Massena Central School Board of Education Update
March 11, 2016
The Board of Education Meeting scheduled for March 17, 2016 will begin at 6:30 pm in Room 314 of Massena High School. It is anticipated that the Board will go into executive session at 6:30 pm to discuss such topics as personnel on the agenda prior to the regular meeting.
There will be a BOE Finance Committee meeting at 5:00 pm in the HS Student Affairs Conference Room.
A Budget Hearing will be held at 7:00 pm prior to the regular meeting.
Massena Drama Club Presents Wizard of Oz
Congratulations to Director Chris Lincoln and the Massena Drama Club for their excellent production of the Wizard of Oz this weekend. The acting, singing, choreography, costumes, and sets were exceptionally well done to the delight of the packed house on both Friday and Saturday night. Thank you to all of the paid staff and volunteers who did a wonderful job supporting our students through the process. The results were impressive.
Jefferson Kids Care Presentation
At the Board meeting on 3/17, there will be a presentation by Principal Duane Richards and members of the Jefferson Kids Care group. This club was started approximately ten years ago when several interested students began meeting with some willing faculty members once a week to knit, crochet, quilt, and sew blankets. The group depends on donated fabric and yarn to use to create “care” blanket that are given to those that are in need. Such donations include blankets to students that may be going through a crisis at home, to veterans at Memorial Day, to nursing home residents, and to the hospital for newborns.
Jefferson Kids Care is jointly coordinated by Elizabeth Layo (reading TA) and Cathy Dix (kindergarten teacher) along with other volunteers from the Jefferson staff and community that generously give of their time each week. Students that participate in the group do not have to have any sewing skills or related abilities to join. These skills are quickly acquired through working with other “veteran” Kids Care students or adults.
Purchase of Global Studies Textbooks
The High School Social Studies Department is requesting the purchase of new Global Studies textbooks to better prepare students for the secondary social studies learning standards. The previous textbooks were purchased over 10 years ago. Sarah Boyce and Greg Paquin will present the proposal and request Board approval. The proposal is attached to the BOE agenda along with the selection rubric.
BOE Policy 8340 Textbook/Workbooks provides guidelines on the selection and purchase of textbooks. Specifically it states:
"Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools, the Board of Education shall designate the textbooks to be used. Textbooks, once designated, cannot be superseded within a period of five (5) years except by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the Board."
NYSCOSS Conference Report
I attended the annual NYSCOSS Winter Institute & Lobby Day from March 6th -8th. Highlights of the conference were the presentations by Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, NYSCOSS Deputy Director Bob Lowry, and Gary Marx, President, Center for Public Outreach. I have attached a couple of conference documents to the Board agenda for your review. I will provide a briefing on the key issues at Thursday’s BOE meeting.
School Calendar 2016-17 - BOCES Draft
The St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES has presented a draft 2016-17 calendar for regional schools to consider. As in 2015-16, it contains six additional days for emergency purposes. Per the NYS Education Department, the Grade 3-8 ELA and math examinations will be separated next year so they do not occur during the same month as is the current practice. Finally, the spring break is during the third week in April which should be more favorable to staff and families. The March break this year was met with considerable consternation as it was believed to be too early. The calendar is on the agenda for Board action on Thursday.
Give-Back Days Recommendation
Each year, the regional school calendar contains five or six emergency days which are generally used for inclement weather. When these days are unused, the District has traditionally assigned them as days off during Spring Break, or Memorial Day weekend depending on the circumstances. This year we had six emergency days scheduled and so far we used two for weather related closings. I am recommending that we use one for 3/18 to extend the Spring Break and another on 5/27 to lengthen the Memorial Day weekend. The latter is contingent upon the use of emergency days between now and then. This would leave one for the last day of school and another in reserve in case of emergency. We will discuss further at the BOE meeting on Thursday.
Strategic Planning Update
At the February Board meeting, the BOE voted to hire Prism Decision Systems to assist the District in strategic planning. Since that time, we have been working with Sean Brady to organize the leadership team, gather data, and schedule the meeting dates. We have also submitted a cross contract to the Tioga-Seneca-Tompkins BOCES to apply for state aid on the project. As requested by the Board, Sean Brady will attend the BOE meeting on 4/18 prior to commencing the project meeting. The planning sessions for the strategic plan will be held on 4/19-20 and 5/12-13. We are interested to have BOE member participation at these meetings. I will discuss further at the BOE meeting on Thursday.
