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Our Schools At A Glance: PART I UNITED IN EXCELLENCE

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ISSUE NO. 2 June 2019

Vision

United In Excellence

Mission

To educate and graduate students who specialize in one of three themed magnet pathways: International Education, STEM and Visual & Performing Arts, who are well versed in the academic knowledge and practical experiences necessary to succeed beyond high school; who are critical thinkers and innovators; who are courageous and self-reliant; and who challenge the status quo while enriching their community, country and global society.

AT A GLANCE PART I

1. SUPERINTENDENT'S NEWS

2. INSIDE NLPS ACADEMICS

3. TALENT & HR HIGHLIGHTS

4. SCHOOL & FAMILY

5. BUSINESS & FINANCE

6. MAGNET SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT

7. FACILITIES

8. TECHNOLOGY TALK

9. COMMUNICATIONS CONNECT

10. CHILD NUTRITION

Cynthia's Message

Cynthia E. Ritchie, Superintendent of Schools

Greetings all. It is hard to believe we are in the last quarter of the school year. Springtime comes with many exciting events and celebrations in every school. It is also a time when students (across the state) participate in state assessments to measure their academic progress. Students in grades 3-8 will be participating in the state's Smarter Balanced assessment and students in grade 11 will be participating in the SAT. Students in grades 5, 8 and 11 will be participating in the state's Science assessment.

In line with our district's mission to be United in Excellence, we thank you for your partnership in encouraging students to continue to do their very best. We continue to expect and promote high expectations for all. Daily attendance matters greatly. Every day that a child is in attendance positively supports his/her learning trajectory. Coming to school well rested and prepared to be able to contribute to active learning activities, sets a culture of engagement for all. As a district we continue to promote our goal of strong attendance records for each and every student; Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow at NLPS!

This spring edition of our district newsletter At A Glance will offer you comprehensive information on all of the initiatives we are leading and implementing throughout the district. We are super excited about the variety of collective projects that are moving forward, aligned to student achievement. New London Public Schools is home to dynamic staff and students who are working together to accomplish incredible things.

Please do not hesitate to reach out should you be in need of further assistance.

District Improvement Plan

New London Partnership for Student Success
Randi R. McCray, NLPSS Project Coordinator

Randi R. McCray began her appointment on April 15, 2019. Randi was hired to coordinate the New London Partnership for Student Success (Partnership); a city-wide partnership centered around the success of children in the New London community. Randi comes to New London with experience working on family-centered initiatives, as well as experience working with communities on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Randi will coordinate the activities of the Partnership in addition to serving as a resource for NLPS engaging the community in support of the district success plan. Randi will spend some of her time at Central Office and some of her time at the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.

NLPS 2021
Welcome to Kindergarten

A wonderful team of volunteers worked together to host our district's first Welcome to Kindergarten Event. The event aimed to bring new families into the district to learn more about our district's programs, unique pathways, and to assist with helping parents learn how to navigate the district's information and registration process. Over 100 families came out to the event. I wish to thank all of the elementary school leaders, teachers and support staff who came out to support this event. Also thank you to our fabulous community partners-New London Public Library, Mystic Aquarium, Children's Museum, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, NESS (New England Science and Sailing) and staff from the School Based Health Centers. We also thank Brigaid for the delicious breakfast and lunch provided for the event. The event, coordinated by Angela Rasmussen, was wonderful! We continue to encourage families of incoming kindergartners to come into the district's Welcome Center to register their student for kindergarten. Now is the time to register for a fall start time for your student.

Smarter Balanced/SAT

The elementary and middle school are developing their testing schedules for the spring administration of state assessments. The purpose of these online assessments is for students to be able to "show what they know" after a purposeful school year of learning. We look forward to seeing and celebrating students' successes through this measure as well as through a variety of other activities, products and results collected and measured throughout the district.

Summer School

The district will be hosting a variety of summer programming this summer. There will be two three-week sessions of summer school for the elementary level. Session one, for grades K-2, will be held from July 8th-July 26th. Session two, for grades 3-5, will be held July 29th-August 16th. Both programs will run from 8:30am-12:30pm and will be Monday-Friday at Jenning's School. For more information please contact Lisa DeMaio in the Academic Office.

