Important Conversations at Community Budget Forum

 

At the November 3 Spackenkill Schools Community Budget Forum,  residents and employees shared their thoughts, comments, and possible solutions to the fiscal and practical challenges facing the district.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lois Powell  welcomed the participants and thanked them for sharing their expertise. School Business Manager Michele Moloney followed with a presentation highlighting the results of the May 2014 Budget Exit Survey (VIEW PDF).

Participants had the chance to engage in small group discussions led by neutral facilitators. Many issues were discussed, including the value of non-mandated academic, extra-curricular, and athletics programs and the importance of utilizing technology in the classroom. Some groups debated the importance of student support services and professional development, while others brainstormed about alternative funding sources.

CLICK HERE to read the feedback from the forum. It will be used to guide the Board of Education as it begins the 2015-2016 budget formation process.

All are welcome to join the conversations at the next Community Budget Forum scheduled for Monday, February 9, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. in the Todd Middle School Dining Hall. For more information, please contact District Clerk Nancy Melilli at nancy.melilli@spackenkillschools.org

The community is welcome and always encouraged to attend. For information about any BOE meeting presentations, please visit the BoardDocs section of this website, which is located under the Board of Education drop-down menu, or CLICK HERE.

Toys for Tots to Run Until Dec. 12

It’s that time of year again and everyone is getting into the holiday spirit. This year the Spackenkill Teachers’ Association is sponsoring a Toys for Tots drive, which will brighten the holidays for thousands of  children in Dutchess County. Click here to read flyer

SHS Honored by State Education Department

Congratulations to Spackenkill High School staff and students for being named a Reward School by Commissioner John King and the Board of Regents. The school has received a certificate  recognizing it for being among New York State Schools that have the highest performance with no significant gaps in student achievement.

CLICK HERE to read a letter from Assistant Commissioner Ira Schwartz and view certificate.

Keep Kids Safe from Enterovirus & Seasonal Flu


 

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has issued an advisory related to enterovirus EV-D68; a serious respiratory illness that has been confirmed in over a dozen children in New York State.  This virus can cause severe respiratory illness in children, especially those with asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions, sometimes resulting in hospitalization. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), school-age children are most likely to get infected with such enteroviruses and become ill because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to these viruses. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) would therefore like to provide the following guidance.

According to the NYSDOH, the EV-D68 virus is transmitted through close contact with a person who is already infected, and/or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or eyes. There is no specific treatment or anti-viral medications available, but aligned with the NYSDOH’s guidance, NYSED is requesting all school employees to enact and follow the prevention efforts noted below, which are essential in minimizing spread of the virus as well as preventing the spread of influenza (seasonal flu):

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching of eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Symptoms of illness may include any of the following:  fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body aches.  If you or your child is experiencing these symptoms, follow up with your health care provider.  As always, if you or your child is symptomatic, stay home. CLICK HERE to visit the CDC website.

CLICK HERE to read about precautions for preventing the spread of seasonal flu.

More Headline News

Community Input Sought on 2000 Series Policies

The Spackenkill administration and Board of Education are currently reviewing policies in the 2000 series, Administration. Feedback is welcome. To access the policies, CLICK HERE.


Dutchess County Organizes Candy Exchange for Troops

Donate your Halloween candy for a good cause. CLICK HERE to visit the county website and learn more.


Combat Heroin Campaign Launched

CLICK HERE to read a letter from the New York State Education Department regarding the alarming rise in heroin and opioid abuse. CLiCK HERE to visit NY state's Combat Heroin campaign website.


Design Changes for SAT

In March 2014, the College Board announced significant changes to the design of the SAT.  CLICK HERE to read a letter from NYSED about the focus of the changes.


New Nutrition Standards for 2014-2015 School Year

Spackenkill's Food Service Department continues to strengthen its efforts to provide the best possible nutrition for kids. CLICK HERE to read about new standards for the 2014-2015 school year.


SUFSD Applies for Baldrige Award

The Spackenkill School District has applied for the state-level Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award, which recognizes organizations for achieving performance excellence. A site visit from a team of Baldrige examiners will take place in the fall. Please stay tuned for details. CLICK HERE to read the application.


NYSED Memo on APPR Assessments

Following, please find a memo we received from the New York State Department of Education (NYSED ) regarding what it deems “unnecessary APPR assessments.” In regard to Task 1, several of the middle school and high school subjects that are identified as administering pre-assessments do not do so.  Some subjects/courses that did administer pre-assessments last year have eliminated them for next year.

In regard to Tasks 2 and 3, the APPR requirements are very complicated at the secondary level.  Many of the assessments listed in the following memo exist in the event that they are needed, but many of them may never actually be administered.   Additionally, the local Student Learning Objective (SLO) and the assessment used for it need to be negotiated with each individual teacher; many teachers are, rightfully so, concerned about using the same exam for both the 20% state score and the 20% local score of their evaluations.   For one test to comprise 40% of a person’s evaluation is not reasonable.  For similar reasons, teachers are reluctant to be assigned scores based on tests administered in subject areas they do not teach (such as a health teacher being evaluated  based on an English assessment). 

