2020 CABE/CAPSS Convention
Topic TBD
Date TBD
Mystic Marriott Hotel, Groton

Workshop Offerings 

Friday, November 15, 2019

10:45 am - 12:05 pm – Workshop Session A


A1 Recent Legislative Action Affecting Local District Policy (EC, PG, DEE, ONBMS)

Board policies are influenced by state and federal legislative action, judicial decisions, and regulatory language. The actions of the 2019 Connecticut General Assembly have resulted in significant legislation affecting schools. Numerous topics require new or revised policy language. It is necessary to learn how local district policy has been impacted. A fundamental overview of the new legislation will be presented with a primary focus placed on the policy implications and actions for boards of education and superintendents to consider.


Vincent Mustaro, Sr. Staff Associate for Policy Services, CABE


A2 Leveraging the Portrait of a Graduate for District Improvement (PG, DEE)

In this workshop, we will discuss what it means to base a district's strategic improvement work on a Portrait of a Graduate and highlight the work of a variety of districts across the state that we have been working with this year as a part of a community of practice funded by Nellie Mae Education Foundation. We will share some of the tools that districts report they have found most helpful.


Fran Rabinowitz, Executive Director, CAPSS

Isobel Stevenson, Program Coordinator, Connecticut Center for School Change


A3 High-Impact Family Engagement: Promoting Equity and Student Success (DEE)

The most effective family engagement practices for promoting student success are aligned with learning and development goals for students, birth through college and career. Connecticut's family engagement framework addresses the need for educators and families to co-create meaningful family engagement programs focused on student achievement and grounded in equity. This session will showcase Connecticut's new definition and framework and demonstrate how existing family engagement activities can be transformed into high-impact partnerships that build on families' strengths and are linked to student learning.


Charlene Russell-Tucker, Chief Operating Officer, Connecticut State Department of Education

Judy Carson, Program Manager, Connecticut State Department of Education

Deborah Watson, Project Manager, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood


A4  Preparing to Advocate in 2020 (EC, PG, DEE, ONBMS)

Some of the issues we are discussing that may be considered in the 2020 Legislative session: vaccines, shared services, funding, special education, the Partnership for CT, social and emotional learning and dyslexia. Learn more about recent developments and who the legislative players are so you can best influence the state actions on behalf of your local students. 


Patrice McCarthy, Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE 

Sheila McKay, Sr. Staff Associate for Government Relations, CABE


A5  New Britain Public Schools Minority Recruitment and Retention Strategy Plan (DEE)

Barriers to recruiting minority educators plague the hiring process for many districts. Retaining minority teachers and administrators requires all staff to understand implicit bias. New Britain Public Schools has developed a diversity, equity, and excellence plan to address minority recruitment and retention.


Shuana Tucker, Chief Talent Officer, New Britain Public Schools

Lauren Tafrate, CCSU Partnership Coordinator, Central Connecticut State University


A6  The Connecticut Lighthouse Project (EC, ONBMS)

As the Connecticut Lighthouse Project reaches its tenth year, CABE is undertaking the third generation of board development with the intention of helping boards lead their district through effective governance focused on student achievement. In this session, we will explore the original Lighthouse research, learn about the foundations that the training is based on and sample some of the issues that Lighthouse training focusses on. As a result of this workshop, board members and superintendents will have a better understanding of what Lighthouse training is all about, and how it can help boards improve student achievement.


Nicholas Caruso, Sr. Staff Associate for Field Services, CABE


A7  Navigating the Challenges of Transforming Facilities for 21st-Century Learning in a Small School District (EC)

Small School District: BIG Transformation: A case study on how North Stonington Public Schools, a small district with declining enrollment and very limited budget, made significant renovations and successfully created 21st-century learning spaces.


Peter Nero, Superintendent, North Stonington Public Schools

Pamela Potemri, Board Member, North Stonington Board of Education

Rusty Malik, Principal, Education Design, QA+M Architecture

Michael Urgo, First Selectman, North Stonington 


A8  Meeting with the State Board of Education (EC, PG, DEE, ONBMS)

Take advantage of this opportunity to meet with members of the State Board of Education and the Commissioner of Education! We encourage you to share your views on issues of concern to you, your Board and your community, and to ask about the State Board's priorities for 2018-2019. The format will be as informal as group size permits. Topics covered will be determined by your questions.