Middle School students will be invited to partake in summer programming from June 24th through August 9th. The program will be divided to include both academic support as well as enrichment programming. Students will participate in a variety of day trips throughout the program. These hands-on experiences will aim to foster teamwork and experiential learning. For more information please contact Angela Rasmussen at 860-447-6013 or email rasmussena@newlondon.org.

The high school level will also be hosting summer programming for students. Freshman Academy is one event that will occur from June 17th to June 28th. Here, all incoming grade 9 students will participate in a variety of informational, team building, academic and enrichment programming to acclimate and welcome them to the high school campus. A traditional summer school academic program will also be offered, starting July 9th. This program will also offer credit recover courses for students in need. For more information about high school level summer programming, please contact New London High School at 860-437-6400 or Science & Technology Magnet High School at 860-437-6496.

What are the differences between ESOL, Bilingual, and Dual Language?

The main differences are:

ESOL Classroom: All English learners speak various languages and come from different backgrounds. The teacher only uses English in instruction.

Bilingual Classroom: All English learners speak the same native language (in NLPS traditionally the language is Spanish) and the teacher speaks both languages as a means of content instruction.

Dual Language Classroom: A type of Bilingual program in which students are taught literacy and content in two languages (Spanish/English). There are many models of Dual Language programs. At NLPS, our Dual Language classrooms consist of native speakers of Spanish and native English speakers with the goal of having classrooms that are composed of 50% native English speakers and 50% native Spanish speakers. NOT ALL students in a Dual Language classroom are identified as English learners.

Gearing Up For The Seal Of Biliteracy

World Language teachers strive to promote learning a foreign language and enable students to communicate effectively in the target language (Spanish, French, or Arabic). At the high school level, students are eligible to receive the Seal of Biliteracy based on evidence of achieving the designated level of language proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.

The Seal of Biliteracy recognizes a student’s academic efforts and the value of biliteracy. New London Public Schools is home to over 3500 students representing more than 25 language backgrounds. We are proud to have awarded the Seal of Biliteracy to 46 graduating seniors in 2018 who demonstrated proficiency and biliteracy in Spanish, French, and Tagalog.

We are gearing up for the 2019 assessments and like last year, plan to have many high school students show us their language skills.

Colt Poetry Contest Winners
Gold Winners L-R: Rockenson Charles (NLHS), Mostafa Jemmo (NLHS) and Abdulrahman Jemmo (NLHS)
Silver and Bronzer Winners L-R: Mohammed Kabny (NLHS), Maria Rozo (NLHS), Yareliz Berrios Saez (NLHS), Ryan Piatek (STMHS) and Samyra Lubin (BDJMS)

Students worked hard for months in order to memorize their poems and improve their public speaking skills. Look at those proud faces!

A special thank you to the teachers who supported the COLT (CT Council of Language Teachers) Poetry Contest and the students; Melissa Castro-Holland (NLHS), Salwa Elsayed (NLHS), Amalia Stavrou (NLHS), Edith Main (BDJMS), and Mark Foster (BDJMS).

Parent University

As a district, we know and understand how beneficial it is to a child's success to have parents/caregivers working in conjunction with school personnel to support a student's learning and success. NLPS' Parent University is a great avenue we offer to invite parents to engage in learning alongside us. Parent University workshops have been created by New London staff who are passionate about building tools, resources and collating information to help parents/caregivers be able to best navigate technical and educational avenues throughout the district. Workshops are offered twice per month; once on a weeknight and once a month on a weekend. Current workshop titles are featured below. A light dinner is served and childcare is provided. As you can see from the pictures below, it is an engaging and fun event for all!

Please join us for our next Parent University event. Email Kristea Francolino at francolinok@newlondon.org if you have any questions.

  • Tuesday, June 11, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School
Student Achievement Meetings

All schools are deep in work developing and delivering their first Student Achievement Meeting (SAM) presentation. The SAM presentation is a universal way we, as a district, can further unpack our students and staff members’ strengths and needs based on our mid-year data to make solid leadership and instructional decisions moving forward. SAM presentations aim to guide staff to answer the questions, “So what?” and “Now What?” in regard to students’ growth thus far. They provide a framework for deep and collaborative conversations among staff and with families that tie data, results, instructional strategies, professional development and teams together. Each school’s SAM meetings are going extremely well and completed presentations thus far are shared below. These data-driven, outcome based workshops will continue to be a regular part of our district’s culture focused on student achievement, strong instructional and curricular practices, positive climate and culture and family engagement.

