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1/10/2022 - Superintendent of Schools Message

6/17/22 Update:

Dear Canton Public Schools' Community:
 
Congratulations go out to all of our students and families on the successful completion of the 2021-2022 school year! As this school year began, we were again required to deal with challenges related to the pandemic. We faced those challenges and partnered together to support our students leading to a positive end to the year. All of our students made tremendous academic and social growth due to their efforts with the support of families and staff. I commend everyone for their hard work and resiliency! I am so proud of the accomplishments of our students and staff. 
 
As the 2021-2022 school year comes to a close I wanted to share with you a few updates:
 
Student Achievement 
As each of our Building Principals reported to the Board of Education this spring, our Canton students continue to grow and make great progress in spite of the interruption in traditional learning brought on by the pandemic. Students continue to achieve at high levels academically, as well as in the visual arts, music, and athletics. Our community was once again recognized as one of the best communities that support music for the 12th year in a row. Over the past year, all of our schools were named "Best Schools in CT" by U.S. News and World Report, a designation of which we are so proud. This is due to the hard work of all of our community members. Our students demonstrated  social/emotional skills throughout the year, allowing them to be more effective communicators, collaborators, and problem-solvers while being compassionate citizens. 
 
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
You will recall that last year, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Guiding Coalition composed of approximately 40 community stakeholders came together to write a Canton Public Schools Equity Statement. This year we began the implementation of this statement by: providing training to all certified and non-certified staff members; holding four Community Gatherings to discuss what equity means in Canton; and holding two Guiding Coalition Meetings. We have made progress toward our goal to create safe, inclusive learning environments so that ALL students can achieve at high levels. 
 
School Safety and Security
We continue to implement and enforce our school safety and security protocols in collaboration with the Canton Police Department. Our staff and students practice specific routines and procedures on a regular basis. We are in the process of adding several state of the art security cameras at each of our school buildings and will be installing security film at each of the entrances to our schools. There are several other measures in place that I can't disclose for security reasons. District wide and school -based safety teams meet on a regular basis to address safety and security issues within our schools.
 
Cherry Brook Primary School Front Field
You may recall that it came to our attention two years ago that historic fire training activities using fire fighting foam containing PFAS were performed at Cherry Brook Primary School on the grassy field area between the school's parking lot and Barbourtown Road. At that time water supply wells were tested, including the school's well, which is tested on a regular basis. As reported then, and as continues to be the case, there is not a level of concentration of PFAS  properties within the well water. The soil was also tested and it was determined that while the surface levels of the soil show no contamination, remediation of the soil at deep levels is needed. The Town has hired a firm to conduct further soil sample tests in this area in front of Cherry Brook Primary School. This area will be fenced off as these tests and further work is done. While the field is safe to use, it will be fenced off due to this impending work. 
 
School Breakfast/Lunch
Over the past two years, during the pandemic, a federal grant provided free breakfast and lunch to all of our students. Unfortunately, this grant is no longer available after June 30th. Students will need to purchase breakfast and lunch during the next school year. Families that qualify should complete the forms for Free/Reduced Lunch. This is extremely important. Please be on the lookout for these forms as the new school year approaches. 
 
Video
Please enjoy this video highlighting the 2021-2022 school year in Canton!
https://link.edgepilot.com/s/6621b43b/FmZ6GlqRskOjojfCE77jyw?u=https://openmic.link/2iz
 
In closing, I want to let you know that I have informed the Board of Education of my plans to retire as Superintendent of Schools next June 2023. At that time, I will have served in public education for 37 years and for close to 17 years as your Superintendent here in Canton. It was important to me to allow the Board of Education to have several months to conduct the search for the next Superintendent to allow for a smooth transition of leadership.  We have accomplished so much together over the years. I have had the rewarding experience of getting to know you and your children. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you and this wonderfully supportive Canton Community over these last several years and I look forward to another great 2022-2023 school year together! The Board of Education will announce plans for the Superintendent Search in the Fall. 
 
In the meantime, please find time to relax and enjoy your friends and family this summer to rejuvenate yourself. Do the things that bring you joy and feed your soul! Stay well.
 
Please don't hesitate to reach out if I can be of any assistance to you this summer. 
 
Thank you, again, for ALL that you have done in partnership with us to make this very challenging year a successful one!! 
 
