Friday, October 16, 2009

Middle School Programs Reviewed

Dr. Barry Richelsoph, Principal, presented an overview of Bronxville Middle School programs and services at the October Board of Education meeting. The second in a series of school reviews connected to the budget process, the presentation covered academic programs, advisories and grade level teams, co-curricular opportunities, and community partnerships. (The Elementary School review occurred in September, and the High School and District presentations are scheduled for the November and December Board meetings, respectively.)

Drop by Drop You Make a River

On Monday, November 9 the Bronxville School is hosting a School-Family Partnership workshop from 7:00 to 8:30 PM in the auditorium. "One person can make a difference" is the organizing theme of the evening, based on the book Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson. Mortenson's book describes his vision, setbacks, and success in building schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A panel of student speakers, moderated by Dr. Viji George, President of Concordia College, will use the book as a springboard for discussing their own experiences in service projects across the world. The evening, aimed at secondary school students and their parents, is part of a broader global education initiative, linked to a number of related activities throughout the school year. At the Elementary School students will read Listen to the Wind, a picture book version of Three Cups of Tea, and the High School Student Faculty Legislature is planning its third annual special event exploring global problems.

Board Affirms District Goals

Taking a multi-year perspective, the Bronxville Board of Education approved three District goals at last night's meeting:
  • Conduct a comprehensive budget review that minimizes taxpayer expense. Budget options resulting in flat and lower taxes will be considered. This year’s budget process will include comparisons of Bronxville’s per pupil costs and an analysis of staffing levels and key programs and services at each school and the district.
  • Continue the three-year program development plans for global education and 21st Century skills, integrating technology, and knowing and engaging students.
  • Update the Long Range Facilities Plan.
In adopting these goals, the Board explicitly placed the highest priority on managing finances and containing costs in the school budget, but all three goals continue work that began last year - the three professional development strands, a more comprehensive budget review, and completing the post-flood restoration and recovery projects.

Activities related to the financial goals include concluding a Board/BTA study of health costs and benefits; completing negotiations with custodians, teachers, clerical staff, teacher’s aides and teaching assistants; pursuing resolution of outstanding construction litigation; and revising financial reporting formats. Activities related to the curriculum and instruction goals include updating the K-12 technology curriculum; designing and implementing student projects that reflect global awareness, critical thinking and problem solving, and technology as an essential tool for learning;expanding teacher access to student data as part of an evidence-based approach to improving learning results; forming a Board study group to identify “best practices” for board processes related to curriculum and instruction; and completing Tri-States evaluation of science curriculum.

Please Note Change in School Calendar

Because of a change in the New York testing calendar, Bronxville needs to change the date of the April Conference Day. The original school calendar called for Monday, April 26, 2010 as a no school day for students. However, this past July the New York State Education Department announced a change in testing dates, moving the testing period from March to late April, thus conflicting with our Conference Day. We must now use April 26 as a testing date to comply with the state schedule. As a result the Bronxville Board of Education has moved the Conference day from Monday, April 26 to Friday, April 30. There will be no school for students that Friday.

The revised calendar can be found here.