Woodbridge Board of Education Explores Achievements and Infrastructure

Monday night, the Woodbridge Board of Education, at its regular monthly meeting explored several aspects of achievement as well as the state of the Beecher Road School building infrastructure.

The meeting started off with an executive session where the board conducted an exit interview with outgoing Principal Mary Lou Torres. Principal Torres has been an important part of the Beecher Road School administration and is moving on to a new position starting in October. While the primary focus of Beecher Road School is the success of the elementary school students, good educational programs recognize that we all remain students throughout our lives, and celebrates the successes of not only the young students, but also the students that are part of the staff.

Early on in the meeting, Principal Torres, assisted by sixth grade teacher Nancy White spoke to the board about the Tri-State Consortium.

The Tri-State Consortium is a learning organization devoted to assisting its member public school districts in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey in using student performance data to develop a rigorous framework for systemic planning, assessment, accreditation, and continuous improvement.

Last year, the Tri-State Consortium visited Beecher Road as part of the administration's ongoing effort to improve the quality of education at the school. The consortium recognizes the successes of the school and made recommendations about areas where the school could improve. A key area that they focus on is professional development and professional learning communities. Beecher Road School does well with its profession development, and Principal Torres' successes are a good example of this.

Following the discussion of the Tri-State Consortium report, there was a lengthy discussion of the results of last year's Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMT). The test results are usually reported in the context of schools in similar districts, called a District Reference Group (DRG).

Woodbridge scored well in its DRG as well as compared against the state as a whole. In terms of the No Child Left Behind Act, Woodbridge made Adequate Yearly Progress. However, for a high performing school district like Woodbridge, adequate may not be enough, and the board discussed how the CMTs fit into a larger framework of student assessment and other methods of analyzing the CMT scores so that the district can continue to learn from its previous experiences and improve the quality of education that is provided.

The presentation of the CMT results was the last one that Principal Torres and Ms. White will give together as Principal Torres moves on. Her service to the school district was recognized and the board moved on to the next item on the agenda.

Beecher Road School was built in phases starting in 1960, with important parts of the infrastructure being nearly fifty years old. There are major concerns about the boiler, sections of the roof and the air quality in sections of the school. A building committee has been investigating what it would take to update the infrastructure, including getting sections of the school to meet new building code standards and be more energy efficient. Such a project will be expensive and the board sought to understand which parts are most urgent, and which parts might be deferrable until we are in a better economic time.

The long board meeting continued with addressing its regular business, including correspondence, approving financial reports and hearing reports from various committees. During public comment, one parent spoke up expressing his thoughts about the CMT scores. The meeting ended with the board settling in to its continued discussion about the long term goals of the board.

Woodbridge Board of Education meetings typically occur on the third Monday of each month and are open to the public to observe and comment. Citizens are encourage to attend and participate.

(Cross posted at the Woodbridge Citizen)

(Categories: )