The board also needs to decide how to deal with the middle school gym, which is settling into the ground causing damage to the locker rooms. The problem could be dealt with either by reconstructing the locker room to fix the problem temporarily or by tearing down the whole building and replacing it.
The board also heard the first of two reports about switching to full-day kindergarten at Waterman Primary School at the meeting.
Waterman Principal Gary Gerst and Director of Elementary Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development Pat Brown presented about the expectations for kindergarten students and the advantages of switching to a full day.
Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, all public schools in New York State must follow the federal Common Core Learning Standards, which states standards and expectations for each grade level.
Brown and Gerst recommended the switch to full-day kindergarten in order to be able to meet these new standards. New standards included increased reading and writing ability, and increased understanding of numbers and counting. These new standards would also require more instruction in small groups or one-on-one, which would be impossible with the current 2.5-hour day, Gerst said.
Gerst also stressed the importance of the social and emotional development that would be afforded with a full day for kindergarten students.
“Social interaction time is critical,” he said. “Kids need to be given time to play and interact with each other.”
Pastel showed support for the proposal. “The greatest gift we can give children is time. Right now we don’t have time and everything becomes more hurried as a result,” she said.
Brown and Gerst will give another report at the Feb. 12 board meeting to discuss the financial implications of the switch. The board will vote on the proposal this spring.
Also from the meeting:
—The schools will need to make upgrades to its computer security, internet connection speed and internal network speed to meet state requirements for the 2014-15 school year. All Regents and standardized testing will be taken online in school computer labs starting with that school year, Director of Technology Paul Blair said. The district is waiting on additional guidance from the state on how to best meet these requirements, some of which would be costly, Blair said.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.