by Janet Schultz
Lewiston-Porter Superintendent Christopher Roser made a surprise announcement to the Board of Education Tuesday, when he announced Ashli Dreher was selected as the 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year.
Dreher is a high school special education teacher and has been teaching in the Lew-Port district for 15 years. She is the first teacher in the district to earn National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards, one of teaching's highest honors.
"Ashli has built our program and she lives her profession," said Roser. Dreher was unable to attend the board meeting for she was in Albany accepting her award.
At the session, the Board of Education was presented with architectural renderings of what the new entrance to the high school and physical education facility will look like in the future.
The capital project will be submitted to the New York State Education Department later this fall.
The entry, a glass-enclosed two-story structure, will provide a secure entrance right next to the main office. The structure also includes shades on the outside that will reflect the sun in the summer and let the sun enter in the winter making the entryway energy efficient, said Steve DiMatteo of architectural firm Gordon W. Jones Associates.
Next, Primary Education Center Principal Tamara Larson introduced the new trimester standards based report card that will be implemented this year in grades K through 3.
The report card reflects the changes in curriculum and focuses on the common core standards.
Parents will notice significant changes from the A, B, C model of grading to a 1, 2, 3 system, which reflects the student's actual progress in learning.
This new grading system clarifies the standards, assesses performance against a specific and observable set of skills, doesn't compare one student to another, reduces paperwork and is an end-of-the year report.
"We are asking the kids to think more deeply than ever before," said Suzanne Hedemann, a teacher who worked on the committee that created the report card.
"Not only do they have to know what 3 plus 2 is; they have to know how they got there," she continued.
The numeric system of grading sets 1 as emerging; 2, developing; 3, proficient; 4, exemplary and a 0 is not assessed at this time.
"Most children will get a 2 at the beginning of the year, and as we assess throughout the year move, hopefully, upward," Hedemann said.
Each subject has a listing of assessments that will be graded using the numeric system and each subject will have a common assessment being "Student sustains attention and perseveres throughout the tasks."
"Letter grades do not show a student's performance as required by state and local expectations," Hedemann went on.
Lew-Port parents will have the grading system and report card explained to them at an upcoming PTA meeting.
One significant change is that now there would be only three grading periods; the first isn't until December with parent conferences being held at that time. The second grading period ends in mid-March and the final report is at the end of the school year.
In other business:
•The board appointed Amy Carrasquillo, senior class co-adviser; Falynn Spinnegan, middle school yearbook adviser; Claire Marshall, middle school activity club/student council adviser; Joy Khatib and Heidi Topolski, elementary K-Kids adviser; and Kayla Lepper, cheerleading coach.
•The board accepted the resignations of Linda D'Anna and Amy Townsend from the positions of high school historical society advisers and appointed Joseph Lauzonis to that position.
•Appointed to co- and extra-curricular appointments for this academic year were Crystal Thomas, senior class co-adviser; Tyler Seelbinder, set construction; Dana Thompson, middle school yearbook assistant; Mark Rivard, middle school "Future City"; and Josh Milovich, elementary art club.
High school Principal Paul Casseri reported Mandarin Chinese is being taught in the elementary, primary and high school, and a class will be introduced in the intermediate school shortly. In addition students from Germany are currently attending the high school and a group from France will be arriving next week for a weeklong exchange.
District resident Ann Johnson spoke to the board about the reduction in hours for the athletic trainer, requesting the board rethink that action in light of the number of injuries that occur in athletics and need for the trainer to be present at games and during the week for assessments of injuries.
Johnson told the board she and others would come up with the resources to pay the trainer in order to maintain the 30 hours a week he was needed.
Roser explained the BOE and Lew-Port administration are currently negotiating with Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center to enhance the trainer's services.
•Board member Keith Fox announced that state senators George Maziarz and Tim Kennedy will host a summit on Oct. 2 at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo regarding smart reform and the future of our schools. (Editor's note: Information can be found on Kennedy's website at http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/kennedy-ryan-announce-upcoming-summit-smarter-schools-first-step-pursuit-smarter-schoo).
•The middle school open house is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m.
•Spirit Week begins Monday, Oct. 7.
•The Moon Festival Celebration at the high school will be Monday, Sept. 23, at 1:30 p.m. with performances by the Capital Normal University of Beijing, China.
•Lewiston-Porter Distinguished Alumni will be honored Thursday, Oct. 10, at 10 a.m.
•The next Board of Education meeting will be on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 6:30 p.m.