Community Forum: Questions & Answers

Submit comments and questions to: questions@plattscsd.org

Q. How is school administration engaged with parents and teachers in assessing implementation of the common core curriculum? Are there regularly scheduled opportunities to discuss successes and challenges throughout the implementation process – by grade level, school building, district wide? Have any adjustments to the process been made as a result of your ongoing evaluation?

A. In the past this effort was traditionally handled through the office of the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, however that position was eliminated due to budget constraints. In the absence of having the ability for anyone to have this particular focus, Building Principals, building-level School Improvement & Planning teams (SIP), the District Student Support Team (DSST), the District-Wide Educational Improvement Committee(DWEIC), and English Language Arts Curriculum committee have taken some voluntary roles assessing the implementation of the common core. There is hardly a moment in a day that faculty aren’t immersed in some way, shape or form discussing, dissecting, looking at, teaching, assessing, thinking about, researching, implementing or wondering about the CCSS

Building Principals have provided professional development for teachers ever since the common core movement began. Some training has also been received through our local BOCES. Principals conduct teacher evaluations, monitor internal data assessments (AIMS WEB, state required Student Learning Objectives, state required Local Assessments, various interim assessments, and the entire Response to Intervention (Rti) program – all of which have ties to curriculum expectations as well as individual student achievement levels. Principals are inherently involved in curricular material purchasing for their building and also participate in all other mentioned committees. Principals also have access to the State Data Warehouse to look at individual students results on State-provided assessments. This information could be diagnostic to how students performed on 3-8 ELA/Math common core exams and has the potential to inform us of gaps in curriculum. However, the state has yet to provide the data to this detail from last year’s tests. Tests were administered in April/May and schools didn’t get the raw scores until late October, none of these scores were provided for item analysis by test question. We look forward to the day when the State Data Warehouse can provide such, it may become a useful tool to diagnose curricular implementation.

Early release days have been used to work on Common Core State Standards through studying the curriculum shifts, sharing practices and creating curriculum maps that are aligned to the Common Core Standards. PCSD has involved all levels in the Teaching Is the Core grant through the North Country Teacher Resource Center to expand our knowledge of the CCSS and bring it to the next level for our students. We are doing this through Professional Learning Communities after-school hours and in two cases offered on weekends.

Through the established parent organizations for each building parents have representation on committees, discuss common core (most currently the nature of the testing system and how/where student personal data is shared). Parents at PHS and SMS have recently been gaining access to the open student portal – they can see their students grades, comments, discipline, attendance – live. The Elementary report card was changed this year to reflect students’ progress along the Common Core for parents as well. Parents do receive the impact of curriculum shifts at home – most notably are calls of frustration at the elementary level – parents having increased difficulty in assisting with modern common core homework. During the individual parent/teacher conferences student progress with curriculum is a common discussion, but also parents have the opportunity to view student work, curricular materials and the nature of the evolution of common core expectations. The Elementary buildings provided parents brochures to explain Common Core activity and have included aspects within building newsletters.

Building-level School Improvement Planning Teams look at specific needs/goals of individual buildings, however universally all buildings capture district-wide goals. The School Improvement Planning Teams were established in response to the Commissioner’s Regulation 100.11 related to shared-decision making. The team is comprised of Administration, Teachers, Support Staff, Parents, and at the high school level Students. They review a range of issues and d certainly curriculum attainment is within their purview.

The District Student Support Team examines and sets expectations for all buildings utilization of student data – the focus is primarily on academic and behavioral interventions (Rti system), progress monitoring, and related matters. Recently they have been charged with seeking an interim assessment program aligned with the common core. Very few materials are available from publishing companies, yet they have examined and are in the process of piloting 3 products. The costs associated with purchasing this material are immense, the current strategy is to find an appropriate system before dedicating funds. The DSST has activated the common core based AIMS Web product, however this is more diagnostic to individual students and less an evaluation of the curriculum.