Have a wonderful summer!
Sincerely,
Kevin D. Case
Superintendent of Schools

 

5/25/22 Update:
A message from Superintendent of Schools Kevin Case:
Correspondence from Superintendent Kevin D. Case.pdf
Talking To Children about Violence - Tips for Parents and Teachers.pdf 
Talking to Children about Violence.pdf 

5/12/2022 Update:

Dear Canton Public Schools' Community:

Two of the five key attributes of our Vision of the Canton Public School Graduate are that our students will be compassionate citizens, locally, nationally, globally and will be effective collaborators. We expect our students to:

  • Be kind
  • Empathize with the needs of others
  • Act with integrity
  • Understand the local, national, and global impact of their actions
  • Contribute their time, talents, knowledge, and resources to benefit others
  • Take ownership of their academic, civic, and social responsibilities
  • Contribute their ideas toward a common goal
  • Promote discussion and respond in ways that lead to positive outcomes
  • Listen to and consider different perspectives
  • Adapt and compromise with others

We are committed to ensuring that each of our graduates, beginning in Pre- Kindergarten, has these necessary skills to create a safe and inclusive school and classroom environment, where each and every student is ensured access to pathways of success. 

Last Spring, the Canton Board of Education developed a policy on Equity and Diversity and the Guiding Coalition on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiona group of over 40 stakeholderscreated a Canton Public Schools Equity Statement.pdf 

Community Conversations on Equity were held on December 16th, January 20th and March 23rd. You can view the recordings of these gatherings on our website www.cantonschools.org.  We want to continue to gather as a community to discuss what equity means to our school district and community. It is important that community voices are heard. 

The fourth and final session of our Community Gatherings will be held on Wednesday, May 18th from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. This virtual meeting will be held through ZOOM. There will be an opportunity to share thoughts and ask questions. This session will be recorded and posted on our website for those unable to attend.  

To help us plan for this and future community gatherings, please take a moment to respond to the questions found in the link below.  Thank you in advance for your valued feedback. 

Canton Equity Community Survey Link.pdf 

Community Gathering Meeting Link – May 18, 2022:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81536893230?pwd=5Zx-FMy9ZL-GwHpmDueW2SLeOreQN1.1

Meeting ID: 815 3689 3230 / Passcode: phr4m9

Or Dial in: 1 (646) 876 - 9923 / Meeting ID: 815 3689 3230 / Passcode: 135514

Respectfully,

Kevin D. Case

Superintendent of Schools

 

3/16/2022 Update:

Dear Canton Public Schools' Community:
Two of the five key attributes of our Vision of the Canton Public School Graduate are that our students will be compassionate citizens, locally, nationally, globally and will be effective collaborators. We expect our students to:

• Be kind
• Empathize with the needs of others
• Act with integrity
• Understand the local, national, and global impact of their actions
• Contribute their time, talents, knowledge, and resources to benefit others
• Take ownership of their academic, civic, and social responsibilities
• Contribute their ideas toward a common goal
• Promote discussion and respond in ways that lead to positive outcomes
• Listen to and consider different perspectives
• Adapt and compromise with others

We are committed to ensuring that each of our graduates, beginning in Pre- Kindergarten, has these necessary skills to create a safe and inclusive school and classroom environment, where each and every student is ensured access to pathways of success. 

Last Spring, the Canton Board of Education developed a policy on Equity and Diversity and the Guiding Coalition on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a group of over 40 stakeholders, created a Canton Public Schools Equity Statement.pdf .

Community Conversations on Equity were held on December 16th  and January 20th, You can view the recordings of these gatherings on our website - www.cantonschools.org.  We want to continue to gather as a community to discuss what equity means to our school district and community. It is important that community voices are heard. 

The third session of our Community Gatherings will be held on Wednesday, March 23rd from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. This virtual meeting will be held through ZOOM. There will be an opportunity to share thoughts and ask questions. This session will be recorded and posted on our website for those unable to attend.
I look forward to seeing you then.
 
Sincerely,
Kevin D. Case
Superintendent of Schools

 

2/17/2022 Update:
click here for message

2/16/2022 Update:

Good Afternoon,
I'm writing with an update on COVID Health Metrics in our Canton Schools and the Farmington Valley, along with an update on the mask mandate. 

Case Rates
As of February 5th, there was an average positive case rate of 17.4 individuals per 100,000 over a two week period in Canton, down from 42.5 individuals the week ending January 29th. In the Farmington Valley, there was an average positive case rate of 31.3 individuals per 100,000 over a two week period, down from 52.5 the previous reporting period. Overall, the case rates in the Farmington Valley, the Canton Community, and the Canton Public Schools have declined substantially over the last several weeks. Last week, there were 10 individuals within the Canton Public School Community that tested positive, down from 16 reported the previous week: Four (4) at Cherry Brook Primary School; One (1) at Canton Intermediate School; Zero (0) at Canton Middle School; and Five (5) at Canton High School.  In the Farmington Valley, case rates in all age groups have decreased for this reporting period.
 
