November 8, 2017
5:30 p.m. 

Committee Members Present:  Chair - Jennifer Neumeyer; Members - April Cusick, Staci Fortunato 

Board Members Present:  Tom Connors, Edward Hastings, Pia Holmes, Kimberly Martin 

Administrators Present:  James Anastasio, Donna Madore, Kim Silsby 

Others Present:  Jeff DeJongh, Gretchen Livingston, Maria Sleeper 

1.  Cony Department Head Reporting 

Kim Silsby, introduced the Department Head staff; Jeff DeJongh, Science Department; Gretchen Livingston, World Languages; and Maria Sleeper, Music Department District Coordinator. 

Jeff DeJongh, Science Department Head said there are 10 teachers in the Science Department - two 7th grade teachers who teach life science; two 8th grade teachers who teach physical science; and six staff at the high school who teach physical science; earth and space; energy, engineering and the environment; biology; chemistry; STEM; anatomy; advanced placement biology; advanced placement chemistry; and marine science.  He said the science department has great laboratories.  The STEM course has a robotics component and there is an aquarium with marine specimens for the Marine Science course.  He said in the last two years, anatomy, physiology and chemistry have become dual enrollment courses so students can earn college credits through KVCC.  He oversees the budget for the Science Department and in charge of getting all the equipment needed. 

Gretchen Livingston, Department Chair of World Languages, said she teaches Spanish Level 1 through 5.  There are four other members of the department:  Ann Gingras teaches High School Spanish; June Carpenter teaches French, 8th Grade to Level 5; Deb Backman teaches German, 8th grade to level 5; and Sarah Moore teaches Latin, Level 1 through 5.  This year they are offering Latin in the 8th grade.  Ms. Moore also teaches 7th grade exploratory where students get a taste of all four of the languages.  The World Language Department graduation requirement is for students to have at least two experiences with the same language.  All department members are trained in a methodology called Total Comprehensible Input which focuses on the acquisition of language rather than memorization of the language.  There is the opportunity for dual enrollment credits for Level 3 and Level 4 Spanish only.  Other opportunities are being sought.  All department members are members of American Council of Teaching of Foreign Languages and three of the teachers were able to attend the conference.  She said they offer honor society options to students.  Deb Backman/Cony High School received a very prestigious German Award.  Cony is one of two schools in New England and one of 13 schools in the nation to receive that award. The Spanish Club travels with a volunteer program to Guatemala every couple of years.  Ann Gingras will travel to Spain next year.  This year they participated with Margarita’s to bring artisans to Cony.   Through the French program, students can travel to Quebec and have gone to France in the past.  Ms. Carpenter takes students to an immersion program where the whole weekend is in the target language.  Ms. Moore has taken trips to Europe focusing on Latin and recently took students to the Latin convention at Leavitt High school.  There were 350 students there and six of our 13 students that participated placed in the exam. 

Maria Sleeper, the district music coordinator and band teacher, said there are six staff members in the Music Department.  Bernice Stanley and Sharon Beaver, both veteran teachers, focus on music in the elementary schools.  It readies them to participate in our middle and high school programs.  Laura Kimball teaches 5th and 6th grade band at all four of the elementary schools; Russel Caverly does some teaching at the elementary schools as well as being the Middle School Band Director.  At the High school level, Jake Whittaker is the middle and high school vocal instructor as well as teaching all elective courses.  Years of experience in the music department range from 3 years to 45 years.  At the high school level, students can be in both band and chorus.  In addition to the vocal or instrumental ensembles they can take classes in guitar, digital music, music theory, or theater course and have all the instruments needed to run the elective courses.   She said they’re very fortunate to have the space and a beautiful facility.  For the grades 5– 12 band program approximately 50% of instruments are given to students so they don’t have to pay to rent.  They have worked very hard as a department to get the curriculum mapped and have assessments for each one.  The assessments are going to be written as well as performance based.  She said they are very proud of their All City Music Concert which is one of the largest undertakings as a department and a source of pride.  The elementary program requires that every student performs live once per year.  At the middle and high school level we do a spring concert and a winter concert.  The performance group seen most often is the Madrigals.  They’re a very versatile group and able to perform in all kinds of venues.  She said they are also proud of the contribution the music department makes for Chizzle Wizzle.  The jazz band also performs at football and basketball games and the Special Olympics send off.  There are many outside school festivals such as auditioning for the District 3 Honors Festival for band and chorus, All-State, and jazz All-State.  She said they just had a student accepted for the Jazz All-State Festival which is very competitive.  This year, Cony is hosting the District 3 Honors Festival at the end of January. 

Meeting adjourned at 6:07 p.m.