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

Housing Rehabilitation Grant Survey
The following is an e-mail from the St. Lawrence County Planning Office in regard to opportunities for housing grants.  They requested that we pass it along to our residents in Massena.
The St. Lawrence County Planning Office is collecting data for a housing conditions/need assessment; new Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) guidelines require a county-wide Housing Needs Assessment for the County to be competitive for funds for housing rehabilitation and home ownership programs.  For the past 30 years, the St. Lawrence County Planning Office has brought in over $30 million in housing and community development assistance to the county. The Direct Homeownership Assistance Program has secured over $12 million to help over 500 residents purchase homes. The Planning Office has also secured over $8.5 million in funds for over 600 housing rehabilitation projects in numerous towns and villages throughout the county.
One of several tools we are using to collect information is an anonymous and confidential survey.  It is available on the St. Lawrence County webpage at: http://www.co.st-lawrence.ny.us/ . The survey is expected to take five or fewer minutes and can be completed on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. It will close Friday, July 29, 2016.
If you live in St. Lawrence County, please take a few minutes to complete this survey; please feel free to share it as well.  Naturally, the more data we get, the more accurate and useful it will be.
BOCES Efficiency Study
Recently, the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES conducted a study to review some key programs for enhancing programmatic and fiscal efficiency. Below is information provided by the BOCES about the final report.

BOCES Efficiency Study: Identifying Options for the Future

St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES recently commissioned a study to identify options for the future of our technology, school improvement and special education services. This study provides recommendations which BOCES leadership is in the process of evaluating, and the implementation of these recommendations will be aimed at maximizing the value of our services. The foundation of the study is 10 cultural attributes that guide BOCES operations:

Student-centered – A BOCES that is student-focused and measures its success on how well the students in its districts perform will be a BOCES that develops the right kinds of relationships with components. 

Communicated – The BOCES is not an entity unto itself but rather is an extension of the component districts and exists to serve the districts. Clear communication with the districts about programs, budgets, and results is essential in creating, delivering, and evaluating services.

Competent – Underlying the success of all BOCES is having competent staff who are knowledgeable about their area of responsibility and who have an orientation of service toward the districts.

Responsive – Responsiveness is measured by the immediacy of returned calls and emails as well as by the creativity used in providing services and programs to meet district needs.

Credible – Credibility is established when the BOCES staff deliver what is promised, if not more.

Innovative – The art of providing BOCES services is to creatively meet district needs before the needs are recognized. BOCES role is to constantly keep new ideas in front of districts while preserving for districts the right to make their ultimate program decisions.

Accountable – Accountability for BOCES services is measured every year when districts choose to purchase services. The best way to ensure ongoing accountability is to exceed the expectations of the districts’ staff.

Respectful – Districts often identify services with the individuals that provide them. Caring and understanding people’s ideas and needs will engender the respect necessary for any BOCES staff member to be successful.

Energetic – There are few substitutes for hard work. Districts recognize and respect an energy level that conveys a commitment to the success of the BOCES and the districts it serves.

Valued – Nothing will get a district’s attention faster than services that they perceive to be too expensive. BOCES should be providing services that school districts can’t provide in a cost effective manner on their own. And, importantly, BOCES services must be cost-effective before consideration of BOCES aid. Aid received by districts for BOCES services should be a bonus and should not be used as justification for the cost of services.

The full report can be accessed here. Please use the Let's Talk! portal titled "BOCES Efficiency Study" for any communications about the study, including questions, comments, or concerns. If you would like a response, don't forget to include your contact information in the Let's Talk form.

NYS Commissioner of Education’s Parent List Serve
This week, the Commissioner expressed her desire to expand the Commissioner's parent list serve beyond PTA organizations. We hope that parents will sign up to receive the latest updates from the State Education Department. By subscribing to this list, they will receive their monthly newsletter, News and Notes, and other important updates from Commissioner Elia and the State Education Department.
Please follow the directions to subscribe to the parent listserv:
  • Send an e-mail message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.NYSED.GOV
  • The body of the message must read: SUBSCRIBE PARENTS Example: SUBSCRIBE PARENTS Jane Smith
  • You will receive an email confirming your subscription
Albany Update

Below is some of the latest developments in education from the Board of Regents.

Regents address teacher shortage

By Cathy Woodruff, Senior Writer (NYSSBA)

The Board of Regents this month approved measures that aim to help school districts deal with shortages of certified teachers and enable uncertified substitutes to remain on the job beyond the current 40-day limit.

More specifically, the Regents took regulatory action to expand the pool of certified teachers available to work in New York schools by relaxing requirements for out-of-state educators to pass state certification exams here. In addition, under another regulatory change, more instructors with experience and "industry-related credentials" will be able to teach Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses while they are in the process of pursuing state certification as teachers.

The regulatory adjustments also open the door for more experienced, certified school administrators and business officials from out-of-state to serve in New York schools.

"Too many communities are unable to find qualified candidates to teach their students and run their schools and school districts," Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said Monday in a written statement. "The rules adopted by the Regents today will help ease New York's teacher shortage while upholding the highest standards for entry into the profession."

