Dr. Manno's BCSD Brief, Edition #6, 2016-17 School Year
A message from our Board of Education
Dear BCSD Families:
Welcome back to school! It’s hard to believe it’s already that time of year again, and we hope you have enjoyed your summer break! As the school District’s governing body and your representatives, we have been hard at work to ensure that all of our students have a rewarding and successful school year.
Last year was a tough year. Our budget challenges caused concerns and stress for all. We are optimistic that the new school year brings a new beginning. There has been much change in the District: changes in leadership positions, changes in various programs, and many other projects. However, we recognize that what remains the same is the talent, commitment, and caring of our teachers, staff, parents, and community members. We appreciate your steadfast dedication to our students and programs.
We wish you a positive and productive start to the school year.
Colette Dow, President
Brian Sheerin, Vice President
A message from Dr. Manno
Dear Bedford Central School District Families and Community Members:
Tomorrow is the first day of school for our students (except West Patent Elementary School students who will begin on Tuesday, September 6th). For the past two days our teachers, staff and school leaders have been diligently preparing for the return of our students - your children.
Tonight we all share the anticipation and excitement that comes with the eve of the first day of school. Most of us are excited yet a bit anxious. We are enthusiastic yet we wonder what the year will hold. We’re optimistic yet concerned about challenges we may face. Many of our administrators, teachers, staff, and our students are experiencing “butterflies” tonight. Truth be told, so am I.
We are confident that our students will have a meaningful and productive year of growth and learning.
Testing for Lead in our District Schools
In June, the State legislature passed a measure requiring the testing of drinking water in schools. Our School District Safety Committee made a decision to test all fixtures in all buildings. Regulations have not yet been promulgated by New York State regarding testing methods.
Over the summer, our District made a proactive decision in the interest of the safety and well-being of our students and staff to work with an environmental consulting company. Samples of water from all of our schools were tested for lead and copper. We sampled all the water fountains utilizing the current EPA’s protocols for lead sampling in schools. The current action level for lead in drinking water is 0.015 mg/L.
As a result of those tests, three fountains at Bedford Village Elementary School and four fountains at West Patent Elementary School exceeded the action level. These are the test results:
Site 001- Lead result: 0.017 mg/L
Site 002- Lead result: 0.018 mg/L
Site 010- Lead result: 0.055 mg/L
Site 017- Lead result: 0.079 mg/L
Site 018- Lead result: 0.022 mg/L
Site 024- Lead result: 0.040 mg/L
Site 025- Lead result: 0.047 mg/L
We immediately shut down those sources and deployed water coolers for drinking and bottled water for the kitchens for food preparation. The water fountains that tested positive were taken out of service. Students are certainly allowed to bring their own water bottles if parents wish.
Bedford Central School District is waiting along with all other school districts for New York State to promulgate testing protocols. Until those regulations are available, the District will work closely with its water consultant and the Westchester Department of Health to assure that all sources of drinking water are safe. This includes expanding our testing to include all kitchen sources in the District.
We completely understand the concerns parents may have about these results. We suggest parents who are concerned should seek advice from their medical professionals.
Parents have asked what we will do about the sources that tested positive. At this point, we are working with our professionals to determine just that. We will keep families and the community informed at every juncture. It is our primary objective to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff members.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call your principal or Dr. Manno directly.
A note about our school calendar
Please also be sure to review the annual notifications included in the first several pages of the calendar.
The Educators' Pledge to Civil Political Discourse
Once again our nation is in the midst of a Presidential election cycle. The process and culminating event gives parents and educators together, in partnership, a tremendous opportunity to provide teachable moments for our students on the foundational ideals of our nation.
Throughout this process, it is the duty of BCSD educational community to model for our students the ideals of acceptance of diversity and respect for civil discourse. It is incumbent upon educators to establish an emotionally safe environment for students to explore new ideas. It is our role to teach varied ideologies and political perspectives; engage students in critical thinking; and facilitate students’ discovery of their own ideas and thoughts, all while modeling respectful dialogue and authentic inquiry.
At times, due to the nature of public discourse, educators may be reluctant to engage in discussion of controversial topics in an effort to avoid the perception of bias or judgment. Teachers are keenly aware of their position of influence and understand that the classroom is not a forum to bend impressionable students to their particular political vantage point. As partners in our students’ education, we aspire to promote healthy, authentic dialogue in our classrooms and corridors.
We believe the upcoming election provides a unique opportunity to partner with families. To that end, we pledge our commitment to five guiding principles, honoring teachers’ academic freedom as well as students’ home values and individual identities:
We aim to create a safe, inclusive learning environment where students are able to participate freely in academic dialogue as speakers and listeners. The abuse of power in the classroom, or any attempt to use the classroom as a vehicle to manipulate minors on issues of political opinion, is unacceptable and antithetical to our charge.
Schools and classrooms are an environment where students feel physically and emotionally safe. We aspire to create a climate where students consistently feel a sense of belonging and membership.
We respect the inquisitiveness of learners as well as the family and community belief systems which they bring to school. Serving in the position of “In Loco Parentis” (in the place or role of the parent), educators are obligated to guard against the subversion of parental values while exposing students respectfully to varying points of view.
