Dr. Manno's Bedford Central Brief, Edition #5, Summer 2016
A Message from Dr. Manno
Dear Bedford Central School District Families and Community:
The opening of school for our students is just about upon us. The first day of school for students (except WPES) is Thursday, September 1, 2016. WPES students will begin their school year on Tuesday, September 6, 2016. The first two days of school for all Kindergarten students are half days with a 12:30 p.m. dismissal. It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that we await the arrival of all our students.
Some exciting projects and initiatives were accomplished this summer. We are pleased that we are going to be able to open West Patent Elementary School for our students with the least disruption we could have expected. Our other construction projects, including renovations on the elevators, bathrooms, and roofs at FLMS, the majority of the roof being replaced at FLHS, and upgrades to the water system on the Fox Lane Campus have progressed well.
This summer our Board of Education established Team Values and Commitments, as well as ten overarching District Goals for 2016. They are included in this newsletter. The Board has also started the work of organizing its subcommittees for the school year, and will shortly be establishing and coordinating its Community Advisory Committees.
This week our Leadership Team, consisting of Central Office Administrators, Principals, Assistant Principals, Directors, Coordinators, and Elementary Consultant Teachers met for two days to grow in their leadership capacity. The group developed their Team Values and Commitments, planned for action on the District Goals for 2016-17, and explored other topics such as Inclusion, new technology initiatives and upgrades, and meetings by building and department for action planning.
This week we also welcomed our new staff members. I had the pleasure of addressing the group formally to share our beliefs about teaching and learning, and our passion for serving our students and families. I even read them a picture book! They explored how to create a climate and culture conducive to student learning for all, how to meet the needs of English Language Learners, how to access and interact with district technology systems, learning the nuts and bolts of being an employee of BCSD, meetings in their individual buildings and departments, and other important activities related to their new assignments. The level of energy and enthusiasm with the group was high! The orientation culminated in a District Barbeque hosted by our Food Service provider, Aramark.
I have continued to meet with various school community members, regional and NY State education officials, and other individuals and groups connected to the district. I look forward to meeting more students, parents, and families shortly.
Important information may be found on our District Website.
Board of Education Business
The Board of Education conducted its summer workshop meeting on August 10, 2016. During the workshop, among other business, the Board established Team Values and Commitments, and District Goals for 2016-17.
Board of Education Team Core Values
- Exercising leadership focused first and foremost on students and providing them the best education possible.
- Treating each other and all members of the school community with trust and respect.
- Exercising effective communication and transparency in all public Board matters.
- Acting as a team - a group of individuals working together toward a shared mission and vision.
- Demonstrating accountability to our core values, and expecting the same from all agents of the Board.
Board of Education Ten Team Commitments
- Staying focused on student-centered decision making.
- Cultivating a safe environment in which to make comments and ask questions by being attentive and open-minded to the ideas and contributions of others.
- Respecting and honoring the roles of others.
- Trusting that team members have positive intentions.
- Ensuring all members of the team have the same information upon which to formulate positions and make decisions.
- Being respectful of others' time.
- Being solutions oriented and always looking forward.
- Honestly acknowledging the problems and authentically celebrating achievements.
- Continuously working toward communicating with one voice.
- Holding ourselves and each other accountable to our Core Values by gently reminding each other when we might stray from them.
2016-17 BCSD Goals
- Strategic Planning: Convene a group of representative stakeholders to articulate the current values/beliefs, mission, vision and broad goal areas of the district.
- Evaluate, refine and improve the budget development process to result in a 2017-18 budget which balances school community needs and constraints.
- Develop a comprehensive communications plan which includes forums for public discourse between the Board of Education, administration and community members.
- Resolve negotiations.
- Implement the District Curriculum Review Cycle and continue key program initiatives.
- Evaluate, refine, and improve BCSD Policies.
- Create a detailed special education action plan to refine and improve services to students, focusing on developing a shared understanding and theory of action for the term “inclusion”, implementing refined processes to ensure understanding and implementation of accommodations set forth in IEPs and 504s, and seeking additional parental input regarding special education programming and services.
- Create and implement a new Board of Education and subcommittee meeting cycle to refine and improve the functioning of community advisory committees, Board subcommittees, and the Board as a whole.
- Design a consistent process for the filling of leadership positions.
- Continue the work of the Space and Enrollment Community Advisory Committee, including engaging in more in-depth study and the evaluation of the previous recommendation to consider the closing of an elementary school and other options for efficiencies and cost savings at all levels.
Letter from Dr. Manno and Dr. Adelberg regarding State Assessment Results
Dear Parents and Guardians,
We are excited about the start of school next week, and hope you had a wonderful summer! As we do annually, the summer allows us to step back to review and reflect on our curriculum and the progress of each individual student in order to plan for what comes next. One of many aspects of that planning includes a review of student performance on State standardized tests (required by the Every Student Succeeds Act, formally the No Child Left Behind Act) as well as report card grades and other assessments of student growth and achievement. This message announces the release of your student's results on the State testing that took place this past spring.
