Bedford Central School District
Dr. Manno's E-Brief, Summer Edition #1, 2018-19 School Year
Summer 2018, 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 29th and our students returning on September 4th. Over the summer, we at BCSD share a singular mission: For every student to have a great first day of school on September 4th 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 of our key leadership positions. Please join in welcoming Mr. Jason Spector, Acting Assistant Principal, Fox Lane Middle School. Jason has been the Coordinator for the World Languages Department for the past four years and a FLHS Spanish Teacher for the seven year before that.
We are starting the school year on a strong fiscal foundation. 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.
Our BCSD SUCCESS Plan is showing results. BCSD’s SUCCESS Plan is our long-range plan for continuous improvement of programs, operations, and services for students and families. Some key areas of growth and focus:
- We have updated the work done and progress made on our SUCCESS Plan during 2017-18. This can all be found on our streamlined website at https://www.bcsdny.org/Page/1810.
- We are deep into an initiative to refine and improve student programs to be more inclusive, meaning every child is experiencing a general education curriculum alongside their peers to the greatest extent possible.
- We continue our work to provide consistent best literacy practices for all our elementary school students. We are working with Teachers College, Columbia University to implement a new research-based reading program with proven results. Teachers are receiving training, exploring new materials, and planning for a great year of reading, writing. listening, and speaking for their students. This year we are increasing the time each elementary student has access to instruction in the library.
- Our High School is excited to offer a number of new and exciting courses for all our students. This September, some Fox Lane High School Students, like Fox Lane Middle School Students in the past, will return to school to a one-to-one computer technology initiative. This year, we will issue a Chromebook computer to incoming ninth-grade students. Our teachers are rethinking their lesson plans and how they can integrate technology effectively in classroom learning to provide even more exciting and real-world learning experiences for students.
- We have been focusing heavily on supporting the social and emotional needs of our students in a challenging time in their development. We will have two new Student Assistance Counselors for the Fox Lane Campus - one at the High School and one at the Middle School. They will work together to monitor the needs of our students and work closely with teachers, clinicians and administrators to provide interventions and supports for students.
- There are many facilities projects we are involved in over the summer to keep our schools and campuses safe and up-to-date.
- Last school year we engaged a firm to conduct a detailed demographic study for BCSD. We have reviewed a preliminary draft report. The final report is expected in the early fall. Our Board of Education will discuss and finalize a plan to review, process, and act upon the demographic report.
- This summer we implemented a residency verification process for all third-grade students. Our process has been in the works for two years as part of our Space and Enrollment, Budget Advisory, and SUCCESS Plan work. The purposes of the process are simply to ensure that all students attending BCSD live here and that we have up-to-date information on all students for safety purposes. We plan to do this for all seventh graders next summer and all tenth graders the following summer; ultimately each year verifying the residency of all 3rd, 7th, and 10th-grade children. Please click here letter in English. Please click here for letter in Spanish.
Currently, all of our elementary sections are within the Board of Education Policy guidelines. We added one second grade section at WPES this summer to accomplish this. Other sections in other elementary schools are close to guidelines; if they exceed the guidelines, we will break the section or provide additional personnel support as appropriate depending on the time of year that this should occur.
We are very excited to be in the process of continuing to restore some of the budget cuts from previous years, particularly those which had the most impact. We are also making additions to further strengthen our programs and services for students. We optimistically look forward to continuing to grow and improve programs for students.
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.
Colette Dow, President
Michelle Brooks, Vice President
Dr. Christopher M. Manno, Superintendent of Schools
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 2018-2019 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.
Curriculum Being Revised:
Teams of teachers have been meeting all summer to revise curriculum in several disciplines, including middle and high school math, middle and high school science, World Languages, and social studies.
Music department is revising secondary level curriculum, working with our newly developed Curriculum Template.
A committee of FLMS English teachers are working are revising common rubrics for assessing student writing.
FLHS Spanish 4 Curriculum
Several high school teachers are working on curriculum and instructional alignment on courses that are taught by multiple teachers (i.e, Honors Chemistry.)
FLMS 6th Grade Science teachers are working on aligning the curriculum map and the inclusion of new shared resources.
FLMS 8th Grade Science teachers are developing new units to address changing Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations.
Curriculum Being Developed:
New Curriculum development for a number of new FLHS high school courses and electives, including: Science (Anatomy and Physiology; Animal Behavior), English (Sports literature/Journalism), Social Studies (Contemporary Issues), Business (Entrepreneurship; College Accounting), Art (Public Art), Health (Care and Prevention of Athletic Illness; Life After High School), and Computer Science (Python Coding).
Continued refinement and development of the Dual Language Bilingual Education Program.
Professional Development Initiatives:
Close to 30 teachers/teacher leaders/ district and school administrators will be attending the Inclusion Institute at Syracuse University for three days in August.