The US Constitution is the law of the land and a cornerstone in our curriculum. We aim to present relevant features of the US Constitution in timely and meaningful contexts. In the spirit of the Constitution, we underscore that all students, regardless of their opinion or conviction, warrant respect.
We are open and available to help students with any confusion they may experience in the process of political debate, whether that be with educators or their peers. Students should feel free to seek out the support of a guidance counselor, teacher, or administrator if they feel the need to discuss any issue.
As we open the school year, we look forward to engaging all students in a dialogue that is rich, meaningful, and respectful. Also, please visit our school website where an article has been posted entitled “Teaching Controversial Topics” in the BCSD 411 link on the top of the www.bcsdny.org home page.
Administrative Regulation: Athletic Competition
Dr. Manno has promulgated the following administrative regulation, which is consistent with our current Athletic Department philosophy, athlete/parent handbook, and practices and procedures. It is important for a statement of philosophy and direction to exist from the District level regarding the Athletic Program. This matter is also under review by the Board of Education Policy Subcommittee. This regulation takes effect immediately.
The Board of Education recognizes the value of an athletic competition program for both boys and girls as an integral part of the total school experience. Game activities and practice sessions provide opportunities to learn the values of competition and good sportsmanship.
The interscholastic program shall be conducted in accordance with existing Board of Education rules and regulations, considered as an educational activity, and shall support the integrity of the academic program for students. The athletic program shall always be in conformity with the general objectives of the District. We believe that the opportunity for participation in a wide range of student activities is a vital part of the student's educational experiences. Such participation is a privilege, not a right, which is extended to students who choose to fulfill the responsibilities that are required of members of interscholastic teams in the District. Every effort will be made to support the programs and teams with the best facilities, equipment, and the most qualified staff available.
Philosophy of the Athletics Programs
Any co- or extra-curricular program is an extension of the classroom. The same expectations for creating a safe and respectful classroom climate and culture apply to athletic and co- and extra-curricular venues. There is value in producing successful athletic teams, as this may result in an increase in school spirit, pride, and tradition. While a successful team is of value, it shall never take priority over ensuring the well-being and development of students.
Competitive extracurricular activities shall focus on all of the following:
The development of athletic skills and abilities relevant to the particular activity;
The development of good sportsmanship;
The development of positive character traits, such as discipline, determination, dedication, confidence, concentration, consistency, respect, teamwork, service, and other positive character attributes;
The development of habits of life fitness;
Success in competition.
For purposes of this policy, the program of athletic competition includes all activities relating to competitive sports contests, games, or events or sports exhibitions involving individual pupils or teams of pupils of this District when such events occur within or between separate schools within this District or with any schools outside this District.
Instilling habits of good sportsmanship is a primary goal of athletic programs; and, all district employees shall model sportsmanlike behaviors at all times.
Sportsmanship is defined as abiding by the rules of the contest as defined or accepted by the participating teams and the gracious acceptance of victory or defeat. In exhibiting sportsmanship all participants shall:
Understand and follow the rules of the contest;
Recognize skilled performance of others regardless of affiliation;
Display respect for all individuals participating in the athletic event;
Treat opponents in an empathetic manner; and
Congratulate opponents in victory or defeat, when practicable and safe for athletes.
The Athletic Director and coaches shall encourage and require young athletes to handle themselves in a sportsmanlike way. Adults working with students shall be models of self-control and dignity for players and spectators.
Uncontrollable yelling and screaming or taunting of officials/referees shall be prohibited and not tolerated.
Coaches are expected to coach and direct athletes in a positive and sportsmanlike manner.
Unsportsmanlike behavior as exhibited through verbal abuse, rude gestures, taunts, obscenities, thrown objects, etc., shall not be tolerated in pupils, staff or any persons in attendance at district athletic events or competitions. Discipline may include, but not be limited to, eviction from the competition, prevention from attending further competitions, and/or appropriate discipline for students.
Coaches shall engage in discussions on courtesy and sportsmanlike behavior at the beginning of and throughout each season.
Poor sportsmanship shall include, but not be limited to the following conduct:
Any person who strikes or physically abuses an official, coach, player or spectator;
Any person who intentionally incites participants or spectators to abusive action;
Any person who uses obscene gestures or unduly provocative language or action towards officials, coaches, opponents or spectators;
Any school or athletic staff member who is publicly critical of a game official or opposing coaches and/or players;
Any person who engages in conduct which exhibits bias based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation or sex, social or economic status, or disability; and
Other conduct judged by the Athletic Director or Building Principal to be unsportsmanlike in character.
Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying
Acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying are strictly prohibited per Policies 0115 - Bullying and Cyberbullying, 0120 - Student harassment and Bullying Prevention and Intervention, and 0120R - Student Harassment and Bullying prevention and Intervention Regulation. These Policies and Regulation apply at all times during athletic activities, practices, and events.
The hazing or initiation of students and/or athletes is strictly prohibited. Hazing is defined as follows:
To subject newcomers to abusive or humiliating ridicule, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, or harassment.
An activity in which a high-status member coerces other members to do something that in some way humbles a newcomer who lacks the power to resist.
