Message from Superintendent for March 28, 2014 (Posted 3/28/2014)

WEEKLY MESSAGE

 

 

March 28, 2014

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

It is once again my privilege to communicate with you and hope this message finds you well.

As you may be aware, the district embarked on a curriculum revision project commencing in the 2012-2013 school year. This project continues today and is implemented through the district’s Office for Teaching and Learning. Periodic updates have been provided to the members of the Board of Education at their regular meetings and more recently at an evening information session hosted by the Parent Teacher Organization at Thompson Brook School.

Most recently, there have been some inquiries regarding the curriculum revision process, its purpose and the intended outcome of the work.        

The purpose of this communication is to provide you facts to questions you may have regarding what is being taught (curriculum) and what is being reviewed and revised in response to the Common Core State Standards mandate and the newly developed state-wide standardized assessments (Smarter Balanced). 

Q:  What is a curriculum?

A:  A curriculum is the K-12 “road map” that connects the content (the standards, skills and understandings), instruction (what will specifically be taught) and the assessments (formative and summative to measure student learning and the strength of the curriculum).  Curriculum documents are generally prepared in hard copy and maintained using some form of electronic relational database.

Q:  Why does the district need revised curricula?

A:  Curriculums should be “living” documents that are continuously and systematically reviewed and revised to address any changes to the national or state standards, address any identified area(s) of weakness within the curriculum, and reflect any changes or enhancements to ensure rigorous and relevant learning experiences for all our students.

The curriculum used in the Avon Public Schools was last completed in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Q:  What is the curriculum revision schedule and when was it implemented?

A:  A 5-year Curriculum/Program Review calendar was development in 2012.  Under this cycle, in Year 1, the curriculum area under review does a formal presentation to the Curriculum Professional Development Council who evaluates their work based on a defined rubric.  During Years 2 through 4, the department addresses both the long and short term goals that have been established (both self-identified by the department and CPDC) with yearly reviews by the K-12 vertical team, and in Year 5 the department prepares for their upcoming formal presentation to CPDC and the 5-year process starts over. The detailed schedule is available on the district website at www.avon.k12.ct.us under the Teaching and Learning tab.

Q:  What is CPDC?

A:  CPDC stands for the Curriculum Professional Development Council which has teacher, administrator and Board of Education representation from various grade levels and content areas to guarantee a clear K-12 pathway for our students.  Some of the responsibilities of the CPDC are to develop and implement a long range and systemic plan for curriculum review and renewal; formulate, recommend, review and make decisions about curriculum, instruction, new courses, textbooks, and professional development within the guidelines of Board of Education policy; monitor the development and implementation of the PreK-12 subject areas’ standards across grades and provide feedback to the Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning regarding the structures that support curriculum implementation; and serve as a “think tank” for new and emerging ideas from the Office of Teaching and Learning.

All final recommendations from the CPDC are made to the Superintendent of Schools for consideration.  The Superintendent then advances a recommendation to the Board of Education for approval pursuant to all applicable policies.

Q:  What process is being used to revise each content area K-12?

A:  As each curriculum area begins it review process, a K-12 vertical team is assembled.  Based on the identified national or state standards for the content area, this team creates the K-12 long-term transfer goals, understandings, essential questions, performance task categories and grade level content maps.  Throughout the process, these draft documents go back out to the entire grade level or department for feedback so that everyone teaching within that content area has a “voice” in and an understanding of the document being created.  Once this initial work is completed, most, if not all, teachers from each grade level, come together to collaboratively develop the units of study.  Throughout the revision process, careful attention is paid to what components of the curriculum (content, instruction and assessment) are working and which are not and thus need revision.

Q:  Is a researched based framework specific to curricula being used?

A:  The CPDC selected Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe’s Understanding by Design framework as the model to be used in Avon for curriculum writing in all discipline areas.  The framework has three major stages.  Stage 1 encompasses the desired results (e.g., standards, understandings), Stage 2 details the evidence of learning (i.e., summative performance tasks) and Stage 3 is the Learning Plan (i.e., lesson plans and formative assessments).  A visual of this framework has been provided below.

Q:  Is the Common Core State Standards limiting teachers to what they teach and how they teach it?

A:  No.  Utilizing the Understanding by Design framework detailed above, Stage 1 and Stage 2 are “non-negotiable” for teachers.  Stage 3 is for individual or groups of teachers or departments use (their choice) to create their lesson plans.  Teaching is an art, and we have excellent teachers so it is completely up to them as to how they teach, but their students must be able to demonstrate mastery of the knowledge and skills specified in Stage 1.

Q:  How will parents know what their children are expected to learn? 

A:  The District is currently in the process of securing a curriculum management tool in order to electronically post Stage 1 of the framework described above for parents to have a clear understanding for each grade level, content area and unit of what standards are the focal point, the understandings (the core concepts, principles, theories and processes), the essential questions (open-ended questions that focus on the big idea), and the knowledge and skills students are expected to acquire and demonstrate.  Additionally, parents are informed of this information through open houses, course syllabi, communications from teachers, etc.

Q:  How does the curriculum interface with the state-wide standardized assessments?

A:  The state-wide standardized assessments measure mastery of the content outlined in the state standards for English Language Arts, mathematics and science.  As we use the adopted state standards for English Language Arts, mathematics and science our curriculum is aligned with state-wide standardized assessments.

Q:  What other forms of assessment are we using as a part of our curriculum?

A:  Throughout the course of the year multiple forms of assessment are utilized.  At the district level we administer Universal Screenings for reading and math in addition to the Degrees of Reading Power (gr. 2-6), Advanced Degrees of Reading Power (gr. 7-8), Developmental Reading Assessment (gr. K-4), and Benchmark Assessment System (gr. 5-6).  At the grade level, teachers use formative assessments, performance tasks and summative unit assessments to ascertain student achievement.

Q:  What are formative assessments?

A:  Formative assessments are used to evaluate students’ knowledge and understanding of particular content.  The results are used by the teacher to adjust and plan instruction to improve achievement in that particular area. 

Q:  What are summative assessments?

A:  Summative assessments are used to document student achievement at the end of a unit or course, or to evaluate the end product of a unit of study.

Q:  How will teachers be trained to implement the revised curriculum as it is completed and approved for use?

A:  All teachers at the grade or department level are directly involved with the curriculum revision process and in the creation of the units.  Within our current curriculum review process we have embedded training for the teachers through the use of a national consultant, trained district coaches/facilitators and department coordinators.  We employ the motto, “Learn through doing the work.”

Q:  Will traditional textbooks be necessary to implement each area of revised curriculum?

A:  Traditional textbooks may or may not be part of the revised curriculum.  “Textbooks” are now defined as any primary instructional materials used to support instruction for all students and to implement the curriculum. Instructional materials include, but are not limited to, books, periodicals, on-line publications, internet sites, educational software, all other audio-visual materials and other such media when they serve as materials used to deliver instruction.  Please note that all primary instructional materials require Board of Education approval.

Q:  How are materials being identified for use with each curriculum?

A:  As teachers create the units of study and develop the learning plans, the materials needed to implement instruction are identified.  The process of identifying resources and materials includes the review of current materials and resources recommended and used by colleagues, the CT State Department of Education or renowned educational leaders and publishers of educational materials.

Should you have any questions after reading this summary, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Donna Nestler-Rusack, Ed.D. at (860) 404-4700 or drusack@avon.k12.ct.us.

In closing, I wish to thank you for your continued support.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us 

 

Special Message for March 18, 2014 (Posted 3/18/2014)

March 18, 2014

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am very pleased to communicate with you again hoping that spring is upon us.

Last week, I communicated information to you regarding the Smarter Balanced state-wide standardized field test for which we are currently preparing our students and staff. As a means to further assist you in understanding more of the specifics associated with the tests, their content and details about how they will be administered, we have designated a special location on the district website where you can find this information easily. A special link has been made available on the left side of the district website homepage, under Announcements, with the title Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Additionally, I wish to make you aware of a link to the Connecticut State Department of Education website at http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2748&Q=334488 where this information is also available.

We hope that this quick link is helpful to you as you seek to learn more about the next generation of state-wide standardized assessment being advanced in our state and many others.

Should you have any questions after reading this message, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Donna Nestler-Rusack, Ed.D. at (860) 404-4700 or drusack@avon.k12.ct.us.

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a productive week. 

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Superintendent's Message for the Week of March 10, 2014 (Posted 3/12/2014)

SPECIAL NOTICE

 

March 14, 2014

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

Today, all Superintendents and their immediate staff received communication via a conference call from the State Department of Education. During this call, it was announced that the first window of the Smarter Balanced Field Test would be delayed by one week in Connecticut and all other states using the test. The rationale for the postponement was described as being attributable to “quality assurance and stress testing.”

The purpose of this communication is my attempt to inform you of what may lead to confusion when the announcements regarding this change are circulated by the media.

The announced delay is not expected to impact the testing window that has been selected for our schools. I am simply thankful that we did not select the first of the four available testing windows given what we will now observe as some districts being seriously disrupted in light of the last minute, unanticipated change.

Our district’s Smarter Balanced Field Test window remains as follows:

SMARTER BALANCED

April 28th – May 16th    English Language Arts for grades 3 – 8, 10 and 11

April 28th – May 16th    Math grade 10

May 19th – June 6th      Math for grades 3-8 and 11

Should you have any questions after reading this message, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Donna Nestler-Rusack, Ed.D. at (860) 404-4700 or drusack@avon.k12.ct.us.

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a restful weekend.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us 

SPECIAL NOTICE

 

March 14, 2014

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

As we continue our work in reviewing and revising all of the Board of Education’s policies, as referenced in my letter dated March 11, 2014, the draft version of the 1000 Policy Series on Community Relations, currently under review, has been uploaded to our website. You will also find drafts of two additional policies under review from our 5000 Series regarding Instruction: Policy 5131.111 – Video Surveillance and Policy 5145.14 – On Campus Recruitment.

All policies, including the draft versions mentioned above, can be found on our website at: http://www.avon.k12.ct.us/info/Backpack/default.asp?catid=1.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

SPECIAL MESSAGE

 

March 12, 2014

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

It has been brought to my attention that a number of inaccuracies are circulating among the students at Avon High School and possibly among parents via social media and others means regarding the state-wide standardized assessments being scheduled for administration in the very near future. This information regarding administration was made known to the district within the last ten days and required full analysis before issuing this type of summary communication. I apologize for what some may consider a delay in communicating to you but as you know, public education in our state is in the throes of much reform. With this said, there has been changing information being made available to local school districts which unfortunately is not yet complete at the time of the communication.  

The purpose of this communication is to provide you facts regarding the newly mandated, state-wide standardized assessment known as Smarter Balanced and what portions remain from the soon to be past state-wide student assessment measures known as CMT & CAPT.

What is Avon’s testing window?

CMT/CAPT

March 10th – March 26th     Science for grades 5, 8 and 10

SMARTER BALANCED

April 28th – May 16th          English Language Arts for grades 3 – 8, 10 and 11

April 28th – May 16th          Math grade 10

May 19th – June 6th            Math for grades 3-8 and 11

Why is Avon’s testing window different from Simsbury’s (other districts)?

For the Smarter Balanced assessments, districts were provided four different testing windows from which to choose to administer the assessment.

Can I request to have my child exempt from participating in state-wide standardized assessments?

Connecticut education law states that “Each student enrolled in any public school shall annually take a statewide mastery examination.” While recent press coverage in other Connecticut communities may have led to mixed messages regarding whether or not parents may request to have their children not participate in these assessments, no opt-out language is present in state or federal law governing assessment.

What testing is required?

All districts are required to administer the Science CMT in grades 5 and 8 and the Science CAPT in grade 10.

Districts were given three student assessment options for English Language Arts and Math for the 2013-2014 school year: 

  1. Administer CMT English Language Arts and Math in grades 3-8 and CAPT in grade 10. 
  2. Administer Smarter Balanced Field Test English Language Arts and Math in grades 3-8 and 11 (with the option to add grades 9 and 10). 
  3. Administer both CMT English Language Arts and Math in grades 3-8 and CAPT in grade 10 plus Smarter Balanced Field Test English Language Arts and Math in grades 3-8 and 11.

Avon chose to administer the Smarter Balanced Field Test for the required grades and to add the 10th grade option.

Why did Avon chose to begin to administer Smarter Balanced?

The statewide mastery examination is required to move from CMT/CAPT to Smarter Balanced for English Language Arts and Math.

In 2014-2015, all students will be required to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Participation in the field test provides us with an opportunity to: 

  1. Have students experience the on-line assessment for the first time in an environment that is as “stress free” as possible and where their results won’t be part of their academic record. 
  2. Have teachers administer and experience the on-line assessment for the first time in a low stakes environment plus have the opportunity to see the actual assessment in order to identify and embed the required tasks and technology requirements into the curriculum so students have exposure to, and become comfortable with, the Smarter Balanced assessment format. 
  3. Provide us with the opportunity to formally assess that our technology is fully capable of handling the demands of the assessment. 
  4. Assist with validating the test items to ensure they are a fair and accurate representation of the grade level content, skills and knowledge for future assessments of our students.

How is the Smarter Balanced administered?

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is a computer based, untimed test. The test is designed to calibrate the level of questions to the accuracy of each student’s response. This results in a completely individualized testing experience for each student. For the field test in 2013-2014, the test will not be adaptive.

The estimated total amount of testing time is 7 to 8 ½ hours per student.

How will the results of Smarter Balanced be reported?

Individual student results will be received for the Science CMT/CAPT but not for the Smarter Balanced English Language Arts or Math.

Aggregate data reporting to districts has not yet been determined by the State Department of Education.

This year the District will be ranked by the State Department of Education on our participation rate and Science CMT/CAPT scores and these ratings are used by others to compare school districts. Participation levels impact what is referred to as SPI (School Performance Index). SPI is a significant data point and used to impact school ratings and teacher and administrator evaluation benchmarks.

What steps are being implemented to prepare for the state-wide standardized assessments?

A full day training session for building test administrators is scheduled on March 18th to review the assessment administration protocols.

Test schedules will be developed at the building level with specific attention to minimize or eliminate any conflicts with other student assessments and activities (e.g., Advanced Placement).

Practice sessions for students will be scheduled in each school’s computer labs.

A final review of all technology needs and a complete test of each school’s technology infrastructure will be completed.

Should you have any questions after reading this summary, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Donna Nestler-Rusack, Ed.D. at (860) 404-4700 or drusack@avon.k12.ct.us.

In closing, I wish to thank you for your continued support.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

 

March 11, 2014

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am very pleased to communicate with you once again and hope you are anxiously waiting for the beginning of spring.

As you may or may not be aware, the Board of Education commenced the major project to review and revise all of its policies using a third party assessment completed by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE). This work began at the commencement of the last school year and continues at the present time. Given the voluminous number of policies being reviewed, this project will take a significant amount of time.

With this initiative in mind, the district has revised the section of our website to facilitate a less complicated method for you to locate policies if you are so inclined to do so. The policies governing the activity of the district are located under the Board of Education tab and are arranged by series order. Each series is associated with a specific function of the district organization.

In addition to rearranging the order in which the series are presented, a search features has been activated. The search feature may be used within each series but does not search all series simultaneously. To conduct a search of a series, please use the following directions:

Select and open a specific file or policy series. CTRL F will bring up a find/search window in the top right hand portion of the screen.  Type in the word or phrase you are looking for and it will highlight each requested word or phrase within the selected file.  There is an arrow on the search window that will allow you to scroll to the locations of where all the words are found. 

In the future, when the Board of Education is considering a revision to a specific policy and/or series of policies (1000), it will be posted in this section of the website and labeled “Drafts” using the commonly known “track changes feature.” This will allow you, the reader, to readily see what is under consideration for change by the Board of Education.

We hope you find these upgrades satisfactory and helpful to you in the future.

On a completely unrelated matter, the Board of Education voted unanimously last Friday morning to award Specialty Transportation of Hartford the contract to provide student transportation services to the Avon Public Schools for the time period 2014-2015 through 2018-2019. Specialty Transportation replaces DATTCO who has been providing transportation to and from schools for the past twenty years. Please join me in welcoming Specialty to the group of very skilled service providers serving our students.  

In closing, I wish to thank you for your continued support and wish to extend to you my sincerest gratitude for serving you and your children.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Superintendent's Message for February 3, 2014 (Posted 2/3/2014)

February 3, 2014


Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am very pleased to communicate with you once again and keep you updated on matters involving your schools.

Believe it or not, preparation for the 2014-2015 school year has commenced in the form of Kindergarten registration and the annual AHS Parent Information Night held last week for the parents and students of the current 8th grade class. With both of these activities comes a great deal of energy and enthusiasm for what is yet to come during these milestone transition periods. As is the case each year, we pay particular attention to the interest and attendance of these activities as we begin the comprehensive, deliberate process to staff our schools for the coming year.

As has been previously announced, our district, as well as many others in the state, has opted to administer the pilot of the newly required, state-wide standardized assessment known as SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) to students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11 in place of the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) this Spring. We will continue to administer the science portion of CMT in grades 5 and 8 and the science portion of CAPT to students in grade 10. The window of time during which these state-wide standardized measures will be administered will be between March 18th and June 6th. Details regarding specific testing dates will be made available to you in the very near future through your child’s school principal. Specific details regarding SBAC may be found on the Connecticut State Department of Education website at: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2748&Q=334488.

Among the distinguishing features of SBAC as compared to the CMT and CAPT is that SBAC assessments require the students to respond using a computer rather than completing them as paper and pencil exercises. Additionally, the scores obtained during what the Connecticut State Department of Education is referring to as a “pilot year” for SBAC will only be made available to districts as class scores and will not be disaggregated on the student level. Student level summary scores will not be available until subsequent testing after the 2014-2015 administration of SBAC.

If after reading this message and reviewing the information contained on the information link, you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (860) 404-4700 or by email at gamala@avon.k12.ct.us. I will arrange to have your question answered promptly. You may also direct questions regarding the assessment to the principal of your child’s school.

In closing, I wish to thank you for your continued support and wish to extend to you my sincerest gratitude for serving you and your children.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools
Avon Public Schools
gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Superintendent's Message for January 15, 2014 (Posted 1/15/2014)

January 15, 2014

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

It is my honor to communicate with you once again and wish you both good health and happiness in the new year.

At the December meeting of the Board of Education, Board members voted unanimously to adopt the budget that was proposed by the Central Administration. The now endorsed, approved 2014-2105 Board of Education Budget has been submitted to the Office of the Town Manager so it may be included in the 2014-2105 Town of Avon Operating Budget. In an attempt to keep you updated with respect to the proposed budget and the process through which it now travels, numerous informational pieces are available for review on the district website at http://www.avon.k12.ct.us/page.asp?pageid=15&catid1=101&catid2=95.

Last evening, the Board of Education re-organized itself as is common after an election takes place. The following is a summary of the re-organization as it was approved:

Avon Board of Education
Note: *Denotes Subcommittee Chair

Chair - Peggy Roell

Vice Chair - Katharine Zirolli

Secretary - Wendy Howard

Alternative Resources Subcommittee - Jay Spivak*, Wendy Howard, Brian Glenn

Audit Subcommittee - Houston Putnam Lowry*, Peggy Roell, Brian Glenn

Capital Budget Subcommittee - Jeff Bernetich*, Kathy Zirolli, Jay Spivak, Ken Birk

Communications Subcommittee - Ames Shea*, Wendy Howard, Jeff Bernetich

Finance Subcommittee - Kathy Zirolli*, Peggy Roell, Jay Spivak

Personnel - Ames Shea*, Wendy Howard, Houston Putnam Lowry

Policy Subcommittee - Kathy Zirolli*, Houston Putnam Lowry, Ken Birk

Regional Services Subcommittee - Jeff Bernetich*, Brian Glenn, Ken Birk

Rep. to Curriculum & Professional Dev. Council - Ames Shea, Wendy Howard

Rep. to Town of Avon Board of Finance - Kathy Zirolli, Ken Birk (Alternate)

Rep. to Town of Avon Town Council - Ames Shea, Wendy Howard (Alternate)

CREC Council Representative - Brian Glenn

University of Hartford Magnet School Representative - Ames Shea

 

In closing, I wish to thank you for your continued support and again wish you the best for a safe, happy and healthy new year.

 

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools
Avon Public Schools
gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Superintendent's Message and Holiday Wishes (Posted 12/23/2013)

December 24, 2013

Dear Parents and Concerned Citizens:

On behalf of the Board of Education, Central Administration, and the Avon Public School faculty and staff, I wish to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season.  Best wishes also for a very happy New Year.

I am extremely fortunate to serve a fine community such as ours and assist in making it a place of which we are all very proud.

May you be blessed with health and happiness in the new year.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us 

 

December 23, 2013

 

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

It is my honor to communicate with you once again. On behalf of the school district faculty and staff, I wish to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season. Best wishes also for a very happy new year.

Last week, the Connecticut State Department of Education released information reflecting the performance of each school in the state using a “school performance index.” I am proud to announce that all five schools in our district scored well above the state desired index of 88 in all categories except for some subgroups. Specific performance index scores for each school and the district as a whole are available for your review at: http://www.csde.state.ct.us/public/performancereports/20122013reports.asp.

Additionally, I appreciate your patience as we manage the unpredictable nature of our New England weather especially over the past week. Some have inquired regarding the criteria used to determine if the schedule of our schools need to be modified to account for inclement weather. As you can well imagine, the decisions impacting school schedules while at first glance seem to be quite easy and straight-forward, they remain among the most difficult.

We must look at safety issues and potential liability much differently than in the past.  This change alone is among the top criteria used on days like the recent delays and cancellations. I am a believer that it is best to err on the side of caution and not place anyone at risk for time that can be made up.  The safety risks are simply too large to not give them close consideration.  

Other criteria used when inclement weather is predicted include:

  • considering the timing of the inclement weather event and its potential impact on bus travel and student drivers,
  • being cognizant of the distances from which many staff travel to and from our schools,
  • needing to provide as much advance notice as possible to families so they may adjust their schedules or make arrangements as needed,
  • considering the decisions made by other contiguous school districts, and
  • reviewing weather forecasts and other weather resources as sources for additional data to make decisions that are based on what is known at the time each decision needs to be made.

Thank you again for your patience as we work to maintain safe travel for all of our students both to and from school.

In closing, I wish to thank you for your continued support and again wish you the best for a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Special Message for December 9, 2013 (Posted 12/9/2013)

 SPECIAL MESSAGE

 

 

December 9, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I appreciate your patience this morning in response to the need to call for a two hour delay due to the inclement weather.

Additionally, I have been informed that the fact that an email communication announcing the delayed schedule was not received this morning is the subject of social media sites. The delay message was unable to be communicated as it usually is because the electronic communication system failed due to technical reasons. The problem has been researched and been repaired.

As you may know, Avon Public Schools also maintains a hotline number. Unfortunately, due to an unanticipated phone service issue, we were unable to access the system to update the recorded message regarding the delay. A service call has also been entered with the phone company to correct the problem.

Thank you again for your patience as we work to restore our electronic systems.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

 

 

Superintendent's Message for November 26, 2013 (Posted 11/26/2013)

November 26, 2013


Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I wish to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.  Personally, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve you, your children and the faculty and staff of the school district.  As we contemplate our good fortunes over the next few days, please join me by keeping those who are less fortunate in our thoughts and prayers no matter what form they take.  Best wishes to you for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I am pleased to once again communicate with you and provide you with a brief update regarding some of the most recent activities taking place in the district. 

Recently, the Board of Education unanimously passed revisions to Policy #5080 - Tests and Research Papers.  The newly revised Board of Education Policy requires that Tests developed and administered as a part of classroom instruction will be returned to students as soon as reasonable and practicable. Tests shall be returned to students after being reviewed and assessed as to support student learning.”

Last week, the Communications Subcommittee of the Board of Education hosted the second of a series of Public Information Sessions scheduled for this school year.  The topic discussed was School Safety and Security Enhancements.  The materials presented are available on the district homepage at www.avon.k12.ct.us.

In keeping with the practice of providing you with an alternate method for sharing your thoughts regarding the 2014-2105 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget that was submitted to the Board of Education last week, we are maintaining a special email address.  Please feel free to submit your questions and ideas to 20142015budget@avon.k12.ct.us.  This address will be checked daily and answers to questions received will be posted on the district website under the Budget tab (Frequently Asked Questions).

In closing, I wish to thank you for your continued support and again wish you the best for a safe, happy and healthy holiday weekend.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us 

 

Superintendent's Message for November 20, 2013 (Posted 11/20/2013)

November 20, 2013

 

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

Thank you for the continued opportunity to communicate with you. It is hard to believe that the Thanksgiving holiday is a few days away and the first marking period for this school year has come and gone.

Last evening, I had the honor of presenting to the Board of Education for its consideration the 2014-2015 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget. The completed, proposed budget and supporting documents are available on the district’s website at www.avon.k12.ct.us under the “Budget Info” tab.

For your convenience, the following specific documents may be accessed via the following links:

2014 – 2015 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget Power Point Presentation:

http://www.avon.k12.ct.us/backpack/SuperintendentsProposed20142015BudgetPresentation.pdf

2014 – 2015 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget by Line Item:

http://www.avon.k12.ct.us/backpack/20142015_Superintendents_Proposed_Budget_by_Line_Item.pdf

Additional information including Enrollment, Staffing and Program Summaries can be found at:

http://www.avon.k12.ct.us/page.asp?pageid=15&catid1=101&catid2=95

Last and certainly not least, we continue to maintain a special email address to which you may send specific questions: 20142015budget@avon.k12.ct.us. Each question (anonymity of author preserved) and response will be posted on the district’s homepage under the “Frequently Asked Questions” section under the” Budget Info” tab.  

Thank you again for the privilege of serving you and your children.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Superintendent's Message for Nov. 11, 2013 (Posted 11/11/2013)

       SPECIAL MESSAGE

 

November 11, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I appreciate having this opportunity to communicate with you once again especially on this Veterans’ Day holiday.  Today in each of our schools, there are uniquely planned recognition ceremonies to pay tribute to those who have served our country and continue to serve as members of our armed forces.

Please join me in extending our sincerest appreciation to all those who have committed their lives to preserve our democracy, maintain world peace and ensure that we enjoy the freedoms we have today.  

Your thoughtful recognition of the service of our local residents is greatly appreciated.  

It goes without saying that we remain, and always will remain, indebted and deeply appreciative to all who have served our United States of America.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

 

 

Special Message from the Superintendent for Nov. 1, 2013 (Posted 11/1/2013)

November 1, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I appreciate having this opportunity to communicate with you once again and to inform you about the Vietnam War Day Exhibit and Open House at the Avon Public Library recognizing local residents and veterans who served courageously in this war.

It is hard to believe that fifty years have passed since this international crisis. In remembrance, the Avon VFW Post 3272 and the Avon Free Public Library are very pleased to announce one last opportunity to view a gallery exhibit of artifacts including uniforms, weapons, gear and maps obtained from local residents. This very powerful two hour session will also include hearing first-hand accounts of experiences from our local veterans who served our country during this conflict.

Please consider attending the planned Exhibit and Open House honoring our local heroes from the Vietnam War this coming Saturday, November 2, 2013, beginning at 1:00 p.m. at our local public library.

Your attendance and recognition of the services of our local residents would be greatly appreciated. It goes without saying that it is because of the extraordinary efforts of these men and women that we enjoy the freedom we have today.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Superintendent's Message for October 31, 2013 (Posted 10/31/2013)

 

October 31, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

Thank you for the continued opportunity to communicate with you and update you regarding aspects associated with operating our schools.

This past Tuesday evening, the Board of Education’s Communication Subcommittee sponsored this school year’s first Public Information Session centered on the Common Core State Standards.  The discussion was facilitated by Joanne White, a consultant from the Connecticut State Department of Education, and Donna Nestler-Rusack, Ed.D., the district Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.

The presentations specifically discussed how and why Connecticut joined with forty-six (46) others states in adopting these standards to align what is taught in public schools, how as a district we are aligning our curriculum to comply with the mandate to do so, and how the new generation of state-wide standardized assessment (Smarter Balanced Assessment) correlates to the Common Core.

As a means of providing information to those who could not attend the session, I have included the following links for your review.  The summary Power Point presentation is available on our website at: http://www.avon.k12.ct.us/backpack/Introduction_Common_Core_State_Standards.pdf. The Communications Toolkit, as prepared and disseminated by the Connecticut State Department of Education, is also available on our website at:  http://www.avon.k12.ct.us/backpack/Common_Core_State_Standards_Communications_Toolkit.pdf.  The presentations can also be found on the district website under the Curriculum (Curriculum Presentations) heading.   Both of these presentations contain valuable information regarding the Common Core State Standards and how they will impact Avon Public Schools as well as the schools in the other states.

If you have specific questions regarding the Common Core after reading the materials contained on each link, please feel free to contact the principal of your child’s school, the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning or me.  We would be happy to address your questions.

Thank you again for the privilege of serving you and your children.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Superintendent's Message for October 15, 2013 (Posted 10/15/2013)

October 15, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am very pleased to have this opportunity to communicate with you once again.  My hope is that this message finds you well and enjoying the change of seasons.  Most importantly, I hope this message finds you enjoying a productive new school year.

I wish to take a moment to update you regarding some of the major work currently being accomplished and that which you will likely see the results of over the course of this school year. 

1.  The district continues to implement a comprehensive revision schedule to align the district’s K-12 curriculum with the Common Core State Standards.  As mentioned previously, the Connecticut State Board of Education has adopted the Common Core State Standards as the tenants upon which district curricula is to be aligned.  A summary document containing frequently asked questions regarding these standards is available at www.avon.k12.ct.us/backpack/CC.pdf.  As a means to provide additional information regarding how this shift to the Common Core State Standards will impact the work in our schools, we will host the first Public Information Session on October 29, 2013 beginning at 6:45 p.m. in the Auditorium at Avon High School.  We are fortunate to have from the Connecticut State Department of Education, Joanne White, Common Core State Standard Coordinator, joining the evening’s presentation.

