Dr. Manno's BCSD Brief, Edition #9, 2016-17 School Year
A message from our Board of Education
The Board of Education recognizes that community involvement is a key ingredient to the attainment of the District’s mission, standing goals, and annual goals. Our Community Advisory Committees are all underway. These committees include the Space and Enrollment Community Advisory Committee, the Budget Community Advisory Committee, and the Student Achievement Community Advisory Committee. Other important committees include The Audit Committee, Strategic Planning, and the Safety Committee. We are in the process of organizing these groups as well.
Homecoming was a significant success and we wish to commend and congratulate all involved in the planning and participation. We are very pleased to be off to a positive and constructive year for our students and community.
Colette Dow, President
Brian Sheerin, Vice President
2016-17 BCSD Goals
1. Strategic Planning.
2. Budget development.
3. Comprehensive communications plan.
4. Resolve negotiations.
5. Curriculum Review and program initiatives.
6. Improve BCSD Policies.
7. Create a special education action plan.
8. New Board of Education meeting cycle.
9. Fill leadership positions.
10. Space and Enrollment Community Advisory Committee work.
A message from Dr. Manno
Dear BCSD Families:
Fall is upon us, the air is becoming cool and crisp, and the school year is well underway. There are so many exciting events and activities occurring throughout our schools. To keep informed, check out our District Facebook Page,Twitter Feed, and our school and parent association webpages/newsletters. Also, subscribe to our events calendar and new athletics calendar.
In this edition, I would like to focus upon our Community Advisory Committees, which are important mechanisms for the Board and administration to garner input and expertise from our public. The Committees are well underway and productive work is occurring. The Budget Advisory Committee and Space and Enrollment Committee have met for their organizational meetings, and the Student Achievement Committee meets for the first time next week.
The Community Advisory Committees are utilizing a new structure to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and collaboration between the Board of Education, administration, and the Committees. Each committee has a Board of Education Chair who runs and oversees the work of the committee. The committees also have an administrative facilitator/liaison who facilitates process, gathers, analyzes and disperses information, ensures minutes are complete, and provides other information as requested by the Chair. The structure highlights the critical nature of partnership between the Board, administration and members of the committees. It clearly defines each committee as an advisory, non-voting body that will make recommendations to the Board Subcommittees, administration, and Board as a Whole.
The Budget Advisory Committee, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Andrew Bracco, Chair of the Board of Education Finance Committee, organized on October 5, 2016. The Budget Advisory committee is charged by the Board with providing input and insight to the Board of Education Finance Subcommittee and ultimately to the Board of Education as a whole on topics related to:
- Budget and finance
- The budget development process
- Analysis of district revenues and expenditures
- Multi-year budgetary planning
The Committee will provide concrete recommendations to the BoE Facilities and Finance Committees, and to the full BoE by February 2017.
During its organizational meeting, the Budget Advisory Committee established its meeting dates for the year. The Committee was presented with a set of District financial "Vital Statistics" which are intended to provide an indication of the District's current and future fiscal health. These include but are not limited to:
- Budget projections
- Health Insurance Claims Status - budget v. actual
- Certificated Staff Salary Expenditure Status - budget v. actual
- Non-Certificated (Classified) Staff Expenditure Status - budget v. actual
- Contractual Expenses - budget v. actual
- Equipment Expenses - budget v. actual
- Tuition Expenses - budget v. actual
- Tax certioraris (and detail)
- BOCES Expenses
- Enrollment status and trends
- Debt Service and Transfers Status
The Committee will have the opportunity the review the budget in detail, hear presentation(s) from professionals, and review other information and data as requested from the Chair and Committee.
The Committee heard presentations on the District's new Position Control documents which will allow us to better understand our budgetary status, and from Mr. Dean Zarras of ClearFactr, a financial forecasting tool the District has accepted and will utilize during the budget development process. The Committee, under my facilitation, then learned about a protocol called SCAN which will help the group identify critical issues, understand the issues, assess the priority levels of the issues, and identify next steps to address the issues. The committee started this process briefly.
The Space and Enrollment Committee under the Chairpersonship of Mrs. Colette Dow, Board of Education President, organized on October 6, 2016. Since the work of this committee will be very detailed and could have significant impact on students and families, the Board and administration decided to have individuals who registered appoint four (4) representatives from each elementary region. This will provide for a committee size that is manageable and representative of stakeholders.
The Committee is charged by the Board with providing input and insight on topics related to:
- Available space
- Enrollment and demographic trends across the District
- Alternatives to effectively and efficiently maximize space utilization in a manner aligned with the guiding principles and educational mission and programs of the school district
The Committee will provide concrete recommendations to the BoE Facilities and Finance Committees, and to the full BoE by February 2017.
