POTSDAM – The Potsdam Central School Board of Education has granted Joann Chambers tenure as principal of the high school, and has appointed five teachers and one cafeteria employee in recent meetings, according to board member Ann Carvill.
While not speaking for the board, Carvill has summarized two recent meetings, as follows:
At the 9/14 meeting of the board:
• The board welcomed new employees – Emily Brouwer, AAK French teacher; Angelique Santimaw, Catherine Frick, and Emily McCabe, LAE teachers; Jillian Battaglia, HS physical education teacher; and Marcia Macey, LAE cafeteria monitor.
• The board granted Mrs. Joann Chambers tenure as HS principal. Congratulations to her on this accomplishment.
• There was a discussion about the use and proposed use of surveillance cameras in the school district. Mary Ashley Carroll, chairperson of the Buildings/Grounds/Transportation Committee, asked for input from board members so the topic could be discussed in committee and brought back to the full BOE.
• Gov. Patterson has signed anti-bullying legislation and schools are awaiting regulations from the SED.
At the 9/28 meeting of the board:
• AUDIT: External Audit: The results of the annual audit of the school district were presented by Chip Clark from D’Arcangelo and Co. LLP. He presented a clean opinion noting that the district is in good fiscal health. The financial statements and controls are solid. The PCSD undesignated fund balance is at 5% - though the threshold is 4%. These extra funds will undoubtedly help as we head into a very tough budget building process for the 2011-12 year. A copy of the full audit or the executive summary of audit is available for the public. Thanks to Supt. Brady and Business Manager. Laura Hart, for their competent oversight of the district’s finances.
• SDM: The Program and Policy Committee (Ann Carvill and Mark Frascatore) called for the formation of a district-wide committee to do a review of the district’s Shared Decision Making Plan. Mr. Brady will convene the committee - whose members will advise the BOE on possible revisions to the plan and who will submit a review of the exiting plan to SED.
• CAMERAS: Regarding surveillance cameras, the board engaged in a spirited discussion about the possible expansion in the use of surveillance cameras inside the schools. The board supports the use of the cameras now in place on the outside of the buildings, at computer labs, and at building entrances - for student and employee safety and to protect the public’s assets. However, among the central questions discussed regarding expanding the use of cameras inside the buildings were:
• Will expanding the use of surveillance cameras will lead to invasion of privacy issues?
• Will cameras be placed for one purpose and used for another?
• Will a cost-benefit analysis show that such cameras are needed? Affordable?
• Will there be a negative impact on student/employee morale?
• Will signs be placed so people know they are under surveillance?
Dr. Turbett, Mary Ashley Carroll, and Mrs. Carvill expressed concerns about and opposition to the expanded use of cameras inside the buildings.
The majority of the BOE decided that use of cameras should be driven by well-thought-out policy and with input from various groups (parents, students, teachers, etc.) The Program & Policy Committee will discuss this topic at its 10/29 meeting.
NYS Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Exam Scores for 2009-10: Mr. Cruikshank, AAK principal, and Mr. Jenne, LAE principal, discussed the test results. Because the Commissioner of Education, supported by the Board of Regents, raised the scores needed to reach a proficiency level, schools across the state saw an increase in the number of students deemed lacking in proficiency in math and English Language Arts. For grades 3-8, on average, 70% of students reached proficiency in math. For ELA, grades 3-8, 64% of students reached proficiency. Administration will be working with teachers to address the more stringent standards put forth by Commissioner Steiner and the NYS Board of Regents.