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Meeting Type:
Board of Education Meeting
Terryville High School Cafeteria
12/14/2011 7:00:00 PM

United In Our Commitment to Excellence in Education

 The Plymouth Public Schools’ mission is to ensure that all students

learn to thebest of their abilities. We support their growth into

knowledgeable,skilled, and contributing citizens capable

of succeeding intheir work, personal, and family lives.

Plymouth Board of Education

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Terryville High School Cafeteria


Present: Board: Mark Berube, Raymond Engle, Anthony Orsini, Daniel Santorso, Martin Wetzel, Gerard Bourbonniere, Karen Kulesa and Patrick Perugino

 Excused Absence: Roxanne Perugino

 Administrators: Dr. Distasio, Superintendent; Mr. Parenti, Director of Pupil Personnel, Mr. Santogatta, Business Manager; and Mr. Trudeau, Director of Technology

Excused Absence: Mr. Lovely, Director of Curriculum & Instruction


Mr. Perugino called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. The group joined in the Pledge to the Flag.


MOTION: To adopt the agenda as presented. Motion Martin Wetzel, seconded Daniel Santorso, motion passed unanimously.


MOTION: To approve the minutes of the regular meeting of November 9, 2011. Motion Martin Wetzel, secondedAnthony Orsini motion passed unanimously.

MOTION: To approve the minutes of the special meeting of November 28, 2011. Motion Daniel Santorso, seconded Anthony Orsini motion passed unanimously.


The night’s presentation highlighted the efforts of staff members, Cynthia Badenhop and George Bikakis, advisors to the Eli Terry Jr. Middle School Enrichment Program, and their students. Both of these individuals devoted much time and effort in developing an environment that fosters student creativity and learning through the use of technology. Ms. Badenhop and Mr. Bikakis applied for and were awarded the CEA/Affiliate and Member Development Dynamic Local Project Grant. This award allows for the purchase of eleven notebooks for student

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use. Ms. Badenhop and Mr. Bikakis spoke about the grant and the impact of technology on student learning




Dr. Distasio informed Board Members correspondence has been received by the Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor that Plymouth had 5 students who achieved at the Advanced Level on all of the Connecticut Academic Performance Test administered last year. Congratulations to: Anna Dupaul, Melissa Gualtieri, Peter Hopko, Angel Katiewicz, and Devyn Oakes

Mr. Perugino announced that Dr. Distasio was elected to serve on the UConn Neag School of Education Board of Directors. Congratulations Dr. Distasio.


A. Magnet Schools, Technology School, and Vo-Tech Schools Transportation

MOTION: To limit the number of bus stops for pick-up and drop-off in Plymouth for students attending the Magnet, Technology and Vo-Tech Schools and to have the parents responsible for getting their children to the designated bus stops in our school district when attending these out-of-district schools. Motion Anthony Orsini, seconded Martin Wetzel. At this time the chair polled the Board Members, Mark Berube, Raymond Engle, Anthony Orsini, Daniel Santorso, Martin Wetzel , Karen Kulesa and the Chair voted unanimously to pass the motion.


A. Appointment

MOTION: To appoint Aimee Schapp to the position of school psychologist based at Plymouth Center and Eli Terry Jr. Middle Schools effective January 3, 2012. Motion Gerard Bourbonniere, seconded Martin Wetzel. The motion passed with one abstention from Raymond Engle.

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B. Childbearing/Childrearing Leave

MOTION: To approve a childrearing leave for Allison Curtiss, a grade 2 teacher at Harry S. Fisher Elementary School, beginning on or about February 16, 2012.

Motion Raymond Engle, seconded Anthony Orsini motion passed unanimously.

C. Coaching Appointments

MOTION: To appoint the following coaches at Eli Terry Jr. Middle School for the fall of 2011: Mark Sconziano, Girl’s Basketball; Jerry Curtiss, Boys’ Basketball and Dawn Alarcon, Cheerleading. Motion Daniel Santorso, seconded Gerard Bourbonniere motion passed unanimously.

D. Retirement

Dr. Distasio has accepted the resignation of Jayne Hotchkiss, custodian at Eli Terry Jr. Middle School, for the purpose of retirement, effective February 6, 2012.

E. Resignation

Dr. Distasio has accepted the resignation of Holly Mazzarella, part-time paraprofessional at Plymouth Center School, effective December 12, 2011.

F. Out-of-State Field Trip

MOTION: To approve an out-of-state field trip for selected grade 9 – 12 students at Terryville High School for January 21, 2012 to New York City to see the Broadway Production of “How to succeed in Business without Really Trying”. Motion Martin Wetzel, seconded Anthony Orsini motion passed unanimously.


  1. Curriculum - Mrs. Kulesa

The Curriculum Subcommittee met on December 7, 2011. Mrs. Kulesa reported the following items were discussed.

