Happy New Year Maine-Endwell School Community,
As we conclude the first half of our 2016-2017 school year, I want to thank all of you for your continued support of our district. Whether it be through volunteering in a classroom, attending an event, or arranging your schedules when a weather event forces a delay or closure, we appreciate your support of our mission – to deliver a premier education to each student.
2017- 2018 Budget Development
We have begun developing our 2017-2018 budget and are in the final stages of submitting a first draft for the Board of Education to review. It is too early to know what our NYS aid figures will be, and we won’t know our tax levy limit until March. Until we have better revenue numbers, strategic investment opportunities are being reviewed for potential consideration.
Capital Project & SMART Schools
Phase Two of our 2014 Capital Project has begun. We have been extremely fortunate that bids came in remarkably better ($1.4 million) than anticipated which has created opportunities for further work to be completed. Examples of additional work will be renovating our elementary libraries and computer spaces as well as our middle school technology labs. Work will begin in the spring as three of our kitchens are being completely renovated. A description of work can be found on our website.
Additionally, the district has submitted a $740,000 SMART Schools fund proposal which will be used to upgrade our entire district’s wireless connectivity and bandwidth. In 2014, NYS voters authorized the state to issue a $2 billon dollar bond from which schools were allocated funds to make improvements to technology, security, or to implement Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs. Maine-Endwell’s share is $1.87 million.
These changes are needed as a result of increased technology integration including Computer Based Testing (CBT), which will occur this spring in third grade mathematics. By 2020, school districts will be required to give all NYS Assessments in grades three to eight on the computer. Districts have been given a three-year window to begin the shift. We have made the decision to try one grade level this year to ‘learn’ how students will be impacted, what skills are needed, etc. We anticipate that all students will be taking computer-based assessments in 2019 to be ready for the mandatory 2020 timeline.
Updated Strategic Plan
On Dec. 7, the District Strategic Planning Committee met to review year one goals and objectives. This will be an annual process that brings the entire committee together to discuss if goals were met, if targets need to be adjusted, and / or if new priorities have arisen. Building Strategic Planning teams will meet in February to review their year one goals and objectives as well. A full summary of the plan is on our website.
A crucial component of our plan is seeking input and feedback from our key stakeholder groups. As a result, we will be administering three separate surveys – one for parents, one for students, and one for staff. This too will be an annual exercise to determine areas of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Students in grades three to 12 and all staff will be participating in this survey. We will be encouraging our parents to participate – via online, or paper and pencil – with a goal being 2000 completed surveys. More information will be coming regarding specific dates.
We continue to move forward with technology integration across the entire district. As evidenced by our January 2017 newsletter, we are well on our way to ensuring that students and staff have the necessary tools and training to effectively transform learning. Our 1:1 initiative is an excellent example of how taking small steps can lead to transformational change – the ultimate goal.
I want to thank all of you again for your continued support of our students and programs – it truly does take a community to raise a child and the Maine and Endwell communities epitomize this spirit. We are truly fortunate – thank you again.