Capital Redux and Spotlight on World Langauges

Will the Board of Education prioritize Its capital budget?


When the Greenwich Board of Education meets this Thursday, the recognitions will include significant student accomplishments.

Bonnie O'Regan, ALP Facilitator, will present students who achieved Outstanding Achievement in the Johns Hopkins Talent Search conducted by John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. 

Greenwich 2012 Teacher of the Year, Andrew Bramante, will present two of his independent research science students as 2013 Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) Semi-finalists: Stephen LeBreton for In Vivo Regeneration of Tooth Enamel using an Innovative Hydrophilic Polymer-Coated Retainer and Annie Zhang for Graphene Oxide as a Novel Biosensor in Targeted Delivery of Chemotherapy Drugs.

The 300 semi-finalists were selected from among 1,712 entrants. Each semi-finalist receives a $1,000 award from the Intel Foundation with an additional $1,000 going to his or her school. Intel STS is expected to announce the 40 finalists this week.

Capital Budget

The board will receive an opdate on the Board of Education's capital budget. Board Chairman Leslie Moriarty said that "the item is intended to be an update and discussion on the CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) and its impact on the BOE capital plan."

The board voted 8-0 to approve their 2013-2014 Capital Plan at $10,075,000 at their Oct. 18 meeting at Eastern Middle School. The Capital Plan is $2 million higher than the $8 million target stated in the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) budget guidelines.

When questioned whether the board would take on vote on alternatives to its $10 million request, Moriarty responded "while there is no action currently anticipated, any Board member has the ability to make a motion, assuming 3/4 vote to take up the motion."

The district has spent on average approximately $10.34 million in capital over the past eight years, which excludes the building of Hamilton Avenue and Glenville Schools.

Monitoring Reports

The Consent Agenda includes the approval of Monitoring Reports presented earlier this month:

Highlights on World Languages were presented by Marcia Schenker, the Program Coordinator.

Following the review in 2010, the program transitioned from “content based” to a “content connected” as the previous approach did not give students the opportunity to practice speaking about relevant academic or life topics. By making dialogues more personalized, students’ attention and retention are higher. Schenker explained that now the District follows an immersion approach, which means that the world language is utilized at least 90 percent of the class time.


  • 50% of the classes offered at the high school are considered accelerated or advance placement versus only one such course 10 years ago;
  • GHS mean AP scores in French, German, Spanish Language and Spanish Literature are significantly higher than both state and national averages with close to 96 percent of students achieving a score of 3 or above, up from 87% in 2011;
  • Close to 80 percent of GHS students are enrolled in World Languages as compared to 58 percent for the state.

It was noted that the current GHS freshmen class is the first to have a language requirement for graduation. While the state has discussed commencing a similar graduation requirement, it has held off so far citing the cost impact on districts which lack appropriately comprehensive language programs.


  • The impact of the transition in grade 6 where students study World Languages every other day rather than each day which is the norm at elementary school and again in grades 7 and 8. "We lose some students” due to the change;
  • The lack of state-wide standardized testing though Schenker noted that there was a request for funding to obtain a testing system available nationally.

The importance of World Languages was summarized by Superintendent Dr. William McKersie noting the reorganization of the Administration scheduled to take place starting July 1 will “focus all our energy on academic area; on Humanities, on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and on Foreign Languages which captures all key academic areas. So, we are not there yet, but the Board hears a lot and sees a lot and asks what really matters at the top of our list academically.  You are in one of those three major areas with this monitoring report.”

The meeting will start at 7:00 p.m. at Glenville School.


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