 4th, the high school hosted
all of the district's teachers for a full-day
conference entitled, “Leveraging Technology
for Engaged Learning." Nationally known
pioneer of the "flipped classroom" movement, Jon Bergmann, was the keynoter. The
day featured over 60 sessions for teachers to
choose from to learn about the latest technologies to benefit teaching and learning.
For a full summary of the day's events, visit
l Computer Science Education for
All: December 8-14 has been designated
Computer Science Education Week ("CS
Simsbury Public Schools Budget Process Timeline
Discussion and
prioritization of
budget items
at the grade/
level in
with Building
meet with
principals to
discuss budget
and building
Open Choice Intervention Specialist
Samaria Campbell stands in front of a bulletin
board made by a student in the SHS Multicultural Club to celebrate Native American Month.
begin with
Board of
BOE budget
in operating
budget adoption
(late Feb.) and
BOE adopts
6-Year Capital
Plan for
submission to
the Town
Ed Week"), a national effort to expose all
students in grades K-12 to computer science.
The goal is to give every student an opportunity to engage in fun, challenging activities
that will spark interest in computer science.
Computer science activities promote problem solving, critical thinking, persistence,
creativity, and collaboration. Introducing
computer science at an early age gives students the opportunity to explore the endless
world of technology as a user and a contributor. District-wide activities were organized
by SHS math teacher Melissa Fearrington
and Math Department Supervisor Jacqueline
Petrella. To learn more, visit http://code.org.
For up-to-date school budget information, please visit
presentation to
the BOF (capital
and operating
Public hearings
on BOE and
Town budgets
Referendum at
Henry James
The Communicator  Winter 2014-15  www.simsbury.k12.ct.us
Student Achievements
college or university. Cam Schoffstall will
attend Boston University to compete in
l SHS seniors were recognized by the
diving; Caroline Hendershot will be on the
National Merit Scholarship Program and
crew team at the University of Michigan;
the National Achievement Scholarship
and Alex George will be a member of the
Program. Thirteen, of only 34,000 students
lacrosse team at Providence College.
across the nation, were named Commended l The CAPSS Superintendent Award has
Scholars: Joseph Adorno, Josephine Black,
been awarded to two students, SHS senior
Kayla Brady, Shannon Cirilli, Sara Colglazier, Ashley Meuser and HJMS eighth grader
Christopher Grossack,
Maalik McPherson.
Kathleen Martensen,
Ashley participates in
Ashley Meuser, Joseph
student council and
Mortimer, Rory
competes in running,
O’Brien, Anna Riccross-country skiing,
ciuti, Wei-Da Sun, and
and Math League.
Katerina Voegtle. This
She recently founded
year’s National Merit
a new club called
Semifinalists were
“Teens Against HunDavid Foley, John Pugger, to raise funds and
mire, Daniel Schmetawareness for global
terling, and Zachpoverty. Ashley, upon
ary Walsh. These four SHS National Merit Scholars. Back Row: S. Cirilli,
graduation in June,
K. Martensen, C. Grossack, Z. Walsh, J. Pugmire, J.
seniors have earned
Mortimer. Middle Row: K. Brady, S. Colglazier, R.
will have completed
the National Merit
O’Brien, D. Schmetterling, D. Foley. Front Row: J. Black, 11 Advanced PlaceSemifinalist designa- K. Saint Mary, A. Meuser, K. Voegtle. Missing from
ment courses. She
tion and will continue photo: J. Adorno, A. Ricciuti, W. Sun.
serves as a teaching
in the 2015 National
assistant in the AP
Merit competition and
Computer Science
potentially qualify for
class and has received
Finalist distinction.
multiple honors for
l SHS senior Kadum
her proficiency in
Saint Mary has been
world languages.
recognized as an
Maalik is an outOutstanding Particistanding role model
pant in the National
and a true leader. He
Achievement Scholparticipates in after(Front row, left to right) SHS seniors Caroline Hendershot,
arship Program by
school Wind EnsemAlex George, and Cam Schoffstall sign letters of intent for
scoring in the top 3
ble, Select Chorus and
percent of more than D1 schools. Behind them are their proud parents.
Jazz Band; he plays
160,000 African Americans considered who
both the violin and tenor sax and also sings.
took the PSAT in Fall 2013.
Outside of school Maalik takes Chinese
l Three SHS athletes have signed letters
Language classes and plays for the Premier
of intent to attend an NCAA Division I
Soccer Club, FSA.