Meeting with ECTs and elementary principals for 2018-2019 to provide training and support for the implementation of the Readers Workshop approach to the teaching of elementary reading and literacy.
A team of middle school English teachers attending a workshop at BOCES on “The Writing Revolution: Advancing Thinking Through Writing” which they will turn-key for their colleagues in the fall.
Several teachers who will be teaching AP courses for the first time in September 2018, will be participating in College Board AP Professional Development.
Preparation for the Readers Workshop approach to elementary literacy. Teachers attended institutes at Teachers College. Teams of teachers have been meeting all summer to prepare for this significant new initiative,
A team of special education teachers will be trained in Readtopia program for implementation with their students starting in September.
The Curriculum Office also is involved in a number of business and financial/grant projects. The most significant is preparing the Title I grant for submission to the State Education Department by August 31st. The Title I grant provides the necessary resources and funding for underprivileged students.
Assessment/Data Analysis Projects:
Reviewing assessment data - Regents and AP Scores are in. Waiting for 3-8 math and ELA scores from NYSED in early fall. Meeting with curriculum coordinators, ECTs and administrators to develop plans for dissemination and analysis of data with faculty upon their return in late August - early September.
ECTs have been meeting to identify “data” points- what assessments and screeners do we currently use, where is consistency, where do we lack consistency, how do we consistently use data to inform student interventions and teacher instructional decision making, etc.
Developing a plan for sharing of assessment data at key transition points, especially from elementary to middle school and from middle school to high school.
Some other projects include developing a robust plan for math support for our elementary schools and preparing a new Curriculum Template for all new courses and current programs which will be revised in 2018-2019. The new common template will be used to share all curricula and programs on our website for community access. In addition, we are preparing for a fall 2018 Tri-States Consortium visit to Bedford to review our district’s commitment to Student Membership and Student Voice.
As you can see, the summer is a busy time to ensure our programs and curricula are meeting the needs of our students. It is always our hope that this flurry of activity results in Inspiring and Challenging all Our students during the school year.
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, as well as curriculum projects.
In terms of curriculum, we are focusing much attention on our Keyboarding and Computer Science programs. In June, we held a Technology Boot Camp,in which staff and administrators learned the latest technology tools and applications to support teaching and learning, and school operations.
We are very excited to be rolling out a one-to-one technology device initiative at Fox Lane High School this school year beginning with incoming ninth-grade students. As you might imagine, there is much planning and infrastructure, technology, and professional development support that the Technology Department must provide.
This year we are implementing a system called Family ID, which will allow for more efficient and effective processes such as student registration. In order to ensure our staff and students have up-to-date technological devices and services, we continue the Implementation of our lease purchase plan.
The Technology department is responsible for many data management projects critical to the operations of the District. Some of these include preparing for APPR management, which is the system used to evaluate teachers and principals, scheduling, and oversight and management of many other systems.
The Technology department must submit and seek approval annually for a District Technology Plan. Each summer, our department also reviews and updates all Technology Annual Notices and District Policies for compliance and accuracy.
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 2017-18 school year for the audit which occurs the first week of August. Diligent fiscal oversight has again 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. In addition, this has allowed us to address some much-needed deferred maintenance and repair projects across the district. If you've ever visited a school and observed cracked concrete or other issues and thought, "Well now, that ought to be fixed," this is exactly what we are doing.
Specifically, some capital projects we are addressing include:
Replacement of the roof on the District office building.
Continued efforts to complete repairs on the Fox Lane water tank and distribution system.
Repair/Maintenance Projects include:
Analysis of the Bedford Village Heating plant infrastructure.
Analysis of our electrical needs at the elementary schools for the purpose of allowing for emergency generators to power school operations if we lose power.
Middle School gymnasium upgrades: new lighting, newly painted, refinished flooring and replacement of the bleachers.
Address exterior roadwork and walking paths throughout the district.
Improve Safety and security throughout the district.
Assessment of the FLHS Library, Cafeteria and Boys/Girls Locker rooms.
Abatement remediation at various locations throughout the district.
Replacement of select Elementary School stage curtains and padding.
The Business Office is working to review and revise financial processes to improve reporting. We are in the process of hiring additional budgeted staff to improve the operations which will improve services in an efficient and cost-conscious manner.
The Board of Education approved retaining a transportation consulting firm to assist the district in assessing and improving transportation services.
Food Service Projects:
The District completed a public bid for the Food Service provider to the Bedford CSD. Aramark was awarded the bid. The bid process, with the collaboration of the District Wellness Committee, included a number of items which will improve the program for the 2018-19 school year.
Emergency Management Initiatives:
The District continues to work to improve safety and security throughout the school district. The improvements extend to structural modifications to facilities, improved communications on school grounds, improvements on drills and exercises, and the continuity of a culture of continued review and improvement to protect the safety of students and staff.