St. Lawrence County Health Initiative Grant
Recently, we received notification that Massena was one of four regional schools to receive funding from the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative for the Math and Movement Program. The grant will fund the following:
1-Family Fun Nights at East Side Elementary (Gouverneur), Nightengale Elementary (Massena) and Jefferson Elementary (Massena). All other scheduled Family Fun Nights will be funded by Dryden Mutual.
For Massena, this means that each elementary school was given $995.00 for the Math and Movement Family Night. All mats and activities will be provided and we will need to have 20 volunteers to help facilitate the night.
2-Three sets of the Skip Counting Mats Found Here for the following districts: Gouverneur, Massena and Norwood-Norfolk. We will be sharing floor mats between the three elementary buildings.
3-$250.00 will be given to each building to paint outside "mats" on the sidewalks and play areas. We will use already purchased stencils to make the "outdoor mats."
We want to thank Sarah Bentley-Garfinkle, the SLCHI, and the NYS Department of Health for providing this grant opportunity. The funding will support our elementary math program and allow for enhanced collaboration with our District families.
Capital Project Bond (2009) Refinancing
Our market analyst from Fiscal Advisors is recommending that we refinance the capital project bond from 2009 to take advantage of savings in the current market. Savings are currently projected at $407,000 or 5.1%. Attached to the BOE agenda is a memo describing the proposal and Board resolution to proceed with the refinancing. Business Manager Nick Brouillette will discuss the details at the Board meeting
Facilities Committee Meeting
There will be a BOE Facilities Committee meeting at Jefferson Elementary School on Monday, 3/14 at 4:30 pm. The meeting will begin at 4:30 pm in the Library and will also involve a tour of the building. March Associates will be in attendance to discuss an update on the building condition survey. The potential scope items for the next capital project in each of the five instructional buildings are attached to the Facilities Committee agenda. March Associates will spend the day in the District on Monday to meet with our noninstructional supervisors and continue the development of the five year plan.
Update from Albany
The following are updates on key developments which occurred recently in Albany. This includes an update on the state budget as both houses of the legislature passed their “one house” bills this week.
This coming Monday, the Assembly and Senate are due to approve resolutions outlining their plans for the state budget.
An Assembly news release issued yesterday reports that its budget proposal would increase School Aid by $2.1 billion (9.2 percent), $1.2 billion more than proposed by the Governor. The total includes $434 million to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment, plus a $1.1 billion increase in Foundation Aid.
It also seeks $200 million for Community Schools, $100 million more than recommended by the Governor, and $48 million for "My Brother's Keeper," a package of initiatives recommended by the Board of Regents to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.
Combining the elimination of the GEA, the $1.1 Foundation Aid increase, and current law funding of other aid categories, it appears traditional School Aid would increase by more than $1.8 billion in the Assembly budget. The Educational Conference Board estimated that an increase of $1.7 billion would be needed to allow school districts to maintain current services, given a set of moderate cost assumptions and the near zero property tax cap.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie had previously said that the budget from his chamber will not include the Education Tax Credit proposed by the Governor and sought by private school advocates.
So far, there are no details available for the Senate's education budget. On the first day of the legislative session, however, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said his house would not agree to a budget that does not end the GEA in the coming year.
Actual budget bills detailing the two houses' proposals are expected to begin appearing today.
I expect to post a comparison chart of the Senate and Assembly plans over the weekend under Council News on our website. I will also tweet news items revealing details as they pop up -- follow here.
Passage of the final state budget bills is planned for March 28 through 31.
Dueling tax plans
On Wednesday, the State Senate Republican leadership unveiled a plan to cut taxes by $4.5 billion per year when fully implemented. The centerpiece would be a 25 percent reduction in personal income tax rates for middle income taxpayers (single filers with incomes of up to $150,000, heads of households with incomes up to $225,000, and married joint filers with incomes up to $300,000). This proposal would not take effect until 2018, limiting the revenue loss to the state budget in the upcoming state fiscal year.
The Senate package also includes tax cuts for senior citizens and small businesses, ending a utility tax surcharge, and a reduction in estate taxes for small business owners.
The Senate asserts the revenue loss would be absorbed by holding overall state spending increases to 2 percent and by future economic growth.
Earlier, the Assembly Democrats released a proposal to increase taxes on higher income New Yorkers, while making permanent tax rate reductions for middle income earners enacted in 2011 and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit to help low income workers. In total, the proposal would generate $1 billion a net additional revenue for the state.
These dueling tax proposals probably foreshadow a debate that will not be settled in the coming year’s state budget but will dominate the 2017 legislative session, if it is not resolved at some point this year.
In December 2011, the legislature adopted a proposal from Governor Andrew Cuomo which lowered income tax rates for all taxpayers below what had been in place under temporary tax increases that were due to expire that month. But the new rates for upper income taxpayers remained above what the permanent rates called for, generating nearly $2 billion in additional revenue for the state, since the enacted state budget had assumed the temporary higher rates would be allowed to run out.
The 2011 tax reforms were extended but are now set to expire at the end of 2017. If those changes are allowed to expire without any alteration, the liberal Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that taxes on New Yorkers with incomes between $40,000 and $300,000 would rise by a total of $1 billion per year, while taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers would decline by $3.7 billion annually, creating a substantial net revenue loss for state government. (See p. 11 here).
State Revenue Forecasts: Encouraging for the near-term, but with cautions
The state budget process begins with the Governor presenting his (someday, her) Executive Budget proposal, then a series of legislative hearings on the various components of the budget, and then the release of state revenue forecasts by the Senate and Assembly fiscal committee staffs, leading to a consensus forecast.
In constructing their revenue estimates, the legislative experts have the advantage of being able to take into account economic events that transpire in the five or six weeks after the release of the Governor’s budget. Assuming there is justification for projecting additional revenue, that revenue usually becomes the major “avail” the Legislature can use to pay for any spending or tax cuts it wishes to add to the Governor’s budget. Other potential sources are re-estimates of entitlement spending and proposals to cut spending in the Governor’s budget or raise taxes and fees.
Here is how Politico New York summed up the forecasts from the Assembly and Senate majorities:
Democrats who control the State Assembly said there is an additional $171 million for the rest of this fiscal year, and $552 million in the upcoming fiscal year. Republicans who control the State Senate said there was $253 million in additional revenue this year, and $498 million in extra money for the coming budget. The Senate's Republican-allied Independent Democratic Conference signed on to that forecast.
In other words, both legislative majorities forecast that the state will take in over $700 million more than the Governor's budget estimated for the current fiscal year and the next.
Governor Cuomo’s Budget Director warned, however, that “gyrations on Wall Street” could mean reduced receipts in the future. Because of the lag between economic activity and tax receipts, that impact might not be felt until the 2017-18 state fiscal year.
Here is an Albany Times Union report on the revenue forecasting conference last week at which the forecasts were discussed.
Agreement on a consensus forecast should come this week.
The State Board of Regents held its February meeting last week.
The opening full board meeting began with a presentation on the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the latest iteration of the principal federal education statute. The major required task for state government is to re-work elements of its school accountability system. The federal law does require state education agencies to engage with stakeholders, including superintendents, in developing implementation plans. Here is the 12-page item summarizing the new law for the Regents.
The item for the Regents explains,
The state must continue to assess the achievement of not less than 95% of all students and subgroups of students using Title I state assessments. However, participation rate is not specifically named as an accountability indicator under ESSA, and it is left up to states to decide the consequence for non-participation and how it will be factored into the state’s accountability system. The law clarifies that it does not preempt any state or local law regarding a parent’s decision to not have his or her child participate in state assessments, and districts are required to provide parents with information regarding any state or local policies, procedures and parental rights regarding student participation in mandated assessments (see p. 3).
Here is one article summarizing the Regents’ discussion on this point; here is another. Pivotal issues are what sanctions, if any, might the U.S. Education Department impose on a state experiencing low test participation and what state actions might be needed to avert federal sanctions.