Miguel Cardona, Commissioner, Connecticut State Department of Education

Members of the Connecticut State Board of Education


2:05 - 3:20 pm – Workshop Session B

B1  Roles and Responsibilities of Board Members and Superintendents (ONBMS)

Connecticut's educational leaders recognize the power and potential to improve teaching and learning in our public schools through cooperative, purposeful and professional working relationships between superintendents and boards of education. At a time when public education is under tremendous pressure from reform initiatives, tight budgets, and other community concerns, it is critical that this relationship be very strong. This workshop will communicate CABE's and CAPSS' views on the nature and expectations for Superintendent and Board working relationships.


Robert Rader, Executive Director, CABE

Fran Rabinowitz, Executive Director, CAPSS

Kathy Greider, CAPSS President; Superintendent, Farmington Public Schools

Robert Mitchell, CABE President; Board Chair, Montville Public Schools


B2 Social and Emotional Learning: It Takes a Village and Begins With You (EC, PG, DEE)

Emotions are at the heart of every teacher's effectiveness. Critical to success is the self-awareness to recognize their own emotions, recognize the emotions of their students and use this rich information to successfully problem solve. Teachers' Social and Emotional Intelligence ( EQ) skills are critical to helping them avoid burnout, increase confidence, fulfillment and classroom effectiveness. This workshop will guide Board of Education Members and Superintendents on how to effectively support teachers in these areas.


Kevin Case, Superintendent, Canton Public Schools

Deene Morris, President and Consultant, Inspire Leadership, LLC


B3  Effective Board of Education and Superintendent Budget Development (EC)

Participants of this workshop will see how East Lyme developed an effective BOE/Superintendent budget development process. This process includes the use of two fall budget workshops prior to the Superintendent 's presentation in January. Board of Education and Town Board of Finance participation in these workshops is part of the preparation and transparent practice of budget development that East Lyme has successfully engaged in over the last four year.


Jeffrey Newton, Superintendent, East Lyme Public Schools

Amy Drowne, Assistant Superintendent, East Lyme Public Schools

Tim Hagen, Board Chair, East Lyme Board of Education   


B4  Absences Add Up! Chronic Absence in Connecticut Schools and Districts (EC, DEE, ONBMS)

Being chronically absent has a significant impact on students’ ability to perform academically and graduate on time. Improving and sustaining good attendance requires the active engagement of district and school-based leaders and administrators. Leaders will learn how to reduce chronic absence by understanding the data, strengthening policies and practices and building systems of support that included community service providers.


Charlene Russell-Tucker, Chief Operating Officer, Connecticut State Department of Education

Kari Sullivan, State Attendance Lead, Connecticut State Department of Education


2:05 – 4:05 pm – Session C Clinics


C1  34th Annual Meeting of the Nutmeg Board of Education (EC, PG, DEE, ONBMS)

Yet again, the Nutmeg Board meets and does all the wrong things. Designed to amuse and educate you, their actions will be analyzed from the legal perspective. This mock board meeting is based on the CABE Journal's "See You In Court" column.


Thomas Mooney, Attorney, Shipman & Goodwin

Cast to be determined


C2       Designing for Equity: Blended Learning for All (DEE)

Middletown Public School's instructional leaders will share their experiences in how the district used blended and personalized learning to revolutionize math instruction in middle school. Presenters will define both blended and personalized learning and share their Grade 8 Math model which promotes equitable opportunities for all students to grow and achieve in their own time, at their own pace, and within a personalized path. They will also provide strategies for moving classes to a blended environment using technology, data, and a shift in practice.


Michael Conner, Superintendent, Middletown Public Schools

Michelle Gohagon, Director of Instructional Technology and Professional Development, Middletown Public Schools

Dwight Sharpe, Equity & Restorative Practices Facilitator, Middletown Public Schools

Colleen Weiner, Middletown High School Principal, Middletown Public Schools

Richard Cordaway, Math and Curriculum Supervisor 6-12, Middletown Public Schools

Dan Raucci, ELA Curriculum Supervisor 6-12, Middletown Public Schools


2:05 – 3:00 pm – Session D Learning Burst


D1  Promising Practices for Gifted Students from Underserved Populations (DEE)

Every child has a right to learn something new every day. Unfortunately, for many students with advanced academic potential from underserved populations, this ideal is seldom realized. Traditionally, many schools and gifted and talented programs in Connecticut have overlooked large numbers of highly talented students from underserved populations. Researchers from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut will share promising practices for building teacher and school capacity for identifying gifted students from underserved populations.


