Monthly Archives: July 2011

Bridge Replacement

Bethel Buzz

Selectman’s Corner

By Matthew Knickerbocker

Week of Aug. 1st, 2011

 Dear Readers:

People have been asking recently about the status of a few long standing projects.  Some of these date back quite a few years, so I thought now would be a good time to give you an update.

Walnut Hill and Plumtrees/Whittlesey Bridge Replacements:

These two bridge projects date are almost a decade old.  The first thing I want our residents to understand is these are not “Town of Bethel” projects; rather, they both under the control of the State Department of Transportation.  This means that although the town continues to work closely with state officials, the timing of the construction is out of our hands.  The good news, however, is that both projects continue to move forward.

The D.O.T. contract for the Walnut Hill bridge was issued about two weeks ago and has been signed in my office.  Formal bid requests will follow this fall.  Construction to replace this bridge should be underway by this time next summer.

Regarding the Plumtrees/Whittlesey bridge, there are several studies that are required by state and federal authorities, some of which are still under way.  These include engineering, environmental, hydrological, archeological and biological assessments of the proposed bridge and its impact on the stream and surrounding lands.  D.O.T.’s projected start date for reconstruction is tentatively set for summer of 2013.

This project dates back to 1999-2000, but it will be worth the wait.  When it is finally completed, the roads will be shifted to make Walnut Hill align directly with Whittlesey, creating a standard four-way intersection that will relieve the morning traffic bottleneck and provide a safe pedestrian crossing up to the school complex.

As always, please feel free to call or email if you have questions.

Knickerbockerm@betheltownhall.org

(203) 794-8505

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BUMC Sends Off 50 Volunteers With Blessings

BUMC Sends Off 50 Volunteers With Blessings ~ By Wendy Mitchell

Bethel United Methodist Church members joined hands Saturday morning for a large prayer circle as they sent off 50 volunteers to Appalachia, West Virginia for the Appalachia Service Project.

In case you were driving by 141 Greenwood Ave. this morning and were wondering what all that cheering was for, it was the Bethel United Methodist Church sending off church members on a local missions trip.

The Rev. Vicky Fleming, along with a large group of parents and well wishers, sent off 50 volunteers Saturday morning with blessings and prayers. The group set off on their 600-mile journey to Appalachia, West Virginia for the Appalachia Service Project, a charitable organization that helps the needy rebuild and repair homes.

The church rented 7 Chevy Suburbans that were each sponsored by a church member and/or local business. Each vehicle costs approximately $1,000 to rent for the week.  The group will stay at an ASP center during the week as they work on homes. The caravan of the 7 Suburbans along with 2 cargo vans left the church Saturday morning at approximately 9:00 a.m. as family members clapped, hugged, cheered and wiped away tears for those they will miss during the week.

The group will return next Saturday with heartwarming stories about their journey, both physical and spiritual.

For more information about the Bethel United Methodist Church click here.

For more information about the Appalachia Service Project click here.

Pictures below by Wendy Mitchell, editor of Bethel Buzz & John Robertson, owner of Create My DVD.

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Bethel Public Schools CMT Results

Bethel Public Schools CMT Results ~ By Wendy Mitchell

Editor’s Note: This is a repost from Dr. Gary Chesley, Superintendent of Bethel Schools. Those Bethel residents with students in the public schools system received this notice via email. Bethel Buzz is reposting for those Bethel residents without school children who would like to view the results as well.

Bethel Public Schools E-Newsletter

The Class of 2011 performed admirably in the classroom, on the athletic field, and on the stage.  74 members of the Class of 2011 earned a total of 83 scholarships and grants worth a total of at least $3,119,544 million. The Class of 2011 also completed almost 12,000 hours in community service.  This group made us proud.  We wish them well.

 

A Review of Bethel Connecticut Mastery Testing

 

We hope you will take the time to read this email carefully.  It contains an overview of our 2011 Connecticut Mastery Test performance in a grade-by-grade format.

 

Our 2011 testing results continue an excellent overall trend.  Our children remain extremely competitive both among comparable districts throughout Connecticut and in the region.  Bethel teachers and principals examine these results as one tool in shaping our curriculum and instructional decisions for this school year.  At the same time, we caution that any information or inferences taken from standardized testing should be limited.  As you know, there is much so much more to schooling than can be measured by a single paper and pencil test administered over a few days in March.

