A Message From the Superintendent
Thanks to many dedicated and creative staff members, the opening of school went very well. After many months, the contractors worked very hard to put everything in place for the smooth opening of an attractive campus. As of the end of October, the final few items on the punch list are being completed.
After a review of student learning data, the Board supported recommendations to approve a two-year learning improvement plan focusing on the Common Core modules of instruction. Teaching staff will be engaged in training sessions for the next 22 months designed to lead to better understanding of the Common Core Learning Standards and to assist teachers in helping students become better critical thinkers and problem solvers. Since September, teaching staff has been working with E2CC BOCES staff developers to understand and implement the New York State approved standards for instruction. On the November 10th staff development day, this learning will continue.
Also on November 10th, there will be a workshop on school safety provided by New York State Police and the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department. Following this, the Board will be considering the re-establishment of a safety committee to review the district’s current safety plan and to add any additional guidelines from the school safety program provided at the November 10th presentation.
The Board of Education has approved the district’s participation in a grant-seeking opportunity to allow students to enter high school with the goal of completing a career and technical education program that incorporates two years of post-secondary training in a vocational area. The status of the grant application will be known by December.
The Board of Education has established a committee to review future athletic programs in the district and to determine ways to increase student participation in these programs. The committee has been meeting weekly since early October and expects to deliver a report to the Board in early November.
The Board has also approved the third phase of the current capital project to address health and safety issues from the five-year building condition survey and plan. Renovation of elementary classroom lavatories and the updating of exterior door entrances are the major components of this project that was approved by voters in 2011. The Board of Education will hire an architect, as required by law, to develop the five-year building conditions plan for the next five years.
Discussions with town officials and the highway departments have been held to consider ways in which we can work together and share programs and/or equipment in anticipation of applying for a municipal grant for 2015-16. We have also met with local clergy to determine how best to address the results of the CASAC survey which focused on student perceptions of drug and alcohol abuse in the Pine Valley School District.
I have met with our Health Clinic personnel to review the current status of the program and our school community needs. Discussions considered the reduction of costs to the district for this program. There are about 185 students in grades 7-12 who are enrolled in the program for health services. We discussed the next steps for the health clinic, including the possibility of a dental clinic being added to the current program. A survey has been sent to elementary and secondary parents to determine interest in the dental clinic.
Cafeteria staff has been involved in discussions in improving participation in the school lunch and breakfast programs. Currently, the program is not able to balance its budget, so we are reviewing procedures to determine how best to serve our clients within the Federal cafeteria guidelines. Around December 1, parents will be receiving a letter to request the purchase of meals weekly or monthly via a swipe card. This will expedite our services and reduce the loss of students’ money.
Budget presentations will start during the month of October, and a draft budget will be presented by early January.
I must give hearty thanks to all of the dedicated and hard-working staff members and Board of Education members who have addressed some major issues to improve student success and to support safety and comfort in the district. It has been my pleasure to meet so many dedicated and caring members of the Pine Valley community. I hope to meet many more of you during my stay in the district. Thank you all for your support for the district and for education.
Happy Holidays to all!