About 120 members of the 189-member Van Antwerp Chorus impressed Board of Education members and assembled guests prior to the meeting with a performance of "Count on Me." They were led by their teacher, Jacob Purington. Van Antwep Principal Luke Rakoczy described how chorus was part of the fabric of the school, and students talked about their favorite part of being involved.
The Board appointed Joseph R. DiCaprio as the next principal of Rosendale Elementary School. He emerged as the clear choice for the position following a comprehensive selection process. This process included interviews with committees comprised of Rosendale teachers, staff, parents, and alumni, principals and K-12 directors, and central office administrators and Board of Education representation. Mr. DiCaprio has been a successful principal in Schenectady, and brings leadership skills, a strong work ethic and a passion for working with teachers and children to Rosendale. He will officially start on December 14. We welcome him to our district!
Superintendent and Board Evaluation -
Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. outlined the evaluation processes for the
Superintendent and the Board of Education. The purpose of the evaluations is to
drive professional growth for both the superintendent and the Board, and to
ensure effective leadership of the school district. Dr. Tangorra outlined four
broad areas for his goals: strategic partnerships; access to relevant
curriculum; a plan for capital assets; and budget development. In future years,
Dr. Tangorra said that he and the Board will work together in the summer to
develop goals to articulate to the community.
Building Condition Survey and Geothermal - The building condition survey to assess the district's facilities needs is underway. As part of the process, the architectural firm conducting the study, CSArch, is working closely with Aztech Geothermal to look at what will be needed to address longstanding issues with the geothermal heating and cooling system at the high school. Dr. Tangorra said that he expects by the spring that the firms will have identified the modifications needed for the system to operate in the effective and efficient manner that it should. This work would likely be included in the district's next capital project.
Snow Days and Schenectady County Districts - The superintendents of Schenectady County school districts are working together to approach decisions about snow delays and closings more collaboratively. This is especially important as districts share more transportation services. The superintendents have decided there will be no one-hour delays in the county and, in the event of a two-hour delay, they will retain the option to close school through 7 a.m. The districts are finalizing this plan and will share the information soon.
World Class Education - Dr. Tangorra and Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lauren Gemmill recently attended a workshop on defining a world-class education system. It featured good information and exciting possibilities, including the prospect of a district partnership with Cisco Systems, a leader in global technology, for a pilot project.
Food Service - The district is looking for ways to continue to improve its Food Service Department. Dr. Tangorra is interested in the quality and sustainability of the program and having it serve as an extension of the classroom in areas like FACS and business education. This effort will include conversations with school leaders and reaching out to the community for ideas and involvement.
Realtor Meeting - The district hosted a November 2 informational meeting for area realtors. It went well, and Dr. Tangorra said he expects to hold similar meetings in the future.
Financial Plan - The district is working with financial advisors on a five-year financial plan that will cover general operations, debt service and capital planning, and a schedule for replacing buses.
SUNYCON 2015 - Dr. Tangorra was invited to participate on a panel at SUNYCON 2015, a convention held in New York City late last month. It focused on critical issues in higher education. Dr. Tangorra's takeaways from the conference included some insights into developing strategic partnerships.
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Lauren Gemmill reviewed district results on the grades 3-8 New York State assessments in ELA and Math, grades 4 and 8 science assessments, and Advanced Placement exams that students took during the 2014-15 school year, as well as Regents Exam results for 2013-14 and 2014-15. The district continues to perform well in the region and comparable to a group of like school districts across the state.
Director of Business and Finance Carrie Nyc-Chevrier outlined the 2016-17 budget development calendar. Similar to last year, the process will include presentations on program and service areas leading up to the presentation of the budget. The district is looking to build on last year's "budget reset" with a greater focus on program needs in these presentations and greater involvement of the leadership team in budget development. The presentations will begin with the elementary program at the November 24 meeting. The budget development calendar is available at http://www.niskayunaschools.org/aboutus/1617-budget-development-schedule.cfm.
The Board appointed 15 individuals to the Education Enrichment Fund (EEF) Advisory Committee. They bring a wealth of skills and experience to the fund. The EEF grant application and award process is expected to be made available in the coming weeks.
The Board is reviewing policies at each meeting as it transitions to a new policy manual. The following were approved:
The following policies are under review, with action pending: