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Superintendent Says Goodbye to Stratford Schools

Stratford Superintendent Irene Cornish gives notice of her planned withdrawal through the following letter addressed to Board of Education Chairman Gavin Forrester.

Dear Chairman Forrester:

Please accept this notice of my intention to end my employment with the Stratford Public Schools as its superintendent on January 1, 2013.

While my current contract does not end until June 30, 2013, I hope you will understand my desire to commence my retirement sooner. Although I was born and raised in Connecticut, I have never enjoyed its winters. Now that I have a home in Mexico, I long to spend next winter and future winters there.

I thank this Board and prior Boards for the privilege of working in this district for what will be a full nine (9) years.

During that time, together we have re-invigorated Stratford High School, implemented full day kindergarten for all those who want it, implemented an elementary world language program from kindergarten through grade six, built a solid technolological foundation, revised curricula, updated textbooks, and focused on an equitable distribution of resources throughout the district.

We have enjoyed statewide acclaim for award winning schools and staff; and can take particular pride in our efforts to close the achievement gap.

Further, despite the years of an ailing economy, the quality of education has not suffered due in large part to the financial sacrifices of our administrators, teachers, staff, parents and community at large.

Departing on January 1, 2013, will allow me to open schools for the 2012/13 school year, participate in the negotiation of the next teacher contract, set the stage for the 2013/14 budget process, and help with succession planning.

I thank you, this Board, and prior Boards for your encouragement and support over the years. We have accomplished much which has benefitted the lives of thousands of students and their families.

I wish the Board and the Stratford Public Schools continued success.

Sincerely,

Irene Cornish

Editor's note: Stratford Patch will be reaching out to Cornish this week for a full-length profile.