2.  Beginning on Sunday, October 27, 2013, a visiting team comprised of educators representing the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) will implement a series of activities to complete the required ten (10) year accreditation of Avon High School.  The efforts of the high school faculty and staff are greatly appreciated and will serve us well as the foundation upon which this accreditation visit will take place.  The visit will conclude the afternoon of October 30th with a full report to be received late December or early January.

3.  As a result of the education reform efforts in our state, as evidenced by the passage of new laws during the last legislative session, there has been a major shift in the process by which certified staff in all Connecticut schools is to be evaluated.  The manner in which this new requirement will be implemented in the district is the result of many hours of work by a committee of individuals representing both certified staff and administration.  A formal presentation regarding the change to the evaluation process will be highlighted at the November 19, 2013 meeting of the Board of Education.  Information regarding this new plan will also be made available on the district website by the end of this week.

 4.  Last and certainly not least, the district administration is in the process of developing the 2014-2015 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget.  To date, two Public Input Sessions were held for the purpose of listening to your suggestions regarding   the budget that will be proposed for the Board of Education’s consideration and ultimately by the other elected town Boards and the public at referendum in May 2014.  As has been the practice over the past few years, the district has established a dedicated email address to which you may refer questions and/or suggestions at any point during the budget development process.  The email address is 20142015budget@avon.k12.ct.us.

Thank you for your continued support and the privilege of serving you and your children.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message for September 27, 2013 (Posted 9/27/2013)

September 27, 2013

 

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am very pleased to have an opportunity to communicate with you once again.

This message is to inform you of an exciting opportunity that is being made available to the students, parents, faculty and staff of our district by Dell computers. 

As many of you may be aware, the school district has implemented a unique method known as reverse auction to solicit and secure competitive pricing on certain “goods” used in our schools.  Most recently, we applied this unique methodology to secure pricing for desktop and laptop computers that are financed through the district’s operating budget. As a part of this competitive bidding process, we requested the vendors extend the same discounted pricing to our students, parents, faculty and staff.

Dell has extended the ability to purchase either of the two computers we acquired through the reverse auction at the same price the district paid, which is an incredible value. They have provided a website link at:www.dell.com/avonk12ct where you will find a “Recommended Business Systems” link to purchase either of the computer systems.

Additionally, in the coming weeks, we plan to host other procurement events for items such as graphing calculators.  As we did with the most recent technology acquisition, we will again include a provision in the published bid specifications that the vendor with whom we choose to do business extend the discounted pricing to our students, parents, faculty and staff.

Thank you for your continued support and best wishes for continued success and happiness over the duration of this school year and beyond. 

It is a privilege serving you and the children of our community.


I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message for September 23, 2013 (Posted 9/23/2013)

September 23, 2013

 

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I hope this message finds you well after having enjoyed the recently held Open House programs at each school.  As you can see, we are hard at work and engaged in the new school year.  It is my honor to once again communicate with you and to keep you apprised of the work of the district. 

There are a number of issues about which I wish to make you aware so you may plan accordingly as we make our way into this school year. 

First, I am confirming that commencing with this school year, all school delays will be announced as two (2) hours.  When a delay is announced, half-day kindergarten students are not to attend and pre-school classes will be cancelled.  Implementing a standard two hour delay schedule in the event of inclement weather addresses a number of issues, including but not limited to: 1) the need to allow for sufficient time for the Town of Avon Public Works to complete their work on local streets, 2) Avon Public School maintenance and custodial staff to adequately prepare all school property prior to the arrival of teachers and students, and 3) clarify the frequent, observed confusion regarding bus times and school starting times when a ninety (90) minute delay is announced.

Second, I am providing you with reaffirmation as to the manner in which cancelled school days will be made up during the 2013-2014 school year.  Specifically, the first five (5) necessary make-up days will be added to the end of the approved 2013-2014 school calendar as needed.  Should all five (5) days be used, the last day of the 2013-2014 school year would become Monday, June 23rd.  If all five (5) days are not used, the last official day of the school year would be sooner as identified.  Any days beyond five (5) days will be made up using the April 2014 break.  The sixth (6th) day will be made up on Thursday, April 17, 2014, and will progress next to Wednesday, Tuesday and Monday of this same week as necessary.  If the days identified above have been exhausted, I will then be left with no choice but to continue to add to the end of the school year.

Additionally, we continue to manage various concerns regarding the district’s transportation system presently being managed by DATTCO.  The transportation system is designed to conform to federal and state laws and also complies with local policies and regulations.  Using these guidelines, representatives of the district’s business and operations staff have been reviewing concerns since the start of this school year and continue to work with DATTCO staff to resolve as many concerns as palpable.  DATTCO continues to maintain a staff representative in our district Central Office transportation help desk.  This same representative monitors a special email address for bus route help,  busroutes@avon.k12.ct.us, and a special telephone number, 860-471-5981, to which transportation questions and concerns may be directed.  We appreciate your patience as we work to resolve the remaining transportation concerns. 

Last and certainly not least, I am certain that you have heard that the Common Core State Standards are being adopted as a part of the district’s curriculum along with the curricula provided to students residing in forty-seven other states in our country.  These standards continue to remain a focal point of an aggressive curriculum revision process embarked upon in Avon approximately one year ago. You may be left with questions regarding what this means with respect to what instruction was being provided before the state-required adoption of the Common Core State Standards and what and how the district’s revised curriculum will reflect these new required Standards.  The Avon Board of Education Communications Subcommittee will be hosting a public information session during which these types of questions will be addressed.  Please save the date of Tuesday, October 29th.  An additional public information session is also being planned for November 21st, during which the newly implemented safety and security measures will be reviewed with a discussion on the future security upgrades in all schools.  Please save both dates and expect additional information to be forthcoming in the immediate future.

Thank you for your continued support during what I can best describe as a great start to a new school year.  Thank you also for the privilege of serving you and your children.


I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

 

 

 

Message from the Superintendent, September 2, 2013 (Posted 9/2/2013)

September 2, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I hope this message finds you well having enjoyed the first days of the new school year and the Labor Day holiday weekend.  While it is always sad to see the summer months conclude, it is exciting to have our schools filled with students once again.  Seeing the students creates in us a joy and motivation to assist them in achieving their hopes and dreams. 

While preparing for the 2013-2014 school year, I reflected on the last school year and realized that we have navigated a number of changes in a short period of time.  Some were personnel related while others led to the inclusion of new or revised programs and services at all levels.   While change in public or private organizations is inevitable, it cannot be achieved without the support of many.  What we have accomplished together in such a short time is due to the extraordinary efforts of you, our families, our students, Avon residents, supporters, and most notably the efforts of all of the district’s faculty and staff. 

This year, we were very fortunate to secure many talented and highly skilled staff to fill the vacancies created due to retirements and resignations.  A complete list of the new staff welcomed to our district is available at http://www.avon.k12.ct.us/page.asp?pageid=99.  I also wish to recognize and thank current staff for their efforts to make the Avon Public Schools exceptional places to learn and grow. As I have stated on numerous occasions, we are blessed with an exceptionally talented staff that time and time again rise to the challenge of what is needed to make our schools even better than they are already.  

All of what has been initiated over the past year and continue into this school year is aligned with a very well designed district Strategic Plan.  This Plan serves as the “blueprint” for the district’s work.  For your review, I have copied it below.  Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with its content:

 

Avon Public Schools

Mission

Our mission is to inspire in each student a joy and passion for learning and a commitment to excellence, personal integrity, and social responsibility.

 

Statement of Beliefs

 

We educate students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically to acquire knowledge and skills, to develop creativity and character, and to pursue their interests, realize their potential, and meet the challenges in a constantly changing world.

We believe that …..

  • A high quality education is fundamental to create a life with purpose, meaning, and happiness.
  • Educated people of good character are essential to democracy.
  • Public education is a responsibility shared by students, parents, school personnel, and community members.
  • Trust and respect are prerequisites for sustaining and improving safe and successful schools.
  • Critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and innovation are essential.
  • All people have value and should be treated with dignity and respect.

We are committed to…..

  • Clear communication and transparent processes.
  • Rigorous, comprehensive, and innovative programs.
  • Meeting the needs of all students within local, state, and national requirements.
  • Collaboration, professional development, and ethical practice.
  • Continuous improvement through systematically assessing our actions and outcomes.
  • Using all resources efficiently and effectively to the greatest advantage of all students.

 

Goals & Strategic Actions

Goal I:  Culture

We will:

  • Ensure our district culture aligns with our mission and beliefs.
  • Model by example our beliefs and professional ethics.
  • Create respectful school cultures that foster innovation and excellence.
  • Provide meaningful partnerships with schools, families, the local community, and beyond.
  • Maintain safe and healthy learning environments.
  • Allocate resources and staff efficiently and appropriately to meet the mission of the schools, and local, state, and national requirements.
  • Maintain a climate that recognizes the dignity and self-worth of each person.

Goal II.  Achievement

We will:

  • Create multiple opportunities for students to engage in collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creative expression.
  • Develop and implement programs, activities, and experiences to ensure students are prepared for college, career, and life.
  • Clearly articulate and implement a Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum that is vertically aligned, rigorous, and relevant.
  • Encourage and support students to participate in meaningful community learning and citizenship activities.
  • Design, implement, and evaluate teaching and learning to achieve and maintain high standards.
  • Provide all students with the opportunity to achieve at their highest levels.
  • Align our professional development to meet the needs of all staff in fulfilling their responsibilities and foster continuous improvement.
  • Develop and implement plans to integrate evolving technologies to support high quality teaching and learning.
  • Foster meaningful connections with alumni to assess their post-secondary success as it reflects on their Avon Public School experience.

Goal III.  Communication

We will:

  • Communicate regularly with students, parents, school personnel, and community members.
  • Provide communication that is purposeful, clear, and concise.
  • Identify and utilize a variety of techniques to communicate, inform, educate, and respond to all stakeholders.
  • Educate the community on how resources are secured and utilized to operate the schools.

As with the opening of any new school year, there are always things that are well planned but for a multitude of reasons need attention for the first few days of the year.  We have received various concerns regarding the district’s transportation system presently being managed by DATTCO.  Many of these concerns have been reviewed over this weekend for the purpose of resolving as many concerns as possible.  The transportation system is designed to conform to federal and state laws and also complies with local policies and regulations.  Using these guidelines, representatives of the district’s business and operations staff continue to work with DATTCO staff to resolve the identified concerns.

With this said, and in an attempt to be proactive in resolving transportation concerns, the district has arranged the following steps which will be implemented immediately:

1.         DATTCO will man our district Central Office transportation help desk beginning on Tuesday morning, September 3rd. 

2.         We have designated a special email address for bus route help: busroutes@avon.k12.ct.us.  We prefer that you relay your questions or concerns via email to allow us to maintain a paper record and enable us to track each message with DATTCO staff.

3.         We have designated a special telephone number to which transportation questions and concerns may be directed: 860-471-5981.  The number is equipped with voice mail so that each call may be logged and the resulting activity to address the concern may be reviewed appropriately with DATTCO staff. 

We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through and resolve the remaining transportation concerns. 

It goes without saying that meeting the challenge of the aggressive agenda we have charted for this new school year will require much energy and enthusiasm from all of us.  We thank you in advance for joining us on this journey.

Thank you also for your continued support and for the privilege of serving you and your children.


Enjoy a great start to another school year.


Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

 

 

 

Message from the Superintendent, August 20, 2013 (Posted 8/20/2013)

August 20, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I hope this message finds you well and having enjoyed the summer months.  As you know, we begin another school year with all of the hopes and dreams for our children to pursue.  I am excited and invigorated to welcome you, our children and all of the faculty and staff back for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

As I reflect on the last school year, I realize what we have accomplished together in such a short time due to the extraordinary efforts of you, our families, residents and supporters, our student and most notably the efforts of all of the district’s faculty and staff.  The Avon Public Schools continues to be blessed with an exceptionally talented staff who time and time again rises to the challenge of the ever-changing accountability associated with public education.  I wish to personally recognize and thank all staff for their efforts to make the Avon Public Schools nothing less than exceptional places to learn and grow.    

Thank you for your patience as we work to begin a new school year that will include additional changes to better serve the needs of our children.  As noted in my end of the year communication to you, we took steps to align future school calendars beginning with the 2014-2015 school year to begin shortly before Labor Day and to modify scheduled school breaks with the goal of making more efficient use of our required 180 days of instruction and to facilitate ending the school year earlier in June.  Also, we are presently reviewing ways to limit the number of early dismissal days to minimize the effects on instruction.

One of the most significant changes implemented to better serve you and your children was providing you access to 2013-2014 teacher assignments and class schedules at the conclusion of the last school year.  I am pleased that all positions with the exception of 1.7 elementary world language teaching positions have been filled as of today.  We are pleased to welcome over thirty (30) new staff members to the district including three new building principals, one new assistant principal, a district director of pupil services, and a cadre of certified and non-certified staff that bring years of experience to our district from other CT communities, states and countries.  Yesterday, I, along with the district’s leadership team, had the privilege and honor of welcoming our new staff with the start of a week-long new staff orientation program.

Among the most significant accomplishments achieved and scheduled to commence this year are full day kindergarten with a half day option, world language (Spanish) instruction in grades kindergarten through 6, and newly added courses and sections to the Avon High School Program of Studies in social studies, English, and applied education.  Plans at the high school also include establishing a pilot internship program for grade 12 students and the implementation of an Advisor / Advisee program.

As was noted at the end of the last school year, one which I characterized as a year of tremendous growth, I am pleased to once again acknowledge and recognize the work of our staff who emerged to assist with meeting the many, new state requirements in the area of curriculum revision (Common Core State Standards), evaluation of certified staff, the NEASC accreditation process at Avon High School, as well as the individuals, including members of the Board of Education, parents and students, who volunteered to serve on search and selection committees that implemented rigorous, comprehensive processes to screen, interview, research and identify individuals to serve in key leadership positions.

With the requirement to fully implement the reform efforts as directed by our state to improve public education and the many facets of a public education organization, we will continue to advance the district’s curriculum revision schedule as it has been approved to align with the Common Core State Standards, we will implement revised evaluation systems with all certified staff, we will prepare our students for a new generation of state-wide standardized assessments, we will continue to implement an aggressive and proactive plan to integrate technology into instruction and operations of the district, we will complete the final steps to prepare Avon High School for the NEASC Accreditation visitation and we will insure the implementation of comprehensive professional development programs for all faculty and staff.  As is the case during any school year, many other things are pursued, planned and implemented.  We will share these pursuits in subsequent communications. 

There are other pieces of information about which you may have questions as we poise to begin the New Year.  In an attempt to provide you with this information in an efficient manner, we are directing you to the following links.

 

·         District Strategic Plan: www.avon.k12.ct.us/page.asp?PageID=106&catid1=85

·         Bus Routes:  http://routes.dattco.com/pubavon/default.aspx?load=addressInput

·         New Staff Listing:  www.avon.k12.ct.us/page.asp?pageid=99

·         School Calendar:  www.avon.k12.ct.us/backpack/2013_2014_cal_081613.pdf

·         Bd of Ed Meetings: www.avon.k12.ct.us/backpack/AvonBoardofEducation2013MeetingCalendar.pdf

It goes without saying that meeting the challenge of the aggressive agenda committed to when we adopted a new district strategic plan last year requires the commitment of all of us to the stated purpose of our work and our active participation together to make things happen in thoughtful, meaningful and systemic ways.  It takes all of us to believe in our trajectory as a district and to work collaboratively to create and maintain a culture and climate of mutual respect and understanding.   

Last and certainly not least, I ask you to join me in extending a sincere “thank you” to those who serve our children in our schools. As you well know, the staff who work directly with students each day are the single most important factor in achieving the mission in our schools.            

Thank you all for your continued support and thank you for the privilege of serving you and your children.

Enjoy a great start to another school year.

Very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Welcome from the Superintendent, Gary S. Mala (Posted 7/12/2013)

On behalf of the Avon Public Schools, I wish to welcome you to the district and encourage you to browse our website and enjoy the wealth of information it contains about the district and each of our schools.

Through this website, we hope to share as much information with you as we can. One of our perpetual goals is to continue with the proactive communication of accurate information that can be easily understood.   As always, if you would like further information or clarification on anything you see on this site, please feel free to contact us by telephone or e-mail.

I am extremely proud of our students and the staff of our district and I believe that you will share these same feelings as you interact and learn about us.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy summer.

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

(860) 404-4700

gmala@avon,k12.ct.us


 

Message from the Superintendent regarding academic book scam (Posted 6/17/2013)

June 17, 2013


Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I hope this message finds you well after experiencing an enjoyable weekend. 

The purpose of this communication is to make you aware of individuals who may be approaching residents in our community and attempting to sell them “academic” books and children’s computer software that they claim would contribute to children’s success in our schools.  These individuals are misrepresenting themselves as being affiliated with the Avon Public Schools and/or the Town of Avon.  Similar reports have been received and communicated within Regional School District #10 serving the towns of Harwinton and Burlington.

Please know that neither the Town of Avon nor the Avon Public Schools have sanctioned this activity.  This is a scam.

If you are approached by any individual representing himself/herself as described above, please notify the Avon Police.  If possible, please take note of any information (description of individual, model and make of any vehicle, license plate, etc.) that may assist the Avon Police to investigate this situation.  

Thank you all for your continued support.

Enjoy a great week.

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala, Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Avon's New Director of Pupil Services and Orange Ribbon Campaign (Posted 6/7/2013)

Board of Education Appoints Kelly Grant, Avon Public Schools’ Director of Pupil Services

At a special meeting held on the evening of June 10, 2013, the Avon Board of Education appointed Kelly Grant to the position of Director of Pupil Services for Avon Public Schools.

Mrs. Grant’s career within the field of education began over thirty years ago as a classroom teacher.   Prior to Mrs. Grant’s  position as our Supervisor of Pupil Services in October 2012, she served in the same position for seven years at East Hartford Public Schools.  She has also served in the capacity of school psychologist at various districts in her career.  Since the spring of 2012, Mrs. Grant has also taken on the role of Adjunct Professor at the University of St. Joseph teaching a course entitled, Students with Mild Disabilities.   Kelly Grant is a graduate of Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA, where she received her Bachelors’ of Arts in Bilingual Education and Psychology.  She also has received Masters of Education in both Elementary Education and School Psychology from Worcester State College, MA.  In 2001, Mrs. Grant earned her Administrative Certification from Sacred Heart University in Lisbon, CT.

Gary S. Mala, Avon Superintendent of Schools stated, "This appointment comes after a long, comprehensive search and selection process.”  “Mrs. Grant’s knowledge base, commitment to providing comprehensive professional development for all staff and her understanding of how best to establish and maintain positive relationships with parents and others inculcated the committee’s decision to recommend Kelly’s appointment as the next Director." Mr. Mala added.

The appointment of Mrs. Kelly Grant by the Board of Education was the final step in an intensive search and selection process that began in March. Following the establishment of a sixteen-member Search and Selection Committee consisting of faculty, staff, parents and members of the Board of Education, a community survey was developed and administered publically. Based on the survey results and a paper screening process, the Committee identified seven candidates to advance to the interview stage from an applicant pool of twenty-three.  The Committee subsequently held three rounds of interviews and a full day where each semi-finalist met with district administrators, the current high school administration, students, parent representatives and a cross section of members of the district’s faculty and staff before moving Mrs. Grant forward to the Board of Education for the finalist interview. 

Mrs. Grant is expected to begin her position as Avon Public School’s Director of Pupil Services on July 1, 2013. 

 

Avon Police Dept. and Avon Public Schools conduct Orange Ribbon Campaign on June 21

Recently, the Avon Police Department researched, reviewed and compiled statistics regarding the driving habits of young adult drivers under the age of 22 in our community.  The results have caused us to take notice and has elevated our level of concern along with those charged with maintaining public safety.   

Did you know that during the past year in Avon the most frequent causes of at fault accidents for under 22 years old drives were the result of drivers following too closely, failing to grant the right of way and driving too fast for road conditions?

Did you know that texting and attending to other distractions while operating a motor vehicle, aggressive driving characterized by excessive risk-taking and driving under the influence are known to contribute to drivers being cited for the acts of misconduct with a motor vehicle (offenses) cited above?

With these statistics in mind, in an effort to strengthen our commitment as a community to Avon’s young adults and to raise awareness regarding the adverse results of inappropriate behaviors while driving a motor vehicle, the Avon Police and the Avon Public Schools have joined together to conduct an “Orange Ribbon Campaign.”

This one day awareness campaign will take place on Friday, June 21, 2013 between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and will manifest with local law enforcement and school district officials distributing orange ribbons to drivers entering and exiting Avon High School as well as at other strategic locations in town.  By wearing or prominently displaying in your car the orange ribbons, it will acknowledge an awareness of the statistics regarding the adverse impact of misconduct while driving and the pledge to drive in a safe and appropriate manner at all times.   

We embark upon this campaign with a sense of great optimism that our efforts will eliminate or significantly reduce the number of accidents, including fatalities, precipitated by drivers under the age of 22, helping to insure the safety and longevity of the younger drivers of our town.  We remain committed to these efforts and to implementing any/all measures necessary to preserve the public safety we enjoy as one community, one driver at a time.

Thank you for your support of this campaign and for your individual and collective commitment to driving safely at all times.

Very truly yours,

Mark Rinaldo                                                              Gary S. Mala

Chief of Police                                                            Superintendent of Schools

Avon Police Department                                            Avon Public Schools

mr0202@town.avon.ct.us                                           gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Message from Superintendent, June 5, 2013 (Posted 6/5/2013)

June 5, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the last part of this school year.  My hope is that the month of June is filled much joy and happiness as we celebrate the accomplishments of your children.  I am grateful to be a witness to such extraordinary student and staff efforts. 

Let me begin by thanking you for your patience as we work to conclude a school year that has surpassed an ending date with which we are all comfortable.  As you may or may not be aware, we are taking steps to align future school calendars.  Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, the first day of school will begin before Labor Day.  We also intend to modify scheduled school breaks with the goal of making more efficient use of the required 180 days of instruction which will enable us to end the school year earlier than the recent past.  Additionally, we are reviewing ways to limit the number of early dismissal days to minimize the effects instruction. I will communicate the results of our work in this area once any future calendars have been approved by the Board of Education. 

Among some of the additional changes implemented to better serve you and your children, parents of secondary level students (AHS & AMS) will be provided access to their child’s schedule for the 2013-2014 school year beginning next week via the PowerSchool portal.  Parents of our elementary school students will receive information on June 27th specifying class assignments for next school year.  As with any year, there may be vacancies existing at the time schedules were created; in these cases, the assignment will be noted as “to be determined.”    

As I am sure you are aware, a number of new program options are supported by the 2013-2014 school operating budget. Included in these options are full day kindergarten with a half day option, world language (Spanish) instruction in grades kindergarten through 6, and a number of newly added courses to the Avon High School Program of Studies.  Current plans also include establishing a pilot internship program for grade 12 students at Avon High School. The Communication Subcommittee of the Board of Education is hosting a brief information session on the evening of June 20th beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the AHS Auditorium.  This will provide an opportunity share details regarding what the 2013-2014 school year will bring in the way of improvements to your school district. In addition to this session, I am planning a more frequent series of electronic communications highlighting the most frequently asked questions regarding each of the program options listed above and other topics that may emerge between now and the middle part of August.

This year has been a year best characterized as a year of tremendous growth.  I am pleased to acknowledge and recognize the staff who have helped us with the many, new state requirements in the area of curriculum revision (Common Core State Standards), evaluation of certified staff, the NEASC accreditation process at Avon High School, the realignment of staff leadership positions to support improved communication in and between schools, managing school leadership changes, the work associated with the district’s efforts to improve professional development for all staff, and to integrate the use of technology at all levels.  Meeting the challenges of such an aggressive agenda requires the participation of many and the support of a common purpose.  Just as we take every opportunity to thank those who serve in the armed forces and the first responders in our local law enforcement, fire and emergency management offices, I ask you to join me in extending a sincere “thank you” to those who serve our children in our schools. As you well know, the staff who work directly with students each day are the single most important factor in achieving the mission of our schools.            

Thank you all for your continued support and for the privilege of serving you and your children.

Enjoy a great week.

 Very truly yours,

 Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

Avon Public Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

 

 

Message from the Superintendent for Memorial Day Week (Posted 5/28/2013)

May 28, 2013

 

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I hope this message finds you having enjoyed a long, restful, holiday weekend and the unofficial start of summer. 

On Monday, we as a community joined with other communities and their residents to celebrate Memorial Day.  Originally called Decoration Day, it is one of the very special days during which we remember those who have died while serving our country as a member of a branch of the armed forces.  It is with pride that I ask you to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so we may experience freedom and a democratic way of life.  I am forever thankful to those who served and continue to serve our country. 

As a small sign of the school district’s respect and gratitude to those who have allowed for our democracy and freedoms to continue, we have again planted a “Field of Flags” at the entrance of the parking area to the Board of Education Central Office located at 34 Simsbury Road.   This simple, silent, patriotic display is meant to remind us of the impact of war and to allow us to reflect upon the importance of the Memorial Day holiday as we know it. 

Over the next few days, a number of activities are planned in our community, all with the same goal in mind.  As a nation, state and town, we continue to be a part of the greatest democracy ever known and are deeply indebted to those who have defended it.

As announced previously, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Gildo T. Consolini Post 3272 continues to seek names of residents who served in the War on Terror that commenced on September 11, 2001.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Bill Newman, Poppy Chairman at (860) 676-0037 or me at (860) 404-4700.

Thank you for always remembering how we continue to enjoy our democratic society and all who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces.

Enjoy a great week.

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

 

 

Message from the Superintendent, Gary S. Mala (Posted 5/14/2013)

May 17, 2013

Greetings Once Again: 

I hope you have enjoyed a productive week and are looking forward to a restful weekend. 

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Gildo T. Consolini Post 3272, will begin its Annual Poppy Drive this year in the communities of Avon and Canton on May 17th.  Local Veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq will be distributing Buddy Poppies at the Avon Wal-Mart from May 17th to May 26th

The following are some facts which many people are unaware.  Additional details are included on the document attached to this message.

 

  • The need to support veterans this year is greater than ever as the number of severely wounded veterans and returning veterans without jobs has overwhelmed virtually all veterans’ programs.

 

  • All funds collected (100%) go directly to benefit veterans.

 

  • There is no veteran cause that you can donate to that distributes a greater percentage of its funds to veterans than the Annual Poppy Drive. This is in stark contrast to some highly suspect veteran groups which have solicited funds in the Farmington Valley in recent years.

 

  • Since fewer disabled veterans from the local VFW post were available to assemble poppies this year, the members of the Gildo T. Consolini Post 3272 volunteered & assembled over 10,000 poppies for the Annual Poppy Drive.

 

  • Last year, the VFW raised $22,500 during 10 days in May from public donations in this community and distributed the entire amount to the veteran charities listed below: 

The veteran causes which were contributed to during the last year included:  Blinded Veterans Association (Avon-founded in 1945), Give-To-The-Troops (care packages), Soldiers’ Angels (care packages), USO (service centers), Operation Uplink (phone cards), Fisher House (free housing for families of wounded soldiers), Unmet Needs (deployed soldiers family assistance), Rocky Hill Veterans Home (Christmas gifts & care packages), VFW National Home – CT House (widows & orphans), Operation Stand-Down (benefits for homeless vets),  Post Care Packages (Connecticut-deployed veterans), Wounded Warrior Projects – initiatives for severely-wounded vets, Army Emergency Relief Fund, Air Force Aid Society, Navy/USMC Relief Fund; CT national Guard Fund, CCSU Veterans Fund; 43rd  Div Memorial Fund, Veteran Grave Markers (local cemeteries), Funeral Wreaths (deceased veterans), Memorial Donations (deceased veterans) and Fruit Baskets (hospitalized veterans).

Please take this opportunity to share your thanks and appreciation to members of our local VFW post for what they and others like them have sacrificed for all of us.

Additionally, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Gildo T. Consolini Post 3272 has requested my assistance with seeking out names of residents who served in the War on Terror that commenced on September 11, 2001.  Details about who to contact with this information is contained on a document attached to this message.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Bill Newman, Poppy Chairman at 860-676-0037 or me at 860-404-4700.

Thank you for your continued support of your schools and for always remembering how we continue to enjoy a democratic society. Please also remember all those who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces.

Enjoy a great weekend.

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

  

May 16, 2013

Dear Avon Parents and Residents: 

It is with much gratitude and appreciation that I send this message to thank you for your support for the 2013-2014 budget.  As announced last evening, the Town of Avon budget, which includes the Board of Education operating budget, was passed at referendum.

I appreciate and encourage your continued participation in our democratic process by taking time to vote each and every time you have an opportunity to do so.

As the work of the current school year concludes over the next month’s time, we look forward with a sense of great hope and optimism for all that is yet to come for the upcoming school year.  The approved budget supports a number of initiatives that will contribute to the excellent public education system, which we are fortunate to realize as a valuable resource in our community. 

As always, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (860) 404-4700.

Thank you for your support of the Avon public schools and all of us who serve the needs of students and families.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

BOARD OF EDUCATION APPOINTES CHRISTOPHER TRANBERG AVON HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL

At a special meeting held on the evening of May 13, 2013, the Avon Board of Education appointed Christopher Tranberg to the position of Principal of Avon High School. 