District-Wide State Testing Update

NLPS unites in excellence to ensure a positive testing experience for all of our students. This is accomplished through Central Office support and a team of building-based test coordinators who work with staff to document student supports, train teachers to administer the tests and ensure that students are placed in a test environment (or setting) to do their best and show us what they know. When the results from these assessments are available, reports will be sent home and district and school teams will analyze the results to define where improvements are needed.

Every year, the state requires that all students, in Grades 3 through 8 and Grade 11, take an English Language Arts and Mathematics test; they are called the Smarter Balanced Assessments (Gr. 3 -8) and the CT SAT for students in Grade 11. Additionally, students in Grades 5, 8 and 11 must be tested in Science. NLPS is thankful for parents and guardians who encourage their student to do their best, students who work so hard to “show what they know” and teachers and test coordinators who make sure that students are tested.

Here is a list of the tests and the completion rates as of May 30, 2019

  • Smarter Balanced English Language Arts/Reading – 90%
  • Smarter Balanced Mathematics – 89%
  • Next Generation Science – 80%

The testing period or cycle ends on June 7, 2019. We are united in excellence to ensure that students achieve success and look forward to talking with parents and guardians about their student’s test results.

Courageous & Self-Reliant
Taryn R. Bonner, Director of Talent & Human Resources
District Programs

The Human Resources (HR) Team is planning amazing programs for the district, and during the week of May 6th-10th, alongside the District Employee Recognition Committee and our schools, we will be celebrating Staff Appreciation Week. This year we have a unique theme planned for our daily appreciation events.

Minority Recruitment

Minority recruitment continues to be a major priority for the HR Office, the district and the Board of Education. Through our work in the HR office, we have attended roundtable conversations with LEARN and other neighboring districts to discuss minority teacher recruitment (MTR) in Connecticut, best practices in the area of MTR and barriers to hiring and retaining quality candidates from diverse backgrounds. We will continue with this work in the hopes of supporting the region and our district leaders in addressing this national challenge.

One worthwhile best practice or strategy for increasing diversity amongst staff, is to target and recruit from diverse candidate pools. Therefore, we have engaged in two initiatives, in the month of April, that align with this strategy. Firstly, we have district administrators attending a MTR Fair hosted by the CSDE in Wallingford, CT. This fair is specifically targeted toward ethnically diverse certified teachers in the State of Connecticut. The fair will offer us the opportunity to promote our district and our magnet pathways in the hopes of recruiting certified minority teachers.

Our second initiative is in collaboration with a community partner, the Historically Black College Alumni (HBCA) group. HBCA has historically taken high school students on a college tour during the April vacation over the past 20 plus years. This year, we have partnered with the organization to:

  • initiate conversations and build relationships with the colleges and universities the students will be visiting about employment opportunities with NLPS; and
  • hold discussions with the high school students attending the tour about teaching as a profession and the possibility of them always coming back to NLPS post college or in between breaks in their college career for employment opportunities.

It is our hope that over the next several years, this work will better support a pipeline into the teaching profession, as well as establish a connection between our district and universities with a high concentration of ethnically diverse graduates.

We will continue to work the HBCA and various educational institutions in the south to meet our district-wide goal to increase diversity amongst our staff with an intentional focus on our certified staff. We wish all the students and adults traveling on this tour a successful and memorable 27th annual college tour.

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BECOMING A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER? APPLY TODAY!

Challenge the Status Quo
Announcing Our New Executive Director
Dr. Valerie Kelsey, Ed.D., New Executive Director of Student Support Services

It is with enthusiasm that we announce the Board of Education’s appointment of Dr. Valerie Kelsey, Ed.D., to join the NLPS' Cabinet leadership team as the new Executive Director of Student Support Services. Dr. Kelsey comes with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field of education, having served in a variety of roles. These include past roles as Director of Student Support Services and Special Education, Assistant Superintendent, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Kelsey holds four degrees in education. She is well-known throughout the state of New York, and also across our country. She has presented her passion for education and advocacy for all students’ unique learning needs at a variety of national conferences.