Jezebel282 January 26, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Whoa. Hold on there, Mr. Forrester. "aproximately $15 per household"? Somehow you forgot to mention the $6,000 - $10,000 per household Stratford residents pay in property taxes. Let's be a bit more honest with our statistics, OK?
Gavin Forrester January 26, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Jez my comment was specifically related to the $$ increase in the proposed budget. I am well aware of what everyone pays in taxes as I to pay my taxes here in Stratford and on time as well.
Jezebel282 January 26, 2012 at 04:10 PM
LOL! I would have said "painfully" aware, but plain old aware is good enough.
Walt January 26, 2012 at 04:22 PM
And center school isn't really "closed".
ann stockman January 27, 2012 at 06:32 AM
Wish to extend appreciation to Irene for her interest and efforts to promote cultural diversity in our educational community. Best wishes always.
Rusty Nail2 January 27, 2012 at 02:32 PM
While not a Cornish fan, I do believe that she has finally submitted a reasonable budget that the taxpayers can support. However, the council should look at various line items than just the overall pct. increase. Are there unreasonable line item increases in areas being implemented just becauase we have savings in other areas. If so that needs to be addressed as it will only come back to hurt us in the coming years. Finally, her replacement? How about Margaret Lasek? She has been in the system a long time and seems to be a good administrator.
Rusty Nail2 January 27, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Expanding on my above comment, I believe that there is a state law that mandates that a town/city must spend no less on a local BOE budget that you spent in the prior year? If so, due to the large drop in expenses in certain budgeted BOE accounts, Cornish may have loaded up in other areas/budgeted accounts to meet that state mandate. We should know if this is occuring?
Gavin Forrester January 27, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Rusty - budget is on the BOE website and while there are savings in Energy and some labor costs due to retirements the medical insurance is going up 4%, Labor contracts will no longer reflect the -0-% no step increases as those expire, so when all is taken into consideration that's why there is a less than 1/2 % increase. Feel free to review the document off the website.
Lamont Sanford January 28, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Wait until the charters come to town...
Lamont Sanford January 28, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Who would you vote out Gavin..? You answered your own question. How about talking about Lone Pine -- how much have they given the schools so far and what is the return?
Lamont Sanford January 28, 2012 at 06:01 PM
How do they pay for all th tracking software?
Tom January 28, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Vet.? LOL
Nima January 28, 2012 at 09:59 PM
I for one, am no fan of Irene. I am thrilled to see her go. However, I must defend the teachers at my children's school. We are one of the elementary schools that have implimented the Make your day program. Our school has had much success with this program. I believe it is the way the teachers approach the children. The kids know the boundries and the teachers also go above and beyond the needs of the schol to care for our children. Many times our teachers help students on their own time with NO extra pay. It is because they believe in our kids. On the other hand, I believe the make your day program has no business in the middle schools. This program only works with the younger children. Having said all of this, I just want to point out this is only my opinion and I believe everyone has the right to their opinion and their beliefs. Again, this is only my experience with the program at the elementary school level AND the middle school level.
Nima January 29, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Tom, don't you think we need to teach our children to have boundries? And that there are consenquences for actions? Also, would it be fair and just to single out only a certain population? It is also important to have the same set of rules and guidelines for everyone. That way everyone knows what is expected. I know as wellas I am sure you do , we can not run a red light or rob someone, why? this is because we know what is expected and the consenquences if we do any of those things.
Herb Morrison January 29, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Single out only a certain population? If you have kids that need glasses, you don't make the whole school wear them do you?
Tom January 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM
To all that have posted in response to me or about issues I have brought up: I have decided to shut it down. I am concenred that my tone has become insulting and that my initial message has been lost by that so I have deleted my own posts. I have spent three months presenting the concerns I have with Make Your Day as well as the PBiS with little reaction from other parents. I strongly suggest that concerned parents inquire about the data that is collected for thier children -- what it is, where it is kept, how it is used, as well as how it will be used in the future. Good luck to all. Unlike others, I chose to complete my graduate studies in Psychology already not buying into its garbage and I finished my masters pretty much with the same opinion of the discipline. Sometimes it's not about the money or the title, it's about doing what you believe is right for your community. Ask about behavioral profiling (social and academic) and whether or not your child has been tracked. Be aware of the term "at risk" and how it may impact your child in the future as a data matrix is collected. I am going to worry about my own children from here on and hope that my efforts do not impact them, as they are the ones exposed to this system directly. Tom is off the Patch!
Herb Morrison January 31, 2012 at 06:24 AM
Tom, I was looking into the PBIS programs the schools are now running -- I was shocked. The webcasts from Dr. Sugai are scary and it is hard to believe that this is happening in our country. It seems like the data could easily be used to label a student in ways that could be used to harm them in the future. I bet most people aren't even aware that this is happening with their children. Do you have any suggestions? Mr. Tom, could you so kind to answer some of the following questions: 1. Are the PBiS schools collecting data on academic traits as well as social traits of the students? 2. If such data is being collected, where is this data being stored, how is it being stored, and who else has access to it? 3. Did the implementation of the PBiS extend the data collection to all students within the "framework" of the particular school and not just those determined to have emotional disorders? 4. Are “traits” such as socialization, participation in extracurricular activities, and parent’s participation and acceptance of the program also being recorded? 5. Could you be so kind as to expand upon what consent would be required under state and federal laws in order to collect such data, if it is indeed being collected?
