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Superintendent's Message
Massena Central School Board of Education Update
March 25, 2016
The Board of Education Meeting scheduled for March 31, 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 CSD Class of 2016 Valedictorian & Salutatorian
At the Board meeting on Thursday, the Valedictorian & Salutatorian for the Class of 2016 will be presented to the Board and Massena community for the first time.  We want to congratulate these individuals and their families for an impressive record of achievement.  They should be very proud of this exceptional accomplishment.
Response to Intervention (District Goal)
As we begin to reach the end of the school year, I will be providing updates on some of our District goals for 2015-16.  One of the goals this year is to:
“Restructure the elementary Tiered Intervention System in order to bring meaningful instructional supports to students who are struggling to meet the Common Core Learning Standards.”
Considerable progress has been made on this goal as indicated in the report attached to the Board agenda.  As noted in our budget plan for next year, we would also like to add some additional support particularly for those students who struggle with math.  We will discuss further at the Board meeting.
Update on Elementary Reading Series Implementation (District Goal)
Another District goal this year is to “Implement new reading series at the elementary level--Super Kids and Wonders.”  The overall purpose is to raise student achievement including on the state assessments.  Our Director of Curriculum, principals, grade level leaders, and classroom teachers have worked diligently this year to provide the training, plans, and resources needed to successfully integrate these new reading series.  This includes monitoring student progress at scheduled data meetings.  The Director of Curriculum and elementary principals will provide an update on this goal at the BOE meeting on Thursday.

April 29th Staff Development Day
The District, along with other regional schools in the SLL BOCES will hold a Staff Development Day on April 29th.  Trainings will be provided in a variety of areas including technology, curriculum development, and student management. 
A unique professional development experience will take place with our Junior High staff in regard to students living in poverty.  This poverty simulation experience is designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month.  The object of this simulation is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by low-income people.  Participants assume the roles of family members in up to 26 different families.  Some families have no employment income and some are homeless.  Some family members may be senior citizens.    The task of the families is to provide for their basic necessities and shelter over the course of four 15 minutes weeks.  They will rely on community resources and services for families that will be represented by volunteers seated at stations around the room.  These services include a bank, grocery store, utility company, pawn broker, child care center and many other areas.  At the Board meeting, I will provide a briefing on this training and others which will be presented on April 29th.
Creation of Capital Reserve
At the last Finance Committee meeting we discussed the potential creation of a capital reserve to prepare funding for the next building project.  This planning is in line with the work of the Facilities Committee who has been working with our architect March Associates to identify needs in our Building Condition Survey and Five Year Plan.  As required under the law, the capital reserve would have a time limit for usage and threshold for funding.  We recommend ten years and $4 million.  The reserve would also need to be voter approved both for the creation and subsequent usage.  A resolution has been placed on the BOE meeting agenda for approving the placement of this reserve on the ballot for May 17th.
Student Representative to Board of Education
Earlier this year, the Board recommended that the District engage in a process to include a student representative on the Board of Education.  As this involves voter approval, I have placed the resolution on the Board agenda to allow for such authorization during the budget vote on May 17th. 
As a reminder, the following are key elements of the law in regard to student representatives on school boards:
  • The student serves as an ex-officio non-voting member.
  • The student must be a senior at the high school and have attended the same high school at least two years prior to the appointment.
  • The inclusion of a student must be approved by the voters and reapproved every two years.
  • The student representative may be
    • Class President
    • Elected by the high school student body
    • Elected by the high school student government
    • Selected by the principal or superintendent
    • Selected by the majority of the school board 

Other News

Albany Update

The following is some of the latest news from Albany as provided by the law firm, Hinman Straub:

State Budget Update

The state budget process continued moving forward this week, as both houses passed their respective one house budget resolutions and the legislative leaders appointed Joint Legislative Budget Committees to negotiating some of the differences between the two houses’ versions of the State Budget. Budget conference committees held their initial meetings on Wednesday, and are expected to continue meeting next week.

(Read the Senate’s press release describing its one-house budget plan, and the Assembly’s press release, and the list of conference committee members.

Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Heastie are expected to hold regular meetings on the budget, moving the process toward agreement on a 2016-17 state budget on or before the April 1st start of the state’s new fiscal year.

Governor Announces Plan to Combat Zika Virus

On Thursday, Gov. Cuomo announced a 6-point action plan to prevent the spread of the Zika Virus in New York, which has so far infected 49 people throughout the state. The plan targets the virus at its source, with enhanced mosquito trapping and testing throughout the downstate region.

The state will distribute 100,000 larvicide tablets; deploy 1,000 traps and test 60,000 mosquitoes per month; offer pregnant women free kits, which will include literature and condoms; deploy teams to any area that reports a local transmission of the virus; require local health departments submit Zika-control plans; and launch a media campaign at the airports.
Gov. Cuomo said:

“The state is taking aggressive action to reduce the risk of Zika transmission in New York. We have put in place a first-in-the-nation action plan that will work to eliminate Zika at its source, reduce potential transmissions and safeguard expectant mothers against this dangerous disease. The state is monitoring the situation closely, and continues to work with all partners to protect the public health.”

The state’s efforts also include a public awareness campaign and website.

Regent Betty Rose Named Chancellor

This week, the NYS Board of Regents selected Betty Rosa to be the new Chancellor to replace Merryl Tish. Dr. Rosa has been an outspoken critic of the Common Core curriculum and state assessments.  Here is a link to a NY Times article about her selection.  I have also include a statement from NYSSBA
Executive Director Tim Kremer.

The New York State School Boards Association congratulates Dr. Betty Rosa for being elected chancellor of the Board of Regents.

Dr. Rosa has long been a champion of making sure the state's most disadvantaged students – those from poor families, those with special needs and those whose first language is not English – have the resources they need to be successful. Her personal and professional experiences have prepared her very well to be our new chancellor.

School boards everywhere look forward to working with Chancellor Rosa, newly-elected Vice Chancellor Andrew Brown and the rest of the Board of Regents as they address important issues regarding educational equity for all, revamping the Common Core learning standards and standardized testing program, attracting the most qualified teacher candidates, and creating a new teacher evaluation system.  
Upcoming Events
3/21-28—Spring Break
3/31—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
4/5—Facilities Committee Meeting—4:30 pm—Madison Elementary School Tour
4/7—SLL BOCES Annual Meeting—5:30 pm—BOCES Center in Canton
Last Updated: 4/5/16
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