Mr. Tranberg's career as a public school administrator began in 2008 as the Director of Performing Arts in Simsbury Public Schools and was appointed in 2010 as Assistant Principal of Simsbury High School.  Mr. Tranberg is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College, Ohio, where he received his Bachelors' of Music degree in Music Education and Performance and received his Masters of Music Education at the University of Hartford. Mr. Tranberg also earned his Certificate of Advanced Studies in Administration and Supervision at Sacred Heart University and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Gary S. Mala, Avon Superintendent of Schools stated, "We are fortunate to have Christopher join us in Avon. He has proven to be an effective leader in the Simsbury Public Schools and brings with him a great wealth of knowledge, a proven track record for establishing meaningful, productive relationships with the many groups associated with leading a high performing high school. Christopher will contribute the energy, enthusiasm and commitment necessary to continue to assist our high school, and its faculty and staff, toward a common vision." "We are very pleased to have another educational leader who shares a common vision and passion for the success of all children," Mr. Mala added.

The appointment of Mr. Tranberg by the Board of Education was the final step in an intensive search and selection process that began in March. Following the establishment of a thirteen-member Search and Selection Committee consisting of faculty, staff, parents and members of the Board of Education, a community survey was developed and administered publically. Based on the survey results and a paper screening process, the Committee identified six candidates to advance to the interview stage from an applicant pool of twenty-five. The Committee subsequently held three rounds of interviews and a full day where each semi-finalist met with district administrators, the current high school administration, students, parent representatives and a cross section of members of the Avon High School faculty and staff before moving Christopher forward to the Board of Education for the finalist interview. 

Mr. Tranberg is expected to begin his position as Avon High School Principal on a date to be determined.

 

Message from the Superintendent for April 29, 2013 (Posted 4/29/2013)

 

April 29, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying what is rapidly developing as a pattern of glorious weather.

As you may or may not be aware, the Board of Finance, by unanimous vote, advanced the 2013-2014 Town of Avon Proposed Budget to referendum without modification.  This budget includes the level of funding proposed by the Board of Education to fund many new program initiatives and courses that will positively advance the work of the district’s Strategic Plan during the 2013-2014 school year and beyond.

On behalf of the entire school district community, I wish to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the members of Avon’s Board of Finance for acknowledging the work of the town and district administration to develop and propose reasonable and responsible budgets.  I look forward with great optimism to the referendum that is scheduled for May 15th.   Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Avon Senior Center.

In keeping with the district’s method of open and honest communication, a public information session is being planned for the evening of June 12th beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Avon High School Auditorium.  The evening, hosted by the Board of Education’s Communication Subcommittee, is being held for the purpose of discussing the work that will be pursued in our schools next year and beyond.  Specifically, there will be brief presentations on the new course offerings included in the Avon High School Program of Studies for next year, the methodology upon which full day kindergarten and World Language (kindergarten through grade 6) will be incorporated into our elementary schools, the planned improvements to the safety protocols in each of our schools, the status of the district’s curriculum revision work to align with the Common Core State Standards, the status of the Self-Study Phase of the accreditation process at Avon High School in preparation for the October 2013 visit by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges committee and the specifics of the plans to implement an Advisor/Advisee Program at both Avon High School and Avon Middle School. A Special Message will be communicated and will serve as a reminder of this event as we get closer to June 12th.

Additionally, the district is about to commence a series of electronic surveys to better assist us with meeting students’ needs. Two of the three planned surveys will be to families who have made decisions to disenroll their children after grade 8 and those who may have disenrolled their children but subsequently re-enrolled them back into Avon Public Schools. The main purpose of these surveys is to better understand where we may improve as a district and/or modify our practices to better serve the children for whom we are responsible.

The third survey will be conducted by seeking out and communicating with a randomly selected sampling of Avon High School graduates from the Class of 2003 through the Class of 2012.  With this survey, the district seeks to understand what Avon Public School experiences prepared our graduates well for their college, university and professional endeavors and which practices did not.  I believe that this information will be invaluable to us as we advance the future work of our schools and continue to implement the district’s Strategic Plan.

Last and certainly not least and in keeping with the district’s commitment to being proactive, all schools are presently preparing schedules, course assignments and class lists for next year’s grade level assignments.  It is our intent to make high school schedules available to students and families sometime during the first two weeks of June.  Class assignments at the middle school and elementary levels will be made known to parents/guardians no later than the last day of this school year, June 27th.

As we close the third marking term for this school year, I wish to thank you for your continued support of your schools and for the changes being implemented to better serve the needs of you and your children.

As always, we look forward to providing you frequent updates regarding the work occurring in your school district.

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a productive week.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

Message from the Superintendent for April 4, 2013 (Posted 4/4/2013)

April 4, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am pleased to communicate with you again and hope you enjoyed the most recent holiday season.

Let me begin by thanking you for your patience and cooperation as we worked to complete the state-wide standardized assessments administered to various groups of students in all of the district’s schools.  I am certain that the results that will be achieved by our students will continue to reflect the positive results of strong community supports for public education, well prepared and capable students, and excellent teaching and learning.

Beyond the many initiatives being explored in each school, earlier this school year, the Board of Education established the Alternative Resources Subcommittee.  The group’s charge is to assist the district’s central administration with identifying, researching and contacting organizations that award funds via grants to non-profit organizations, such as schools.  As of this date, the subcommittee, under the leadership of the Subcommittee Chair, Jay Spivak, along with Board of Education members, Wendy Howard and Brian Glenn, has actively engaged a number of community volunteers to contact various organizations for the purpose of reviewing available grant applications.  It is our hope that the work of this volunteer group will lead to a sustained source of funds to augment the annual budget for the Town of Avon including its schools. Members of this group, along with the above mentioned Board of Education members include:  Robyn Abbate, Beth Mango, Ian McCracken, Karen Haberlin, Liz Lewtan and Bob Vojtek.

To date, the work of this group is nothing shy of extraordinary and is yet another example of what is possible when a community comes together to support an initiative.  The volunteer members continue their work contacting organizations such as the Aetna Foundation, the AT&T Foundation, the Hartford Foundation and many others to research the opportunities that may be available to allow Avon to compete for grants and other awards.  The group has also initiated the process to establish itself as a 501(c)3 organization named “The Avon Trust.”

Most recently, the work of this group has led to active discussions with an international biomedical engineering company that may result in securing equipment (including the necessary training and maintenance needed) to further develop such programming at Avon High School. Additionally, there are continued discussions with the University of Connecticut that may result in the establishment of a professional development model and program for the district’s support staff.  Both of these potential opportunities will result in no additional cost to the school district.  One potential opportunity will contribute greatly to the program of studies offered to students, specifically at Avon High school, while the second will allow for more comprehensive training and development for a specific group of support staff without the need to appropriate additional funding.  These are examples of what this group has committed to achieving.   

As you can see, the work of this group is broad based and designed to establish an alternative stream of revenues to assist with offsetting the costs associated with expanding the programs and services in our public schools.   Equally as important, the work of this group is also focused on tapping the volunteers in our community for the purpose of advancing the work of the school district as outlined in our strategic plan. 

As a town, Avon is fortunate in its incredible pool of human resources from both the public and private professional community.  It continues to be the hope of this newly charged subcommittee to continue to forge new relationships both within and outside our greater community for the benefit of our children.         

As always, we look forward to providing you frequent updates regarding this work and other happenings within your school district.

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a productive week.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

Messages from the Superintedent for March 25, 2013 (Posted 3/25/2013)

March 25, 2013

 

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am pleased to communicate with you again and hope you are enjoying the beginning of the spring season.

The central office administration continues to present to the various organized groups in town the details of the 2013-2014 Board of Education Proposed Budget.  In my March 11th communication, I was remiss in noting that a presentation was also made to the leadership of CC4A (Concerned Citizens for Avon) and wish to extend my sincerest apologies to this group for my inadvertent omission. 

As you are most likely aware, over the past two years, our high school faculty and staff have been preparing for accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  The accreditation process, which takes place every ten (10) years, culminates in the submission of a comprehensive self-study in August 2013 and a formal visitation in October 2013 by a team comprised of educators from other parts of our state, country and in some cases, other parts of the world.

The accreditation process consists of an examination of our district and, more specifically, Avon High School’s work in Standards for Teaching and Learning and Support Standards.   

Teaching and Learning Standards

Core Values, Beliefs and Learning Expectations

Curriculum

Instruction

Assessment of and for Student Learning

Support Standards

School Culture and Leadership

School Resources for Learning

Community Resources for Learning      

Not unlike any other organization one may refer to as being highly successful and/or effective, school districts and schools are most effective when they have well articulated, comprehensive statements that reflect the foundation upon which their work is built. 

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges clarify the importance of core values, beliefs and learning expectations in the accreditation process by stating, “Effective schools identify core values and beliefs about learning that function as explicit foundational commitments to students and the community. Decision-making remains focused on and aligned with these critical commitments. Core values and beliefs manifest themselves in research-based, school-wide 21st century learning expectations. Every component of the school is driven by the core values and beliefs and supports all students’ achievement of the school’s learning expectations (NEASC Standards of Accreditation Summary, Page 1).

The faculty and Staff of Avon High School have worked diligently to reflect on what I may best describe as one of the most significant set of statements developed during the entire accreditation process.  Through a vote of the faculty and staff, it has been unanimously agreed that the following Core Values, Beliefs, and Learning Expectations are at the heart of their work.

 

Avon High School

Core Values and Beliefs

 

Avon High School is a student centered community that empowers each member to engage in authentic and substantive learning, develop effective leadership, and demonstrate humane character.

 

Learning Expectations – Academic, Social and Civic

 

With our core values in mind, we expect each member of our community will:

1)      Make interdisciplinary connections and integrate previous learning experiences; (academic)

2)      Use a variety of critical thinking and problem solving strategies; (academic)

3)      Assess the value of information, produce quality work, and strive for mastery; (academic)

4)      Express ideas clearly and creatively; (academic)

5)      Respond to success and failure with reflection, resilience, and integrity; (academic, social)

6)      Listen to the ideas of others and contribute in a meaningful way; (social)

7)      Make informed choices that promote mental, physical, and emotion well-being; (social)

8)      Enjoy a sense of inclusion and belonging; (social)

9)      Understand and recognize the potential to effect change and act in an ethical manner.  (civic)

Please take time to review these statements as families as they have been approved by the Avon High School community as being public statements regarding the learning expectations for all.

In closing, I wish to personally thank the high school faculty, staff and administration for its continued work to prepare Avon High School for its upcoming accreditation.

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a productive week.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

March 25, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

This weekend after conferring with area colleagues, I learned of a very disturbing situation of which I would like to make you aware. The Farmington Police Department has learned that a Facebook virus in the form of a disturbing pornographic video involving a young child has been received by some FHS students on their personal Facebook accounts.  Although your child may not attend FHS, other students or siblings in the area may have Facebook accounts that could be affected and we wanted to alert you of this situation immediately.

The police have learned that the virus comes in the form of a video being shared by a friend.  If the video is opened, it attaches to an individual’s Facebook account and gets shared to the Facebook friends of the person who opened the message. 

The video is quite graphic and it will be very disturbing.  If your child has a Facebook account, please tell your son or daughter to refrain from clicking and opening any shared videos.  Students should delete any shared videos upon their receipt to avoid viewing the disturbing images and downloading the virus.

The Farmington Police and the Hartford Police, who are also involved, have been in contact with the FBI.

Thank you for your immediate attention regarding this matter.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

Weekly Message from Superintendent for Feb. 21, 2013 (Posted 2/21/2013)

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am pleased to communicate with you again and hope you are enjoying the Winter Recess.

As you are aware and given the number of unexpected school closure days experienced so far during the 2012-2013 school year, to make up for these days, it has become necessary to engage the provisions of Board of Education Policy #6111:  School Calendar and Graduation Date Setting.

Specifically, the need to make-up the six (6) unanticipated, lost, instructional days due to weather events has led to the implementation of the Board of Education Policy, #6111.  Pursuant to the provisions of this policy, the first five (5) school closure make-up days have been added to the end of the 2012-2013 school calendar in June (21, 24, 25, 26 and 27).  The sixth (6th) school closure day will be made up on Friday, April 19th. Should any additional make-up days be needed, each will be made up working in succession from Thursday, April 18th.

This makes the last official school day for the 2012-2013 school year Thursday, June 27th.

As you can see, we are slated to end this school year later than in past years.  This is due to the combination of the language maintained in the Board of Education policy (prior to its recent revision) regarding the start of any school year, the 3 school closure days experienced in October and the manner in which we set the Winter and Spring Recesses on our school calendar.  

With these thoughts in mind, we are sending out a survey in which we would ask you to participate as we explore available options to make the most efficient use of the required, instructional days in subsequent school year calendars.  The survey will be made available electronically on Monday, February 25th.  Once results are received, the results will be analyzed to better manage the required days in future school calendars.

The district has also commenced the search and selection process for a new Avon High School Principal and has advertized the position statewide and nationally.  As with the school calendar, we have designed and will be sending out a simple, electronic survey seeking your input regarding what you believe to be the most important personal and professional characteristics of the next leader of our high school. The results of the survey will be shared with the members of the search and selection committee.

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a productive week.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

Special Message from Superintendent for Feb. 11, 2013 (Posted 2/11/2013)

February 11, 2013

 

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I hope this message finds you resuming a normal routine in the aftermath of the blizzard that impacted our state over the past few days.  I am pleased to once again communicate with you and am happy to announce that we have worked diligently with local officials and in particular, the Department of Public Works, to reopen schools tomorrow, Tuesday, February 12th.  I am appreciative for the equipment and staff deployed by the DPW yesterday afternoon and evening to assist our hard working staff in the removal of the snow from school properties.  I am also appreciative of the efforts made by this same staff to open Avon roads to allow for safe travel. 

Understanding that there is a tremendous amount of snow in many locations that may have altered sight lines and the width of certain roads, I am requesting your cooperation with being more attentive to those areas known to be bus stops and areas where children congregate and/or walk to and from our schools.  This heightened sense of awareness on our part will serve us all well as we anxiously await the thaw leading us to spring.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation.    

Over the past two days, I have received a number of calls inquiring about the methodology to determine whether schools are open, delayed, dismissed early or closed.  As you can well imagine, weather related or not, this is a highly complex decision with a number of ramifications in regards to any event requiring such an action. The decision is made after conferring with our bus contractor, representatives of the local public works department, the police department (when and if necessary), a meteorological consultant, our district facilities staff and local school officials in other nearby communities.  Other factors considered during the decision making process include reviewing the number of school staff who may travel long distances to work, the areas of travel, and the number of students who drive to and from our high school.  Please know that the decision is never made in isolation or without considering all of the most current data available to us. 

While generally made in the early morning hours of a particular day, the two most recent closures, due to the timing and certainty of the weather forecasts, announcements were made the evening before the actual closure.  This was done to allow you as families enough lead time to make alternate arrangements for child care, work and other circumstances that we know are disrupted when a change to the normal school schedule is made.  Please recognize that we do everything we can to avoid altering the school schedules but the deciding factor is always what I believe to be best to insure the safety of our students and staff.    

Last and certainly not least, the number of school closures experienced so far this school year has had a significant impact on extending the calendar for this school year.  I am in the process of reviewing all of the available options for meeting the statutory requirement of 180 student days and will communicate this information by the end of this week.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we work to resume a more normal schedule.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

Weekly Message from Superintendent for Feb. 4, 2013 (Posted 2/4/2013)

February 4, 2013

 

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am pleased to communicate with you again and hope you are enjoying the continuing winter season.

As announced previously, and in keeping with our desire to be proactive with our communications, the Communication Subcommittee of the Board of Education is hosting a Public Information Session, Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Room at the Avon Free Public Library.  This presentation will be presented using a panel format and will provide information regarding the Common Core State Standards, and in particular, what they are and how they are impacting future teaching and learning in all of your schools.

The panel is comprised of the following individuals: Allison Zmuda, Nationally Recognized Trainer, Competent Classroom, LLC, Virginia Beach, VA; Donna Nestler-Rusack, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning; Jodi Kryzanski, District SRBI Coordinator; James Fuller, Ph.D., District Language Arts Coordinator, Grades 7-12; James Murray, Mathematics Department Coordinator, Grades 7-12; John Salerni, Science Department Coordinator, Grades 7-12 and Gary S. Mala, Superintendent of Schools.

During this session, members of the district’s panel will explain how the nationally adopted Common Core State Standards are being incorporated into the district’s on-going curriculum revision process as well as its impact on future teaching and learning expectations in kindergarten through grade 12 for students, faculty and staff.

If you wish to gain a preliminary understanding of these standards and how they are being implemented, you may do so by visiting the websites Implementing the Common Core State Standards  and Common Core Standards in Connecticut.

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a productive week.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

Special Message from Superintendent, Gary Mala, Jan. 28, 2013 (Posted 1/28/2013)

January 28, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

It is with a sense of responsibility and commitment to you and our children that I communicate this message today.  As you are well aware, the Avon High School community has experienced a series of unrelated events over the past two weeks that have elevated all of our concerns and have brought unnecessary negative attention to our fine school.  The speed at which information flows, accurate or not, in our electronic world has resulted in various inaccuracies to be circulated both publically and privately.  In an attempt to squelch circulating rumors and correct some of the inaccuracies, I am providing you with the following information for your review.  This information has been prepared and is being distributed after having conferred with district legal counsel at Shipman and Goodwin and seeking the input of the Avon Police.

Please understand that my message today should not be interpreted in any way as minimizing the events of the recent past.  I consider them to be significant and wish to reaffirm what I have stated on many occasions as we confronted and communicated these challenges to you.  The safety and security of our children and of those who serve them is paramount and not something that is taken lightly.  We have in place procedures for addressing such situations and we work collaboratively with law enforcement.  Further, please be assured that we would take action if ever we thought that any of our buildings were unsafe or that any of our students were in imminent danger.  We appreciate your ongoing support and belief in our efforts to provide a physically and emotionally safe environment for our students and we hope that the information below is helpful in answering some of the questions that have been raised.

1.      What was the nature of the threatening statements found at AHS on Thursday, January 24, 2013?

Response:  Statement #1 was found in a bathroom.  It was a written threat directed at a member of the AHS staff who has been notified of the written threat. The administration and police are taking the incidents seriously and are conducting the appropriate investigatory steps to vet the issue.   Also observed in other locations on the wall were a satanic reference and an inappropriate racial reference.  Both of these additional writings were not in direct proximity to Statement #1.  Additional details cannot be provided given that this is an ongoing police investigation.

Statement #2 was found in a different bathroom in the high school and this statement was a threat to do physical damage to the school at a specific date in the future.  To date, there was no danger found in the building.  Consequently, students have remained in the building.  This matter was also referred to the police, who are investigating.  Additional details cannot be provided in light of the ongoing police investigation. 

2.      Were the threatening statements found at AHS on Thursday, January 24, 2013 directed at any student?

Response:  At this time there is no credible evidence that any particular student was the subject of a threatening statement.  However, the police department is actively continuing their investigation and is in contact with school administration. (Mark Rinaldo, Chief, Avon Police, January 27, 2013). 

3.      Were the threatening statements found at AHS on Thursday, January 24, 2013 directed at any racial group?

Response:  The police are treating this as a serious incident and have informed the school district that they are in the early stages of the case, but they are reviewing the writing as a possible intimidation crime based on bigotry or bias. (Mark Rinaldo, Chief, Avon Police, January 27, 2013). 

4.      Were the threatening statements found at AHS on Thursday, January 24, 2013 directed at any religious belief?

Response:  See above 

5.      Were the threatening statements found at AHS defined as “hate crimes”?

Response:  See above

6.      Were the threatening statements found at AHS on Thursday, January 24, 2013 associated with any other incident of the recent past at AHS?

Response:  No

7.      At any time preceding or following the discovery of the threatening statements found at AHS on Thursday, January 24, 2013 were student and staff safety at risk?

Response:  No

8.      Is there writing on bathroom walls frequently observed at AHS?

Response:  Yes.  Upon questioning Avon High School custodians, they report having to clean bathroom walls of writing on a daily basis.

9.      What assistance is the Avon Police Department providing to insure continued safety and security at AHS?

Response:  The Avon Police continue to investigate both statements as noted in #1 above as criminal acts.  When the identity of the person(s) responsible for either or both of the statements is determined, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of all applicable laws.  They will also be subject to significant school discipline sanctions up to and including expulsion.  Additionally, although there has not been found to be any imminent danger in the school to date, the Superintendent of Schools has requested that an Avon Police Officer be posted inside Avon High School beginning on Friday, January 25, 2013 until further notice.  The request for police presence was not made because it was concluded that the building was unsafe or the written comments were deemed to be legitimate.  It was requested to assist with allaying expressed concerns from the parent community and was meant to demonstrate awareness and responsiveness to these same concerns.

10.   How are school/district officials responding to the threatening statements found at AHS on Thursday, January 24, 2013?

Response:  District and school officials continue to cooperate with the Avon Police Department and have initiated their own investigation with all information being turned over to the lead investigator of the Avon Police Department. In cooperation with the Avon Police, district/school officials have engaged a series of activities to conduct a physical assessment of the school as necessary.  The presence of an Avon Police Officer during school hours has been requested until further notice.  The request for police presence was not made because it was concluded that the building was unsafe or the written comments were deemed to be legitimate.  It was requested to assist with allaying expressed concerns from the parent community and was meant to demonstrate awareness and responsiveness to these same concerns.

11.  Are any of the recent incidents reported as occurring at AHS connected in any way?

Response:  No

 

Questions Regarding Past Incident Reported as Occurring at Avon High School

1.      In a recently reported, unrelated incident was there a printed list of students who would be harmed ever known to exist?

Response:  No.  No district, school or Avon Police Department official was ever notified that a printed list of students who would be harmed existed. 

2.      What is the school notification procedure if there ever were direct threats of harm (either verbally or in writing) directed at an individual student or student groups?

Response:  A school administrator would inform parents directly and would provide all the details of any such threats.

3.      What is the school procedure if there ever were direct threats of harm (either verbally or in writing) directed at an individual student or student groups?

Response: School administrators would contact the Avon Police Department immediately and would commence an investigation of which the results would be provided to the Avon Police.   The Avon Police would determine if an act(s) of student misconduct constitutes a criminal violation and would proceed accordingly.  At the conclusion of the school-based investigation, appropriate disciplinary consequences would be implemented with a perpetrator(s) of such act(s) up to and including expulsion.  School based discipline and/or expulsion would be implemented pursuant to CT General Statute 10-233(d) and Board of Education Policy #6100. 

4.      Can district and/or school officials publicly discuss details of any act(s) of misconduct perpetrated by a student?

Response:  No.  These issues are difficult because district/school officials are obligated to protect student confidentiality under the provisions of Family Educational Records Privacy Act (FERPA).  Details of this Act may be reviewed at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.

Given the specific legal parameters limiting what district/school officials may disclose with respect to student matters and after receiving specific legal advisement, the district informed the Avon High School parent and staff community of a recent incident confined to that school via an electronic message on January 17, 2013.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we continue to work within the appropriate legal parameters to resolve all matters related to these unfortunate incidents and to communicate with you.

In an attempt to move forward and resume a sense of normalcy in our high school’s community, I would ask that you take time to review this information with your child(ren) to assist with any questions or concerns they may have in light of the most recent events.

In closing, I wish to reaffirm that all schools in our community provide for great environments in which excellent, teaching and learning occur.  I care deeply about our students, staff, and you, as parents, who support our work in the schools. 

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a good week.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

A Special Message from Superintendent, Gary Mala (Posted 1/24/2013)

January 24, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

This afternoon, I was requested to be at Avon High School to be briefed by the high school’s administration after finding written threats.  Statements were written on walls in two of the school’s restrooms that directed threats at school staff, destruction of school property and racial and anti-Semitic epithets.  The Avon Police were already at the high school when I arrived and are conducting a criminal investigation into this incident.

We have engaged an established system to review these types of incidents and are working cooperatively with police officials.

I wish to stress that at no time was the safety or security of Avon High School compromised.  Additionally, we are using all available resources and processes to respond properly and will keep you updated as appropriate.  We do not anticipate any interruption to the school schedule.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we work to maintain safe and productive learning environments in our schools.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

Superintendent's Message for January 20, 2013 (Posted 1/20/2013)

January 20, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am pleased to communicate with you again and hope you are enjoying the winter season as it captured our attention this past week.

At the last meeting of the Board of Education, its members unanimously approved advancing the next two phases of recommendations to improve the safety and security equipment and systems in the district’s schools.  These recommendations were approved as a parallel/additional request to the already submitted items included in the Capital Improvement Budget request for funding in 2013-2014.  The CIP budget requests should not be confused with specifics requested for funding in the 2013-2014 Board of Education Proposed Budget, which was submitted to the Town Manager pursuant to the annual budget development process established for our town.

The Town Manager, Superintendent of Schools and Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations participated in a state-wide security symposium on January 7, 2013, and a meeting of the Avon Town Manager, Avon Chief of Police, Avon Director of Emergency Management, Chief of Avon Volunteer Fire Department, Director of the Avon Department of Public Works and district officials was held on January 9, 2013. The following list of recommendations was compiled after a preliminary safety and security audit of all schools, which was led by the Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations, and are approved for additional consideration by the Town Manager and Town Council:

Please note that this list represents one that has drawn upon the knowledge base, skills, training and experience of the heads of all of Avon’s emergency departments working cooperatively and collaboratively with school district staff.  This is and always will be a work in progress as we, as one community, work to preserve the safe and secure environments we are accustomed to frequenting.

Phase II Recommendations (As of January 15, 2013):

Maintain annual training in emergency response procedures for all faculty and staff including but not limited to substitute staff, volunteers, student teachers, coaches, advisors and after school program supervisors (district and non-district).

STATUSComplete

Maintain annual training in emergency response procedures for all students.

STATUSComplete

Implement use of identification cards for all faculty and staff, volunteers, visitors and student teachers.

STATUSTo be completed by February 1, 2013.

Maintain unarmed security at Avon High School on scheduled school days (during school hours and after).

STATUSComplete

Implement system whereby all classroom doors are maintained in a locked position at all times.

STATUSComplete

Request random exterior patrols of all schools by Avon Police Department.

STATUSProcess for making such requests complete.

Request unannounced random “walk-throughs” of all schools by Avon Police Department.

STATUSProcess for making such requests in place.  Reported as existing practice.

Provide interior master key to all faculty and staff to allow staff access to all rooms designated (cost included in #12).  Note:  Duplication and distribution of keys commenced week of January 6, 2013.

STATUSTo be completed by February 1, 2013.

Install District anonymous “tip line” to facilitate proactive system for communications.

STATUSTo be completed by January 25, 2013.

Maintain “Frequently Asked Questions” section on District and Town Websites.

STATUSComplete

Conduct Request for Proposals (bids) for Security Audit (communication systems, locking mechanisms and video surveillance systems) of all schools.

STATUSRequest specifications to be completed by January 25, 2013.

Rekey all exterior doors and identified interior rooms (“head end” rooms, utility closets, etc.) with new master key and log access to all master keys.

AHS     $1,560

AMS    $   600

TBS     $   540

RBS     $   780

PGS     $   780

            $ 4,260  Note:  Being implemented week of January 6, 2013 within current budget.

Note:  Alternate – Included schools on system used to secure Town Hall, Police Department, Fire House, DPW and Library (see #18 below).

STATUSTo be completed by February 1, 2013 using appropriated district operating budget funds.

Update radio system and propose in 2013-2014 Capital Budget Request (currently requested for CIP funding in 2014-2015).                District-wide:  $58,000 *            *  Current CIP Request

STATUSTo be submitted to Board of Education for approval to submit to Town Manager and Town Council for consideration.  Under review with local Department of Emergency Management and its external consultant.

Install audible alarms on all exterior doors.

AHS     $15,002             (52 x $288.50)

AMS    $  5,770             (20 x $288.50)

TBS     $  5,193             (18 x $288.50)

RBS     $  7,501             (26 x $288.50)

PGS     $  7,501             (26 x $288.50)

             $40,967 **                                ** - New CIP Request for 2013-2014

STATUSTo be submitted to Board of Education for approval to submit to Town Manager and Town Council for consideration.

Install annunciator panels in all schools to provide visual monitoring of audible alarms on all exterior doors.

AHS      $  9,200

AMS      $  6,600

TBS       $  6,200

RBS       $  6,200

PGS       $  6,200

              $34,400**                                 ** - New CIP Request for 2013-2014 or 2012-2013

STATUSTo be submitted to Board of Education for approval to submit to Town Manager and Town Council for consideration.

Install primary locking hardware in each classroom to allow locking doors from inside.

AHS     $11,250             (modify 75 existing doors x $150)

AMS    $20,000             (install 80 new door hardware x $250)

TBS     $         0             (no new hardware needed)

RBS     $12,500             (install 80 new door hardware x $250)

PGS     $  9,000             (modify 60 existing doors x $150)

             $52,750 **                               ** - New CIP Request for 2013-2014

STATUSTo be submitted to Board of Education for approval to submit to Town Manager and Town Council for consideration.

Expand the presently installed video surveillance system at Police Department, Fire Stations, Department of Public Works Facility and Library to identified locations at all schools. Maintain recordings on district network servers for specified period of time.

AHS                 $   7,800           (6 x $1,300)

AMS                $    3,900           (3 x $1,300)

TBS                 $    3,900           (3 x $1,300)

RBS                 $    3,900           (3 x $1,300)

PGS                 $    3,900           (3 x $1,300)

Software           $  20,000         

                         $  43,400**                               ** - New CIP Request  for 2013-2014

STATUSTo be submitted to Board of Education for approval to submit to Town Manager and Town Council for consideration.

 

Phase III Recommendations (In Process):

Secure pricing to equip all school facilities with the external keying system presently in place in all town operated buildings.