 

The words “proficient, at goal, and advanced” are part of Connecticut’s testing jargon.  Here, in very general terms, is how we are to interpret those terms:

 

When you see the term “proficient” it indicates that these students demonstrated, on this one test, adequate knowledge ofmost and extensive knowledge of some of the assessed content areas.  For example in mathematics, these students may demonstrate limited knowledge of estimating solutions to problems, measurement, ratio, proportion and percent, but tested well overall.  Students who perform at this level are likely to demonstrate an adequate ability to read and respond to informational and literary texts with some assistance.  Students at this level use some strategies effectively before, during, and after reading to understand, interpret and evaluate text.

 

When you see the term “at goal” it indicates that students demonstrated, on this one test, extensive knowledge of most of the assessed content areas.  For example in mathematics, these students may demonstrate adequate knowledge of the assessed content areas including measurement, ratio, proportion and percent.  Students who perform at this level are likely to demonstrate a consistent ability to read and respond to informational and literary texts with minimal assistance. Students at this level, use strategies effectively before, during, and after reading to understand, interpret, and evaluate text.

 

When you see the term “advanced” it indicates that students demonstrate on this one test, an exceptional ability to read and respond to informational and literary texts without assistance. Students at this level effectively use sophisticated strategies before, during and after reading to understand, interpret and evaluate text. Generally, students who perform at this level demonstrate extensive knowledge of all assessed content areas.

 

Current 4th grade parents:  Your children took the 3rd grade CMT in March 2011.  These are the results for the class:

 

Math – 97% tested proficient.  87% of this class was at goal and 49% tested within the advanced range.

Reading – 90% tested proficient.  80% of this class was at goal and 27% tested within the advanced range.

Writing – 93% tested proficient.  83% of this class was at goal and 31% tested within the advanced range.

 

Commentary:  Your children did a superior job!  Their percentage at goal score is among Bethel’s highest math scores and ranks this group in excellent stead among children throughout Connecticut.  These scores are some of the highest in the region.  These students show general strength in all concepts of math that are tested.  90% of our children are proficient readers and 93% are proficient writers.  There is very high ability in reading comprehension where they did very well on all tested concepts of comprehension.  Note that a large percentage of this group tested at the advanced level.  This group is clearly ready for the more sophisticated expectations of the 4th grade.

 

Current 5th grade parents:  Your children took the 4th grade CMT in March 2011.  These are the results for the class:

 

Math – 97% tested proficient.  87% of this class was at goal and 51% tested within the advanced range.

Reading – 89% tested proficient.  77% of this class was at goal and 27% tested within the advanced range.

Writing – 97% tested proficient.  89% of this class was at goal and 57% tested within the advanced range.

 

Commentary:   They posted maintained improved on their strong 3d grade scores.  Overall, this is an exceptional group in terms of understanding their grade-level math concepts.  Their reading comprehension scores showed strength in interpreting what they read and examining the structure of a story.  We also very pleased that over 50% of our children scored at the advanced level in math.  This demonstrates that they are well prepared to dive into more complex math this school year.  The writing scores tell us that the overwhelming majority of our students are comfortable and capable writers.  They go into 5th grade with a very strong foundation.  This group too earned some of the highest marks in Connecticut.

 

Current 6th grade parents:  Your children took the 5th grade CMT in March 2011.  These are the results for the class:

 

Math – 97% tested proficient.  92% of this class was at goal and 59% tested within the advanced range.

Reading – 96% tested proficient.  93% of this class was at goal and 44% tested within the advanced range.

Writing – 95% tested proficient.  87% of this class was at goal and 58% tested within the advanced range.

Science – 97% tested proficient.  83% of this class was at goal and 50% tested within the advanced range.

 

Commentary:

Congratulate your children for a job done very well!  This remains one of the highest performing groups in Connecticut for three consecutive years.  Again, we see exceptional strength in math performance.  The children demonstrated strong understanding of all important math concepts.  This will serve them well at BMS where math quickly becomes more complex.  Reading and writing scores indicate great confidence and ability and students capable of tackling more difficult work.  In writing, the numbers indicate to us that our boys, just like all boys in the U.S.A., are more particular about what they want to read and write about, but this group of boys is doing very well.  Our science scores, in the third year of testing this subject, are among the best in Connecticut.  Our teachers have done extraordinary work with this curriculum and all indications seem to be that our children really like science.  50% of them are advanced!