As you know from our many communications, this year's ELA and Mathematics tests again reflected the new Common Core Learning Standards. As was the case in recent years, the State Education Department has indicated that student performance on these tests will be lower than was the case prior to implementing these new standards. Our principals, teachers, and curriculum specialists have already been busy analyzing the data so we can fully understand the implications of this year's results, and use them to help plan best for your child’s instruction, part of the process of planning our year for all students at each grade level and in each subject area. We understand that these test scores are valuable to you as they are one of many indicators of your child’s progress and learning in school. This information is as valuable to us to ensure we are covering all necessary content and skills to the degree to which we should without compromising our rich and relevant Bedford Central curriculum.
Your child’s principal has been meeting with teachers and specialists to map out the best plan for your child, for each grade level, and in each subject area. You will be notified as soon as possible about any individualized or small group work that will benefit your child’s improvement.
We encourage you to refer to this report when talking with your child's teacher(s), and inquire as to how these test results compare with your child’s classroom performance on similar tasks, how these results compare to last year’s results, and any available academic supports, if appropriate. Parents can access their child's scores on the Parent Portal, under "assessments."If you have questions or would like more information about your child's performance on last year's test, please contact your principal.
Dr. Christopher Manno, Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Joel Adelberg, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
Information regarding the BCSD Transportation System
It is that time of year when school districts, in general, receive many inquiries about their transportation system. We understand the anxiety that this time of year can bring for students and parents, and transportation can be one of those significant concerns.
School district transportation systems, especially for those the size of BCSD, are very complex. We spent time over the past weeks analyzing the entire transportation system for the district. We reviewed every schedule for every run in the district including the starting times, times for each pick-up, and the delivery time for each run.
Some basic facts to share with you:
- We have a total of 83 buses; 43 large; the remainder smaller of varying sizes.
- Most buses run three tiers for efficiency; that means the bus does three runs in the a.m. and three in the p.m. The tiers are HS/MS, private schools, and elementary schools.
- Each set of bus runs is approximately a $90,000 cost to the District.
- The district uses software called Route Finder Pro to design the most efficient and safe bus routes. There is always some hand-routing for exceptional circumstances.
- The maximum allowable walk to a bus stop is 0.5 miles.
- The earliest runs start at 6:35 a.m.
- The district also provides and coordinates transportation for many field trips and athletic events.
- The District runs 3:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. activity buses.
- This District transports to 32 private schools and 10 out-of-district special education schools.
- By NY State Law buses must be equipped with seatbelts. The driver can only ask students to put on seatbelts. The driver is prohibited from getting out of the driver seat. Small children are taught during orientation how to put on the seatbelt.
- Three bus safety drills are conducted during the school year, which includes the evacuation of the bus. One is conducted at the beginning of the year, one in December, and one during the springtime.
- Each bus is equipped with a video camera system, however with no audio. Parents are prohibited from viewing video footage due to privacy (FERPA) issues for other students. Video footage is considered a student record. It is only viewed by school administrators, and by law enforcement officials by request.
- Our bus company is Towne Bus. They own the buses and employ the drivers. BCSD employs personnel to manage the transportation system and coordinate with Towne bus.
We hope you find this information useful in understanding the complex scope of our transportation operations here at BCSD.
Emergency Closing/Delayed Opening Procedures
Families and staff members will get notified via phone, email, and text using our School Messenger system. Please make sure your school has up-to-date contact information for you on file.
The District also posts delay, early dismissal, or closing information on the District Website, BCTV, and uses WHUD, News 12, NBC-TV, CBS-TV, FOX 5, and ABC-TV to broadcast school closings, late arrivals, and early dismissals.
On days when inclement weather is predicted, the decision to close school could be made the evening prior. If not, the decision-making process begins at 3:30 a.m. and includes research on weather conditions, assessment of site conditions for our schools, consultation with the highway departments of our towns, and a conference call with regional superintendents of schools. A decision will be made by approximately 5 a.m. and the communication process will be initiated.
Some important information:
- A "Delay" means a 2-hour delay for students and staff. Students report to their bus stops or arrive at school 2 hours after normal time.
- For Early Dismissals, the earliest dismissal bus runs for the high school/middle school begin at 10:20 a.m. Elementary students are dismissed at 11:30 a.m.
If schools are closed, facilities are not available for use for after-school or evening activities by internal or external organizations; therefore, all after-school activities are cancelled.
For Early Dismissals, staff members are dismissed 30 minutes after the students.
If schools are closed or there is an early dismissal on a Friday, please check the District website for the status of weekend activities.