Dr. Kelsey was vetted through a variety of interview committees comprised of staff, parents and Board members. Superintendent Ritchie participated in the last round of interviews and was most impressed not only with Dr. Kelsey's resume and credentials, but with her values and leadership style. She has a very warm and approachable personality, a creative and solution-focused thought process, and a belief in co-leadership through teamwork. She understands the importance of educating the “whole child” through excellence in academics, social-emotional developments, differentiated instruction, and partnerships with adults (staff and families) who co-serve as “teachers” for each child. Superintendent Ritchie was additionally impressed that Dr. Kelsey was very knowledgeable of our district, of our District Improvement Plan, of our student data and of our vision to be United in Excellence. Dr. Kelsey beams with enthusiasm to be able to join in our work to serve students, staff and families throughout our New London school community. Dr. Kelsey will officially begin with New London Public Schools on July 1st.

It is an honor to welcome Dr. Kelsey to become our newest member of the Whaler family!

Valued Partners

Annual Review meetings are being held in all schools. Parents and Guardians are valued partners in the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) process. Families are invited to attend all meetings and are active participants in the development of Individual Education Plans (IEPs) which ensures their child achieves their personal best.

Unified Sports Sponsor Schools

Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School and Nathan Hale School were selected by the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) to sponsor Unified Sports programs. Unified Sports seeks to join students with and without disabilities to participate in a variety of athletic events. It was inspired by a simple principle, training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. Unified Sports creates unique teammate bonds through sports experiences. Teams were formed and practices were held. Our students successfully competed in the Special Olympics competition which was held on April 6th at Waterford High School.

School & Family Support Team

The Department of School and Family Support Services welcomes two new key members to its team: Hsin-Yi Huang, the Executive Secretary and Dr. Valerie Kelsey, Executive Director of Student Support Services.

We are also fortunate to have dedicated and competent district-level case managers, PPT coordinators and a transportation secretary assisting in daily operations, which go beyond their obligations and work responsibilities to ensure that the department functions properly. efficiently, so that the needs of the student and the family are met. Once hired, we look forward to working collaboratively with the new Executive Director of School and Family Support Services to ensure a smooth transition in order to continue the good work of our department.

Extended School Year (ESY) Program

The Extended School Year Program (ESY) for our students with disabilities, is an extension of specific services beyond the regular school year, that are designed to meet goals included in a student's individualized education program (IEP). The purpose of ESY is to prevent skill loss or regression in areas critical to self-sufficiency. ESY will be held at Winthrop School and runs from July 8th to August 1st, Monday-Thursday, from 8:00am-12:30pm for Special Education students ages 3-21, with an additional week for students up to grade 5 from August 5th-August 8th. For additional information, contact Marcia Robinson at 860-437-6421 or Robinsonm@newlondon.org.

Initiatives are Informed & Crafted by Results from Schools and Classrooms
Robert Funk, Executive Director of Finance
FY2019-2020 Budget Development
Transparency, Necessary Resources, Support & Commitment

At its March 7th special meeting, the Board of Education passed a $72,428,333 total budget, a 3.1% increase in overall spending over FY19. Ending grant cycles of some federal grants and state grants results in a general fund request for $46,598,172, shifting a greater financial responsibility from grants to city revenues. The city council is deliberating on the request and will pass a final general fund budget ordinance no later than June 1st. State funding is likely to be considered by the city council in making their final decision. While governor Lamont’s proposed budget includes an increase in the Alliance grant to the district, the state budget is still in debate. We are watching closely to determine the impact of proposed legislation and the final ordinance that is ultimately passed by the city council.

New Transportation RFP

Bids were received from several contractors in response to a transportation RFP that was issued by the district. Our current contract expires June 20th of this year. On April 25th the Board of Education selected First Student and authorized the Superintendent to enter into contract negotiations and produce a five-year contract for the Board to ratify at its next business meeting.

What's New?

Kronos Timeclock software implementation is under way throughout the district. Our district, like many other school districts throughout the state, has been processing pay and tracking attendance using a system that relies on paper timesheets and attendance lists. Implementing the electronic system will provide improved efficiencies, improved access for employees to their own information, and better reports for managing schedules and maintaining audit trails.