 

Current 7th grade parents:  Your children took the 6th grade CMT in March 2011.  These are the results for the class:

 

Math – 97% tested proficient.  92% of this class was at goal and 59% tested within the advanced range.

Reading – 96% tested proficient.  93% of this class was at goal and 44% tested within the advanced range.

Writing – 95% tested proficient.  87% of this class was at goal and 58% tested within the advanced range.

 

Commentary:

These are exceptional scores on a sophisticated test!  This group continues their history of testing well.  These scores are significantly better than those posted on 6th grade testing in 2010. In Math, the group showed strong understanding in just about every one of the 25 concepts taught.  In most math areas, almost 90% of the students answered questions correctly.  This accounts for the fact that 59% of the students tested in the “advanced” range.  As a group, many of these children are clearly ready for more complicated mathematical thinking.  In reading, the comprehension scores were exceptional, with over 93% achieving mastery in areas tested.  In writing, even though our scores far exceed comparable school districts, we see a narrowing gap between the males and females.   

 

Current 8th grade parents:  Your children took the 7th grade CMT in March 2011.  These are the results for the class:

 

Math – 99% tested proficient.  86% of this class was at goal and 50% tested within the advanced range.

Reading – 95% tested proficient.  90% of this class was at goal and 46% tested within the advanced range.

Writing – 91% tested proficient.  73% of this class was at goal and 32% tested within the advanced range.

 

Commentary:

Way to go!  On this test, the math becomes more sophisticated again!  They maintained previous performance in math and showed very good growth in reading and writing.  In critical math concept tested, this group tested very well.  They need to beef up work in ratios and percentages.  They demonstrated high skill levels in reading comprehension across the board.  They can handle material they have to read.  It is interesting to note that this class contains a very high percentage of students who performed at the advanced level on all areas tested.

 

Current 9th grade parents:  Your children took the 8th grade CMT in March 2011.  These are the results for the class:

 

Math – 96% tested proficient.  81% of this class was at goal and 41% tested within the advanced range.

Reading –91% tested proficient.  87% of this class was at goal and 51% tested within the advanced range.

Writing – 91% tested proficient.   80% of this class was at goal and 37% tested within the advanced range.

Science –89% tested proficient.  77% of this class was at goal and 17% tested within the advanced range.

 

Commentary:

This group should be very well prepared to tackle Bethel High.  Their scores indicate that they have academic strength across the board.  We know they still need work in a few math concepts (working with mixed whole numbers and decimals, for example).  There are some fine writers in this group.  Reading scores indicate that they should be able to tackle the more complex texts they will encounter at Bethel High.  Our science scores, in the third year of testing, are quite solid.  This group will have new options in freshmen science and should excel in high school sciences.

 

How did Bethel stack up on the Connecticut Testing compared to the 24 comparable towns identified by the State Department of Education?

 

Reading – Grades 3-8 Bethel was the overall highest performing district, finishing in second through seventh place on all reading scores among the 24 districts.

 

Math – Grades 3-8 Bethel was the overall highest performing district, finishing in first through fourth place on all mathematics scores among the 24 districts.

 

Writing – Grades 3-8 Bethel was the overall highest performing district, finishing in first through ninth place on all writing scores among the 24 districts.

 

Science – Grades 5 and 8 Bethel was the overall highest performing district, finishing in second among the 24 districts in 5th grade and tenth in 8th grade.

 

The Connecticut Academic Performance Testing Date (March 2011 -10th Grade)

 

Mathematics     91% proficient                  66% at goal

Reading               93% proficient                  58% at goal

Writing                 96% proficient                 76% at goal

Science                90% proficient                  58% at goal

These scores place Bethel High 10th graders in the upper third to half of the 24 comparable towns identified by the State Department of Education.

