By Ely Schosek
Last week on Tuesday, Oct. 8, the Springville-Griffith Institute Board of Education gathered for a regular business meeting.
At the past few meetings, the board has had to face the reality of declining enrollment at Colden Elementary School. With the exception of one grade level, the rest have only one class per grade.
Superintendent Kimberly Mortiz continues to reiterate that the board has no preconceived notion regarding the outcome of this situation. There is a possibility that the school will be closed, but should that happen, it will not be sudden. Moritz recently met with CES families to discuss the possibilities.
Prior to the start of the current school year, three teachers were moved from Colden to Springville schools and the board had to face the resignation of the building principal.
“I don’t know where we’re headed,” Moritz said. Enrollment at CES is expected to decline further next year. As of right now, the board states that if there are 25 or more students in a grade level, it is justified to have two teachers at that level. So far the board has heard good feedback regarding Interim Principal Kevin Munro.
In the coming weeks Moritz looks to gain more feedback from the public including a community thought exchange. Thought exchange is a website that allows people to answer questions anonymously and to view others responses.
The board addressed a recent data breach of Pearson’s/AIMSweb which is a software not utilized by the SGI schools but is used by St. Aloysius and some BOCES programs. The only information that the breach released was 2,400 student names from years ago. No genders, social security numbers, date of births or identifying information was released, only names and student IDs. Student IDs are identifying numbers that have no purpose outside of the school.
“I would say we are one of the most conservative districts there is in regard to sharing any kind of information,” Moritz stated. “I just wanted to make you aware that we are not required to do anything more because they didn’t have any identifying information.”
Moritz will not be sending letters to 2,400 families of students who have likely already graduated to say that their name has been breached.
“We feel confident to move forward without all of that,” she said. The district is extremely proactive in regard to protecting student information.
IN OTHER BUSINESS, Moritz continued the meeting by bringing administrative numbers to the board’s attention. When she started at SGI in 2016, there were eight administrators, which has remained so with a few shifts in duties. Moritz feels that eight is an ideal number of administrators in the district.
She brought up the fact that teachers are subject to evaluations by the building principal. With so many necessary evaluations, the building principal spends a decent amount of time not focused on the nearly 500 students in each building. It simply becomes a matter of how should the principal be spending their time. Moritz is asking for the board to consider hiring an assistant principal who would be split between SES and SMS.
This would help the principals better manage their duties.
Another topic that has been discussed at previous board meetings is the creation of a recreational bike and walk path behind Springville middle and elementary schools. The path would be eight feet wide, paved in stone and just under a mile in length. The work can be funded from the current capital project. The SES and SMS health and phys. ed teachers will be applying for a $50,000 grant from the Buffalo Bills to add fitness stations along the path. The area is currently being surveyed.
High School Principal James Bialasik gave his administrative report to the board. He began with updating the board on the high school’s recent Open House which was modified this year to allow parents to choose which teachers they wanted to talk with and in what order. The Open House also included informational stations on teen vaping and the new student management system: PowerSchool. Although the night had relatively low attendance in comparison to previous years, a poll showed that both parents and staff overall were in favor of the new system.
Bialasik also mentioned that Springville FFA, Future Farmers of America, will be going to Nationals this year.
Additionally, SGI high school students had the amazing opportunity to hear the story of an extremely inspiring speaker last week. Jacy Good is an advocate against distracted driving after she lost both her parents in an accident due to distracted driving. The accident left Good paralyzed to a certain extent.
The board will meet next Nov. 12 at Colden Elementary starting at 6 p.m. Prior to the regular business meeting, the board will be touring capital project work at CES. The public is welcome to attend as always.