By Ely Schosek
The Springville-Griffith Institute Board of Education met Aug. 6 for its second monthly meeting of the summer, and with the start of a new school year approaching, there was much to discuss.
Following the opening of the meeting, there was a formal motion to approve Jessica Schuster as the board’s representative to the Erie County Shared Services Panel. The panel is designed to facilitate property tax savings through cooperation between local governments.
Superintendent Kimberly Moritz discussed health insurance with the board, stating that: “All are very favorable and the district looks to save about $500,000 per year through the change to comparable services.”
Moritz also added, “We will really dive deep as a committee into each of those three quotes.”
The superintendent continued in mentioning the “unbelievable” amount of project work that is still going on. Project work consists of the renovations and modifications being made throughout the district inside and out. Although the public can only see the changes on the outside, she promises there is just as much, if not more, happening on the inside.
Moritz excitedly showed photos of what the inside of the new P-TECH building is going
to look like.
“I’m optimistic about all of that, I think it’s going to be such a great thing right in the middle of our community,” she said.
Another aspect of the recent capital project that not all may know about is the renovations to take place in the middle school library space. The idea was put on hold for some time while other renovations took place.
In the end, the money that is left from the capital project will be used to remodel the space. It will be a brand new space that the board hopes both teachers and students will want to visit often. In the future, the board hopes to have that as their new meeting place.
The next topic of discussion was the district’s new lunch program. It is being “rebranded,” in a sense, as it will no longer be called school lunch but now “Springville Culinary Services.” New shirts have already been ordered for the staff to wear displaying this new idea. The new name is intended to “class it up” with new menus also being created to fit.
An administrative report was given by James Bialasik, high school principal. Bialasik discussed results from the Regents Exams that took place at the end of the school year.
“Our staff and students did an excellent job this year,” he noted. “It really goes to show the hard work they put into it.”
One area that spoke volumes for the staff was under social studies being the Global Studies exam. This exam was a new framework exam with June being the first official administration of this new exam.
The new exam was more stimulus based questions meaning that it was more interpreting documents and sources than just regurgitating information which can be seen as a higher level of thinking.
Bialasik also gave a “big kudos” to Mike Rokitka and the Social Studies Department in accepting the new exam. The state offered two exams this year to ease the shift. One exam was a “transition” exam with the other being the new format.
Many other schools opted to have their students take both exams while SGI staff chose to trust the new exam and their students. The high school is very proud of their Social Studies Department for committing to this new exam.
The board also made mention of the exceptional passing rate for the Chemistry exam at 97% compared to the previous 75%, noting it as a “pretty profound jump.”
IN OTHER BUSINESS, an employment agreement was approved for Kevin Monroe to act as the Interim Colden Elementary Principal with hopes that they will be able to have someone officially hired for the position on or around Nov. 4. Monroe is an experienced elementary principal and special education director.
While Colden Elementary has almost always been a small school, the past few years’ class sizes have been even smaller and decreasing still. The school is down to approximately 130 students enrolled for the year.
Superintendent Kimberly Moritz made a decision to move a few teachers from Colden Elementary to Springville Elementary and middle school.
“I do think the time is now to have a really clear, kind conversation about where we are at,” she said. “We’re down to one class per grade level.” Next year, the school will reduce by yet another teacher and she feels they need to start having the conversation with families about what is in the best interest of the kids moving forward.
The board’s next meeting will take place on Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m.