Changes coming to the Board of Regents
On Tuesday, the legislature elected three new members to the State Board of Regents. They are:
Ms. Mead, filling an already vacated seat, takes office immediately. Dr. Reyes and Ms. Hakanson will begin their terms in April.
At their March 21-22 meetings, the Regents will elect new leadership to replace the departing Chancellor Tisch and Vice Chancellor Bottar. It is widely expected Bronx Regent Betty Rosa will become Chancellor. She is a former New York City district superintendent.
Rochester area Regent Andrew Brown has been cited as a potential successor to Vice Chancellor Bottar, as has Wade Norwood, a Rochester resident serving as an at-large Regent.
Here is an article from Chalkbeat New York on the changes coming to the Board of Regents.
Here is a profile of the prospective Chancellor by Politico New York.
Thursday’s New York Times offered an interview with Merryl Tisch looking back on her service as Chancellor (chair) of the Regents. The Times reports,
If she could take one thing back, Dr. Tisch said, it would be having rolled out the standards and the teacher evaluation system at the same time, “because I think the debate over how to evaluate a teacher contaminated the more important work.”
The Times added,
Dr. Tisch said that among the things she was proudest of was creating alternative pathways to graduation for students who wanted to focus on the arts or a career-related skill, advocating for undocumented students to receive tuition assistance at city and state colleges, and pushing for state oversight over the troubled East Ramapo school district in Rockland County.
Making it official
When President Obama named John King to succeed Arne Duncan, it was assumed that he would serve out the remainder of the President's term as Acting Secretary of Education. But after the enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reauthorizing federal education programs, the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) asked the President to submit Dr. King's appointment for confirmation.
Earlier this week, Senator Alexander's committee voted by 16 to 6 to confirm Dr. King as the nation's Secretary of Education. No date has been set for a vote by the full Senate.
Kick It For Stephanie Fundraiser
Kick It For Stephanie, an annual event hosted by the Center for Civic Engagement, is being held on Saturday, April 2, 12noon – 3pm at St. Lawrence University's Leithead Fieldhouse. The purpose of the event is to raise money for Massena HS senior Stephanie McKeel who is battling cystic fibrosis. Attached is a flyer about the event and below is some details as provided by Julie Johnson, Events & Logistics Coordinator at SLU.
College Student: $3
Children under 12: $3
Family of Four: $15
Pizza and drinks will be available for purchase as well as 50-50 raffle tickets and auction items.
Activities at Event:
ZUMBA • YOGA • SALSA DANCE • BASKETBALL • CORN-HOLE • KAN JAM • FLASH/HENNA TATOOS • SOCCER • TUG OF WAR • LADDERBALL • ARTS AND CRAFTS • THEMED BASKETS AND CARD FOR STEPHANIE AND HER FAMILY
Stephanie McKeel, an 18 year old senior at Massena Central School. Stephanie was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis on August 17, 2003 a month before her 7th birthday. She has lead a very active, normal lifestyle until August of 2015 when she was hospitalized after starting a recently FDA approved medication and she never seemed to bounce back. She was diagnosed with end stage lung and in November 2015, she was listed at Boston Children’s Hospital for a double lung transplant. She continues to travel to doctor’s appointments between the University of Vermont Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital. She has had frequent hospitalizations for 2-3 weeks at a time. This has required extensive travel and minimal time at home. She is anxiously awaiting the call for transplant. At that time she will be spending months in the Boston area both inpatient and then outpatient but will need to remain close to the hospital for monitoring.
Research is clear that there is a positive correlation between school attendance and student academic achievement. However, like most schools, Massena often struggles with some families who do not regularly send their child(ren) to school. We employ various strategies including student counseling, parents meetings, and at times, outside agency support. Below is an article sent to me recently about how one North Country school is dealing with the problem.
Jefferson Elementary School Celebrates Dr. Seuss' Birthday
Jefferson Elementary School celebrated the birthday of beloved children's writer Dr. Seuss' on March 2nd. As can be seen below, Principal Duane Richards did his part to make it a special day for the kids.
