Annual Reports

a. Superintendent’s Annual Report To The Board Of Education, 2013-2014

b. Annual Report To The Town Of Ashford 2013-2014

 

a. Superintendent’s Annual Report To The Board Of Education, 2013-2014

The Ashford School Administration, faculty, and staff have continued to work diligently to provide every student with an optimal educational experience. Ashford School is operated as a “student-centered school,” with the focus of all decisions based upon the best interests of the students. Our enrollment for the 2013-2014 academic year was 423 PK-12 students. While enrollment continues to decline we have seen spikes in enrollment that indicate the decline is sporadic and not continual. The following report includes some of the major initiatives that we have implemented to improve our school and provide our students with an exemplary educational experience.

The mission statement of the school and the board of education is under review and will be revised during the 2014-2015 academic year, however, it is currently as follows.

Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Ashford School District to present a school that supports all students in achieving their highest educational and personal potential as citizens of the diverse, multi-cultural and global, 21st century community in which they will live.

Instructional Program and Curriculum Development

As a student-centered school we have revised our school schedule to accommodate more choices and electives for students, added after school activities and clubs, expanded the number of subjects available, added sports to our team structure, and improved our regular schedule to be richer and more diverse in its offerings. These systemic changes have resulted in a clearly more student-centered approach to the schedule, curriculum and instructional strategies throughout the school.

The faculty of Ashford School has been working on the transition from the traditional school curriculum of the past to the new Common Core State Standards based curriculum mandated by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE). Both the mathematics and the English/language arts programs are largely revised and based upon the common core, with science and social studies curriculum under development.

The most significant change in the evolution of curriculum and instruction at Ashford School has been the change to a STEAM based curriculum/instruction model. That is, the instructional program, and the core of all lesson development throughout the school, is built with a focus upon science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics integration. As a STEAM model school we believe that all instruction should integrate those key content areas, preparing our students for the twenty-first-century society and workplace that they will enter as adults. It is an essential philosophic and foundative component of our school-wide approach to instruction that we present integrated, multi-disciplinary lessons that are reflective of the need for the citizens and problem-solvers of the future to think holistically. This approach provides that our graduates have the capacity to fully and naturally integrate science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics into their problem-solving and daily thinking.

The Change in Standardized Testing

We have prepared our facility, purchased the technology, modified our curriculum, and readied our students for the transition from the CMT standardized test of the past to the new “Smarter-Balanced” standardized tests to be administered next year. While this transition will certainly take several years, we believe that we are ready and that our students will be fully prepared to take the new standardized tests.

Administrative Restructuring

During the 2013-2014 academic year the superintendent’s position was transitioned from a full-time position to a half-time position. The funds saved from this change were utilized to restore the position of assistant principal. It was determined that the new Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) mandated teacher evaluation act, as well as the transition to the new common core based curriculum and instructional model required additional supervision and support of staff.

Professional Development

Ashford School has dramatically modified its professional development program during the 2013-2014 academic year. We have added a full day of professional development to our normal schedule for both certified and non-certified staff. We have also added a monthly after-school session for faculty to work on professional development activities and prepare for the many changes that Ashford School is in the process of participating in,

In addition to the curriculum transition to the common core and the evolution of standardized testing from the CMT to the Smarter-Balanced tests, we have also implemented a major crisis intervention strategy training all of our staff (certified and non-certified) in crisis prevention and de-escalation. This CPI training has already had a noticeable impact, decreasing the number of crisis situations that disrupt instruction or interfere with learning. All of our staff will maintain a CPI certification with regular training by our in-house trainers.

We now offer full days of professional development in CPI – crisis-prevention and de-escalation, common core curriculum, the STEAM model of planning and teaching, school safety and security, data-driven instruction, integrated and multi-disciplinary teaching, and the concept of the student-centered philosophy, as well as monthly after school sessions that support and enrich all of those areas.

Communication

Communication between the administration, faculty, and board of education with the community was improved considerably during the 2013-2014 year. We began to expand our web site and initiated the process of replacing the old web site with a new, more informative and user-friendly site. The new site should be operating in the fall of the 2014-2015 academic year. Communications home to parents were increased through expanded use of our K-12 Alerts system of electronic communication, more flyers home, and articles in the local news media, as well as changes in our meeting structure to accommodate more public input and community involvement. This change in our level of communication has had the desired impact and there has been a noticeable increase in public involvement in all of our planning.

School Safety and Security

During the past year the CSDE has implemented a competitive grant to support the the improvement of school safety and security. We were successful in receiving funds through this grant and were able to use it to reimburse the town for its investment in school security improvements. There have been many significant changes in operational and facilities to support a safer and more secure environment for our school community. This will be an ongoing process with improvements in school safety and security implemented each year for the foreseeable future. To support this process we have a committee of highly trained citizens to oversee the decisions made and the progress of our school safety improvements.

