Friday, 19 April 2013 00:00
In our continuing efforts to have the best communication possible between our school district and our community, we are in the process of updating and making changes to the district website. Since the website is meant to be a communication tool between you, our community members, and the district, your input is very valuable. If you have any suggestions, examples of things you find difficult to navigate on our present website, examples of things you like about our present website and/or any other input, please email or call me. Thank you!
Thank you to all for staying informed, for your feedback, comments and participation at the Board meetings and Budget Workshops.
At the April 3 Budget Workshop, the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) presented a list of building facility needs to be addressed over the next five years. The Financial Advisory Committee’s (FAC) report included such topics as the continued financial implications of the tax levy cap, key budget growth drivers and funding options for facilities’ needs.
Copies of the trace document listing such additional budget assumptions, as well as the power point presentation from the FAC will be posted on our website. [Go to District website > NewsBox > 13-14 Budget Info > click on Budget link > scroll down to budget presentations.]
As you will recall, at our January Work Session, the high school guidance department and administration provided information and had discussion with the public regarding our college admissions process. Several suggestions and plans to grow our college admissions program were discussed.
When our sophomores and juniors recently registered for next year’s courses, they discovered two new courses for the 2013-14 school year - a Junior Year and Senior Year College Seminar Course, including SAT preparation as well as support in navigating college choices and writing college essays. On Wednesday, April 10 there was a delayed opening at Wheatley for students. Before the students arrived, our teachers and AFG planning committee members had an opportunity to learn the latest information about the college admissions process as they participated in workshops led directly by a panel of admissions officers from Harvard, Yale and Binghamton. Our staff and planning committee members will also hear first-hand what key details and information are needed to create a stand out teacher recommendation.
As we commend our students and staff on Wheatley’s strong record of college admission successes, we are all equally excited to continue to find new ways to grow and build on these successes.
The Math assessments will take place on April 24, 25 and 26. This year is the first year of the New York State Common Core aligned assessments. Though the state over the past two years began sharing information regarding the transition to Common Core, it is just this school year, 2012-13 that New York State has begun implementation in grades 3-8, with curriculum modules still not available for the full school year.
Additionally, the state has not been able to provide school districts with assessment samplers as they have in previous transitions to new standards, so it will not be until the first administration this month of these assessments, that teachers, administrators, and students will be able to get a hands-on experience in fully understanding the new requirements. As such, state education officials, including our Commissioner John King, have expressed an understanding and anticipation that student scores may dip considerably this year, as school districts begin the transition to the Common Core.
For a full memo from the New York State Deputy Education Commissioner Ken Slentz regarding transition to the Common Core, go to http://www.engageny.org/resource/field-memo-transition-to-common-core-assessments. To watch a video from our Commissioner, John King on the new Grade 3-8 assessments go to http://www.engageny.org/resource/commissioner-king-welcome-to-engageny.
In the various forums and feedback opportunities leading up to the Strategic Planning priority survey, interest in District science programs has been noted. The District has been making a concerted effort to continue to grow our Science Research Program, under the direction of the Wheatley administration, Director of Science and Technology David Casamento and Science Research Teacher Thomas Van Bell. Previous issues of this newsletter have highlighted many of our students’ successes in various science competitions this year. Add to that list … congratulations to Rebecca Molinsky, a Wheatley Science Research student, who participated in the Partners for the Future research program at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory over the course of this school year and was selected by Cold Spring Harbor research program to present her findings this past week at the Partners for the Future symposium.
As I believe I shared with you when I first began my East Williston Superintendency, one of the special attributes I noticed about the District, was the wide range of experiences and areas of focus available to the students, often a challenge for small high schools. At the same time that our students have the opportunity to participate in high level science competitions and programs, there is equal commitment and opportunity for demonstrating skill and rigor in the humanities. Congratulations to Wheatley juniors, Jacob Freund who won the Senior Individual Paper Award and Jaclyn Mellone who won a special award from the Long Island Holocaust Museum, at the recent History Day Competition at Hofstra University.
Don’t forget our rescheduled Parent University will be held on April 25. Register for specific Workshops online. Go to the district website NewsBox.
Reservations are being taken for Wheatley’s annual Puttin’ on the Ritz – a big band night. An evening of music, dinner and dancing, featuring Wheatley’s Jazz Band, hosted by Tri-M. Tri-M is reaching out to our senior citizens and parents of alumni. Admission is free. Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m. Call the music department at 333-7316 to make your reservations!