We also continue to work collaboratively with our demographer to provide current and future enrollment projections. The Bedford Central School District is preparing for a smooth and positive 2018-19 school year for our staff and students.
As we look forward to the upcoming athletic season many of our fall teams are in preparation for the beginning of what we hope to be a great experience for our athletes. Team schedules are posted on our athletics calendar at www.foxlaneathletics.org. Any game changes will be noted on this calendar immediately and this should be your first visit for any questions about our game schedules or weather-related game cancellations.
As the athletic season approaches our grounds department is working hard on getting our facilities ready for the fall. The grass fields have been rested and cared for all summer to make our facilities some of the best in our area.
Fox Lane Athletics in conjunction with the Fox Lane Sports Boosters Club will be hosting “Fox Night” on Friday, October 5th from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Fox Lane High School Memorial Stadium. Fox Night is a community celebration for the Bedford Central School District to start the school year off right with enthusiasm, energy, and community spirit. There will be music, food trucks, fan t-shirts, fireworks and an introduction to our fall teams. We are hoping that all of our families from our elementary schools, middle school, and high school will come out and join the fun on October 5th.
The Athletics Department is currently exploring Local Live for the broadcast of varsity games. We are also transitioning athletics communications to SportsYou, which is an app and website that connects coaches, players, and families. One platform supports a calendar, messages, photos, videos, documents and more. SportsYou is a team and group management solution that has everything we need to communicate rapidly through group chat, manage schedules, organize documents, and share photos/videos.
The Health and Physical Education departments are involved this summer in several important curriculum projects, including exploring different assessment models for physical education at FLHS and revising our 6-12 mental health units in Health classes.
Coach Coughlin is helping to oversee the FLMS gym renovation and has updated the BCSD Athletics Policy Handbook.
Special Education in BCSD
The Bedford Central School District strives to meet the needs of all of our students in all of our classrooms. Towards that end, we offer a variety of supports for all of our learners at each stage of their educational experience. What may begin as a conversation with a parent and a classroom teacher, or an astute observation made by a teacher, can lead to a process that results in determining even better ways to support each of our learners. Through the use of many types of assessment, including formative, content area, progress monitoring, achievement, diagnostic and benchmark assessments, we strive to be adept at using data to identify and carry out the very best instructional practices.
The Special Education Department supervises and oversees the Committee on Special Education (CSE) and Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE), the identification of students with disabilities, the delivery of special education services, related services and access to general education for students with disabilities. The Committee on Special Education and the Committee on Preschool Special Education assess and evaluate the educational needs of special education students and those students suspected of having a disability, and subsequently meet annually to review the educational programs of these students.
The mission of the department resonates across all constituencies and all eight schools, as well as our specialized programs and out of district placements. It includes the following essentials:
Commitment to the education of all of our students
Commitment to meet individual needs in the least restrictive environment
Collaboration with parents and all staff working with our students to ensure his/her success in school
Support of best practices and a commitment to explore innovative approaches in the field
Support of professional development for all staff
Collaboration with building principals to support students and staff
Partnership with general education initiatives such as, Response to Interventions and enrichment, which offers tiered support services for students
The CSE is responsible for the Individual Education Program for approximately 525 special education students and the CPSE is responsible for approximately 91 preschool special education students.
While we take pride in our current offerings within our district, we remain diligent in ensuring that we are always meeting the needs of our current and future students. We continue to reflect on and improve our practice, from our teaching staff to our department leadership. Our focus is and shall remain on the whole child and how best to meet his/her needs in school.
The department offers a variety of programs and services to meet the differing needs of students with disabilities. This is referred to as the continuum of services. This continuum includes such programs as:
Related services – speech/language, counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy
Consultant teacher – direct and/or indirect
Resource Room – specialized supplementary instruction
Integrated co-teaching classes
Special education classes – may be either part-time or full-time
Special classes at BOCES
Private approved day schools
The CPSE and/or CSE must select and recommend the components or combination of components on the continuum that meets a student’s needs in what is called the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Students may be recommended to receive extended school year services if it is determined that the student meets the criteria for substantial regression during the summer months.
The Bedford Central School District strives to meet the needs of all of our students in all of our classrooms. Towards that end, we offer a variety of supports for all of our learners at each stage of their educational experience. What may begin as a conversation with a parent and a classroom teacher, or an astute observation made by a teacher, can lead to a process that results in determining even better ways to support each of our learners. Through the use of many types of assessment, including formative, content area, progress monitoring, achievement, diagnostic and benchmark assessments, we strive to be adept at using data to identify and carry out the very best instructional practices. While Special Education may be the most widely-known of the student support services, we have a range of student supports that precede the onset of special education services, outlined in the figure below. Implementing each of these components demands that we develop agreed-upon, research-based approaches, provide high-quality professional development to staff, and regularly assess and review the effectiveness of our approaches.
