Schenevus Central School District Board of Education
Minutes for Special Meeting of the Board of Education, Tuesday, December 10, 2019 6:30 p.m.
Board President, Kelly Gallagher, called the Board of Education meeting to order at 6:32 p.m.
RESOLVED that the Board of Education accepted the resignation with regret of Board of Education Member Tim Green effective November 12, 2019 due to health issues.
Motion: Jay Deitchman; second, Liz Reed, vote 4-0
Members present: Kelly Gallagher, Stacie Haynes, Liz Reed, Jay Deitchman
Members absent: NONE
Dr. Gallagher announced that the Board has communicated with Jason Knapp as an offer to take Mr. Green’s seat as a BOE Member until the next election. He responded with consideration however he needed to see if he would have the time available. Dr. Gallagher thinks he would be a good candidate as he is looking at all aspects of being able to withhold this duty.
Also present: Theresa Carlin, Superintendent, Nicole Couse, District Clerk, Pamela McGovern, Director of Special Education, Greg Beall, District Treasurer, Matt Gregory, Teacher, Tom Muscarella, Maintenance Worker, Tim Gonzales, Worcester Superintendent, William Fisher, Worcester BOE Member, Michelle Franis, Worcester BOE Member, Glenn Jaquish, Community Member, Joan Nason, Community Member, Bev Barnett, Community Member
Additions to the Agenda
Mr. Gonzales presented a breakdown powerpoint of Worcester Central School District starting with its history. This included that there are currently 365 students and 82 staff members. They strive to reach commencement goals for their students which are in the areas of Math, Reading
Comprehension, Literacy, understanding of culture to be well rounded in society, to be able to celebrate diversity, the political and judicial structure, scientific knowledge, life long learners and productive within society. Their grading system is 70% is passing, 95% and above is Principal’s List, 90% and above is High Honor Roll and 85% and above is Honor Roll.
He shared the required class offerings for middle level academics (seventh and eighth grade) as well as their secondary course offerings (nine through twelfth grade). He shared what electives they offer as well as the participating classes at ONC BOCES. He shared their current athletic opportunities, club offerings and what a typical day at Worcester looks like. This included their 10th period academic study hall for all students, which is a common period for students to meet with teachers for help or class/club meetings. Students in grades 7-12 also have the opportunity to earn “Green Cards” which is to enhance improvement of effort and attitude. This is a way for students to be able to go to common areas during free time to socialize with friends as well as receive discounts within the community at participating businesses. He continued with his students support system like comprehensive pupil services, 2 RTI teachers, a Bassett Social Worker (one day a week) and additional labs for extra assistance. They have a start of the year kick off which they pair the older students with younger students as a positive behavior intervention as well as having regular award assemblies to show accomplishments.
Some Extras they have at Worcester is their one to one Chromebooks and use of Google classroom for consistent communication with teachers. During the summer they recruit 2-3 students to assist with technology needs for the following year under the supervision of their IT Department. The students are recommended by teachers when demonstrating IT qualities and interests. They offer the afterschool CROP program for elementary however they offer student helpers. This is a way for responsible high school students to earn some money as an employee to assist teachers with the elementary students. Lunch time is considered open gym time as high school students do not get recess. They also have a Therapy Dog named Cash that visits the school regularly.
Before opening it up to questions Mr. Gonzales wanted to add that his philosophy is what is best for the kids, all kids and not just those who live in Worcester. He always relates things to his daughter, if it is good enough for her than it is good, if it is not good enough for his daughter it needs improvement. He has looked at the data to receive 167 extra students and on paper he can say yes, they can accommodate however they may need additional staff. The reality is, without looking at each student and their individual strengths, he is not really sure of a good match. Some students may present at a higher grade level of education or a lower grade level when comparing and meshing common grade students.
Dr. Gallagher requested more details such as current class sizes and what it would look like with our students. What are the staff profiles and certifications and are any teachers teaching out of certification and is there any Master Teachers? He was not able to answer at this time but will get back to her. He suggested we create a list of questions for him to take so he can respond accurately.