 

Bethel High

College Advanced Placement

Score Summary (2011)

 

81% of the Bethel High students who enrolled in college advanced placement courses earned credit for their participation (see the 3,4,5 scores).  It costs BHS students $90 to enroll in a BHS AP course and to take the associated test.  College tuition in Connecticut ranges from approximately $900 to $2,200 for a 3-credit course, using current public and private university tuition rates.  This represents a very significant savings to parents and just one reason why we encourage BHS students to enroll in the college opportunities we provide.

 

School Totals

5

4

3

2

1

Total Exams

Number of Exams

59

59

56

39

12

225

Percentage of Total

26

26

25

17

5

100

Subject Totals

5

4

3

2

1

Total Exams

Art History

4

2

1

7

Studio Art: 2-D Design Portfolio

1

6

4

11

Studio Art: 3-D Design Portfolio

2

2

English Language & Composition

3

3

3

1

10

English Literature & Composition

6

5

3

14

European History

1

5

7

1

1

15

Human Geography

4

7

4

3

1

19

Psychology

1

1

2

United States Government & Politics

1

1

United States History

3

13

7

12

1

36

Calculus AB

13

9

4

26

Calculus BC

15

2

17

Statistics

6

4

3

3

16

Chemistry

4

2

4

2

12

Physics B

3

6

9

4

22

Physics C: Mechanics

1

1

French Language

1

5

6

German Language

1

1

 

Quick Summary:  This performance data is outstanding.  When you hear or read that spending on education represents an investment, it is these numbers to which people are referring.  Our goal is to provide the highest quality educational experience possible in the Bethel Public Schools.  Thanks to a highly committed and well trained staff, student achievement and student opportunities have increased significantly in the past decade.  Our common goal is to give each BHS graduate the tools needed to realize his/her dreams for a good and productive life. Everyone in the Town of Bethel deserves to be proud of our schools.

 

Gary M. Chesley, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools  

Parks & Rec Announces Next Free Family Movie Night (UPDATED)

Parks & Rec Announces Next Free Family Movie Night ~ By Wendy Mitchell

Editor’s Note: Article has been updated to include info from Bethel Parks & Rec (in italics)

Parks & Rec Director Eileen Earle told Bethel Buzz today that their next Free Family Movie Night will be on Thursday August 25th. The movie to be shown is Toy Story 3. Last month’s movie night was very well attended. The movie shown was Despicable Me. Click here to read more about it.

Parks & Rec worked with the First Selectman’s Office and the Municipal Center Committee to coordinate the event’s time to coincide with the downtown farmers market on Thursday. The movie night takes place directly after the farmers market which runs each Thursday from 3:00-6:00 p.m. The Free Family Movie Night is a fun night out for family and friends.

UPDATE FROM PARKS & REC:

Admission is free. Bring your family and friends along with blankets and chairs.

The movie will start at dusk, BUT there will be food and drink concession stands along with

family entertainment beginning at 7:00pm.

In case of inclement weather, please call Parks & Rec. at 794-8531 for further details.

PLOT: Woody, Buzz and the whole gang are back. As their owner Andy prepares to depart for college, his loyal toys find themselves in daycare where untamed tots with their sticky little fingers do not play nice. So, it’s all for one and one for all as they join Barbie’s counterpart Ken, a thespian hedgehog named Mr. Pricklepants and a pink, strawberry-scented teddy bear called Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear to plan their great escape.

Families bring blankets and chairs and watch the movie on a huge inflatable projection screen that is rented from New Fairfield Parks & Rec who owns the equipment.

The movie will begin after dusk which last month was approximately 8:45 p.m. Food and drinks will be available to purchase. For more information please contact Bethel Parks & Rec at (203) 794-8531. To  read more about Disney’s Toy Story 3 click here.


Bethel Target To Hold “National Night Out” Safety Event

For Immediate Release-

Contact:

Joshua Toetenel

Target

203-448-1029

National Association of Town Watch Partners with Target for Sponsorship of the 27th Annual National Night Out.

Bethel, CT— Target is participating as a sponsor of the 27th Annual National Night Out (NNO) event on August 2, 2011, marking the seventh year of its partnership with the National Association of Town Watch. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and goes until 8:30 p.m.

Target will offer support to the community by bringing them together with their law enforcement and emergency services.

