BOE Meeting – Oct 12, 2021

Board of Education Meeting Minutes (SEEN)
October 12, 2021
Notes taken by Rebecca Lynch

For the fall semester, BOE meetings are rotating through different school buildings. At 6:30 p.m., Trustees took a tour of Division Street Elementary school, and returned to the cafeteria for the public meeting scheduled for 7:00 p.m. View the meeting. Read the Meeting Agenda

7:00 Roll Call – everyone present

7:02 Approval of minutes from last meeting – none to approve

7:02 Acceptance of Tonight’s agenda – passes unanimously

7:04 Public Comment 1

  • AnEm thanks all in attendance and reviews guidelines for public comment
  • Rebecca Lynch: thanks district for hard work with keeping schools open, urges district to continue to implement DEI initiatives per Equity Policy and Regulation, requests district to participate in October 14 Black Lives Matter at School National Day of Action

7:07 Board Committee Reports

  • Property Committee – DK provided update on Legacy Project
  • Policy Committee – NL provided update on policy renewal work (now on 7000 and 8000 policies)

7:10 Student Representative Reports

  • Dorothy Nolan hosted outdoor PBIS event and has been using outdoor classrooms
  • Lake and Division are glad to be back in person 
  • Greenfield learned fire safety and outdoor safety routines with the local fire department
  • Maple Ave had spirit day, are enjoying the NYRA-donated picnic tables, are excited that clubs are back up and running
  • High School had it’s virtual open house, senior class is planning Halloween event, an October newsletter was recently sent out to families

7:14 Superintendent Report

  • Thanks to Dr. Miller and the entire Division St staff for hosting the meeting tonight. Thanks for the tour of the school and to 4th and 5th graders who showcased the ELA program. They visited various classrooms and saw the instructional space and how creative staff has been, and learned about the new reading program/curriculum. Tremendous time has been invested in PD, and it’s wonderful to hear how students are engaged in the reading program and the excitement of taking books home and reading with their parents. 
  • Excitement to be back in person. Officially completed 1 month, credit to teachers and support staff, building admin, and to families. Wonderful success, but continues to present great challenges. Goal is to have kids back in school in a safe and healthy environment. 
    • Our district has 5989 students and close to 1100 employees (as of last Weds)  
    • We have been able to overcome many challenges to welcome students and staff back. Bus drivers, food service staff (preparing free bfast and lunch every day), facilities staff. But, Covid is still prevalent and presents challenges on a daily basis. 
  • Covid Updates
    • This school year so far there have been 61 total cases (students and staff)
  1. each one is handled individually, via contact tracing protocols established by the county. 
  2. There is a ripple effect with quarantines for the community. 
  3. School district maintains records, seating charts, attendance records,and works with county contact tracers who determine quarantine. 
  • 1 week ago – close to 150 students in quarantine. As of today, there are less than 10 students in quarantine as a result of contact tracing. Over the last 2 weeks, we have seen significant progress in reduction in the number of cases. 
  • This year, the majority of cases are at k-5 level (last year, the majority was HS). This is a direct effect of HS students being able to be vaccinated. 
  • We are looking forward to the opportunity for the next age group of students to be vaccinated. 
    • It is the parents’ choice, but additional layers of mitigation are helpful to prevent spread at school. 
    • We want the learning environment to be as safe as possible for our students. 
  • Total number of cases in our district is comparable to surrounding school districts, even though our district is much larger. 
  • Thanks to our families for their patience. We are putting as many mitigation strategies in place as possible. 
    • The number of staff members who have self-reported vaccination status is 84% 
      • in Sept – DOH required all district employees to be either vaccinated or weekly tested. District is going to be working with the county for that testing. They will be utilizing self-admin saliva tests, with results available within 24 hours.
    • We will continue to partner with the county to provide diagnostic testing for students when they are sent to the nurses office with symptoms. Peds are overwhelmed, turnaround time is long, school can provide relief with that, and will be using quadrant tests. 
  • County health dept has been an incredible resource, and we will continue to advocate on behalf of our students, to answer questions and address frustrations. County is listening, within next few days should be able to update community with new protocols that will reduce # of quarantine days and to reduce disruptions to families. Making incredible progress. Moving in the right direction.

7:27 Review of Quarantine Academic Access Plan (Lisa Cutting)

  • Preparing for both academic and social-emotional pieces
  • Pilot of tutoring program for q’ed students – began for 6th grade, ran for 2 weeks, made adjustments in terms of groupings and communication with parents, and used that info to enter into iTutor – for 4+ days of Q
    • Started with K-5 last week, and then added 6-12. Today was day 4, will continue to make adjustments
  • General quarantine information – county DOH determines the quarantine need/length
    • For the first couple days of quarantine, students will be using seesaw/canvas, and then tutoring will kick in. 
    • Teachers will continue to reach out while students are out. Zoom chats, videos, phone calls, etc. required to take attendance
    • For quarantines longer than 3 days, they will enroll students with the contracted company for live online small-group instruction (some kids may be able to get in to live tutoring by the next day – working on making it a faster turnaround – 3 days at the latest). Uses only certified teachers. District has shared curriculum pacing guides so that tutors can reinforce the same skills. Parents will receive an email, phone call, and flyer with info on how iTutor works
    • Support for student with disabilities still needs to be added in
  • Questions –
    • EB – how can students get audio/video recording of class? How can they ask the teacher? LC – can ask teacher directly
    • EB – when do we need quarantined students’ info to get them into iTutor?  LC – by 10am the day before. But it depends on how many students are out at once. MP – county is exploring opportunities for reducing quarantine length, to minimize disruption (for asymptomatic contacts). Hoping to have info in next few days to share out with parents

