Dr. Manno's BCSD Brief, Edition #11, 2016-17 School Year
A message from the Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools
It is our sacred duty as educators to help develop citizens to contribute positively to our society, which includes fostering and instilling in our students respect for, kindness toward, and acceptance of others.
The Dignity for All Students Act ("DASA") was signed into law in 2012 to provide students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying on school property, on a school bus, or at a school function. Dignity for All is the hallmark of New York State public schools and the Bedford Central School District. We have and will not tolerate otherwise.
Our school leaders and staff work hard to make sure these ideals are the reality in our schools. In order to dispel some rumors that may be festering on social media, we would like to recount the events of the past few weeks. After months of passionate and emotional national debate, the morning after the Presidential election we had approximately a dozen incidents occur at the high school; some included students gloating over the election results, while others involved students saying inappropriate and mean things to others. These were immediately addressed and the issues were resolved in the early morning. There were no physical altercations in the schools. There were also some inappropriate words shared early that morning on some buses and at the Middle School. Again, the principal and staff addressed the matter and the behavior ceased. No reports of incidents have been made since then. The elementary principals reported no incidents other than perhaps isolated remarks by students that were addressed by teachers. We encourage anyone who becomes aware of a concern to please report the matter to their building principal. Last week about 70 of our high school students participated in a peaceful and organized demonstration on the Fox Lane bleachers during which they talked about the theme of One Fox Lane. The students talked about how to create a more respectful and inclusive environment in their school.
Because it is perhaps the most effective way of maintaining a positive climate in school, we continue to encourage proactive conversations between parents/guardians and children to reinforce dignity, respect, and honor for all fellow students. We appreciate the entire school community's support and involvement in helping to maintain a safe and positive learning environment for our students. Please know that our schools are safe and our staff and administration are attentive and proactive in dealing with any issues or discourse that may arise. As with many world, national, and current events, we seek to use these instances as teachable moments.
Other important business continues in our District. Our Community Advisory Committees continue their hard work to help plan the future of BCSD. The Space and Enrollment Committee has identified objectives 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 has used available data to identify viable alternatives to accomplish this task, and they have evaluated the alternatives against the objectives. At their upcoming meeting, the group will conduct a risk analysis of the alternatives, and eventually develop a set of recommendations to the Board of Education Facilities Committee and full Board.
Our Community Budget Advisory Committee continues to review key indicators of the fiscal health of the District and to identify critical issues related to the budget and future planning. During its upcoming meeting, the group will hear a presentation on the intricacies of the State School Aid Formula. In addition, the Committee will contribute to designing an Advocacy White Paper for the Bedford Central School District.
The District Student Achievement Advisory Committee is working to address a set of Essential Questions related to curriculum, instruction, assessment, teaching and learning. The group identified the following guiding principles that should drive teaching and learning in BCSD:
BCSD should strive to expose all students to the highest levels of academic rigor, raising the bar for all students through inclusive practices and differentiating instruction.
BCSD recognizes student success and achievement in many ways. Students should be engaged, inspired and encouraged to create, innovate and explore in all classroom settings.
BCSD recognizes the whole child in the learning process. The guiding principle of our educational program is to prepare our students for future success in whatever endeavors they pursue while recognizing that the skills necessary for the 21st century are continuously evolving. The whole child includes attention to character education, life skills, professionalism, and finding balance in one’s life. How we treat one another is a core value of our educational mission.
BCSD strives to have our students become self-motivated, lifelong learners.
The District Strategic Planning Committee made great progress in its recent meetings The group identified a set of Core Educational Values and Mission to guide the District forward and to inform the committee's continued work. At its next meeting, that group will work to review and refresh the District's Vision Statement.
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 new athletics calendar. At this time all Board subcommittees are active and engaged in important district business. You may find Board meeting materials and subcommittee minutes in Board Docs.
Colette Dow, President
Brian Sheerin, Vice President
Dr. Christopher Manno, Superintendent of Schools
Clarification Regarding Participation in Advanced Placement Exams at the High School
Mr. Donnelly and I would like to provide clarification regarding Fox Lane High School's approach toward student participation in Advanced Placement Exams. While we encourage AP students to sit for the AP test as there are many benefits, neither the College Board nor FLHS requires students to sit for the test, especially given that students who sit for the test must pay for their own participation. The District cannot require students to sit for the test and pay for it. We are confident that FLHS shall continue to have high participation rates and successful outcomes on the exam.
FLHS Principal Profile - Soliciting Input
Last Spring, the District hired an Interim Principal for FLHS for the 2016-17 school year. Accordingly, this year we are initiating the process to hire a permanent principal for FLHS. The process will be open to all interested candidates.
This survey will help us learn what our stakeholders (students, parents, faculty, staff, and other community members) value in a high school principal. We will use your responses to compile a Principal Profile that will help guide and inform our FLHS Principal hiring process.
Please use this link to complete the survey. We appreciate your participation and thoughtful responses.
IMPORTANT ITEM, PLEASE READ: Update on School Calendar Change
The Board of Education rescinded its action to revise the 2016-2017 school calendar. There will be NO additional early release (1/2 days). Students will have full days of school on January 13, February 17 and April 7.
Due to logistical and other challenges, the days will remain FULL DAYS for students.
There will be full days of classes on:
Friday, January 13th
Friday, February 17th
Friday, April 7th
A Thanksgiving Messsage
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.
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, with the exception of after-care occurring in schools.
- 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.