Board of Education Meeting
December 13, 2017 - Lenox Elementary School
Meeting called to order at 8:10pm, Pledge, Emergency Exits.
BOE President’s Report, Joel Press (JP): Complimented principal on condition of the school. PTA for the refreshments. Happy Hanukkah
Approved and accepted minutes of Nov 8th and Nov 30th meetings unanimously. Friday BOE mailing accepted unanimously.
Shari Camhi (SC):
Russ Randazzo: Fire Safety yearly report. Requirement of NYS. Inspection of all buildings, Baldwin UFSD is compliant with all codes. Bruce Bigam (sp?) and Assoc. is the district’s facilities oversight outfit. Toured, inspected, and conferred annual approval July 6, 2017. Was not able to present approval at last month’s meeting as scheduled.
NYS schools inspections representative: Baldwin UFSD always exemplary. Praised Russ Randazzo for leadership. Despite furnishing being in the hallways because of summer inspection, all exits were clean in all of our schools. Remarked that he uses this district as a model for others in the state. 2018 inspections will begin May 15th and run through the end of July. He will again work with Russ to get them completed.
JP: Commented that he has been attending BOE meetings for ten years and heard the same commendable report on schools’ facilities.
Stephanie Boulder (SB) presented, director of the high school guidance program. Guidance Department is here this evening Graduation rates are improving: 90% in 2015, 92% in 2016, and 95% in 2017
Advanced Regents Diploma at 94% combined in 2017
Last night was the first AP parent night for the year. Covered Advanced Placement courses and benefits of enrolling in them.
There will be an AP Student Fair to market course offerings to the students as well. District has increased AP courses across the curriculum, adding a capstone diploma program.
Baldwin hosts an on-site college admissions fair at the high school. Students have the opportunity to learn about meet participating admissions offers and even apply and gain acceptance on the spot.
Scholarships are available from the district as well as colleges and universities. There will be a freshman orientation for graduating 8th graders in August
FAFSA applications are due earlier so information and counseling about financial aid is something the guidance department provides.
List additional services the department provides was covered in Dr. Boulder’s presentation to the Board and the community.
Guidance functions as the hub of the high school for students. They can review their transcripts, get counseling for shortcomings, strategies for improvement, recommendations for course selections, et cetera.
SB concluded with some aspirational and inspirational quotes.
Karyn Reid (KR): Are students required to pay for the AP exams? SB: Yes, but the district pays half.
KB: What do students do if they cannot pay the half for which they are responsible?
SB: There are AP exam fee waivers for SATs through the College Board.
KR: When did the on-site interview fair start?
SB: They started two years ago. The interview fair has already grown. District tries to get a variety of different colleges to participate. Even if the students don’t ultimately attend go to the schools they interview with, the process provides good exposure and practice for them.
Mary Jo O’Hagan (MO): Guidance provides many events for families or students. What if families cannot attend? What other outreach initiatives do you provide?
SB: We hold meetings on varying days and at different times of day to best accommodate parents. We have met with parents individually when they could not be at a family function. If there is a language issue, I try to get an interpreter. We try to be inclusive. Always willing to hear suggestions. Always try to avail ourselves.
MO: The role of guidance has grown. What kinds of professional development do you and your staff receive?
SB: We routinely undertake professional development. Examples include STEM Hub, CTE, the myriad opportunities in the trades.
MO: Do your counselors have opportunities to go out and observe what other districts are doing?
SB: Yes. Many such opportunities come through BOCES. When I attend something, I share always share the information with the department. They do the same after they attend an outside seminar, workshop, or meeting. They report back to the guidance department body. There are bimonthly BOCES vocations presentations. Classes on mentoring. Colleges and universities sometimes sponsor conferences. They often request that a district representative attend these conferences.
MO: How do you promote the academies?
SB: Last night was 8th grade AP and electives information meeting for parents. Ms. Guidice (sp?) and Ms. Reese conducted the meeting. Counselors went to 8th grader and followed up with presentations about different academies and other curricular opportunities at the high school.
KR: How do our student-counselor ratios compare to the industry standard? With Nassau County?
SB: At the high school the ratio is approximately 260 students-1 guidance counselor. This is average in Nassau County. At the middle school, counselors have a higher caseload. JP: Is Baldwin observing any trend regarding AP exams? SB: With the new capstone program, we have increased the number of students taking AP exams. Many transitioned from honors programs to AP programs.
JP: I saw in one of your slides that last year 74.2% scored 3, 4, and 5.
SB: Yes, we are seeing an upward trend for mastery.
JP: Only one person took the physics AP exam? How many are in the class?
SB: The class is combined with other subjects.