Dr. Deitchman asked what steps do you think would the staff and administration take for Schenevus students and families to have a smooth transition of integration and feeling welcome? Mr. Gonzales responded that they have thought about this and was thinking of coming up with a welcoming committee and core up students from both schools to bring together. This also includes merging the common clubs together such as NHS and Student Council. There will no longer be “ Schenevus” kids they are “our” kids. Superintendent Carlin suggested research and contact other schools that are or have gone through this and find out what challenges and highlights they have experienced. Mr. Gonzales added that they would encourage all families to join in school activities.
It was asked what kind of method is there for parents to communicate with teachers. Currently Worcester is using Powerschool which allows parents to view students records such as grades, and attendance. They also have an online Lunch accounts for parents to see how much money is in their accounts and what they are purchasing through the kitchen. They also send informational flyers and reminders home on paper, through Facebook and through the website.
Stacie Haynes made a comment that on the side she evaluates CROP Programs and she was lucky enough to go to Worcester for the first time ever in their building and was extremely impressed with the school and the culture within the school. Mr. Gonzales thanked her and suggested we schedule a meeting for the Board to do a full tour through the school.
It was brought up that there were some concerns that the Board had which is a lack of control over issues or problems that may occur. Mr. Gonzales responded with the fact that no matter where the student comes from, a problem is a problem and that problem would be handled in the same manner. A “what if” scenario was brought up however this would only end up being resolved on a base by base case, there is no way of knowing what could happen or what the resolution would be until they arise. If the concern involves student opportunities there will be a contract in place between the districts that would address these concerns prior to tuitioning out. Currently Schenevus has had to reduce the opportunities for our students and would like to see a lot of these opportunities return.
It was asked, what are some positives and challenges that Worcester currently face? Mr. Gonzales responded that a big challenge is the declining enrollment and economy within the area. The challenge is keeping everything right sized to keep everything for the future. As Mr. Gonzales has only been at Worcester for over a year, one thing he is proud of is the environment and what they do to support the students. The attitude the staff have toward the kids and the way the kids respond to them. He was asked if he thought with a larger student base if he thought that vibe would stay the same and Mr. Gonzales was 100% confident that it would stay the same.
Jay Dietchman asked if with the opportunity what would you like to add to create more of an academic enrichment high school? Mr. Gonzales responded he would like to create a pathway such as taking higher classes to increase the number of college courses offered. Dr. Gallagher asked why not AP courses and it was suggested that it was due to it not being as available. Mr. Gonzales would also like to share opportunities between the schools. Superintendent Carlin added that they currently do this to some extent however the community would be able to see savings as well as a better opportunity.
Currently when students need more attention how do you address this and how do you see this changing with a larger student population. Currently they have resource room and push in consultant teachers. They do not have any self contained classrooms. This is a better opportunity to keep them in the regular classroom instead of removing them. They do not see this system changing with a larger student population however they may need to increase staffing or look at changing some IEP’s to accommodate. Ultimately the data will need to be reviewed and the history of each student will need to be looked at to confirm what will be needed.
The Board thanked Mr. Gonzales for the wonderful presentation and looks forward to further discussion.
Joan Nason thanked the board for improving the volume of the meeting. She also thanked Mr. Gonzales for the great representation of Worcester and was impressed. She asked the Beasureroard on who Jason Knapp was as far as a community member as the possible new board member which Dr. Gallagher responded he is the son of a former board member, a parent of a current student, a volunteer in the community, a local business owner and Veteran of the Air Force.
Tom Muscarella was interested in knowing what kind of timeline there is for tuitioning out? Superintendent Carlin responded that ultimately the Board needed to decide weather to start this within the next year or two. If they decide to do it next year, it would be extremely quickly because there will need to be a community vote by April 1st 2020. If they chose two years while the merger study is going on, tuitioning out would be voted on before we would know about merging. If the tuitioning passed no later than April 2021 and then the Merger vote passed the following May/June, the tuitioning out contract would be null and void as it would be considered the same district.
Approve Treasurer’s Reports
Jay Deitchman made a motion at 9:00 p.m. to convene to executive session to discuss employment of personnel. Second, Liz Reed; vote 4-0.
The Board returned to regular session at 10:25 p.m.
Having no further business before the Board, Liz Reed made a motion to adjourn at 10:26 p.m. second, Jay Deitchman, vote 4-0.
Respectfully submitted, Nicole Couse, District Clerk