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School starts Sept. 4

Shelton Public Schools are back in session for a full day on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

The buildings have been scrubbed clean, teachers and staff are in the midst of professional development and enrollment numbers are still being crunched.

When it comes to the schools’ buildings, no major changes or construction were done this summer.

“From a facilities standpoint, we are ready to go,” Superintendent Freeman Burr said.

Work continues to resolve fire safety issues raised by the state, according to the superintendent.

“We are continuing to work with the state fire marshal’s office to resolve concerns about the high school building,” Burr said.

Repairs to high school bathrooms were a priority this summer.

“We did make a concerted effort to make the lavatory facilities as pristine as possible,” Burr said. “They seem to get abused.”

Stalls and fixtures have been replaced and repaired and signs have been put up, encouraging students to keep the facilities clean and follow no-smoking rules.

Some of the graduating seniors had sent letters about the conditions of the school bathrooms and Burr hopes the repairs and signs will help students police themselves and each other when it comes to keeping things clean and intact.

Maintenance and cleaning of all school buildings was finished by this week.

“We kind of proceeded this summer with a SWAT team approach,” Burr said. “Custodial maintenance teams went into school and did them top to bottom.”

No ‘zero’?

Parents of students in kindergarten through grade 6 can expect to see standards-based report cards this year. Teachers will grade students based on standards in each subject and whether a student is meeting it, progressing toward it, not meeting it or exceeding it.

Teachers and administrators are looking at grading practices throughout the district, particularly aligning grading criteria by subject. One discussion that has been part of professional development, according to Burr, is “the case against zero.” The discussion focuses on how it can be difficult for students to recover and get a good grade if they receive a zero on a project or assignment and it could lead to a student disengaging.

The district is also moving forward with curriculum development so Shelton schools are aligned with the state’s transition to the Common Core Standards in 2015.

Enrollment numbers are still changing and officials numbers won’t be in until Oct. 1. However, the district expects to be down by a total of 100 students districtwide. But one or two additional sections of half-day kindergarten may be needed, based on preliminary numbers. The grade 5 class at Perry Hill School is also looking larger than expected and since teachers at the grade 5-6 school teach in teams, two additional staff members may be needed.

Vision and Mission

The Shelton Board of Education is starting the new school year with a new list of core beliefs, approved by elected members last Wednesday. The board also updated its mission and vision statements.

The new vision statement is: “Shelton Public Schools will prepare all students with the necessary skills and knowledge to become responsible and successful citizens of a global society.” The updated mission statement reads: “The Shelton Public School System provides all students with educational programs and opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge and character in a safe and respectful environment.”

The district’s core belief statement is: “The Shelton Public School System believes that it is our responsibility to:

• Provide effective research-based instruction by highly qualified staff

• Engage students’ families and the community to enhance learning and increase academic achievement

• Provide a challenging and rigorous curriculum that meets individual student needs

• Support and enhance student learning by providing relevant and engaging professional development opportunities.”

For more information, including bus routes and back-to-school night schedules for paretns, see SheltonPublicSchools.org.

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