STATUSUnder review with Department of Public Works and its external consultant.

Secure pricing to install wire mesh glass at identified locations in all schools.

STATUSTo be reviewed via Request for Proposals (bids) for security audit of all schools.

Inform Town Manager of concerns raised by Parent Teacher Organization Leadership regarding lack of cellular service at Roaring Brook School.  Intermittent service also present at Avon High School.

STATUSComplete

 

Plans not being considered and recommended at this time (requires consultation with emergency personnel and related consultants):

Secure pricing to install anti-ballistic glass at identified locations.

Secure pricing to maintain unarmed security at all schools.

Secure pricing to maintain armed police at all schools.

Secure pricing for maintaining manned external security kiosks at entrances to all school.

In other school related business, the Board of Education unanimously approved the 2013-2014 School Calendar. It is now available on the district website at www.avon.k12.ct.us.  A copy has been attached to this communication for your convenience.

In keeping with our desire to be proactive with our communications by hosting public information sessions regarding the many important changes impacting our schools, the Communication Subcommittee of the Board of Education is hosting a session during which the Common Core State Standards will be reviewed and discussed. This Public Information Session is scheduled for Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Avon Free Public Library.

During this session, various members of the district’s faculty and staff will explain how the newly adopted Common Core State Standards are being incorporated into the district’s on-going curriculum revision process as well as their impact on future teaching and learning expectations for student, faculty and staff.  If you wish to gain a preliminary understanding of these standards and how they are being implemented, you may do so by visiting http://www.corestandards.org/ or http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2618&q=322592.  

As announced previously, kindergarten registration for incoming students for the 2013-2014 school year is scheduled to begin.   Children whose 5th birthday falls on or before December 31, 2013 are eligible to attend kindergarten in the Fall of 2013.  Parents of eligible preschoolers are asked to register their child no later than Friday, March 15, 2013 at the Avon Board of Education Offices, 34 Simsbury Road.   Registration information and the necessary forms are available on the district website.   The Avon Board of Education registration office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  If you have any questions, please contact Cindy Werner at 860-404-4700, by email at cwerner@avon.k12.ct.us, or by stopping by the Avon Board of Education Offices.  Kindergarten parent orientation meetings will take place at Roaring Brook School on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. (snow date of Thursday, March 7) and at Pine Grove School on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. (snow date of Thursday, March 14).

Last and certainly not least, I wish to take this opportunity to clarify how the operation of the “open campus” at Avon High School in managed by the schools’ administration.  Recently, I have been asked to provide clarification regarding this practice.  To place this concept in the proper historical context, it has been explained to me that the implementation dates back to a time when the school’s cafeteria was under renovation and students had very limited access during the scheduled lunch waves.  In response, the building’s administration implemented an “open campus” as a privilege offered to our twelfth graders.  This privilege of the “open campus” has remained accessible to seniors since that time.  The current “open campus” privilege allows seniors to report to school according to when they are scheduled to have their first class and allows them to leave the school property when they have back to back periods free (also referred to as “opens”).  This is likely to occur in combination with a scheduled lunch period.  There is a sign-in and sign-out system in place for students entering and exiting the campus at all times during school hours.  This system has recently been improved as a part of the Phase I recommendations recently implemented at our high school.

As not to confuse the definition of an “open campus” with what one may deduce when hearing this terminology, I wish to take a moment to explain what it is not.  Specifically, the “open campus” model currently in place at Avon High School does not allow random entry to the building by individuals not conducting school related business.  Prior to having the doors secured during and after school hours, it was possible for individuals to enter the building through its various entrances/exits without being greeted and asked to sign-in.  This was recently changed when the decision to lock the school doors was made and the installation of audio/visual buzzer equipment was completed.  The entry to the Avon High School building is now secured after having implemented the steps written about in previous communications.  I appreciate your cooperation for insuring that these processes are adhered to properly.

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a productive week.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message - January 14, 2013 (Posted 1/14/2013)

January 14, 2013

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am pleased to communicate with you again and hope you are enjoying this unusual stretch of balmy weather.

The following is an update regarding the district’s continued review of all safety and security protocols and additional recommendations being contemplated and discussed with the Board of Education for possible submission to the Town Manager and Town Council.

On Monday, January 7th, Brandon Robertson, Town Manger; John Spang, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations and I attended a state-wide Security Symposium sponsored by many professional organizations representing school boards, superintendents, school business officials and other school based leaders.  The symposium featured a number of national experts who provided participants a deeper understanding of the steps that should be considered when developing crisis prevention plans, emergency response plans and incident recovery plans.  Many of the specific points made by the presenters validated much of the recent work in which we have been engaged and reaffirmed our methodical, systematic approach which we have utilized to review the various elements associated with the safety and security of our schools.  If you are interested in reviewing the materials presented at the symposium, you may do so under the Security Symposium link at www.ctasbo.org (Connecticut Association of School Business Officials).  

The information obtained at the symposium was used to guide a meeting I requested of all Town of Avon emergency department leaders on Wednesday, January 9th.  There were many obvious purposes for requesting such a meeting. One of the primary reasons was to have each of our local trained experts review and comment on a comprehensive list of additional recommendations I am presenting to the Board of Education for their consideration in response to a preliminary safety and security audit led and conducted by John Spang, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations. Once the Board of Education receives the recommendations at its next meeting, Tuesday, January 15th, if it is appropriate to do so we will communicate those decisions.  As noted in my last communication, I ask for your understanding that it may not be appropriate to share with you all of the procedures to be implemented to enhance the safety and security of our schools in the future. 

Once again, I extend my sincere appreciation to all who continue to share with us their thoughts, opinions and concerns regarding the safety and security of our schools.  All of what has come forward is being given our full attention in totality as we plan for additional security measures.  I am also deeply appreciative to all town emergency department leaders for contributing their time, skill and expertise to advance in our work together in light of the most recent events. 

With respect to other school district business, the annual joint meeting of Avon Parent Teacher Organizations, during which the 2013-2014 Board of Education Proposed Budget was reviewed, was held before a small audience last week.  A summary presentation may be found on the school district website at www.avon.k12.ct.us. We also continue to maintain an email address to which you may send questions regarding the 2013-2014 proposed budget.  All questions and answers will be posted on the district website.

Kindergarten registration for incoming students for the 2013-2014 school year is scheduled to begin.   Children whose 5th birthday falls on or before December 31, 2013 are eligible to attend kindergarten in the Fall of 2013.  Parents of eligible preschoolers are asked to register their child no later than Friday, March 15, 2013 at the Avon Board of Education Offices, 34 Simsbury Road.   Registration information and the necessary forms are available on the district website.   The Avon Board of Education registration office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  If you have any questions, please contact Cindy Werner at 860-404-4700, by email at cwerner@avon.k12.ct.us, or by stopping by the Avon Board of Education Offices.  Kindergarten parent orientation meetings will take place at Roaring Brook School on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. (snow date of Thursday, March 7) and at Pine Grove School on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. (snow date of Thursday, March 14).

Last and certainly not least, the district is planning to host an additional informational session in the very near future at which The Common Core State Standards will be reviewed by Donna Nestler-Rusack, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.  The “Common Core” continues to be the impetus driving the district’s curriculum revision work and also serves as a part of the rationale for some of the recently proposed program additions.  We will be sure to send advanced notice of the informational session for your planning purposes.    Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a productive week.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala, Superintendent of Schools

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message - January 7, 2013 (Posted 1/7/2013)

I am pleased to communicate with you again and hope your week is off to a successful beginning.

My purpose in communicating with you is to provide an update regarding the district’s continued review of all safety and security protocols and to inform you of the steps planned for the immediate future.

On Monday, January 7th, Brandon Robertson, Town Manger, John Spang, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations and I will be attending a state-wide Security Symposium sponsored by the many professional organizations representing school boards, superintendents, school business officials and other school based leaders. The Symposium will feature national and state-level experts who will provide participants a deeper understanding of the steps that should be taken at the local level regarding school security including legal and policy implications associated with implementing school security practices, building design strategies and best practices for securing school facilities. The information obtained will be used to guide the continued collaborative work of leadership from our local law enforcement, emergency response departments and school district.

The ongoing review of district emergency plans and internal planning meetings will continue with a special meeting to be held this week of all town emergency department heads, our Town Manager and district leadership staff. The purpose of the meeting will be to review a series of additional recommendations to improve upon the comprehensive and effective emergency response plans in the context of the information obtained at the Security Symposium. Once additional recommendations have been properly assessed, reviewed and finalized, they will be announced if it is deemed appropriate to do so. I would appeal for your understanding that it may be inappropriate to make known some safety and security measures that have been and will be implemented in the future.

I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to all who have expressed thoughts, opinions and concerns regarding the safety and security of our schools and to those who contacted us with suggestions to assist with the emergency planning of individual schools and the district. All of your thoughts are being given our full attention in totality as we plan for additional security measures.

Additionally, I wish to once again reaffirm our commitment to preparedness and to maintaining proactive, comprehensive emergency plans. Our continued collaboration with other town departments will only serve to strengthen our ability to deter and prevent incidents both now and in the future. I ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work methodically to maintain safe and secure teaching and learning environments at all schools.

In closing, I wish to reiterate what I expressed at the conclusion of last week’s Weekly Message. I continue to be extremely thankful for our community, our elected officials, our police, fire and emergency response professionals and all who are charged with protecting and preserving both our personal and professional lives and those of our children and grandchildren. We are truly very fortunate.

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy a productive week,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message - January 1, 2013 (Posted 12/31/2012)

Dear Parents and Concerned Citizens:

It is my honor to communicate with you once again as the holiday recess is about to conclude. On behalf of the Avon Public School faculty and staff, I wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year.

This past week, district staff reviewed emergency plans maintained at every school. Additionally, local and regional law enforcement officials completed high-level training exercises at two of our schools. Both of these activities were helpful in renewing and refreshing our thinking in light of the Newtown tragedy as well as the recent local events which received notable press coverage. This also allowed us to reassess and reaffirm our commitment to preparedness and the appropriateness of our existing emergency plans.

Tomorrow begins a new day filled with the hope and promise of a new time.

In keeping with preserving our heightened sense of awareness and diligence associated with maintaining safe teaching and learning sanctuaries for our children, faculty and staff, a number of recommendations are being implemented immediately in all of our schools. A detailed list of what has been reviewed and the recommendations to be evoked have been provided to each building principal. These recommendations are also the result of a systematic review of emergency protocols completed by John Spang, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, in collaboration with other district and school staff. Some of the recommendations are as follows:

Phase I Recommendations (as of January 2, 2013)

1. Request for continued supervision of the exterior of all schools by Avon Police at the start of the school day and dismissal.
2. Request continued random "drive throughs" of all exterior parking areas by Avon Police during school and non-school hours.
3. All exterior doors are to be secured daily at each school's starting time, including Avon High School.
4. Implement system whereby the front and rear main entrances to Avon High School are locked during school hours.
5. Implement system to identify visitors with the use of an auditory visual mechanism and electronic door release at all schools, including Avon High School.
6. Implement use of private, unarmed security at both front and rear Avon High School main entrances.
7. Maintain visitor sign in/sign out procedures and use of visitor identification badges at all schools, including Avon High School.
8. Maintain student sign in/sign out procedures for Avon High School students with senior privileges.
9. Implement use of visible identification system (ID cards) for all faculty and staff including but not limited to substitutes.
10. Implement use of private, unarmed security at Avon High School Gymnasium lobby entrances and locker room hallway entrances after school dismissal.
11. Principals are to review student pick-up procedures immediately and revise as necessary.
12. Principals are to review and document student pick-up protocols used by all after school groups (school sponsored and non-school sponsored).

The above list represents recommendations that reflect reaffirmation of current practices while others involve significant changes to existing practices and procedures. I would ask for your patience and understanding as we work to maintain safe and secure teaching and learning environments at all schools.

In the immediate future, various aspects of our emergency protocols will continue to be tested and assessed as they are routinely done in collaboration with local law enforcement and emergency response staff. These exercises may result in additional recommendations which you will be notified if and when it is appropriate to do so.

Given what I know and understand to be present in other communities across our state and nation each day, please join me in being thankful for our community, our elected officials, our police, fire and emergency response professionals and all who are charged with protecting and preserving both our personal and professional lives and those of our children and grandchildren. For this and much more, I believe we are truly very fortunate.

In closing, I wish to thank you for your continued support and again wish you the best for a safe, happy and healthy new year.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

Avon Public School Announces Interim Principal for Avon High School

The Central Administration of the Avon Public Schools is pleased to announce that it has appointed John W. Sullivan, Ed.D., as Interim Principal at Avon High School beginning on January 2, 2013.

Dr. Sullivan earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University, a Sixth Year Diploma in Educational Administration from the University of Connecticut and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Bridgeport. 

Over the duration of his career, Dr. Sullivan served as a high school principal in Nantucket, Massachusetts and Wilton, Connecticut.  He went on to serve as Superintendent of Schools in Westbrook, Connecticut and later retired as Superintendent of Schools for Unified School District II.  

In retirement, Dr. Sullivan has served as Interim Principal at East Lyme High School for two years and Interim Superintendent of Schools in Regional School District 17.  Most recently, Dr. Sullivan served as Interim Associate Superintendent for the Middletown Public Schools.

Dr. Sullivan will replace Jason Beaudin who has accepted a position in the Guilford Public Schools.  Dr. Sullivan will serve as Interim Principal for the remainder of the school year and until a permanent principal is identified using a comprehensive search and selection process.

 

 

Superintendent's Messages - December 12,14,15,16, and 17, 2012 (Posted 12/11/2012)

Dear Parents, Concerned Citizens, Faculty and Staff:

I hope this message finds you having held your children a bit closer this evening.

As we began a week after what happened so tragically in Newtown, I could not help but be comforted by the presence of your children in our schools today.  I know I speak for the entire district when I say, it was with mixed emotions that we began the day but by its end, we were once again reminded that the hope of all that is good is in our midst each day.  While we have been witness to one of the greatest tragedies involving children, our responsibility is to somehow carry forth the innocence and optimistic view of the world as we so often see in children.  It is my belief that the events of this past Friday will never be forgotten and will serve to inspire us to respect the fragility of life and to somehow lead us to a better place where our priorities are aligned properly.   

Today, all schools across the district opened without incident and once again operated as sanctuaries where teaching and learning are paramount.  There were a small number of children, faculty and staff who reached out for support from the various resources we had in place.  Understanding that feelings may be repressed for periods of time, our support system, as described in my previous messages, will remain available for the foreseeable future.

Last and certainly not least, I wish to personally recognize the faculty, staff and administrators across the district for their extraordinary efforts to open schools today in a safe and comforting manner and ensure that the emotional needs of our children were met.  Please join me with applauding their individual and collective acts of kindness.  Each day, I feel fortunate to lead such a fine group of professionals. 

In the coming days, we will joyously gather with our families to celebrate holidays and to create memories that will remain with us forever.  God bless those who have had their dreams shattered by the events of the recent past.  

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your building’s Principal or me.

Peace to you always.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

 

December 16, 2012

Dear Parents, Concerned Citizens, Faculty and Staff:

As the details of the Newtown school tragedy continue to permeate the news, I want to take this opportunity to reach out to you to keep you informed on how we plan to move forward this week. 

This afternoon, I convened a meeting with the Central Administration of the district; all school principals; Town Manager, Brandon Robertson; Board of Education Chairperson, Peggy Roell; Avon Chief of Police, Mark Rinaldo; Avon Police Department, Captain Jeffery Blatter; and Jamie DiPace, Director of Emergency Management.  The purpose of the meeting was to review district emergency protocols, discuss the district’s responses and communications in light of the recent tragedy and to discuss specific plans associated with beginning another school week.  The meeting was not called in response to any specific concerns relative to district procedures.  It was called to review our emergency procedures and to be proactive with planning any supports that may be needed to assist students, faculty and/or staff who may experience any anxiety or despair triggered by this disturbing event.

Each school in the district adheres to a specific emergency plan with designations that evoke specific staff responses.  It is important to note that these plans have been developed in full cooperation with local police, fire and emergency management personnel and are reviewed regularly by each department.  Written reviews are provided to each Principal and are used to revise plans as necessary.  

Specifically, and as a part of each school’s emergency protocol, we have developed levels of emergency response.  A code red response results in all students, faculty and staff to “lock down” and remain in a secure place out of view.  A code yellow results in staff being made aware that a situation regarding the attention of administration is occurring.  Staff is allowed to proceed with all activities while remaining in the location where the activities are taking place.  A code green is signaled when the emergency situation is cleared and all activities may resume normally as they do each day.       

In the event an evacuation is necessary, each school has an identified alternate location and dismissal protocols to an alternate location are activated.  In the event any activity deviating from the norm is experienced, parents are notified using the district’s electronic communication systems. 

In addition, all Avon Public Schools, elementary through middle school, are locked during school hours requiring all visitors to check in and checkout in each school’s office.   

As noted in my last communication, we are aware that some students in the coming days may experience anxiety or articulate concerns.  We have alerted and organized our very well trained professionals to assist children to feel safe and secure.  We have also communicated with the Town of Avon Department of Social Services through the Office of the Town Manager. 

If you personally need additional support or resources, please feel free to contact Avon’s Social Service Department at (860) 409-4346.

As noted by many professionals conversant in crisis response, it is imperative that we, as schools, and you as parents, resume with normal routines as soon as possible.  Though it may be difficult for some, it is necessary and essential as the normalcy of their routine will assist our children to feel safe and secure.  Tomorrow, all of our schools will resume a normal schedule following staff meetings to be held prior to students arriving.      

In my last communication, I provided a number of resources available as you speak to your children about what is likely to continue to dominate the local, state and national press in the immediate future and beyond.  The following additional resources are also available to you for your reference:

http://www.casciac.org/pdfs/Talking_to_Children_About_Violence_-_NASP.pdf

http://www.casciac.org/pdfs/Red_Cross_children_and_trauma.pdf

http://www.schoolcounselor.org/content.asp?contentid=672

http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/resources_for_families/talking_to_children_about_community_violence

http://www.pbs.org/parents/talkingwithkids/news/

http://www.nasponline.org/

http://www.naesp.org/resources/2/Report_to_Parents/2005/rtp11-05.pdf

https://www.naesp.org/sites/default/files/Schonfeld_Quakenbush_ND12.pdf

https://www.naesp.org/sites/default/files/Boris-Schacter_MA11.pdf

http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/terror_general.aspx

http://www.cabe.org/uploaded/Dealing_with_Tragedy/psychological_information_sheet_two_pager.pdf

http://www.cabe.org/uploaded/Dealing_with_Tragedy/parents_guidelines_for_helping_teens_after_the_recent_attacks.pdf

http://www.cabe.org/uploaded/Dealing_with_Tragedy/talking_to_children_about_the_shooting.pdf

http://www.cabe.org/uploaded/Dealing_with_Tragedy/youth_journalists.pdf

Specific messages from each school principal may be found on each school’s respective website. 

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your buildings Principal or me.

Peace to you always.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

  

 

December 15, 2012

Dear Parents, Concerned Citizens, Faculty and Staff:

As the news of the Newtown school tragedy become more detailed, disturbing, and widespread, we cannot help but reflect on what we know to be the greatest responsibility we have to you and your children.  The responsibility to provide for the physical and emotional safety of all students is paramount to our work together each day.

While this tragic event was not in our immediate geographic area, some in our community may have direct personal and/or professional ties to the people of Newtown.  Regardless of whether the ties are direct or indirect, we cannot help but feel connected to this situation.  With these thoughts in mind, we are aware that some students in the coming days may experience anxiety or articulate concerns about being in school because of this tragedy.  I encourage anyone who experiences this with their child to contact the staff at their respective schools for assistance.  We have very well trained professionals to assist children feel safe and secure.  As a district leadership team we have organized all support services and counseling staff to make themselves available to respond to any needs our children may have related to this event in the coming days. 

The following resources may be helpful as you speak to your children about what is likely to continue to dominate the local, state and national press in the immediate future and beyond:

http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/talkingviolence.pdf

http://www.aboutourkids.org/files/articles/addressing_tough_topics_06.pdf?CSRT=7255813229901626001

http://www.aboutourkids.org/files/articles/guidelines_for_families_06.pdf?CSRT=7255813229901626001

http://www.aboutourkids.org/files/articles/crisis_guide02.pdf?CSRT=7255813229901626001


If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to your Principal or me.

Again, I ask you to join me in expressing our deepest sympathies to those who have been impacted by the tragic event in Newtown.

Peace to you always.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

 

December 14, 2012

Dear Parents, Concerned Citizens, Faculty and Staff:

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this message acknowledging the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown earlier today.  I know you join me by expressing our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers to the children, families, school personnel and residents of Newtown.

During times of such tragedy, it is not unusual for all of us to question why such senseless acts have become all too frequent.  While we will never have an answer, we can be confident in our community, leaders (both in school and out), talented law enforcement and emergency response staff. 

Each school in Avon, and the district as a whole, maintain comprehensive emergency response plans that are practiced in collaboration with emergency response and law enforcement staff on a regular basis throughout the school year.  We also remain proactive and vigilant with maintaining policies and procedures to ensure the highest degree of safety and security for our students, staff and those who visit our schools. I am confident that the diligence of school and town staff, coupled with the care and concern expressed by parents and residents, which allows us to continue to provide a safe environment for all.

Today, I met with the principals of our schools and leaders of our emergency response units.  We reviewed each school’s plan and discussed responses to any questions that may arise after the full details of today’s tragedy are released.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s principal.

In closing, I thank you for joining me with our genuine expressions of sympathy to those who have been impacted by the events in Newtown today.  Thank you for your continued support and I will provide you updates on our work in the coming days.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

December 12, 2012 

Dear Parents and Concerned Citizens:

It is my honor to communicate with you once again.  On behalf of the school district faculty and staff, I wish to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season.  Best wishes also for a very happy new year.

As you may be aware, this past week, the Connecticut State Department of Education released information reflecting the performance of each school in the state using a “school performance index.”  I am very proud to reaffirm that all five schools in our district scored well above the state desired index of 88.  Specifically, Avon High School received a rating of 91.4, Avon Middle School 95.5, Thompson Brook School 95.6, Pine Grove School 91.3 and Roaring Brook School 93.2.  The performance index received by Thompson Brook School led to it to be identified as a “school of distinction” performing within the top 10 percent of schools across the State.

At its next regular meeting, the Board of Education may elect to conclude its review and discussions regarding the 2013-2014 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget and may act to finalize the Board of Education’s Proposed Budget next year.  Once established, the Board’s proposed budget is forwarded to the Town Manager for inclusion in the overall town budget which is reviewed by both the Town Council and Board of Finance.  As always, the milestone dates reflecting the budget development process may be found at www.avon.k12.ct.us or on the Town of Avon website.  In keeping with providing you an alternate method for sharing your thoughts regarding the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget and/or the Board of Education’s Proposed Budget for 2013-2014 and a means to having any questions you have to be answered, we have established a special email address which can be used for these purposes.  Please feel free to submit your questions and ideas to 1314budget@avon.k12.ct.us.  This address will be checked daily and answers to questions received will be posted on the district website at www.avon.k12.ct.us.

Beyond the immediate budget related work, the district continues its engagement of a systematic review and revision to various curricula, Kindergarten through grade 12.  At the present time, the English Language Arts group continues its work and mathematics will commence immediately following the December recess.  Science and Social Studies will commence at dates to be determined in the near future.  As with all undertakings to this magnitude, it is essential to maintain committees comprising of our local experts and our most important resource, our teachers.  To that end, the district remains committed to committee structures, in all areas, beyond those charged with revising what we teach and how we teach it.  The continued progress of our district is the result of the collective energy, skills and talents of all of us who you trust to educate your children.

The Roaring Brook School PTO has asked me to assist in circulating information about its most recent fundraising effort to support a new playscape for the school.  Roaring Brook School is currently in the running to win $50,000 are placed at #20 out of 550 schools nationwide in the "Clorox Power a Bright Future Contest.”  Please consider assisting in their effort to possibly secure $50,000.  Simply cast your vote for Roaring Brook School through Dec. 19, 2012.   You may cast your vote by texting “1209pbf” to 95248 and/or vote on-line at www.powerabrightfuture.com.   The Roaring Brook School community thanks you for your support.

Immediately following the December break, we will start the annual Kindergarten registration for students to be enrolled in the 2013-2014 school year.  For your convenience, the registration process has been centralized at the Central Office of the district located at 34 Simsbury Road.  Additional details will be forthcoming in January 2013.

Last and certainly not least, I wish to extend my sincerest congratulations to all of the athletic and non-athletic co-curricular programs that completed this fall.  I am proud of the students’ individual and collective achievements and ask that you join me by thanking them for being model ambassadors for our district.  Special congratulations are extended to the Boy’s Tennis, Girl’s Cross Country and Girls’ Soccer team for their recently earned State Championships. 

In closing, I wish to thank you for your continued support and again wish you the best for a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message - November 20, 2012 (Posted 11/18/2012)

Dear Parents and Concerned Citizens:

As we continue along the path to a successful school year, I wish to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.  Personally, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve you, your children and the faculty and staff of the school district.  Above all else, I am thankful for being associated with our young adult population who may best be described as nothing shy of extraordinary in both their achievements and actions.  As we contemplate our good fortunes, please assist me by keeping those who are less fortunate in our thoughts and prayers no matter what form they take.  Best wishes to you for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I am pleased to communicate with you once again and provide you with an update regarding the most recent events taking place in our schools and school district. During October’s Board of Education meeting, Donna Nestler-Rusack, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, presented a summary of student performance levels reflected in the most recent results of the Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMT) and Connecticut Academic Performance Tests (CAPT).   Her presentation has been posted on the school district website under the Curriculum section (Curriculum Presentations) for your review.

This evening, I have the privilege of presenting the 2013-2014 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget to the Board of Education to consider.  This is a change from the original date and was delayed due to the school closures that were a result of the recent storm.  Meeting dates associated with the Board’s review of the 2013-2014 Board of Education’s Proposed Budget are printed on the district website and have been published in previous Weekly Messages.  

To provide an alternate method for you to share your thoughts and questions regarding the 2013-2014 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget, we have established a special email address.  Please feel free to submit your inquiries and ideas to 1314budget@avon.k12.ct.us.   This address will be checked daily and answers to questions received will be posted on the district website at www.avon.k12.ct.us.

Beyond the immediate budget related conversations, we, as a district, have begun the implementation of the new district Strategic Plan.  Details regarding the specific strategic actions can be found on the district website as well and will be the subject of public dialogue sessions scheduled for the near future. 

On the evening of Monday, November 26th beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Avon High School, the Board of Education’s Communication Subcommittee is hosting the first public information session regarding Special Education and Related Services.  The purpose of this session is to provide an overview of the legal and programmatic frameworks for meeting the needs of the district’s eligible students.  The program will be a moderated panel format during which audience members may submit questions.  Please consider attending what is hoped to be a very valuable information session.  

Last and certainly not least, I wish to offer my sincerest congratulations to the Girl’s Cross Country team for their recently earned State Championship.  I know I speak for many when I say that we are most proud of what you have achieved.  Thank you for sharing the excitement of your accomplishments with us.

In closing, I wish to thank you for your continued support and extend to you all the best for a safe, happy and healthy holiday weekend.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

Superintendent's Message regarding Hurricane Sandy (Posted 10/30/2012)

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I appreciate the opportunity to communicate with you once again and hope that you and your families remain safe as the impact of Hurricane Sandy is felt in our community.

All schools continued to be closed today, Tuesday, October 30th.  An assessment regarding the need for additional closures beyond tomorrow will be made by early afternoon so you may plan for your family’s needs.

In preparation for this weather event, the district secured all exterior facilities and has worked proactively and cooperatively with other town personnel to activate the use of Avon High School as an emergency shelter. This shelter will be maintained to meet the needs of all residents.

Please continue to monitor both the school district website and Town of Avon website for additional updates.

The following are reminders as published by town staff: 

  • The forecast hasn’t changed.  Avon can expect to see sustained winds of up to 50 MPH with gusts approaching 70 MPH as the storm intensifies until noon Tuesday.
  • Please use extreme caution when traveling, as driving conditions are becoming more hazardous as time passes.
  • Given the potential for widespread power outages, residents are encouraged to have enough food and water on hand for up to three days.
  • If you lose power, call CL&P at 800.286.2000 to report the outage.
  • The Town will continue to communicate Avon specific storm information via CT Alert, WTIC, the Town website, and via Community News email.
  • To receive emergency messages via your cell phone or by email, please visit www.ctalert.gov to sign up.
  • As of 8:00 a.m. yesterday, the Emergency Operations Center is open and staffed.
  • For Emergencies, call 911; for non emergency police matters, call 860-409-4200.
  • The Emergency Shelter at Avon High School, located at 510 West Avon Road, is open. Please bring personal items, such as blankets, pillows, toiletries, and medications, if you plan to stay overnight.  The number there is 860-404-4747.
  • To reach the United Way Info Line, the State’s free information and referral service, please dial 211.          
  • For additional information/tips, please visit the Emergency Management Services webpage, at http://www.town.avon.ct.us/Public_Documents/AvonCT_EMS/index

Stay safe and well.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

Superintendent's Message - October 25, 2012 (Posted 10/25/2012)

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

This Special Message is being sent to announce the first in a series of Public Information Sessions being hosted by the Board of Education Communications Subcommittee.

The October 25th Public Information Session regarding Special Education and Related Services hosted by the Communications Subcommittee has been rescheduled due to unexpected personal matters for some of our panelists.  The event has been rescheduled to Monday, November 5 beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the AHS Community Room.

The purpose of the session is to provide residents with information regarding how the district meets the programming needs of students who are identified as requiring special education and/or related services.  All are welcome to attend.