JP: Is there a class size minimum where if not met a class would not run?
SB: It has to do with scheduling. We try to recruit. We have never before not run a class for low enrollment.
SC: We have combined classes to increase class size. We have considered staggering offerings, running course on alternating years.
SC: We also offer dual enrollment programs in partnership with Molloy and other colleges and universities. Participation in these programs has already increased. These are in addition to AP courses.
KR: How are students notified that classes are being offered?
SB: We meet with every middle school department supervisor to inform them of all of our course offerings. There is a course offerings book and an electives sheet. We informed parents at last night’s meeting as well.
KR requested a list of the course offerings.
JP requested a breakdown of the scores on the AP tests to discern any trends.
SB responded that she would provide them for the Board.
JP: I wish to be able to Identify AP courses where our students are struggling and how we can improve that.
SC: Because we offer open enrollment in AP classes, the numbers may not fairly reflect students’ success on the tests. All the research is supportive of the decision to offer them to any student who wishes to take the courses and the tests. The benefits of taking AP classes and struggling outweigh the detriments of not taking them at all. We have had students return to Baldwin and report how prepared they were for college. Some have remarked that college was easier than high school. We can share the data, but I’d be cautious about interpreting it.
KR: Do you find it difficult getting students to take AP classes?
SB: We always encourage students to take the most demanding classes they are comfortable taking. It is usually the student’s initiative to take an AP class. If a student does not take that initiate and should, we actively encourage them to, sometimes call the parent to recommend.
Annie Doresca (AD): Please explain the Capstone Program.
SB: There is an AP Seminar through the English Department and AP Research. Students graduate with the AP Capstone diploma. Develops deep thinking skills.
SC: It is comparable to the I International Baccalaureate Program. A number of districts have adopted the Capstone Program. It is sponsored by the College Board; it is their response to IB. Differences. The IB Program and the IB Diploma. The IB program is deep into content. The program culminates in an exam and is graded by an international panel of people. The College Board wanted to complete. The College Board’s Capstone Program has been adopted by Hewlett, Massapequa, Plainview-Old Bethpage, and a couple other school districts.
AP Seminar is two years’ worth of work. Sophomore year. Very demanding. AP Research, students create a thesis. Both are rigorous programs.
The IB is an extraordinarily expensive program. The College Board Capstone Program is new, but it because the College Board is a reputable outfit, the program is credible. And it is being implemented In addition to the AP program. Adds a level of rigor for college preparation.
SC asked Mr. Mignella to elaborate on Massapequa’s iteration of the Capstone Program:
Mignella: There are 12-15 other Long Island school districts who have adopted the Capstone Program. Students working together in groups, in collaboration. Asked to find and provide evidence of their hypotheses. Meeting deadlines is critical to the program. Participating students have to read approximately one hundred evidence-based articles. More World History Course. Students also have to present both as a group and individually. Presentations are recorded, uploaded, and assessed by the College Board. Very rigorous.
Programs prepares students for the Regents.
Students who participated in the program scored better on Regents and AP exams than those who just took regular AP courses.
Massapequa’s participation in the Capstone Program has doubled since it started.
MO: Since it’s part of the AP program, I am assuming parents were informed of it?
SB: There will be a separate information night; it will be families of 9th graders. We will inform them of their eligibility as well as the program’s rigorous deadlines and demands.
SC: The stakes are higher on Capstone Program tests. If the Seminar class aligns with the Regents exam. Although some students the Regents exam in 10th grade, we may want to be selective as to enrollment the first couple of years of the new program.
JP: Is it only for 10th graders?
SC: No, it is for students going into English 2. We would need to know who the kids are.
Shari Camhi: The NYS Chancellor visited Baldwin. She was wonderful, charming, impressed by what she saw in Baldwin. She observed a mock trial in civics class. She was impressed that FIOS, News 12, and Newsday reported on our redesigned learning spaces/classrooms. Other districts have also seen the publicity and are interested in replicating what we are doing. Even C. W. Post is interested in some of our initiatives with regard to instruction. Planning a visit to Post.
Asking for the community’s help with voting in contests. Math Department photo is 4th place nationally. HS concert choir is up on News 12. Echele May is up for principal Best of LI.
Team ORCHID of Plaza School is developing journalism skills. They are hosting students from Plainview-Old Bethpage to teach their students what they have learned.
Going to videoconference with an executive from Google. How they’re using multiple forms of technology to report information
As predicted our website’s been copied a couple times. Some under construction.
KR: In November, attended Nassau Legislative Meeting. Asked about Baldwin HS sign.