The extended time for substitute teachers will help address a problem for school districts that were forced to remove capable, well-regarded subs in the midst of a school year, even if qualified replacements were not available, Deputy Commissioner John L. D'Agati told the Regents. As a result of the 40-day limit, he said, some districts have been forced to replace satisfactory substitutes with others with less expertise and familiarity with the students and curriculum.

Under the amended regulation, a district or BOCES may employ an instructor as a substitute without a valid teaching certificate beyond 40 days, up to an additional 50 days. The extensions are contingent on confirmation by the BOCES district superintendent (or the school district superintendent in non-BOCES member districts) that the school district conducted a good-faith recruitment search and there are no certified teachers available to do the job.

Comments sought on new school accountability principles

In other action, the Regents launched a process for gathering public comment on the goals and guiding principles that will underpin a plan for implementing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the successor to No Child Left Behind.

The framework puts New York on schedule to submit its plan to the U.S. Department of Education by March 6, 2017.

During July and August, the State Education Department is working with two groups of stakeholders – one called a Committee of Practitioners and one deemed the ESSA Think Tank – to review and gather feedback on eight proposed characteristics the state could use to define "highly effective schools" and on 20 proposed guiding principles for the state's next public school accountability system.

The eight proposed characteristics of effective schools include ideals such as "visionary instructional leaders that partner with all stakeholders," support of multiple pathways to graduation and career readiness, and partnerships that are "culturally and linguistically inclusive."

Examples among the 20 proposed guiding principles for the state's next public school accountability system include: encouraging efforts to close gaps in student achievement; incorporating non-academic measures of school quality and student success, such as school climate; and new state "opportunity to learn" standards that could emphasize things like availability of advanced coursework and other conditions that help foster academic success.

Community schools grants

The Regents approved requirements schools must meet to receive a share of $75 million in community schools grant money that was set aside in this year's state budget for 73 struggling and persistently struggling schools in 12 school districts.

The districts with potentially eligible schools are: Albany, Buffalo, Hempstead, Mount Vernon, New York City, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, Troy, Wyandanch and Yonkers.

The fund sets aside $25 million for capital costs and $50 million for operational costs. The application period is expected to open later this summer.

The $75 million competitive grant pot for community schools is distinct from another $100 million in school aid earmarked for community schools in the 2016-17 state budget. That money is slated be distributed among specified school districts this year as part of their foundation aid.

Healthy Summer Tips
The following is health related information from our head nurse, Jane Bain.
Vaccine Information

Summer is a great time to be sure that your students’ immunizations are up to date!  Below is an overview of the required vaccinations for NY students entering Pre- K - Grade 12

     2016-2017 School Year Requirements
Vaccine Doses
4 doses Pre-K
4-5 doses K-5
3 doses 6-12
Tdap 1 dose 6-12
Polio (IPV or OPV) 3-4 doses K,1,2, 6, 7,8
3 doses Pre-k,3-5,9-12
MMR 1 dose Pre-K
2 doses K-12
Hepatitis B 3 doses
Varicella (Chicken Pox) 2 doses K,1,2, 6, 7,8
1 dose Pre-K, 3-5 & 9-12 
Meningoccal 1 dose by grade 7
2 doses by grade 12 or
1 dose if received after age 16
Must check with provider/school nurse to determine number of doses needed

Block Out UV Rays - Great Guidance from OSHA
  • Cover up. Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks out light. Try this test: Place your hand between a single layer of the clothing and a light source. If you can see your hand through the fabric, the garment offers little protection.
  • Use sunscreen. A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays. You want to block both UVA and UVB rays to guard against skin cancer. Be sure to follow application directions on the bottle.
  • Wear a hat. A wide brim hat (not a baseball cap) is ideal because it protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.
  • Wear UV-absorbent shades. Sunglasses don't have to be expensive, but they should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Limit exposure. UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you're unsure about the sun's intensity, take the shadow test: If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun's rays are the day's strongest.
Basics of Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI)
Knowing the basic facts about recreational water illnesses (RWIs) can make the difference between an enjoyable time at the pool, beach, or Water Park, and getting a rash, having diarrhea, or developing other, potentially serious illnesses.

Share these tips with your school community!

Keep the pee, poop, sweat, & dirt out of the water!
  • Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
  • Shower before you get in the water.
  • Don’t pee or poop in the water.
  • Don’t swallow the water.
Every hour—everyone out!
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks.
  • Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area–not poolside–to keep germs away from the pool.
  • Reapply sunscreen.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
Facing Head Lice: A Guide for Families      

Myths & Facts About Head Lice

Myth: Only dirty people get head lice.

Myth: Head lice carry diseases.

Myth: Head lice can be spread by sharing hairbrushes, hats, clothes and other personal items

Myth: Head lice can jump or fly, and can live anywhere.

Myth: You can use home remedies like mayonnaise to get rid of head lice.
NASN has a fabulous site: Headfirst Lice Lessons available at:  http://www.nasn.org/ToolsResources/HeadLicePediculosisCapitis/HeadfirstLiceLessons
District Upcoming Events

7/27—Area 6 Dinner—5:30 pm—Malone Country Club
Last Updated: 8/2/16
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