If you wish to have a specific question you would like addressed during this presentation, please send the question(s) in advance to Peggy Alexander at palexander@avon.k12.ct.us.  These questions will be used by our moderator to guide the presentation. 

We look forward to your participation in our first Public Information Session.

Thank you always for your continued support.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message - October 16, 2012 (Posted 10/16/2012)

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

Once again I am thankful for the opportunity to communicate with you in the form of this Weekly Message.

As announced last week, the district has commenced the process of developing a proposed budget for the 2013-2014 school year.  A detailed budget development schedule was also shared within that message.  As scheduled for the budget development, two public input sessions were held last week.  These sessions were offered to provide an opportunity for the public to express their thoughts with respect to what is referred to as the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget, which is the budget that is considered by the Board of Education.  Please refer to the budget development timeline posted on the district website at: www.avon.k12.ct.us/backpack/2013-14BudgetCalendar.pdf

To provide an alternate method for sharing thoughts or questions regarding the development of the 2013-2014 school district budget we have established a special email address.  Please feel free to submit your questions and comments to 1314budget@avon.k12.ct.us.  This address will be checked daily.  Answers to questions received will be posted on the district website at www.avon.k12.ct.us.

Recently, I have received a number of inquiries regarding the plans the district may have to include full day kindergarten as a part of the continuum of services.  This is currently being reviewed in a comprehensive manner.  In keeping with the formal review process, I would like to ask for your participation in a survey regarding full day kindergarten.  Please consider express- ing your opinion by accessing the survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BJBCCM9.

As announced in my last two Weekly Messages to you, we continue to search for ideas for alternative funding.   If you have an interest in assisting with the preparation and submission of grant applications, please let me know by sending an email to alternativeresources@avon.k12.ct.us.  I have a complete list of possible funding resources, I will contact you to assist us with making formal applications.

I remain very appreciative of the incredible human resources we have available in our community and continue to advance a formal plan to further develop the district’s Speakers’ Bureau.  If you are interested in being added to the list of speakers to help supplement our instructional programs, please email Speakersbureau@avon.k12.ct.us.

Thank you for your continued support.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message - October 5, 2012 (Posted 10/5/2012)

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I consider it a privilege to communicate with you once again from the Central Office of the school district.  I hope this Weekly Message finds you well and preparing to enjoy the Columbus Day holiday weekend.

As you may be aware, the district has commenced the process of developing a proposed budget for the 2013-2014 school year.  A budget development timeline was unanimously accepted by the Board of Education and is included below:

2013 – 2014 Board of Education Operating Budget Development Time Line

Friday, September 14, 2012 - Administrators receive 2013-2014 operating budget development forms and instructions from the Director of Finance

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - Administrators submit Operating Budget Requests to the Superintendent

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - Community Input on the 2013-2014 Budget,  6:30 p.m. AHS, Community Room

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - Superintendent Budget Meetings with Administrators

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - Superintendent Budget Meetings with Administrators

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - Community Input on the 2013-2014 Budget, 6:30 p.m., AHS Community Room

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - Budget development information provided at regular meeting of the Board of Education

Monday, October 22, 2012 - Superintendent Budget Meetings with Administrators

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - Presentation of the Superintendent of Schools 2013-2014  Proposed Budget at regular meeting of the Board of Education

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - Special Meeting of Board of Education - Review of Pupil Services, Facilities, Food Services and Central Office requested budget, 6:30 p.m., AHS Community Room

Thursday, November 29, 2012 - Community Input for the 2013-2014 Proposed Budget, 6:30 p.m., AHS Community Room

Monday, December 3, 2012 - Community Input for the 2013-2014 Proposed Budget, 6:00 p.m., AHS Community Room

Monday, December 3, 2012 - Special Meeting of Board of Education - Review of Elementary, Middle School, High School, Athletics and Technology requested budgets, 7:00 p.m., AHS, Community Room

Dates To Be Determined - Special Meetings of Board of Education (if needed), 6:30 p.m., AHS, Community Room

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - Regular Meeting of the Board of Education Action on 2013-2014 Proposed Budget

                                                                             or

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - Regular Meeting of the Board of Education Action on 2013-2014 Proposed Budget

January 18, 2013 - Town Manager’s Proposed Operating and Capital Budget submitted to Town Council

March 28, 2013 - Budget Work by Town Council completed and Budget Submitted to Board of Finance

April 11, 2013 - Public Hearing on Budget held by Board of Finance not late than three (3) weeks before May 6, 2013 Town Meeting

April 15, 2013 - Board of Finance Completes Work on Budget

April 22, 2013 - Copy of Budget approved by the Board of Finance printed in Newspaper at least five (5) business days before the Annual Town Meeting

May 6, 2013 - Annual Town and Budget Meeting First Monday in May

May 15, 2013 - First Referendum

Notes:

Community members and town officials of the Town of Avon are more than welcome to attend any of the budget workshops or Budget Committee meetings, as our Budget Committee strives to provide a forum for open communications during the process.  As a Budget Committee and a Board of Education responsible for articulating the educational needs of the school district in a fiscally responsible manner, we have the difficult task of striking a balance between our educational needs and our fiscal responsibilities.  Our committee will be monitoring activity and actions at the legislative level most carefully, and wherever possible, will be providing input in order to protect both the educational and financial interests of the district and our town.

Throughout the budget process, the district will maintain a Frequently Asked Questions section on the district website at www.avon.k12.ct.us

We look forward to your participation in the scheduled sessions.

As included in my last communication to you, the Alternative Resources Subcommittee of the Board of Education has contracted the services of the CREC grant office to research and provide possible alternative grant funding sources to which grant applications may be submitted for the purpose of seeking and obtaining supplemental resources to fund various district initiatives.  If you have an interest in assisting with the preparation and submission of grant applications, please let me know by sending an email to Alternativeresources @avon.K12.ct.us.  Once I have a complete list of possible resources, I will contact you to assist us with making formal applications.

I remain very cognizant of the incredible human resources we have available in our community and continue to advance a formal plan to further develop the district’s Speakers’ Bureau.  This initiative was first conceptualized by the Concerned Citizens of Avon and those who continue to plan and sponsor the annual Avon High School SPARK program.  The Speakers’ Bureau is designed to identify individuals in our community who will make themselves available to speak to students for the purpose of connecting what they are learning (theory) and its applicability to the plethora of professions available for their pursuit beyond their experiences provided by the Avon Public Schools.  With this in mind, I am appealing to you to consider becoming involved directly with your schools by sharing your professional skills with students.  If you are interested in being included, please email Speakersbureau@avon.k12.ct.us. Once received, you will be added to list of professionals who can be accessed by teachers and others to compliment the instruction being provided our students.  Again, I am energized by what I know will be a welcomed addition to the continuum of services our children receive in Avon Public Schools.

Thank you for your continued support.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message for September 24, 2012 (Posted 9/24/2012)

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I am very privileged to communicate with you once again to provide you with a Weekly Message from the Central Office of the Avon school district.  I hope this message finds you well having enjoyed the beginning weeks of a new school year.

As you know, the district has been quite active with advancing a number of initiatives this year to improve the quality of services offered to you and the children.  We hope that you are seeing first-hand our efforts and all that is associated with them. 

I am very pleased to provide you with the following information as we begin another week:

As a part of the work of the Board of Education Alternative Resources Subcommittee, the district has contracted the services of the CREC (Capitol Region Education Council) grant office to research and provide possible alternative grant funding sources to which applications may be submitted for the purpose of seeking and obtaining supplemental resources to fund various district initiatives.  We are fortunate to have many people in our community who have professional experience writing and obtaining grants.  If you are one of these people and have an interest in assisting with the preparation and submission of grant applications, please let me know by sending an email to Alternativeresources@avon.k12.ct.us

Second, I am very cognizant of the incredible human resources in our community and am advancing a formal plan to further develop the district’s Speakers’ Bureau.  This initiative, first conceptualized by the Concerned Citizens’ of Avon and those who continue to plan and sponsor the annual SPARK program at Avon High School, is designed to identify individuals in our community who would like to speak to various classes of students for the purpose of connecting what they are learning (theory) and its applicability to the plethora of professions available for their pursuit beyond their experiences provided by the Avon Public Schools.  With this in mind, I am appealing to you to consider becoming involved by sharing your professional skills with our students.  This will allow teachers and others to compliment the instruction being provided by presenting experts in various fields to their students.  If you are interested in being added to the district’s Speakers’ Bureau list, please email Speakersbureau@avon.k12.ct.us. Again, I am energized by what I know will be a welcomed addition to the continuum of services being provided to our children.

Last and certainly not least, I am pleased to inform you that the Board of Education has committed to publishing an informal communication to keep you apprised of the major initiatives being advanced at a policy level.  This communication will be in the form of a “Board Brief” published monthly within two days of the regular monthly Board of Education meeting.

As I have stated many times before, it is my distinct honor and privilege to serve both you and your children.

Please accept my best wishes for a great week and continued success during the 2012-2013 school year.

Thank you for your continued support.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

Welcome to a New Beginning (Posted 9/18/2012)

On behalf of the Avon Public Schools, I wish to welcome you to the district and encourage you to browse our website and enjoy the wealth of information it contains about the district and each of our schools.

Through this website, we hope to share as much information with you as we can. One of our perpetual goals is to continue with the proactive communication of accurate information that can be easily understood.   As always, if you would like further information or clarification on anything you see on this site, please feel free to contact us by telephone or e-mail.

I am extremely proud of our students and the staff of our district and I believe that you will share these same feelings as you interact and learn about us.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and productive 2012-2013 school year.

Gary
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools
Avon Public Schools
(860) 404-4700
gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

 

Welcome Back to School (Posted 9/4/2012)

September 4, 2012

 

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

I hope this message finds you well and am very pleased to communicate with you once again with my Weekly Message. 

As was the case last school year, the weekly communication is intended to keep you updated regarding activity within the district.  In addition to these weekly messages, the Avon Board of Education will be sending a monthly electronic communication titled The Board Brief which will keep you apprised of any major initiatives taken with respect to the policies governing the Avon Public Schools.

As we begin a new school year, I am pleased to remind you of the specifics of the Avon Public Schools Strategic Plan.  The Strategic Plan is the result of the efforts of a broad cross-section of individuals who helped define the future direction of the public schools in our community.  Within the next two weeks, you will be provided with the specific Strategic Plan actions being implemented at each of the schools.  For purposes of refreshing you on the content of the Strategic Plan, I have copied it below.

 

Avon Public Schools

Mission

Our mission is to inspire in each student a joy and passion for learning and a commitment to excellence, personal integrity, and social responsibility.

 

Statement of Beliefs

We educate students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically to acquire knowledge and skills, to develop creativity and character, and to pursue their interests, realize their potential, and meet the challenges in a constantly changing world.

We believe that …..

  • A high quality education is fundamental to create a life with purpose, meaning, and happiness.
  • Educated people of good character are essential to democracy.
  • Public education is a responsibility shared by students, parents, school personnel, and community members.
  • Trust and respect are prerequisites for sustaining and improving safe and successful schools.
  • Critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and innovation are essential.
  • All people have value and should be treated with dignity and respect.


We are committed to…..

  • Clear communication and transparent processes.
  • Rigorous, comprehensive, and innovative programs.
  • Meeting the needs of all students within local, state, and national requirements.
  • Collaboration, professional development, and ethical practice.
  • Continuous improvement through systematically assessing our actions and outcomes.
  • Using all resources efficiently and effectively to the greatest advantage of all students.


Goals & Strategic Actions

Goal I:  Culture

We will:

  • Ensure our district culture aligns with our mission and beliefs.
  • Model by example our beliefs and professional ethics.
  • Create respectful school cultures that foster innovation and excellence.
  • Provide meaningful partnerships with schools, families, the local community, and beyond.
  • Maintain safe and healthy learning environments.
  • Allocate resources and staff efficiently and appropriately to meet the mission of the schools, and local, state, and national requirements.
  • Maintain a climate that recognizes the dignity and self-worth of each person.


Goal II.  Achievement

We will:

  • Create multiple opportunities for students to engage in collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creative expression.
  • Develop and implement programs, activities, and experiences to ensure students are prepared for college, career, and life.
  • Clearly articulate and implement a Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum that is vertically aligned, rigorous, and relevant.
  • Encourage and support students to participate in meaningful community learning and citizenship activities.
  • Design, implement, and evaluate teaching and learning to achieve and maintain high standards.
  • Provide all students with the opportunity to achieve at their highest levels.
  • Align our professional development to meet the needs of all staff in fulfilling their responsibilities and foster continuous improvement.
  • Develop and implement plans to integrate evolving technologies to support high quality teaching and learning.
  • Foster meaningful connections with alumni to assess their post-secondary success as it reflects on their Avon Public School experience.


Goal III.  Communication

We will:

  • Communicate regularly with students, parents, school personnel, and community members.
  • Provide communication that is purposeful, clear, and concise.
  • Identify and utilize a variety of techniques to communicate, inform, educate, and respond to all stakeholders.
  • Educate the community on how resources are secured and utilized to operate the schools.

 

 

Lastly, and certainly not least, the summer months represent a time which tremendous progress is achieved for the sake of providing progress toward what is clearly in the Strategic Plan as well as meeting the needs of all children.  The following is a list of accomplishments realized since the end of last school year.  I am deeply appreciative to all who contributed to completing the work highlighted.

 

Summer 2012 Accomplishments

 

Program

Installed wireless infrastructure in all schools * +

Installed interactive whiteboards and projection equipment into all K-12 classrooms * +

Obtained and will deploy a limited number of I-Pad carts to all schools +

Obtained and will deploy a limited number of document cameras to all schools +

Obtained/obtaining laptop computers for all district teaching staff +

Renovated existing space to support video broadcast communication program and equipment at AHS *

Renovated and increased enrollment capacity of relocated computer lab within existing space at AHS * +

Obtained are installing stage lighting replacement at AHS +

Obtained and installed permanent video projection equipment in auditorium at AHS *

Installed music lab at AMS +

Revised schedules of school-based intervention staff to maximize availability for direct service to students +

Revised and established district processes to maintain an active Speakers’ Bureau to support teaching and learning +

Organizational

Implemented new five year district strategic plan +

Implemented Phase I Reorganization (staff leadership) within parameters of adopted budget +

Implemented Phase II Reorganization (administrative leadership) within parameters of adopted budget +

Negotiated contract (resulting in unbudgeted revenue) as food service provider for the Reggio Magnet school +

Increased by twenty-six (26) the enrollment of Hartford students enrolled under the provisions of the Choice program +

Researched and planning implementation of Employee Assistance program +

Implemented Employee Wellness program

Centralized student registration and facility use procedures to enhance efficiency of both processes +

Implemented staff development model that incorporates all staff and sessions during non-traditional times +

Restructured membership and change to Curriculum Professional Development Committee (CPDC) +

Restructured membership and change to District Technology Council +

Implemented plan to utilize community volunteers to write and submit grants to alternate resources contacts +

Implemented system to facilitate students’ schedule changes prior to start of the 2012-2013 school year at AHS +

Finance

Implemented use of BudgetSense software +

Revised and implanted standardized salary agreements for all staff positions (including co-curricular stipend positions) +

Generated additional unbudgeted revenue via increased enrollment of students participating in Choice program +

Established direct relationship with CREC grant unit to assist research and identify alternative resources contacts +

Labor

Negotiating labor agreement with Custodians Association + B

Negotiating labor agreement with the Avon Education Association + B

Negotiating labor agreement with school health professionals +

Reviewed and revised a large number of district job descriptions to incorporate a standardized format +

Reviewed, revised and standardized contracts (language and benefits) for all unaffiliated district staff +

Reviewed and negotiated stipends all non-athletic co-curricular positions +

Facilities

Replaced hallway flooring at AMS, RBS, PGS *

Began incremental classroom flooring conversions from carpet to VCT tile at AMS, RBS and PGS *

Asbestos abatement in one (1) classroom *

Installed exterior staircase from parking area to lower athletic fields/track area at AHS * T

Installed window in conference room at PGS *

Resurfaced all gymnasium floors in the district *

Completed many ADA compliance corrections required (fire alarms, classroom doors) at AHS *

Ordered remote controlled door hardware to allow handicapped access in all schools *

Ductwork projects at RBS & PGS *

Repaired heat valves in Main Office at AMS *

Renovated baseball field at AHS +

Installed scoreboard on field hockey field at AHS +

Installed fire doors (4) at AMS *

Resurfaced walls in counseling office at AMS *

Cleanup and restoration due to water damage at PGS *

Key

B - Board of Education

T - Town staff

+ - District staff

* - Contracted work

 

Please accept my best wishes for a great week and a great start to the 2012-2013 school year.

Thank you for your continued support.

I remain very truly yours,

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

 

Avon Public Schools Strategic Plan (Posted 7/3/2012)

Mission

Our mission is to inspire in each student a joy and passion for learning and a commitment to excellence, personal integrity, and social responsibility.

Statement of Beliefs

We educate students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically to acquire knowledge and skills, to develop creativity and character, and to pursue their interests, realize their potential, and meet the challenges in a constantly changing world.

We believe that …..

- A high quality education is fundamental to create a life with purpose, meaning, and happiness.

- Educated people of good character are essential to democracy.

- Public education is a responsibility shared by students, parents, school personnel, and community members.

- Trust and respect are prerequisites for sustaining and improving safe and successful schools.

- Critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and innovation are essential.

- All people have value and should be treated with dignity and respect.

We are committed to…..

- Clear communication and transparent processes.

- Rigorous, comprehensive, and innovative programs.

- Meeting the needs of all students within local, state, and national requirements.

- Collaboration, professional development, and ethical practice.

- Continuous improvement through systematically assessing our actions and outcomes.

- Using all resources efficiently and effectively to the greatest advantage of all students.


Goals & Strategic Actions

Goal I - Culture

We will:

- Ensure our district culture aligns with our mission and beliefs.

- Model by example our beliefs and professional ethics.

- Create respectful school cultures that foster innovation and excellence.

- Provide meaningful partnerships with schools, families, the local community, and beyond.

- Maintain safe and healthy learning environments.

- Allocate resources and staff efficiently and appropriately to meet the mission of the schools, and local, state, and national requirements.

- Maintain a climate that recognizes the dignity and self-worth of each person.

Goal II - Achievement

We will:

- Create multiple opportunities for students to engage in collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creative expression.

- Develop and implement programs, activities, and experiences to ensure students are prepared for college, career, and life.

- Clearly articulate and implement a Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum that is vertically aligned, rigorous, and relevant.

- Encourage and support students to participate in meaningful community learning and citizenship activities.

- Design, implement, and evaluate teaching and learning to achieve and maintain high standards.

- Provide all students with the opportunity to achieve at their highest levels.

- Align our professional development to meet the needs of all staff in fulfilling their responsibilities and foster continuous improvement.

- Develop and implement plans to integrate evolving technologies to support high quality teaching and learning.

- Foster meaningful connections with alumni to assess their post-secondary success as it reflects on their Avon Public School experience.

Goal III - Communication

We will:

- Communicate regularly with students, parents, school personnel, and community members.

- Provide communication that is purposeful, clear, and concise.

- Identify and utilize a variety of techniques to communicate, inform, educate, and respond to all stakeholders.

- Educate the community on how resources are secured and utilized to operate the schools.

(To download and print a copy of the Strategic Plan, click here)

 

 

May 18 (Posted 5/18/2012)

May 18, 2012

 

 

Greetings on Behalf of the Avon Board of Education: 

As many of you may be aware, the Board of Education commenced a process to develop a new strategic plan for the Avon Public Schools in December of this school year.  Led by the district’s central administration and two very reputable facilitators, Richard Sugarman, Founder and President of the Connecticut Forum and George Goens, Ph.D., a renowned leadership consultant, author and retired superintendent of schools from the state of Wisconsin, the planning and development process concluded at the April 24th meeting of the Board of Education.  At this meeting, the Board of Education adopted the presented plan by unanimous vote and charged the Superintendent of Schools and district staff to implement the plan.

The following is a summary of milestone activities that resulted in a final plan of which we, as a community, should all be very proud.

                                                                                                                        Action                                                                                                            

District Administration prepares for planning - October 1 – 31, 2011
Review system capacity and design features

Board of Education & Superintendent confirm commitment to planning - October 18, 2011
Identify external facilitator for Public Awareness Sessions (Facilitator - Richard Sugarman, President of the Connecticut Forum).
Identify internal facilitators for planning sessions - George Goens, Ph.D. & Gary S. Mala, Superintendent of Schools

Superintendent builds Strategic Planning Team and Extend Invitations - By November 1, 2011
School district and community representatives

Superintendent and Internal Facilitator conduct first planning session - December 14, 2011, AHS Community Room, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Communicate specifics of planning model                                                    
Review previous Strategic Plan and evaluation of Plan                                            
Initiate Collection of existing data for purposes of identifying organization “Quality Indicators”
Review School Improvement Plans
Initiate Public Survey

Superintendent reaffirms commencement of planning activities -January 2012
Via Weekly Message

Public Awareness Sessions (facilitated public input sessions) - January 4, 2012, AHS Auditorium, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Public Awareness Sessions (facilitated public input sessions) - January 9, 2012, AHS Auditorium, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Public Awareness Sessions (facilitated public input sessions) - January 12, 2012, Town Hall /Council Chambers, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Superintendent and Internal Facilitator conduct second planning session - January 28, 2012, AHS Community Room, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Review input from Public Awareness Sessions                                                         
Identify the following:                                                                                  
1.      Mission (aspirations of the district)
2.      Beliefs (formal expression of values, non-negotiable ethical principles, convictions & moral imperatives)
3.      Commitments (specific results the organization is committed to achieving)
4.      Strategic Actions (specifics describing resource deployment to achieve mission and objectives)
5.      Identify Quality Indicators for future data collection

Central Administration and Internal Facilitator conduct third planning session - February 11, 2012 AHS Community Room, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Committee continues work as outlined                                                                     

Central Administration and Internal Facilitator conduct planning session with identified Subcommittee - February 27, 2012, Central Office, 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Review draft documents and revise as necessary                                                      

Central Administration and Internal Facilitator conduct fourth planning session - March 2, 2012, AHS Community Room, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Review draft documents and revise as necessary                                                      

Central Administration and Internal Facilitator conduct fifth planning session - March 26, 2012, AHS Community Room, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Review draft documents and revise as necessary                                                      

Draft Strategic Plan presented to the Board of Education - April 24, 2012, AHS Community Room, 7:00 p.m.    
Board reviews Final Draft of Strategic Plan                                                 
Administration prepares for implementation                                                 

As you can well imagine, this product is the direct result of many hours of discussion and reflection on how best to define what we can all point to as the unique foundation upon which the work of the Avon Public Schools may continue to build upon in the immediate future.  It is with our thanks and gratitude that the Board of Education recognizes the following individuals as members of the Strategic Plan Central Planning Committee:

Jason Beaudin - Principal of Avon High School

Joanne Beers - President of Avon Education Foundation

Abha Bernard - Representative of CC4A

Crisanne Colgan - Principal of Roaring Brook School

John Czepiel - President of Avon Education Association

Gail Dahling-Hench - Principal of Pine Grove School

Patricia DeRossi - Nurse, Supervisor of APS Health Services

Jane DeSimone - Teacher, Pine Grove School

Jamie DiPace - Avon Fire Marshal & Director of Emergency Mgt.

Marco Famiglietti - Principal of Avon Middle School

Gwendolyn Hahn - Parent & Representative of Dollars for Scholars

Thomas Harrison - Chairman of Avon Board of Finance

William Hickey - Director of Pupil Services

Wendy Howard - Member, Avon Board of Education & President of AHS PTO

Randy Leaning - Parent

Houston Putnam Lowry - Member, Avon Board of Education

John  Mason - Teacher, Avon Middle School

Donna Nestler-Rusack - Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

Michael Netkovick - Teacher, Thompson Brook School

William Newman - Representative of local Veterans of Foreign Wars

Lou Pellegrino - Teacher, Avon High School

Ann Perrault - Teacher, Pine Grove & Roaring Brook Schools

Peggy Roell - Chairperson of Avon Board of Education

Ames Shea - Member, Avon Board of Education

John Spang, Jr. - Director of Finance and Operations

Florence Stahl - Director of Avon Taxpayers Association

Magda Stayton - Parent

Virginia Vocelli - Director of Avon Free Public Library

Anne Watson - Principal of Thompson Brook School

Attached to this letter are the Strategic Plan, which includes the District Mission Statement, Belief Statement and Goals & Strategic Actions as approved by the Board of Education.  In the very near future, the district leadership team will be preparing the various strategic action steps necessary to implement this plan.  Additionally, the district leadership team will be meeting with various community and school-based groups for the purpose of sharing the specifics of the Strategic Plan’s implementation. 

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Gary S. Mala, Superintendent of Schools at (860) 404-4700.

 Thank you for your continued support of your schools and we look forward to continuing our work together with the spirit of cooperation and good will.

 Very truly yours,

The Avon Board of Education

Peggy Roell, Chairperson                     Jeff Bernetich              Ames Shea

Bill Stokesbury, Vice-Chairperson       Brian Glenn                 Jay Spivak

Houston Putnam-Lowry, Secretary      Wendy Howard           Kathy Zirolli

 

 

Avon Public Schools

Strategic Plan

 

 Mission

Our mission is to inspire in each student a joy and passion for learning and a commitment to excellence, personal integrity, and social responsibility.

Statement of Beliefs

We educate students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically to acquire knowledge and skills, to develop creativity and character, and to pursue their interests, realize their potential, and meet the challenges in a constantly changing world.

 We believe that …..

  • § A high quality education is fundamental to create a life with purpose, meaning, and happiness.
  • § Educated people of good character are essential to democracy.
  • § Public education is a responsibility shared by students, parents, school personnel, and community members.
  • § Trust and respect are prerequisites for sustaining and improving safe and successful schools.
  • § Critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and innovation are essential.
  • § All people have value and should be treated with dignity and respect.

We are committed to…..

  • § Clear communication and transparent processes.
  • § Rigorous, comprehensive, and innovative programs.
  • § Meeting the needs of all students within local, state, and national requirements.
  • § Collaboration, professional development, and ethical practice.
  • § Continuous improvement through systematically assessing our actions and outcomes.
  • § Using all resources efficiently and effectively to the greatest advantage of all students.


Goals & Strategic Actions

Goal I:  Culture

We will:

  • § Ensure our district culture aligns with our mission and beliefs.
  • § Model by example our beliefs and professional ethics.
  • § Create respectful school cultures that foster innovation and excellence.
  • § Provide meaningful partnerships with schools, families, the local community, and beyond.
  • § Maintain safe and healthy learning environments.
  • § Allocate resources and staff efficiently and appropriately to meet the mission of the schools, and local, state, and national requirements.
  • § Maintain a climate that recognizes the dignity and self-worth of each person.

Goal II.  Achievement

We will:

  • § Create multiple opportunities for students to engage in collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creative expression.
  • § Develop and implement programs, activities, and experiences to ensure students are prepared for college, career, and life.
  • § Clearly articulate and implement a Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum that is vertically aligned, rigorous, and relevant.
  • § Encourage and support students to participate in meaningful community learning and citizenship activities.
  • § Design, implement, and evaluate teaching and learning to achieve and maintain high standards.
  • § Provide all students with the opportunity to achieve at their highest levels.
  • § Align our professional development to meet the needs of all staff in fulfilling their responsibilities and foster continuous improvement.
  • § Develop and implement plans to integrate evolving technologies to support high quality teaching and learning.
  • § Foster meaningful connections with alumni to assess their post-secondary success as it reflects on their Avon Public School experience.

Goal III.  Communication

We will:

  • § Communicate regularly with students, parents, school personnel, and community members.
  • § Provide communication that is purposeful, clear, and concise.
  • § Identify and utilize a variety of techniques to communicate, inform, educate, and respond to all stakeholders.
  • § Educate the community on how resources are secured and utilized to operate the schools.

 

 

Board of Education's Letter (Posted 5/18/2012)

May 18, 2012

 

 

Greetings on Behalf of the Avon Board of Education: 

As many of you may be aware, the Board of Education commenced a process to develop a new strategic plan for the Avon Public Schools in December of this school year.  Led by the district’s central administration and two very reputable facilitators, Richard Sugarman, Founder and President of the Connecticut Forum and George Goens, Ph.D., a renowned leadership consultant, author and retired superintendent of schools from the state of Wisconsin, the planning and development process concluded at the April 24th meeting of the Board of Education.  At this meeting, the Board of Education adopted the presented plan by unanimous vote and charged the Superintendent of Schools and district staff to implement the plan.

The following is a summary of milestone activities that resulted in a final plan of which we, as a community, should all be very proud.

