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Beecher Happenings 3/6/2020

Dear Residents of Woodbridge,

I hope that this publication finds you healthy and enjoying a milder than normal winter (knock on wood!)  In this article you will enjoy reading about Beecher Road School’s outstanding student state assessment data, a school safety update, opportunities for citizens to serve on a committee, student and staff activities, a budget update as well as about our new Principal!

Lisa Sherman Appointed Principal:

At its meeting on February 24, 2020, the Woodbridge Board of Education unanimously appointed Analisa (Lisa) M. Sherman as the principal of Beecher Road School, effective immediately.  Mrs. Sherman had been serving as acting principal since the summer.  Lisa emerged as the unanimous choice from a strong field of candidates.  The Board thanked the Principal Search Committee, made up of various stakeholders, for their work under the direction of CABE Search Consultant Mary Broderick.  Please read the full article about Lisa in this edition of the Woodbridge Town News.

FY21 Budget Proposal

I would like to provide you with an overview of my Superintendent’s FY21 Budget Proposal that was approved in December by the Woodbridge Board of Education and recently presented to the Boards of Selectmen and Finance for their consideration.  Our proposed budget represents a net increase of less than 1% – $115,569 (0.76%) – over the current year.  The key drivers behind the budget include (1) responsiveness to town financial needs, (2) salary and benefit increases, (3) increasing student needs, (4) building Special Education program capacity, (5) collaborative and ongoing efforts in cost efficiencies as well as, (6) supporting the strategic plan initiatives that are key to our continuous development.  This budget maintains all current staffing levels and programs and adds 2.0 FTE positions for mandated special services support.

The FY21 spending plan not only continues to support the academic, emotional, social and physical needs of our students in order to prepare them for a successful future as responsible global citizens, but it responds to the fiscal needs of our supportive town.  Thank you for your partnership in support of your successful children.

Beecher’s Assessment Results Among the Top in Connecticut

Here is a quick summary of our most recent state testing results:

  1. The percentage of Beecher students meeting and exceeding goal (level 3 and 4) in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math is at the highest point in the past 5 years;
  2. The percentage of Beecher students exceeding goal and reaching the highest tier of achievement (level 4), in Math and ELA is at the highest point in the past 5 years;
  3. District science scores rank #1 in our District Reference Group (DRG – districts similar to Woodbridge), and #4 in the state;
  4. Of the state’s 206 school districts, charter and magnet schools, Beecher ranks # 20 and #21 respectively in ELA and Math;
  5. Beecher ranks #5 in the state for growth in math and ELA; and
  6. Our Accountability Report Index rating jumped from 78.6 in 2017-18 to 85.3 in 2018-19.

In response to the excellent student assessment results, The Woodbridge Board of Education (at its February 24 meeting) made the following motion of congratulations:  “We move that the Board of Education send a statement congratulating the administration, teachers, and students of Beecher Road School for their remarkable academic performance and academic growth in language arts, math, science, and physical fitness.”

Congratulations to all our hard-working students and to our talented and skilled faculty and staff.

School Safety Update

The safety of our students and staff are our highest priority.  The highlights of our focus on safety include:  An active Safety and Security Committee, employment of a school resource officer (SRO), security check at our main entrance, a security infrastructure and regular and active practice of a variety of drills in order to prepare for actual emergencies.  In addition, we have a longstanding collaborative relationship with the Woodbridge Police Department.

BRS employs a full time SRO through a memorandum of understanding with the Police Department.  The SRO is paid as part of our district budget.  The role of the SRO in our school is to help create a safe, secure, non-threatening and orderly learning environment for students, teachers and staff.  The SRO also models and promotes a positive image for law enforcement.  Our SRO makes classroom presentations when requested by the school administration on various topics.

The SRO also provides all lessons in the 6th grade D.A.R.E. program including alcohol and drug awareness and serves as a resource to the school administration.  The topic of School Security Personnel/SRO was reviewed by the Board of Education in the fall of 2017 and will likely be reviewed by the Board of Education in the coming year.

We would like to thank all families for their partnership and their support of our ongoing efforts in the area of school safety.

Superintendent/Parents Academy/PTO Night

Dr. Deborah Kraemer, Associate Professor at SCSU, presented a lecture/discussion on February 26 titled, “Guiding Young Children’s Home use of Technology while Promoting Family Relationships.”  The presentation was preceded by a brief PTO meeting.  A large and engaged audience of parents, teachers and administrators enjoyed a lively presentation and discussion.  Hats off also goes to our PTO for its presentation, its amazing fundraising and program enhancements to our school.

We Need Your Help.  Volunteer for the Strategic Plan Update Committee

The Strategic Plan Update Committee will review priorities and revise our existing three-year strategic plan.  We are seeking a few community members to serve on this committee.  If interested, please email Marsha DeGennaro, mdegennaro@woodbridgeps.org no later than Friday, March 14 at 9 AM.  If there are more than two interested community members a blind lottery will take place to select the members.

HVAC & Lighting Improvements

Phase 2 improvements to our HVAC system were completed over the December break.  We expect to experience the benefits of these enhancements in the upcoming months when the hot and humid weather takes over.  The town also recently initiated its LED lighting upgrade at Beecher.  The school thanks the town for its support and enhancements to our facility.

By Robert F. “Bob” Gilbert    Superintendent of the Woodbridge School District

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