Month: August 2020

Dr. Rydell Harrison appointed as new Superintendent of Schools

At the August 11 Tri Board meeting over Zoom, it was announced that Dr. Rydell Harrison will be the new ER9 Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Harrison is replacing Dr. Thomas McMorran who will be officially retiring on August 15.

Dr. Rydell Harrison is currently the Superintendent of Watertown Public Schools here in Connecticut. Prior to his current post, Dr. Harrison was the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services for Chapel Hill-Carrboro  City Schools (CHCCS) where he led teaching and learning for over 12,000 students, and was responsible for all aspects of curriculum and
instruction in 20 schools.

Dr. Harrison began his teaching career in New Jersey, and has 20
years in education, working across all three levels. In CHCCS, Dr. Harrison also served as Executive Director of Professional Development and Project ADVANCE, and was charged with developing a strategic compensation plan for teachers and support staff that ties professional learning to salaries. In 2016, Dr. Harrison received the Award for Excellence in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools District Administration.

Throughout his administrative career, Dr. Harrison led equity focused professional learning sessions in schools, developed online courses for teachers focused culturally responsive strategies, co-taught a masters level course on culturally proficient leadership and presented on the intersections of race and education at state and national conferences. Through building positive relationships and leveraging strengths within the district, Dr. Harrison engages students and staff in dismantling racism by identifying the structural barriers that exists in schools and in the community for students of color and their families.

In his work with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Dr. Harrison collaborated with district stakeholders to develop a fresh and sustainable approach for equity to shift the district from predictable outcomes based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and/or ability, to a reduction in equity gaps. The culmination of this work was the creation of a comprehensive
equity plan to designed to shape the culture and climate of the district, guide the development of a culturally relevant curriculum and identify instructional strategies that met the academic needs of all students and changed disparate outcomes for students of color.

Prior to working in the district office, Dr. Harrison served as an elementary and middle school principal and assistant principal in Greensboro, NC and was the principal at Phillips Middle School in CHCCS. Dr. Harrison holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Rutgers University and a Master of Divinity from Duke University. He also holds a Master of School Administration, Specialist in Education and Doctor of Education in School Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Shortly after accepting the superintendent position for Watertown in the spring of 2018, he began developing a comprehensive entry plan that would guide his work for the first 90 days. He said that his mission was to connect with stakeholders across the community in order to get a sense of who they were  as a community, and who they wanted to become. This became the foundation for the development of a District Improvement Plan.

Dr. Harrison is the father of five active sons  and is married to Monica, a licensed clinical social worker who uses her counseling background to keep the entire family in line! hello, Redding joins Redding and Easton to welcome Dr. Harrison to our community.

Shortly after accepting the superintendent position for Watertown in the spring of 2018, he began developing a comprehensive entry plan that would guide his work for the first 90 days. He saidthat his mission was to connect with stakeholders across the community in order to get a sense of who they were as a community, and who they wanted to become. This became the foundation for the development of a District Improvement Plan.

Dr. Harrison is the father of five active sons and is married to Monica, a licensed clinical social worker who uses her counseling background to keep the entire family in line!

hello, News joins Redding and Easton to welcome Dr. Harrison to our community.

Absentee Ballots

From the Office of the Town Clerk

We have received many phone calls and emails inquiring as to the status of absentee ballots for the August 11, 2020 Primary.  For those voters who have filed an application for absentee ballot with the Town Clerk, you should receive your absentee ballot by the end of the week.  All applications received have been processed by the Town Clerk’s Office.  Once you receive your ballot set, make sure you complete all steps for voting in accordance with the instructions.  The voted ballot can then be returned by mail in the envelope provided or dropped off at Town Hall in the “Official Ballot Box”.

If you are going out of town and do not receive your ballot, please call my office to make arrangements to receive an additional ballot.  An Application for Additional Absentee Ballot (Form ED-3A) must be completed before another ballot can be issued.  Click here for Form ED-3A, Application for Additional Absentee Ballot.

Email or call if you have any questions regarding absentee balloting for the primary.
Phone: 203-938-2377

Michele R. Grande, MCTC-MMC
Redding Town Clerk

Extra School Funding

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(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced the State of Connecticut is making available an additional $160 million in funding for school districts to safely reopen, assist them with costs associated with responding to COVID-19, and support local operations for the 2020-21 academic year.