Massena High School
News & Notes
The Wizard of Oz
If you missed the production of The Wizard of Oz on March 11&12, you truly missed a treat. This year’s production, directed by Mr. Chris Lincoln, showcased the talent of Emily Allen, Thomas Stearns, Matt Drake, Jarrid Gardener, Nicole Stenlake, Olivia George, Koeby Judware and Jayden Francis, as they transformed one of America’s most beloved stories to the stage of Massena High School and left the audience in awe. This performance, in my opinion and I think many will agree with me, ranks as one of the best by the Massena Drama Club. Frank Baum would be proud. Congratulations to Mr. Lincoln, all the cast, the crew and the orchestra for this stellar performance
The following teams were recently awarded New York Scholar Athlete Teams
Boys’ Varsity Basketball – Coach Tom Miller – Overall GPA 96.143
Girls’ Basketball - Justin Shope – Overall GPA 94.286
Boys’ Hockey – Coach Mike Trimboli – Overall GPA – 93.75
Congratulations to these teams who have had a great season competing on the ice, the court and in the classroom.
The four teachers who have been delayed from Instructional Round because of the weather, finally made it this week to the overview at BOCES and the rounds at Norwood Norfolk Middle School. At this week’s faculty meeting, I presented on the instructional core which speaks to the tasks teachers are asking students to complete and if those tasks are aligned with high level skills on Bloom’s Taxonomy. The four teachers were given time to speak to their experience at the training and how it has changed their view of their role in the relationship between the teacher, student and the content. Shane and I will be meeting with Andrew Rudd to come up with a plan for looking at data and determining what the high school Problem of Practice will be. We hope to be ready for a day of Instructional Rounds in late fall of 2016.
JW Leary Junior High School
News & Notes
7-8 ELA state tests April 5-7
7-8 Math state tests April 13-15
Career Day April 28, 2016
Poverty Simulation April 29, 2016
Spring Dance May 6, 2016
Jefferson Elementary School
News & Notes
Jefferson Calendar Events:
Wed. March 16 2:20PM Grade 3 Dress Rehearsal
Wed. March 16 7:00PM Grade 3 Mini-Musical
Thur. March 17 9:15AM Superkid Ceremony Grades 4-6
Thurs. March 17 2:10 PM Superkid Ceremony Grades 1-3
Fri. March 18 No School due to extra Snowday
Mon. March 21-Mon. March 28 Spring Break-No School
Jefferson Art Club 2016
The Jefferson Art Club has 24 members from the sixth grade classes. The group meets in the art room from 2:30 pm to 3:00 pm on day 5 in the 6 day cycle. There are 11 Art Club Meetings planned for the school-year. They have had two meeting thus far. At the first meeting the club members and Mrs. Clary, Jefferson Art Teacher, discussed and voted on which projects they wished to try. The first winning project was Paper Mache’ Animal Sculptures. They also picked an Art Club Aide for taking attendance, whom is Anna Farbontnik. In the second meeting the students got started on their sculptures. The next project is going to involve Digital Art using Windows Paint Program and digital drawing pens. The club will work together to plan following projects as the year progresses.
The reason for making the club meet during school time was to give everyone equal opportunity to participate. Mrs. Clary is looking forward to giving students with a high interest level in art the chance to have extra time focused on the visual arts. These students are all enthusiastic about art which is joyful to be around.
March Parent Conferences
Jefferson teachers completed Parent conferences on the early release day on March 10. This successful afternoon saw 91% of the planned conferences taking place. Teachers were able to update parents on their child's current progress as well as provide a plan for success for the remainder of the school year.
Egg..citing Science Experiment
The Earth's surface is separated into large pieces of land called tectonic plates that fit together like puzzle pieces. These constantly moving plates sometimes cause the melted rock from the Earth's core to squeeze through cracks. Ms. Stoffels fifth and sixth grade students recently conducted demonstrations of how magma reaches the surface of the earth. Using a cracked soft-boiled egg to represent techtonic plates and the earth's crust, the moving "egg" plates resuted in "egg" volcanos that erupted "egg yoke" magma onto their desks. The experiment also reinforced vocabulary terms: Inner Core, Outer Core, Mantle, and Crust.
