On Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021, the Connecticut State Board of Education (Board) held its monthly meeting, which was publicly televised and is available online here. The meeting agenda can be found here.

This month’s meeting opened with presentations from the State Student Advisory Council on Education (SSACE). The students were introduced by the Connecticut Association of School’s Director of Student Activities, Cherese Miller-Odukwe. The students presented research findings in Best Practices for Remote Learning and Building School Community After a Pandemic.

Some takeaways from their reports included:

  • Schools should continue to offer remote learning options, even after fully returning to in-person learning. Additionally, schools have had an increased focus on student mental health during the pandemic; this should be a continued priority.
  • Schools need to improve and increase ways for students and parents to provide input. Overall communication improvements should be made, in particular, updating school and district websites. Student findings showed that many of these websites are outdated and difficult to navigate.

During this meeting, the Board unanimously approved the Adoption of 2022 Meeting Schedule. The Board also changed the October 2022 meeting date from the 7th to the 12th, in observance of Yom Kippur. Before unanimously passing the Board’s consent agenda, the board removed items Recognition of Connecticut Association for Adult and Continuing Education Student Award Winners, Recognition of GED Scholar Award Winner, Recognition of Career and Technical Education Student Organizations, and Receipt of Report on Racial Imbalance.

Agency updates included:

  • The Accelerate CT Education Task Force reported on the goals of the summer enrichment program. They provided grants for program expansion and innovation with over 200 grant awardees.
  • SDE’s Office of Finance and Internal Operations reported on the SDE ESSER funding priorities. Some of these priorities include social, emotional and mental health support, support for educators, credit recovery initiatives, and innovative after-school programs.
  • The agency additionally reported that in Connecticut, approximately 60% of 16 and 17 year-olds and roughly 34% of 12-15 year-olds have received their 1st dose of the Covid vaccine. They also provided updates about Apex Learning and Defined Learning, which are resources for CT districts.
  • On May 4th, 2021, the CSDE Talent Office and Charter School Office conducted a session for charter leaders centered around certification, retention, hiring, TEAM, and educator evaluation.
  • The Board is closely following HB 6517 and HB 6620, both of which have large fiscal notes due to them creating new departments in the agency. The agency bill, SB 945, made it through both the Education and Judiciary committees without changes. The Board anticipates this bill being taken up on June 3rd, and they do not expect any issues.

Additionally, the Board’s Committee on Accountability and Support met on May 18th. At this meeting, they reviewed improvement plan updates from three charter schools, Great Oaks, Bridge Academy, and ISAAC.

The Board plans to meet this summer in advance of the 2021-2022 school year. We will be in touch with additional updates when they reconvene.