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Nov - Dec, 2012

Vol. 2, Issue 3

pumpkin pie       

WPSBA wishes you and your family

A Happy and Ful"filling" Thanksgiving!   

The Silver Lining

     "Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation."    - Brian Tracy
 
There's always so much to be done, that we sometimes tend to focus on what has yet to be accomplished.  But since it is Thanksgiving, we thought we'd share a few things we're grateful for this year:
  • The use of lever voting machines in school districts elections was extended for two more years thanks to your enthusiastic letter writing campaign to our legislators.
  • Districts across our region rallied with resolutions and data, and Governor Cuomo vetoed the special education cultural considerations legislation.
  • WPSBA continues to be supported by you, with 100% of our districts as members!  Thanks to all who endorse our efforts through your board representation at our programs and involvement in our advocacy effort.
  • Our boards, administrators and district staff rallied to get their facilities open despite Hurricane Sandy power outages and downed trees, and our students are all safely back in their classrooms.
  • We get to work in support of public education and the future of our children. It gets no better than that.
In This Issue
- The Silver Lining
- WPSBA on the Road
- On the Calendar
- Neither Rain, Nor Sleet...
- View from the Soapbox
- Souce of Sharing
 WPSBA on the Road
     Lisa participated on the Westchester-East Putnam Region PTA's Advocacy Night panel.  She focused on recent WPSBA and school board actions and what PTA's and community groups can do to advocate for mandate relief, local control, and  reform issues.
     Lisa also spoke at a Best4NY program in Oct. and discussed the impact of state mandates. 
     "Understanding How School Boards Operate" is the topic of Lisa's upcoming panel at the Westchester Women's Bar Assoc. on Dec. 3rd.

Post-Thanksgiving Calendar:

WPSBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

Thursday, November 29 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Mildred E. Strang Middle School, 2701 Crompond Road in Yorktown Heights

Open to All WPSBA Members

To register to attend, CLICK HERE

 

LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY MEETING

Thursday, November 29 from 8:00pm - 9:30 pm

Mildred E. Strang Middle School, 2701 Crompond Road in Yorktown Heights

To register to attend, CLICK HERE

 

Now that the elections are behind us, it's time to gather our thoughts and set our regional legislative priorities and plan of action for the year.  And we NEED your input and participation. Come represent your district and help us shape a truly regional set of goals at our upcoming Legislative Advocacy Committee.  In addition to setting goals and developing a strategy, we'll also be discussing endorsement of the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing, and how best to partner with regional groups to deliver a solid and focused message. To see event flyer, CLICK HERE.


BREAKFAST & NETWORK"Budgeting Under the Tax Cap: Year 2" 

Friday, December 7th from 8:00 am- 9:45 am 

SW BOCES Career Services Campus (building "i" ), 65 Grasslands Road in Valhalla

The cost is $15 per person and includes breakfast.

Fee event.  Please register through your District Clerk by Mon. Dec 3rd 

 

Come share your ideas and gather new ones as we move through two table discussion sessions on topic choices such as: Weighing a Tax Levy Limit Override; The Ripple Effect of the TRS Increase; New Sources of Revenue; and Planning for the Next Round of Cuts. To see event flyer, CLICK HERE.
Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Nor'easter...

 

White Plains Superintendent Chris Clouet and BOE VP Charlie Norris at Joint Dinner

    Despite Hurricane Sandy and the mighty Nor'easter, this year's Joint Superintendent/Board Dinner went on as scheduled and was quite a success.  Over 140 school board members and superintendents from Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Rockland Counties braved the elements to come hear Dr. Monty Neill, Executive Director of FairTest.

  Dr. Neill framed the high stakes testing issue, highlighted alternatives and suggested several action steps.
     As he so aptly stated, one size fits all really means that one size fits YOU!  Here's how we can leverage his comments to advocate for change.

  • It is critical that we keep up the pressure from the bottom up- every public school community should get involved and have their voice heard. School districts need to educate their publics on this issue.  Links to websites, articles and research are posted on the WPSBA website, and we encourage you to send additional links to share on our website.
  • Endorse both the National High Stakes Testing Resolution and the local resolution that WPSBA will be posting next week.  The National Resolution started in Texas where 88% of the school boards have already approved resolutions.
  • Consider allowing students to opt-out of the high stakes tests without repercussions and/or send the message that it's ok for teachers  to NOT teach to the test.
  • Get students to speak out about how high stakes testing is affecting their education and their stress levels, and ask high school students to suggest how THEY think students should be evaluated.
  • Bring in researchers and research (this work is currently being addressed by our superintendents through the LHCSS). Legislative and regulatory decisions have been made without research, or in spite of what the research indicates.
  • Gather evidence from classrooms and share examples of student portfolio work, highlighting the value of the rich, deep thinking they show versus standardized test scores.

Our thanks to our event co-sponsors: Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents; Rockland County School Boards Association; and the Dutchess County School Boards Association.

The View from the Soapbox  - Lisa Davis, WPSBA Executive Director

     Allow me to step onto my soapbox for just a moment... Education is an investment in our children's future, and in our collective future.  Yet beyond the rhetoric of its importance, the State seems to view it as an expenditure that must be reduced and that must comply with a state-imposed limit. The voices of taxpayers and voters count, and are counted. (Wasn't that the rationale for bringing us the ill-conceived tax levy limit legislation?) So how can we leverage that to impact the future of public education?
 
Boards of Education have an advocacy role to play.  They must:

- Publicly discuss education issues at meetings. 

- Discuss and vote on school board resolutions.
- Send letters to public officials.
- Promote public awareness & community engagement.
- Bring issues to the attention of the community but NOT influence people's opinions/vote.
- Provide specific facts and district data.
- Encourage the community to contact their legislators.
- Remember that community-based advocacy activities are the key to having an impact.
Source of Sharing
MOA        
What better way to learn, than through each other.  Did you know that you can view recent MOA's on the WPSBA website?  Well, it's true.  Just click on the "School District Info" tab and scroll down to "Contract Negotiations/MOA's".  It's as simple as that.  If you have a recently settled MOA or contract you'd like to share, please send it to info@wpsba.org
 
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