The District-Wide Educational Improvement Committee (DWEIC) was also born from Commissioner’s Regulation 100.11 as the overarching shared decision making team. Representatives from each building (administrative, instructional, support staff, parents and two high school students) participate on this committee. As with the building-based School Improvement Planning Teams the DWEIC examines a wide range of topics – common core implementation is discussed more on the theoretical level and less by examining individual student data. The DWEIC does establish district expectations and reviews each building’s goals prior to their implementation.

The English Language Arts Committee is newly formed in response to seeking aligned ELA/Literacy materials with the common core. They have currently set up piloting materials from two publishing companies as well as a group working with the State Modules. Early on this group formed out of frustration in the lack of material available to New York State – the State required all schools to use only materials that have been vetted through the Tri-State Rubric, yet since that edict, none have been vetted and the State appears to be abandoning this position. The committee took it upon themselves to measure materials against the Tri-State Rubric and have only piloted material in which the publisher has done the same. This piloting will continue as we also implement the curriculum assessment (interim assessments) the District Student Support Team is working on.

Plattsburgh has embraced working toward the common core despite the lack of curricular material available to schools, the absolute lack of item analysis data from the state on their common core assessments, and sufficient funds for personnel to focus on this matter. Even the state-developed Modules do not contain an assessment system to measure a school’s progress with curriculum. They are however a reasonable scope & sequence and provide good examples for teachers, however they remain incomplete in their development. This is the fundamental problem with the way in which the state rolled out the common core – an all at once approach without the materials being developed.

Jay Lebrun, Feb. 28, 2014

Q. from Fritz Tobrocke
Why doesn’t the boe make public the performance goals, either on the website or in the Press Republican. This way the taxpayers can gauge how things are progressing and how well they are doing in meeting those objectives! Thank you.

A. Please see the February 27, 2013 post (below) from Board of Education President Leisa Boise.

Jay Lebrun, Mar. 5, 2013

Q. from Walter Chmura
Several times I have asked the BOE/Admin for annual goals and the long range plans. Recently the Empire non-partisan think tank strongly recommended implementation of long range planning for school districts. Why? Because of crushing unsustainable contract benefits/pensions, both current and long range debt liabilities per the GASBY report, which has PCSD indebted for nearly $100mi debt liability.

The Supt contract mandates annual performance goals, which should be public (not the actual evaluation, but if considered public it should be available). Have they been done and, if so, can they be foiled? I am interested in the success in meeting those goals. As for the long range planning, I know that has not been done, but based on the Empire recommendations and common-sense necessity to have a long range business plan for a $40million operation is the BOE finally recognizing that it would be sensible to do this? I have heard Mr. Wachmeister’s explanation that it would be too difficult to do one, because of one thing of another, but that is no different than what any business faces, no matter how small or large. A $40million business without a long range plan is courting disaster…and from the past several crisis budgets I would say that is already occurring, so why not plan to minimize that???

A. Plattsburgh City Schools’ goals are managed through shared-decision making, consistent with Part 100.11 of the Commissioner‘s Regulations. Annual goals of each building are set in the spring by the building School Improvement Planning team and additionally reviewed at the district-level through the District-Wide Educational Improvement Committee. These goals and School Improvement Team minutes are posted on the district website as well. The aforementioned goals typically embody both building-level needs as well as District initiatives which are largely driven by state mandates (recent development of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) for Teachers and Principals or the Common Core Standards curriculum shifts are examples).

The Superintendent’s contract states; “The Board, at its option, may devote at least a portion of one meeting in or about the month of March in each year of the Superintendent’s employment by the District to the development of a list of District goals for the ensuing year.” Given the State’s heavy emphasis on continuous new mandates and the District’s history of embodied site-based management, the Board has not elected to exercise the option of establishing district goals through the Superintendent evaluation process. Goals addressed at that level are along the lines of personal performance evaluation as an employee instead. The District additionally maintains longer ranged plans in key areas, Facilities Conditions, 5-year Technology Plan, and a 5-year School Enrolment & Projections. Commonly discussions take place to be as predictive as possible about staffing, budget forecasting, and emerging needs. The District further follows the State Education Board of Regents meeting actions and conceptual proposals to gain further insight into mandate trends. These could be along the curricular/testing lines or proposals for state aid.