During its organizational meeting, the Space and Enrollment Committee established its meeting dates for the year. The Committee discussed key information it would review, including but not limited to:
- Enrollment numbers
- Updated space utilization analysis
- Budget projections - financials
- Presentations from professionals as needed
- Other information as requested by the committee
The Committee, under my facilitation, then learned about the Decision Analysis Process which it will use to engage in its work. Any good decision or recommendation begins with the foundation of clearly understanding the charge for "decision statement", and a set of objectives, or criteria, that identify what is wanted or needed in a sound recommendation. These objectives or criteria are what will be used to measure the alternatives under consideration. The Committee reviewed the Decision Statement as charged by the Board, and began brainstorming objectives/criteria for the recommendation(s). During the next meeting, the group will refine and complete its objectives and then begin to evaluate these objectives, i.e. which are "musts", and which are most important. The group added additional meetings to its schedule to ensure enough time to complete its work.
The Board and I would like to use this opportunity to dispel some rumors or assumptions. It has come to our attention that some may believe, "A decision has been made." We wish to state clearly and emphatically that this is not the case. This would be highly disrespectful to the committee members who are giving of their time and energy, and all the staff and administrators who are spending time collecting data, facilitating work, and compiling information. It is not feasible or reasonable for a decision to have been made at this time. Any recommendation or decision needs to contribute positively to the district's budgetary position, in the near and long terms. There are many variables that need to be factored into any final decision(s). These include but are not limited to our fiscal status, projections for future fiscal status, the property tax levy cap for 2017-18, the resolution of union contracts, actual enrollments and long-term enrollment projections, and other information. The work of Space and Enrollment will likely overlap significantly with the work of Budget Advisory.
Last year's Space and Enrollment Committee culminate with some solid broad recommendations. The Committee last year did an outstanding job of collecting and analyzing data and information that will be used by this year's committee.
The general recommendations of last year's committee included:
- Monitor enrollment district‐wide and by school to verify the accuracy of the demographer’s projections.
- Monitor enrollment district‐wide and by school to verify the accuracy of the demographer’s projections. If next year’s incoming class exceeds the forecasts, the Board should start planning to alleviate this space issue, as most viable solutions will require considerable time and effort.
- Explore the creation of a dual language magnet school.
- Explore closing a K‐5 school. Given the many factors that need to be considered in closing a school, BSCD BOE should begin the research and planning needed to do so, while continuing to monitor actual enrollment.
- Pursue and resolve all matters regarding student/family legal residency. Explore implementation of periodic re‐registration (residency affidavit) to enforce residency requirements. District administration should continuously assess its capacity to do this and request resources as needed.
This year's committee is engaging in a very structured process to evaluate these and other alternatives the committee may generate. This year's work is a continuation of last year's work. There are no foregone conclusions. I do hope this helps to place the work of our committees into more clear perspective.
The Student Achievement Committee, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Ed Reder, Chair of the Board of Education Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Subcommittee, will have its first organizational meeting on Monday, October, 17th. The Committee is charged by the Board with providing input and insight to the Board of Education Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment subcommittee and ultimately to the Board of Education as a whole on topics related to curriculum, instruction, assessment, and student achievement. Such topics include:
- Learning: guiding principles of learning and student achievement;
- Testing and Assessment: standardized testing; types and frequency of local tests and assessments; use of external tests as benchmarks of local student, school and district achievement; emphasis of assessment and testing with respect to time devoted to tested and non-tested content; test preparation;
- Curriculum: guiding principles of curriculum and development of such, consideration of the depth and breadth of the Bedford Central curriculum, taking into consideration required standards and assessments;
- Achievement and Engagement: experiences and data to benchmark student achievement and academic engagement;
- Communicating Success: benchmarking and communicating success with emphasis placed on rankings by national, state, and local publications; means of measuring and communicating student progress, growth, and point-in-time achievement; and means of communicating student(s) learning;
- Mandates and Policy: understanding federal and state policies and reform.
The committee, under the facilitation of Dr. Joel Adelberg, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, will engage in a process of considering a set of essential questions which emanate from this charge.
Our District as an organization is only as strong as the partnership that exists between the schools and the community. We are hopeful that these three important committees, and others, will help the Board of Education make informed and wise decisions on behalf of our students and families.
Website and Communications Improvements
You may have noticed the streamlining and refinement of our website and communications. Recently the Athletics Department unveiled a new electronic Athletics calendar. Check it out! Below is a short video demonstrating how to use the calendar.
Business Office and Construction Update
The Business Office has been hard at work refining and improving our budget documents and processes. They have created a new position control document for certified and classified staff, as well as a special education cost reconciliation. These will be valuable tools in the upcoming budget development process. The Business Office, in collaboration with the Board Finance Subcommittee, is working to establish our 2017-18 Budget Development Calendar. We are also gathering and reviewing key financial "vital statistics" to continuously monitor the fiscal health of the district. These have been presented to our Community Budget Advisory Committee.
The renovation work at WPES and the water project on the Fox Lane Campus are wrapping up. The Middle School project has some exterior work remaining.
The Upper Field at the Fox Lane Middle School has been restored and renovated, thanks to Bill Bradsell, other residents who donated their time and effort, and the Booster Club.
