By Elyana Schosek
The Springville-Griffith Institute School District has been undergoing renovations and modifications both big and small as part of a capital project for some time now. One of the lesser-known components of the project was a revamped Library Media Center (LMC) at the middle school.
Superintendent Kimberly Mortiz was especially excited about this aspect of the project as it was added towards the tail end of the project as a whole.
The Board of Education has been meeting in the High School LMC for quite some time, but met for the first time in the new and improved Middle School LMC last week for their regular business meeting.
This month’s meeting included two presentations, the first of which being the presentation of a grant to the district. Reid Petroleum supplies petroleum fuel to Crosby’s locations amongst some others. The organization has an Education Alliance Program which awards grant money to qualifying high schools in the country. SGI High School was nominated by the Springville Crosby’s and approved by the program.
SGI High School received two checks of $500 each totaling $1,000 to be used towards math and science education. Administrative staff at the high school have recently been looking at where the grant funds would be most beneficial.
The second presentation of the night was more factual and informative. The speaker began by updating the board on a brief overview of ELA (English Language Arts) coming from a NYS website accessible to the public. When looking at statistics concerning proficiency and other categories, she noted that the district has been relatively consistent. In some aspects, that’s good. In other aspects, that’s not so good.
The test format changed in 2018 and, unfortunately, it will be changing again soon. This makes it difficult to compare statistics past that so 2018 is the “benchmark” year for the time being. The speaker noted that “we, as a district” are “making gains” in regard to proficiency, especially at Colden Elementary. There was “a dip” at Springville Elementary and middle school in proficiency among students with economic disadvantages and/or disabilities.
What is important to note is that not every student takes these exams. Students are able to opt-out of taking them with parent approval. Although the numbers may seem somewhat low, SGI is above the level that the state deems as proficient.
YET ANOTHER ongoing topic of discussion for the board is the Skate Park Project. Although it is not a school project, members of the board continue to attempt to rally support for the project within the SGI community.
What is in Heritage Park now is addressed as a temporary set of structures, not an official skate park. What the town is looking towards is a permanent, concrete structure. The town hopes to rehabilitate the skate park to be better and safer and promote proper usage of the area. They are looking towards a grant which requires community support.
Another board member introduced the board to a concept that is currently circulating around New York. It is a movement looking at NYS graduation requirements in regard to exit exams commonly known as Regents Exams. There is a group of meetings going around the state called the NYS Graduation Measures Review. New York has some of the most detailed graduation requirements when compared with other states across the country. The movement is looking to see if they could instead use things like “projects, assessments, portfolios, internships, community service” to evaluate students.
The board continues to discuss the future of Colden Elementary and note that they are still trying to decide the best way to move forward in looking at their options, the financial aspects of it all, and overall practicality.