This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. Safe and healthy schools and COVID-19, and new staff in the State Department of Ed.
COVID-19 and Keeping Schools Safe
COVID-19 is dominating the headlines and leading to event cancellations, school closures, and even a hiatus mid-way through the 2020 legislative session. On Monday, the State Department of Education (SDE) released a document on preparing for the possibility of school closures, reminding districts that boards of education can authorize shortened school years when there are closures based on emergency circumstances. The SDE also recommended limiting school activities attended by more than 100 people. Some districts and schools are already closed or canceling events, while others have had shortened school days this week to build capacity for implementing remote learning plans. Education Week points out that, beyond preparing online lessons, districts will need to address the impact of school closures for students who rely on free and reduced price meals provided at school.
Some school closures + shortened days (Region 14 + Stratford elementary closed - Hartford Courant | Cheshire early dismissal - Cheshire Herald | Westport delayed opening - News Times)
Welcome to the SDE’s Two New Staffers
Commissioner Cardona is rounding out his team with the addition of a new special advisor, Chris Cluoet, and a new Chief Talent Officer, Shuana Tucker. Clouet, the outgoing Superintendent of Shelton Public Schools, began his new role last week—which will involve promoting operations, financial stability, positive climate, board governance, and quality instruction within districts. Dr. Tucker, who has fifteen years of experience in higher education and K-12 talent development, will manage the SDE’s Talent Office, which supports districts in hiring and training effective teachers.