Del Siegle, University of Connecticut, Associate Dean

Catherine A. Little, University of Connecticut, Professor

E. Jean Gubbins, University of Connecticut, Professor   


3:05 – 4:00 pm – Session E Learning Burst


E1  Connecticut's Ed Sight (EC,ONBMS)

This valuable interactive Connecticut State Department of Education portal provides data, statistics, and reports about schools, districts and the state. Do you know how to make the best use of the valuable information you can find here? Participate in this session to learn how to better utilize the information available to you.


Ajit Gopalakrishnan, Connecticut Department of Education, Bureau Chief


3:25 – 5:00 pm – Session F Workshops


F1  Teacher Negotiations: Where We Are and What is on the Horizon (EC, PG, DEE, ONBMS)

A timely topic of the presenter's choosing.


Rebecca Adams Rieder, Sr. Staff Attorney, CABE

Floyd Dugas, Attorney, Berchem Moses


F2  Taking Action for Equity - A Discussion of Districtwide Initiatives (DEE)

Join district leaders from five Connecticut districts as they share approaches to changing mindset and promoting a racially conscious lens. Question the presenters on their process, successes and failures. Engage in a discussion that leads to identifying an action for equity.


Jackie Coleman, Sr. Education Investments Office, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Cynthia Sanchez, Education Investments Associate, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Latasha Turnquest, Director of Family Partnerships, Manchester Public Schools


F3  Vernon Shared Services Committee & Collaborative Strategies (EC)

Vernon will present the 'Shared Services Committee ' model. Effective strategies for a collaborative approach between the board and town will be outlined and shared with others.


Daniel Champagne, Town of Vernon, Mayor

Joseph Macary, Vernon Public Schools, Superintendent

Robert Testa, Vernon Public Schools, Assistant Superintendent

Michael Purcaro, Town of Vernon, Town Administrator; Ellington, Board Member


F4  Magnet and Charter Schools-What Your School District Must Know and How We All Can Get Along (EC, DEE)

There has been a proliferation in the number and influence of “alternative” educational providers such as charter and magnet schools. The respective roles and relationships between a charter or magnet school and a local school district (along with the State Department of Education) sometimes seem blurry and contentious; there are also political battles regarding funding and practical concerns as to which entity (if any) must “foot the bill” for certain students and certain services (for example, pre-school and special education services, accommodations). This workshop is intended to advise board of education members and school administrators of the proper roles and responsibilities for school districts and charter and magnet schools, especially in light of both recent legislative developments on the state front and the issuance of further guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, and will hopefully help attendees to understand 1) the strains on their budgets that might exist, 2) areas of friction and collaboration, 3) what options are presented in accepting (or resisting, where appropriate) responsibility for magnet/charter school students and programs, and 4) what role local school districts may have in the operation of magnet and charter schools, in light of efforts to accelerate “education reform.”


Mark Sommaruga, Attorney, Pullman & Comley

Zachary Schurin, Attorney, Pullman & Comley

Melinda Kaufmann, Attorney, Pullman & Comley


F5  Equipped for A Lifetime of Learning: The True Portrait of A Graduate (PG, DEE)

Today's students face the most disruptive post-secondary education and workplace environments in history. The explosion of artificial intelligence and algorithms do not just threaten but promise to eliminate entire classes of jobs. What learners will need are the competencies that cannot be automated: the ability to create, launch, and sustain new solutions that deliver value to other people and organizations. Leave equipped from this workshop with powerful insights from case studies, research and models of success that will not only inform the building of an effective portrait of a graduate but also show how to approach the much harder work of aligning instruction and assessment practices to ensure that your portrait actually has an impact on your students' futures.


Doug Casey, Executive Director, Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology

Jonathan Costa, Assistant Executive Director, EdAdvance


4:10 – 5:05 pm – Session G Learning Burst


G1 Understanding the Connecticut Certificate for Global Engagement (PG, DEE)

Participants will learn about the Connecticut Certificate of Global Engagement and how to implement the Certificate in their own district.


Stephen Armstrong, Social Studies Consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education

Nicole Struth, Education Director, World Affairs Council of Connecticut



G2 Putting It Together through Reflection and Networking (EC, PG, DEE, ONBMS)

Often there is little time to reflect on your Convention experience and determine how to apply your experiences back in your district. This self-guided session provides you with the opportunity to meet with other Convention participants to share your learnings and how to best bring these back to your district.

Facilitator:     TBD


Saturday, November 16, 2019


9:35 – 10:45 am – Student Session


Student Representatives on Boards of Education: Policy into Practice

This workshop is designed for students from across the State of Connecticut to better understand roles and responsibilities of being a student representative to their board of education, and how their voice can impact decisions that affect all students in their district.


