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Lew-Port board talks International Business Academy

by jmaloni
Mon, Sep 26th 2011 09:15 am

by Janet Schultz

The Lewiston Porter Board of Education has taken the school colors to heart and went green at its latest meeting on Tuesday.

Departing from past procedure, each board member, as well as Superintendent Christopher Roser, Assistant Superintendent Don Rappold and District Clerk Elizabeth Bajor, utilized laptops loaded with their board materials. A far cry from the three-ring binders filled with paper, the move is a money saver and environmentally friendly.

Board President Jodee Riordan led off by announcing the board would hold work sessions during each month to better prepare members for their monthly meetings.

"This all comes after the board sat down at a two-session retreat to align their goals with those of the district," said Riordan.

"We want to make the year the best we can," said Riordan. "Our main focus is creating a climate of stability."

Newsmakers included a report from Nicole Alonzo, director of the International Business Academy at Lewiston-Porter High School. Alonzo described what the academy was and how it impacts students.

Now in its second year, 14 students are taking part in a challenging academic environment where they take in-depth looks at international business and finance, Alonzo said. Their course work through the three-year program includes courses in international business, cultural studies, geography and trade, capstone senior English and an internship between their junior and senior year at a local business.

"Each student must also have a personal international experience," explained Alonzo. "This could be traveling to a foreign country, hosting an exchange student or traveling with our exchange students to various places here in the United States."

"They must also maintain a high academic average," said Alonzo. "Parents are an integral part of the support system for students in this program."

"This is the best academic decision I've made in high school," said Sarah DiFiore of her decision to apply. "I've gained great note-taking and time management skills and learned how to speak in public and give presentations."

"I've never seen anything that prepares students to hit the streets running after graduation," said academy advisory member John DiFiore.

"These students are committed," said Christine Schwartz, also a member of the committee and a representative of Niagara University. "They are the type of students most universities are looking for."

"The International Academy is one of the pieces of the puzzle that has made Lew-Port academically strong," said High School Principal Paul Casseri.

Casseri followed that presentation with a report of the Middle States Commission on Secondary Education mid-point review. Lew-Port is the only public high school in the area that is accredited by Middle States. The school received its initial accreditation in 1993 and was reaccredited in 2004. This mid-point review was a self-assessment in which Lew-Port finds itself doing well academically and providing good experiences for its students. Surveys to students and parents provided the quantitative information to come to that conclusion.

"It is unique for a public school to be accredited," said Casseri. "But for Lew-Port it has been a positive experience. It has given us the opportunity to develop an action plan to meet our goals and aim higher."

Roser commended all those who take the time to keep the plan alive and moving forward.

In regular business the board approved the resignations of Art Club advisor Maria Wiepert and media associate Robert Russell.

They approved instructional appointments for Lori Ohanessian, special education; and Anthony Morreale, Lorraine Yaeger and Kristen Hall, long-term substitutes.

Appointed to co- and extra-curricular advisor positions were Jason Lesh, golf; Janet Kwarciak, girls volleyball; Michelle Zachary, elementary music director; Diane Hudson and Kim Wailand, middle school co-advisors to the newspaper; and Kandis Adelizi and Linda Schilk, middle school musical producers.

Each principal reported the school year started with no problems and with much enthusiasm from the students.

Upcoming events include:

•Primary Parents Night on Sept. 28; the beginning of the Parents As Reading Partners program, Sept. 26; and orientation for primary school parent volunteers, Oct. 5.

•The intermediate school will focus on character education this year with its reading program, reflecting the characteristics of individuals such as Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln with regards to tolerance.

•Auditions for the middle school musical are under way and "Great Expectations" is this year's production. A couple of those expectations are responsibility and respect with posters throughout the school reminding students to be responsible and respect others.

•Middle school Principal Karen Cuddy-Miller also announced that the school is using the new QR code technology, which, when used along with an iPad, iPod or smartphone, can take the user directly to the Internet. She explained that, in math a teacher can give a problem, and the student using the QR code would be taken directly to an Internet site with a video demonstration of how to solve a math problem. This is all part of the technology that L-P is introducing to students, parents, faculty and administration.

•Internationalism is growing in the high school as the school prepares for the visit of 10 students from Germany, the return to L-P students from Argentina and prepares for several L-P students to travel to France.

•Spirit Week is scheduled for the first week of October and includes the pep rally, homecoming dance and football game versus Maryvale.

•Rappold announced that Roser is the 2011 recipient of the Niagara University Educational Leader of the Year award. Roser will be honored at a dinner on Oct. 6. Past recipients include Rappold and Casseri.

The board went into executive session at 8:50 p.m. to discuss the history and discipline of an unidentified individual and the financial and credit history of a particular corporation, also unidentified. No action was taken when they returned to adjourn the regular meeting.

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