by Kathleen Duff
At its Monday evening meeting, the Grand Island Board of Education heard a report from Charlotte Sidway School teachers Alicia Szyprowski, Stephanie Powers and Joanne Johnson on their Reading Recovery program. In its sixth year, Reading Recovery assists first-grade students on a one-to-one basis with their alphabetics, fluency and general reading comprehension. The program accommodates the 20 percent of first-graders who are identified as the lowest performing in these skills.
Sidway touts a national Reading Recovery ranking above the national average of schools that use the program. Eighty-two percent of Reading Recovery students successfully exit the program reading at grade level. The daily program involves intensive one-on-one tutoring by the specially trained teachers.
Regarding capital project planning, Director of Business and Finance Joe Giarrizzo told trustees that the board and administrators should plan for public presentations on the new transportation center on Dec. 1, 5 and 12, with the referendum going to public vote on Dec. 18. Other modes of communication to Grand Island residents will be Facebook, a widely-distributed tri-fold brochure, and lobby boards in the schools - essentially the same vehicles used for the last push on the capital project.
Giarrizzo also detailed the upcoming Grand Island High School auditorium renovations, which are part of the district's $52 million capital project. The architects' list of changes include:
•New sound attenuation
•New doors by the band room
•Storage stage right
•Power infrastructure changes
•New sound board
•Leveling the "dip" in the presidium (stage)
•LED house lights
"The front half (of the auditorium) will have a lot of work," Giarrizzo stated. In addition, he told trustees that the Connor Middle School Little Theater is not a good option to replace the professional development space, which will be lost to new occupational and physical therapy spaces at the high school. Administrators will continue to work with architects to find a different area for teachers and staff to do their ongoing training.
In other business, trustees tabled approval of iPad purchases for the Board of Education. Board member Tak Nobumoto recommended purchasing a 3g service package for the iPads as use of Wi-Fi is spotty in district buildings. Huth Road School Principal Kerri Nowak did not see the need to spend the funds on 3g service. The board will further discuss the matter at its Oct. 29 meeting.
Miscellaneous items brought to the board's attention were:
•Charlotte Sidway School received money from an anonymous donor which will cover students' farm field trip in the spring.
•High school students and teachers will meet with the Niagara Sunday Flyers to discuss how the radio-controlled aircraft club will interface with the technology curriculum.
•The board approved a sabbatical leave for high school assistant administrator Andres Arroyo.
The next meeting of the Grand Island Board of Education is a joint meeting with the Grand Island Town Board on Monday, Oct. 29, in the senior cafeteria at the high school.