Eileen Baker, Board Member, Old Saybrook Board of Education


9:35 am - 10:45 am – Workshop Session H


H1       Trends: Best Practices for Alliance School Districts (EC, PG, DEE, ONBMS)

This year's Trends workshop will focus on the work of the 33 Alliance Districts.  Almost all of these districts have received additional aid since the program was established in 2012. What have been the results? What lessons have been learned? What are the obstacles to success faced by Alliance Districts? A panel will discuss these issues and others brought to the conversation.  This will be an interactive workshop that will help Board Members understand their role in Alliance Districts and discuss the board policy decisions that can drive reform. 


Liz Brown, Board Chair, Waterbury Board of Education

Bryan Hall, Board Chair, East Hartford Board of Education

Steve Tracy, former Superintendent, and former DCF Staff

Patricia Garcia, Superintendent, Windham Public Schools

Robert Rader, Executive Director, CABE


H2 Should We "Teach Like Finland"? What Are the "Finnish Lessons" that Apply to Education In Connecticut? (EC, PG, DEE, ONBMS)

Hear the perspectives of educators and school board members who participated in the Teacher Leader Fellowship Abroad program in Finland on April 2019. Workshop attendees will develop an understanding of the cultural and economic context of education in Finland, as well as the focus on student-centered learning. Each of the presenters will share distinct perspectives relevant to their role.


Ann Gruenberg, CABE Past President, Retired Early Childhood Educator

Jennifer Norman, Board Member, Griswold; Connecticut Technical Schools Teacher

Kate Field, Teacher Development Specialist, Connecticut Education Association

Patrice McCarthy, Deputy Director and General Counsel, CABE


H3 Emerging Issues in Classroom and Teacher Safety and Collective Bargaining Implications (EC, ONBMS)

This workshop will provide an interactive discussion of emerging issues in the rapidly evolving area of classroom safety and management, including an analysis of recent legislative initiatives, legal requirements, and potential implications within the collective bargaining arena. The presenters will provide an in-depth review of topics including legislative initiatives in 2018 and 2019 regarding classroom safety, including disruptive and/or unsafe student behavior; legal developments in teacher safety, including student “assaults” on teachers; practical steps for addressing student-teacher interactions; and potential collective bargaining issues arising from the classroom and/or teacher safety concerns and initiatives, including a discussion of the legal boundaries and practical tips for addressing or responding to such concerns and initiatives at the bargaining table.


Andreana R. Bellach, Attorney, Shipman & Goodwin

Richard A. Mills, Attorney, Shipman & Goodwin


H4  Student Success: The Role and Impact of Comprehensive School Counseling (PG)

School counseling programs aim to impact three developmental domains (academic, career postsecondary, social-emotional) and provide services to all students in the school. The role and training of school counselors has dramatically changed since 1997, providing school counselors with unique skills and expertise to support student learning through a preventative and proactive model. Participants will engage with state association leaders to build an understanding of how school counseling can improve K-12 student success.


Michelle Catucci, School Counselor and Department Chair, Cheshire High School

Virginia DeLong, School Counselor, Lebanon Middle School

Margaret Generali, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Southern Connecticut State University

Jennifer Parzych, Associate Professor and School Counseling Program, Southern Connecticut State University


 9:35 am - 11:35 am –Session I Clinic


I1  Equity in Education: The Power of Storytelling (DEE)

Developing trust is vital before a conversation can take place that acknowledges and addresses the existence of systemic racism within education settings. The sharing of stories reduces biases that taint our perspectives. Through facilitated cultural storytelling, workshop participants will experience the relationship-building and trust that must be established before a school community can move forward to evaluate its culture and policies that negatively impact outcomes for African American youth and other students of color. Following session participants' storytelling, high school youth will describe how through study circle dialogues, students, teachers, and administrators identified equity challenges within their schools, generated action ideas to address them, and their work together toward implementation.


Gloria Francesca Mengual, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, CREC Open Choice Program

Steven Madancy, Assistant Superintendent, Southington Public Schools

Tina Riccio, Chair, World Language Department, Southington High School

Trevor Messina, Student Representative, Southington Board of Education


I2  Understanding Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act. (EC, ONBMS)

The FOIA contains open meetings and public records requirements, along with numerous exceptions. Unfortunately, the FOIA has often been misconstrued, especially with the advent of new technologies and in light of the public’s (and media’s) interest in a school boards work. This workshop should serve to provide further guidance to board of education members and school administrators seeking to navigate the maze of edicts and exceptions associated with the FOIA, along with updates on the FOIA from interesting recent cases.