A little further down the road the Business office and the Human Resources office are working together to roll out the Munis Financial and HR software system. In conjunction with the City Finance office we plan to be working actively in Munis for processing of all FY20 purchases. January 1, 2020 is the projected “go-live” date for the HR/Payroll portion of the system. This exciting enhancement will provide employees with greater self-service access to their payroll and employment data. It will enable seamless and efficient hiring of employees, from budgeting positions through generating requisitions to fill positions, all the way through processing and payment of wages.

Ongoing Communication & Implementation
Kathleen H. McCoy, Executive Director of Strategic Planning, Government & Media Relations
Post Lottery 2019-2020 SY

All 2019-2020 school year (SY) lottery results have been released. Families can log into their SchoolMint accounts to check their student's results. Applications are still being accepted for the Applicant Pool.

Secondary Transition
Multi-Magnet Secondary School
1-2-3 Secondary Pathways Transition

New London’s Multi-Magnet Secondary Magnet School enrolls students in grades 6-12 and includes three learning pathways focused on STEM, International Education (IB candidate) and Visual and Performing Arts.

We are on track to transition the district to a Multi-Magnet Secondary Plan, developed in conjunction with Connecticut State Department of Education. The former, middle school Leadership Academy is transitioning to International Education (IB Candidacy) and our middle school staff will be launching our Middle Years International Baccalaureate Program (IB Candidacy) for students in 6th - 8th grades.

The BDJMS Campus, Science & Technology Magnet High School and New London High School will join to become the new Multi-Magnet Secondary School. The new Multi-Magnet Secondary School includes the BDJMS Campus and NLHS Campus and will house all secondary 6th - 12th grade International Education, Arts, and STEM Pathways.

Strengthen & Align District Operations
New Campus Construction

NLHS Campus construction is underway and began with the renovation of the high school track. The district will keep families and the public updated on the multi-phase secondary construction projects via our district website. Make sure to visit our district website for important updates.

High School Track Completed

The New London High School track reconstruction project was completed on September 5, 2018. It was an exciting day on April 9th, as the Track and Field Team hosted its first home track meet since 2015. The new track is the first phase of the overall North Campus construction project which is set to be completed in 2023.

Students will Achieve at Higher Levels
Sign Up For Texts With School Messenger

Our district utilizes School Messenger to send important notifications to our families. With School Messenger we can send important information about events, school closings, safety alerts and more! You can participate in this free service by phone call, text message and email! To opt-in to receive text messages from the district, text "Y" or "Yes" to our district's short code number, 68453.

Parents Can Access PowerSchool

PowerSchool is the online software tool we use to house your student's information. You can access PowerSchool to check on your student's progress, school attendance, grades and comments, class schedules, lunch balances, and the daily bulletin. You can access SchoolMint Re-Enrollment to update your student's information. With PowerSchool our goal is to increase communication and collaboration with parents, students and teachers. PowerSchool allows you to get more information about your child’s education while encouraging students to take increased ownership of their learning. To access PowerSchool you can create an account to login. PowerSchool can be accessed from your mobile device and you can view each of your students' information with a single login. Contact your school to get your PowerSchool Access ID and Access password.

Diversity is Celebrated as a Strength

New District Logo and Website Launched!

We're Making A Video!

We are making a new district video with Ajar Communications to highlight all of the great things about New London Public Schools and our students! We want to let other students know why they should apply. The new video will feature students in Kindergarten-12th grade from each school.

Fuel to Learn
New Menus & Student Taste Tests
Grilled cheese with scratch made tomato soup (Left) and Roasted Cauliflower Taste Test (Right)

The New London Child Nutrition Program introduced some new menu items for students, including a grilled cheese sandwich with scratch made tomato soup, as well as beef nachos and a meatball sub. Students also participated in taste tests featuring various vegetable preparations.

Check Out Nutrislice

The New London Food Service Department is committed to providing a variety of appealing and nutritious meals at no cost to our students through the Community Eligible Provision (CEP). All of our meals meet or exceed USDA guidelines and the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act nutrition standards. In partnership with families, the community, and our city, our food service program strives to provide fuel to learn, assisting students in achieving their maximum potential.

After All, Healthy Children Are The Best Learners!

ISSUE NO. 2 June 2019

134 Williams Street, New London, CT 06320

Credits:

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