Herb Morrison January 31, 2012 at 06:25 AM
6. I just listened to a webcast of Dr. Sugai’s wherein he described the behaviors collected through the PBiS program as profiling of specific academic and social needs or labeling if you will. He said, “We have to be careful not to label the student and instead focus on labeling the behaviors.” Given we now live in an extremely identifiable world where names and social security numbers accompany you, wouldn’t this statement be misleading? I have included the link to the webcast for your listening enjoyment. http://www.pbis.org/swpbs_videos/pbs_video-swpbs_reaching_all.aspx 7. Do you see a potential problem in applying trait-profiling in order to identify students deemed “at risk” and arrange their education so to prevent what MAY happen in the future? Such practices are dangerous as they are speculative and could easily allow for the stigmatization through bias during data collection that would determine a student’s potential and could adversely impact them once the ethical standards change (again) and the information is shared with potential employers as well as insurance companies.
Dom DeCicco February 01, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Herb, I can't help with the questions you were asking of Tom -- I think that is a first name; however, if you have a kid in the schools, I strongly suggest that you familiarize yourself with the key word "framework". I also suggest that you read the IDEA legislation -- understand what is being implemented, get to know what RTI is in education, what PBIS is as well. My prediction: big Federal money for the schools when the numbers of students clasisfied as LD are raised -- so they will be.
Dom DeCicco February 01, 2012 at 05:38 AM
This is what they brought us -- this is why the schools are going to be so bogged down that the real work of education will continue to fail. Just look at this -- do any of you think that we need a bunch of PHD's to complete the dumbing down process of our kids? http://www.education.nh.gov/instruction/special_ed/documents/sac200811_ppt.pdf
Dom DeCicco February 02, 2012 at 09:11 PM
They're Hearrr! Too late folks. It will seem as if you have a union -- but you wont. It will seem as if you are in charge of your local schools -- but you wont be. Nice job folks -- burying your heads in the sand paid off for us once again. http://articles.courant.com/2012-01-31/news/hc-malloy-education-plans-0201-20120131_1_teacher-certification-teacher-evaluation-system-mary-loftus-levine
Armando Atanacio May 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Miss Cornish the Superintendent of Stratford Connecticut, Given the pleasure to show off or discuss her dream "condominium" is just plan sickening, Disgusting... Just as disgusting as while im in a coma, she tells me she more concerned about her Saturday morning breakfast !!{http://www.topix.com/forum/city/bridgeportct/TIMIV9D9S0TOS2JN8} given her reputation shes really known for, No student left behind?? More like NO CHECKS left behind!! Irene Cornish Slandered My Name My Education my ability to attend certain COLLAGES and MANY MORE.. withheld so much school work that it was just impossible to pass, i was left without school work for 3 to 4 weeks..There was two more fights after that brutal fight that happened November 7, 2008 that 2 girls needed to go to the hospital for treatments.. I was promised BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION if I pass my senior year i would be able to walk with my well deserve right with my fellow classmates down the aisle and when graduation time came i was refused and embarrassely laughed at. I've regrettably even accepted a diploma with a 53% average knowing i didn't pass school Standards and Was given a Bent and crumpled Diploma that was given from a secretary that was unknown...I regret the fact that I was told if i stood quiet that I would be "TAKEN" care of... This is Not a lash out this is not a hate mail this is the god honest truth!!
Armando Atanacio May 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Miss Cornish the Superintendent of Stratford Connecticut, Given the pleasure to show off or discuss her dream "condominium" is just plan sickening, Disgusting... Just as disgusting as while im in a coma, she tells me she more concerned about her Saturday morning breakfast !!{http://www.topix.com/forum/city/bridgeportct/TIMIV9D9S0TOS2JN8} given her reputation shes really known for, No student left behind?? More like NO CHECKS left behind!! Irene Cornish Slandered My Name My Education my ability to attend certain COLLAGES and MANY MORE.. withheld so much school work that it was just impossible to pass, i was left without school work for 3 to 4 weeks..There was two more fights after that brutal fight that happened November 7, 2008 that 2 girls needed to go to the hospital for treatments.. I was promised BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION if I pass my senior year i would be able to walk with my well deserve right with my fellow classmates down the aisle and when graduation time came i was refused and embarrassely laughed at. I've regrettably even accepted a diploma with a 53% average knowing i didn't pass school Standards and Was given a Bent and crumpled Diploma that was given from a secretary that was unknown...I regret the fact that I was told if i stood quiet that I would be "TAKEN" care of... This is Not a lash out this is not a hate mail this is the god honest truth!!
Armando Atanacio May 13, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Miss Cornish the Superintendent of Stratford Connecticut, Given the pleasure to show off or discuss her dream "condominium" is just plan sickening, Disgusting... Just as disgusting as while im in a coma, she tells me she more concerned about her Saturday morning breakfast !!{http://www.topix.com/forum/city/bridgeportct/TIMIV9D9S0TOS2JN8} given her reputation shes really known for, No student left behind?? More like NO CHECKS left behind!! Irene Cornish Slandered My Name My Education my ability to attend certain COLLAGES and MANY MORE.. withheld so much school work that it was just impossible to pass, i was left without school work for 3 to 4 weeks..There was two more fights after that brutal fight that happened November 7, 2008 that 2 girls needed to go to the hospital for treatments.. I was promised BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION if I pass my senior year i would be able to walk with my well deserve right with my fellow classmates down the aisle and when graduation time came i was refused and embarrassely laughed at. I've regrettably even accepted a diploma with a 53% average knowing i didn't pass school Standards and Was given a Bent and crumpled Diploma that was given from a secretary that was unknown...I regret the fact that I was told if i stood quiet that I would be "TAKEN" care of... This is Not a lash out this is not a hate mail this is the god honest truth!!