More recently, due to the immense changes in mandates for the new Common Core Curriculum, Network Data Team requirements and other race to the top initiatives: the District Student Support Team has expanded their role in examining student academic and behavioral data to identify district priorities which will allow the school to remain focused on areas with the greatest need for improvement. In turn, their findings are to be shared with the Professional Improvement Committee, District-wide Educational Improvement Committee and individual building teams. This placed the District Student Support Team in the newly State required roles identified under Network Team requirements.

Leisa Boise, Board of Education President, Feb. 27, 2013

Q. from Bob Bunnell
When is the best time for community inputs to next year’s budget? What is the best way to do this?

A. Thank you for your question. The main period for Board decision-making relating to the 2013-2014 budget is from mid-February through the first week in April… with the official BOE approval of the budget proposal coming at the end of the period. Certainly, there is no inappropriate time to share budget thoughts with the Board – whether during the public comment periods of meetings, or via emails, telephone calls, written letter, or direct communication with the members. Certain budget preparations have already begun (the crafting a budget calendar and the assembly of those few expense areas which are already known), but the during the aforementioned period, greater segments of BOE meetings will be devoted to budget preparation and deliberations.

Jay Lebrun, Jan. 8, 2013

Q. from Walter Chmura
AIS sessions saturated throughout the programs class days are not a mandated offering, but rather just filler and an expensive and impractical use of quality teacher staff…It should be offered for students in need after the regular session and SHOULD be staffed by motivated, capable higher level high school students….what a wonderful way of developing a culture of giving and nurturing good work ethics. Most private and parochial schools have a institutionalized a culture of volunteerism, while public schools seem to have lost that ethos after unions insisted on every service provided must come with compensation… It needs to change…otherwise the usage of community in public school discussions should be extirpated.

This needs to be on the discussion table when budget talks begin…it would put spark into young adults lives; allow for more practical use of cert, high paid teachers; and SAVE …..

this type of thinking is outside the “rigor mortis” system of doing things, and should be discussed openly and genuinely…

Is the BOE looking at this very thing and what are their intentions?

A. Thank-you for your questions. Academic Intervention Services (AIS) are mandated for students who have either failed or scored low on state standardized assessments. AIS is offered during the regular school day, this allows these same students to participate in after-school programs, clubs and sports which tend to be high interest motivators for at-risk individuals.

Given the reduction of Summer School, AIS numbers increased as these students found success in summer school and didn’t need such service during the regular year. Some National Honor Society students do tutoring as part of their community service requirement, this has been in place for many years. The bulk of this tutoring is conducted while working as peer mentors with SMS students after school.

James Short, Jan. 6, 2013

Comment from Bob Bunnell:
Last year’s board decision to cut one varsity sport (gymnastics) was ill-advised. In my view, if budget cuts needed to be made to PHS athletics, the cuts should have been a percentage cut across all sports (let each team fundraise for their sport, if necessary). The PHS Gymnastics team raised and paid $7658.58 to fund their Modified, JV, and Varsity program last year, but it was unfair to single out one sport to carry the burden of district athletic cuts. I suggest the board reinstate the PHS Gymnastics Varsity, JV, and Modified as a funded program for 2013-2014 and ask that all sports share future cuts equally.

A. Thank you for your comment. Whereas some of the posts to this section of the website feature questions, and therefore require a response, this comment already outlines the facts at hand.

Jay Lebrun, Jan. 3, 2013

Q. When is the annual budget and election?

A. The annual budget vote and Board of Education election is scheduled for the 3rd Tuesday of May. This year, that falls on May 21, 2013. Information on election procedures, districts, qualifications to be a Board member, the procedure to nominate a person to run in the election, and much more, is available by clicking here.