The Coronavirus Relief Funds announced today will complement the $15 million already committed from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) and $111 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds, bringing the total funding for Connecticut schools to $266 million – one of the largest PK-12 state funding plans per-student in the country.

“These grants are an essential component to providing the best possible educational opportunities during this uncertain time,” Governor Lamont said. “Through this program, we are going to be able to offer devices, platforms, and internet connectivity to help with distance learning in lower income areas for students just beginning their education through college and graduate school, increase access to higher education by expanding scholarship opportunities, and help those seeking vocational training to launch a new career. This global pandemic has changed the education paradigm and we are fortunate we have this funding to help our state and schools adapt.”

An allocation of Coronavirus Relief Funds that Connecticut received under the CARES Act will be reserved to assist districts with necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency (during the period of March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020), which were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020. The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) is developing an application process for school districts, which will include specific questions to determine areas of greatest needs specific to their strategies for the effective delivery of in-person, hybrid, and/or remote learning opportunities. CSDE will provide ongoing technical assistance to districts as it pertains to eligible activities and spending under the Coronavirus Relief Fund, including:

  • Personal Protective Equipment, masks, cleaning supplies
  • Bus monitors to assist students and ensure social distancing; funding for additional routes in high density areas
  • Laptops, at-home internet connections (already announced but included)
  • Additional staff to support new models of remote learning and social distant classrooms
  • Support staff and services for students with special learning and language needs

“We acknowledge the significant challenges and resources that will be required for ensuring educational equity and public safety during the 2020-21 academic year,” Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said. “By strategically aligning our federal and state resources, we will maximize our efforts to prioritize equitable access to technology and high-quality curriculum, accelerate learning opportunities, and provide for the social and emotional well-being of students, teachers and staff. We are grateful for the additional Coronavirus Relief Funds and will continue to aggressively pursue funding sources to help districts fill funding gaps and meet the anticipated and unknown costs of educating students over the next year.”

To inform decisions regarding funding allocations to support the reopening of schools, districts were surveyed and asked to develop various budget scenarios addressing full in-school and hybrid educational models they may need to implement in response to the current health statistics related to the Coronavirus. Priority was placed on their response to the questions on the CSDE survey about the costs they anticipate incurring beyond what they have budgeted for the 2020–21 school year in various categories including academic and student supports, staffing, health and safety, technology and transportation.

More than half of the $27.8 million Connecticut received in GEER funds will go towards PK-12 to target lower-income areas where the digital divide is greatest and ensure that disadvantaged students and their teachers will have equal access to remote learning. OPM will allocate $15 million in GEER funds to CSDE to provide devices and internet connectivity to teachers and students where either schools or families are unable to provide a device, ensuring equitable access to remote learning opportunities. Districts were notified this week of their individual grant awards under GEER. The remaining $12.8 million of funding will be distributed to the Office of Early Childhood to support families’ access high-quality remote learning platforms for early childhood education, the Office of Higher Education to provide need-based scholarships, and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system for improved classroom technology to better accommodate remote learning.

The ESSER Fund is the main federal funding stream dedicated to supporting the state’s PK-12 system during the COVID-19 crisis. As previously announced, Connecticut received $111 million in federal ESSER funding of which $11 million is being reserved for state level activities that address the following priorities: internet connectivity; online academic content; and social/emotional supports. The balance of funds – $99 million – are being distributed to local districts who have significant flexibility in how they spend the grant so that existing education funds can be repurposed to areas of highest need, mitigate fiscal impacts, and immediately address educational disruptions.

The Lamont administration also recently announced its launch of the Everybody Learns initiative: a $43.5 million investment in remote learning solutions to close the digital divide in Connecticut by purchasing 50,000 laptops for students, providing 12 months of access to at-home internet for 60,000 students, creating public hotspots free to the public at 200 community sites across the state, and offering social emotional learning content to school districts statewide. The funding is a combination of the state’s portion of the federal CARES Act, the GEER funds, and ESSER funds, and will be supported in part by an initiative of Dalio Education and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities to ensure students across the state have access to computers and internet connectivity.

Dalio Philanthropies was also involved in the donation of 60,000 laptops to students from some of the state’s most under-resourced high schools. At the end of July 2020, more than 57,000 Dell devices had been delivered to the state’s 33 Alliance Districts who serve significant populations of students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.