Armando Atanacio May 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Miss Cornish the Superintendent of Stratford Connecticut, Given the pleasure to show off or discuss her dream "condominium" is just plan sickening, Disgusting... Just as disgusting as while im in a coma, she tells me she more concerned about her Saturday morning breakfast !!{http://www.topix.com/forum/city/bridgeportct/TIMIV9D9S0TOS2JN8} given her reputation shes really known for, No student left behind?? More like NO CHECKS left behind!! Irene Cornish Slandered My Name My Education my ability to attend certain COLLAGES and MANY MORE.. withheld so much school work that it was just impossible to pass, i was left without school work for 3 to 4 weeks..There was two more fights after that brutal fight that happened November 7, 2008 that 2 girls needed to go to the hospital for treatments.. I was promised BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION if I pass my senior year i would be able to walk with my well deserve right with my fellow classmates down the aisle and when graduation time came i was refused and embarrassely laughed at. I've regrettably even accepted a diploma with a 53% average knowing i didn't pass school Standards and Was given a Bent and crumpled Diploma that was given from a secretary that was unknown...I regret the fact that I was told if i stood quiet that I would be "TAKEN" care of... This is Not a lash out this is not a hate mail this is the god honest truth!!
Armando Atanacio May 13, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Miss Cornish the Superintendent of Stratford Connecticut, Given the pleasure to show off or discuss her dream "condominium" is just plan sickening, Disgusting... Just as disgusting as while im in a coma, she tells me she more concerned about her Saturday morning breakfast !!{http://www.topix.com/forum/city/bridgeportct/TIMIV9D9S0TOS2JN8} given her reputation shes really known for, No student left behind?? More like NO CHECKS left behind!! Irene Cornish Slandered My Name My Education my ability to attend certain COLLAGES and MANY MORE.. withheld so much school work that it was just impossible to pass, i was left without school work for 3 to 4 weeks..There was two more fights after that brutal fight that happened November 7, 2008 that 2 girls needed to go to the hospital for treatments.. I was promised BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION if I pass my senior year i would be able to walk with my well deserve right with my fellow classmates down the aisle and when graduation time came i was refused and embarrassely laughed at. I've regrettably even accepted a diploma with a 53% average knowing i didn't pass school Standards and Was given a Bent and crumpled Diploma that was given from a secretary that was unknown...I regret the fact that I was told if i stood quiet that I would be "TAKEN" care of... This is Not a lash out this is not a hate mail this is the god honest truth!!
Dom DeCicco May 13, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Armando: Although I cannot speak personally to any of the very serious concerns you have regarding the Superintendant, as I have limited knowledge of such intricate involvements that she has had with students; I can say that the game (for most) is about fame. We now live in an amoral society where honor and virtuousness mean very little. We rely on resumes rather than a face-to-face interaction. Handshakes mean very little unless they are followed by some esoteric phrase such as “brother”.
Dom DeCicco May 13, 2012 at 11:02 PM
We are a society of movers and shakers who are more willing to cook the books, fudge the numbers, or just lie in order to advance our party politics and the money-making agenda than we are to risk being besmirched and slandered for speaking the truth. In reality, the truth means very little these days; from civil law, to criminal law, down to the family—our new order of how things are done is all about lying. If you do have the integrity to: not cheat on your spouse, go to church, and try to suggest to others that the primrose path is not always the right one, you will be ostracized, you will lose money, and ultimately your family will suffer as a result of such advocacy. However, I will guarantee you this much: telling the truth, having honor, and being virtuous will lead to happiness. You see, when we were conditioned to exchange freedom for security—in our jobs, in our relations, and in our culture, we gave up being good. For instance, the supposed “gap” in learning between minority students and non-minority students (who ever they are) does not exist in an institutional sense. They know that. There is no genetic trait that determines that one group learns more or less adventitiously than another. To promote such social agendas is dangerous and historically has resulted in the systematic dehumanization of groups. They know that though, yet they keep pushing it.
Dom DeCicco May 13, 2012 at 11:02 PM
The Nazis were taught to hate the Jews because of such disinformation. Yet, there is so much money in pushing this trash that the sycophants (de facto employees) of the capital groups that have infested public education through tax-sheltered philanthropy will continue endlessly to push public policies upon us that are fallacious and too costly a burden for upstanding citizens to sustain. Meanwhile, the media will keep us looking at trivialities such as teachers’ dental plans. You see, they are artisans at this craft—they distract us from their maneuvers by pitting us against various groups. I can’t speak for her directly but as a much better man than I once put it, “If you’re not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.” They have ignored very serious safety violations in the schools and use their omission in reporting of these events to suggest that behavioral modification programs they have implemented are successful. That is dishonest, lacks integrity, and is a perpetrated fraud of the sacred public trust. This is what I think.
Charles Cornwallace July 24, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Wow, I missed this one..

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