Action:                                                                                                                                                   

District Administration prepares for planning - October 1-31, 2011
Review system capacity and design features

Board of Education & Superintendent confirm commitment to planning - October 18, 2011
Identify external facilitator for Public Awareness Sessions (Facilitator - Richard Sugarman, President of the Connecticut Forum).
Identify internal facilitators for planning sessions - George Goens, Ph.D. & Gary S. Mala, Superintendent of Schools

Superintendent builds Strategic Planning Team and Extend Invitations -By November 1, 2011
S
chool district and community representatives

Superintendent and Internal Facilitator conduct first planning session - December 14, 2011, AHS Community Room, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Communicate specifics of planning model
Review previous Strategic Plan and evaluation of Plan
Initiate Collection of existing data for purposes of identifying organization “Quality Indicators”
Review School Improvement Plans
Initiate Public Survey

Superintendent reaffirms commencement of planning activities - January 2012
Via Weekly Message

Public Awareness Sessions (facilitated public input sessions) - January 4, 2012, AHS Auditorium, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Public Awareness Sessions (facilitated public input sessions) - January 9, 2012, AHS Auditorium, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Public Awareness Sessions (facilitated public input sessions) - January 12, 2012, Town Hall /Council Chambers, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Superintendent and Internal Facilitator conduct second planning session - January 28, 2012, AHS Community Room, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Review input from Public Awareness Sessions
Identify the following:                                                                                                                       
1.       Mission (aspirations of the district)
2.       Beliefs (formal expression of values, non-negotiable ethical principles, convictions & moral imperatives)
3.       Commitments (specific results the organization is committed to achieving)
4.       Strategic Actions (specifics describing resource deployment to achieve mission and objectives)
5.       Identify Quality Indicators for future data collection

Central Administration and Internal Facilitator conduct third planning session -February 11, 2012, AHS Community Room, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Committee continues work as outlined                                                                                    ,

Central Administration and Internal Facilitator conduct planning session with identified Subcommittee - February 27, 2012, Central Office, 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Review draft documents and revise as necessary                                                                       

Central Administration and Internal Facilitator conduct fourth planning session - March 2, 2012, AHS Community Room, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Review draft documents and revise as necessary                                                                      

Central Administration and Internal Facilitator conduct fifth planning session - March 26, 2012, AHS Community Room, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Review draft documents and revise as necessary                                                                         

Draft Strategic Plan presented to the Board of Education - April 24, 2012, AHS Community Room, 7:00 p.m.
Board reviews Final Draft of Strategic Plan                                                                               
Administration prepares for implementation                                                                                

As you can well imagine, this product is the direct result of many hours of discussion and reflection on how best to define what we can all point to as the unique foundation upon which the work of the Avon Public Schools may continue to build upon in the immediate future.  It is with our thanks and gratitude that the Board of Education recognizes the following individuals as members of the Strategic Plan Central Planning Committee:

Jason Beaudin - Principal of Avon High School

Joanne Beers - President of Avon Education Foundation

Abha Bernard - Representative of CC4A

Crisanne Colgan - Principal of Roaring Brook School

John Czepiel - President of Avon Education Association

Gail Dahling-Hench - Principal of Pine Grove School

Patricia DeRossi - Nurse, Supervisor of APS Health Services

Jane DeSimone - Teacher, Pine Grove School

Jamie DePace - Avon Fire Marshal & Director of Emergency Management

Marco Famiglietti - Principal of Avon Middle School

Gwendolyn Hahn - Parent & Representative of Dollars for Scholars

Thomas Harrison - Chairman of Avon Board of Finance

William Hickey - Director of Pupil Services

Wendy Howard - Member, Avon Board of Education & President of AHS PTO

Randy Leaning - Parent

Houston Putnam Lowry - Member, Avon Board of Education

John Mason - Teacher, Avon Middle School

Donna Nestler-Rusack - Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

Michael Netkovick - Teacher, Thompson Brook School

William Newman - Representative of local Veterans of Foreign Wars

Lou Pellegrino - Teacher, Avon High School

Ann Perrault - Teacher, Pine Grove and Roaring Brook Schools

Peggy Roell - Chairperson of Avon Board of Education

Ames Shea - Member, Avon Board of Education

John Spang, Jr. - Director of Finance and Operations

Florence Stahl - Director of Avon Taxpayers Association

Magda Stayton - Parent

Virginia Vocelli - Director of Avon Free Public Library

Anne Watson - Principal of Thompson Brook School

Attached to this letter is the Strategic Plan, which includes the District Mission Statement, Belief Statement and Goals & Strategic Actions as approved by the Board of Education.  In the very near future, the district leadership team will be preparing the various strategic action steps necessary to implement this plan.  Additionally, the district leadership team will be meeting with various community and school-based groups for the purpose of sharing the specifics of the Strategic Plan’s implementation. 

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Gary S. Mala, Superintendent of Schools at (860) 404-4700.

Thank you for your continued support of your schools and we look forward to continuing our work together with the spirit of cooperation and good will.

 Very truly yours,

The Avon Board of Education

Peggy Roell, Chairperson                     Jeff Bernetich              Ames Shea

Bill Stokesbury, Vice-Chairperson       Brian Glenn                 Jay Spivak

Houston Putnam-Lowry, Secretary       Wendy Howard           Kathy Zirolli

  

 

Superintendent's Special Thanks (Posted 5/18/2012)

May 17, 2012

 

Dear Parents and Residents: 

It is with gratitude and appreciation that I send this message to thank you for your support for the 2012-2013 budget.  As I am sure you are aware, the Town of Avon budget, which includes the Board of Education operating budget, was passed last evening at referendum.

I appreciate and encourage your continued participation in our democracy by taking time to vote each and every time you have an opportunity to do so.

As we work to conclude a school year that I can best describe as a productive one, we look forward with a sense of great hope and optimism for all that is yet to come. 

As always, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (860) 404-4700.

Thank you for supporting your schools and for the honor of leading them.

 

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala , Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Superintendent's Message for May 11, 2011 (Posted 5/11/2012)

May 11, 2012

 

 

Greetings Once Again: 

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the Spring season during these last months of the school year.

As many of you are aware, the Annual Town Budget Meeting was held this past Monday evening.  During this meeting, the Town Council, Board of Finance and Board of Education presented information regarding the 2012-2013 Proposed Operating Budget.

For purposes of keeping you informed and providing you direct access to the information presented at the meeting, I have attached four (4) documents to this communication.  The documents include a presentation of Town 2012-2013 proposed operating budget (excluding the Board of Education proposed budget), a presentation of 2012-2013 Board of Education proposed operating budget, the summary presentation of 2012-2013 Board of Finance recommended budget and a one page composite of the 2012-2013 proposed budget entitled Town of Avon - Budget Summary.

This Proposed Budget is scheduled to be voted on by Avon residents at referendum next Wednesday, May 16th between 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Avon Senior Center.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

 

 

 

Superintendent's Message for April 22, 2012 (Posted 4/22/2012)

April 22, 2012

 

Greetings Once Again: 

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the beginning of the Spring season even with the abbreviated Spring recess.

As many of you are aware, the training of all staff (frequently referred to as professional development) is at the heart of any successful organization.  Investment in people and their professional skills is an important variable to ensuring the continued success of our students and directly impacts their access to high quality teaching and learning.  To that end, the district incorporates professional development days into each year’s school calendar and is beginning to plan on how best to expand training opportunities to non-certified staff that have traditionally been excluded in the past.  While these scheduled times in each year’s school calendar by no means reflect the extent of the training opportunities extended to our staff, they do account for common times either by school or discipline, where we can bring staff together to provide the training we believe necessary to positively impact all teaching and learning in the district. 

The rationale that underscores professional development in the Avon Public Schools includes but is not limited to the following points:

  1. - Provides the essential time to work collaboratively with colleagues to examine and reflect on our day-to-day practices and data that we have collected to inform and make any necessary additions, modifications, or in some cases elimination, to our instruction, activities, or programs. 
  2. - Allows for systemic engagement in continuous improvement efforts.
  3. - Allows us to examine and refine or define our curriculum both vertically & horizontally.
  4. - Provides the time necessary to further develop our professional skills as identified.


Under the supervision of Donna Nestler-Rusack, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, the following sessions were offered during the most recent professional development half-day held on March 23rd:

Roaring Brook School 

Interactive resources for math intervention and enrichment activities to support and enhance grade level curriculum

Pine Grove School

Examine teaching methods such as determining readability index, developing number sense and research opportunities to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards

Thompson Brook School

Review and analyze reading data to inform instruction and formulate interventions in reading

Avon Middle School

Review and analysis of academic interventions - determine efficacy, make modifications, additions or deletions to interventions or systems presently being employed.

Music – identify specific student skills concepts and understanding with critical transition points for K-12

Avon High School

Engage in New England Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation standards work, discuss indicators and determine what data/artifacts have been collected and identify what is still required

Counseling Staff Kindergarten through Grade 12

Identify and document what is currently taught at each grade level to develop a school counseling scope and sequence; preliminary discussion regarding Naviance system

Art Staff Kindergarten through Grade 12

ARTistic users of Smartboards – specific training to develop skills in interactive smartboard technology and integrating it into classroom instruction for Art

Physical Education Staff Grades 2 through Grade 12       

Learn paddle tennis skills and game modifications for grades 3 and up

TEAM (Teacher Education and Mentoring Program – New teacher training required by state statute)

Enhance understanding of professional responsibilities for educators and consequences for inappropriate actions posed through various scenarios that present ethical and professional dilemmas faced by educators today

You can see upon examining the list of professional development opportunities, the offerings were comprehensive and broad-based.  It is our hope that in the future, we will expand upon each to continue to develop a sustained commitment to this necessary and valuable work. 

As always, we will keep you informed about the many features that are being developed in our school district to initiate, maintain and sustain the level of change necessary to meet the challenges of the ever changing educational needs of our children.   

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning” 

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message for 032012 (Posted 3/20/2012)

March 19, 2012

 

Greetings Once Again: 

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the recent stretch of unusually warm weather.  This is a welcomed change if you consider the weather we experienced a year ago.

As announced in a previous weekly message, a committee of dedicated parents, staff and administrators has been working since January for the purpose of updating the strategic plan for the district.  I cannot over emphasize the importance that such a document has on the planning and decision making of an organization and in our case, Avon Public Schools.  We continue the work associated with this initiative and are eager to present a final product to the Board of Education in the very near future.

Throughout the strategic planning process, the committee discussed the manner in which the progress of our schools can be assessed over time.  Assessment would be used to reference both student performance levels as well as means by which we may determine the impact of both organizational and programmatic efforts.  These conversations led to the development of a rudimentary list of “Quality Indicators.”  These longitudinal data points, once finalized, will be reviewed at regular intervals and will be used to guide all of the work of the school district in the future.  In simple terms, this data will serve as a “district report card” of sorts.

The following is the list of data indicators currently being considered:

Athletics and Activities Indicators

AHS Co-Curricular Program Enrollments (Athletic and Non-Athletic)

AMS Co-Curricular Program Enrollments (Athletic and Non-Athletic)

Academic Indicators

CMT and Longitudinal Report

CAPT and Longitudinal Report

Percentage of students meeting or exceeding physical fitness standards

Reading CMT

Writing CMT

Mathematics CMT

Science CMT

Overall CMT

Reading CAPT – Grade 10

Mathematics CAPT- Grade 10

Writing CAPT – Grade 10

Science CAPT – Grade 10

Overall CAPT – Grade 10

Percentage of students pursuing higher education

Students accepted at Barron’s Tier I colleges and universities

SAT performance scores in Reading, Writing and Math

ACT results

Percentage of students completing Algebra I by the end of grade 8

Percentage of students completing Algebra II

Percentage of students completing fourth year of World Language

Number of students in engineering program at Avon High School

Percentage of students completing four years of Visual Arts/Performing Arts at Avon High School

Number of students completing an internship experience

Climate / Culture Indicators

Disciplinary offences

Bullying reports

Student attendance rates

Staff attendance rates

Aggregate hours of student community service

Number of participants in school-based service clubs and/or activities

Number of volunteers by location

Teaching and Learning Indicators

Progress review of Curriculum Revision Schedule 2011-2016

Actions advanced by Curriculum Professional Development Council

Actions advanced by Technology Council

Students per academic computer

Enrollments and Class Size Indicators

AHS enrollments by course and section

AMS class enrollments by course and section

CHOICE enrollment summary (3 years)

Class size (by grade and section) longitudinal summary

English Language Learner student enrollment longitudinal summary

Grade 8 to grade 9 disenrollment summary report (3 years)

Facility Indicators

Capital Budget summary

Progress notes on district facilities plan

District work orders

Financial Data Indicators

Net expenditures per pupil

Special education expenditures as percent of BOE budget

Expenditure distribution summary

Economic efficiencies summary

Maintaining Safe, Clean and Healthy School Buildings

Actions of district safety committee

Number and incidents (K-12)

Total OSHA cases with days missed from work (calendar year)

Average score on semi-annual health inspections of school cafeterias (out of possible 100)

Percent of school lunch participation

Food services total sales volume

Operational Indicators

School attendance

Technology Indicators

District technology plan

District technology inventory

District fixed assets inventory

Other Quality Indicators

Special education identification rate

Survey of Avon graduates

Percentage of students completing various levels of higher education

Number and percentage of students changing colleges

Percentage of students employed subsequent to college (employed in CT, employed in Avon)

Annual public surveys (students, parents, residents)

One of the most notable of the Quality Indicators is actively surveying our graduates after they have completed a number of years of higher education and have entered the work force.  Using social media platforms to contact our past students, we hope to learn what aspects of the Avon public education assisted them with meeting success in college and beyond.  We will also inquire of our graduates what areas they believe Avon could improve in to help prepare students to be successful beyond high school.

As you can see from the working list above, we are committed to actively seeking information to better assist us with advancing the high quality work being completed in all of our schools.  It is my belief that the use of multiple data sources will greatly assist us with establishing the necessary priorities to advance our efforts.  Collecting and using data within the context of implementing a comprehensive strategic plan is primary to organize and focus our work for the betterment of all children.  I look forward to sharing with you soon the vision of what this document will represent for our children and our schools.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message for 030212 (Posted 3/2/2012)

March 1, 2012

Greetings Once Again: 

It is hard to believe that the first half of this school year has already passed.  I continue to be amazed by all of the accomplishments achieved by our students in our schools each day.  We continue to be fortunate to have children who are ready and eager to learn while being taught by great professionals in a community that respects and values education.

At this time each year, I usually take a step back and reflect on what we have accomplished for children.  I immediately follow this reflective moment by asking the question - What are the necessary next steps to advance our work on their behalf?  I have taken time to reflect and I wish to share some of my thoughts about where we are and where we are headed over the next few months. 

  • At the district level offices, we have recruited and retained an Interim Director of Finance and Operations and Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Teaching and Learning as well as replacements to critical support for these two positions including support for me as Superintendent of Schools.
  • We have implemented a new method for preparing and displaying the school district’s budget to ensure maximum transparency and information with respect to both revenues and expenditures and its impact on the budget.
  • We have been granted the requisite approvals to secure and install new financial software that will complement our budget process.  This software will be in place for use with the commencement of the next fiscal year.
  • We are in the final stages of preparing a comprehensive technology plan.  Included in this will be an identified technology acquisition plan as well as an incremental financing plan that will minimize the financial impact to annual operating budgets.
  • We have simplified and are limiting our work at the present time to the areas that have been identified as the highest priorities.  They are presented below:
      1. We have engaged and are nearing completion of a strategic planning initiative that includes representatives from various groups in our community. This plan will guide the work of the district over the next few years and will serve as the basis upon which decisions will be made in the future.
      2. We are expanding the membership of the District Curriculum Professional Development Council and renewing its charge.
      3. We are focusing a representative kindergarten through grade 12 team to revise the English Language Arts and Mathematics curricula.  This is the first step toward implementing a comprehensive, multi-year, curriculum review and revision schedule.
      4. We are expanding the membership of the Technology Council and renewing its charge.
      5. We are considering options on how to provide more direct technology support (technical support and training) at each school in the district and will present a recommendation in the very near future.
      6. We are reviewing every operational process in the district and making changes to ensure efficiency and maximization of resources.
      7. We have committed to providing additional training in the use of the technology based systems used in the district for such things as staff time and attendance, student data management, student scheduling, and staff professional development.
      8. We have implemented additional vehicles to improve communication.

While this list may seem to be somewhat lengthy when you view it in the aggregate, it is one that is achievable and one that will maintain the focus of our work in the immediate future.  All of what has been listed will provide a new foundation upon which we will build the Avon Public Schools.

Last and certainly not least, I wish to recognize the efforts of all of the district staff and parents, residents and concerned citizens as we work together to transition our schools to be sanctuaries where all students can and will learn at the highest levels.  I continue to have the good fortune of seeing this on a daily basis. 

Research shows that the success of our children in school is directly attributable to many variables. Some of these variables include supportive parents who are active in their child’s education, a talented and committed staff, a community that recognizes the importance of a quality education and district systems that keep children and their needs as the single highest priority.  I am pleased to say that we have all of the necessary ingredients to help our children succeed and I look forward with a sense of great optimism about our continued work together.  

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Superintendent's Weekly Message (Posted 1/19/2012)

February 15, 2012

 

Greetings once again: 

Recently, a number of individuals and groups associated with the district inquired about my vision for technology in our schools.  As you are aware, the district has been able to secure technology by including funding for leasing in the annual operating budgets.  We have spent a great deal of time over the past few months reviewing the district’s inventory and assessing the needs for technology to enable more efficient and blended teaching.  We have also been identifying long term acquisition strategies to minimize the annual impact of securing the necessary technology for our schools.  We are, and will continue to be, grateful to the entire community for its understanding and support in investing in the technology that is now essential for successful teaching and learning.

With that said, I am pleased to provide you with, what I see as Superintendent, the vision for technology in our district.  This information has been shared with the members of the district Technology Council as they prepare the required State Technology Plan on behalf of the Avon Public Schools.  I have also shared this information with the district Leadership Team as well as with the various groups that continue to support the district by making grants available for proposed projects – technology based and non-technology based.

As you read this information, please understand that it remains flexible and subject to change depending on progress made at different intervals.  These steps will be achieved by thoughtfully reviewing existing resources and making requests for resources that are reasonable and incremental on inception.

 

VISION FOR TECHNOLOGY (click here to download) 

 

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools
gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

 

Superintendent's Letter to the Community (Posted 1/11/2012)

January 11, 2012

Greetings Once Again:

I hope this message finds you enjoying a productive new week.

This past Saturday, the Board of Education reorganized itself as a part of an established process that follows the November municipal election in which four new members were elected to the Board. Below, please find a summary of the officers of the Board of Education as well as its reconfigured subcommittees. Included with the membership listing of each Subcommittee is a brief summary of the focused activities associated with each.

Officers

Chairperson:  Peggy Roell

Vice-Chairperson: William Stokesbury

Secretary: Houston Putnam Lowry

Board Subcommittees

Alternative Funding Committee

Jay Spivak, Chairperson

Brian Glenn

Wendy Howard

Establish and maintain a regular meeting scheduleResearch, review, identify, and recommend alternate funding sources for pursuit by the administration

Audit Committee

Houston Putnam Lowry, Chairperson

Brian Glenn

Peggy Roell

Review annual audit and accompanying letters

Review any necessary corrective action plans developed in response to annual auditReview randomly selected district financial transactions as identifiedWork cooperatively with Board of Finance as requested and/or necessary

Budget Committee

William Stokesbury, Chairperson

Committee of the whole

With the assistance of the Superintendent of Schools and Director of Finance, the Budget Subcommittee will:

Review Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

Develop annual Board of Education Proposed Budget

Capital Budget Committee

William Stokesbury, Chairperson

Jeff Bernetich

Jay Spivak

Katharine Zirolli

Review Superintendent’s Proposed Capital Budget

Develop annual Board of Education Proposed Capital Budget

Communications Committee

Jeff Bernetich

Wendy Howard

Ames Shea

Publish Board of Education NewsletterDevelop and publish an annual list of district accomplishmentsCommunicate events associated with District Strategic PlanDevelop and implement communication strategies for use with educating the public regarding the Board of Education Proposed Budget

Finance Committee

Katharine Zirolli, Chairperson

Peggy Roell

Jay Spivak

Review financial status of district on a monthly basisReview all budget, line item transfer requests under $5,000Review and approve all budget, line item transfer requests in the amount of $5,000 or more

Negotiations Committee

Bill Stokesbury, Chairperson

Ames Shea

Wendy Howard

Negotiate labor agreements with the following groups

Para-Educators

Administrators

Custodians

Certified Staff

Review and approve revised job descriptions as developed by the Superintendent of Schools

Policy Committee

Katharine Zirolli, Chairperson

Jeff Bernetich

Houston Putnam Lowry

Commence review of existing Board of Education policies and advance revisions as neededDevelop, approve and present for full Board consideration new and revised policies necessary to comply with laws passed in 2011 legislative session (Bullying, Safe School Climate, Secondary School Reform)

Strategic Planning Committee

Wendy Howard

Houston Putnam-Lowry

Peggy Roell

Ames Shea

Serve as representatives of the Board of Education on the Strategic Planning Committee

As with other information, periodic summaries of the activities of each Subcommittee will be maintained on the Avon Public Schools website under the Board of Education link.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Strategic Planning Public Input Sessions (Posted 1/6/2012)

To Residents of Avon (posted January 6, 2012):

Public Input Sessions

Over the next four months, we will be soliciting your valued input and constructing a strategic plan for the Avon Public School System for the next five years. In order to accomplish this, we are hosting public input sessions and we need your participation. We hosted our first successful session on Wednesday, January 4th and look forward to your participation in the last two:

Monday January 9th, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. in the AHS Auditorium
Thursday, January 12th, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. in the Town Hall Council Chambers

We have the rare opportunity to have Richard Sugarman, Founder and President of the Connecticut Forum, facilitating these public input sessions.  As you prepare your thoughts for these sessions, please consider the following:

What do you value most about our school system?

Where do you think improvements can be made to enhance the quality of education and the overall student experience?

Strategic Planning Survey Information

In addition to gathering public input through these sessions, we have also posted an anonymous survey which you can access at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B7QW9GJ

We hope that you will attend one of the last two public input sessions and complete the anonymous electronic survey. Your input is valued as it will provide focus for the work of the Strategic Planning Committee and the future of the Avon Public Schools.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools
gmala@avon.k12.ct.us
“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Superintendent's Weekly Letter (Posted 1/5/2012)

January 3, 2012

Greetings for a Happy and Healthy New Year:

I hope this message finds you well and having enjoyed a joyous holiday season with family members. On behalf of the entire school district community, I wish you the best in 2012 and look forward to our continued work together.

Prior to the break, I provided you with information announcing the district’s commencement with the first meeting of a Strategic Planning Committee. As explained, the charge of this Committee is to formulate and recommend a Strategic Plan to the Board of Education for its consideration. The Plan is intended to provide the vision for our schools in the immediate future.

In an attempt to provide multiple opportunities and venues in which we may secure your thoughts for our next Strategic Plan, the following, facilitated Public Input Sessions are scheduled. The first session is scheduled for Wednesday evening of this week in the auditorium at Avon High School.

Please consider attending one or more of these sessions to share your ideas with us.

Public Input Sessions (Facilitated by Richard Sugarman, Founder and President of the Connecticut Forum)

January 4, 2012        Avon High School Auditorium 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

January 9, 2012        Avon High School Auditorium 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

January 12, 2012      Town Hall /Council Chambers 9:30 –11:00 a.m.

In addition to these facilitated sessions, there will also be an electronic survey distributed to you and other residents by the end of this week via the district communication system. Please be sure to take a few moments to share your thoughts by responding to the survey questions. The results of the survey will be compiled and shared with the Strategic Planning Committee to inform its work.

Once again, on behalf of the Board of Education and the entire school district community, I wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year. Thank you for the continued opportunity to work with you to provide an excellent educational experience for all of our children.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Very truly yours,

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Superintendent's Weekly Letter (Posted 12/19/2011)

I am pleased to once again communicate with you and hope this message finds you having enjoyed another weekend preparing for the holiday season.

Last week, the district commenced meeting with a Strategic Planning Committee whose charge is to work as a unit to formulate and recommend a strategic plan to the Board of Education for its consideration. The strategic plan is intended to guide the work of the district over the next five years and will be instrumental in providing the vision for our schools in the immediate future. I am very pleased to be working with the following team members on this very important initiative.

Jason Beaudin, Principal of Avon High School
Joanne Beers, President of Avon Education Foundation
Abha Bernard, Representative of CC4A
Brandon Robertson, Town Manager
Crisanne Colgan, Ph.D., Principal of Roaring Brook School
John Czepiel, President of Avon Education Association
Gail Dahling-Hench, Principal of Pine Grove School
Patricia DeRossi, Supervisor of Health Services
Jamie DiPace, Avon Fire Marshal & Director of Emergency Mgt.
Marco Famiglietti, Principal of Avon Middle School
Peter Gaski, Director of Facilities
Gwendolyn Hahn, Parent
Thomas Harrison, Chairman, Avon Board of Finance
William Hickey, Ed.D., Director of Pupil Services
Wendy Howard, Member-Elect, Avon Board of Education
Randy Leaning, Parent
Houston Putnam Lowry, Member, Avon Board of Education
Glenn Marston, Director of Avon Recreation and Parks Dept.
Donna Nestler-Rusack, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
William Newman, Representative of local Veterans’ of Foreign Wars
Newell Porch, Athletic Coordinator of Avon High School
Peggy Roell, Chairperson of Avon Board of Education
Paula Schwartz, Interim Assistant Superintendent of Schools
Ames Shea, Member, Avon Board of Education
John Spang Jr., Director of Finance and Operations
Florence Stahl, Director of Avon Taxpayers Association
Magda Stayton, Parent
Virginia Vocelli, Director of Avon Free Public Library
Anne Watson, Principal of Thompson Brook School

As it works to accomplish its goal of developing a new strategic plan for the district, the committee will follow the schedule listed below:

-Superintendent reaffirms commencement of planning activities January 2012 via Weekly Message

-Hold Public Awareness Sessions (facilitated public input sessions)
January 4, 2012  AHS Auditorium 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
January 9, 2012  AHS Auditorium 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
January 12, 2012  Town Hall /Council Ch. 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

-Superintendent and Internal Facilitator conduct second planning session: January 14, 2012
AHS Community Room 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

-Review input from Public Awareness Sessions and identify the following:
Mission (aspirations of the district)Beliefs (formal expression of values, non-negotiable ethical principles, convictions & moral imperatives)Strategic Parameters (self-imposed limitations, boundaries)Review collected dataCritical IssuesObjectives (specific results the organization is committed to achieving)Strategies to achieve Objectives (broad statements describing resource deployment to achieve mission and objectives).  Identify Action Teams

-Superintendent and Internal Facilitator conduct third planning session February 11, 2012 AHS Community Room 8:30 a.m.– 3:00 p.m.

-Superintendent and Internal Facilitator conduct fourth planning session March 2, 2012 AHS Community Room 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

-Draft Strategic Plan Review - Meeting of the Board of Education March 20, 2012  AHS Community Room 7:00 p.m.

-Approval of Strategic Plan - Meeting of the Board of Education April 24, 2012 AHS Community Room 7:00 p.m.

Your input is imperative to the success of this project and a number of venues have been planned to secure your thoughts and comments about your school district. In addition to the date of the planned public input sessions, an electronic survey will be sent to you and other residents or our community. Please be sure to attend a scheduled session and complete the survey you will receive by email. The dates for the facilitated public input sessions are as follows.

January 4, 2012 in AHS Auditorium 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

January 9, 2012 in AHS Auditorium 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

January 12, 2012 at Town Hall /Council Ch. 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Last and certainly not least, I have attached to this correspondence the resume of Richard Sugarman, Founder and President of the Connecticut Forum, who has been secured as the facilitator of the Public Input Sessions. I am very pleased Richard has agreed to assist us in this most valuable process.

On behalf of the entire school district community, I wish you and your family the most joyous of holiday seasons and a happy and healthy new year.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Gary
Superintendent of Schools
gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Biographical Summary for Richard Sugarman

Richard Sugarman has a varied background including corporate management, investment experience, extensive community engagement work, and an education in psychology and community mental health.

Richard is the Founder and President of The Connecticut Forum, which is an award winning non-profit organization that brings nationally known panelists to Hartford four times a year to discuss a variety of timely and important topics. The audience averages 2600 people and the programs often receive regional and national visibility. The Forum has also developed extensive outreach programming called The Forum Community Institute.

Richard has served on many Boards including The CT Center for School Change, Conn CAN, The Learning Corridor, Police Athletic League, and Planned Parenthood of CT. He has advised and consulted to many organizations including The Melville Charitable Trust, Annie E. Casey Foundation, The CT News Project, The Village for Families and Children, Partnership for Strong Communities, Office of the Child Advocate, The Children’s Trust Fund, and Hartford Public Schools.

In addition to his community work, for 20 years, Richard had a career in the financial services field. He was a senior executive at Salomon Smith Barney and Advest with responsibilities that included CT Division Manager, Headquarters Branch Manager, Director of Employee Training and Professional Development, Corporate Strategic Planning, and Portfolio Management.

Richard has received numerous awards including:
-The Tapestry Award, from The Hartford Courant in 2001, in recognition for bringing diverse communities together
-Community Leader of the Year, from Leadership Greater Hartford in 1997
-The Renaissance Award for Education, from the Hartford Downtown Council in 1994

Richard has a B.S. degree from the University of Miami and a M.S. degree from the University of Maryland. Post-graduate studies include the Post Graduate Center for Mental Health, NYC, and The Family Therapy Institute, New Rochelle, N.Y.

He and his wife Doris live in West Hartford, CT, and have three sons, Skip, Jesse, and Scott.

 

Superintendent's Weekly Letter (Posted 12/13/2011)

December 13, 2011

Greetings:

I am pleased to once again communicate with you and hope this message finds you well, having enjoyed a wonderful weekend preparing for the holiday season.

I am also very pleased to notify you that the Board of Education voted unanimously last evening to appoint Dr. Donna Nestler-Rusack as our Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. Please join me in welcoming Donna to the district.

Dr. Nestler-Rusack’s career as a public school administrator began in 1999 when she was named Assistant Principal of Torrington Middle School in Torrington. In 2001, she was appointed Assistant Principal of King Philip Middle School in West Hartford before being named Administrator for District Improvement there in 2008; the position she currently holds. Prior to her tenure as a public school administrator, Dr. Nestler-Rusack taught strings, orchestra and general music in the Manchester Public Schools from 1988 through 1999, and also served as K-12 Music Department Chairperson there from 1997-1999.

