Supt. John Brady Final Amity Speech

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Jun 222013

Dr. John Brady says goodbye to Amity with words of wisdom for the graduates.

Dr. John Brady says goodbye to Amity with words of wisdom for the graduates.

Retiring Amity Supt. Dr. John Brady made his last speech at the Amity Commencement Ceremonies on Friday.

Here is a VIDEO of his entire, very short, speech to the graduates.

Bittersweet Moment at Amity High

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Jun 212013

Superintendent John Brady, who is retiring from Amity this year, stands outside the High School to watch the students leave on the last day of school.

Good luck in your retirement Mr. Brady. Enjoy your new life in Maine.

Brady goodbye

One Week Until Amity Budget Referendum: Are You Ready?

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May 012013

Amity HS websiteThe Amity School budget referendum will take place Wednesday, May 8 in Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge.

The polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. As previously reported, the Amity Board of Education and the Amity Finance Committee unanimously approved the request to increase expenditures for the 2013-2014 academic year by 1.98%.

On Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 5:30 p.m., the Amity Board of Education will hold a District Meeting on its proposed budget in the Presentation Room at the District Offices.  Amity Supt. Dr. John Brady will give a presentation explaining the increases and decreases to the budget.  No vote will be taken at this meeting.

You may view the budget proposal on the district website at amityregion5.org.

Supt. Brady published the following on the site explaining his budget proposal:

Factors causing the budget to increase include contractual salary agreements, special education services, increased security and replacement of outdated technology and reduction of other revenues, most notably funds the district has been receiving from the State of Connecticut for the 1990’s construction project. To balance these increases, 3.2 teaching positions will be eliminated, and bonds have been rewritten to save interest costs.

The 2013-2014 budget is consistent with the key Amity district goal of providing excellent educational programs in a fiscally prudent manner.  It is important for the member towns to realize that the Board has been meeting this goal as evidenced by the fact that Amity was rated in 2012 as the #5 district out of 165 in the state with Amity Regional High School rating #4 of 191 high schools.

The budget development process began in August.  The superintendent worked with his staff over a seven-month period.  The Amity Finance Committee and Board of Education then worked on the budget during the months of January, February, March and April.

The total budget request of $44,478,455 is an increase of $865,293, or 1.98 percent above the current $43,613,162 budget.  The increase in the budget is due primarily to an increase of $589,983 in salaries and $127,362 in medical and dental insurance.  All other accounts are increased by a total of $147,948.  The Board of Education has developed its budget with consideration of both current economic conditions and the District’s “Missions-Goals-Objectives.”

Salaries are based on 313.30 full-time equivalent positions.  Contractual salary increases total $721,436.  The budget adds 1.6 full-time equivalent positions, including mandated special education staff and one-half security guard for the high school for $71,476. The budget eliminates 3.2 teaching positions at a savings of $234,323.  Overall, salaries will increase by $589,983.

Medical, dental and prescription drug expenditures will be higher by $127,362.  The District has a self-funded insurance program.  Medical inflation is the primary reason for the higher costs.
Past budgets have postponed the purchase of technology equipment.  The proposed budget includes an increase of $229,358 for replacement computers and laptops, and other technology equipment.

Improvements to building and sites will increase by $97,006, which includes sidewalk repairs; asphalt sealing and crack repairs of parking lot; and re-sodding crown of football field.

The new Common Core State Standards and teacher and administrator evaluations will require the District to spend funds.  Federal and state unfunded or underfunded mandates will impact the budget by $250,400.

Debt service is principal and interest payments on the approved construction projects at the high school and middle schools.  Based on the financial health of Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge, and the financial management in Amity, Moody’s Investors Service kept the District’s bond rating at Aa2.  This had a favorable impact on the District’s last three bond issues.  The savings on the interest costs are reflected in the budget.  Debt Service will decrease by $451,179.