The following items were discussed: (1) Connecticut Mental Health Association (CMHA) Partnership with the Plymouth Public Schools. CMHA would offer counseling service to the youth and families of Plymouth. A counselor would be housed in each school building, one day per week. He/she would work with district staff identifying student and families in need. All counseling by CMHA staff would be confidential and requisite documentation and parental consent forms would be signed and filed before counseling services could begin. and (2) TUNXIS Community College and the Plymouth Public Schools discussed entering into a

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partnership to provide credited college level courses at Terryville High School. The four courses would be Chemistry, Algebra II, Communication and Technology

would be taught at Terryville High School and offered during the school day as part of the regular program of studies. The subcommittee unanimously agreed to bring a motion for the partnership proposal to the full Board for their approval.

At this time, Mrs. Kulesa called for the following:

MOTION: To enter into a partnership with Tunxis Community College to offer four college level courses at Terryville High School during the 2012 – 2013 school year.

Motion Gerard Bourbonniere, seconded Daniel Santorso motion passed unanimously.

B. Facilities - Mr. Engle

Mr. Engle reported the Facilities Subcommittee met prior to the Board meeting and unanimously agreed to bring forth the name of Warren Brothers, who will replace the boilers at Harry S. Fisher Elementary School, to the full Board for their approval.

MOTION: To award Warren Brothers a contract to replace the boilers at Harry S. Fisher Middle School at a cost of $133,126.00. Motion Martin Wetzel, seconded Anthony Orsini motion passed unanimously.

C. Finance – Mr. Bourbonniere

Mr. Bourbonniere reported that the Finance Sub-Committee met prior to the Board of Education Meeting. The November accounts by facilities report was reviewed and will be forwarded to the Town of Plymouth Board of Finance.

D. Negotiations

No Meeting

E. Personnel – Mr.Berube

The Personnel Subcommittee met at 6:15 p.m. prior to the Board meeting and all matters discussed were addressed under New Business.

 F. Policy

No Meeting

G. Safety & Transportation -

No Report

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H. Education Connection – Mrs. Kulesa

Mrs. Kulesa reported Education Convention did not meet, however, a brief telephone conference was held but there was nothing significant to report. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in the month of February.

I. Student Representatives

Tim King reported on the following events: (a) Terryville High School Drama Club Play “Aladdin” took place on December 10th and was very successful; (b) a Blood Drive sponsored by the student council is scheduled for December 19th; (c) the Toy Drive by the Leo Club – 300 toys were collected throughout the district. (d) Winter concert for band students, Monday, December 19th. (e) Pajama Day, participation is a donation of $2. The high school faculty will dress down all next week for a donation of $2 per day. Proceeds will go to the “Angel Fund”. The most outrageous outfit will receive a $25 gift certificate.

Dr. Distasio added all monies collected for the Angel Fund will be matched by Mr. Zukowski, through the Zukowski Foundation. Also, hats and gloves to go with the coats collected by Mr. Bikakis and his students will be donated by Mr. Zukowski through the Zukowski Foundation. Many thanks go out to Mr. Zukowski and the Zukowski Foundation for their generosity.

Tyler Tarnowicz reported on the following: (a) December 9th, Terryville High School PTSA Northeast Professional Wrestling Night was an extreme success and will benefit the AfterGrad activities to take place at the Shelton Sports Center. Thank you to the PTSA Aftergrad Committee for all they are doing.

Vannesa Kello reported on the following: (a) Winter Sports have begun or are scheduled to begin this week; (b) the girls basketball played their first game against Gilbert and won; (c) wrestling and boys’ basketball both play tonight; (d) the first indoor track meet will take place this Friday; (e) girls and boys soccer teams both received the honor of the Tex Alex Sportsmanship for the Berkshire League;

(f) Tyler Raymond participated in the Jr. Olympics (outside of school sports) and was rated second in Regionals and 41st in Nationals; (g) Liz Haylette and Vanessa Kello were chosen for the All Bristol Press Volleyball Team; (h) all winter sports are participating in Adopt A Family and (i) winter teams are collecting food for the Food Pantry.


Mr. Trudeau, Director of Technology

Mr. Trudeau thanked Mrs. Badenhop and Mr. Bikakis for all of their efforts. They are a shining example of what goes on in our schools. He also thanked tonight’s crew for broadcasting live on Plymouth 16.

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Mr. Lovely – Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Excused Absence

Mr. Parenti – Director of Pupil Personnel

Mr. Parenti thanked everyone for their kind words and encouragement. He indicated he has been meeting with administrators, teachers and SEPTA to try and set up good lines of communication.

Mr. Santogatta, Business Manager

Mr. Santogatta reported the budget looks good and we are half way through next years budget.

Dr. Distasio, Superintendent

Dr. Distasio congratulated the following students for winning 1st place in the United Way of West Central Connecticut digital video contest, Kolbie Brenner, Allison Trudeau and Halley King. These students created a Public Service Announcement on the subject of childhood obesity. Both students and parents are invited to an Awards Breakfast on December 17th where they will be presented with a $2,000 savings bond to be split amongst themselves.

Congratulations also went to Mr. Marty Sandshaw and our staff for again being recognized for our energy savings program. The district is eligible to apply as an energy Star Leader because the energy program in the Plymouth Schools has improved by more than 26%.

