Dr. Manno's E-Brief, Summer Edition #1, 2017-18 School Year
Summer 2017, Edition #1
A Message from the Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools
Dear BCSD Families and Residents,
We hope you are enjoying a restful and fun summer with family and friends. The pace of work in the summer months for a school district is generally fast and furious, as we have a hard deadline. We look forward to our faculty and staff returning on August 30th and our students returning on September 5th. Over the summer, we at BCSD share a singular mission: For every student to have a great first day of school on September 5th and a productive school year. To that end, there is much to do during the summer months.
This is the first of two informational editions of the Superintendent's Scoop in which we will share the details of summer work and preparations in various operational areas. Look for the next edition in approximately 1-2 weeks.
It is an exciting time in BCSD's history! We have filled all our key leadership positions. Over the past month or so, I have announced the following new members of our team:
- Dr. Brett Miller, FLHS Principal
- Mrs. Gina Smith, BVES Principal
- Mrs. Inas Morsi-Hogans, MKES Principal
- Mrs. Amy Beth Fishkin, PRES Principal
- Mr. Orville Ingram, Director of Special Education
I am also pleased to share that the hard work of past and present Boards of Education and Central Administrators appears to be paying off in terms of righting our fiscal ship. In one year, a number of factors have contributed to the District restoring dangerously low levels of reserves to the levels recommended by our monitoring agencies. We will again manage our budget closely and tightly as we start the year, with the goal of ending another year in a strong fiscal position. A strong fiscal foundation equates to the ability to provide outstanding programs and services for children.
Currently, all of our elementary sections are within Board of Education Policy guidelines. We are also beginning the process of restoring some of the previous budget cuts which had the most impact. In addition, we optimistically look forward to continuing to grow and improve programs for students. Two examples of this include restoring library time for students (although, not to previous levels) and retaining the fourth-grade band program by restoring band lessons to once per week.
Elementary families can anticipate mailings regarding teacher assignments, transportation, and other important information in mid-August. Secondary families can anticipate mailings regarding schedules, transportation and other important information toward the end of August.
To keep informed, check out our District Facebook Page, Twitter Feed, and our school and parent association web pages/newsletters. Also, subscribe to our events calendar and athletics calendar. You may find Board meeting materials and subcommittee minutes in Board Docs.
Please accept our appreciation for your support for BCSD. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable remainder of the summer.
Brian Sheerin, President
Michelle Brooks, Vice President
Dr. Christopher M. Manno, Superintendent of Schools
These are required notifications school districts must provide to families.
Curriculum and Instruction - Continually Seeking to Refine and Improve Teaching and Learning
The Curriculum and Instruction office is very busy during the summer months, as teachers participate in professional and curriculum development, and as planning proceeds for the 2017-2018 school year. Here is a “sampling” of some of the initiatives and efforts of our staff during the summer “break.” Of course, all of this is in addition to the courses teachers are taking on their own, the teachers who have already returned to their classrooms to begin setting up, and the conversations and explorations in which teachers continue to engage to prepare for a new school year.
Teacher “teams” from BCSD have been attending, learning and contributing to extensive curriculum development at BOCES working with colleagues from our region on aligning the social studies curriculum at the middle school and in the 10th grade to the new state social studies standards. We were fortunate to have a member of our elementary faculty participate in BOCES curriculum work in aligning the Science 21 curriculum to the new state standards in science.
More locally, we’ve supported teacher curriculum development in preparation for several new courses on tap for the coming school year. We are “piloting” a section of a new 9th grade science course, Living Earth, and a high school teacher team has been engaged in curriculum planning for this course. The PE and Health Department at the FLHS will be introducing two new electives in health for upper classmen and teachers are meeting to develop this curriculum. One of our teachers from FLHS is participating in a training, supported financially by the Foundation for the Bedford Schools, to prepare to teach a new AP Computer Science course beginning in September.
Our Elementary Consultant Teachers have been engaged in sustained leadership work in elementary literacy. They continue to meet throughout the summer aligning our elementary writing program to consistent, established district rubrics for all elementary grade levels. With our Tiered Support teachers, we spent considerable time last year exploring a few universal screeners and standards aligned intervention programs in reading, writing and math. We are piloting a new math screener, progress monitor and intervention program at the elementary schools this year and will use this year to explore options for a consistent approach to reading interventions and progress monitoring for the following year.
In September, our middle school will be introducing a new universal screener for all students and a RTI support program for reading, writing and math interventions for those identified through the screener and we’ve been planning the necessary Professional Development for teachers which must begin as soon as school starts.
