School board sets academic plan

The Wilton Board of Education met Thursday, Sept. 13, to discuss a variety of issues, ranging from a minor enrollment hike, broader wireless Internet, and a full-scale student development plan.

• Enrollment data currently shows 17 students above what was expected across 13 grades. An official census will be drawn for Oct. 1.

• A thorough study of the Miller-Driscoll building, looking at components such as exterior walls, window and door sealants, drainage and electrical systems and testing for asbestos and mold has returned a preliminary study, which found nothing harmful to the health and safety of students or staff in building.

• Assistant Superintendent Tim Canty and Director of Technology Mat Hepfer announced the system's three-year professional development plan, which began with teacher-led curriculum development seminars over the summer.

The development plan aims to enhance student understanding of social and emotional needs — largely in response to state anti-bullying legislation — as well as create a higher level of academic standards.

Mr. Canty described the plan as a research-and-development initiative with three pillars: "What we teach," "how we teach," and "how we analyze student data."

The change in curriculum aims to adhere to state mandates, and the most significant change is a new math program at the kindergarten level; in grades 1-2 at selected units of study; full-scale at grades 3-6; and in selected courses of grades 7-8.

"The professional development plan is vitally important to launching this program effectively," Mr. Canty said. "The community seems to have embraced this program."

New academic plans includes new means for addressing district literacy needs, mostly at the elementary school level. This includes new models of coaching, which invite teachers to watch their colleagues while teaching in order to offer constructive criticism at development briefings.

Monthly reviews and principal roundtable meetings are also underway, aimed at reviewing and enhancing new teaching methods and administrative goals.

Improved data storage and corresponding programs have helped better monitor the progress of students and analyze performance data, Mr. Canty said.