Member Town Allocations

Revenues are derived from taxation, State grants and other revenues.  The primary source comes from the taxpayers.  The budget allocations are as follows:

                                2012-2013             2013-2014 
Bethany                  $  8,591,647             $  8,670,180
Orange                    $20,687,700             $21,602,772
Woodbridge           $12,385,204            $12,987,101
Other Sources        $  1,948,611             $  1,218,402
Total                        $43,613,162             $44,478,455

Budget Summary:
Expenditures by Category

Category                                         2013-2014
Salaries                                               $23,516,038
Benefits                                               $  5,256,101
Purchased Services                          $  6,974,367
Debt Service                                      $  4,913,679
Supplies                                             $  3,096,685
Equipment                                        $     324,479
Building & Site Improvements     $       97,006
Contingency                                      $     150,000
Dues & Fees                                      $     150,100
Total Budget                                     $44,478,455

Increase of 1.98%

Percentage of budget (allocations) paid by each town is based on Average Daily Membership.

Students              % Allocation
Bethany                 474                        20.042%
Orange                1,181                        49.937%
Woodbridge          710                        30.021%
Totals                 2,365                      100.000%


Key School District Goals

The proposed budget:

•    Provides  services consistent with the District’s “Missions-Goals-Objectives” while attempting to minimize the monetary impact on Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge;

•    Meets contractual obligations including debt service and mandated special education services; and

•    Meets unfunded or underfunded Federal and State mandates.

District Educational Scorecard

•    District rated #5 in State out of 165 districts;

•    High school rated #4 in State out of 191 high schools;

•    Advance Placement results #5 in State and #2 in District Reference Group.  Participation in testing increased by 22 percent;

•    Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMT) for grades 7 and 8 were higher in Reading, Writing and Mathematics;

•    Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) student scores for grade 10 in Mathematics were #6 and #3 in Reading and #6 in Writing and #4 in Science in the District Reference Group;

•    95% of the class of 2012 continued to higher education.  Students were offered 586 acceptances to the Most Selective or Highly Competitive colleges; and

•    Many high awards in Fine and Performing Arts and Athletics.

Amity Board of Education Unanimously Approves 2013-14 (+2.49%) Budget

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Mar 132013

Screen shot 2013-02-26 at 3.57.24 PMA Message from Supt. John Brady:

The Amity Board of Education unanimously approved the 2013-2014 spending plan at its regular meeting this past Monday.

The entire budget can be viewed on-line at www.amityregion5.org

The 2.49% increase is made up primarily of an increase in labor and medical insurance costs which amounted to over $1,000,000. You may recall that in the current year the teachers received no raise in pay at all. Administrators took a no pay increase in the previous year. Pay increases needed to be added to the budget for 2013-2014.

The next largest category of increase has to do with new mandates from the state regarding teacher and administrator evaluation, implementation of higher standards in English and mathematics along with new testing requirements for which we must to begin preparing students. These required initiatives are driving costs up for professional development, purchasing of new tests, etc.

Finally, we can wait no longer to replace outmoded technology devices. Due to the fiscal realities of the past several years we have put off replacement of equipment that should have been swapped out two and three years ago.

I urge you to take a look at the budget document at www.amityregion5.org

While the 2.49% increase is one of the lowest in the state (average Board approved budgets throughout the state are currently at 3.77%), we are confident that this budget will provide what our students need in a climate of ever increasing expectations.

School Opening Decision Will Come Tomorrow

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Nov 032012

Amity Superintendent John Brady sent out this notice today regarding reopening District 5 schools: “I will confer with Town Officials and my superintendent colleagues on Sunday afternoon and make a decision about school on Monday shortly after 3:00 pm Sunday.”

Amity Superintendent Explains State Initiatives

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Aug 302012

File photo of Amity Supt. John Brady.

Following is a letter from Amity Supt. John Brady:

We have gotten off to a good start to the 2012-2013 academic year.

As we begin this school year the actions taken by the General Assembly last spring have become a major focus to us as the Connecticut State Department of Education has translated legislation into improvement initiatives. I want to briefly share with you the major features of these initiatives since we will be devoting time and effort to incorporate them into our practices here at Amity.

Connecticut’s New Accountability System

Under the old No Child Left Behind System, each school and the District was rated by the percentage of students that attained proficiency in reading and math on the CMT and CAPT state tests. In Connecticut’s new accountability system the challenge is to have the vast majority of students in the goal range on these tests.

