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Students Present Innovators Showcase at SGI Board Meeting

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Rachel O’Neal (left) and Lexi Blesy present videos they created to promote SGI’s winter sports. The project was done for the sports marketing class.

By Alicia Dziak

The SGI school board held its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 16 after the December meeting was canceled due to weather.

During the opening public comment session, Mary Jane Miess announced a donation by her and her husband of $1,000 to the elementary instrument program, dedicating it in memory of her violin teacher.

There was no old business to discuss, and High School Principal James Bialasik announced that 35 high school students were in attendance to present their “Innovator’s Showcase” in response to the board’s request to hear more from students. The audience then walked around the library to see different stations set up with students presenting their work.

Demonstrations included the art department’s graphic design class showing off their designs for the Springville Village seal and graphic for the police cars, a student safety video, an interactive periodic table, robotics, videos by the sports marketing class that promote SGI’s winter sports, theater, music and more.

When the board reconvened, feedback from the board was very positive. Board member Chris Cerrone felt it showed the “diversity of the kids’ strengths and interests.”

Board member Jessica Schuster said her favorite part was hearing the kids talk about their work, and Board President Allison Duwe agreed that the students were “confident and poised” while presenting.

Next, the middle school math department presented materials from a professional training session they attended in November. This included a parent resource guide, interactive software used in the classroom and what teacher Cristin Benz described as a “compact version of a study guide for the entire year.”

In committee reports, the audit committee will meet in March. Board member Jennifer Sullivan noted that there will be 10 policies ready for a first read in February.

Business Administrator Maureen Lee discussed the budget calendar, and said that there will be one presentation of the entire budget at the March board meeting.

Next, Moritz discussed the proposed P-TECH (Pathways to Early College High School) program, which is a combined effort between Alfred State College and Erie 2 BOCES. The Springville location would occupy the current district office, and would offer both electrical maintenance and computer information systems tracks. Students from SGI and other area districts would enroll in the program in 9th grade, and the program would last 5-6 years, at the end of which students receive a Regents diploma, as well as an Associate’s degree from Alfred State. Moritz explained that this would be the 38th program of its kind in the state, and that the closest location now is in Dunkirk, although that location offers different courses. Only those entering 9th grade can enter the program; however, students could transfer out of the program at any time.

“We are delighted to offer this to our students,” Moritz said. Among the benefits to the community, she listed that it will be an opportunity to transform the district office into a student occupied building. She also emphasized that there would be no cost to taxpayers, as the local share would be covered by BOCES, who would enter into a 15-year lease with the district.

Moritz concluded her report by saying that the district is working on improving their recycling efforts, and that each building will be doing their own thing and creating committees that include students. “We will do better,” she said.

In the administrator’s reports, Bialasik commented on the P-TECH, saying that he was looking at it as an opportunity and a good thing for the entire community.

He noted that the high school will hold their mid-terms and Regents exams next week. “We use them as diagnostics,” he explained, adding that they provide a way to give students feedback.

He mentioned that Green Springville will be starting their speaker series on Jan. 23, and that two of the scheduled speakers are SGI grads.

Parent forums for juniors and seniors are coming up at the end of the month. The senior forum will address much of the year-end “stuff” and the one for juniors will focus on the changing landscape of financial aid.

Bialasik also thanked the Education Foundation for their recent donation of a laser cutter for the school’s technology department. “It’s all about production speed,” he said.

Middle School Principal Shanda DuClon thanked the board for allowing the math department to come in and present. She addressed some concerns at the middle school level regarding content students were bringing in on their personal electronics. She also noted that there will be no mid-terms at the middle school level as there have been in years past.

Colden Elementary School Principal Marcole Feuz expressed concerns about elementary students and their social media usage. She also suggested board members wear sneakers to the February board meeting, which will be held in Colden, for some interactive activities with Playworks.

The next SGI board meeting will be on Feb. 6 in the Colden Elementary School cafeteria.

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