Additionally, our curriculum leaders have been busy this summer examining data from local and state assessments to identify areas for focus for the coming year in all disciplines and at all grade levels. While we await state assessment results, we are currently reviewing math data at the elementary level, as well as Regents data at the high school level to prepare for workshops with teachers upon their return to school in the fall. The same data analysis is occurring in all programs. The summer months provide both the access to data and the availability of time to begin to do this “deep dive” into data and to prepare for the necessary adjustments in instruction as we learn from student performance on state and local standards.
Ensuring BCSD Remains High Tech...
The IT staff of the BCSD Technology Department is busy this summer implementing a number of system upgrades and hardware refreshes. This work includes the completion of the New York State Approved BCSD Smart Schools Investment Plan, which is comprised of telephone server upgrades, network hardware replacements, and an expansion and upgrade to the wireless network at all elementary schools and at the Hillside program. The wireless updates will provide more capacity for an increased number of student devices per classroom and a faster connection to the Internet for all computers.
In addition to the implementation of the Smart Schools Investment Plan, the Technology Department is busy preparing new student Chromebooks and teacher laptops for Bedford Hills, Bedford Village and Pound Ridge Elementary Schools as well as the 6th-grade student Chromebooks at Fox Lane Middle School and replacement laptops for Fox Lane Middle School teachers. These hardware replacements are a part of the District’s four-year computer replacement cycle that replaces and increases the availability of computers in specific buildings or programs each year on a four-year rotation.
The Technology Department’s Data Staff is busy performing system “rollovers” to the 2017-2018 school year. This work includes supporting all schools in the creation of master schedules, updating rosters across the instructional systems used in classrooms and archiving data from the past school year. Throughout the summer, the data staff is busy loading data to the New York State Data Warehouse, in the various formats required by NYS.
Lastly, the Technology Department is working with the District’s website vendor, Blackboard, to transition all content from the current Bedford Central School District website to a new platform, Stay tuned for more information on the new website.
A community celebration for the Bedford Central School District to start the school year with enthusiasm, energy, and community spirit.
There will be music, food trucks, fan t-shirts, fireworks and an introduction to our fall teams.
We hope all of our families from our elementary schools, middle school, and high school, as well as community members, come out and join the fun on September 15th.
Ensuring for Effective and Efficient Operations
The Business Office staff is working diligently on a number of projects during the summer months. The primary task is the financial close out of the 2016-17 school year and completion of the audit which occurs the first week of August. The oversight by the Board of Education and Superintendent during the school year have resulted in a positive fund balance for the fiscal year. We anticipate these results will allow the district to fund reserves adequately to address liabilities against the school district.
The summer offers the opportunity to review past practices and seek to improve services while reducing cost. Competitive bidding is the crux of our efforts this summer with the preparation of bidding packets for a broad spectrum of services for those with whom the district contracts. To accomplish this task, we are pursuing competitive bidding of our various cost centers of the District. We anticipate these efforts will be fruitful in managing costs.
While we are working to close out the 2016-17 fiscal year we are also opening up the 2017-18 school year. We manage multiple facilities projects across the district, including annual custodial summer maintenance, reviewing and revising safety and security plans, preparing the food service operations and addressing a multitude of State reporting requirements. The Bedford Central School District is preparing for a smooth and positive 2017-18 school year for our staff and students.
Emergency Closings, Delays, or Early Dismissals
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 .
The District also posts delay, early dismissal, or closing information on the District Website, BCSDTV, 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.
- When a "Delay" is called, please continue to be alert for communications, as a "Delay" can become a "School Closing."
- 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, with the exception of after-care occurring in schools.
For "Early Dismissals," staff members are dismissed after students have left a campus.
If schools are closed or there is an early dismissal on a Friday, please check the District website for the status of weekend activities.
The Transportation Department is open 12 months a year. The summer months are almost as busy as the school year. Starting in April the preparation begins for the subsequent school year. By the April 1st deadline, approximately 400 applications are received requesting non-public school transportation to about 31 non-public schools for which bus routes will need to be created.
In May/June, the bus routes for students who attend an ESY program (Extended School Year) are prepared; databases are updated and schedules are finalized. Information is then provided to parents and the schools.
In June/July, we update our databases for incoming kindergarten students, 6th-grade students for the middle school, and 9th-grade students moving up to the high school; these students require new bus assignments for school day transportation and activity bus routes. In addition, we establish routes for students who attend out of district programs and child care programs within the district.
In August, the transportation department completes the routing for the upcoming school year (includings necessary changes) and provides the bus company with all the information necessary so they can assign and prepare the drivers. We also prepare the informational letters to be sent home.