Ask the District
Have you ever had a question about topics such as budget, curriculum, or special education (just to name a few) and just didn’t know who to contact? Colchester Public Schools has set up this site to answer such questions submitted by students, parents and community members. We will regularly update this site by posting selected questions and answers. Please do not ask questions regarding your child’s individual academic progress (please contact your child’s school/teacher with any questions pertaining to their individual academic progress).
Please submit questions via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: Questions will be posted anonymously. Names and email addresses of those who submit questions will NOT be published. Questions may be edited or condensed before posting. All questions will receive a reply, but not all questions will be posted to the website.
Questions and Answers:
Q: We are thinking of moving to Colchester this summer. When will the 2011-2012 Strategic School Profiles come out?
A: The state has just opened the portal for the Strategic School Profiles (SSP) information this week. When the information will be released has not been determined by the State Department of Education. Since the SSP has been delayed this year, the school district has created its own SSP, CPS At-A-Glance 2012-2013, which can be found on our website at http://www.colchesterct.org/page.cfm?p=28.
Q: I have a 3 year old son that I would like to enroll into school soon. I am not sure how the age factor works and if he should be enrolled into preschool 2013 or 2014. As I understand it may be too late for 2013 and I believe I would want him to wait until he is actually 4 anyway. His birthday is November. How does that work with preschool scheduling? What are my options? He currently goes to daycare in East Haddam. His father lives in East Haddam and we have not decided yet which school system he should go to, although I would like to get information about Colchester as I live there and it’s a possibility. Thank you.
A: Early childhood education is so important in enhancing the development of every child. Therefore it is our goal that every child in Colchester have a quality preschool experience. We are fortunate to live in a community that has a variety of preschool options for parents to choose from including public and private preschool programs. You can receive a list of these programs by contacting Colchester's early childhood coordinator, Shelly Flynn, at 860-537-0717, ext. 3507. Enrollment in Colchester Public Schools' Early Childhood Program, located within Colchester Elementary School, is done by a lottery system. Children who will enroll for the 2013-14 school year have already been selected and there is a waiting list. Lottery applications for the 2014-15 school year will be available in September 2013. You can obtain an application in the office of Colchester Elementary School. Another goal of our school district is that every three and four year old child participate in our Early Childhood Screening Program. The screening consists of observations by trained professionals in the areas of language, motor, cognitive and social skills. To obtain more information regarding the screening program or to schedule a screening appointment for your son please call Susan Vasellina at 860-537-0717, ext. 3402.
Q: I am wondering if Colchester allows excused absences for "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day".
A: Yes, we do allow excused absences for "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day". Please write a note to your child's school letting them know when he/she will be absent. Please include the date and reason.
Q: I am moving to Colchester for the upcoming school year. My child is in special education. Could you please tell me what my first step should be? Thank You!
A: I'm so pleased that your family is moving to Colchester. You will receive a warm welcome in this very caring community. Our school system is committed to the success of each and every student and our teachers and administrators work in partnership with parents to plan and implement high quality, effective programs for students. I would suggest that you contact the school principal to introduce yourself and give some background information about your child. Authorizing your child's current school system to send your child’s general and special education records to our school as soon as possible is also advised. I would also recommend that you schedule a time to meet with the principal once you have arrived in Colchester to review your child's program and have the opportunity to ask questions about our curricula. The principal will also work with you to arrange a Planning and Placement Team meeting so that your child's instructional team can review the learning goals and objectives and discuss how they will be implemented. The school also holds a summer orientation session for new students prior to the start of the new school year. This gives new students the chance to tour the school, meet the administrators, and get to know one another. Best of luck with your move. You have selected a wonderful, child-centered community in which to live.
Q: I would like to learn more about the district's technology curriculum. I am only familiar with CES and JJIS and am wondering what will be covered in middle and high school. CES offers a fun introduction to technology and JJIS seems to focus mainly on keyboarding and Microsoft Office skills. While these are important, I feel there are many other aspects of "technology" that are being overlooked. I have a 5th grader who would love to design video games and learn how to do animation. Unfortunately, when asked if he likes technology he would reply "No" since he equates it with MS Office. We are considering a magnet school that focuses on technology for middle school because we would like to have those interests fostered in school. However, I'm hoping that WJJMS and Bacon could offer similar topics in their technology curriculum. Will any of the following types of programs be incorporated into the technology curriculum? SCRATCH (a free programming language); Lego Mindstorm Robotics. Once the robotics teams are done with competitions in December, could these be available to the technology classes from January to June? Only a select few students are exposed to Mindstorms and it would be great to at least introduce it to the rest of the students; Graphic arts with Photoshop or a free equivalent such as Gimp. I know Kidpix has been a favorite graphics starter program.
