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Students Voice Concerns About Pro-Life Club, Standardized Tests

by Diana Stricker | Mar 20, 2014 3:46 pm

File Photo Branford High School students have been airing their concerns with the Board of Education (BOE) on two separate issues: Pro-life displays of fetuses and standardized tests. 

—Members of a pro-life club, who claimed they were being discriminated against, have reached an agreement with school officials regarding the use of displays. This action was taken in private meetings with school officials. The pro-life students were not present at the BOE meeting held last night.

—High school juniors told the BOE at the meeting that field tests for the state’s new standardized tests are interfering with their classwork and college preparation.

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Students Paint Their Dreams

by Diana Stricker & Mary Johnson | Mar 6, 2014 10:45 pm

Mary Johnson Photo “They know what art is.”

John Prins, a member of the Branford Board of Education, was lavish in his praise for students in kindergarten through 12th grade whose art is on display at the Blackstone Memorial Library.

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Branford Students Will Test the Test

by Diana Stricker | Mar 3, 2014 12:07 pm | Comments (2)

Diana Stricker Photo Branford students and teachers will face new challenges as they participate in a field test of the state’s new “Smarter Balanced Assessment” from March 18 through June 6.  But the district is ahead of the game when it comes to rolling out the new Common Core state standards, on which the tests are based.

The new Smarter Balanced achievement tests will measure how well students are learning lessons based on the Common Core standards, which districts are already supposed to be using.

Millions of students across the country will participate in computerized field tests in the next few months to help the test-makers fine-tune the assessment process.  No scores will be reported this year, but states are mandated to begin the real testing during the 2014-15 school year. The field tests will include a variety of questions at all skill levels.

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Branford Schools Revise Bomb-Threat Policy

by Diana Stricker | Feb 28, 2014 9:12 am

Diana Stricker Photo Branford’s Board of Education (BOE) is revising the district’s bomb threat policy after parents expressed concern that school officials failed to report an alleged bomb threat to police last October.

The BOE unanimously approved a draft of the new policy Wednesday, and is expected to give final approval as soon as the proposal is reviewed by the Branford Police Department and state officials.

The policy change comes after an incident in October when an alleged bomb threat was found in a girls’ bathroom stall at Walsh Intermediate School. The threat said that Walsh was in for a bombing the next day at 2 p.m.  Above the writing, a police report says, were a series of numbers that appeared to be a date: “/15/13.”

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Transitions Program Receives AT&T Donation

by Sally E. Bahner | Feb 26, 2014 5:54 am

With Permission Students preparing for advanced education and adult high school credit diplomas will get a helping hand, thanks to a $20,000 donation to the Branford based Eastshore Region Adult & Continuing Education Program (ERACE).

The funds will support ERACE’s Transition to a Post-Secondary Program, which provides students with skills to navigate the college system and the application process, learn college vocabulary, and understand financial aid. Students will also learn how to write a resume and cover letter. They will have hands-on experience in the interview process with a member from the Branford business community, and learn “soft skills” that make them desirable employees such as dependability, decision-making, ability to work well with others, and critical thinking.

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Branford School Budget Approved; Includes Computers For State Tests

by Diana Stricker | Feb 11, 2014 8:19 am

Diana Stricker Photo The Board of Education (BOE) unanimously approved an operating budget Monday that is slightly less than the original request; and also approved a capital budget that includes money for safety upgrades and computers for the new state tests.

As budget deliberations began last night, BOE chair Michael Krause announced that the $52.7 million the superintendent requested last week could be reduced to about $52.66 million because of another teacher retirement.  Click here to read about the superintendent’s budget presentation.

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$52.7M Branford School Budget Proposed

by Diana Stricker | Feb 5, 2014 2:20 pm

Diana Stricker Photo Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez presented a proposed $52.7 million budget Tuesday, an increase of $1.4 million over last year, which equates to 2.73 percent.

Hernandez said the 2015 school budget proposal is realistic. “We are doing this in a very smart way. … We’re not asking for an insurmountable amount of money,” he said.

The town’s budget, the other side of the overall financial equation, is not yet finalized. First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove has asked his department heads to prepare three budget scenarios which would reflect their wishes, a 0 percent increase, and a 2 percent reduction. Hernandez was not asked to follow the same plan.  Click here to read that story.

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New BECC Director Steps Aboard

by marcia chambers | Jan 23, 2014 7:18 am

With Permission Michele Krumenacker became the Branford’s Early Childhood Collaborative (BECC) new executive director this week, a position that seems ready made for her experience in developing programs for children and families.

“My experience in developing programs and working collaboratively with children and families fits well with the BECC’s focus,” she said in prepared remarks.

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Branford Poaches New Haven Principal For Mary Murphy School

by Melissa Bailey | Dec 12, 2013 7:07 pm

Melissa Bailey Photo Just a year and a half after taking over New Haven’s Edgewood School, Principal Raeanne Reynolds shocked parents by announcing she plans to leave within weeks to take a job in Branford.

Reynolds said she will officially leave Jan. 1 to take a job as the new principal of Branford’s Mary T. Murphy Elementary School. Reynolds will replace Michael Rafferty, who has been leading the school in an interim capacity since longtime Principal Anthony Buono got promoted to the Branford superintendent’s office.

Continue reading the story here.

School Officials Wait To Notify Police About School Bomb Threat Until Afterwards

by marcia chambers | Dec 11, 2013 10:33 am | Comments (2)

Marcia Chambers Photo Sometime on Tuesday, Oct. 15, a Walsh Intermediate school girl was surprised to find a disturbing statement inside a bathroom stall at her school. Written on a toilet paper dispenser were the words: “Walsh is in for a bombing tomorrow at 2 p.m.” Above the writing, a police report says, were a series of numbers: “/15/13.”

The girl, parents said later, did the right thing. She informed her guidance counselor of the words she found inside the stall that day. When those words were written remains unclear because the day before was Columbus Day and school was closed. The girl and two of her friends, all in the 8th grade, were in the bathroom at the same time. 

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