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Superintendent's Message
Massena Central School Board of Education Update
April 15, 2016

The Board of Education Meeting scheduled for Monday, April 18, 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.
Ballot Order for Massena School Board Candidates 2016
The District Clerk will conduct a drawing for the order in which Board candidates will appear on the ballot in May.  There are two (2) five year terms and one (1) one year term.  The highest vote getters will receive the longer terms.  To date we have two candidates who have turned in petitions—Bill Sommerfield and Jason Premo.
BOCES Administrative Budget / Board Candidates

At the meeting on Monday, the BOE will be voting on the BOCES administrative budget and a choice of three candidates for three open seats on the BOCES Board of Education—incumbents Roger Bennett and Shelli Prespare-Weston, and newcomer Michael Davis.   Andrea Webb from Edwards Knox is not seeking re-election.  A handout with resumes on each candidate and voting information is attached to the Board agenda.   Any MCS Board member may nominate one or more candidates at the meeting on Monday.

The BOCES budget was presented at the annual meeting on 4/7 with myself and Board members Paul Haggett, Kevin Perretta, and Rhonda Rodriguez in attendance.  We have attached information in regard to the three part BOCES budget with resolution for voting on the administrative portion to the Board agenda. This part of the BOCES budget will be voted on by all 18 component school boards on Monday.  It calls for $5,996,735 in funding which is an increase of $403,274 from the 2015-16 budget.  Most of this increase is due to paying for health insurance for retired employees. The reports also indicate some savings in this area by not filling certain positions and a move to Rider 9 for health insurance.

Sean Brady, Consultant, Prism Decision ­ Strategic Planning Team
Sean Brady, founder and president of Prism Decision Systems, will attend the Board meeting on Monday to discuss his plans to lead the district through a strategic planning process.  Before starting Prism Decision Systems in 1997, Mr. Brady was the manager of strategic planning for the electric power generation business at NYS Electric & Gas Corporation.  He also taught for 12 years from Grades 6 through community college.  Mrs. Brady is a graduate of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto and the University of Buffalo.  A copy of his presentation has been attached to the Board agenda.  Mr. Brady will meet with our strategic planning team on 4/19-20 and again on 5/12-13.  The meetings will take place at the Chamber of Commerce building with 30 members of the school and community participating.  Rhonda Rodriguez will represent the Board of Education.  We will continue to keep the Board posted of our progress.
Approval of the 2016­17 Spending Plan (Budget)
As mentioned in the last BOE Update, the BOE Finance Committee met on 4/5 to finalize the 2016-17 budget which will be presented to the full Board on Monday night.  After much discussion, the Committee is recommending a combination of a tax freeze, lowering of designated fund balance, and the addition/restoration of staffing to support our students.  Attached to the Board agenda is a presentation which details these proposals along with documents about our revenues and expenditures. 
  • The proposed MCS budget will increase by $1,253,432 or 2.5% to $51,244,859 from $49,991,427.  These numbers are subject to change slightly as we finalize the budget prior to 4/18.
  • With the increase in Foundation Aid, we are recommending a 0% tax increase for 2016-17.
  • The recommended designated fund balance is $2,500,103 or $268,853 less than the 2015-16 budget. The use of reserve funding in the budget will be $50,000.  Lowering the designated fund balance increases the District’s long term financial stability. 
  • A Capital Reserve will be established if the voters approve of the fund in May.  This reserve will assist the District in preparing for a capital project and lowering the costs of bonding for same.  We are recommending an initial deposit in the fund of $2,250,000.
  • As discussed at the Finance Committee meeting, the administration is recommending additions/restorations in the budget to improve our services in 2016-17.  These proposed additions are listed in the presentation.
Here is a Courier Observer Article about the proposed 2016-17 budget.

