By Ashlee Oakley

On Oct. 11, 2016, the Board of Education of Springville-Griffith Institute CSD met at 7 p.m. in Springville-GI high school library media center. BOE President, Allison Duwe, calls the meeting to order, to discuss their regular business meeting agenda, and calls for the board and attendees to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Other present board members were Jennifer Sullivan (Board Vice President), Elizabeth Casey, Tyler Sullivan, Garret English, and Chris Cerrone, Board member Michael Connors, as well as the Student Representative, high school senior Isobel Hooker. Also in attendance were Superintendent Kimberly Moritz, and District Clerk Kathy Tucker. The agenda is approved across the board, and Duwe made a declaration of public expression (there is also an opportunity for public expression at the end of the meeting). Anyone wishing to speak with the board via Board of Education meetings should first address the district clerk before the public expression portion of the meeting, including name, contact information, organization represented (if applicable), and a description of the topic you wish to speak about at the business meeting. “Comments also may be made in writing to the Board. Correspondence should be addressed to: Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District, Board of Education, 307 Newman Street, Springville, NY 14141,” from the district website. It is made known that the Board of Education meetings are recorded and made available to the public on the website at, under the tab “Board of Ed”.

BOE Meeting Highlights

Superintendent Moritz started by saying that they will first discuss the response to intervention plan, and introduces Director of Special Education, Rochelle Sarikey. Sarikey discussesd the updates to the response to intervention plan, a planning project in which a team of 15 teaching staff and specialists such as Dr. Lisa Kilanowski, (an associate professor of school psychology of Niagara University since 2006) were invited to help go through the process, as well as went to a conference through the NYS task force to response to intervention. For more of an explanation of the Response to Intervention Plan, from the BOE attachments 10/11/16: “Response to Intervention is a school process used to determine if a student is responding to classroom instruction and progressing as expected. In an RTI process, a student who is struggling receives additional instructional support provided by matching instruction to a student’s individual needs through a multi-tiered instructional model. In the RTI model, screening is conducted on all students three times a year. Screening is a quick assessment that measures a student’s skills expected for his/her grade level based on national norms. This will identify students who are considered at-risk of not learning the necessary skills expected for the student’s age or grade level.” Moritz added, “It’s all about improving learning for our children, not about proving whether they can do it or not do it.” There are many resources provided by the district to learn about these programs, and administrators are happy to help if you have any questions on how to receive that information.

President Duwe spoke about their previous board retreat and the results. She stated, “One of the board objectives was for the board to jointly study the topic of a whole-child approach to education, with the goal of the board coming up with what we think what our definition of that is. We are not coming up with a new plan; this is an opportunity for the administration staff and parents to also be having conversations that can help to enrich the district, and help to figure out whether there are any policy program or pro-development topics or implications that come out of us talking about [the changes to Common Core]. There’s tons of information out there, and we can all read plenty- we are trying to curate a set of readings for each meeting.”

Related to recess, playing as learning from K-12, and other issues that have come up in the community regarding Common Core, regarding whether it’s even possible to fit play into the school day for most teachers, and what the standards will allow for. There is concern for the wellness policy, having the recess just be “recommended,” it needs to be given the time to really be had. Moritz welcomes suggestions and concerns to be expressed to her or board members; however, this is a public school system, and once they meet requirements, these things need to be fit in. “There is a balance to this discussion, and it will be a discussion for a long time,” she said. “We need to balance reality and what we are expected to do,” and what is necessary for excellence at school.

English has submitted his official letter of resignation from the Board of Education to District Clerk Tucker, and President Duwe, for the sake of public record, requested an official motion on the decision. English stated, “This by far, with the relocation to Atlanta, has been the hardest thing to do, is to leave this group and move away from this district.” English was presented a going away gift from the district. Michael Connors made the motion to accept English’s resignation, and Jennifer Sullivan seconded, and motion carried.

Cerrone spoke about being the delegate for the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) convention at the end of the month. Please send him any notes of anything you are for or against, and he can take that toward the voting as your local spokesperson. His contact information can be found on the Springville-GI district website.

Happy School Board Recognition Week! Moritz expressed gratitude for the Springville-GI Board of Education’s service and hard work.

Consensus Items and Other Notes

There were several items voted in consensus, information about the SES roof approval,  the audit committee report, much more new education assessment and programming information, as well as evaluation tool information, and more pertinent information to local taxpayers. Interested parties may listen to the full meeting on the district website, as well as view any items or documents associated with this meeting. The next Board of Education regular business meeting will be held Nov. 14, 2016, at 7 p.m. in the high school’s library media center.