Thursday, November 17, 2011

Board supports Middle School, encourages broader range of HS electives

At the November Board meeting, Superintendent David Quattrone summarized the results of two long-range planning workshops held this fall.  One question concerned the cost/benefit of consolidating schools: Would consolidating the district into two schools yield significant cost savings without impairing educational quality?

The Board has reached a consensus that the answer is no. The typical savings that come from a school consolidation -- closing a building -- do not apply in Bronxville.In addition, administrative savings would also be relatively small. Whatever the grade configuration, the District needs to have in place the leadership and management resources needed to fulfill the increasing demands of teacher supervision and evaluation, student development, and parent communication and involvement. The marginal savings accrued by consolidation would be offset by the negative impact on other goals and objectives.

In affirming the continuing value of programs and services aimed at the specific academic and developmental needs of early adolescents, the Board also reinforced the importance of using advisory programs and grade level teams to advance the social development goals established by the Board, including extending the Elementary Character Counts program to the Middle School years. With Middle School off the table as a possible budget reduction, the way is cleared for more attention to this kind of program improvement.  In the public commentary section of the Board meeting, BTA President and Middle School teacher David Katz thanked the Board for its support.

The Board also expressed interest in broadening and enriching the High School curriculum. Earlier in the fall Terry Barton, Principal, spoke about unmet interests and potential new courses, such as television production. At the November meeting David Brashear also cited the absence of computer science and programming courses, and Denise Tormey expressed her hope that any new electives would benefit the maximum number of students. Mr. Barton will present the 2012-13 Course of Study Guide for review at the December meeting.