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Letter to Region 14 Citizens: Jody Goeler Discusses Administrative Position

The director of curriculum and instruction position has been a concern among some citizens, Goeler says.

 

Editor's Note: Jody Goeler noted the following when submitting this letter for publication: "I am sending this as a private citizen, not in my official capacity as superintendent for Regional School District #14."

 

Dear Citizens,

I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with groups of citizens over the past several weeks to answer questions regarding Region 14’s budget. One concern that continued to arise had to do with the restoration of the Director of Curriculum and Instruction position. Since the revised budget, taking the district from a 3.17 percent to a 1.89 percent increase, still includes this position, I wanted to share with you the sense of urgency I feel in its need.

Many of you may not be aware that for the first time in recent history, the school district is operating without a Director of Curriculum and Instruction or other positions designed to oversee the development, implementation, and oversight of our pre-K through 12th grade instructional program.

The loss of these positions was an unfortunate outcome of budget cuts for the 2011-12 school year. The budget proposal for 2012-13 includes the restoration of the Director of Curriculum and Instruction as the most cost-effective approach to effectively address the instructional initiatives before us to improve student learning, integrate technology, and prepare all of our students for the fast-changing world in which they will soon be expected to successfully compete.

For the first time in our nation’s history, all states are expected to adopt and adhere to a common set of academic standards and outcomes through the Common Core State Standards. While only a handful of states have yet to sign on, Connecticut has joined others in using these standards to guide local districts in developing curriculum and informing instructional practices. In addition, all students must be prepared to take a new set of state exams in 2014 designed to assess the extent to which they are meeting these new standards, which adds a sense of urgency in adopting these initiatives.

If the district is able to reinstate this position, the Director of Curriculum would act to meet the requirements of SB 458, An Act Concerning Educational Reform, by:

  • Developing a unified and coherent approach for professional development focusing on improving integration of reading instruction, literacy and numeracy enhancement, and cultural awareness;
  • Improving teacher and administrator practice based on results and findings from teacher evaluations;
  • Creating a comprehensive, sustained, and intensive program to improve teacher and administrator effectiveness to raise student achievement;
  • Ensuring alignment with state and district student academic achievement standards; and
  • Providing frequent opportunities for teachers to learn individually or in groups, within their jobs, and as part of a continuous improvement process.

 

SB 458 also requires the State Department of Education to audit district professional development programs and allows the State Board of Education to assess financial penalties against districts it deems out of compliance based upon such an audit. Under the bill, the State Board of Education can require a school board to forfeit an SBE-determined amount from its state grants, to be assessed in the fiscal year after the determination of noncompliance.

In addition, the new teacher evaluation system must take into consideration “multiple indicators of student academic growth.” Professional development must be based upon individual or group needs identified through evaluations. The Director of Curriculum would address this by ensuring there is a coherent plan for providing professional development to improve instruction and student performance as determined by the Common Core State Standards.

Before implementing the teacher evaluation and support program by July of 2014, the bill requires school boards to provide training for all evaluators and orientation to all teachers they employ regarding the evaluation and support program. Evaluators must be trained before they conduct any evaluations under the new program, and each teacher must complete the orientation before being evaluated. Boards of Education are required to ensure that such training is ongoing and systemic. This work would be facilitated by the Director of Curriculum.

In addition to these mandates stemming from this legislature’s school reform agenda, all public school districts are expected to meet the mandates related to Connecticut’s Secondary School Reform, requiring increased high school credits, the number of required courses, and the assurance that all students have individualized Student Success Plans. Although work has begun in Region 14 around these mandates, the Curriculum Director would oversee and guide this work ensuring all schools are working together to guarantee common experiences and expectations for all students, thus providing opportunities for students to build upon their skills in a purposeful and thoughtful manner as they move from grade to grade.

In my almost 30 years of public school experience, there has never been a more challenging and dynamic time. Similar to our nation’s rallying to meet the challenge set forth by the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik, there is a new level of urgency to meet a new set of expectations for our children to succeed in a globally competitive economy, a more inter-connected world, and ever-changing conditions. The restoration of the Director of Curriculum and Instruction will provide the Region the opportunity to engage meaningfully in this important work ahead. Thank you for your consideration. Please take the time to show up to the polls and vote “yes” on the budget on June 6th.