Bethel Police Department will be there with their K9 unit and SWAT gear. Other local services will also be there along with face painting and free food.

This sponsorship is part of the ongoing support Target provides to local communities throughout the country. Since 1946, Target has given 5% of its income to the communities it serves. Today, that equals more than $3 million to support education, the arts, social services, and volunteerism.

Target also has a proud history of partnership with local law enforcement agencies. Through its Target & BLUE program, Target supports local law enforcement by sharing information, technology and expertise while focusing on safety and security issues that affect guests, team members and communities.

In 2010, more than 36 million people across the nation participated in NNO by attending their neighborhood block party.

“We are committed to being good community partners,” said Joshua Toetenel, SR. Target Protection Special, Target #1528.

“That means getting involved with local organizations and offering our support.”

About the National Association of Town Watch

The National Association of Town Watch (NATW) is a nonprofit, crime prevention organization

that works in cooperation with thousands of crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Since 1981, NATW has been dedicated to the development, growth and maintenance of organized crime and drug prevention programs nationwide. NATW’s network has grown to include over 6,000 crime, drug and violence prevention organizations. More information on NATW and its mission can be found at http://www.NationalNightOut.org.

About Target

Target Corporation’s retail segment includes large general merchandise and food discount stores and Target.com, a fully integrated online business. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. The company currently operates 1,740 Target stores in 49 states. Target Corporation news releases are available at http://www.target.com.

So You’re Ready To Buy? (GULP!) Part 2

SO YOU ARE READY TO BUY [GULP] PART II! ~ By Patricia Forger

To continue on with last weeks column –  You made the choice and realized that the time is right to buy your first home.  Home prices are the lowest they have been in years.  Interest rates for mortgages cannot be beat.  But, you’re wondering, where do I start?  Here are some more tips to give you the best possible advantage for finding the home of your dreams

1. What exactly are you looking for in a home?  Will this be a starter home, your dream home or your retirement home?  You need to figure out how long you plan to live there.  Will your job require relocation?  Do you eventually want to retire in a different state?  Or, do you want to find your dream home and remain there for 20 – 30 years?  With the economic climate, you just need to make sure you can afford what you are buying.  So take your time and make sure you are buying what fits your needs – whether it’s short term or your “forever” home.

2. Visit open houses!  You can find so many open houses around your area and in Towns that you have never visited before.  Take a look on-line or in the paper as most open houses are on Saturdays and Sundays.  Get a map, and plan on spending a good part of the day visiting the homes.  It also will give you ideas of what you really want.  Is the gourmet kitchen important?  Do you have to have a full finished basement?  Can you really live without a dining room or that extra ½ bath?  You will even find amenities you never thought of and find out what you really cannot live without.  Bring along a pad and pen and write down  your thoughts and findings.

3. Check out the neighborhoods!  A great website is the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CERC) at http://www.cerc.com.  You can access individual Town profiles, compare state-by-state showing comparisons of population, taxes, labor, education and cost of living, and find out what you need to do business in Connecticut.

4. When you do find a home you are interested in, see if you can meet the neighbors!  Especially when the weather is nice, you may find people working outside their homes – go over and introduce yourself!  For some people, especially with children, a family oriented neighborhood is a must. For those that are retirement age, they may be looking for something quieter.

5. If you’re not familiar with the Town/City – check out the downtown!  Are restaurants important to you?  Make sure you visit the libraries, grocery stores, and see what the Town has to offer.

Finally, remember that the house you buy will be one of the most important investments you ever make in your life.  You need to have a plan and never jump into something or offer too much on a home that you could ultimately lose because you’re over your head.  If you can’t find something you know you can afford, think about renting for another year or downsizing into a smaller, less expensive rental while you save up to add to your down payment.  Just because the housing prices are so low does not mean that everyone is ready to buy.  Owning a home means sacrifice sometimes so take your time, do your homework and make sure this is the time for you to make that important decision!

Next time – I want to sell my house – will I be able to?

Pat Forger, Sales Executive, Realtor®

Turning your dreams into an address!

Neumann Real Estate, Christie’s International Real Estate

72 Route 37, New Fairfield, CT 06812

Cell:  203-300-6168  Patricia@NeumannRealEstate.com