Amity Board of Education By-Law Policy 9020
The Amity Regional School District No. 5 Board of Education recognizes that communication is a continuous two-way process. The Board believes that it is important to keep the public informed about educational programs and, in turn, that the community should have the opportunity to provide input. Communication will be a concurrent responsibility of the Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools. The Superintendent of Schools will work with the members of the Board of Education to conduct an active and comprehensive program throughout the school district and community for the prompt dissemination of information about decisions made at all Board meetings. Releases to the press and brief summaries of Board meeting actions prepared for distribution to staff members, parents/guardians, and community are regarded as appropriate media of information for meeting the requirements of this by-law. Press releases relative to Board of Education action shall be released only by the Board Chairperson or the delegated agent of the Board.
Amity Arms School Security Personnel
After a carefully considered and deliberate 3-year process, the Amity Regional School District will be transitioning some existing and qualified school security staff to armed school security officers. The addition of at least 1 armed school security officer in each of our school buildings was a goal of the Ad Hoc Amity School Security Committee. The armed school security officer is not intended to replace the members of law enforcement who currently serve as School Resource Officers (SROs), but rather, to enhance safety in our schools during times when SROs and other law enforcement officials are not able to be in our school buildings. In addition to securing entry to the school, school security staff assist at arrival and dismissal, monitor security cameras, hallways, and bathrooms, supervise the cafeteria and parking lot, and assist in other non-instruction settings and events.
In 2013, the Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation allowing boards of education to employ retired police officers to provide school security services. These police officers must have retired in good standing from a local or the state police department and are required to participate annually in firearms training and training specific to the duties of a school security officer.
In spring 2019, the Amity Regional Board of Education provided the funding necessary to add armed school security officers to each of our schools. Concurrently, the Board Policy Committee developed both a policy and regulation on the requirements, duties, and use of both armed and unarmed school security officers. Modeled from those developed by the Newtown Board of Education, both the policy and regulation were reviewed not only by the Board of Education, but also the Board’s legal counsel and our Bethany-Orange-Woodbridge law enforcement agencies. The policy was passed in October 2020; the regulation has been modified and adjusted throughout summer 2022.
Beginning on October 1, 2022, the Amity Regional School District will have at minimum, one armed school security officer in each of our school buildings. Students are likely to know most of the armed guards, as several of our existing security staff met the statutory requirements to transition to the role of armed security guard.
Senior Parking Lot Painting
In what is anticipated to become a new Senior Year tradition, members of the Class of 2023 had the opportunity to design and paint their parking spaces in the senior parking lot this year. Designs had to be submitted to administration in advance to ensure there was nothing inappropriate. In addition to the standard parking fee, seniors who wished to paint their parking spot paid an additional $20 – a fundraising activity for the Class of 2023. The level of creativity and talent in the parking space artwork is remarkable, and we invite the community to visit the parking lot outside of school hours to see our students’ creativity first-hand.
Middle School Digital Media Elective
As a result of the support from the community for the 2022-2023 Amity Board of Education Budget, a new Digital Media Communications elective has been added to the course offerings at both Amity middle schools. Students who take this course have the opportunity to engage in podcasting, blogging, short film creation, and video editing. The course provides another elective choice to students – adding to existing electives of band, chorus, and Mandarin. The addition of this particular course was based on a review of elective choices offered at other middle schools and to introduce some of the Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings provided at Amity Regional High School. Interest and enrollment in the course is strong.
Convocation and Professional Learning
Amity’s Convocation and Professional Learning Days took place on August 24th & 25th. Over the two days of professional learning, the offering of topics provided teachers with new ways to enhance instructional practice in their classrooms. Mr. Sebastian Little provided a keynote message on the end of the day on August 25th. A Cheshire High School and Yale graduate, Mr. Little’s presentation on “The Great Reset” aligned with the Convocation theme of Reset, Reboot, and Recharge. He will return in January to work with faculty and students.
AMSB Fall Musical
For the AMSB 2022 Spartan Players fall production, students will be performing Matilda. Show dates will be November 11 – 13, 2022 at Amity Middle School Bethany.
Annual Student Assessment
At the September meeting, Amity Board members received a brief summary of the spring 2022 state assessment results. Amity Regional High School was top performing on the SAT when compared to similar CT school districts. Results of the middle school assessments showed Amity students performed comparably in English and math. This September, students in the middle schools took the annual STAR reading and math assessment. Data from the assessment will be reviewed at the district and building levels to identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth. On October 12th, there will be a focused assessment day for ARHS students – 9th grade students will take the PSAT 8/9; 10th grade students will take the PSAT, and 11th grade students will take the PSAT/NMSQT. Seniors will have an excused day and will be encouraged to schedule college visits, complete the college applications, or update resumes and job applications.
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By Paul Davis, Amity BOE Chair