The state has also added a provision to award credit for moving students up the scale from the bottom to goal. This is meant to encourage districts to elevate all students not just those who are slightly below the proficiency rating. The other major change in accountability is that instead of just reading and math, student performance in science and writing will be be rated beginning with the testing in the spring of 2013.

 Educator Evaluation

Under the new educator evaluation model, which districts must develop this year in preparation for implementation in the fall of 2013, teachers and administrators will now be rated according to the following:

·    45% on “Student Growth and Development” as measured on standardized tests

·    40% on Observation of Teacher Performance

·    10% on Parent Feedback

·     5% on Whole School Student Learning or Student Feedback

The frequency of observation for experienced teachers will increase from once every four years to every year. All teachers and administrators will be evaluated using the above scheme each year. The state plan requires six evaluations for each teacher in year one of the plan. At the high school alone, that means nearly 900 evaluations. Evaluations can only be conducted by administrators. There are six administrators at the high school.

Common Core State Standards

Connecticut has adopted Common Core standards in English/Language Arts which will be applied in English as well as literacy standards what will be applied in social studies, Science and technical subjects. The state has also adopted math standards and specific science standards are forthcoming. We are required to incorporate these standards into our curriculum and more importantly teaching practices with full implementation and a new testing approach all to be implemented in 2015.

These changes will take a lot of thought and deft implementation in order to ensure they have the intended outcome of improving student learning. The good news at Amity is that we have become fully informed about each of these initiatives and that we have the capacity within our faculty and administrative team to make these changes. I must tell you, however, that 900 observations in year one of the educator evaluation model will be a real challenge.

I hope you find this information helpful. We will do our best to keep you informed as these initiative unfold.

John Brady

Jun 062012


Sophia Gall "Paulette" in a memorable scene on the Palace Theater stage.

The 2012 Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards presentations at the Palace Theater in Waterbury on Monday yielded many surprises for Amity High School, including the fact that OUR “Paulette” Sophia Gall did not win Outstanding Supporting Actress, but the “Paulette” from East Lyme High School walked away with the prize.

Our dynamic chorus was beaten by Valley Regional High School’s “Titanic” cast.

But, enough sour grapes on my part, call me biased (I am) — then again, I did not see all the other shows like the adjudicators, so what do I know. Seriously! were they sleeping when Sophia was on stage?

Back to the show and what we did get.

Stage Manager Sloane Churchill did receive a trophy for Outstanding Student Achievement.

And our Amity Superintendent John Brady, who attended the show to support the Amity Creative Theater Program found his way up on stage two times.

The CHSMT organizers asked if he would present an award, and he said he was happy to do that.

Brady was surprised when Sophia Gall, whom he felt was a shoe in for the award, did not win in her category. “Not to take anything away from the girl who won, but I just think that Sophia was over the top,” he said.

Amity Supt. John Brady, accepts the President's Award.

He was even more surprised when he was called to the stage to receive his own award that evening. The recipient of the President’s Award went to Brady in recognition for his overwhelming support for the arts at Amity.

Parent Russ Adair captured the moment on video.

For Amity, the most rewarding part of the evening was when the second to the last award was announced and Amity senior Alli Kramer’s name was called.

The Palace Theater erupted in thunderous applause as everyone, including ALL of the other students from competing high schools rose to their feet for Connecticut’s number one actress in a musical.

Brady said he was ecstatic when Alli Kramer won the top prize for Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role. “Having seen all of the nominees, to me, Alli was the performer who had it all — she danced, she sang, she had a presence — She had it all, and, being biased toward Amity, I think the Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards got it right by selecting Alli Kramer,” he said. “To me she was the most deserving. All the other nominees did a fantastic job, but Alli stood out.”

Alli Kramer is the Best High School Actress in CT

Alli and the amazing best actor winner, Shevance Stephens, who portrayed Coalhouse in the Regional Center for the Arts production of Ragtime, will accompany chaperone Robert Kennedy (from Amity) to New York City for a week long experience of a lifetime, training with Broadway choreographers, vocal coaches and directors with the best of the best from across the nation.

The week culminates into a performance on a Broadway stage for the National High School Musical Awards.

11 nominations – 2 wins — I can’t say the evening was a complete disappointment.