Recent Legislative Action
With the recent decline in positive COVID-19 cases in the State, the Farmington Valley, and within the Canton Community, the conversation has now centered on mask mandates in schools. Last week, the Governor held a press conference announcing an end to the mask mandate for schools on February 28th, prompting a strong reaction in many communities. Last Thursday, the Connecticut General Assembly convened and passed House Bill 5047. The Senate convened and passed this bill yesterday. At this time, the Department of Public Health Commissioner will be authorized to rescind the statewide mask mandate in schools effective February 28th. The State Department of Public Health and the Farmington Valley Health District are currently developing guidance for local school districts. The Board of Education and I are awaiting this information. We need to see the final guidance from the Department of Public Health, the Connecticut Stare Department of Education, and the Farmington Valley Health District before formally committing to a decision. The Board of Education and I have received several communications on both sides of the issue - asking that the mask mandate end, while others would like to see the mandate continue for a while longer. While I normally don't like to send out communication until all the facts are clear and decisions finalized, I wanted you to be aware of the information we know at this point. Thank you for your feedback and support! More information will follow in the next few days!
 
Stay well and have a great week!
Sincerely,
Kevin D. Case
Superintendent of Schools

 

 

1/28/2022 Update:

Dear Canton Residents,
I'm writing with an update on COVID Health Metrics in our Canton Schools and the Farmington Valley. This update contains the most recent data from the Farmington Valley Health District (FVHD) which I received on Jan 28th. 

Case Rates
As of January 22nd, there was an average positive case rate of 83.6 individuals per 100,000 over a two week period in Canton, down from 129  individuals the week ending January 15th. In the Farmington Valley, there was an average positive case rate of 92.3 individuals per 100,000 over a two week period. After a long, six week period of unprecedented case counts, reported community cases continue to decrease throughout the Farmington Valley. Over this last week, there were 30 individuals within the Canton Public School Community that tested positive, down from 44 reported the previous week: Twelve (12) at Cherry Brook Primary School; Six (6) at Canton Intermediate School; Four (4) at Canton Middle School; and Eight (8) at Canton High School.  In the Farmington Valley, case rates in all age groups have decreased for this reporting period.
 
N-95 Masks and Home Test Kits
The State of Connecticut provided a limited supply of N-95 masks for staff use as well as a supply of home test kits for students and families. If your child has developed COVID-19 -like symptoms or has been identified as a close contact - having a known exposure to someone with COVID-19, your school nurse can provide you with a test kit for use at home. Many families have asked what to do when a sibling tests positive. This case would be the same as your child being identified as a close contact. The attached Farmington Valley District COVID-19 Decision Tree for Pre-K -12 Students, updated on January 5th, is helpful in determining next steps for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. We will no longer be contact tracing on weekends. Please don't hesitate to contact your child's school nurse or Diane Sodaro, District Nursing Supervisor, at dsodaro@cantonschools.org if you have further questions about this guidance.

Vaccination
The CT DPH continues to stress that the most important mitigation strategy is vaccination. In order to quickly determine the extent to which quarantining is required for close contacts to a positive case, we will be asking students to share their vaccination cards with us. This is not mandatory nor a requirement for attendance by students, but is a strong recommendation from the Farmington Valley Health District. This information will be kept confidential by the school nurses and only accessed for contact tracing purposes when necessary.  

The Farmington Valley Health District is planning for two vaccine clinics to be spaced three weeks apart to accommodate a primary series of Pfizer as well as booster doses at both clinics. These will be open to all students who live in the Farmington Valley as well as to school staff and contractors. The first clinic will be scheduled for the end of February/beginning of March. More information will be forthcoming.

If you would like to to share evidence of your child’s vaccination status to assist in possible future contact tracing, please send a hard copy or email/fax an electronic copy to Diane Sodaro at dsodaro@cantonschools.org  or fax 860-693-5837.
 
Mask Wearing
The Governor has issued Executive Order No. 14 extending the mask requirement. Masks remain required for all individuals indoors in schools and whenever students are riding the bus through February 15, 2022. Students are not required to wear masks when outside (ie... recess or outdoor instruction).  If there are any changes, the district will communicate them in a timely manner.  Please continue to send your child(ren) to school with a clean mask each day. There are extremely rare conditions where a child would qualify for a mask exemption. When this occurs, other mitigation strategies are put in place for the child.
 
CIAC Mask Guidelines for Student Athletes
The CIAC  is mandating mask wearing for all athletes participating in basketball and indoor track. You can read the details in the attached memo sent to schools
 
CIACMemoUpdatedWinterSportMaskGuidance12-22-2021.pdf 
COVID Decision Making Tree for PreK-12 Schools 01-04-2021 v5 (1) (1).pdf 
 
Please contact Jon Bishop, jbishop@cantonschools.org, District COVID-19 Liaison or me if you have any questions.
 
Stay well and have a great day!
 
Sincerely,
Kevin D. Case
Superintendent of Schools