Q. from Walter Chmura
AIS sessions saturated throughout the programs class days are not a mandated offering, but rather just filler and an expensive and impractical use of quality teacher staff…It should be offered for students in need after the regular session and SHOULD be staffed by motivated, capable higher level high school students….what a wonderful way of developing a culture of giving and nurturing good work ethics. Most private and parochial schools have a institutionalized a culture of volunteerism, while public schools seem to have lost that ethos after unions insisted on every service provided must come with compensation… It needs to change…otherwise the usage of community in public school discussions should be extirpated.

This needs to be on the discussion table when budget talks begin…it would put spark into young adults lives; allow for more practical use of cert, high paid teachers; and SAVE ….. this type of thinking is outside the “rigor mortis” system of doing things, and should be discussed openly and genuinely…

Is the BOE looking at this very thing and what are their intentions?

A. Thank-you for your questions. Academic Intervention Services (AIS) are mandated for students who have either failed or scored low on state standardized assessments. AIS is offered during the regular school day, this allows these same students to participate in after-school programs, clubs and sports which tend to be high interest motivators for at-risk individuals.

Given the reduction of Summer School, AIS numbers increased as these students found success in summer school and didn’t need such service during the regular year. Some National Honor Society students do tutoring as part of their community service requirement, this has been in place for many years. The bulk of this tutoring is conducted while working as peer mentors with SMS students after school.

James Short, Jan. 6, 2013

Comment from Bob Bunnell:
Last year’s board decision to cut one varsity sport (gymnastics) was ill-advised. In my view, if budget cuts needed to be made to PHS athletics, the cuts should have been a percentage cut across all sports (let each team fundraise for their sport, if necessary). The PHS Gymnastics team raised and paid $7658.58 to fund their Modified, JV, and Varsity program last year, but it was unfair to single out one sport to carry the burden of district athletic cuts. I suggest the board reinstate the PHS Gymnastics Varsity, JV, and Modified as a funded program for 2013-2014 and ask that all sports share future cuts equally.

A. Thank you for your comment. Whereas some of the posts to this section of the website feature questions, and therefore require a response, this comment already outlines the facts at hand.

Jay Lebrun, Jan. 3, 2013

Q. from Fritz Tobrocke
I would like to know why in the May 2012 vote for BOE members the total number of voters was 3488! On the same ballot, was the budget for the 2012-2013 school year. The total number of voters for the budget was 2094! Can somebody explain to me how there could be such a discrepency in the numbers? Also the voting public needs to know that the revote for the 2012-2013 had only 1694 cast! The reason for the lower number is because the district did not send out absentee ballots to voters who requested an absentee ballot for the May vote unless the submitted a request for the June vote!

A. I believe that you are fundamentally misunderstanding the voting results. The total number of voters was not 3488 as you state, but rather 2144. 3488 was the total number of votes cast for all Board of Education candidates (because each voter may vote for up to two people). Each voter may only vote once for the budget proposition, as 2094 people did.

Regarding your second question, June re-votes are distinct, separate elections from the May votes. As such, new absentee ballots are necessary. For the same reason, absentee ballots are not carried forward from one year’s election to the next… distinct elections require distinct absentee ballots.

Jay Lebrun, Mar. 11, 2013

Q. When is the annual budget and election?

A. The annual budget vote and Board of Education election is scheduled for the 3rd Tuesday of May. This year, that falls on May 21, 2013. Information on election procedures, districts, qualifications to be a Board member, the procedure to nominate a person to run in the election, and much more, is available by clicking here.

Q. How is school administration engaged with parents and teachers in assessing implementation of the common core curriculum? Are there regularly scheduled opportunities to discuss successes and challenges throughout the implementation process – by grade level, school building, district wide? Have any adjustments to the process been made as a result of your ongoing evaluation?

