By SHERIDAN ROY
The Superintendent of Schools, Tim Connellan, released his 2018-19 annual report, highlighting many of the school year’s programs and initiatives throughout the district’s various subjects, departments and services. Each school within the district provided a report, as well.
“The Southington Public School District pursued a path of diligence, dedication and hard work,” Connellan said in his summary. “The professional staff worked to build capacity and refined the internal organizational structures and processes that allowed the district to become intentional in its actions.”
Connellan said the district focused on incremental and continuous improvement in professional practice in all areas. Southington’s vision of a graduate, adopted last year, had a significant impact on all areas of operation of the district. The vision will continue to drive curriculum development, evaluation, support, selection and retention of talented professionals.
Assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Steven Madancy, said all content areas worked toward focusing district curriculum and assessment to the adopted vision of a graduate. At the center of the vision are 21st century skills of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship, content mastery and dispositions of empathy, equity and effort.
New and revised English language arts units were introduced last year, along with new earth science and biology, social studies, health, and modern United States history units. The curriculum writing processes were revised, and a revised compensation formula for curriculum writing will provide the district’s curriculum leadership team with assistance in further development in the 2019-20 year.
Madancy described one focus area of the 2018-19 year as “education of the whole child.” The district focused on “emotional intelligence” for both students and staff members. It involves strategies that promote self-regulation, reflection and empathy.
Connellan also highlighted implementation of tiered levels of targeted academic support for students through the use of the scientific researched based intervention (SRBI) model. The process identifies students in need of some level of support, monitors students’ progress and creates pathways for students to succeed.
In addition, instructional learning teams (ILTs) were utilized last year.
“ILTs promoted collaboration and reflection among team members and facilitated the identification of real and pressing instructional learning problems in classrooms,” said Connellan in his report. “A focus for the 2019-20 school year will be to connect the work of the ILTs with the instructional goals of the evaluation and support plan and the vision of a graduate.”
The report also highlighted students’ community engagement over the course of the year.
“SPS students continued to learn in areas not considered ‘academic’ subjects,” said Connellan. “Students learned the benefits of community service and of the intangible rewards that come with helping those in need. Suffice to say that students in the SPS did engage in a broad range of experiences that had a significant and positive impact on their growth and development and had a positive impact on the community.”
In the 2019-20 school year, administration will continue to work towards the vision of a graduate and get a deeper understanding of the 21st century skills at the core of the vision. Administrators engage in observations, dialogue, reflection and calibration of their own skills and understanding of the 21st century skills both in classroom settings and leadership practices. Connellan reported that a blend of veteran and early career faculty, staff, board of education members and administrators continue to “exemplify the high standards and intense work ethic that is the hallmark of the Southington Public Schools.”
“A focus for the 2019-20 school year will be to build greater capacity in all buildings while allowing for the continued differentiation, growth and evolution of individual schools and staff,” said Connellan in his report.
The superintendent’s annual report is submitted, reviewed and approved by the board of education at the end of each school year.