Facility

The 2013-2014 academic year was a time of building restoration and grounds upgrading. We restored our flooring, painted most of our rooms and halls, restored bathrooms, added new water fountains, improved plumbing and many other minor and major changes in our building and grounds to make Ashford School a better and more pleasant learning environment. It is clear to us that taking pride in the space devoted to student learning, keeping it clean and bright, and in good working order contributes to a positive attitude among our students. We intend to continue this restoration process as much as our budget allows because we believe that a safe, clean, and bright space for learning contributes to our effectiveness as a teaching institution.

Personnel

The 2013-2014 school year ended with the retirement of teachers Martha Hardisty, Janis Belair and Amelia Porri, and paraprofessional Janice Jacobsen. Teachers Eva Beermann, Michael Young and Courtney Mercadante resigned their positions to pursue other opportunities. Each of these individuals were an integral part of the Ashford School community for many years and will be greatly missed. We extend our best wishes with sincere thanks and appreciation for their service and dedication to the students of Ashford School.

New additions or changes to the faculty for the coming school year include elementary teachers Kellie Marshall and Paul Hills, Physical Education and Health teacher Scott Hollister, choral music teacher JoAnna Silverstein, and middle school teachers Matthew Kiefer, Kathryn Schneider and Kaitlyln Mielniczuk. Christine Knowlton, Kristen Johnson, Lynn Fontaine and Rob Ackerson have joined the district as paraprofessionals.

Enrollment Data

October 1 Enrollments – 5 Year Actual Total        

09 – 10 10 – 11 11 – 12 12 – 13 13 – 14
475 476 481 439 423

PK        K         1           2         3           4             5           6           7         8    

2012 – 2013       40         36       49         44         37         52          33        49         45         54   Total: 439

2013 – 2014       42         42       32         49         43         38          49         33         47         48   Total: 423

Ashford Class of 2014

Eighth Grade Class Night was held on June 17, 2014 with 48 students moving on to E.O. Smith High School and Windham Technical High School.

Balkus, Mason Fransen, Teagan Krane, Jeremy Plourde, Amber
Bourke, Alexandra Goodwin, Jarod Lyman, Jacob Rainaud, Nicholas
Bowser, Madysen Grous, Meggan Magowan, Cassigy Robinshaw, Lynn
Caldwell, Jonathan Halbach, George Mainville, Madelaine Rodriguez, Angel
Carabino, Faith Harper, Courtney Maldonado, Elysa Rupert, Jacob
Cosgrove, Sabrina Hassett, Sean Miller, Ryan Sorvillo, Angela
Courtois, Kade Ignatowicz, Haley Montalban, Arianna Swift, Zachary
Crowley, Leah Ivan, Lindsey Noel, Faith Szymczak, Sarah
Doten, Raymond Jackson, Dakota O’Connor, Bridget Valentine, Connor
Dreslough, Eleanor Jameson, Nicholas Pacheco, Kayla Waldron, Breanna
Fletcher, Jacob Kent, Daniel Parent, Justin Wilson, Kimberly
Fortier, Amber Knowlton, Rayann Pavliscsak, Thomas Zapadka, Ethan

 

 

b. Annual Report To The Town Of Ashford 2013-2014

Ashford Board of Education and Superintendent’s Annual Report

James P. Longo, Ed.D. Superintendent

2013-2014

To meet and exceed its responsibility to the citizens of Ashford, the Ashford School Administration, faculty, and staff have continued to work diligently to provide every student with an optimal educational experience. Ashford School is operated as a “student-centered school,” with the focus of all decisions based upon the best interests of the students. The following report includes some of the major initiatives that we have implemented to improve our school and provide our students with an exemplary educational experience.

 

The mission statement of the school and the board of education is under review and will be revised during the 2014-2015 academic year, however, it is currently as follows:

 

Ashford School Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Ashford School District to present a school that supports all students in achieving their highest educational and personal potential as citizens of the diverse, multi-cultural and global, 21st century community in which they will live.

 

Ashford School Enrollment as of June 2014

Grade PK K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
Enrollment 46 42 32 48 41 38 50 34 48 48 427

 