Last week, went to Saratoga Springs conference on equity and excellence. Possibility of hiring people of color. In NYS, 50% of public school students are non-white; 97% of teachers and administrators are white. Why students need to be exposed to non-white teachers, principals, staff. Husband and wife from Ithica College presented. Facilitated an activity in active listening. Small group work. Will ask Mary Hobbs to copy and share handouts with the Board. Attended 6th grade concert Monday.
Sue Cools (SuC): Attended several concerts. Attended an orientation at BOCES with MO about services to assist our district. Last Friday, attended Albany, NYS Commission of Education. Sometimes feel like we are in a vacuum. Interesting to hear about challenges and experiences in other parts of the state. Career and college readiness should begin in grade 9. Conveners discussed breaking the chain of poverty through education.
MO: Praised Baldwin Girls Basketball team. Showed feature in Newsday. Used “What’s Bruin in Baldwin” tagline. Attended LI STEM Hub conference. Conglomerate of districts. Erin King Sweeny, most of her conversation had to do with Baldwin. Development of Grand Avenue and Merrick Road. Has to be tied to housing and other areas of development. 25% of millennials working in series of part-time jobs, contractual jobs, etc. Flexibility, creativity. Interesting implications for future.
This morning attended a business leadership meeting. Long Island Kevin Law, President of the LI Association. Federal budget will in turn affect the NYS budget. Important to have partnership with the LI business community. Economic impact on our district.
HS production of “Sister Act” was fabulous.
JP: “Sister Act” musical at the HS was tremendous. Talent on stage and behind the scenes. Staff as well. Ms. Pastella (sp?) replaced regular director, and new music director led pit orchestra.
Attended 7th grade concert.
Participated in conference at LIU-Post with KR and MO concerning racial divide in education. Very interesting. Everyone open to listening. Baldwin’s three board members only ones representing all of Long Island. Only administrators.
Tax bill will be bad for us personally but also the school district. Reach out to your local lawmakers.
Comment Period 1: Rules for the first comment period. Agenda items only. Timed.
Amita Maraday (sp): Dec 18th calendar. Rules committee. We have to get more involved in what is going on in the community. Presiding officer is the one who puts items on the calendar. Nora Gonzales did not run for re-election.
LI-CW Post Congressman Suozzi. Shared with him Baldwin’s academies and other educational initiatives. Suozzi represents 3rd congressional district. $1.7B goes to his district. The entire state receives $7 billion.
Dave Smith: Question about economy of the future, directed to MO as follow-up to report on business conference she attended. Few days ago, Times article about jobs being scarce.
MO: Many jobs are being unfilled. Middle skills that do not require a college degree. They are certificated skills. To alert BOCES and school districts. People do not think of LI as being manufacturing area, but it still is, just small and niche. Need to prepare students in a finance focus, managing finances and file their taxes.
JP: $8,900 Herman Alback (sp?) foundation donation for professional development.
AD asked about allocation of the donation.
$300 donation from Ridgwood Savings Bank.
Dan Fisher donation of student planners.
BOE accepts resignation of the internal auditor. Leaving to take a full-time position.
Environmental science program for $1,500/day to be taken from Erback foundation.
Aquatic program funded by the Erback foundation. Steele is not included in this because they have a comparable program.
Approved updated use of facilities report.
APPR plan in place. Hardship waiver.
Approves new course Intro to Media, Professional Ethics, Principles of Hospitality and Tourism, AP Capstone classes.
MO inquired about the 120 paid internship hours required of students in the Capstone Program.
Mignella: Partnerships with businesses are arranged and coordinated by the College Board liaison.
SC: The idea is to take our academy program to the next level.
CSEA district will have the civil service list.
KR: Science program. BOCES inquiry-based training. January 16th and 17th.
Important dates: winter concerts School closure for winter break
Next BOE meeting will be January 10, 2018 at 8 at Plaza School
Second comment period no subject restrictions but timed
Theresa Press: Thanked the board and the district for sponsoring students to attend all-state music conference. Benefits of music education. Hoping the district will help support the wind symphony. They were NYS band directors’ association in Syracuse in March. It would be most appreciated by the parents to off-set costs. Providing students with an abundance of co- and extra-curricular activities.
Amita Maraday: Asked about purchasing procedures and expense reimbursement. Will the public be able to review that document? Is it new or has it changed? Looking at the new course. Journalism. Hoping we can get back to the writing. Concerned about how the civil service list from a hiring standpoint as it relates to having a diverse workforce. Focus on veterans and difficulty with transportation. Healthcare is a leading employer on LI.
JP and SC: The documents are public.
Motion to adjourn.
Adjourned at 10:04pm.
Board of Education meeting minutes respectfully submitted by Shani Bruno on December 16, 2017.