Dr. Nestler-Rusack is a graduate of the University of Hartford where she received her Bachelors’ of Music degrees in Music Education and Performance as well as her Masters of Education in Administration and Supervision. She also earned her Certificate of Advanced Studies in Administration and Supervision and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership through the University’s Educational Leadership department.

The appointment of Dr. Nestler-Rusack by the Board was the final step in an intensive search and selection process that began in August. Following the establishment of a thirteen-member Search and Selection Committee consisting of school and parent volunteers, a community survey was developed and administered publicly. Based on the survey results and a paper screening process, the Committee identified nine candidates to advance to the interview process. The Committee subsequently held three rounds of interviews before moving Dr. Nestler-Rusack forward to the Board for the finalist interview on December 12th.

Dr. Nestler-Rusack will begin her position as the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in early 2012, on a date to be determined.

We are fortunate to have Donna join us in Avon. She has experience from pre-kindergarten through the university level, a depth of knowledge of curriculum and instruction, assessment and professional development, and both the problem solving and interpersonal skills to support the positive work of all district staff. I am also very pleased to have a partner at the district level that shares a common vision and passion for the success of all children and will advance our “New Beginning.”

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Superintendent's Weekly Letter to the Community (Posted 11/28/2011)

November 28, 2011

Greetings:

I am pleased to once again communicate with you and hope this message finds you well, having enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend with family and friends.

As reported previously, I have the good fortune of presenting the 2012-2013 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget to the Board of Education for its consideration on Tuesday evening. All of the documents used or referenced during the presentation will be placed on the district website at www.avon.k12.ct.us so you may stay informed. For those of you who have followed the school district’s budget process closely over the years, you will note a significantly revised process and format this year.

Specifically, the district’s central administration has worked cooperatively with Town officials, various district business office staff and representatives of the auditing firm Blum Shapiro over the past number of months to revise the manner in which revenues and expenditures of the district operating budget are recorded and presented. This has resulted in passage of a policy by the Town’s Finance Board requiring all town department budget expenditures and revenues to be presented and recorded as “gross” amounts. This change results in a revision to the format used to display the school district’s annual budget.

The development of the 2012-2013 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget comes after implementation of the following.

The district implemented a revised schedule and process to develop a Superintendent’s Proposed Budget that included the following steps:Issuance of a standardized budget development format to which each Principal and Department Supervisor was held responsible. This will be further simplified and standardized in subsequent years after the Unifund software conversion is achieved.Individual work sessions were held with each Principal and Department Supervisor to review proposals submitted for consideration.Verification of multiple years of past expenditures by line item.Two Public Input Sessions were hosted for the purpose of seeking input regarding items the public wished to be considered and possibly included in the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget.Follow-up meetings were held with Principals and Department Supervisors as needed.Review of multiple district data points which resulted in the development of a Board of Education Information Packet.

The format of the 2012-2013 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget has been revised to reflect the presentation of expenditures and revenues as described in paragraph 3 above. Specifically, the budget format is now arranged using the following categories in a left to right, horizontal template.

Account

Description ~

Adopted Budget 2011/2012

Adopted Budget (Revised to Gross) 2011/2012 *

Proposed Budget (Gross) 2012/2013

Projected Revenue 2012/2013

Proposed Budget (Net) 2012/2013 +

Gross $ Variance Inc/(Dec)

Gross % Increase +/(-)

~- Few revisions were made to line items (elimination of duplicates and creating new ones) due to the work being completed with respect to overhauling the chart of accounts which will be supported by the Unifund software (financial software).

*- Previously approved Adopted Budget was restated as “gross” to provide an appropriate point of comparison for the 2012-2013 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget.

+ - Amount reflects annual amount impacting tax rate.

As announced in the past and throughout the budget development process, the district will maintain a “Frequently Asked Questions” subsection of the heading of “Budget Information” on the district website. Questions, thoughts and ideas may be sent to 1213budget@avon.k12.ct.us. Also included as a part of the revised budget development process, an additional Public Input Session is scheduled for Thursday, December 1, 2011. This session is being hosted to provide you with an opportunity to express your thoughts and ideas to the Board of Education regarding the 2012-2013 Proposed Budget. The session will begin at 6: 30 p.m. in the Community Room at Avon High School.

This past week saw the close of the fall athletic season at Avon High School. I know for many, including myself, this has been a memorable one with state titles being secured by the boy’s and girls’ cross country programs and the girls’ soccer team. Also witnessed this season were serious runs at state titles made by the field hockey and boys’ soccer teams. I am extremely proud of our children and for all that they have accomplished both on and off the field. I also wish to express my sincerest congratulations to the individual student athletes who achieved All State and All League recognition. In my next Weekly Message, I will specifically highlight these student athletes.

At the last meeting of the Board of Education, two students were recognized for being selected as this year’s recipients of the Farmington Valley Superintendents’ Awards. These prestigious awards are given to students who demonstrate academic scholarship, positive contributions to the student body and community service resulting in the betterment of their schools and community. This year’s recipients are Elle Crane and Megan Foley. Congratulations.

As we come to the close of the first marking period in most of our schools, I wish to also express congratulations to students who achieved honor roll status. Thank you for working diligently to develop your skills and aptitudes under the tutelage of a very talented and committed staff. Best wishes for continued success.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Superintendent's Weekly Letter to the Community (Posted 11/21/2011)

November 21, 2011

Greetings:

I am pleased to once again communicate with you and provide you with an update regarding the most recent events taking place in our schools and school district. This past week, at the regular meeting of the Board of Education, each building leadership team presented its school improvement plan including specific steps to improve student performance levels pursuant to the most recent results received for the Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMT) and Connecticut Academic Performance Tests (CAPT). For your convenience, each presentation has been posted on the school district website under the Curriculum section (Curriculum Presentations). After reviewing the presentations, please feel free to contact each school principal with any questions you may have.

On the evening of November 29th, I will be presenting the 2012-2013 Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for the Board of Education to consider. This is a change from the original date and was delayed due to the school closures that were a result of the recent storm. The other meeting dates associated with the Board’s review of what I will propose and what they will eventually approve as the 2012-2013 Board of Education’s Proposed Budget have been rescheduled. The revised schedule is as follows:

AVON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

2012 - 2013 Board of Education Operating Budget Development Time Line

(Revised November 15, 2011)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 Presentation of the Superintendent’s 2012-2013 Proposed Budget - Special Meeting of the Board of Education

Thursday, December 1, 2011 Community Input Session on the 2012-2013 Proposed Budget

6:30 p.m., AHS, Community Room

Monday, December 5, 2011 Review of Elementary, Middle School, High School, Athletics and Technology requested budgets – Special Meeting of the Board of Education

6:30 p.m., AHS, Community Room

Thursday, December 8, 2011 Review of Pupil Services, Facilities, Food Services and Central Office requested budget – Special Meeting of the Board of Education

6:30 p.m., AHS, Community Room

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 Special Meetings of Board of Education (if needed)

6:30 p.m., AHS, Community Room

Wednesday, December 15, 2011 Special Meetings of Board of Education (if needed)

6:30 p.m., AHS, Community Room

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 Action on 2012-2013 Proposed Budget – Regular Meeting of the Board of Education

Friday, January 20, 2012 Town Manager’s Proposed Operating and Capital Budget submitted to Town Council

Monday, March 26, 2012 Budget work by Town Council completed and Budget submitted to Board of Finance

Monday, April 9, 2012 Public Hearing on Budget held by Board of Finance - not later than three (3) weeks before May 07, 2012 Town Meeting

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 Board of Finance completes work on Budget

Friday, April 27, 2012 Copy of Budget approved by the Board of Finance printed in Newspaper at least five (5) days before the Annual Town Meeting

Monday, May 7, 2012 Annual Town and Budget Meeting - first Monday in May

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 First Referendum

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 Second Referendum (If needed)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 Third Referendum (If needed)

Notes:

Community members and town officials of the Town of Avon are more than welcome to attend any of the budget workshops or Budget Committee meetings, as our Budget Committee strives to provide a forum for open communications during this process. As a Budget Committee and a Board of Education responsible for articulating the educational needs of the school district in a fiscally responsible manner, we have the difficult task of striking a balance between our educational needs and our fiscal responsibilities. Our committee will be monitoring activity and actions at the legislative level most carefully and wherever possible, will be providing input in order to protect both the educational and financial interests of the district and our town.

Throughout the budget development process, the district will maintain a “Frequently Asked Questions” subsection of the heading of “Budget Information” on the district website. Questions, thoughts and ideas may be sent to 1213boebudget@.avon.k12.ct.us.

Also, the Board of Education at its last meeting approved and submitted for the Town’s consideration the 2012-1013 Board of Education Capital Improvement Plan Budget. The details of this plan can be found on the district website under the Budget Information section. The specifics of what was submitted for consideration were as follows.

Replacement Floor Covering – AMS/RBS (part 1) Corridors & Classrooms, $115.000*

Wireless Infrastructure for Buildings District Wide, $65,000*

Technology, Classroom Interactive Whiteboards & LCD Projectors, $300,000*

Replacement of Floor Covering, RBS (part 2) - Corridors & Classrooms, $39,986

Replacement of Floor Covering, PGS – Classrooms, $34,114

Replacement of Floor Covering, PGS – Corridor, $78,624

Replacement – 1993 Chevy Astro CS Van, $25,000

Roaring Brook School Fire Alarm, $197,789

Replacement – 2000 BOE Truck w/plow, $60,000

Total: $915,522

* - Expenditures approved by the Board of Education in June to be funded through 10/11 operating budget surplus and residual funds in revolving account. Consultation between town and school district finance officials resulted in recommendation to fund expenditures through 12/13 Capital Budget.

As many of you may know, four (4) new members were recently elected to the Board of Education; Ames Shea, Wendy Howard, Jeff Bernetich, and Brian Glenn. Incumbent Board Member Houston Putnam Lowry was re-elected to serve another term. Please join me and in congratulating these individuals.

Last and certainly not least, I wish to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday. Through our work together, we have much to be thankful for this year. Personally, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve you, your children and the faculty and staff of the school district. I am also thankful for being associated with the many committed and dedicated employees and elected officials of the Town of Avon. The relationships we continue to forge through our work together are among those I value and cherish most. Above all else, I am thankful for being associated with our young adult population who may best be described as nothing shy of exceptionally talented and extraordinary in every sense of the word. I am especially thankful for having the first-hand opportunity to observe and experience the joys of their successes in the classroom, on the athletic fields, competition course and during their many extra-curricular activities and community service ventures. As we all know, the qualities that our children possess are not the result of chance. Rather, they are the outgrowth of the efforts of you, their immediate family members, and the many members of our community who choose to interact with them. For these things and much more, I am extremely grateful this holiday season. Best wishes to you for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

 

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Superintendent's Message - Revised 2011-2012 School Calendar (Posted 11/16/2011)

November 16, 2011

As you may be aware, I prepared and shared a proposal to make up the lost student and staff days as a result of both Hurricane Irene and Storm Alfred with the Board of Education last evening. In an attempt to provide you with an understanding of the serious restrictions placed on any proposal considered, I offer the following information that I obtained from the Legal Department of the Connecticut State Department of Education.

Is there consideration being given to a waiver to the 180 day statutory requirement in response to school days lost due to Hurricane Irene and now Storm Alfred?

Response: No.

Can time be added to the end of all remaining school days to make up the time equivalent for days lost?

Response: No. By statute, the length of any school day cannot exceed seven hours. This would require a statutory change or amendment. I plan on communicating with our state legislative delegation to see if they would be willing to sponsor such an amendment.

Can any scheduled student half-day be extended to a full day and be considered two school days?

Response: No.

Can Saturday sessions be held to make up lost days?

Response: No. This is prohibited by law.

Can school days be made up on holidays? If so, which ones?

Response: School may be in session on Veterans’ Day, Good Friday, and Presidents’ Day. No school can be in session on any other holidays that fall in December or January of any year.

Understanding that we have not yet entered the winter season, I reviewed the Board’s existing policy #5065 (School Calendar Setting), and sought long-range weather forecasts for the 2011-2012 winter season. After considering the many ways to approach the making up of what now stands at eight (8) student days plus two (2) staff days for professional development (August 29th and November 8th), I requested the following revisions to the 2011-2012 district calendar.

Make-up the eight (8) student days we have missed using the following days: Friday, January 13 (previously scheduled as a no school day for students and a teacher professional development day), Wednesday, February 22* Thursday, February 23*, Friday, February 24*, Thursday, April 19*, Friday, April 20*, Thursday, June 14, and Friday, June 15. Please note that the student attendance policy will be suspended on those days marked with an asterisk (*).

If needed, the next five (5) snow days would be made up June 18 through 22. Any additional snow days (days 6+) will be made up as per Board Policy #5065 using Wednesday, April 18, Tuesday, April 17 and Monday, April 16.

The one (1) postponed day for non-certified staff (August 29th) will follow the last day of school in June and the (3) postponed days of certified staff professional development (August 29th, November 8th and January 13th) will follow the last day of school in June and will focus on curriculum development, technology integration and NEASC preparation.

Additionally, I am preparing to seek legislative relief and will request a waiver to allow for Monday, January 2, 2012 (legal holiday) to be used as a school day. Given the current state statutory restrictions associated with holidays that fall during the months of December and January, this waiver is not likely. If approved, Wednesday, February 22nd would once again be a vacation day.

I recommended this revised calendar based on what I believe to be the most educationally sound reasons given all of the variables that had to be considered. Specifically, I offered the following as my rationale for my proposed make-up plan:

  • It restores four (4) instructional days (most of every option considered) prior to the administration of state-wide, standardized assessments (March 2012).
  • It results in additional, full school week(s) during the month of January.
  • It maintains shortened breaks in February and April and avoids going without a break from the end of February through the end of June.
  • It allows for the historical average of three (3) –to five (5) snow days to be made up in accordance with Board Policy #5065.
  • The last, available day for students needs to be followed by three (3) required professional development days for all certified staff. Staff days have to be made up prior to the state statutory deadline of July 1, 2012. Therefore, the last available day for students is Tuesday, June 26, 2012.
  • It avoids having a school calendar that has no breaks for long periods of time.
  • It allows for three (3) consecutive days for focused, professional development for all certified staff in areas that have been identified as the most significant priorities for district work. These areas are curriculum development and revision for English Language Arts K-12 and mathematics K-12, integration of technology and preparation for accreditation of Avon High School by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

I appreciate and respect that some may not agree with what was proposed and ultimately approved by the Board of Education last evening. However, I must re-emphasize that this is a situation of historic proportion, as you know. We remain committed to assisting students, families and staff in all ways feasible to meet the challenges that are created by this necessary revision to the school district calendar, a copy of which is posted under the calendar tab of our website (Full-year Calendars).

Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Gary

Gary S. Mala

Superintendent of Schools

gmala@avon.k12.ct.us

“Welcome to a New Beginning”

 

Storm-Related News (Posted 11/5/2011)

The following is a summary of press releases and emergency messages released by the Town of Avon and Avon Public Schools system in chronological order starting with the most recent news.  Check back frequently for updates.

Letter from Superintendent Mala dated Tuesday, November 8th:

As promised in my last communication sent this morning, I am providing you with information regarding the status of opening the Avon Public Schools tomorrow, November 9th. After considering all of the information shared at the meeting of all town and CL&P representatives held this morning and into the afternoon, I have deemed that it is not safe to open schools tomorrow. I am hopeful and confident that the issues identified during this meeting will be rectified in sufficient time for us to open our schools on Thursday, November 10th.

The issues identified as interfering with the opening of your schools are primarily related to two things: one being that as of 1:00 p.m. this afternoon, 23% of Avon residents remain without power and the second is that there remain numerous areas on town roads where lines (both data and power) remain directly on or adjacent to the travel surface. These points are significant with the later posing an unknown safety risk. As I stated in this morning's communication, safety – of our children and all of you – remains our highest priority.

In response to the issues identified as ongoing safety concerns, I, along with various staff from our Department of Public Works, Dattco (student transportation contractor) and emergency management staff, have personally communicated with supervisory officials representing CL&P, AT&T and Comcast. We requested their immediate assistance with resolving the issues which we have reported to them in writing and framed as those impeding us from opening our schools.

As stated this morning, I am considering all options associated with making up lost days and will plan on discussing this with the Board of Education at its next, regular meeting scheduled for next week.

Again, I ask you to heed the words included by town officials in their numerous announcements over the past week. We cannot emphasize enough that downed lines may be energized and that residents are advised to stay clear of them. If your neighborhood has power, and there are downed lines in the street that are not being manned by CL&P, please report this information to Police Dispatch at 860.409.4200 or to CL&P at 800.286.2000. When schools reopen, I seek your cooperation with working as neighbors to observe and report immediately any condition that is questionable. Additionally, CL&P has committed to having what they have referred to as "Wire Watchers" present in locations where they are deemed necessary when we reopen schools. These "Watchers" will be employees of CL&P and will be responsible for safely securing any material, equipment or related items that pose a safety hazard.

Again, I thank you for your patience as we work to ensure your safety, the safety of our children and the safety of all residents.

Sincerely,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Avon Public Schools

 

Storm Update: as of 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday (11/8/2011)

General: On Tuesday, November 1st, the Town of Avon declared a State of Local Disaster Emergency. The safety of residents remains our number one priority. We cannot emphasize strongly enough that downed lines may be energized and that residents are advised to stay clear of them! If your neighborhood has power, and there are downed lines in the street that are not being “watched” by CL&P, please contact CL&P at 1.800.286.2000 or Police Dispatch at 860.409.4200.

Power Restoration: Please know that we are as frustrated and discouraged by the setbacks, delays, missed deadlines and lack of information as you are. Many areas in Town that had power two days ago are once again in the dark. A power outage map prepared by the Engineering Department over the weekend was pulled from the Town website because the information from CL&P that was used to create it proved to be too unreliable. As of noon today, more than 2,000 Avon customers are still without power; CL&P continues to maintain that 99% of Avon customers will be restored by midnight on Wednesday (11/9). At this point, we advise residents to temper their expectations. Unfortunately, CL&P’s 800 number remains the best, if not the ideal, source for power information.

Here’s what we were told by CL&P as of noon on Tuesday:

At least 50 crews have been dispatched to Avon. Significant resources have been assigned to restore the Climax and Nod areas. At least eight crews have been sent to work in the neighborhoods north and south of Country Club between West Avon and Lovely Street.In Farmington Woods, crews are excavating underground lines to find/fix the fault that is responsible for widespread outages.Crews have been assigned to the circuits feeding the Lawrence/Francis and Craigemore/Brentwood loops.

Contrary to earlier reports provided to the Town by CL&P, the utility company is reattaching electrical service components to homes and making minor repairs, but is not able to make major repairs to damaged components. Residents will need to hire an electrician if components attached to their homes, including weather guards, conduit, or meter boxes, sustained significant damage. If you are unsure whether or not you need to hire an electrician, please call Town Hall at 860.409.4300 so that we can put you in touch with a CL&P representative capable of providing you with guidance. We apologize for the confusion this has caused. Below is a list of local electricians who may be able to repair your electrical service components:

Cizek Electric Inc (860) 673-0747
Valley Electric (860) 693-2975
West Hartford Electric Inc (860) 232-9367
Teri-Savage Electrical Construction (860) 693-6167
Wolf Electric (860) 651-6517
Lawler Electric & Design Inc (860) 693-8080
Rt Electric (860) 404-7741
Smart Electrical Contractors (860) 231-9020
Al's Auto Electric Service (860) 693-4394
Arthur A Horton Inc (860) 693-6388
Blue Hills Electric (860) 242-3025
Radiant Electric (860) 206-5526
McDermott Electric LTD (860) 677-2228
Stevens Electrical Co (860) 651-7600

CL&P Scam Alert: We have received reports that individuals are approaching homes and falsely claiming to work for CL&P. No contractor working for CL&P will ask you for payment to reattach your electrical service components or need to enter you home for any reason!

Make your home safe for power restoration: In anticipation of power restoration, residents are encouraged to (1) unplug all appliances and electronic equipment that were on before the power went out to avoid a power surge, (2) clear all stove tops in case a burner was accidentally left on, and (3) if basement flooding occurred, call a licensed technician to check the motors on furnaces, freezers or other appliances before attempting to run them.

Roadways: As of 1:30 p.m. today, our understanding is that all local roadways are now either open to emergency vehicles or have crews currently assigned to them. As such, Public Works has begun to divert crews from road opening efforts to the task of clearing major local roadways curb to curb and targeting the most serious “widow makers” (snapped branches hanging over roadways). If you are aware of a road that appears to be inaccessible to a vehicle the size of a fire truck, please contact Police Dispatch.

Schools: The School District’s bus company is working with Public Works, CL&P, AT&T, and Comcast to assess bus routes and determine what needs to be done to make the roadways and bus stops safe for the resumption of school. School has been cancelled for Wednesday (11/9) due to the unsafe road conditions and uncertainty of power at all school sites. This afternoon and tomorrow, Public Works and the three utilities will do everything within their power to complete this process. It is anticipated that the schools will reopen on Thursday (11/10). If alternate bus stops are required, their locations will be communicated widely before school resumes.

Additional school news:

-SATs are rescheduled to November 19th.
-Options to make up lost school days are being reviewed and will be communicated at a later date.
-Please attempt to refrain from comparing our school schedule to neighboring school districts; the situation in Avon is unique to Avon.
-Please direct school related questions to the Board of Education at 860.404.4700.

Storm Debris: At 5:00 p.m. yesterday, the Town opened bids from 10 storm debris management firms. Today, Staff is performing due diligence and vetting these bids before the Town Council and Board of Finance review them on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. We estimate that the clean up will entail the removal and disposal of approximately 100,000 cubic yards of debris and the cost for this event may well run into the millions. If you have placed storm debris from your property curbside, as directed by the Town, please ensure that the debris is not in the roadway. This will only make Public Works’ task of clearing roadways more time intensive. More information regarding storm debris management will be communicated as soon as it becomes available.

The State DOT has announced that all property owners abutting State-maintained roads (in Avon, this includes Routes 10, 44, 167, 177, and 202) may place all tree-related debris from the storm five feet from the edge of pavement for pickup in the coming days/weeks. A contractor for the State will pick up the stockpiled debris through December 15, 2011. A schedule of towns where pickups will take place will be posted as that schedule develops.

If you have a contractor who is able to take your storm debris away, we have been advised that Dunning Sand and Gravel, located at 105 Brickyard Road in Farmington, is accepting chipped and delivered storm debris at a cost of $10 per trailer at their facility. Their phone number is 860.677.1616.

Landfill: The Landfill will be back to regular hours starting Tuesday, November 8th. All residents will be permitted to dispose of spoiled food or other household refuse that poses a potential health risk. Storm debris will be accepted from permit holders only. Regular brush rates will apply. The Landfill will be open this Friday (11/11), which is Veterans Day.

Telecommunications: If telecommunication wires belonging to other service providers, such as AT&T or Comcast, were damaged in the storm, you will need to contact those providers directly before telecommunication services can be restored. Damage to these wires will not impact your power restoration.

CO Detectors: Contrary to some reports, CO Detectors are not available from the Avon Volunteer Fire Department.

Door to Door Vendors: Reports are coming in that numerous vendors are in Avon. As door-to-door vendors circulate the community offering services, such as tree companies, please use good judgment before agreeing to terms. Ask neighbors or friends what they paid for similar services. Ask to see a license or proof of insurance. Do not allow vendors into your home. When in doubt, call Dispatch.

Shelter: The shelter located at Avon High School (510 West Avon Road) remains open. The phone number is 860.404.4747 (this line has an active voicemail box). Food, showers, charging stations, and overnight accommodations are available. Nurses (employees and substitute employees) continue to assist with coverage at the shelter. Residents are advised to bring all necessary medications, toiletries (including towels), blankets and personal items.

Twitter: In between website updates, the Town will attempt to share relevant information via Twitter at TownofAvonCT.

Elections: Polls are open today until 8:00 p.m. at Town Hall and the Avon High School (in the old gym). Residents who normally vote at Roaring Brook School are to vote at Avon High School instead.

Police Update: The Avon Police Department reminds residents to immediately report suspicious activity by calling Dispatch or 911 in an emergency. If you are concerned about the status of a friend, family member or neighbor, please check in on them or contact Dispatch and an officer will go to the residence.

Charging Stations: The Duracell Battery Corporation has set up a charging station in the parking lot of WalMart, located at 255 West Main Street. This station has lockable recharging stations so that residents can leave items to charge in the locker while running errands. The charging station also provides free WiFi, a limited number of computer stations and satellite TV. These services are being provided free of charge.

Packaged Meals and Water Distribution: Packaged meals and water are available for pick up behind the Public Works Facility, located at 11 Arch Road, until 7:00 p.m. today. Due to rapidly declining demand, this operation will be shut down tomorrow.

Potable Water: Potable water is available to residents at any of the four Fire Companies between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Potable water is also available 24/7 from the Avon Water Company main office, located at 14 West Main Street. Residents should bring their own containers. The faucet is located in front of the office near the hatchway door.

Trails: At this time, the Town has not been able to assess the damage or accessibility of Avon bicycle/running trails. Residents are advised to avoid using trails until further notice.

Storm Update: as of 1:30 p.m. on Monday (11/7/2011)

General: On Tuesday, November 1st, the Town of Avon declared a State of Local Disaster Emergency. Safety is our top concern and opening roadways for public safety vehicles remains our top priority. Power lines and trees remain down throughout the Town. Downed lines may be energized and residents are advised to stay clear of them.

Roadways: Crews continue to work to open roadways to emergency vehicles. If you are aware of a road that appears to be inaccessible to a vehicle the size of a fire truck and is not listed below, please call Police Dispatch at 860.409.4200. Crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to open these roads to emergency vehicles.

Roads that we know require CL&P line crews to make accessible to emergency vehicles:
-Bayberry Hill Road
-Hurdle Fence
-Jackson Street
-Pine Hill Road
-Red Mountain Lane
-Wright Drive

Public Works has begun to divert crews from road opening efforts to the task of clearing major local roadways curb to curb. This process will take time. Please be patient as this process progresses.

Storm Debris: The Town recognizes the importance of storm debris management and removal. The cost of the clean up may be partially reimbursable by FEMA subject to the necessary congressional approval. We estimate that the clean up will entail the removal and disposal of approximately 100,000 cubic yards of debris. The cost could extend into the millions of dollars. FEMA has specific procurement requirements that must be followed or the Town could lose out on federal funding to offset the cost. The Town has issued a request for bids for debris management. The Town Council and Board of Finance will meet on Wednesday to review the responses and consider next steps. In the meantime, residents may continue to place storm debris curbside. More information will be shared regarding debris removal as soon as it becomes available.

Related, the State DOT has announced that all property owners abutting State-maintained roads may place all tree-related debris from the storm five feet from the edge of pavement for pickup in the coming days/weeks. Please do not place the debris near, or obstruct access to, any utility poles or wires, fire hydrants, mailboxes or overhanging trees. The State’s Debris Management Program was developed to expedite debris cleanup related to storms like Alfred. The debris management contractor will continue to pick up the stockpiled debris through December 15, 2011. Only tree-related debris will be picked up at property along State-maintained roads. A schedule of towns where pickups will take place will be posted as that schedule develops.

We have been advised that Dunning Sand and Gravel, located at 105 Brickyard Road in Farmington, is accepting chipped and delivered storm debris free of charge at their facility. Their phone number is 860.677.1616.

Power Restoration: The Town has determined that power restoration information from CL&P has proved to be too unreliable to disseminate; therefore, the Power Outage Map posted to our website yesterday has been removed to avoid confusion. Based on information this morning from CL&P, it appears that more than 40% of Avon customers remain without power. We are being told that there are 57 CL&P crews in Avon today (up from 12 crews on Friday and 40 crews on Sunday) and more than 300 crews in the Farmington Valley.

CL&P is reporting that many areas in Town where power had been restored yesterday have lost power again today. We are being told that this is due to power overloads to circuits that had reportedly been restored. Please know that we are as frustrated and discouraged by the setbacks, delays, and lack of information as you are. We hope that CL&P makes significant and real progress today.

The utility company will focus on restoring individual neighborhoods where the largest number of customers can be brought on line at a time. Please note that power may come on and go off again in particular areas as service is being restored Town wide. If you have not already reported power outage at your residence, you should do so by calling CL&P at 1.800.286.2000. This number can also give you information specific to your residence.

In anticipation of power restoration, residents are encouraged to (1) unplug all appliances and electronic equipment that were on before the power went out to avoid a power surge, (2) clear all stove tops in case a burner was accidentally left on, and (3) if basement flooding occurred, call a licensed technician to check the motors on furnaces, freezers or other appliances before attempting to run them.

The Town has been informed that CL&P has hired electricians to repair electrical service on homes at no cost, including the weather head, conduit, and meters. This is a change from previous guidance.

Telecommunications: If telecommunication wires belonging to other service providers, such as AT&T or Comcast, were damaged in the storm, you will need to contact those providers directly before telecommunication services can be restored. Damage to these wires will not impact power restoration.

CL&P Scam Alert: We have received reports that individuals are approaching homes and falsely claiming to work for CL&P. No contractor working for CL&P will ask you for payment or need to enter you home for any reason!

CO2 Detectors: Contrary to some reports, CO2 Detectors are not available from the Avon Volunteer Fire Department.

Door to Door Vendors: Reports are coming in that numerous vendors are in Avon. As door-to-door vendors circulate the community offering services, such as tree companies, please use good judgment before agreeing to terms. Ask neighbors or friends what they paid for similar services. Ask to see a license or proof of insurance. Do not allow vendors into your home. When in doubt, call Police Dispatch at 860.409.4200.