Congratulations are in order to Plymouth’s Local Prevention Council. The LPC will be receiving an award by the Substance Abuse Action Council for being the most supportive and active LPC in the region. Congratulations to Tatum Sherwood, Lisa Aiudi and our local LPC for receiving this recognition.

Dr. Distasio commented on a statement that appeared in an article in the Republic-American on December 14, 2011. The statement read as follows: “The decision has become political on board that otherwise in recent years has not been politically charged.” Dr. Distasio informed the public this statement to be untrue. The Plymouth Board is anything but political. It has not made a political decision in over a decade. The Plymouth Board of Education is an award winning Board. It is a Board that less than a month ago was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. This Board is held

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to a standard that other Boards are trying to achieve. It is the responsibility of the news media to report the news not create it.

Dr. Distasio reported on the following: (1) reminder to parents that in preparation of winter, school closings, late openings and early dismissals will be broadcast over cable Channel 16, and the major Television and Radio Stations. Parents and staff will receive a call from the AlertNow automated emergency system. Calls for staff will be made between 5 and 5:30 a.m. and to parents at approximately 6 a.m. and (2) This year’s holiday break will be from December 24, 2011 through January 2, 2012. Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

On behalf of the Plymouth Board of Education, Dr. Distasio wished all a very happy holiday season.

11. Public Comments Regarding Agenda or Non-Agenda Items


12. Board Liaisons to Schools

Mr. Perugino – Harry S. Fisher Elementary School

12/16 Gingerbread Jamboree; 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. & 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

12/23 ETJ M.S. Chorus & Band – 10:30 a.m.

PTA Fundraiser – possibility of Harlem Wizard

Jacob Piotrowski, a 4th grader at Harry S. Fisher Elementary School and Mr. Perugino’s mentee received the Director’s Award at Carousel Museum.

Mr. Engle – Plymouth Center School

No Report

Mr. Orsini – Eli Terry Jr. Middle School

In lieu of Mr. Orsini’s absence, Mr. Santorso reported the following: The meeting took place on December 1, 2011. This year’s president is Becky Theriault. The PTA currently has 89 members. The PTA is exploring the possibility of a McDonald’s fundraiser in late January; the 2011-2012 budget was reviewed; there was a Reflections Program; Mrs. Badenhop and Mr. Bikakis received a grant, using technology and embracing international peer group work. Mr. Travers reported the students did a rubbing of Eli Terry Jr.’s Grave. The next PTA meeting is scheduled for January 5th, 2012.

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Mr. Bourbonniere – Terryville High School-PTSA/After Grad Committee

Mr. Bourbonniere reported the Wrestling Night last Friday was well attended. Approximately 420 people attended. The next meeting is scheduled for the 2nd Thursday in January.

Mr. Berube – SEPTA – (Special Education Parent Teacher Association)

Mr. Berube attended a presentation by NAML-CT (National Alliance on mental iIlness): Approximately 25 individuals were in attendance. The presentation, which was very informative, raised awareness of mental health issues in children and ways to identify children in mediation.

Holiday Greenery Fundraiser was very successful.

Mr. Santorso – CABE

Mr. Santorso reported there was no meeting in December. However, the CABE Convention took place on November 18th and 19th. Lydia Tedone of Simsbury is the new CABE President. Lydia encouraged communications with other Region 1 CABE members, Susan Hoffnagle and Mary Ellen Bayou of Winchester. A gathering is being planned of the region’s state legislators and boards of education.

Mr. Santorso indicated he enjoyed meeting and speaking with Lydia and looks forward to working with her. The next CABE meeting is on January 19th at 5 p.m. in the Rovins Conference Room in the CABE Office at 81 Wolcott Hill Road in Wethersfield.

Dr. Distasio - PTA Council

The PTSA Council did not meet last month. Dr. Distasio thanked Chris and Pat Borda for a great job with the Wrestling Night Fundraiser.

13. Final Board Comments

Mr. Santorso – No Comments

Mr. Wetzel – No Comments

Mr. Bourbonniere – Great job Cynthia and George; Great job with Tunxis.

Mrs. Kulesa – No Comments

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 Mr. Berube – No Comments

Mr. Engle – Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Be Safe

Mr. Orsini – Thank you Cindy and George for a job well done. Wishing everyone and safe holiday season.

 Mr. Perugino – Congratulations to Dr. Distasio who was elected to the Board of Governors at UConn NEAG School of Education. Dr. Distasio was recognized at the CABE Convention as having celebrated his 10th year as Superintendent of Schools. Congratulations to Cindy and George. Thank you to Mr. Zukowski and the Zukowski Foundation for their generous donations. It’s wonderful to see an individual who has graduated from the Plymouth School District give back to the community. This only goes to prove there are many good people inTerryville. Lastly, Merry Christmas and a Happy Prosperous New Year to all.

14. Next Regular Board Meeting

Mr. Perugino stated that the next regular Board of Education Meeting will be held on January 11, 2012 at 7 p.m. at Terryville High School.

15. Adjournment

 MOTION: To adjourn the meeting at 7:55 p.m. Motion Raymond Engle, seconded Martin Wetzel motion passed unanimously.

 Respectfully submitted,


Gerard Bourbonniere


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