A: The 2009 district technology skills scope and sequence is currently being revised. In the elementary grades students are introduced to internet safety, use of online databases and academic web sites as part of the computer literacy and information technology (library) curricula. In the middle school students learn to use presentation tools such as Prezi , Prezi movie maker, and bit strips, a comic creator tool. They get further instruction on google docs and internet safety in their technology class. Additionally, in the Design and Engineering Course students have opportunities to use computers for a variety of projects. SCRATCH is currently not being used. Mindstorm is not currently being used during the school day at any grade level, but certainly could be used for a student or teacher who has a project in mind. At Bacon Academy, computer languages, and advanced use of technology are taught in the math department: Pascal, Java, C++, C#, some script languages and others as needed. Everything is geared towards AP/college/workplace requirements and the gaming/programming fields. Students also design apps on an iMac lab. The graphics department uses up-to-date software including Adobe Professional for design and authentic projects that meet community and business needs, and the business department will be introducing a new Design course in the fall.
Q: First, who creates the Digital Backpack? Second, who is responsible for its contents? I would like to discuss items from the Digital Backpack (items in re: to CASTLE Preschool program). I, and I’m sure the other Daycare/Preschool center owners in Colchester, am interested in determining how our flyers could also be included in your Digital Backpack. As far as I know CASTLE is not a part of Colchester School District, but a privately owned and for profit company which seems to reap the benefit of being solely and consistently included in the Digital Backpack. Thank you and I look forward to your response.
A: Thank you for submitting your question to Ask the District. The Colchester Board of Education has a policy on the distribution of materials by the school system, and we follow it strictly when inserting community announcements into the Digital Backpack (DB). The policy permits us to include information only from community groups that have non-profit status. We have therefore included in our Digital Backpack, both recently and in the past, information from CASTLE as well as another local preschool, as both have shared evidence with us of their non-profit status. If you are aware of another local nonprofit preschool and/or daycare that would like to include announcements in our DB, please ask them to contact Michele Morgan at email@example.com.
Q: I am unable to set up a PowerSchool account due to the fact that I don't have my son's Access ID Number or Password. How can I get this?
A: The Access ID Number and Password are the username and password that were assigned for your PowerSchool access last year. If you no longer have that information, please contact your child's current school.
Q: Hello! We are thrilled to announce an upcoming event. We would like to “spread the word” as much as possible, as this is a very exciting event that is great for all ages from 5-105! If at all possible we would like to provide Colchester students with a flyer. Please tell us what the procedures are.
A: Colchester Public Schools now utilizes Digital Backpacks to distribute information to students and parents. All CES, JJIS, WJJMS and Bacon Academy school newsletters, notices and flyers are posted to the Digital Backpacks on our website, by school, each Friday. Please submit all requests for approval of flyers to Michele Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org at least seven (7) school days prior to the Friday distribution date.
Q: I'm trying to get copies of my son's transcripts and assessment tests, etc. He attended school there in the late 80's. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
A: Certain student records, including transcripts, are kept on file for 50 years. However, the request for records would have to come directly from your son as he is of legal age. An email or a written request is acceptable. The request needs to include his full name, year of graduation, and where the records are to be sent.
Q: I am aware of the new guidelines for GPA and honor roll at Bacon Academy. Many of us have one question: why isn't the honor roll weighted, as the GPA is? Many kids not taking challenging courses will still make honor roll, while those taking challenging courses may not, due to the grade not being weighted.
A: Honor roll is about a student’s ability to complete work in challenging courses in the appropriate level class and be rewarded for his or her efforts. If a student is correctly placed, a level one student should be working as hard as the AP student. GPA grade weight, on the other hand, measures to a college standard; therefore, course work is given quality points to account for the rigor of the class.
Q: I am the mother of a five year old autistic son. I am wondering if there are any organizations in the area that deal with autism awareness or support. I am extremely interested in getting involved. Any information would be highly appreciated.
A: Here are three organizations and their websites that provide extensive information and resources for CT parents of children on the autism spectrum:
Q: What a great new and inventive idea, for whom will be responding/answering our questions? Superintendent? Team of Administrators? Please advise as it would be most helpful to know. Many thanks.
A: Each question will initially go to the Superintendent who will determine the best person in the district to respond. For example, special education questions will most likely be answered by Director of Pupil Services, Curriculum questions by Director of Curriculum, and Board of Education inquires will be addressed by the Board of Education Chairman.