CLICK HERE to read the NYSED memo.

CLICK HERE to read an updated list of APPR pre- and post-assessments for the 2014-2015 school-year.


Parents' Bill of Rights

The purpose of the Parents’ Bill of Rights is to inform parents of the legal requirements regarding privacy, security and use of student data . CLICK HERE to read the document.


Property Tax Freeze Credit

The Property Tax Freeze Credit is a two-year tax relief program that reimburses qualifying New York State homeowners for increases in local property taxes on their primary residences. SUFSD is in compliance for year 1. Taxpayers will be entitled to a refund from the state in the fall of 2014. CLICK HERE for more information.


Change in Immunization Requirements

The New York State Department of Health has adjusted the requirements for immunizations effective July 1, 2014. CLICK HERE to read about the new requirements.


State of the District

On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, Dr. Powell presented the State of the District Report.

CLICK HERE to read the document..


Parent Feedback Welcome

Parents recently received a letter in the mail dated May 16, 2014, asking for feedback about the district. The letter and the feedback form are posted below.

CLICK HERE for feedback letter.
CLICK HERE for feedback form.


New Service of Dutchess County HELPLINE

The Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene has expanded its 24-hour HELPLINE service to include texting.   Dutchess TEXTS is designed as an alternate way to access mental health assistance since many people, particularly young adults and teenagers, often prefer to text rather than talk on the phone.    Young people can access support services by texting “DMH” to 741 741 READ MORE...


SUFSD Board of Education Approves Resolution

At the April 22 Board of Education meeting, the Testing, Common Core, and Privacy Resolution was approved.

                                                         CLiCK HERE to read the resolution.


Consequences of Objections to Standardized Testing

Read an article by the New York State Association of School Attorneys regarding standardized testing and the consequences for school districts when students refuse to take state assessments.

                                                          CLICK HERE to read the article.


Curriculum Update

The Spackenkill Union Free School District will begin the process of developing and revising grade-level and subject-area curriculum maps.

CLICK HERE to read a letter from the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and PPS.


Spackenkill Rates High for Financial Stability

The state Office of Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report on the financial stability of school districts in New York. Spackenkill ranked 643 out of 674 districts, in the top 5% statewide. SUFSD also has the best financial stability among school districts in Dutchess County. VIEW A CHART OF COMPARSIONS.  

Additional information can be found at the NYS Comptroller's website.

READ A MESSAGE FROM NYS COMPTROLLER (1/21/14)

New York state schools' financial ratings: Look up, compare school districts (1/16/14, The Post-Standard)


NYS 2014-2015 Legislative Changes Regarding Common Core and Student Privacy

The New York State Legislature recently passed its 2014-2015 budget, which contains provisions impacting our district and students. The new legislation features a number of changes with regard to the implementation of the Common Core and student data privacy. We have outlined the key provisions, which are effective as of April 1, 2014 (unless otherwise noted), as follows. READ MORE.


BOE Approves Veterans' Exemption

At the February 25 Board meeting, a partial exemption from school taxes for veterans was approved by the Spackenkill Board of Education.   Military veterans may receive an exemption based upon their type and time of service.  The default exemptions were approved for Spackenkill veterans. READ MORE


                                             

Food Service Account Allows Parents to Manage Food Choices

If your child has a dietary restriction or allergy that you would like listed on their NutriKids/MySchoolBucks account or if you wish to limit or block the purchase of a specific food item, please contact the Spackenkill Food Service Department at 463-7836 or lisa.french@spackenkillschools.org.
CLICK HERE for the School Lunch web section


BOE Welcomes Feedback on Policies: 9000 Series

The Spackenkill Board of Education is currently reviewing the 9000 policy series. This series includes the arrangements for meeting procedures, duties of officers, quorum, terms of office of members, and the like. Feedback is welcome. Policies on BoardDocs


UPDATE: EngageNY Portal Parent Fact Sheet

The EngageNY Portal provides educators, parents, and students with access to educational data, curriculum and instructional resources. The updated document includes responses to additional questions raised over the past few weeks in addition to a short summary of the data security and privacy protections in place for the EngageNY Portal. Additional information about the Portal can be found at www.engageny.org/portal.

READ the Parent Fact Sheet (PDF) | EngageNY Portal Data Dictionary (PDF)


NYSED Commissioner John King Vies for Fewer Standardized Tests

READ the press release at http://usny.nysed.gov/docs/teaching-is-the-core.pdf

New York State Seeks to Scale Back Student Testing (10/25/13 - NY Times)


Fair Funding Rally Advocacy Event Focused on Fiscal Crisis in Education

About 500 community members from more than 25 school districts in the Hudson Valley came together on October 2 to learn about the fiscal crisis facing their schools and to find out what they can do about it. VIEW the VIDEO


New Shared Decision-Making Council Created

As a way for all stakeholders of the Spackenkill School District to have a voice about issues, a new council was created. The District Council will meet quarterly throughout the school year. MORE

 

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