Quartley to return after holidays
by Kathleen Duff
At the regular meeting of the Grand Island Board of Education Monday evening at Veronica E. Connor Middle School, board President Tak Nobumoto announced the appointment of Susan Anstett Marston to fill the seat left vacant by the passing of trustee Joan Droit on Oct. 5.
Marston is a 1987 graduate of Grand Island High School and has a first-grader at Charlotte Sidway School. She has served as president of the Sidway PTA and also as treasurer of the PTA Council. Marston's appointment came after the board reviewed letters of interest from the community and had interviewed three finalists for the seat. The appointment extends until spring of 2015 when Droit's term would have ended.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Teresa Lawrence also noted that Grand Island High School Principal Dan Quartley will be returning to work after the holiday break. Quartley has been on medical leave for several weeks. Lawrence commended Cheryl Cardone for filling in as interim principal.
In another agenda item, Assistant Superintendent of School Business Services Joe Giarrizzo and Project Manager Vaughan Maracle told the board that structural steel on the high school technology wing is complete and that masonry work began Monday. Work on the occupational therapy room is beginning shortly with high school auditorium renovations scheduled for mid-March 2014. The professional development suite and senior cafeteria will be opened during the second semester.
In addition, Giarrizzo said that a second round of electrical bids turned out to be lower than anticipated, and as such, additional scope could be added to the capital project. He suggested that some of the extra money could be used on baseball field renovations (backstops), but trustee Lisa Pyc stated she thought the dollars would be better spent on Smart Boards and computers in the elementary schools. The board will further explore the issue at the winter retreat on Jan. 11.
In a related matter, during the public comment part of the agenda, high school science teacher Lee Nowocien asked the board to consider use of unallocated capital project funds for a large greenhouse to be located in the high school courtyard. Nowocien sees use of such a space for fundraising involving sale of plants and vegetables, a greenhouse club and life skills classes.
The board also listened to students from the high school Student Council. Because of behavior at the Homecoming Dance in the fall, the council has announced its backing of the rules for behavior at school dances as outlined in the 2013-14 student/parent handbook. Basically, students would be talked to, warned regarding the rules and then asked to leave a dance when the rules are not obeyed. High school Assistant Principal Michael Lauria said that teachers and administrators also review the rules with students before dances. The entire 2013-14 student/parent handbook is available as a PDF on the district website: www.k12.ginet.org.
In her report to trustees, Lawrence said that there is a district naming committee in place with community member Reg Schopp serving as chairman. The committee is charged with reviewing suggestions for naming additions, rooms, etc., such as the new athletic fields. She also said that she had attended the Dec. 12 public forum with State Education Commissioner John B. King, who reiterated a commitment to the Common Core Learning Standards as an avenue to college and career readiness. He promised the people attending that he would consider allowing English as a Second Language students and students with special needs take their assessments according to their developmental level, i.e. not according to chronological age. For example, a 16-year-old student who is functioning at the level of an 8-year-old would take the testing given to 8-year-old students.