Shelter: The shelter located at Avon High School (510 West Avon Road) remains open. The phone number is 860.404.4747. Food, showers, charging stations, and overnight accommodations are available. Nurses are also onsite to provide general medical advice. Residents are advised to bring all necessary medications, toiletries (including towels), blankets and personal items.

Twitter: In between website updates, the Town will attempt to share relevant information via Twitter at TownofAvonCT.

Elections: The State has instructed Towns that elections will take place on Tuesday, November 8th. In Avon, polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Town Hall and the Avon High School (in the old gym). Residents who normally vote at Roaring Brook School will vote at Avon High School instead.

Police Update: The Avon Police Department reminds residents to report suspicious activity immediately. Please call Police Dispatch at 860.409.4200 or 911 in an emergency. If you are concerned about the status of a friend, family member or neighbor, please check in on them or contact Police Dispatch and an officer will go to the residence.

Charging Stations: The Duracell Battery Corporation has set up a charging station in the parking lot of WalMart, located at 255 West Main Street. This station has lockable recharging stations so that residents can leave items to charge in the locker while running errands. The charging station also provides free WiFi, a limited number of computer stations and satellite TV. These services are being provided free of charge.

Packaged Meals and Water Distribution: Packaged meals and water are available for pick up behind the Public Works Facility, located at 11 Arch Road, every day from noon to 7:00 p.m. until further notice.

Potable Water: Potable water is available to residents at any of the four Fire Companies between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Potable water is also available 24/7 from the Avon Water Company main office, located at 14 West Main Street. Residents should bring their own containers. The faucet is located in front of the office near the hatchway door.

Landfill: The Landfill will be open today until 5:00 p.m. All residents will be permitted to dispose of spoiled food or other household refuse that poses a potential health risk. Storm debris will be accepted from permit holders only. Regular brush rates will apply.

Trails: At this time, the Town has not been able to assess the damage or accessibility of Avon bicycle/running trails.~ Residents are advised to avoid using trails until further notice.

Schools: The following school updates have been provided by Gary Mala, Superintendent of Schools:
-Avon Public Schools are closed thru Tuesday (11/8), due to unsafe roadways.
-All athletic games and practices have been postponed through Tuesday (11/8).
-Options to make up lost school days are being reviewed and will be communicated at a later date. Please attempt to refrain from comparing our school schedule to neighboring school districts; the situation in Avon is unique to Avon.
-Please direct school related questions to the Board of Education at 860.404.4700

 

Storm Update: as of 1:00 p.m. on Sunday (11/6/2011)

General: On Tuesday, the Town of Avon declared a State of Local Disaster Emergency. Safety is our paramount concern and opening roadways for public safety vehicles remains our top priority. Power lines and trees remain down throughout the Town. Downed lines may be energized and residents are advised to stay clear of them. Residents are strongly urged to exercise the utmost caution around downed and sagging power lines.

Roadways: National Guardsmen are assisting CL&P and Public Works to open the roadways listed below to emergency vehicles. If you are aware of a road that appears to be inaccessible to a vehicle the size of a fire truck and is not listed below, please call Police Dispatch at 860-409-4200. Crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to open these roads to emergency vehicles. Roads requiring CL&P line crews to make accessible to emergency vehicles:
-Bayberry Hill Road
-Hurdle Fence
-Jackson Street
-Pine Hill Road
-Red Mountain Lane
-Wright Drive

Starting yesterday, Public Works began to divert limited crews to start clearing trees from major roadways that do not impede emergency vehicles, but do impede general vehicular travel. This process will take time. Please be patient as this process progresses.

Storm Debris: The Town recognizes the importance of storm debris management and removal. The cost of the clean up may be partially reimbursable by FEMA subject to the necessary congressional approval.~ We estimate that the clean up will entail the removal and disposal of approximately 100,000 cubic yards of debris. The cost could extend into the millions of dollars. FEMA has specific procurement requirements that must be followed or the Town could lose out on federal funding to off set the cost. The Town has issued a request for bids for debris management. The Town Council and Board of Finance will meet on Wednesday to review the responses and consider next steps. In the meantime, residents may continue to place storm debris curbside. More information will be shared regarding debris removal as soon as it becomes available.

We have been advised that Dunning Sand and Gravel, located at 105 Brickyard Road in Farmington, is accepting chipped and delivered storm debris free of charge at their facility. Their phone number is 860.677.1616.

Power Restoration: CL&P is now reporting that power will be restored to 96% of Avon customers by midnight on Sunday, November 6th. The Town is hopeful that this turns out to be true. We are being told that there are 40 CL&P crews in Avon today (up from 12 on Friday). Based on information this morning from CL&P, it appears that power has been restored to 55% of Avon customers. An Engineering Department map was posted to the Town’s website yesterday that depicts areas in Town where power has reportedly been restored. We hope to update that map early this afternoon, once additional information has been provided to us by CL&P.

CL&P is reporting that the Unionville Substation and major circuits serving Avon have been repaired, which means that the effort today will focus on restoring individual neighborhoods. Please note that power may come on and go off again in particular areas as service is being restored Town wide. If you have not already reported power outage at your residence, you should do so by calling CL&P at 1-800-286-2000. This number can also give you information specific to your residence.

In anticipation of power restoration, residents are encouraged to (1) unplug all appliances and electronic equipment that were on before the power went out to avoid a power surge, (2) clear all stove tops in case a burner was accidentally left on, and (3) if basement flooding occurred, call a licensed technician to check the motors on furnaces, freezers or other appliances before attempting to run them.

If telecommunication wires belonging to other service providers, such as AT&T or Comcast, were damaged in the storm, you will need to contact those providers directly before telecommunication services can be restored. Damage to these wires will not impact power restoration.

CL&P Scam Alert: The Town has been informed that CL&P has hired electricians to repair electrical service on homes at no cost, including the weather head, conduit, and meters. This is a change from previous guidance. We have received reports that individuals are approaching homes and falsely claiming to work for CL&P. No contractor working for CL&P will ask you for payment or need to enter you home for any reason!

Contrary to some reports, CO2 Detectors are not available from the Avon Volunteer Fire Department.

Door to Door Vendors: Reports are coming in that numerous vendors are on the ground in Avon. As door-to-door vendors circulate the community offering services, such as tree companies, please use good judgment before agreeing to terms. Ask neighbors or friends what they paid for similar services. Ask to see a license or proof of insurance. Do not allow vendors into your home. When in doubt, call Police Dispatch at 860.409.4200.

Shelter: The shelter located at Avon High School (510 West Avon Road) remains open. The phone number is 860-404-4747. Food, showers, charging stations, and overnight accommodations are available. Nurses are also onsite to provide general medical advice. Residents are advised to bring all necessary medications, toiletries (including towels), blankets and personal items.

Twitter: In between website updates, the Town will attempt to share relevant information via Twitter at TownofAvonCT.

Elections: The State has instructed Towns that elections will take place on Tuesday, November 8th. In Avon, polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Town Hall and the Avon High School (in the old gym). Residents who normally vote at Roaring Brook School will vote at Avon High School instead.

Police Update: The Avon Police Department reminds residents to report suspicious activity immediately. Please call the routine number 860-409-4200 or 911 in an emergency. If you are concerned about the status of a friend, family member or neighbor, please check in on them or contact Police Dispatch at 860-409-4200 and an officer will go to their residence.

Charging Stations: The Duracell Battery Corporation has set up a charging station in the parking lot of WalMart, located at 255 West Main Street. This station has lockable recharging stations so that residents can leave items to charge in the locker while running errands. The charging station also provides free WiFi, a limited number of computer stations and satellite TV. These services are being provided free of charge.

Packaged Meals and Water Distribution: Packaged meals and water are available for pick up behind the Public Works Facility, located at 11 Arch Road. Residents will be able to pick up two meals per person per day and one case of water per day (water available to residents not on public water) from noon to 4:00 p.m. today and from noon to 7:00 p.m., starting Monday, until further notice.

In addition, potable water is available to residents at any of the four Fire Companies (between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) as well as from the Avon Water Company main office (24 hours) located at 14 West Main Street. Residents should bring their own containers; a self service outside faucet is available 24 hours per day during this time. The faucet is located in front of the office near the hatchway door.

Landfill: The Landfill will be open on Monday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All residents will be permitted to dispose of spoiled food or other household refuse that poses a potential health risk. Storm debris will be accepted from permit holders only. Regular brush rates will apply.

Trails: At this time, the Town has not been able to assess the damage or accessibility of Avon bicycle/running trails. Residents are advised to avoid using trails until further notice.

Schools: The following school updates have been provided by Gary Mala, Superintendent of Schools:
-Avon Public Schools are closed thru Tuesday (11/8), due to unsafe roadways.
-All athletic games and practices have been postponed through Tuesday (11/8).
-Please direct school related questions to the Board of Education at 860.404.4700.

 

Storm Update: as of 1:00 p.m. on Saturday (11/5/2011)

General: On Tuesday, the Town of Avon declared a State of Local Disaster Emergency. Safety is our paramount concern and opening roadways for public safety vehicles remains our top priority. Power lines and trees remain down throughout the Town. Downed lines may be energized and residents are advised to stay clear of them. Residents are strongly urged to exercise the utmost caution around downed and sagging power lines.

Roadways: National Guardsmen are assisting CL&P and Public Works to open the roadways listed below to emergency vehicles. If you are aware of a road that is inaccessible and is not listed below, please call Police Dispatch at 860-409-4200. Crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to open these roads to emergency vehicles. Roads requiring CL&P line crews to make accessible to emergency vehicles:

-Bayberry Hill Road
-Pine Hill Road
-Red Mountain Lane
-Thompson Road
-Wright Drive

To date, the priority has been to simply clear roads for passage of emergency vehicles (width and height of a fire truck). Starting today, Public Works began to divert limited crews to start clearing trees from major roadways that do not impede emergency vehicles, but do impede general vehicular travel. Please be patient as this process progresses.

Power Restoration: CL&P continues to report that power will be restored to 99% of Avon customers by midnight on Sunday, November 6th. The Town is hopeful that this turns out to be true. We are being told that there are 30 CL&P crews in Avon today and that there will be 40 in Town on Sunday (up from 12 on Friday). Based on information this morning from CL&P, it appears that power has been restored to neighborhoods along the length of Huckleberry Hill Road, along West Avon Road between Route 44 and Scoville, and along Route 44. By the end of the day, CL&P hopes to restore power to all of Lovely Street, including the western half of Farmington Woods. Four major circuits serving the Town sustained significant damage in the storm and are the focus of CL&P restoration efforts. In anticipation of power restoration, residents are encouraged to (1) unplug all appliances and electronic equipment that were on before the power went out to avoid a power surge, should one occur, (2) clear all stove tops in case a burner was accidentally left on, and (3) if basement flooding occurred, call a licensed technician to check the motors on furnaces, freezers or other appliances before attempting to run them. The Town’s top restoration priority remains West Avon Road, where several convalescent homes remain without power. After that, CL&P will focus on restoring neighborhoods where the largest number of customers can be restored at once. If you have not already reported power outage at your residence, you should do so by calling CL&P at 1-800-286-2000. If wires of other service providers, such as AT&T or Comcast, were damaged in the storm, you will need to contact those providers directly before service can be restored.

CL&P Scam Alert: The Town has been informed that CL&P has hired electricians to repair electrical service on homes at no cost, including the weather head, conduit, and meters. This is a change from previous guidance. We have received reports that individuals are approaching homes and falsely claiming to work for CL&P. Please be advised that all CL&P staff carry proper identification and any contractor approved by CL&P will be accompanied by a CL&P staff person with proper identification. No CL&P worker will need to enter you home for any reason!

Shelter: The shelter located at Avon High School (510 West Avon Road) will remain open until further notice. The phone number is 860-404-4747. Food, showers, charging stations, and overnight accommodations are available. Nurses are also onsite to provide general medical advice. Residents are advised to bring all necessary medications, toiletries (including towels), blankets and personal items.

Police Update: The Avon Police Department reminds residents to report suspicious activity immediately. Please call the routine number 860-409-4200 or 911 in an emergency. If you are concerned about the status of a friend, family member or neighbor, please check in on them or contact Police Dispatch at 860-409-4200 and an officer will go to their residence.

Charging Stations: The Duracell Battery Corporation has set up a charging station in the parking lot of WalMart, located at 255 West Main Street. This station has lockable recharging stations so that residents can leave items to charge in the locker while running errands. The charging station also provides free WiFi, a limited number of computer stations and satellite TV.  These services are being provided free of charge.

Packaged Meals and Water Distribution: Packaged meals and water are available for pick up at the Public Works Facility, located at 11 Arch Road. Residents will be able to pick up two meals per person per day and one case of water per day (water available to residents not on public water) between the hours of noon and 4:00 p.m. today. In addition, potable water is available to residents at any of the four Fire Companies (between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) as well as from the Avon Water Company main office (24 hours) located at 14 West Main Street. Residents should bring their own containers; a self service outside faucet is available 24 hours per day during this time. The faucet is located in front of the office near the hatchway door.

Landfill: The Landfill is open today from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All residents will be permitted to dispose of spoiled food or other household refuse that poses a potential health risk. Storm debris will be accepted from permit holders only. Regular brush rates will apply.

Storm Debris: The Town recognizes that storm debris will fast become the top priority to residents as power restoration continues to progress. At 4:00 p.m. yesterday, an emergency meeting of the Town Council and Board of Finance was convened to discuss the storm recovery status and, specifically, debris management. At the meeting, the Town Council asked Town staff to immediately issue an emergency request for proposals for FEMA qualified debris management companies. The two boards will reconvene next Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. to consider options. In the meantime, residents may continue to place storm debris curbside. More information will be shared regarding debris removal as soon as it becomes available. We have been advised that Dunning Sand and Gravel, located at 105 Brickyard Road in Farmington, is accepting chipped and delivered storm debris free of charge at their facility. Their phone number is 860.677.1616.

Trails: At this time, the Town has not been able to assess the damage or accessibility of Avon bicycle/running trails.~ Residents are advised to avoid using trails until further notice.

Schools: The following school updates have been provided by Gary Mala, Superintendent of Schools...
-Avon Public Schools are closed until at least Monday (11/7).
-All athletic games and practices have been postponed through Sunday (11/6).
-The first marking period will be extended to a date to be determined.
-Parent teacher conferences scheduled for next Thursday (11/9) and Friday (11/10) will be rescheduled. These days are now scheduled to be full school days.
-Next Tuesday (11/8) will be a regular school day if power has been restored.
-Please direct schools related questions to the Board of Education at 860.404.4700.

 

MESSAGE: Sent to Town residents via Everbridge at noon on Saturday (11/5/2011)

This is the Town of Avon calling on behalf of Town Manager Brandon Robertson.

The Town has just been informed that CL&P has hired electricians to repair electrical service on homes at no cost, including the weather head, conduit, and meters.  This is a change from previous guidance.  We have received reports that individuals are approaching homes and falsely claiming to work for CL&P.  Please be advised that all CL&P staff carry proper identification and any contractor approved by CL&P will be accompanied by a CL&P staff person with proper identification.  No CL&P worker will need to enter you home for any reason.

 

MESSAGE: Sent to Town residents via Everbridge at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday (11/5/2011)

Good morning.  This is the Town of Avon calling on behalf of Town Manager Brandon Robertson with an update on our storm recovery efforts.

The Town recognizes that storm debris is now the top priority for many residents.  By Monday, the Town plans to issue an emergency Request for Proposals for FEMA qualified debris management companies and on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., the Town Council will reconvene to review options. In the meantime, residents may continue to place storm debris curbside.  Also, the Landfill is open today until 5:00 p.m.  All residents are permitted to bring spoiled food or other household waste.  Permit holders may bring storm debris.  Regular brush rates will apply. Crews are working to open remaining blocked roadways to emergency vehicles as quickly and safely as possible.  As of 10:00 a.m. this morning, known blocked roadways include: Bayberry Hill Road, Pine Hill Road, Red Mountain Lane, Thompson Road, and Wright Drive.  If you are aware of a road that is inaccessible and is not listed below, please call Police Dispatch at 860.409.4200. 

CL&P continues to report that power will be restored to 99% of Avon customers by midnight on Sunday, November 6th.  The Town is hopeful that this turns out to be true.  We are being told that there will be 30 CL&P crews in Avon today and 40 on Sunday (up from 12 on Friday).  Based on information this morning from CL&P, it appears that power has been restored to neighborhoods along the length of Huckleberry Hill Road, along West Avon Road between Route 44 and Scoville, and along Route 44.  By the end of the day, CL&P hopes to restore power to all of Lovely Street, including the western half of Farmington Woods.  Four major circuits serving the Town sustained significant damage in the storm and are the focus of CL&P restoration efforts. In anticipation of power restoration, residents are encouraged (1) to unplug all appliances and electronic equipment that were on before the power went out to avoid a power surge, (2) clear all stove tops in case a burner was accidentally left on, and (3) if basement flooding occurred, call a licensed technician to check the motors on furnaces, freezers or other appliances before attempting to run them. If you have not already reported power outage at your residence, you should do so by calling CL&P at 1-800-286-2000.  If wires of other service providers, such as AT&T or Comcast, were damaged in the storm, you will need to contact those providers directly before service can be restored. If you are concerned about the status of a friend, family member or neighbor, please check in on them or contact Police Dispatch at 409-4200.

The Avon Police Department reminds residents to report suspicious activity immediately.  Please call the routine number 860.409.4200 or 911 in an emergency. At this time, the Town has not been able to assess the damage or accessibility of Avon bicycle/running trails.  Residents are advised to avoid using trails until further notice. We will make every effort to communicate new information it to residents as soon as it becomes available via this emergency notification system as well as on the Town website, www.town.avon.ct.us. Again, thank you for your patience and understanding.  Please stay safe.

 

PRESS RELEASE – Friday, November 04, 2011 – 4:00 p.m.

Contact: Steve Bartha, Assistant to the Town Manager (860)409-4377 sbartha@town.avon.ct.us

Farmington Valley Municipal Leaders Meet With CL&P Executives to Review Area Power Restoration Plan – Elected and appointed officials from Avon, Canton, Farmington, Granby and Simsbury met today with Connecticut Light & Power Vice President of Customer Solutions William J. Quinlan and other CL&P senior staff members to review CL&P’s plan to restore power to 99% of area residents by midnight on Sunday, November 6, 2011. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Chris Murphy, State Senator Kevin Witkos and State Representative Linda Schofield were also present to voice their support for the municipalities.

In a frank exchange, municipal leaders expressed skepticism about the power company’s commitment to restore power to all but 1% of its Farmington Valley customers by Sunday and questioned the company’s baseline assessment of the existing damage. Quinlan and Director of Operations Sherri Winslow responded that CL&P was committing the necessary resources to get the job done. “There’s no question that this is a daunting challenge,” said Quinlan, “but we are confident that power can be restored in this time frame.”

CL&P agreed to meet with Town representatives on a regular basis to assess progress towards the full restoration goal. “I made clear in conversations yesterday with CL&P that this meeting was absolutely necessary,” said Congressman Chris Murphy. “CL&P has made a commitment and they’ve agreed to be measured against that commitment. Now it is up to them to deliver.”

CL&P plans a dramatic increase in crews of all types to meet its restoration goals. The company’s power restoration efforts have been greatly enhanced by crews from out of state and by Connecticut National Guard troops who are helping to clear roads. Senior level contacts within CL&P were also identified for each town to ensure that problems can be communicated directly to CL&P decision-makers.

In attendance were Avon Town Manager Brandon Robertson, Canton First Selectman Richard Barlow, Farmington Town Manager Kathy Eagen, Granby Town Manager Bill Smith and Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman, as well as police, fire and emergency responders for all of the towns represented.

 

Avon Education Foundation Wins Award (Posted 10/5/2011)

The Avon Education Foundation (AEF) received the Foundation Celebration Award from the Connecticut Consortium of Education Foundations (CTCEF) at its annual conference on Tuesday, October 4th. The award recognizes the AEF for "creating outstanding educational opportunities within their local community."

In announcing Avon as the recipient of this award, Dr. Joseph Erardi, CTCEF board member and Superintendent of Southington Public Schools, noted that the AEF has given grants totaling almost $200,000 since its incorporation in 2004. Grants have ranged from large to small in varied subject areas and technology. Avon learners of all ages have benefitted with grants going to each of the five public schools, Avon Free Public Library and the Avon Senior Center.

Joanne Beers, AEF Chair, said “we are thrilled to receive this honor.” There are 91 active education foundations in the state of Connecticut, and the CTCEF picks only 1 to receive the Foundation Celebration Award for its accomplishments each year.

Gary S. Mala, Avon Superintendent of Schools, said, “the AEF is an extraordinary group and one that  has contributed greatly to the Avon Public Schools as well as to the Town as a whole.  They have single handedly supported many projects that have benefitted not only our children but also our senior citizen population.  Their generosity is without limits.  I am deeply appreciative to all of the past and current members of the Foundation.  The Foundation is most deserving of this prestigious recognition. It continues to serve as a role model organization for others to emulate.”

In its submission leading to this award, the Foundation said it believes that its accomplishments are not measured in terms of what the AEF did this year but by the contribution it is making over time to the success of public education in the Town of Avon:

• Avon High School was recently ranked 281 out of the top 500 schools in the country by Newsweek. Only 12 Connecticut high schools made this list, and Avon placed 5th in that group. In addition, Avon High School was ranked the number 1 non-magnet public school in the region by Hartford Magazine for the third year in a row.

• The only teachers from Connecticut selected as second round finalists for the 2011 US Partners in Learning Innovative Education Forum are from Avon: Lisa Fenn and Laura McDonnell, first grade teachers at Roaring Brook School. They were selected for their “Leaping into Learning” project which was started with a 2008 grant from the AEF. This is a 4-week lesson in scientific inquiry for first graders that investigates the frog life cycle filling a void in the science curriculum and promoting cooperation between the two K through grade 4 schools in Avon.

• Thompson Brook School, which opened its doors as Avon’s grade 5 and 6 school in 2002, was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2010. Of the 10 Connecticut schools receiving the honor last year, only Smith Middle School in Glastonbury and Thompson Brook School are public schools. In 2011, all of the classroom teachers at Thompson Brook School partnered on a grant application, “Classroom Access to 21st Century Technology,” winning the largest grant award the Foundation has made to date. The grant provides funds to upgrade technology in every 5th and 6th grade classroom. With the upgraded technology, teachers and students will be able to integrate Google Maps into geography and history lessons, interact with other classrooms in the building or around the world via Skype, take virtual field trips and access internet based content to enhance learning in all subject areas. They can use the SMART Board interactive software the school already owns even without the touch screen hardware.

• Avon Middle School was named Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) Middle School of the Year in 2006-2007 because its “students consistently...lead the way in academic success in state and national exams and competitions such the national French exams, word masters and the New England Math League.” In 2006, the school was the first recipient of a “big” ($10,000) grant for a Mobile Research Lab, including laptop computers, scientific probeware and graphing calculators, to enhance math and science learning outcomes. In 2010 the middle school received a mini-grant towards new tennis courts. Among other things, this will enable Avon’s Unified Sports program, which pairs special athletes with non-disabled peers, to include tennis. The physical education curriculum will be expanded to include tennis and racquetball for all students and access to tennis will be increased for all community members.

According to the AEF, "Since our founding, our goal has been to mobilize the financial and human resources needed to make sure that the school children and residents of Avon have the best educational opportunities available anywhere. We value innovation and creativity and encourage collaboration across departments, schools and the community. We believe the Avon Education Foundation has contributed to the recognition our schools, programs and teachers have received locally, regionally and nationally."

“On behalf of the Avon Board of Education, I would like to thank everyone involved in making the AEF such a great success in such a short period of time,” added Peggy Roell, chair of the Avon Board of Education. “We look forward to AEF’s continued contributions throughout the community.”

The AEF is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization dependent entirely on donations and volunteers for its success. It is a member of the CTCEF (www.ctcef.org) and the Avon Chamber of Commerce (www.avonchamber.com). Learn more about the Foundation at its website, www.avonedfoundation.org, and on its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AvonEdFoundation.

 

Welcome to a New Beginning (Posted 8/9/2011)

On behalf of the Avon Public Schools, I wish to welcome you to the district and encourage you to browse our website and enjoy the wealth of information it contains about the district and each of our schools.

Through this website, we hope to share as much information with you as we can. One of our perpetual goals is to continue with the proactive communication of accurate information that can be easily understood.   As always, if you would like further information or clarification on anything you see on this site, please feel free to contact us by telephone or e-mail.

I am extremely proud of our students and the staff of our district and I believe that you will share these same feelings as you interact and learn about us.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and productive 2011-2012 school year.

Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools
Avon Public Schools
(860) 404-4700
Email

 

Teacher of the Year (Posted 6/6/2011)

We are pleased to announce that Peter O'Sullivan has been selected by a committee of his peers to represent us on the state level as Avon's 2011-12 Teacher of the Year. Peter has been teaching Classical Languages for 16 years, seven of those years teaching Latin and Greek at Avon High School. In addition, Mr. O'Sullivan is the coordinator of the language department, a member of the District Technology Council, and co-advisor to the National Honor Society.

According to his peers, Peter does so much to bring his subject alive (not bad for one who teaches a dead language - my addition). His enthusiasm infects both students and colleagues. Students adore him and often take Latin and Greek simply to have him as their teacher. Peter is an individual of the greatest integrity and openness. He expects the same from his students and is ready to hold them to those high standards, realizing these dispositions are at least as important to convey as the subject he teaches. Peter's teaching provides his students a foundation for both their intellectual and well as their moral development.

Finally, his involvement in soccer at both the Middle and the High School has allowed many to see this outstanding educator as an energetic, knowledgeable and supportive coach as well.

Please join the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee in congratulating Peter O'Sullivan as Avon's 2011-12 Teacher of the Year.

We would also like to commend all of our outstanding nominees, as they have distinguished themselves in our profession and have inspired a love of learning in their students and the respect of their peers.

(in alphabetical order)
KC Chapman, TBS Classroom Teacher/Coordinator
Stephanie Eason, AHS Special Education Teacher/Coordinator
Jeff Lombardo, AHS English Teacher
Laura McDonnell, RBS Classroom Teacher
Nate Strick, TBS,PGS, Instrumental Music

Thank you.
Jody Ian Goeler
Assistant Superintendent

 

Memorial Day 2011 (Posted 5/26/2011)

Dear Parents, Staff and Concerned Citizens:

 

We are looking forward to the long weekend ahead during which we will celebrate Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day.  As you are aware, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died while serving our nation as a part of the armed forces. 

As a means of demonstrating our respect and gratitude to those who have allowed for our democracy and freedoms to continue, the district has created a “Field of Flags” at the entrance of the parking area to the Board of Education offices located at 34 Simsbury Road.   This simple, silent, patriotic display is meant to remind us of the cost of war and to allow us to reflect upon the importance of the Memorial Day holiday as we know it. 

Over the next few days, a number of activities are planned in our community, all with the same goal in mind.  As a nation, state and town, we continue to be a part of the greatest democracy ever known and are deeply indebted to those who have defended it.

I hope that while enjoying this long holiday weekend with your family, you are able to take a moment to reflect upon all that is good in our community.  Thank you always for your continued support.

I remain very truly yours,
Gary S. Mala
Superintendent of Schools

 

Board of Education Recognition (Posted 3/17/2011)

From the Superintendent of Schools, Gary S. Mala: Commitment in the form of public service continues to be essential for communities to thrive and meet the needs of the individuals and families who reside in them.  The commitment of the members of the Avon Board of Education to public education has taken the form of service which focuses on making a difference in the lives of children and is destined to ensure their future successes.

As a token of recognition of the Board’s commitment to the children of the town of Avon, a private donation has been made in March 2011 to the Avon Education Foundation (AEF) on behalf of the administrators of the Avon Public Schools system.  March 2011 is Board of Education month as sponsored by the CT Association of Boards’ of Education.

The donation bears the names of the 2010-11 Avon BOE members: Peggy Roell (Chairperson); Michael Eagan (Vice-chairperson); Putnam Houston Lowry, Secretary; Stacey Bienat, Kenneth Notestine, Jay Spivak, William Stokesbury, Katherine Zirolli, and Barbara Zuras, members; and Ben Bergman and Diane Zhao, student representatives.  Click here to view a photo of the 2010-11 Avon BOE.

On behalf of the thousands of lives you have positively impacted, we thank you for having the strength, conviction, and character to serve on our Board of Education.  Click here to view the proclamation.

 

The Avon, Connecticut Community (Posted 9/27/2010)

Avon, a growing suburban community of almost 18,000 residents, is located 10 miles west of Hartford, the capital of Connecticut.  Known for its exemplary school system, Avon is considered to be one of the most desirable communities in the state.

Avon has demonstrated a strong commitment to education by its emphasis on student achievement, improved school facilities, and parent involvement. Since 1991, Avon has witnessed the construction of a new elementary school, a renovation and addition to its middle school and the other elementary school, the completion of two extensive renovations and additions to its high school, and the construction of a grade 5-6 elementary school.

The results of the Connecticut Mastery Test and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test place the Avon schools as one of the highest-scoring districts in the state. Strong emphasis is placed on students achieving at their highest level of expected performance.

Avon parents are encouraged to participate in school affairs and have demonstrated their support for education at town meetings, a strong volunteer program, and an active PTO in each school. Parents are continually working with administrators and teachers in developing school improvement plans that will further enhance community and parent involvement in the schools.

Each school district in CT reports a wealth of school data to the State Department of Education (SDE) on a yearly basis. This data is organized into Strategic School Profiles that are available on the SDE website. Click here to view information on everything from town population to the percentage of AHS graduates who attend 4-year colleges.