The Board of Education voted Monday to accept a $1.34 million dollar grant from the Connecticut Department of Education as one of the state's designated "Alliance Districts," a term developed under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's education reform proposal to send extra funding to the state's 30 worst performing school districts.
"We are very excited by this opportunity," Interim Superintendent Richard Kisiel said of the grant. "It is obviously going to be a benefit to our school district as we move ahead and meet the challenges of improving the achievement gap."
Alliance districts had to submit an application to the state outlining how they would go about implementing some form of "reform strategies" outlined by Malloy earlier this year. Manchester's application focused on developing a six and a half week summer preschool program to ease the transition for young students entering the school system, an increase in reading tutors and coaches and the implementation of a six week summer literacy intervention for students below grade level, and the development of a new teacher and administrator evaluation and support system.
"This will enable us to move ahead to work on the district's improvement plan," Kisiel said. "…Work has already begun in anticipation of the revenue."
The school board also unanimously voted to adopt a new social media policy. After a previous draft of the policy raised the ire of the Connecticut chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Kisiel said the school board's attorneys at the firm of Shipman & Goodwin worked with the ACLU to revise the policy and that the new policy would actually encourage employee use of social media for educational purposes while establishing "succinct guidelines."