Water testing for lead levels to comply with the new NY State regulations are underway and will meet the October 31, 2016 deadline.
Welcome to Mr. Angelo Rubbo - Our new Assistant Superintendent for Business and Administrative Services
I am very pleased to announce that the Board of Education approved the appointment of Mr. Angelo Rubbo as Assistant Superintendent for Business and Administrative Services. Angelo’s formal start date is November 1st; however, he will spend several days this month transitioning into Bedford.
Mr. Rubbo brings over 26 years of administrative experience in the field of education. Most recently he has served for 10 years as the Assistant Superintendent for Business for Pelham UFSD where he was responsible for all business operations and administration, including collective bargaining, capital projects, facilities, food service and transportation. Prior to his service in Pelham, Mr. Rubbo served as Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Facilities for Dobbs Ferry UFSD and as Chief Financial Officer for Mount Pleasant Cottage School UFSD. Mr. Rubbo earned his Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University and his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Pace University. He currently serves on numerous professional committees and civic organizations. Overall, he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Social Media Tips for Parents
Our children are growing up in the social media age, which often limits time and reflection before one's thoughts and words become public. As adults, a new "basic" we need to help children learn is appropriate online interaction.
Our Middle School Principal, Ms. Ostrofsky recently shared information with parents and students about appropriate social media behavior.
Here are some tips for parents to help children navigate a complex online and Social Media world.
- Be aware of your child's online and social media activity.
- Every parent should know his or her child’s logins and passwords to any Social Media or other online accounts. Children may object to this. Consider expressing your responsibility as a parent to ensure their safety on the Internet.
- If any inappropriate content is shared with your child from another person, have your child block the person or source. If there are any threats directed to your child, call the police.
- If you know the parent of the child who is sending inappropriate comments, photos, or content, you can always reach out and give the parent the heads up. While this solution can be uncomfortable, it is far more uncomfortable when the misuse enters the school arena or law enforcement, and the matter must be investigated.
- Hold your child accountable for inappropriate comments or photos. Consider taking his or her device privileges away. The consequences for such online behavior just increase has children get older.
- Help your child understand that anything he or she posts will live on forever. Hiding behind a device can make children feel brave and courageous. It can be easy to say something using Social Media the child would not say in real life.
- If there is a threat made to the school or insinuation of something happening in the school, please notify the principal or a school official immediately and call the police.
For more information and suggestions for discussing the proper use of Social Media with your child, you may want to visit https://www.commonsensemedia.org/social-media.
Our school community takes opportunities to teach your child right from wrong when it comes to Internet usage. If any Social Media issues impact any student that makes him/her feel unsafe or bullied in school, we will intervene immediately. The school alone cannot combat inappropriate use of Social Media. We ask for your help and partnership in ensuring that all our students make good decisions and learn to know when to go to an adult for help.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Update on our English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program
This September the ESOL/Bilingual Department welcomed 50 emergent bilingual kindergartners district-wide. We greeted more than 30 recent arrivals from Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,Thailand, Korea, China, and Russia.
ESOL teachers play an instrumental role in assessment processes throughout the year. In early fall, the ESOL team administers and evaluates common district writing assessments. This process uncovers patterns in ELL writing and helps to inform individual student goals. At MKES, teachers assess DLBE students’ writing in English and Spanish. Additionally, the team collects individual speaking samples of DLBE students in English and Spanish.
The ESOL Department also coordinates after-school programs in several buildings. FLMS will soon begin Friday Art Fun for ELLs after school, and a ½-credit art course Studio in Crafts will run after school at FLHS.
Publication of student photographs on District social media
This is a reminder of the following important notice published annually by the District.
Bedford Central School District may use individual photographs of students attending our schools in any of several different District publications throughout the year. These publications include but are not limited to, the District website, newsletters, BOCES, BCSD-TV and press releases to local media. Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents may elect to exclude the publication of their child's individual photograph from being used in school publications and media outlets. If you wish to prevent your child's individual image from being used in this manner, please send a letter to the Director of Pupil Personnel Services in the Central Office Administration Building indicating that individual photographs are not to be used in any Bedford Central School District media outlet by September 30, 2016. Please be sure to include your child's full name, address and school of attendance. This process must be done annually.
The District has increased its use of Social Media, specifically Facebook and Twitter, to promote and celebrate student life in our schools. Students names are never posted along with images. If you wish for your child's image not to be posted on the District Facebook Page or Twitter Feed only, please state this specifically in your letter. If you send a general opt-out letter, this would prevent your child's picture from appearing in the yearbook or other school or district print publications.
Emergency Closing/Delayed Opening Procedures
In the event of inclement weather or other circumstances that would cause the closing of schools, a delayed opening, or an early school closing, communication with staff and families occurs in multiple and redundant ways.
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 bus runs for the high school/middle school would begin at 10:20 a.m. Elementary students would be 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 canceled.
- For "Early Dismissals," staff members are dismissed after students have left the 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.