Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 31 August 2012 00:00
Regarding the goal setting process, eight topic areas were introduced, to be included on future agendas for public discussion and adoption. The first four topic areas that the board plans on addressing in the next several weeks include: improvement of percentages of students meeting or exceeding state proficiency standards in English Language Arts and math assessment tests for third through eighth grades; improvement of the percentage of students graduating from high school, earning a Regents diploma with advanced distinction, and reaching a college preparedness performance level; an increase in the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses as well as an improvement in the test scores; and to complete the alignment of grade level curricula with the common core standards, which could result in an incremental and consistent improvement of scores on the state’s assessment tests in math and ELA.
Within the next couple of months, the board also plans to discuss and set goals for enhancing the quality of the middle school honors program; implementing an educationally sound and cost effective excel program (or alternative program) at the middle school for at-risk and underachieving students; designing, implementing and executing a capital bond issue resulting in the repair, restoration and renovation of the district’s buildings and infrastructure; and evaluating the cost effectiveness of the district’s pupil transportation program, and identifying methods to reduce the operational costs.
All seven of the trustees agreed that the academic topics needed to be addressed first, though several raised concerns about the necessity of getting all items onto an upcoming agenda so that they are not forgotten about or discussed too late in the year. Trustee David Huggins said he felt that the district’s transportation program needed to be discussed sooner because of ramifications on the potential issues, citing it as a “major money pitfall,” and Trustees Gail Nedbor-Gross and Donna Brady both requested that the middle school honors and excel programs be implemented in a faster time frame.
Board President Joel Sunshine agreed, and emphasized to the public that these were topic areas of discussion that need further specifics before being finalized and adopted as goals.
During public comment, Debbie Manzione suggested that the board also include in their goals addressing the broad spectrum of students at the high school, since not all students are college-bound, and also suggested the issue of attendance be addressed throughout the district, saying she would like to see a directive in place.
At the previous meeting, the board approved the list of clubs being implemented for this year, noticing the absence of the ski club. The item was discussed at Monday’s meeting, with Dr. Hinton, principal of Glen Cove High School, clarifying that the club was cut due to its large expense. He explained that the club requires three to four chaperones per trip, and that these chaperones have been faculty in recent years that cost $800-1,000 each. The club generally takes four to five trips a year and requires one to two buses, according to Hinton, which adds up. He said in recent years 45-50 students have participated in ski club.
Members of the board and several members of the public suggested that ways to keep the club available to students, in a more cost-effective manner, are worth looking into, since there does seem to be interest in the club.
Brady said, “This is a remarkable opportunity for kids who would otherwise not have an opportunity to learn how to ski.”
Superintendent Dr. Joseph A. Laria said he would investigate all of the issues involved and get back to the board at the next meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 10 at the middle school.
Dr. Laria also discussed the district’s preparedness on the opening of school next week, from the buildings and grounds to the transportation issues to class sizes, and said, “We’re ready to go.”