Rye City School District ▪ 411 Theodore Fremd Ave Suite 100S, Rye, NY 10580 ▪ (914) 967-6100 

 Board Notes  


2013-2014 Board of Edu
Laura Slack, President ▪ Katy Keohane Glassberg, VP  
Karen Belanger ▪ Edward M. Fox ▪ Nancy Pasquale ▪ Chris Repetto ▪ Nicole Weber

A Summary of the 5/20/14 Rye City School District Board of Education Meeting


Budget Vote and Board of Education Election  
The 2014-15 budget passed with 1,265 yes votes and 535 no votes. Karen Belanger and Blake Jines-Story were elected to the two open Board seats. Board of Education President Laura Slack stated, "On behalf of the Board of Education and Administration, I would like to thank the Rye City School District community for voting in support of our proposed 2014-2015 budget. This budget will enable us to maintain the quality of the educational program that our community has come to value and expect." She congratulated Karen Belanger and Blake Jines-Story for their election to the Board of Education. Karen will begin her second term on July 1, at which time Blake will be sworn in as a new Board of Education member.
Extra Mile Awards  
On behalf of the Board of Education and Administration, Board Vice President Katy Keohane-Glassberg presented Extra Mile Awards to five dedicated and supportive individuals who have gone to great lengths to advocate for Rye's schools and public education in general.

Parents Jennifer Boyle and Mindy Grigg, along with teachers Jennifer Fall, Dayna Reist, and Suzanne Short, went above and beyond in helping many of Rye's residents and educators' voices be heard with regard to important educational matters.

Mrs. Boyle and Mrs. Grigg drafted letters and engaged the community in a letter-writing campaign stressing to elected and appointed officials the issues brought on by the tax cap, Common Core roll-out, and student data privacy. Over 1,000 letters were mailed thanks to their efforts. Mrs. Boyle and Mrs. Grigg also collaborated with District officials in coordinating a forum held at Rye High School in February, titled, "The High Cost of Reform: How New York State Public Education Reform Affects Rye's Students, Parents and District Educationally and Financially." The forum drew over 100 attendees, and Senator George Latimer, Assemblyman Steve Otis, Board of Education Members, Administrators, and staff members discussed various concerns with the educational reforms.

Ms. Fall, Ms. Reist, and Ms. Short comprised a panel of teachers that addressed the major issues with the Common Core curriculum roll-out demands, the Annual Profession Performance Review (APPR) teacher evaluations, and inBloom, the company that had been selected to house student data.
Ms. Fall also testified before the State Commissioner during another forum held earlier in the 2013-14 school year, sharing similar points.

Mrs. Glassberg was pleased to report that, since the advocacy efforts began, there has been some movement by the State. She noted that the State ended its contract with inBloom and also adopted changes to the roll-out of the Common Core, pushing back the timeline of the first graduating class required to pass English and Mathematics Regents Exams of college- and career-ready levels. This is an indication that the State is beginning to listen to those who have spoken out about their concerns.

Mrs. Glassberg expressed sincere appreciation to all five Extra Mile Award recipients, acknowledging each with a certificate and small token of gratitude.
Superintendent's Report 
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Alvarez provided a report to the Board of Education and community highlighting a number of excellent accomplishments earned by both students and staff members. He announced that four Rye Middle School students received perfect scores of 100 on the National Latin Exam. Only 1% of students across the country who took this test earned this level of achievement. He congratulated Sara Brizio, Isabelle Oktay, Nicole Papert, and Francesca Murdoch, along with Latin teacher David Perry.

Additionally, Dr. Alvarez commended students John Arenas, Ross DeMarco, Tess Greenhaw, and Evan Miranda for being nominated to receive Metropolitan High School Theater Awards, also acknowledging their teacher, Thomas Snowden. A round of applause was also given for High School seniors Olivia Iles and Samantha Carter, who were recognized as Valedictorian and Salutatorian at a dinner hosted by the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents.

Dr. Alvarez shared the exciting news that music teacher Dr. Shawn Amdur was presented with a Golden Baton Award from the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra honoring him for 25 years of service. In concluding his report, Dr. Alvarez informed the Board and audience that newly-appointed Midland School Principal Mr. James Boylan visited Midland recently, touring the building and getting to know students and staff members before his role becomes official on July 1.
Gifts to the District    
The Board of Education approved several gifts. The Rye Police Benevolent Association (PBA) generously contributed $19,000 for the refurbishment of the Rye Middle School gym floor, and the Rye Middle School PO donated $8,000 for the refurbishment of the Middle School gym floor. The District extends special thanks to Officer Michael Kenny of the Rye Police and Jamie Jensen and Lucy Cassidy of the Middle School PO for their collaboration on this much-appreciated gift which will benefit students for years to come. The gym floor has not been refinished in decades and an area that sustained water damage years ago which will be replaced as part of the restoration. The work is scheduled to take place over the summer and is expected to be completed by the start of school in September. 
Additionally, the Rye High School Class of 1964 provided $5,000 for a one-time scholarship to be awarded to a 2014 senior. These funds were raised during a 50th reunion celebration. 
Mrs. Slack expressed gratitude to all of the individuals and organizations who continue to support the schools and students of Rye through gifts that make a long-lasting difference in the District.  
With sadness and well-wishes, the Board approved the retirement of Middle School/High School Library Clerk Melissa Mamangakis. Mrs. Mamangakis was appointed to this role in 2001, and has accomplished a great deal in 13 years. She completed numerous jobs and assisted other librarians with responsibilities, initiated and developed the student volunteer program, and helped the library staff adjust to changes in technology. Mrs. Mamangakis has been described by many of her colleagues as being willing to go the extra mile. She has also worked the drama/musical productions and athletic events. Mrs. Slack thanked Ms. Mamangakis for her contributions to the Middle School and High School students and, on behalf of the Board, wished her a happy and healthy retirement.
Gateway Programs   
Director of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services Shirley Klein led a presentation on the Gateway Program, which has been successful at the Middle School level as a special education program designed to provide instruction in both the self-contained and mainstream classrooms. After realizing similar needs exist at the elementary grade level, the District is planning to expand the Gateway Program to grades K-9.

The Gateway Program was initiated at the Middle School three years ago as a way to provide highly supportive and individualized instruction in modified, self-contained classes for part of the day. Students who are recommended by the Committee on Special Education spend three periods each school day with their special education teacher and teaching assistant in a self-contained classroom for direct instruction in English Language Arts (ELA), Reading, and Special Class Learning Center. If needed, they spend one period in a self-contained math class, and for the remainder of the day they are in mainstream social studies and science classes with support from the special education teacher and teaching assistant. Mrs. Klein noted that the instructional program is Common Core-aligned and students in the Gateway Program are Regents-bound.

Mrs. Klein described the profile of students in the Gateway Program as follows:
* Cognitive profiles range from low average to high average abilities.
* Students may require the following related services: speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and counseling.
* Provides the opportunity for students to remain in their District schools in the least restrictive environment and address their academic, linguistic, and social/emotional needs.

Mrs. Klein explained that the expansion of the Gateway Program K-9, which will commence in September 2014, will be accommodated with existing staffing and the minimal classroom re-configuration at Milton Elementary School, which will be completed over the summer through funds that exist within the current school year's budget.

Middle School Principal Dr. Ann Edwards shared her positive feedback with regard to the Gateway Program and the success she has observed in students over the years. Students in the Gateway Program were described as proud learners who made great achievements in their reading and writing through the opportunities and support provided by the program.
Next Regular Meeting
June 10, 2014
8:00 pm 
Rye Middle School    Multipurpose Room

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