Technology Committee and Smart Schools Bond Act
One of our District goals this year was to increase the use of instructional technology.  This includes the creation of a Technology Committee to lead this effort and the planning for implementation of the Smart Schools Bond Act.  At the Board meeting, Duane Richards, Sarah Boyce and Mike Allen will review progress to date.  Below are the key objectives and the progress report on each that we track in GoogleDocs.
  1. Develop a Technology Committee at the District level.
7/2015 EF Instructional Technology Committee updated the District Technology Plan to inform the Technology Survey which was submitted and approved.   
  1. Create and administer an Instructional Technology survey to establish a baseline indicating the level of comfort and experience Massena CSD Teachers have with Instructional Technology. The survey will measure knowledge of the SAMR Model, the ISTE Standards and usage of various programs and applications.  
9/1-2/2015 EF Instructional Staff learned of the Smart School Bond Act tenets, and its intent of transforming instructional practice and student task.  Survey was sent electronically to staff for completion.
  1. Designate an Instructional Technology Support Staff Member to assistant teachers in implementing technology in the classroom.
9/17/2015 EF Catherine Donahue was approved by the BOE as the Instructional Technology Coach.

8/31/15 BP established schedule to allow Catherine Donahue to work as Instructional Technology coach.
  1. Provide training to staff based on survey and input of the Instructional Technology Support Staff Member.  
12/17/2015- Tech Team ½ Day Meeting to plan for 1/28-29 Instructional Technology Workshop

1/28/2016 Elementary and JH Instructional Technology
Workshops taught by teachers for teachers, introducing new applications and methodologies for infusing technology into instruction. Instructors used the SAMR Model to illustrate the level of Tech integration.
1/29/2016 High School Session of Instructional Technology Workshops

3/15/16 Two teachers are scheduled to attend the Google Summit on April 29, 2016. Meeting with High School Tech team the beginning of April to plan more teach workshops for April 29, 2016. Sent the list of hardware request to Mike Allen.
  1. Conduct post survey to evaluate changes in use of classroom technology.
  1. Implement the provisions of the Smart Schools Bond Act.
  1. Submit to SED the Technology Plan as reviewed by NERIC.
10/15 MA/EF: Technology Plan Submitted and Approved by SED.  Currently working on investment plan.
  1. Begin purchase, installation, and usage of technology equipment as outlined in the Technology Plan.
District Safety Committee
At the Board meeting on Monday, Alan Oliver will provide an update on the work of our District Safety Committee this year.  This will include a review of our safety drills performed in 2015-16.
Resolution for Jr. High “Reconstruction” Project
As mentioned in the last BOE Update, the Facilities Committee met on 4/5 and as part of the agenda discussed the $100,000 capital outlay project for 2016-17.  The proposal is to continue to remove asbestos floor tile from the junior high school and to replace the mag lock doors in the front and back entrances.  A cost estimate and timeline was provided by our architect March Associates which is attached to the Facilities Committee meeting agenda.  I have also attached the notes of that meeting to the BOE agenda.  To move forward, the Board will need to pass a resolution to approve the project and another to declare the project will not have a significant environmental impact as required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).  Both resolutions are attached to the BOE agenda.

Bus Request 2016­-17

We have two requests on the Board agenda for busing during the 2016-17 school year.  The first is for the Trinity Catholic School and the other is for the Village of Massena recreation program.  These are annual requests which have been supported previously through BOE resolution.

Other News

State Testing

This week, the Grade 3-8 NYS Math exams were administered across the state.  Teachers are now in the process of scoring the exams with the assistance of our Director of Curriculum Evelyn Fiske.  As with the ELA exams the previous week, the number of Grade 3-8 students who refused to take the test declined from last year (21.03% vs. 40.36%).  Our highest number of math test refusals were also in Grades 5, 7, & 8. 

Upcoming Events
4/18—BOE Meeting—6:30 pm—HS Room 314
4/19-20—Strategic Planning Meetings—8:00 am-3:30 pm—Chamber of Commerce
4/20—Madison Elementary Astronomy Night—5:00 pm​
Last Updated: 4/26/16
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