A. In the past this effort was traditionally handled through the office of the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, however that position was eliminated due to budget constraints. In the absence of having the ability for anyone to have this particular focus, Building Principals, building-level School Improvement & Planning teams (SIP), the District Student Support Team (DSST), the District-Wide Educational Improvement Committee(DWEIC), and English Language Arts Curriculum committee have taken some voluntary roles assessing the implementation of the common core. There is hardly a moment in a day that faculty aren’t immersed in some way, shape or form discussing, dissecting, looking at, teaching, assessing, thinking about, researching, implementing or wondering about the CCSS

Building Principals have provided professional development for teachers ever since the common core movement began. Some training has also been received through our local BOCES. Principals conduct teacher evaluations, monitor internal data assessments (AIMS WEB, state required Student Learning Objectives, state required Local Assessments, various interim assessments, and the entire Response to Intervention (Rti) program – all of which have ties to curriculum expectations as well as individual student achievement levels. Principals are inherently involved in curricular material purchasing for their building and also participate in all other mentioned committees. Principals also have access to the State Data Warehouse to look at individual students results on State-provided assessments. This information could be diagnostic to how students performed on 3-8 ELA/Math common core exams and has the potential to inform us of gaps in curriculum. However, the state has yet to provide the data to this detail from last year’s tests. Tests were administered in April/May and schools didn’t get the raw scores until late October, none of these scores were provided for item analysis by test question. We look forward to the day when the State Data Warehouse can provide such, it may become a useful tool to diagnose curricular implementation.

Early release days have been used to work on Common Core State Standards through studying the curriculum shifts, sharing practices and creating curriculum maps that are aligned to the Common Core Standards. PCSD has involved all levels in the Teaching Is the Core grant through the North Country Teacher Resource Center to expand our knowledge of the CCSS and bring it to the next level for our students. We are doing this through Professional Learning Communities after-school hours and in two cases offered on weekends.

Through the established parent organizations for each building parents have representation on committees, discuss common core (most currently the nature of the testing system and how/where student personal data is shared). Parents at PHS and SMS have recently been gaining access to the open student portal – they can see their students grades, comments, discipline, attendance – live. The Elementary report card was changed this year to reflect students’ progress along the Common Core for parents as well. Parents do receive the impact of curriculum shifts at home – most notably are calls of frustration at the elementary level – parents having increased difficulty in assisting with modern common core homework. During the individual parent/teacher conferences student progress with curriculum is a common discussion, but also parents have the opportunity to view student work, curricular materials and the nature of the evolution of common core expectations. The Elementary buildings provided parents brochures to explain Common Core activity and have included aspects within building newsletters.

Building-level School Improvement Planning Teams look at specific needs/goals of individual buildings, however universally all buildings capture district-wide goals. The School Improvement Planning Teams were established in response to the Commissioner’s Regulation 100.11 related to shared-decision making. The team is comprised of Administration, Teachers, Support Staff, Parents, and at the high school level Students. They review a range of issues and d certainly curriculum attainment is within their purview.

The District Student Support Team examines and sets expectations for all buildings utilization of student data – the focus is primarily on academic and behavioral interventions (Rti system), progress monitoring, and related matters. Recently they have been charged with seeking an interim assessment program aligned with the common core. Very few materials are available from publishing companies, yet they have examined and are in the process of piloting 3 products. The costs associated with purchasing this material are immense, the current strategy is to find an appropriate system before dedicating funds. The DSST has activated the common core based AIMS Web product, however this is more diagnostic to individual students and less an evaluation of the curriculum.

The District-Wide Educational Improvement Committee (DWEIC) was also born from Commissioner’s Regulation 100.11 as the overarching shared decision making team. Representatives from each building (administrative, instructional, support staff, parents and two high school students) participate on this committee. As with the building-based School Improvement Planning Teams the DWEIC examines a wide range of topics – common core implementation is discussed more on the theoretical level and less by examining individual student data. The DWEIC does establish district expectations and reviews each building’s goals prior to their implementation.

The English Language Arts Committee is newly formed in response to seeking aligned ELA/Literacy materials with the common core. They have currently set up piloting materials from two publishing companies as well as a group working with the State Modules. Early on this group formed out of frustration in the lack of material available to New York State – the State required all schools to use only materials that have been vetted through the Tri-State Rubric, yet since that edict, none have been vetted and the State appears to be abandoning this position. The committee took it upon themselves to measure materials against the Tri-State Rubric and have only piloted material in which the publisher has done the same. This piloting will continue as we also implement the curriculum assessment (interim assessments) the District Student Support Team is working on.

