From the School Board: District Enrollment Stable, New Year Off to a Good Start
- Category: Schools
- Published: Wednesday, 13 September 2023 15:57
- Wendy MacMillan
The Board of Education began its first meeting of the school year on Monday 9/8 by extending gratitude to all of the staff who worked hard all summer long to prepare to welcome students back on their first day of school.Superintendent, Dr. Drew Patrick thanked custodial staff, HR personnel and teachers among many others for the work they did to prepare for the new school year and help to make the first day back “truly joyous.”
Dr. Patrick went on to acknowledge the lasting impact of September 11th and the importance of taking time to reflect on the range of emotions that can arise on this day each year. In addition to recognizing the observance of September 11th, Dr. Patrick extended well wishes to those observing Rosh Hashanah this weekend and Yom Kippur later in the month. He also noted that on Friday September 8th, Governor Kathy Hochul made the Asian Lunar New Year an official state holiday, a step that the Scarsdale district took last year.
During the Cabinet Updates, Jeannie Crowley, Director of Technology gave an overview of nVision -- a new Financial Management and Human Resources platform. Both she and Assistant Superintendent for Business, Andrew Lennon described the enormous effort that went into finding a new platform and their enthusiasm to start using it saying the platform offers, “good data and financial oversight.”
Also during Cabinet updates, Eric Rauschenbach, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Student Services, said the new mental health counselors are settling in at each of the elementary schools and will begin working with students imminently. BOE President Ron Schulhof wondered how the counselors will be working with students, “Will they be taking on cases or going into each class to work with every student?” Mr. Rauschenbach explained that each elementary school has different needs and therefore there will be different levels of intervention in each building.
Staffing and Enrollment Update
Meghan Troy, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Leadership Development, reported that the staffing and new hires for the 2023-2024 school year is commensurate with the number of students we have enrolled in our district. Ms. Troy noted that:
● Actual staffing is .8 below projected staffing
● No Elementary Class Sections broke - there are 105 class sections (inclusive of two 8:1:2 class sections) & 22 ICT sections = 127 class sections
● Used 2.2 contingency positions (out of 3 budgeted) ○ 1 SPED teacher at SMS ○ 1 SPED teacher at SHS ○ .2 Latin Teacher at SHS
The two special education (SPED) contingency positions are based on the District’s efforts to be as inclusive as possible and to keep students in their classes. Ms. Troy went on to explain that an additional Latin teacher was needed at the high school because there is a large uptick in the number of students interested in taking Latin, prompting SHS to offer more courses.
In relation to enrollment, Ms. Troy explained that this year’s student enrollment is inline with what was projected. She noted that:
● Elementary Enrollment 32 students higher than projected
-Largest difference in projection at Greenacres Kindergarten (+14 students) added section
-Large difference in projection at Edgewood Kindergarten (+11 students with many last minute registrations)
- Lower projection in Quaker Ridge Kindergarten (-24 students)
● Middle School - 28 students lower than projected
● High School - 32 students lower than projected
● Total enrollment - 28 students lower than projected
Ms. Troy also illustrated that there is an upward trend in enrollment especially as compared to the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years when the District saw a slight dip in registrations.
Later in the meeting the BOE reviewed the revised policy 5152 and engaged in a discussion of the payment of tuition by non-resident students experiencing exceptional circumstances. In the discussion Dr. Patrick explained that the revision of the policy reads as, “3. A student who becomes a non-resident after completion of the eleventh grade, upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, may be permitted to attend the High School during the senior year upon pre-payment of tuition. Tuition may be reduced or waived by the Superintendent upon a demonstration of extraordinary family hardship, including (but not limited to) the death of a parent or guardian.” Dr. Patrick also made clear that if a student was asked to pay a discounted tuition, they would pay in quarterly installments.
Dr. Edgar McIntosh announced that Teachers College at Columbia University is parting ways with Literacy expert Lucy Calkins. In his update Dr. McIntosh explained,
“Teachers College announced that they are reimagining what was formerly called Teachers College Reading and Writing Project as Advancing Literacy. Lucy Calkins, the founding leader, has departed from TCRWP to establish a distinct literacy organization known as Mossflower.
Advancing Literacy is repositioning themselves as an academic research organization, more integrated into the wider university, and engaging multiple research perspectives.
We appreciate that Teachers College is incorporating expertise in reading drawing more inclusively from the fields of psychology, cognitive science, and linguistics.
For several years, Scarsdale has used effective reading resources, materials, and suggested sequences from the Reading and Writing Project, while also supplementing with tools and resources to attend to the needs of our readers - specifically in the area of phonemic awareness, phonics, and word study.
We look forward to and are prepared for this positive change, having shifted in recent years to take a more research and inquiry based approach to our work with the Teachers College consultants. Our teachers have been guiding the work and using the instructional support in creative and flexible ways to engage and inspire students.
Scarsdale has also developed the innovative Collegial Research Group structure, which expands our opportunity to engage with our consultants in ways that are creative, responsive, and Scarsdale-specific. This rigorous professional development has been led by District Elementary ELA Coordinators Dr. Sue Luft and Michelle O'Donnell in partnership with the Scarsdale Teachers Institute. This collegial research structure empowers teachers to make decisions driven by the progress and development of our Scarsdale students.
We are excited that the lens of research is expanding with this learning organization and look forward to our work in the year ahead. Families can look out for invitations to building level parent coffees, in which our administrators and curriculum coordinators will describe the updated resources and tools we use to support and inspire our young readers.”