You May Suggest …Now

After one month hiatus, the Malverne UFSD BOE held its meeting in public on January 13th. Certificates of recognition were awarded to athletes representing the district schools in various disciplines, followed by the music awards. Mr. Gilhuley, HT Herber middle school principal, presented the progress on the “K-12 SAT success”, program the district introduced last year. The presentation is available on the district’s website. The BOE approved an employee termination after a disciplinary hearing, hired a new employee. MTA’s grievance was denied. The 2015-2016 school district calendar was approved. $65K was transferred from the private school tuition to public school tuition accounts. Several contracts with other school districts were signed and a test prep company was retained for January through March. Wildcats donated a fridge and microwave for the Food shack.

Mr. Colaitis, Assistant Superintendent for District Operations, together with Mr. Caputo, Business Administrator, presented Capital Improvements during the tenure of this administration in contrast with the previous administration. Students can certainly appreciate the remodeled premises. The presentation is informative, accompanied by pictures, and is also available on the district’s website. Starting next month, during the budget review sessions, residents will be able to assess how the budget surplus is balanced between capital expenditures and instruction.

Mrs Ricca, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Educational Services, recapitulated her impressions from the district-wide parent academy that was held in the H.T. Herber auditorium on January 8th. The academy was entitled iMalverne and used a tagline “coffee, cake, and common core.” The same line was used for a parent academy held last year. Then, it successfully attracted around 80–100 residents. After one year experience with common core homework, some parents could be hesitant to dedicate their leisure time to—more common core.

At the end of her speech, Mrs. Ricca asked the attendees to fill out a form with suggestions what they would like to hear at a parent academy. Given three parent academies already took place (two of them on a time borrowed from the PTA), asking an audience of around 6 (not counting SD employees, PR, and media) to suggest what they actually might want to hear could hardly be considered as a genuine effort to engage the community. Especially, when five more academies are already set for the months to come. One would expect a request for community input at the beginning of the school year, included in the welcoming folder, posted on the website, and reminded by the phone.

On the other hand, parents should not hesitate to pick up the phone and suggest what they want to hear about. Understandably, it will be difficult to “convince” 100 parents to learn about a single topic. The lecture style is out and working in small groups is in. A great example of community engagement was the Farmingdale SD event in October of 2014, documented here.

Similarly, the Bay Shore SD staff in cooperation with the Parent Faculty Association (equivalent of the PTA) organized a workshop conference on Saturday, January 24. Despite the snowfall the night before that created a 3 in. coat of snow on the roads, 100–120 attendees gathered at 8:30 in the morning to choose from the program and dispersed in groups. (Enlarge picture to see the program.)

What topics of the two mentioned events would you be interested in? Or a different topic?



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