Plattsburgh has embraced working toward the common core despite the lack of curricular material available to schools, the absolute lack of item analysis data from the state on their common core assessments, and sufficient funds for personnel to focus on this matter. Even the state-developed Modules do not contain an assessment system to measure a school’s progress with curriculum. They are however a reasonable scope & sequence and provide good examples for teachers, however they remain incomplete in their development. This is the fundamental problem with the way in which the state rolled out the common core – an all at once approach without the materials being developed.

Jay Lebrun, Feb. 28, 2014

Q. from Fritz Tobrocke
In the spring of 2012, during public comment at a boe meeting, I asked the question on how is the public able to have dialogue with the boe members when they won’t return phone calls. This question and answer site should be for board members to answer, not the superintendent or the associate superintendent to answer.

A. Generally-speaking, the Superintendent (or his designee) serves as spokesperson for the District. Individual Board of Education (BOE) members regularly engage in conversations with constituents through various channels (workplace, neighborhood, email, telephone calls, etc.), but ultimately it is each Board of Education member’s prerogative to select whether and how they will interact with which constituents. Further, this online Forum was devised to provide information, not for constituents to dictate specifically who answers their question(s)… Board of Education members are able to provide responses and information if they so desire, but generally, questions submitted to this site will be answered by a school Administrator.

Jay Lebrun, Mar. 7, 2013

Q. from Fritz Tobrocke
Why doesn’t the boe make public the performance goals, either on the website or in the Press Republican. This way the taxpayers can gauge how things are progressing and how well they are doing in meeting those objectives! Thank you.

A. Please see the February 27, 2013 post (below) from Board of Education President Leisa Boise.

Jay Lebrun, Mar. 5, 2013

Q. from Walter Chmura
Several times I have asked the BOE/Admin for annual goals and the long range plans. Recently the Empire non-partisan think tank strongly recommended implementation of long range planning for school districts. Why? Because of crushing unsustainable contract benefits/pensions, both current and long range debt liabilities per the GASBY report, which has PCSD indebted for nearly $100mi debt liability.

The Supt contract mandates annual performance goals, which should be public (not the actual evaluation, but if considered public it should be available). Have they been done and, if so, can they be foiled? I am interested in the success in meeting those goals. As for the long range planning, I know that has not been done, but based on the Empire recommendations and common-sense necessity to have a long range business plan for a $40million operation is the BOE finally recognizing that it would be sensible to do this? I have heard Mr. Wachmeister’s explanation that it would be too difficult to do one, because of one thing of another, but that is no different than what any business faces, no matter how small or large. A $40million business without a long range plan is courting disaster…and from the past several crisis budgets I would say that is already occurring, so why not plan to minimize that???

A. Plattsburgh City Schools’ goals are managed through shared-decision making, consistent with Part 100.11 of the Commissioner‘s Regulations. Annual goals of each building are set in the spring by the building School Improvement Planning team and additionally reviewed at the district-level through the District-Wide Educational Improvement Committee. These goals and School Improvement Team minutes are posted on the district website as well. The aforementioned goals typically embody both building-level needs as well as District initiatives which are largely driven by state mandates (recent development of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) for Teachers and Principals or the Common Core Standards curriculum shifts are examples).

The Superintendent’s contract states; “The Board, at its option, may devote at least a portion of one meeting in or about the month of March in each year of the Superintendent’s employment by the District to the development of a list of District goals for the ensuing year.” Given the State’s heavy emphasis on continuous new mandates and the District’s history of embodied site-based management, the Board has not elected to exercise the option of establishing district goals through the Superintendent evaluation process. Goals addressed at that level are along the lines of personal performance evaluation as an employee instead. The District additionally maintains longer ranged plans in key areas, Facilities Conditions, 5-year Technology Plan, and a 5-year School Enrolment & Projections. Commonly discussions take place to be as predictive as possible about staffing, budget forecasting, and emerging needs. The District further follows the State Education Board of Regents meeting actions and conceptual proposals to gain further insight into mandate trends. These could be along the curricular/testing lines or proposals for state aid.