Mark Sommaruga, Attorney, Pullman & Comley

Thomas Hennick, Public Education Office, State of Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission


9:35 am - 10:30 am –Session J Learning Burst


J1  NEASC District Accreditation (PG, DEE)

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, in partnership with our 600 member schools, has developed a new Accreditation process and revised Accreditation standards. A central theme of this new process is the creation of a district-wide Vision of the Graduate. This, along with the revised Standard and the new process are the vehicle for district Accreditation. The session will introduce participants to the new process and the revised Standards. This session will also provide an overview of the District Accreditation Process. The new process and the revised Standard will be implemented for schools and districts hosting decennial Accreditation visits beginning in 2020.


George Edwards, Director, Commission in Public Schools, NEASC

Alyson Geary, Deputy Director, NEASC


J2 Canton Middle School African Drummers


10:50 am - 12:00 pm –Session K Workshops


K1  Breaking Barriers: Creating Conditions to Close the Achievement Gap (DEE)

Closing the achievement gap requires strong leadership and a relentless commitment to removing barriers preventing students access to an equitable education. Come learn how collaborative partnerships with an outside agency can support guiding leaders toward a data-focused approach to creating positive change for students. With engaged leaders willing to address policies and practices, a supportive BOE, and a data-focused approach, positive change for every student's story is possible.


Christopher Tranberg, Assistant Superintendent, Granby Public Schools

Kerry Lord, Consulting Program Partners, Connecticut Center for School Change

Patrice Nelson, Consulting Program Partners, Connecticut Center for School Change


K2  Outside the Box – Using Collaborative Legal Tools to Save Your Board Money (EC)

Connecticut school districts face unprecedented fiscal challenges. In this environment, board members owe it to their districts to explore new and innovative ways to save money while at the same time offering the highest-quality educational services. In this workshop, the speakers will take audience members on a guided tour of the collaborative legal tools that boards of education can use to do more with less. The formation of regional school districts, cooperative arrangements with neighboring boards and/or municipalities, joint purchasing and insurance cooperatives are only a few of the many innovative tools that boards of education have at their disposal. This workshop will educate the board of education members and administrators on the ins-and-outs of these vehicles for collaboration and how these tools can be used to achieve long-term savings.


Zachary Schurin, Attorney, Pullman & Comley


K3  Are You Prepared? Public Relations Strategies for Uncertain Times (EC)

The education communications landscape has never been more difficult to manage or more critical to successfully navigate than it is today. Connecticut’s unsteady financial condition has created uncertainty across large and small communities alike as the prospect of decreased education and local funding generates deepening concerns. Faced with fiscal challenges, local crises, enrollment shifts, and achievement pressures, the need to effectively communicate with stakeholders across a variety of media platforms is crucial. Join our public relations specialists to learn practical and inexpensive public relations tips, tactics and strategies that will prepare you to manage your communication challenges in uncertain times.


Aura Alvarado, Director, Communications and Community Relations, CREC

Matt Engelhardt, Marketing, Communications and Advocacy Coordinator, LEARN


K4  Cultivating an Equity Culture (DEE)

Cultivating an Equity Culture requires a commitment from board members, superintendents and each and every member of the school community. This workshop will provide an opportunity to explore key factors leading to some of the inequities in our schools as well as key strategies to overcome them. Using lessons learned from Naugatuck's equity journey, participants will be poised to consider strategies not only to recognize and address inequities in their own districts but to cultivate a culture that reflects the ideals of social justice and equity.


Sharon Locke, Superintendent, Naugatuck Public Schools

Ethel Grant, Board Vice-Chair, Naugatuck Board of Education

Kathy Taylor, Attorney and Equity Consultant

Richard Lemons, Executive Director, Connecticut Center for School Change


K5 Leveling the Playing Field: An Overview of Transgender Student Rights in Interscholastic Athletics (DEE)

Despite a tangle of ambiguity at the federal level, Connecticut has emerged as a national leader in providing protections for transgender students in public schools. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of interscholastic athletics, where Connecticut is one of 17 states with policies affording transgender student-athletes the opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports teams based on their gender identity. Nonetheless, this area of the law has evoked many questions and much controversy. This presentation will provide an overview of the protections afforded to transgender students in Connecticut public schools, with an emphasis on the nuts and bolts of transgender student participation in interscholastic athletic events.


John Khalil, Attorney, Berchem Moses, P.C.

Eric Barba, Attorney, Berchem Moses, P.C.


The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education - 81 Wolcott Hill Road - Wethersfield, CT 06109 - Phone: 860-571-7446 - Fax: 860-571-7452

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