Simsbury High School Reports High Achievement Results
At the October 28th BOE meeting, Assistant Superintendent Erin Murray and
SHS Principal Neil Sullivan presented some
remarkable achievement results.
• CAPT Science: SHS achieved its highest
scores ever with 82.3% of students meeting
goal and 62% in advanced band. The average scale score for students was the best in
• AP Participation: Another record was set
with 72.5% of graduating seniors successfully completing a college course during
high school. There are consistent results
over time, with 78% of AP test takers scoring 3 or higher.
• College Acceptance: SHS saw an increase,
with 19% of 2014 graduates earning acceptance to a Barron’s Tier 1 college or
• College Completion: Brand new longitudinal data shows that SHS graduates
earn 4-year degrees more frequently than
students from any other district in the
Hartford area or our statewide comparison
group (DRG B); 71% of students from
2007 have earned a collegiate degree.
A Message from...
The Simsbury ABC Program has
been helping bright young men from
disadvantaged school districts to get A
Better Chance to compete for the colleges
and careers of their choice. By providing them the opportunity to attend
Simsbury’s top-rated high school, our
graduates have been well-prepared to
gain entrance to and excel in outstanding universities and to become successful
leaders and professionals.
We are proud that two of our students
were just admitted to the National Honor
Society and the Spanish National Honor
Society respectively. We are grateful that,
in response to the last “Communicator” plea, several new board members
joined the program. We want to thank
the people of Simsbury who have always
been very generous in their financial
support of this program, which brings
diversity to Simsbury and changes the
lives of deserving young men.
Please visit our website at SimsburyABetterChance.org to get involved,
donate, or learn more about the program.
SHS's Music and Performing
Arts Department announces that this year's winter musical is Thoroughly
Modern Millie. The show will
be performed January 30, 31,
February 1, 6, 7, and 8. Curtain
time is 7PM for evening shows and
2PM for matinees. Ticket information is
posted on the website at www.simsbury.k12.
ct.us. Tickets are available at the door.
Proving that Simsbury competes at a
world-class level, in a random sampling of
SHS students taken in 2012 by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which compared 34 highly
industrialized countries, the results were:
•SHS students scored above the international average in every category of every test.
•In mathematics, only two of the 34 countries outperformed SHS.
•In science literacy, none of the 34 countries
outperformed SHS.
•In reading literacy, none of the 34 countries
outperformed SHS.
The Communicator  Winter 2014-15  www.simsbury.k12.ct.us
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Hartford CT
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Simsbury Board of Education
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By the Numbers
Keep in Touch
l 95 SHS students became the
The BOE meets on the 2nd and 4th
Tuesday of each month at 7PM. Visit our
website for upcoming dates and locations.
first to be inducted into the Spanish National Honor Society.
l SHS reported 38 Tri-M music
honor society inductees.
l 172 students were inducted into the National Honor Society.
l Over 150 5th-8th graders ran in the Town-wide Fun Run on October
l In October, Tootin' Hills School held a "We Scare Hunger" campaign,
with students in grades K-6 collecting 1,110 food items totaling
1,044 pounds; members of the Take Action Club organized the event,
and food items will be given to Hartford's Immaculate Conception Shelter and the Simsbury Food Pantry. The school also donated 100 pounds
of Halloween candy to U.S. troops overseas via Operation Gratitude.
Veterans Day November 11th, all 7 schools held celebrations
throughout the day, including "planting" approximately 400 flags by
Central School students and faculty (see photo at right).
Follow us on Twitter!
SPS WEBSITE www.simsbury.k12.ct.us
is the place to go to check out the lunch
menu, get sports schedules, or find arts
events. When a hot topic comes to the
forefront, you can go to the website to
find the latest links, take a survey, or see
what principals and administrators are
tweeting about.
SHS Principal Neil Sullivan..[email protected]SimsHighPrin
SHS Director of Athletics & Student Activities Dane Street [email protected]
SHS School Counseling [email protected]nseling_SHS
SHS Library Media Center...[email protected]MediaCenter_SHS
Tariffville Elementary School Principal Scott [email protected]
Latimer Lane Principal Mike [email protected]tSchool
weather-related or other emergency
announcements, go to www.simsbury.
k12.ct.us and click on the red Emergency
tab located at the top right OR click on
any school website and then click on the
"Emergency Information" link above the
Principal's Message.
The Communicator  Winter 2014-15  www.simsbury.k12.ct.us