Dr. Manno's BCSD Brief, Edition #8, 2016-17 School Year
September 23, 2016
A message from our Board of Education
Dear Bedford Central Community Members:
The Board of Education is very pleased with just how smooth a start to the school year we experienced. Even with our challenges with the WPES construction, in true BCSD style, the community and schools pulled together in the interest of our children and made it happen. We only lost two school days for WPES students, which will be made up in October and March on Supt. Conference half Days.
The Board conducted its very first Work Session Meeting on September 14, 2016. The meeting can be found on our website at https://bedfordcsdtv.viebit.com/.
You may notice a different look and feel to the meeting. First, the Board table configuration has changed. The new configuration promotes our values of teamwork and collaboration. All of the BoE members can see each other while the Board still can see and acknowledge our important community members. The new Board Work Session format includes a Superintendent Report, which is now more formal and online, more formal reports from each of our Board Subcommittee Chairpersons, which can be found online, and consent agenda items only on routine and required matters to keep the district running. Mr. Sullivan, Interim Assistant Superintendent for Business and Administrative Services, provided a presentation on our new Budget Position Control spreadsheets, which will provide the Board a more fine-grained look and understanding of the budget, and will enable the administration to quickly answer detailed questions about building and programs costs.
Work Session meetings will include, beginning in October, a section for the Board to review and discuss consent agenda items for the monthly Business/Action meeting. This is to ensure BoE members have properly vetted all action items.
At this time all Board subcommittees have reorganized and conducted their first meetings. 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. Yesterday was the deadline for interested community members to express a formal interest in participating in a Community Advisory Committee. Those Committees will be formulated and organized shortly. Community Advisory Committee meetings will begin in October. 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, the Safety Committee, and the Wellness Committee. We are in the process of reorganizing these groups as well.
Colette Dow, President
Brian Sheerin, Vice President
2016-17 BCSD Goals
- Strategic Planning.
- Budget development.
- Comprehensive communications plan.
- Resolve negotiations.
- Curriculum Review and program initiatives.
- Improve BCSD Policies.
- Create a special education action plan.
- New Board of Education meeting cycle.
- Fill leadership positions.
- Space and Enrollment Community Advisory Committee work.
A message from Dr. Manno
We have completed our first full week of school. We are just about complete with the design of action plans to achieve our TEN BIG District Goals. Final refinements are being made, and I intend to present highlights of our Goals and action plans during our September 28th Board of Education meeting. For the first time, every school shares goals and objectives under three broad areas - Communication, Special Education and Inclusion, and Curriculum and Program.
In this edition of the Supt's Scoop, we are unveiling a "Call for Participants" in our District-wide Strategic Planning Initiative. We seek to include constituents from all segments of the school community, including students, staff, administrators, Board members, parent organization leaders and participants, community leaders and officials, and others. The overarching purposes of strategic planning are to uncover shared values, recommit to a refreshed Mission, or purpose for why we exist as an educational institution, clarify a Vision for what achievement of that Mission would look like, identify BIG Goals that will help us continually move toward the realization of that Vision, and to identify critical issues that must be addressed through near-term objectives. The Strategic Plan not only presents a long-range Vision for the district but also recognizes any Plan as dynamic in nature with the need to be nimble and adapt to changing environments and realities on an annual basis. Therefore, in addition to the plan, an annual process of refreshing the plan, and reporting out on progress are of a critical nature.
I would like to again commend our entire staff and administration for their hard work to make the opening of school positive and productive for our students. Back-to-School nights conducted to date were heavily attended and were high in energy and enthusiasm for a great start to the school year. I would also like to thank the many parents and volunteers who helped in so many ways to get us off to a great school year. Back-to-School Nights continue next week and are all listed on our District Events Calendar.
Call for Participants in BCSD Strategic Planning 2016-17
We invite constituents from all segments of the school community, including middle and high school students, staff, administrators, Board members, parent organization leaders and participants, community leaders and officials, and others to participate in a comprehensive Strategic Planning Process for BCSD.
The overarching purposes of strategic planning are to uncover shared values, recommit to a refreshed Mission, or purpose, for why we exist as an educational institution, clarify a Vision for what achievement of that Mission would look like, identify BIG Goals that will help us continually move toward the realization of that long-range Vision, and to identify critical issues that must be addressed through near-term objectives.
The District Strategic Planning Committee will meet on the following Mondays from 7-9 p.m. in the FLMS Media Center:
- October 24, 2016
- November 28, 2016
- December 5, 2016
- January 17, 2017 (Tuesday)
- February 27, 2017
- March 20, 2017
- April 24, 2017
To express interest in participation, please complete this Google Form.
