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The Woodbridge School District Reflects on 2022 and Looks Forward to 2023

February 14, 2023
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As the Woodbridge School Districts welcomes in the New Year, we are reflecting on many of the wonderful events that took place in 2022, and wanted to share them with the larger Woodbridge community.  

This past spring, teachers and students at Beecher Road School (BRS) continued to amaze us with their high academic achievements. Students in grades 3-6 received the highest Smarter Balanced scores of any school in our District Reference Group (DRG), a classification system that groups districts in Connecticut together based on students’ similar socio-economic status and need. These same students also earned 100 percent of the points awarded for math, science, and English language arts on the 2021-2022 Next Generation Accountability System, a system that awards points on a broad set of 12 indicators to help tell the story of how well a school prepares its students for success in college, careers, and life. 

Recognizing the important role that social emotional learning has on improved academic outcomes, mental health, and classroom behaviors, spring also ushered in BRS’s annual Empathy Week. During this week, students engaged in a series of activities focused on empathy and inclusivity. As part of this, the school participated in a school wide read aloud with the book I Am You: A Book about Ubuntu by Refiloe Moahloli. This book was generously provided by the BRS Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), with all classrooms receiving a copy of the book. 

As staff returned back to school this fall, BRS conducted its first-ever EDCAMP, which offered choice-based professional development. This model not only provided important professional learning opportunities, but also supported leadership development as teachers presented on topics in which they are highly skilled. 

In preparation for the new academic year, the Woodbridge School District also created a Substitute Bank to ensure adequate coverage in our classrooms. As schools across the nation continue to struggle to find substitute teachers, this bank has helped BRS ensure that literacy and math specialists do not have to fill in to cover classrooms. In turn, specialists can remain in their roles and provide consistent support for our students. If you are interested in serving as a staff substitute at BRS please reach out to Assistant Principal, Jimmy Sapia at We are always looking for qualified individuals to serve in these positions.

As the cold weather approached this winter, students at BRS used their creative skills to give back. In addition to BRS’s annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, this year, students created blankets in the Library Maker Space which were donated to the local animal shelter. BRS’ student council members raised and donated money to multiple organizations including Woodbridge Human Services, Beardsley Zoo, K9 First Responders, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  

As a Board, we also want to take time to recognize our three new administrators who we welcomed in 2022. Donna Coonan, who won the 2022 Rising Star Award from the Connecticut Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), joined the district as Director of Business Services/Operations. Carrie Borcherding, who most recently worked at Greenwich Public Schools, also joined as the district’s Special Services Director. In addition, and most recently, the Woodbridge Board of Education announced Vonda Tencza, long time Connecticut educator and administrator, as the district’s new Superintendent. In a robust pool of candidates, Ms. Tencza rose to the top because she embodies the vision, experience, care, and warmth that the Board values and BRS deserves. We would also like to acknowledge and thank Interim Superintendent Christine Syriac for her leadership as we searched for our new Superintendent. 

As we look towards 2023, we are thrilled that 11 of our 6th graders have qualified to take part in the Connecticut Music Educators Association Honors Festival. Students auditioned for the program this past winter, in the first live auditions since COVID, and will be participating in a live performance in March. Also, in March we are looking forward to BRS’s participation in Read Across American, where we invite community members into our school to share the joys of reading with our students. 

As the Woodbridge Board of Education continues the work of the district in 2023, we strive to maintain both our high level of academic achievement and our supportive and inclusive community. We have accomplished this in years past with strong classroom support for students and educators, continued professional development for our teachers and administrators, and investment in our growth as a district. As we educate our students for their future success in middle school, high school, and beyond, we look to support our administrators and educators in developing and growing our curriculum and educational programs to ensure we are graduating students who are lifelong learners.

As part of that support, we want to acknowledge that February is “I Support My Connecticut Public Schools Month”. If you know anyone who works at BRS or any other public schools, please take a moment to thank them and recognize their amazing work. 

This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.

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