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Springville Board of Education holds first meeting of the school year

SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute Board of Education met Sept. 10 for its first regular meeting of the 2013-2014 school year, at the S-GI High School Library Media Center.

The meeting opened with a focus on some of the more positive developments, within the district.

Eighth grade social studies teacher Drew Beiter was invited to participate in a Sept. 10 Google+ Hangout – a live video conferencing platform for Google+ users – with Secretary of State John Kerry, to discuss US involvement in Syria.

District Superintendent Dr. Paul Connelly commended Beiter and colleague Joe Karb for “spearheading a curriculum for humanities with regard to social studies throughout the state.” Of Beiter, Connelly said, "it's pretty prestigious that one of our teachers was there with the secretary of state.”

Director of Technology and Data Assessment Jo Ann Depue gave a presentation outlining an increase in district graduation rates, up 90.2 percent, from 84.2 percent and high school graduation rates, up 94.8 percent, from 86.7 percent.

According to Depue, top English and language arts and math assessment scores for third through eighth grades were on the rise. Depue said the numbers were deserving of “a big congratulations, and we did cheer that on opening day.”

Chris Cerrone, a parent in the district and Hamburg school district teacher, expressed some concerns with New York State Dept. of Education curriculum modules and student assessments, which the board discussed at length. Cerrone claimed that "the vocabulary we're asking kids to take on" would be "way above their heads."

Connelly responded that the district is "looking at the [curriculum] modules and we're addressing them carefully," and that the district is "waiting to see what [the New York State Dept. of Education] comes up with for now."

Among other matters addressed by the board:

– Stephen Schunk was named as a community member of the district's Audit Committee. The board will consider naming a second community member to the board.

– The board will set a date for a public hearing at its next meeting, regarding tax exemptions for the disabled.

– The board approved a bond resolution for the purchase and financing of school buses and related equipment for use in the transportation department.

– The approval of various fundraising activity requests were passed.

– The board approved a musical instrument lease from Crino music of Dunkirk, and the awarding of a food service contract for the 2013-2014 school year to Sodexo Management Inc.

– The board will draft a letter of support to Erie County Chair of Environmental Planning Maria Whyte, regarding the development of the Springville Scobey Dam as a tourist destination, pending an environmental impact analysis by the Army Corps of Engineers.

– A first reading of changes to the Student Use of Personal Technology policy and district homework policy were passed.

– The district donated desks to Chautauqua Cattaraugus BOCES and two interactive presentation devices to the Nepal School.

An award of a bid to Emerling Chevrolet for the purchase of a new vehicle, for the district's transportation fleet.

The board ended with an executive session to discuss appointments, resignations, leaves of absence and retirements of various personnel.

The next board meeting will be held on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at the S-GI High School Library Media Center.
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