Young students are the future of the school’s programs, and should be mentored and developed with respect and caring. It is directed that each team/organization establish an atmosphere that develops, nurtures, and respects all students.
Coaches and advisors shall at the beginning of each season review the definition and prohibition on hazing with students. All athletes/participants shall be informed that if he/she experiences hazing, the athlete shall immediately report the matter to the Coach and Athletic Director. If at any time a staff member, student, parent, or guardian feels a hazing concern has not been addressed satisfactorily, the matter shall be reported to the building principal. Concerns about hazing that a student, parent or guardian feels have not been addressed sufficiently by the principal should be reported to the Superintendent of Schools. Confirmation of such shall be documented in writing by each student and parent. The Athletic Director is responsible for creating the appropriate forms documenting this with a sign-off for students and parents. Forms shall be maintained by the Athletic Director.
Supervision of athletes/activity participants
Athletes shall be properly supervised, to the extent possible, the at all times, including in locker rooms.
Process for Tryouts and Cuts
When tryouts and cuts are utilized, selections of athletes must be based upon each candidate’s skills, abilities, work ethic, and attitudes.
Process and criteria for try-outs and decision regarding cuts MUST be clearly documented by coaches and approved by the Athletic Director.
The Athletic Director is responsible for hearing parent complaints/appeals. The Athletic Director’s determination is final. The Principal nor the Superintendent shall consider appeals regarding athletic cuts, provided District policy has been followed.
Behavior of Coaches and Advisors
Coaches and advisors shall be positive role models for young people, and; therefore, shall display respect, poise, and self- control at all times. This includes the respectful treatment of others, refraining from the use of inappropriate or foul language, and demonstrating self-discipline by remaining in control in all situations.
Athletic Codes of Conduct
The Athletic Director shall be responsible for ensuring that all athletes, coaches, and parents/guardians each season will review and sign an Athletic Code of Conduct, which reflects the following:
Expectations for Athletes:
Train consistently as advised by the coach and athletic trainer.
Abide by team rules.
Maintain academic responsibilities.
Demonstrate consistent willingness to learn and progress.
Abide by the rules and regulations of the school and District.
Demonstrate good sportsmanship at all times during practices and athletic contests.
Expectations for Coaches:
Coaches shall provide positive support, care, and encouragement for all student-athletes according to the following. The coach shall:
Encourage and require sportsmanship from players, fellow coaches, officials, parents, and spectators at every practice and athletic contest.
Model good sportsmanship in all circumstances.
Place the emotional and physical well-being of student-athletes ahead of a personal desire to win.
Treat each player as an individual, remembering the large range of emotional and physical development for young athletes.
Provide a safe physical and emotional playing environment for athletes.
Provide a learning environment with the belief that the practice field/court is a classroom.
Not argue or complain about an official’s decision; never taunt an official.
Consistently seek to expand professional knowledge regarding principles of coaching and best training practices, in general, and in their assigned sport.
Plan and prepare for practices and competition, just as a teacher prepares for effective classroom lessons. Maintain effective management and organizational practices; maintain detailed records, and consistently communicate important information to the student athletes and parents/guardians.
Expectations for Parents/Guardians as Spectators:
Parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and other adult spectators shall also be encouraged to act as models for young people by demonstrating self-control and dignity at all athletic events. Pupil fans shall be expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate and sportsmanlike manner; violations shall be subject to discipline.
Parents/Guardians as spectators shall provide positive support, care, and encouragement for all student athletes participating in athletic programs. Parents/Guardians as spectators shall:
Encourage sportsmanship from players, coaches, officials, other parents, and spectators at every practice and athletic contest.
Exhibit sportsmanship and positive support for everyone involved in athletic contests.
Not place a burden on athletics to win games/matches. The primary purpose of interscholastic athletics is to promote the physical, emotional, and social development of student-athletes.
Not argue or complain about an official’s decision; not taunt officials.
Refrain from being a sideline coach or referee; provide positive support for all players on all teams; never taunt or engage in disrespectful behavior toward a coach.
Support efforts to provide an environment that is free from drugs, tobacco, and alcohol; refrain from their use at all school-related events.
Provide consistent guidance and direction to student athletes to treat all other players, coaches, fans, and officials with respect.
Standards of eligibility shall be established in accordance with NYSPHSAA regulations, Section One and our District's protocols and policies. Such standards shall include parent consent, maintenance of good school attendance, disciplinary expectations, and health/medical requirements. Athletes must be in school by 10:30am in order to attend practices/games.
Special Education Pupils
To participate in an interscholastic competition, special education pupils must meet the same requirements listed above in conformity with IEPs.
Athletic coaches shall be trained in First Aid, CPR/AED, DASA, reporting of suspected child abuse, concussion protocols and training (every two years), and in the identification of pupil athletes who are injured or disabled in the course of any athletic activity.
The District’s Athletic program shall comply with all tenets and requirements set forth in Title IX and Sex Discrimination.
Policy 3310, Formulation and Adoption of Administrative Regulations, gives the Superintendent authority to promulgate regulations consistent with Board Policy. These regulations are grounded in the following Board Policies:
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.
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.