Al Barbarotta, Trumbull High School’s Renovate as New project Owner’s Representative, told the Board of Education on Tuesday evening he is “confident we will open with all academic spaces, the media center, gym and locker rooms and offices clean, safe, occupiable, and within all codes for the first day of school.
Still remaining is the punch list - a number of typically small but uncompleted tasks. This, he said, should be finished “by the first of the year.”
Parking lot paving will be completed by the opening of school, the sidewalks a long month later.
Superintendent Ralph Iassogna again praised THS Principal Dr. Robert Tremaglio, his staff and the students for “what they’ve had to put up with” during the construction - a sentiment Board Chair Steve Wright echoed.
Iassogna seemed comfortable that the building will be ready for the August 27 opening. He is now pressing to have it usable for the August 22 pre-opening staff meetings, including the state mandated bullying/school climate presentation that requires the 1,100 seat auditorium. But the Link Crew freshman orientation will be rescheduled.
Barbarotta, responding to a question from board member Mike Ward, said the building will be LEED (Leadership Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified. This certification is offered by the U. S. Green Building Council, and awards points to factors that enhance water and energy efficiency, material reuse/recycling and air quality. LEED buildings offer reduced operating costs, greater environmental sensitivity and more comfort to their occupants.
Full Day Kindergarten
The board reviewed preliminary year end financial reports - the final reports will be available in August, once all invoices have been received.
They showed a year end unspent balance of $989,247, 1.1 percent of the total budget. $875,000 of this will be returned to the General Fund under an agreement that the Board of Finance will transfer it to next year’s budget to pay the start up expenses and first year’s salaries for the Full Day Kindergarten program.
The remainder will be used to acquire new computers - some to replace 12 year old systems that long ago should have been junked.
Technology Manager Jeff Hackett subsequently reminded me that every building will have high speed Internet access by the end of the next school year. This digital backbone begs us to adopt the next phase of the long dormant Technology Plan and purchase the computers needed to expand the district’s 21st century curriculum.
Most buildings today have too few current technology student use computers. THS also lacks computers and software necessary to offer courses including graphic design and film making - part of a 21st century digital media curriculum - and subject matter that will open new doors for our students.
(Re)introducing Katie Boland
The new year brings with it a new Teacher Representative to the board. This year she will be Katie Boland - Kathleen, if you must be proper - a THS Social Studies teacher. Ms. Boland teaches We The People, one of the school’s most exciting courses (at least to an American History geek like me). It’s a senior elective that enrolls only 24 students. It’s oversubscribed every year, so admission requires an essay - a great intro for students whose next few months will be consumed applying to colleges.
Class members learn about our Constitution, the men who wrote it, the ideas underlying it and contemporary issues surrounding its defense. The course brings in everything the district’s curriculum “majors” in - critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, close reading of non-fiction materials, writing research papers, public speaking...
But best is that the class is formed into teams that compete against other schools in what are essentially debates about the Constitution. Last year the THS team finished first in the state, travelled to Washington, DC, and finished high up in the national competition.
Typical of We The People students is Erin Puglia. She will be a senior and is an Alternate Student Representative to the board. She has a full schedule of AP classes, is an officer in a number of extra-curricular activities, has her eye on one of the most competitive colleges (no spoiler alert here), and, like many in We The People, is thinking pre-law.