7:45 Presentation: Maple Ave Middle School Annual Pathways Program Report

  • Scott Singer, Principal
    • Thank you to everyone for having us here tonight. It’s been a wild ride. It’s been a challenge moving from hybrid last year to full in-person this year. Round of applause to admin team and everyone in that building
  • Building goals for 21-22
  • Liz Carroll, Assistant Principal 
    • We have been embracing the “equity of opportunity” pathway. We are increasing the number of students performing at or above grade level. 
      • iReady testing 3 times a year in both reading and math – gives a snapshot of building on building level, classroom level, individual level. 
        • What skills have they mastered, what are they ready to learn, where are there skills deficiencies/gaps that need to be addressed. 
        • Teachers have iReady toolkits with activities that differentiate between abilities/levels. The toolkits help teachers with instructional practices in terms of grouping students, and also help kids individually (each student has an individual learning path that they can access anytime and is tailored to them). 
          • Students who work with it for 45 minutes each week have the most significant gains over the year. They are encouraging students to access those lessons in flex and study hall time, to maximize their growth.
    • They continue to implement culturally responsive instructional practices. They have been working with Anna Munoz, and have looked at bias and microaggressions, and are now working with staff to navigate difficult conversations in the classroom.
    • The faculty is reading “Grading for Equity” – they are all reading it together, going chapter by chapter, to change grading to make sure students are treated fairly and equitably.
  • Amy Totino, Assistant Principal
    • Collaboration –
      • PLTs – subject specific – each teacher has their own set of students. 
      • Academic Teams – core group of teachers, support who work with the same set of students.
    • Academic team training with Berkmeyer Consulting – to make it even more effective
    • Curriculum Renewal – ELA completed last year. SS, math, art, music, PE/Health – all starting or about to start renewal process
    • Tech – continue to improve and integrate tech use with 1-1 devices used as a tool in classrooms. TILT committee – meet and explore best practices with tech, then support other building staff with how to use tools
    • Implementing digital learning standards in computer science and other subjects. Need to have computer literacy skills to succeed. Cybersecurity, keyboarding, collaboration, research, how to search properly, how to use tools productively
  • Tim Harris
    • Community – detailed past and future events that the middle school has been putting on for students and families, including Discover Maple, Parent Forums regarding the new schedule, Zoom Open House
    • Communication – increased social media presence, using Canvas, Counseling Department sends out a Monthly Newsletter, Parent Network, Health office communications. 
  • Scott Singer
    • Personalization – 
      • MTSS – year 1 – instructional support team focus – meet once a month, look at school data, iReady data. Kelly Brock Consultation – create database for IST to share with teachers
      • PBIS committee – revamp with new coordinators – kickoff event last week, major emphasis on Second Step
      • Continue to work with Time/Space committee – needs feedback from entire Maple Ave community – provide PD along the way to teachers, review transitional schedule
      • Legacy Project – need to start planning now for 2027 – multiple classrooms with flexible seating now (grant helped) – we can learn from those, have had great success with 4 resource centers – can combine them together – 7/8 resource centers with brand-new furniture
    • Collaborative Learning – kids and teachers excited to be back, we see collaborative learning taking place
    • Have learned a lot from the pandemic – used a lot of outside space – creative things for project based learning
    • Maple Ave Spirit – looking to introduce school mascot
    • Musical this year will be Shrek
    • Practice-a-Thon – organized by Music dept, raised $ for FCC
    • Grade 8 Moving Up Ceremonies – moved outside last year – huge success – going to continue to have it outside going forward.
    • Maple Ave Sept 11th – moment of silence, Taps played

8:14 Questions

  • AnEm is astounded by the amount of work they’ve been able to get in the year with covid
  • MP – thanks to the Middle School staff for everything. The feedback from students and parents has been great about Discover Maple days.

8:16 Modifications to the Consent Agenda – no modifications, approved unanimously

8:16 Public Comment 2 – no public comments

8:17 Agenda Planning 

  • 10/19 is the first DEIC meeting of the school year
  • Saratoga has been asked by BOCES to help facilitate conversations with the 31 other school districts in our area
    • They are talking about DEI efforts across the state and best practices. It will be an opportunity to reflect back on work done by the board with establishing policy and regulations. They are having the same level of work with professional learning planning committees. It’s great that all surrounding school districts are beginning to have these important conversations, and are using the state framework for culturally responsive learning
  • There is a Board workshop on DEI scheduled for 10/26 from 6-7:30 at the High School
  • Safety presentation tomorrow at 6:30 at the High School – district emergency response team – in-person presentation open for community participation and feedback, will also be streamed on district site. Health and safety, covid protocols, other topics. Not required for board members to participate, more for community members.
  • TK – 11/15 budget development workshop from 7-8:30 – soliciting ideas from board members of topics for that workshop. What do you want to hear about? Email TK and copy JB and AnEm with ideas for topics. MP – same night as committee meetings, can we consolidate meeting times? TK – possible to start earlier
  • AnEm – attending as delegate to NYSSBA for setting agenda for advocacy for next year, meeting is next Monday

8:29 Board Comments

  • NL – recognize incredible amount of work by district, excited about upcoming diagnostic testing, recognizes how much work is being done and so grateful for it
  • AnEm – thanks to Maple Ave team for great presentation and all the work they’re accomplishing and continuing to accomplish. Thanks for Dr. Miller for hosting us tonight.

8:30 Motion to Adjourn

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