BOARD OF EDUCATION

MIDDLETOWN, NEW YORK

DECEMBER 4, 2003

 

A regular meeting of the Board of Education of the Enlarged City School District of Middletown, New York was held Thursday, December 4, 2003, at the Board of Education Office, 223 Wisner Avenue, Board President Robin Markovits, presiding. 

Present:Dr. Best, Mr. Crescenzo, Mrs. Elliott, Mr. Estrada, Mrs. Knapp, Mr. McCormack, Mr. Perrino, Mrs. Botti, Mrs. Markovits  – 9.

Absent: None.

Others Present: Patricia McLeod, Acting Superintendent
                             Timothy Conway, Deputy Superintendent
                             Patricia Reilley, Acting Asst. Supt. for Curriculum & Instruction
                             Selena Fischer, Director for Pupil Personnel & Special Services
                             Ellen Kaplan, Director for Personnel Services
                             Thomas Scott, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds
                             Peter Ancona, Director of Technology

Mrs. Markovits called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Mrs. Botti made a motion, seconded by Mr. McCormack, to have an executive session for the discussion of legal matters pertaining to specific personnel issues. Motion was unanimously approved.

Public session resumed at 7:30 p.m.  Mrs. Markovits led the pledge to the flag.

Mrs. Markovits welcomed members of Boy Scout Troop 50 who are earning a merit badge by attending this Board of Education meeting.

Mrs. McLeod said that the Boys Varsity Soccer Team won this year’s championship and the Orange County Sportsmanship Award. She congratulated all the team members, their parents, fans and Athletic Director Jon Jefferson and Coach Kevin Pollack for this great achievement.

Mrs. McLeod also announced that the Soccer Lighting Committee has exceeded its goal and there will be lights on the athletic fields this fall.  She thanked the committee for its hard work and the community for its support of this endeavor.  Committee members Peter Damiano, Paul Halpern, Mark Fellenzer, and Judy Kelly spoke about the committee’s efforts over the past two and a half years, and acknowledged the support of the community, John Perrino, Tom Scott, Jon Jefferson, and Rich Rowley. 

Mrs. McLeod said that the United States Education Department instituted the National Teacher Certification program several years ago.  Two teachers in the Middletown School District have achieved this distinction.  Ginger Hunt, who was an elementary teacher at Maple Hill and has since moved out of state because of family commitments, has been granted the national board certification.  High School teacher Peter Panse has also achieved this distinction.  Celeste Mercury-Gurda, representing the Teacher Center Policy Board, explained that the goal of the National Teacher Certification Program is to improve student learning through teachers that set clear, high and rigorous standards.  In order to become a nationally certified teacher, the applicant must provide clear, convincing, and consistent evidence that they have met the National Board standards on an accomplished level.  It was noted that there are only 393 teachers in New York State who have become nationally certified teachers.

Mrs. Elliott made a motion, seconded by Dr. Best, to approve the minutes of November 6, 2003.

Ayes:  Best, Crescenzo, Elliott, Estrada, Knapp, McCormack, Perrino, Botti, Markovits – 9.  Noes:  None.  Motion was unanimously approved.    

No communications were read.

Response to Previous Questions:

Mrs. McLeod reported that School Improvement Teams are functioning in all our buildings.  She said that there is no office at present at the State Education Department that oversees the District Leadership Team function.

Mrs. McLeod said that the New Visions Program is an Orange-Ulster BOCES program.  Four Middletown students are currently enrolled, two in Health/Medical and two in Engineering.  Mrs. McLeod reviewed the qualifications to participate in the program, which she anticipates will be expanding in the future.

Regarding the Odyssey of the Mind and the Gifted and Talented Programs, Mrs. McLeod said that Kris Kerr, Director of Gifted and Talented, will be reporting on these programs in the near future.

Opportunity to Address the Board:

Gretchen Zukrigl and Juliette Gonzalez spoke about their concerns for how the District’s ROTC program is functioning.

John Gennarelli said that School Improvement Teams are data driven which helps to point out areas where our schools need improvement.

Dr. Best made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Knapp, to approve Personnel Memorandum #9, copy attached.

Ayes:  Best, Crescenzo, Elliott, Estrada, Knapp, McCormack, Perrino, Botti, Markovits – 9.  Noes:  None.  Motion was unanimously approved. 

Mrs. Elliott made a motion, seconded by Dr. Best, to table the request for personnel folders for the purpose of conducting personnel business in executive session.

Ayes:  Best, Crescenzo, Elliott, Estrada, Knapp, McCormack, Perrino, Botti, Markovits – 9.  Noes:  None.  Motion was unanimously approved. 

Lee Babcock, Elementary Teacher on Special Assignment, reviewed the process followed for the selection of a new Science K-5 series.  She said that five top rated science programs were identified, and two programs were evaluated by a committee consisting of elementary science turnkeys, classroom teachers, special education and bilingual personnel, and primary/intermediate building administrators.  The committee recommended that the District adopt the Harcourt Science K-5.  Mrs. Babcock detailed some of the features of the program, including the parallel program in Spanish at each grade level, inquiry activities, multi-sensory background experiences, integration into other curriculum areas, equipment kits, web site “Learning Site,” etc.  The Board will consider adoption of Harcourt Science K-5 at the next meeting of the Board.

