Report by Paula Antolini
August 25, 2018 5:55PM EDT
Letter from Bethel Public Schools Superintendent: Welcome to a New School Year!
Dear Parents, Care Givers, and Community Members:
We are so excited about the start of the school year next Wednesday! The buildings look phenomenal. I would like to extend a huge “thank you” to all of our custodians who work tirelessly over the summer to ensure that our children’s environment is conducive to learning. Last evening, at its regular meeting, the Bethel Board of Education approved its annual goals (aligned to our Strategic Plan). The goals are as follows: 1. Develop district wide coherence and implementation around Critical Thinking using our Critical Thinking Global Competency Rubric. 2. Enhance our Scientifically Research Based Intervention (SRBI) systems to support the social emotional needs of our learners and to develop a respectful district-wide culture that supports diversity. 3. Renovation of Rockwell and Johnson Schools.
Rationale for Goals Critical Thinking:
The mission of the Bethel Public Schools is to ensure that all of our graduates have the ability to think critically. It was developed as a Global Competency as it is a foundational skill for college and career readiness. While the Global Competency Rubrics were introduced last school year, the system needs to develop a common understanding of the rubric, implications for teaching and learning, and provide more frequent instructional activities to demonstrate those competencies. We have begun work as a system in embedding critical thinking tasks, resources, and the critical thinking rubric into the curriculum.
Each school has made the development of critical thinking skills a central part of their School Improvement Plan, focused on developing coherence for instructional implications and calibration of the rubric. We believe that a focus on critical thinking will increase the rigor in our instruction.
Social-Emotional SRBI and School Wide Culture:
Last school year, we focused on enhancing staff understanding of executive functioning and the impact on instruction. We also began discussions on how to develop systems for a more robust social – emotional SRBI process. We would like to continue to develop that work for the 2017-2018 school year. In addition, the Bethel Public Schools value a diversity in background. We strive to promote that culture so all students, staff, and families feel accepted and safe in our learning environment. We would like to develop and implement strategies which promote those values across all settings.
Both Rockwell (1971) and Johnson Schools (1980) have failing infrastructures and do not meet the needs of today’s learners. In June of 2017, we applied to the state with the Office of School Construction for both projects for a school construction grant. We continue to work with the town leadership to propel the project forward. We will be providing regular updates through emails and our newsletter to ensure that you have the most up to date information on the project.
We also bid farewell to longtime Board member, Robin Renner. Mrs. Renner has dedicated countless hours over the last # of years to ensure that all Bethel students receive a quality education. Mrs. Renner has been a member of numerous sub-committees, and has also served as a volunteer in our schools and in other community organizations. Mrs. Renner has served the students of Bethel well, and we will miss her passion and insight.
We welcome Cathy Schaefer to the Board of Education. Cathy is a longtime resident of Connecticut and moved to Bethel in 2010. She is a middle school science teacher in New York and committed to the education of children.
Reminder – Wednesday, August 29th – First Day of School is a FULL DAY K-12.
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