Applications are due October 14, 2016.
Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTO) Program and Information
FLMS Journey to 1:1
The journey to every Fox Lane Middle School student carrying a personal device began during the the 2011-2012 school year, when the Fox Lane Middle School Technology Team began discussing the concept of providing a technology device for every student. The Technology Team is comprised of Fox Lane Middle School teachers as well as the middle school administrative team and the Director of Technology. The conversation focused on the potential impact on student achievement and engagement. After looking at other 1:1 device programs, envisioning the possibilities and hearing reports from administrators who visited schools with 1:1 programs, the Technology Team reached an agreement to create a pilot for the 2012-2013 school year. The 1:1 pilot had challenges, including changes in the applications that the chosen technology would support and teacher and student readiness. However, the overall feedback from teachers and students was positive and the availability of in classroom “on-demand” technology was evident. The Technology Team conversations that followed the pilot focused on creating a plan to grow technology access at Fox Lane Middle School that is supported through Professional Development opportunities.
In each of the following three school years, 10 - 15 sets of classroom devices were provided to teachers for use in his or her individual classroom. In the spring of each year, interested teachers submitted an application to FLMS administration expressing interest in acquiring a dedicated cart of devices for his or her classroom. This application included questions about planned use of digital curriculum resources, examples that the teacher is creating a “Learner Active Technology-Infused Classroom” (LATIC), and areas of support the teacher would need to effectively use classroom devices on a daily basis. Once selected to receive the next distribution of classroom devices, teachers met regularly during the year to share best practices, ask questions and learn about new technology tools. This Professional Development has been provided by other FLMS teachers, the Technology Department and an outside consultant from the IDE Corp, which has supported teacher shifts to LATIC classrooms across the District.
In the fall of 2015, our Director of Technology, David Gee, posed a challenge to the Fox Lane Middle School Administration and Technology Team for discussion - there are enough student devices at Fox Lane Middle School for each student to carry a personal device, but not every classroom has a cart of devices for classes to use. The group had to make a choice. Justify an additional purchase of over 380 devices in order to outfit the remaining classrooms with a class set of devices each or develop a plan for students to carry an individual device from class to class throughout the day. Taking into consideration the cost of additional devices and the available budget, the fiscally responsible choice was to begin planning a program where each student carried a personal device (1 to 1 program). This planning began with a group of teachers that expressed interest in being involved in the process. The planning included discussion of a take home or in school model and surveying the FLMS faculty for input. The faculty survey showed that approximately 75% of the teachers that responded rated themselves as somewhat comfortable to very comfortable with the shift to students carrying a personal device. Through the ongoing discussions, the decision was made to keep the program as an in school program and not have all students take home devices. Devices are available for checkout in the school library for students that need a device for home. Fox Lane Middle School has suggested that students provide a case to protect the device during the day. While this cover/case is optional, we strongly encourage parents/guardians to provide a cover/case for their child.
After years of planning and growing the access to technology, the 1 to 1 program will be rolled out to students on Monday, September 26th. Teachers and students have been busy practicing the process of picking up and returning devices during homebase classes over the last couple weeks. The devices will be picked up by the students during their home base and returned to their home base (calling this period of time home return) at the end of the day.
Summer Professional Learning
Summer staff professional growth and curriculum work:
- Math PD for Elementary Teachers: Leading Productive Discussions in Math Class
- Google Immersion Workshop
- IDE: LATIC - Learner Active, Technology Infused Classroom, differentiated instruction
- Improving Math Competence Diagnosis and Remediation
- Executive Functioning Professional Development Workshop
- Implementing and Integrating Lucy Calkins’ for Teaching Reading
- FLMS and FLHS Curriculum Work with Next Generation Science Standards; and, curriculum development for new courses for 2017-18
- AP English; AP Institutes
- AP History: Restructuring and updating of courses to align with AP Standards
- Teams preparing for new/revised courses
- Leadership Retreat for Administrative and Teacher Leaders
- New Staff Orientation
- Various other professional work
FLHS Semifinalists for National Merit Scholars
- Sara Gilbert
- Abigail Hehman
- Liliana Voltaggio
More than 1.6 million juniors entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 PSAT. Less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors earn Semifinalist status. The highest scoring entrants in each state are selected on a proportional basis.
We are most proud of Sara, Abigail and Liliana. Congratulation!
Publication of student photographs on District social media
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
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.
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.