by Kathleen Duff
At its Monday evening meeting, the Grand Island Board of Education recognized the service of two departing trustees: Emily Ciraolo and Tak Nobumoto.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Teresa Lawrence thanked Ciraolo and Nobumoto for their service. Ciraolo has been responsible for creating and helping maintain the district's Facebook page. Nobumoto has served as board president after a tenure as vice president. Nobumoto finished fourth out of four candidates up for election to three seats last month. Known for his insightful questions and orderly running of meetings, he will serve until a new president is elected in July at the board's annual reorganizational meeting.
In other business, trustees received an update from Kevin Donahue on the district's capital improvement project. Donahue said that the project's "budget tracking is favorable" although field conditions are not always what was originally anticipated. The high school is under full construction with the STEM addition on Ransom Road getting substantial interior work this week. In back of the high school, the athletic field's "synthetic grass will be coming next week," Donahue indicated.
At Charlotte Sidway Elementary School, workers are renovating the front office. Administrators and construction management continue to wait for State Education Department approval on the new transportation center, which will be located behind Sidway. Donahue said the project is in the SED queue, but approval is "out of our control." Further, he indicated that if approval came soon, constructing the shell of the bus garage is "still very achievable" before winter.
In other business, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Karen Cuddy-Miller presented results from the recent universal pre-K selection of 4-year-olds whose parents have submitted applications for this fall's program. Running at Sidway School and Care-a-Lot Child Care Center, the program goes through the entire 180-day school year and is free of charge.
To arrive at the final 43 pre-schoolers, administrators held a live random drawing from the more than 60 applicants. They sent letters to parents of those children, informing them of the selection and giving them the opportunity to accept the spots. Children not selected are put on a waiting list. The drawing was live this year to keep it transparent, and it will continue to evolve in subsequent years to maintain student privacy and to keep drawing as fair and open as possible.
In another agenda item, trustees looked at the online application for district employment. Prospective candidates submit their materials through the Western New York Regional Information Center website. Board member Donna Tomkins had recently inquired about how the district goes about hiring new staff and wanted Grand Island High School graduates to get a thorough vetting if their applications came through the system. Lawrence said she would present the board with a narrative of the steps a teacher applicant tracks through in the hiring process.
Finally, Lawrence announced that Assistant High School Principal Michael Lauria will leave his position effective June 30 to take the position of principal at Silver Creek High School. The opening will be posted in July with the hope to have a new assistant principal in place by the fall.