BOE Meeting Summary
BOE Mtg. June 6, 2017 District Office
-Swearing in Karyn Reid (KR) for her next three year term on the BOE.
-Nominations, voting and swearing in of Joel Press (JP) and Annie Doresca (AD) as President and Vice President of the BOE for 2017-18
BOE committee roles:
Legislative Liaison -
(Keeping the Board aware of legislative developments)
2017-18 - KR
Liaison to the Teacher's Center
2016-17 - KR
2017-18 - KR
Representative to the Safe Committee (focus on district safety issues)
2016-17 - Mary Jo O'Hagan (MJO)
Representative to the AIDS Advisory Committee
2016-17 - MJO
2017-18 - MJO
BEA (Baldwin Educational Assembly) Liaison
2016-17 - JP
2017-18 - JP
Liaison to Baldwin Council of PTAs
(Presents a report from the BOE at their monthly meetings.)
2016-17 - Sue Cools (SC)
2017-18 - SC
Liaison to Memorial Scholarship Committee
2016-17 - AD
2017-18 - AD
Approved a Mission Statement:
The mission of the Baldwin Public Schools is to support students' academic, social, and moral growth to foster a lifelong commitment to learning, and to encourage responsible contributions to society. A partnership reflecting the high standards of supportive families, conscientious learners, committed staff, and an involved community will maximize potential for student success.
Very proud of Kelsi King - student who received Marcus A Henry award - excellence in academics, athletics, and community service who was featured in Newsday recently.
Plaza's Team Orchid was recently identified as a program of excellence.
Two educators in the district were also recognized as "educators of excellence." A longtime coach was also recognized for excellence.
KR - Praised Plaza and Meadow for coordinating their Moving Up ceremonies so that the parents of twins (one attended Plaza and one attended Meadow) could attend both ceremonies.
-Renewed contract for the provider of elementary school lunches. SC commented that she knows that many community members have expressed dissatisfaction with this vendor, but at this time they do not have other options as there are very few companies who provide frozen food to schools without cafeteria facilities. She asked the Board to make sure to take every opportunity to research other possible options before renewing this company's contract again next year.
-Board Priorities were approved.
A summary of the Priorities is as follows:
-To improve academic outcomes for all students
-To expand use of tech
-To expand Career Academy Program
-To foster cultural awareness and diversity
SC wanted the exact wording changed to add the words "continue to" for the priority about cultural awareness. She feels like the current wording suggests this is something being newly proposed when she feels we have been working hard on this goal for awhile now.
AD felt that we could make the case that all the priorities are things that we are technically continuing to do. She wants to show that we still have room for improvement in diversity.
JP - Sees both AD and SC's points.
KR - likes the wording as it is because she is not always seeing diversity embedded into the curriculum in all of the work her child is bringing home.
MJO - "As an former English teacher I feel we would need to add "continues to" to all of them or leave it the same for all of them."
Decision - Leaving the wording as it is.
What the Community is Talking About:
Resident expressed concern that a portion of the Middle School art program might be eliminated. "I voted yes on the budget with the expectation that things like this will not be cut."
JP - There will be art in 7th grade
- What about 8th grade and 6th grade?
Camhi - Middle School teachers voiced strongly that they wanted teaming. Because of this request the whole MS schedule had to be looked at. Previously they used a "wheel" to get electives into the schedule one quarter at a time.
The State mandate is one half credit of art in 7th OR 8th grade. We want to offer an eighth grade art pre-academy course like painting or sculpture, but at this time no teacher has applied to teach that course in the ninth period. Art is available to all kids through an art club. We also could have eliminated art by a .5 teacher this year, but we did not do that. We increased art courses in the high school and sent that teacher to work there instead.
For further information, 15-20% of eighth graders took art since 2014. The students who took it, took it to fill out their schedules.
Over that same period of time, 60-80% students took art in 7th grade.
A recently graduated student highlighted the art accomplishments of her classmates that she feels went unrecognized. One thing they did in their last year of HS art is paint portraits of fifth grade students as a way to honor them.
-Dr. Camhi - The recognition that that mural project got in Newsday was not accidental. It was done through public relations through my office. To say that art accomplishments go unrecognized is not accurate.
Incorrect information got out to the public that we are mandating math acceleration in 8th grade to prioritize math over art. What we are trying to do is open up students' schedules in their 11th and 12th grade years so they will have more freedom to take classes that interest them, like art, because they will have already completed algebra in 8th grade.
Art class is a place for students to unwind and find their passion. How can they do this if they have less opportunities to pursue these classes at a younger age?
Camhi - The purpose of high school is to fulfill requirements and also find the things you love to do. These things should be a choice and not mandated. Please know that everyone at this table likes and appreciates the arts.
Another Recent Baldwin grad is happy to know that 7th grade art is now on the schedule but concerned that no teachers have been assigned to it and there will be no art for sixth and eighth graders. She feels that these changes will eventually impact the number of kids who take upper level art courses in the high school.
A resident came up to the podium with her young daughter who wanted to express her love and need for art. (Her child read a short speech.) The mother also added that she would hope that the teaching teams could apply interdisciplinary projects that include art.
Camhi - We will have a STEAM teacher working on integrating art in science, math, technology and engineering projects for the elementary schools.
A request to clarify exactly what is happening for each middle school grade level in regards to art.
In sixth grade there is no formal art class (art club is a available)
7th grade is a class (equal to one half credit)
8th grade has art related pre-academy courses (like architecture) that they can elect to take.
Resident expressed that her daughter had a really rough time in MS and art was her way to relax and cope better. She was able to compete in NYSATA (which is like NYSSMA for Art). Numbers are decreasing for Baldwin student participation in this state program, so everyone can say that they value art, but these facts paint a different picture.
A new speaker who is a parent of students in the high school said that one of the problem she finds with the academies is that it can limit their elective choices and offering academies in 8th grade can limit them further.
Camhi - I brought the Pre-Academies to 8th Grade two years ago to be taught during the ninth period after the regular school day ends. This allows eighth graders to explore a different choice each quarter. It actually expands their opportunities instead of limiting them. In high school students can choose not to be in an academy as well and just select their own electives. We will focus on the high school schedule next year and try to find ways to maximize opportunities for all students. Changes will go into effect for the 2018-19 school year.
The next BOE meeting will be on Wed Aug 9 at the District Office if anyone would like to attend. (There will be no update for that meeting as I will be unable to attend.)