District Updates:

Mrs. McLeod said that the goals of the administrative staff will be forwarded to the Board in January.  The professional development summary will also be available in January.

Mr. Conway reported that he and Mrs. Reilly have looked at the District’s summer programs from a data-driven perspective.  Meetings have been held with directors of these programs concerning pre-testing and post-testing and what is being achieved.  Mr. Conway said that data analysis information on the extended day and year programs will be presented to the Board in January. 

Mr. Conway also said that as a result of NCLB legislation, schools that have not achieved adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years in a subject area will be designated as schools in need of improvement. Middletown has been notified by the State that because of the results of the Grade 8 Math and High School ELA and Math scores in 2001/02 and 2002/03 by certain subgroups, these schools have been classified as schools in need of improvement. 

Mr. Conway next updated the Board on the status of the construction at Mechanicstown.  He reported that the foundation work is substantially completed, the masonry work is progressing, and asbestos abatement work will be done over the winter break.

Mrs. McLeod announced that the next meeting of the Board will be held on Wednesday, December 17, in order to be in compliance with legal requirements to accept the High School referendum vote results the day following the vote.

Mrs. McLeod said that Dr. Hanna of Orange-Ulster BOCES has advised the District that Middletown and other school districts have been chosen to have a Math A field test to be administered in January.  This field testing is a result of the confusion on previous tests and to get a conclusive gauge of our student population and how they may fare on the test to be given later in the month.

Mrs. McLeod next reviewed the Regents 55/64 scoring recommendation which the Board will be asked to adopt at the next meeting of the Board.  Mrs. McLeod said that because of problems surrounding the State examinations, such as the poorly constructed recent Math A test which tested material not included in the Math A curriculum, it is recommended that the Regents 55/64 option be accepted by the District.  Mrs. Markovits said that the 55/64 option will also allow some of our students to get a local diploma, while students maintaining the 65 average can obtain a Regents diploma.

Mrs. Elliott left the meeting at 9:30 p.m.

Mrs. Markovits congratulated Patricia Reilly and Ginny Mucarri on their successful Title I application.  She noted that the State Education Department said that the quality of the writing and the comprehensiveness and specificity to the new NCLB requirements were first rate, showing an insightful understanding of complex legislation.

Mrs. Markovits requested a definitive response about whether students must take Regents exams.

Mr. Estrada made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Knapp, to approve Special Services Memorandum #9, copy attached.

Ayes:  Best, Crescenzo, Elliott, Estrada, Knapp, McCormack, Perrino, Botti, Markovits – 9.  Noes:  None.  Motion was unanimously approved. 

Mr. Crescenzo made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Knapp, to approve Financial Memorandum #9, copy attached.

Ayes:  Best, Crescenzo, Elliott, Estrada, Knapp, McCormack, Perrino, Botti, Markovits – 9.  Noes:  None.  Motion was unanimously approved.

A policy on Staff Substance Abuse and the Comprehensive Alcohol/ Chemical Substance Policy were presented for first readings by the Board.  Mrs. Botti said that these changes resulted from the District’s recent staff development day.  In accordance with Board policy, these policies will be presented for Board adoption at the Board’s next meeting.

Opportunity to Address the Board:

Mr. Gennarelli said that it was good to see the Scouts at this evening’s meeting.  He applauded the people who volunteer in our schools and inquired about the process to re-apply for volunteering opportunities.

Roundtable:

Mrs. Markovits said that the Board needs to be sure that volunteers in our schools are those individuals who will be the best for our children at any given moment. To this end, the Board has developed a policy regarding volunteers in our schools and appropriate regulations will be developed. She also addressed the issue of individual survey responses and survey tallies.

Board Member Reports:

Mr. Perrino said that Lori Poveroma is coordinating a Saturday review class at Monhagen to help students prepare for the ELA examination.  He also complimented the District’s new website and suggested that some of the information on the site be translated into Spanish. 

Mrs. Knapp inquired about the number of students participating in the New Visions program at the High School and the cost of this program.  She also said that busing is provided for the review program at Monhagen and students who participate receive a free movie ticket.  Mrs. Knapp also said that the Key Club is having a spaghetti dinner; proceeds will benefit the Pediatric Trauma Center of New York.

Mr. Estrada encouraged everyone to attend some of the many winter concerts that will be performed throughout the District during the next two weeks.

Responding to a question from Mr. Crescenzo, Mrs. McLeod said that snow date information for events that must be re-scheduled will be listed on the District’s web site and on Channel 20.

At 10:00 p.m., Mr. Crescenzo made a motion, seconded by Dr. Best, to have an executive session for the discussion of specific personnel evaluation and contract negotiations.  Motion was unanimously approved.

Public session resumed at 11:15. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at this time.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Alicia E. Olsen

School District Clerk