The following items were discussed at the Regional School District 13 Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 12:
Common Core State Standards
Superintendent Susan Viccaro presented board members with a brief overview of the Common Core State Standards, a new set of guidelines adopted by the state in 2010 designed to standardized academic curriculum.
Viccaro said the district will focus on K-2 for now, eventually integrating the curriculum throughout all of the schools.
She said the new standards will result in the district spending "significantly more dollars in next year's budget on professional development."
Board member Merrill Adams said the board would need to think of creative ways to provide opportunities for professional development, given the new standards.
"We have so much on teachers' plates right now, how are we going to give them the time and support that they need?" she asked.
Burden of Proof
Board members were asked by Viccaro to review a recent proposal that would shift the burden of proof in special education disputes, from the district to parents.
The change, Viccaro said, "could save [the district] significant dollars."
If supported by the board, a resolution will be made and sent to the state board of education.
Viccaro presented the board with a proposal to re-join the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), an organization that provides support to local and regional boards.
Currently, the cost to join CABE is $4,097 for the first (trial) year and $8,195 each subsequent year.
Some board members agreed joining CABE might prove beneficial to the district due to the resources the organization provides, but no decision was made.
The board was presented with the latest student enrollment figures as of Oct. 1, 2011.
Overall, there are currently 2,001 students enrolled in the district, compared to 2,041 in 2010.
The most significant change in enrollment is found in grade 9, with 178 students in 2010 and 150 in 2011.
Viccaro said the numbers will be reviewed by the administrative council, adding that the reduced enrollment could result in staff reductions.
The board approved three policy changes, including the Computer Use and Internet Safety Policy. The change will allow students to use personal devices in the classroom for "educational purposes" on a permanent basis.
The change in policy was by Coginchaug Principal Andre Hauser in May.
Last month Hauser presented the board with findings of a review of the policy, which he deemed successful.
Board member Kerrie Flanagan said a couple of members of the community had expressed concern about not having access to the track during weekends.
The policy committee will address the issue during the next meeting.