Jefferson Third Grade Mini-Musical
The Jefferson Third Grade students have been working extremely hard since January preparing for their Spring Mini-Musical titled "Welcome To The Jungle". This musical is based on Aesop's fable "The Lion and the Mouse". The students will perform a dress rehearsal on Wednesday, March 16 at 2:20 and then perform the actual musical Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM. A beautiful set design was coordinated by Mrs. Clary, Jefferson Art Teacher, using third-grade art pieces.
Madison Elementary School
News & Notes
Former Owls Come Home to Perform
As part of the District's recognition of Music in Our Schools Month, members of high school performing groups made their annual stop at Madison on their tour. Madison students and staff always enjoy this performance and this year was no exception. The Harmonettes, Acquired Pitches and Jazz Band all performed for us. We were even treated to a preview of the Wizard of Oz by the Cowardly Lion and Dorothy herself. It is always a pleasure to have our Owls come home and show us how they've grown.
Madison Family Night is Tuesday March 15th!
On Tuesday March 15th we will be hosting our annual Family Night at Madison. Teachers will have examples of student work and projects on display so you can see what your students have been doing at school. This night is not meant to be a parent-teacher conference but rather an opportunity to have your student show you what they are doing. We will also be treated to a recorder concert by our fourth graders (6:15pm) and a choral program by our fifth graders (6:40pm). Please take the time to come up to school and celebrate the arrival of spring with family and friends with us at Madison.
The schedule for the night is:
5:30-6:30 pm—Grades Pre-K, JK, K, 1, and 2.
6:00—7:00 pm—Grades 3 ,4 ,5 and 6
6:15 pm—4th Grade Recorder Concert
6:40 pm—Grade 5 Music Program
5:30—7:00 pm —Who Club Ice Cream Social—while supplies last.
5:30—7:00 pm Title 1 Family Night
(Raffles, Information, Books and Popcorn.)
We at Madison want to pass along a big thank you to Rapidz and their partner Perry’s or donating all the ice-cream for this event. We are fortunate to have such wonderful community support.
Nightengale Elementary School
News & Notes
Math and Movement--March 31, 2016 at Nightengale
Benefits of the Family Fun Night include:
Our New York State Testing is soon approaching. Here are our testing dates:
Family Literacy Night
On March 15th, Nightengale Elementary School will be having Family Reading Night/Scholastic Book Fair. Our Nightengale Parent Teacher Group will be hosting an ice cream social. We will be giving all students who attend our Reading Night, a three dollar coupon for their purchase at the Book Fair. Our teachers have put together nine gift baskets to be raffled off and the money will go towards a Memory Bench for Aiden Henry.
On March 10th we had our second Nightengale Success Board of the 2015-2016 school year. Awards are given to students for both academic and character growth. Over one hundred awards were given to students for their personal growth. Here are a few examples of some awesome Nighthawks-----
Back row:Jakob Page, Layla Kirby-Murdie, Olivia Charde, Madelyn Binion,Samantha Beard, Ryan Luce
Middle row: Ellarie LaGarry, Alivia Gabri,Gavin Mitchell, Olivia Perkins
Front Row: Reese Prentice, Quinten Morris
Back row: Nicholas Winston, James Bouchard,Ty Sandvoss, Karlee Francis,Evan Fisher, Isabella Hazelton,
Middle row: Bryce Buffham, Wiley White, Damara Miller, Kaden Monroe, Aubrey White
Front row: Kaylie Ledbetter, Elijah Morgan, Wyatt White, Tanner Scott
Awesome Nightengale Nighthawks
6th Grade Recycling Super heroes…...
I had the pleasure of being read to by this amazing Noble Nighthawk Sean Berry. This boy is “on-fire” with his reading, Way to go Sean!!!
3/14—Facilities Committee Meeting—4:30 pm—Jefferson Elementary Library
3/15—Policy Committee Meeting—6:30 pm—CAB
3/17—Finance Committee Meeting—5:00 pm—Student Affairs; BOE Meeting—6:30 pm—HS Room 314; Public Hearing on Budget—7:00 pm—HS Room 314
|Last Updated: 3/29/16|