Written by Christy Hinko: firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 16 March 2012 00:00
One board member asked District Director of Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Susan Kelly about a line item in the English Department’s “wishlist” request for textbooks, and how it appears there may not be a purchase this year. Kelly said she has been discussing with department staff how to achieve the common core standards without purchasing new textbooks. She explained that publishers come out each year with changes to books. “I’m not seeing anything that’s big quality just yet and I don’t think any of us are anxious to put money into something that we really don’t think is a wonderful product,” Kelly said. She added that the staff is more prepared to deliver the curriculum through their own professional development, rather than upgrade textbooks each year.
Island Trees High School principal Nick Grande prefaced his presentation by saying there are not many changes from last year’s requests for the high school’s budget. He explained the math code request seems high for this coming year because it is the first year the school purchased new calculators to lend each 9th grader. Grande said they would purchase new calculators each year until there is one for all students in each of the four grades available for loan. After that, the school would only purchase new calculators to replenish damaged or missing equipment. The loan process would be handled the same way as uniforms, textbooks, etc.
Grande spoke about the district’s alternative school program projection to use $100,000 of budgeted funds. He said there are about seven students who need this type of program within the district, for academic or behavioral reasons. The school pays for eight spots in this program, but is currently using six. He said throughout the year, the need changes and they do almost always fill the spots that the district is paying for.
Grande said this program is for the kid “who has struggled in the traditional high school setting; this is what it is, it’s an alternative, a way for them to get their diploma.”
Some students do not make it through the alternative program, but Grande said most students do make it through, or are even able to join the general school population to complete their graduation requirements.
Grande also spoke to the board about the high school’s existing membership with the Middle States Accreditation. In previous years the school district has participated in the accreditation program; it requires the school to provide staff and administrative personnel to serve as inspectors for another school district throughout the year.
Grande said it is not a mandated membership. He said the benefit is that being a member is an accomplishment and helps the staff look at their education process. Grande said he only knows of a couple of schools out east that still participate in the Middle States Accreditation program. Most schools in New York have gradually pulled out of the program. Grande thinks this is because of the state’s education reform and pending evaluation standards. The board members resolved to cease participation in the program.
The Island Trees Board of Education will hold a special meeting for budget discussions on Monday, March 19 at 7 p.m. in the conference room at 74 Farmedge Road, in Levittown.
The next regular public Island Trees Board of Education meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 21 in the Stephen E. Karopczyc School General Purpose Room at 74 Farmedge Road in Levittown. The public meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m.
A final budget meeting will be held in the conference room of the Stephen E. Karopczyc School on Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m. for the budget adoption.
All past and future meeting dates can be found on the district’s website, including meeting agendas and copies of each meeting’s minutes.
(Editor’s note: See the March 23 edition of the Levittown Tribune for a special interview about the proposed school budget with Levittown Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy.)