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October, 2012

Vol. 2, Issue 2


board members     

Across the Board

         A Publication of WPSBA

 APPR & Local Control

     Whether your district has submitted its teacher  evaluation plan to SED or is still negotiating, board members need to be prepared to communicate the plan and its implications, and be ready for the many decision points along the way.
   Join us on October 11th for "APPR: What Board Members Need to Know... Local Expectations, Implications & Communication Strategies," an inside APPRlook at APPR myths and realities, and what area districts are doing to ensure that their district priorities and culture are not compromised by the APPR  process. Brainstorm with board colleagues on how to set realistic expectations within your own community and develop an ongoing communications plan for both staff and parents. 
   Our panelists are superintendents Jere Hochman (Bedford), Lyn McKay (Chappaqua), Brenda Myers (Valhalla), and Jim Langlois (P/NW BOCES).
     This workshop will be held on Oct.  11th from 7-9 pm at Seven Bridges Middle School, 222 Seven Bridges Road, Chappaqua, NY 10514. It ends just in time to catch the 9 pm Vice Presidential Debate on the drive home!        

To Register, CLICK HERE

In This Issue
- APPR & Local Control
- Strange Bedfellows
- Testing At What Price?
- Roundtable Takeaways
- A Trail of Breadcrumbs
 Carpool, Anyone?
If you're headed to the NYSSBA Convention in Rochester (Oct 25-27), and would like to carpool with another school board member from our area, please CLICK HERE, enter your contact info, and we'll do what we can to put you in touch with each other.

Mandates Make Strange Bedfellows

    Among WPSBA's many joint advocacy efforts is a current collaboration with regional superintendents, PTA, Westchester County Association (business), and Westchester County officials to work towards finding a united voice on key mandate relief issues.   As we enter year two of the tax levy limit without meaningful, immediate mandate relief, the group is concerned that ongoing cuts to programs and staff will jeopardize our ability to ensure a well-educated workforce. Understanding that education is an investment in our future (rather than expenditure to be whittled down), we are honing in on a short list of mandates that divert revenue and/or limit management flexibility on human resources and programming decisions.

    Plans are underway for a fall advocacy initiative to bring attention to the impact of unfunded state mandates on local school and municipal costs, and to show support for maintaining quality public education in our region. 

Testing At What Price?

joint dinner invite 2012


" Years of expertise, research and experience have shown that when standardized tests are misused in education, they can undermine quality teaching and learning, weaken curriculum, reinforce societal inequities, impair student motivation, curtail access to opportunities and unfairly and inaccurately measure students and schools."

 ~ FairTest


   In this era of NCLB, APPR, and Common Core, standardized assessments have taken on a more pivotal role.  But how are these tests impacting our schools and our students?  What is their affect on curriculum and instruction?  How can we join forces to create change? 
    "How standardized testing damages education and what we can do about it,"  is the focus of the 35th Annual Joint Superintendents & Board Dinner on Nov 8th.     Testing and accountability guru Monty Neill, Ed.D., will speak about the impact of testing on our schools and outline a roadmap for change.  Dr. Neill is the Executive Director of FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.  He has led FairTest's work on testing in the public schools since 1987, and currently chairs the national Forum on Educational Accountability.  Dr. Neill has initiated national and state coalitions of education, civil rights, religious, disability and parent organizations to work toward fundamental change in the assessment of students and accountability systems. Under his leadership, FairTest has collaborated on testing reform efforts with organizations in many states. Their Assessment Reform Network - a national project created to support parents, teachers, students and others, works to end the overuse and misuse of standardized testing in public education and to promote authentic forms of assessment. Among dozens of publications, Dr. Neill is lead author of Failing Our Children; Implementing Performance Assessments: A Guide to Classroom School and System Reform; and Testing Our Children: A Report Card on State Assessment Systems.


Thursday, November 8th from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm (6:30 - 7:00 pm reception)

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tarrytown, 455 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Cost: $48 per person for WPSBA Members - Register through your District Clerk

Negotiations Roundtable Takeaways & Trends

     There was plenty to discuss at the September 13th WPSBA Negotiations Roundtable.  Some 40+ members came to listen, gather information, and ask questions as Hendrick Hudson, Tarrytown, Croton-Harmon, Bedford, Briarcliff Manor, and Pleasantville board members, superintendents and attorneys shared recently negotiated contracts.  School attorneys Ron Longo, David Shaw, and Richard Kass also discussed current trends and issues. 


     Key Take-Aways...

  • Transparency - post your contracts on your website.
  • An ongoing, solid relationship leads to a more cooperative collective bargaining experience: it's important to continually have conversations with union leadership.
  • A board needs to be unified and speak with one voice.
  • Board members must understand the current contract, as well as the terms and dollar impact of potential changes.
  • Be strategic: It's best to have a small number of goals. What items are sacred to your school district? Identify the "must have's" and the "would like to have's."
  • Talk about the total cost of the contract.


     ...and Emerging Trends

  • Triborough has become the new ceiling, and most contracts have come in lower.
  • Increase time required to get to the top step (skip step, half-step, off-step).
  • Lane changes require more credits and have limitations on which credits will count.
  • Off-schedule payments.
A Trail of Breadcrumbs...
wpsba web calendar       
We wouldn't want you to end up like Hansel and Gretel -- lost and wandering -- as you make your way to our next program.  That's why our website always provides the address and a map link to help keep you on course.  Just click on the event date on our web calendar (see left panel above), and the program title will pop up.  Click on the program title and you'll end up on the location and map link page (pictured above).  To visit our website, go to
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