Sincerely,

Jody Ian Goeler

anthony apario June 01, 2012 at 03:47 PM
As a concerned citizen of Woodbury, Regarding Region 14 new proposed budget, I would have to vote No. As a senior who has been living in Woodbury over 50 years I will not be able to lived here due to the high property taxes When does it stop our teachers salaries are hurting the seniors we cannot afford the property taxes Here are a few examples of some of the outrageous salaries We have curriculum coordinators making over 80,000 a year We have librarians making over 80,000 a year We have first grade teachers making over 90,000 a year We have second grade teachers making over 86,000 a year Even College professors don’t make that much As retired senior citizen, we cannot afford increases of property taxes, for individuals to take advantage of the current system. Please vote NO ! So the seniors citizen on a fix income can stayed in Woodbury Sincerely, John Auioe 621 Transylvania Road Woodbury CT 06798 Concerned citizen of Woodbury, Ct
anthony apario June 01, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Jody Ian Goeler then take a pay cut !!!!!!
anthony apario June 01, 2012 at 03:51 PM
we vote yes and we give and give when does it end !!!!
teach June 01, 2012 at 05:19 PM
teachers took a pay freeze for this year, and as an educator for 6 years in woodbury still make under 50,000. please release woodbury teachers make the least amount of money in the area.
anthony apario June 01, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Dear Teach We need better teachers your grammer is poor.
joe_m June 01, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Evaluate all the current administrators and fire the ones that did not perform. Hire new administrators at lower salaries and use the savings to hire your curriculum director. We do not need more dead wood in this Region. We are being saddled with an unproven "Common Core" that will make our schools even less effective and teach our children less. We need dynamic leadership to cut through the educational elitist B***S*** and begin teaching our children not indoctrinating them. Until then, vote NO
Sean M June 02, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Time for Region 14 to live within a budget. We are no longer going to tolerate annual tax increases with a continued enrollment decline. If the position is so important, take a pay cut, and find others to take a pay cut. My wallet is empty.
Sean M June 02, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Dear Teach, If you do not like your job QUIT. I took a huge cut in my income in my business. Your attitude of thinking you have a right to annual raises is one of the big problem with government employees. If you do not like your job, go and find another. Quit whining.
Bob June 02, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I do not work in the region but I live in Woodbury and am a teacher. After looking at the pay scales of the state. Region 14 is on the lower end. While many will say that they get paid too much for the days worked, you have to take several things into account. Teachers need at least 5 years of college. They need a BA, MA, certification, praxiss 1
Bob June 02, 2012 at 03:27 PM
and praxis 2 and evaluations. For that level of education, the salaries are relatively low. I do not think the curriculum position is needed and I think tenure needs to be weakened to get rid of bad teachers. I was mad that one of the first things cut was 35k for new books which is really needed. But if you keep cutting teacher salaries, they will move to more supportive towns and your kids will be stuck with the least wanted teachers. I already have 2 jobs and might have to take on a third. We do not do this for the money. Its because we love it. It is a tough job teaching high schoolers all day, it is under appreciated and it is under paid. But I stay and I know they stay for the kids.
tom arras June 02, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Enough is enough! Some people can't afford any more! I will vote to "continually defeat the budget until they address it" as finance chair Bill Drakeley said referring to the region wasting OVER $!MILLION ANNUALLY on Vo-Ag students from out of the region. That stupidity HAS TO END. Zero mill increase is the answer. Get it yet?
joe_m June 04, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Vo-Ag is not the problem. There is insufficient information in the budget released to the public to calculate the actual cost of educating a student in the Vo-Ag program to see if the reimbursement amount covers their expense. You can not use the overall cost per student for anything other than to track the trend. Break the budget down to school level and regular ed and special ed. I want to know actual "in classroom cost" versus other than classroom cost. I know our transportation cost are too high. Many of the school buses are less than half full, student enrollment decreases, yet we run the same number of buses every year. We need the budget process to be open with full disclosure. We do not need to know individual teacher salaries but we need to have accurate, detailed information on the cost per student for education, transportation, administrative and other costs. Hold Region 14 accountable, vote NO until we get full disclosure.
tom arras June 04, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I agree with Joe that Vo-Ag is not the problem- it's actually an excellent program. The problem is the insufficient funding for the out of town students. In the "Report of the Connecticut Agriculture Science and Technology Education State Consulting Committee" titled "Proven Success, Untapped Potential" (google it to read) from February 2012, the shortfall for hosting districts for out of town students is defined as "over $4,800 per student". That's a State Committee, and is the most current study of the problem that I'm aware of. If you take that figure( which some argue is conservative ) for each of the Region's proposed 215 such students, the total is a staggering $1,032,000 of Region 14 taxpayers' money that the Region spends on students that do not live here and whose parents do not pay taxes here. This is grossly unfair to Region 14 taxpayers- especially those facing foreclosure and those living on fixed incomes.
tom arras June 04, 2012 at 02:09 PM
The original regionalization plan as approved provided for 68-70 full tuition students. Somehow the program ballooned to where it accepts over triple that number at a major cost to Region taxpayers. Due to Woodbury's 75.55% of resident Region students, Woodbury is charged 75.55% of the cost of educating the 215 out of town students! When the Region was formed, sending towns paid for educating their students, and that was what voters approved. There's no record of voters ever ammending that agreement and accepting financial responsibility for those that don't live here. The problem will worsen if not addressed now. With the new increased graduation credit requirements Vo-Ag students will spend more time in non-Vo-Ag classes. I'm sure Jody Ian Goeler would love to sweep the issue under the carpet, but we can't let him do that. I agree that we should hold Region 14 accountable and vote NO until we get full disclosure. I'll even go a bit further in saying that we should insist that the Region be fair to taxpayers. That is currently not the case.

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