New York State School Boards Association
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Teacher shortages: Where recruitment and retention goals intersect

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

If you want to hear a tale of woe, ask any rural superintendent if he or she has had any difficulty filling open teaching positions lately.

"I could write a volume about hiring in the Adirondacks!" said Leslie Ford, superintendent in the 500-student Northville school district in Fulton County. "I have never encountered such difficulty! It is hard to attract teachers - even beginners - to a rural district where the pay scale does not attract you through to retirement. We have been trying to hire a technology teacher for two years. We currently have an opening for FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences) that we reopened due to no certified applicants. Math and science are also very difficult."

Shenendehowa's Counseling, College and Career Center deemed one of six top H.S. counseling depts. in the U.S.

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Alan Wechsler
Special Correspondent

About 10 years ago, the staff at what was then called the Counseling Office at Shenendehowa High School noticed that parents were calling and asking questions about college applications. In the 11th grade, students are asked to write an autobiography as part of working with the counselors, and staff noticed that those essays were also often coming from the parents.

"It started getting our attention that parents were taking over the process," recalled Jan Reilly, who has been a counselor in the Saratoga County district for 20 years.

Counting the ways we love BOCES

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Sandra Ruffo
Area 4 Director

Each of us entered school board service with a strong interest in young people and a desire to provide them with the best possible educational opportunities. As we pursue that ongoing goal, we cannot overstate how much our school districts rely on the services provided by our regional BOCES, which touch the lives of all of our students and so many adult members of our communities.

BOCES represent New York State's commitment to the idea that all children can learn. With services and support from BOCES, school districts are in a much better position to provide each student with an educational program appropriate for him or her, including special education and career and technical education.

Field trips today are different from what adults remember

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

At the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, fifth-graders Logan Cornelius and Landon Albertina slipped their hands into tattered old mitts and clutched vintage baseballs known as "lemon peels." They laughed as they tried on oversized chest protectors, shin guards and masks.

In spite of the laughter, the activities they and other Sherburne-Earlville students enjoyed during a three-hour visit to the Hall of Fame in May were aimed at more than fun.

How BOCES ensure field trips are worthwhile and make them more affordable for school districts

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Field trips were one of the first budget lines to hit the chopping block when school funding tightened during the latest recession.

While they weren't viewed as a frill, field trips were among a handful of non-mandated items that districts could eye for trimming during tough times.

Among school districts that answered a 2010 NYSSBA statewide survey asking how they were responding to New York's state budget crisis, 65 percent expected to trim or eliminate field trips to help balance their budgets.

Frankly, my dear, you don't need a policy on absolutely everything

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Courtney Sanik
Senior Policy Consultant

"Do you have a sample policy on ________?"

Welcome to my world. In NYSSBA's Policy Department, we get about 1,200 requests per year, and most take the form above.

Often, the answer is yes. But sometimes the answer is no, because school districts don't need to have a policy on everything under the sun.

We must learn from tragedies

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

Betty Rosa
Regents Chancellor

I write this column on Sunday, Sept. 10, while images of Hurricane Irma's destructive path whirl on my television screen. As I write, the storm just made landfall on Florida's west coast. The expected storm surge has yet to hit, and I pray for everyone in harm's way. This newest destruction comes as the good people of Texas and Louisiana are just beginning to put their lives back together following Harvey's devastation last week.

Appropriately, the nation's attention is focused on helping the victims of Harvey and Irma in whatever ways we can.

Eight-man football returns in Central NY

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Eight-man football is back on the high school gridiron in New York.

After an absence of 35 years or more, seven schools in the New York State High School Public Athletic Association's Section III in Central New York are warming up for a five-regular-game season that's scheduled to culminate with a Nov. 4 championship at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

"We're pretty excited about it," said Jim Brophy, athletic director in Cooperstown. "It's real football. It's just that there are fewer players on the field."

Should Columbus Day become Indigenous Peoples Day?

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Amid wider recognition of disturbing aspects of Christopher Columbus’ legacy,  some local school boards are being asked to consider a question they might never have imagined when they took office: Should the school district stop observing the second Monday in October as Columbus Day and, instead, call it Indigenous Peoples Day?

This issue has been debated by at least four school boards in New York State. Two have answered yes, one has answered no, and one – the Southampton school district in Suffolk County –decided the holiday did not need a name on the school calendar. The Southhampton decision followed an emotional community debate that included representatives of Italian-American groups and the Shinnecock Nation.

The story of Columbus is much more complex and controversial than the familiar, sing-song rhyme: In fourteen-hundred-ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Supt. & BOE member, twin sisters, rescue swimmers on Lake Ontario

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Eric D. Randall
Senior Writer

Every summer, twin sisters Erin Gardner and Jennifer Gaffney-Goodnough invite friends to enjoy a day at a beach accessible only by boat at Sandy Island Beach State Park near Watertown. The former is a member of the South Jefferson school board and the latter is the new superintendent of the Sackets Harbor school district in Jefferson County.

On Thursday, Aug. 24, as they were setting up on the beach, a woman approached them and asked if they owned the boat anchored nearby. She said four children had gotten caught in a current near a channel that leads to Lake Ontario. An adult who was a strong swimmer went after them, but the current got her, too.

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