More recently, due to the immense changes in mandates for the new Common Core Curriculum, Network Data Team requirements and other race to the top initiatives: the District Student Support Team has expanded their role in examining student academic and behavioral data to identify district priorities which will allow the school to remain focused on areas with the greatest need for improvement. In turn, their findings are to be shared with the Professional Improvement Committee, District-wide Educational Improvement Committee and individual building teams. This placed the District Student Support Team in the newly State required roles identified under Network Team requirements.

Leisa Boise, Board of Education President, Feb. 27, 2013

Comment from Bob Bunnell:
Last year’s board decision to cut one varsity sport (gymnastics) was ill-advised. In my view, if budget cuts needed to be made to PHS athletics, the cuts should have been a percentage cut across all sports (let each team fundraise for their sport, if necessary). The PHS Gymnastics team raised and paid $7658.58 to fund their Modified, JV, and Varsity program last year, but it was unfair to single out one sport to carry the burden of district athletic cuts. I suggest the board reinstate the PHS Gymnastics Varsity, JV, and Modified as a funded program for 2013-2014 and ask that all sports share future cuts equally.

A. Thank you for your comment. Whereas some of the posts to this section of the website feature questions, and therefore require a response, this comment already outlines the facts at hand.

Jay Lebrun, Jan. 3, 2013

Q from Walter Chmura
Traffic congestion is aggravated during school sessions by parents dropping off students and teachers not car-pooling. All the conversation/instruction on the carbon footprint is confusing when it only applies elsewhere…That is hypocrisy…and it could easily different. Each school should be charged with reducing this “bad habit.” Practice what you preach…and the benefits will be exercise, socialization, and safety (less pollution and accidents).
A. Thank-you for your question. PCSD believes there are benefits to be realized (diminished car traffic at drop zones, reduced carbon emissions, increased physical activity for students, increased sense of community, etc.) through walking/biking to school.

In keeping, the District applied for and was awarded a NYSDOT ‘Safe Routes to Schools’ grant in 2009. This funding has yet to be released to the District, and we are, naturally, very frustrated. The components of this grant application, in sum, were certain traffic elements to make walking/biking to school safer (driver speed feedback signs around Oak St. school, extra bike racks at most schools, street-crossing ‘beacons’ around Momot Elementary, and a walk-bike to school educational program to include ‘walking school buses’. The District has experienced such multi-year delays in the release of funding previously (ie. PHS athletic complex grant), and we continue request the release of the funding from this approved grant from the NYSDOT.

In terms of the District’s overall approach to carbon emissions and the environment, numerous initiatives have been undertaken: single-stream recycling, ‘relamping’ of lights with higher-efficiency balasts, evening/holiday temperature setbacks through our energy management software, and the ongoing introduction of motion-activated light switches.

Jay Lebrun, Jan. 3, 2013

Q from Walter Chmura
SUNY culture is our neighbor and it is ignored. Art exhibitions, music recitals, and theatre…missed opportunities. The FREE theatre offering promoting literature in NYS, where experienced/credentialed actors read poetry and short stories was especially riveting…empty seats and what an opportunity for upper class students at PCSD. This is also an excellent opportunity to promote volunteerism on the part of teachers, which in turn would encourage the same in students.

A. Thank-you for your question. SUNY Plattsburgh has been a wonderful partner/resource for PCSD in many ways, and taking better advantage of their art/culture offerings is a great idea…. Both because of the quality of the programming and because of the proximity of the venues (which can ease transportation costs/requirements). This is particular useful in the current budget climate, where funding for school trips has been greatly reduced. Many PCSD classes/Teachers already take students to programs at SUNY, but this suggestion will be shared with the District’s music/art educators.

Jay Lebrun, Jan. 3, 2013

The Thursday, March 21, 2019 Board of Education meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 19, 2019.