This is a link to the BCSD Special Education Website.
Pupil Personnel Services - What do we do?
The Pupil Personnel Services Department, or PPS as it is commonly called, provides support to students and families and collaborates with most other departments and schools in the District. We oversee the delivery of Section 504 accommodation plans, home instruction plans, home tutoring services, health services, the Dignity for All Students Act (known as DASA) and student registrations and enrollment. In addition, we coordinate procedures and regulations for student discipline.
Our Pupil Personnel Services Department is led by:
Dr. Edward Escobar
Director of Pupil Personnel Services
Our Central Registrar works directly with our families to register children for school. We manage kindergarten enrollment for all of our elementary schools and ensure compliance with our residency requirements. Parents may call our Central Registrar at 914-241-6005 to obtain information on enrolling, withdrawing, or relocating within our District. Please be on the lookout in the next few months as the district is working to streamline the registration process by offering online registration.
Our school nurses provide medical and health support for all of our students in each of the seven schools. The school nurses are instrumental in providing mandated vision, hearing, BMI and scoliosis screenings. From time to time, the nurses will provide important information on immunizations, physicals and when to keep your child home if they are ill. Beginning July 1, 2018, all New York State public school students must submit a New York State Education Department Student Health Examination Form completed by their physician upon entering school as a new entrant, and in grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Our School Physician, Dr. Corsaro, is working with us to get the word out regarding this new requirement.
The Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) was established to protect all students from harassment, bullying, and discrimination. It became effective on July 1, 2012, and was amended to include cyberbullying effective July 1, 2013. The district has developed and provided anti-bullying training and character education initiatives in all of our schools. The PPS department works with all schools to assess, collect data and provide training to staff. Our goal is to provide education, prevention, intervention and training to staff, students and families to prevent intimidation, harassment or bullying in our schools. We continue to seek ways to improve our efforts in these areas. For more information, please click on the link: https://www.bcsdny.org/Page/228.
Section 504 provides for accommodations for students determined to have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. This determination is different from a child who meets the criteria to receive special education as determined by the Committee on Special Education. At the elementary and secondary school level, determining whether a child is a qualified disabled student under Section 504 begins with the evaluation process. A parent who suspects his or her child of having an impairment under Section 504 should discuss this first with the child’s classroom teacher and then the building principal. For general information, please contact Dr. Edward Escobar, the 504 Compliance Officer for the District.
The PPS office also oversees compliance with reporting requirements for students who are homeschooled. Parents who choose to homeschool their children are required to notify the school district on an annual basis of their intent to homeschool their children and to file annual Individualized Home Instruction Plans (IHIP) and quarterly progress reports.
School Safety and Security is another area in which we provide assistance. We partner with District Administrators, our School Resource Officer, and the District’s Safety Consultant, Altaris to coordinate, train and implement safety plans for each school building and the district office. There are many behind the scenes activities that regularly occur to maintain a safe environment. This year, Dr. Manno facilitated several Parent Safety Forums that involved our local law enforcement partners and other key district personnel. These forums were an opportunity to provide information about our safety measures, to reassure our parents and to answer any pertinent questions.
ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Update
Just like other departments, the ESOL Department has been busy this summer refining and improving their curriculum, approach, and lessons to best meet the needs of students.
The department has been involved with various curriculum planning meetings, identifying texts and materials for purchase, transferring curriculum to our new curriculum templates, and reviewing WIDA (standardized assessment) outcomes. The team has been planning for professional development for the year while running an ESOL Summer Academy for students in grades 7 - 10.
Other projects include completing the grant application for Title III for 2018-19, which provides Federal funding for English Language Learners, and completing hiring for DLBE and ESOL (for MKES, BHES, FLMS).
Human Resources and Development
Much behind-the-scenes work occurs during the summer months to ensure when children arrive at school in September, we are prepared for teaching and learning to occur immediately. The Human Resources and Development (HRD) department contributes to much of this work.
HRD is engaged in ensuring that all positions - teaching, administrative, and support staff - are filled with high-quality candidates. There are a number of hiring processes occurring this summer. BCSD employs over 700 personnel and HRD must track them all. They do so with a tool called Position Control, which is updated daily. HRD also maintains a resource called Position Analysis, which identifies every title in the District, how many people in that particular title, and where they reside.
The summertime is a time when HRD reviews and refines many important processes such as the application process, personnel onboarding, and exit processes. Coordinated by HRD, BCSD must develop each year a Professional Development plan coordinated through a District Professional Development Committee. HRD is responsible for the management and administration of all negotiated union contracts in the District.
HRD is also busy planning professional development for the school year, updating websites, and maintaining personnel files.
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 October 5th.
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.