Major Accomplishments for FY 2013-2014

  • As a student-centered school, we revised our school schedule to accommodate more choices and electives for students.
  • The faculty of Ashford School has worked on transition from the traditional school curriculum of the past to the new Common Core State Standards based curriculum as mandated by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE).
  • The mathematics and the English/language arts programs were largely revised based upon the Common Core. Science and social studies curriculum are under development.
  • The most significant change in the evolution of curriculum and instruction at Ashford School has been the change to a STEAM based curriculum/instruction model. This means that the instructional program, and the core of all lesson development throughout the school, is created with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics integration. It is an essential philosophic and foundative component of our school-wide approach to instruction that we present integrated, multi-disciplinary lessons that are reflective of the need for the citizens and problem-solvers of the future to think holistically. This approach provides that our graduates have the capacity to fully and naturally integrate science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics into their problem-solving and daily thinking.
  • In response to the performance of our students on the state’s standardized testing, we have begun a systematic professional development and instructional coaching program to improve writing performance.
  • We have prepared our facility, purchased the necessary technology, modified our curriculum and readied our students for the transition from the CMT standardized test of the past to the new “Smarter-Balanced” standardized tests to be administered next year.
  • During the 2013-2014 academic year the superintendent’s position transitioned from a full-time position to a half-time position. This change facilitated the addition of a full time assistant principal.
  • Ashford School dramatically modified its professional development program during the 2013-2014 academic year.   A full day of professional development activity was added to the normal schedule for both certified and non-certified staff. We also added a monthly after-school session for faculty to collaborate on professional development activities and to prepare for the innovative changes that Ashford School is initiating.
  • We have implemented major crisis intervention training through the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI). All certified and non-certified staff received training in crisis prevention and de-escalation. This training has already made a noticeable impact, decreasing the number of crisis situations that disrupt instruction or interfere with learning. All staff will maintain a CPI certification with regular training intervals facilitated by faculty members who have obtained CPI training certification.
  • We now offer full days of professional development in CPI, common core curriculum, the STEAM model of planning and teaching, school safety and security, data-driven instruction, integrated and multi-disciplinary teaching, and the concept of the student-centered philosophy, along with monthly after school sessions that support and enrich all of those areas.
  • We began to expand our web site and initiated the process of replacing the old web site with a new, more informative and user-friendly site. Launch of the new site is anticipated in the fall of the 2014-2015 school year. We expect that it will require review, revision and monitoring of content and structure until we have achieved the desired presentation format.
  • Home-School communication to parents was increased through expanded use of K-12 Alerts electronic communications, more flyers were sent home, and more articles appeared in the local news media. Changes to the Ashford Board of Education meeting schedule were made to accommodate more public input and community involvement. This change in the level of communication has had the desired impact and there has been a noticeable increase in public involvement in planning and school activities.
  • During the past year, we completed many significant changes in both our operations and facility to support a safer and more secure environment for our school community.
  • The 2013-2014 academic year was a time of building restoration and grounds upgrade. We restored flooring, painted most of our rooms and halls, updated bathrooms, added new water fountains, and made improvements to plumbing and heating. These were amongst many other minor and major changes made to improve the learning environment for all students.

 

Plans for FY 2014-2015

 

  • Assist every student to achieve an optimal educational experience
  • Attract, support, and retain motivated, qualified faculty and staff
  • Sustain the districts drive to improve student safety and security
  • Improve the effectiveness of the Board of Education
  • Continue to monitor student progress to ensure growth
  • Address student performance on standardized testing through teacher training and instructional improvements targeting areas of deficiency
  • Expand the utilization of student data to inform individualized, differentiated instruction
  • Continue to update our curriculum to fully implement our STEAM initiative (a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics based curriculum)
  • Introduce a fully integrated robotics program
  • Purchase and train our faculty in a new mathematics program for all grades
  • Review, evaluate, and improve our school schedule to better serve our students
  • Build time into the school schedule for faculty to analyze student performance data to better inform instruction
  • Continue our professional development program to prepare all staff to better serve our students both academically and in safety and security protocols
  • Continue professional development and instructional coaching program to improve writing performance.
  • Completion of the first phase of our facility safety and security improvements
  • Continue to upgrade our facility as part of a long term plan
  • Improve communications with the community by utilizing the Ashford Citizen and other publications
  • Complete the modernization and updating of our website
  • Increase opportunities for public involvement in planning and decision making through a Board of Education retreat and changes in the Board of Education meeting agenda format
  • Study and develop effective strategies for responding to declining enrollment
  • Continue to refine a fiscally responsible budgeting process

 

 

 

 

 

FY 2013-2014 Board of Education

The Ashford Board of Education has seven elected members. The members seated in 2013-2014 were:

 

James M. Rupert, Chair                                    Kimberley Rourke, Vice-Chair

Kay M. Warren, Secretary                                 Lisa McAdam Donegan

John E. Lippert                                                   Beth A. Supina

Donald T. Wesson

 

The goals of the Ashford Board of Education are as follows. The Ashford Board shall:

  • Initiate policies and practices, as well as devote appropriate resources, towards the improvement of Ashford students on Connecticut standardized testing.
  • Promote instructional practices rooted in the individual skills, talents, needs and performance of the student.
  • Initiate mechanisms for improved and effective communication with the community as well as town leaders and other town boards and committees.
  • Develop a three-year school improvement plan that presents, and explains, an optimal path towards educational excellence in Ashford.

 

The Ashford Board of Education meets twice each month. Meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of each month during the academic year. One meeting per month is scheduled for the months of July and August.

 

The Board welcomes and encourages the public’s participation and attendance at all meetings.