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Board of Education News

Beginning in the fall of 2013, an RSF representative will be attending Board of Education meetings. We will post brief notes for each meeting. These notes are summaries only, and do not represent the full scope of each meeting’s discussion.

You can find more complete information about these meetings and the Board of Education more generally on the Board page of the Rhinebeck Schools website and on the official Rhinebeck Schools YouTube Channel, where videos of each board presentation are available.

When we are unable to have a representative present to provide summary notes of the meetings, we will post links to that meeting’s video as soon as it is available.

Board of Education Meeting – November 14, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the November 14 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – October 24, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the October 24 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – October 10, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the October 10 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – September 26, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the September 26 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – September 12, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the September 12 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – August 29, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the August 29 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – August 8, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the August 8 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – July 11, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the July 11 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – June 27, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the June 27 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – June 13, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the June 13 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – May 23, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the May 23 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – May 9, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the May 9 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – April 18, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the April 18 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – April 4, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the April 4 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Budget Workshop – March 25, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video part 1 of the March 25 Budget Workshop and Part 2.

Board of Education Meeting – March 21, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the March 21 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – March 7, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the March 7 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – February 21, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the February 21 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – February 7, 2017
View the district’s YouTube video of the February 7 Board of Education meeting.

Board of Education Meeting – January 10, 2017
Superintendent Phelan introduced Director of Special Education/ Programs Emily Davison to present a PowerPoint presentation on The State of Special Education in the RCSD.

Emily Davison began by thanking the board for her return visit, and started her talk by looking at the population of special needs persons at the “macro level”, at what their needs were, at current trends, and at initiatives to enhance delivery of service.

There are 124 special needs students, the 3 largest segments related to learning disabilities, other health impairments and autism.

Hearing impaired, physically impaired and emotionally disturbed represent the three smaller segments.

Students parentally placed or home schooled = 6

RCS district provides many services such as language therapy, visual therapy, hearing therapy, counseling and special learning help.

Students in special education exit at graduation with varying credentials, including Regents Diploma, Local Diploma, IEP Diploma, CDOS Credential, Skills and Achievment Credential and GED.

CPSE (The Committee on Preschool Special Education serves students going from Early Intervention (age 3) until they transition into kindergarten. There are currently projected to be 10 students aging into kindergarten for the 2017/2018 school year. This is a high number, percentage-wise, considering a class of perhaps 65.

Regulations governing English Language Learners have recently been revised, including increased faculty requirements to participate and increased parent education and participation. This summary barely skims the surface of Davison’s report. The full report is available here.

Following a few questions concerning clarification of long-term goals, efforts to foster inclusivity in the community, and budget constraints in a ever growing program, the Board thanked Emily, and Superintendent Phelan commented on the irony of a dilemma arising from RCSD doing such a great job with special education, and the increase in parents coming into the district in order to enroll their special needs child in our programs.

Superintendent Phelan then moved to mid-year review of 2017-2018 Board Goals, which he described as having had a good start and moving well toward success, having made a “marked dent” in all goals, although there may be some that will need to be carried over to be completed, as is often the case.

Thomas Burnell reported on enrollment, which is down, looking at a drop in coming senior classes of from 50 to 100 students over the next few years. This seems to be a district-wide trend relating to population changes.

Burnell also reported on the first draft budget, and went through page highlights; budget seems to be within 30,000 of prediction(?) and includes one less teacher at the elementary level. Ask Lisa for clarification. I don’t have the draft.

With Indian Point closing, Burnell suggested the possibility of electrical rates increasing in the coming years. Textbook expenses are up; special education budget will be increasing, occupational education increasing, transportation increasing; payrolls increasing so Social Security and health insurance increasing …

Debt service is decreasing by about $140,000.

Budget predicted to increase about 4% over last year, which is more than $1 million.

There is still work to be done to reconcile tax levy cap and budget increase.

Laura Schulkind reported on School Start Time – basically no complaints, tardiness is down in middle school, marginally reduced in high school; anecdotal evidence reports greater focus in first period. Arrival time chaos seems to be reduced, there is less congestion in halls prior to first period, and buses are running on time. There are start time newsletters circulating, and no complaints from parents so far.

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Board of Education Meeting – December 13, 2016
View the district’s YouTube video of the December 13 Board of Education meeting.

Special Board of Education Meeting – December 6, 2016
View the district’s YouTube video of the special Board of Education Capital Project Referendum Presentation.

Board of Education Meeting – November 22, 2016
View the district’s YouTube video of this meeting.

In addition to our report below you can use these links for meeting materials on the district website:

Meeting Agenda – November 22, 2016

Reports – November 22, 2016

Immediately prior to the meeting, the Board held a Capital Project Referendum Presentation. The presentation was detailed and provided extensive opportunity for question and answer. A handful of those in the audience inquired about more extensive use of solar energy for the new construction, which was explained as not within the budget’s scope. One concerned citizen challenged the decision to purchase a generator for the school district. When it was explained that the generator served the duel purpose of also providing electricity if/when the school buildings are used as emergency shelters, this same concerned citizen rejected the idea because only “Rhinebeck” people would be allowed into the shelter. The Board explained that they would not turn away anyone from the shelter during the time of an emergency.

That same person continued his criticism, suggesting that the capital referendum process was too “rushed.” The Board and a few in the audience explained that in fact it had been a very deliberative process, well publicized on the Board website and in its posted agendas. In addition, several members of the Board reminded this person and the audience that they were available for a walk-through at any time, and would be available when and for as much time as any concerned citizen would like.

The vote on the capital referendum will be in the Middle School Cafeteria from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm on December 6, 2016. Anyone needing an absentee ballot can get one by visiting the office of Mary Ann Torres at the District Clerk’s Office at 48 Knollwood Rd (CLS).

Most of the crowd stayed around for the start of the regular Board meeting, which started 30 minutes late at 8:00 pm. During the public comment agenda item, eight different people made presentations about their concerns regarding protecting students as a result of the “bias and bigotry” that is showing itself since the presidential election. In particular, questions were raised about protecting the children, especially undocumented children, muslims, people of color and other minorities who are facing an increasing hostile environment throughout the country.

Superintendent Phelan responded that the school district has no reported violations of the dignity act, “to date.” Phelan explained that protected classes may feel uncomfortable and these concerns have been brought to the social worker and teachers have been talking about this and preparing for the possibilities.

The next public commenter asked about how the school district is dealing with concerns about deportation of undocumented families, and students. “What can we do to keep the students safe?” she asked.

Phelan took this question as well, answering that this discussion is happening all over Dutchess County school districts, and the that the Rhinebeck School District is in deep discussion about same.

The next public commenter asked if the school district was planning any kind of public statement regarding inclusiveness, to get ahead of the hatred that seems to be revealing itself against minority groups. Phelan answered that the Board and he are working on such a statement, and that the sense of the statement includes the notion that “this is a safe space and we intend to keep it that way.”

The Board and many members of the public engaged in a substantive discussion about these issues, with Board member Burns thanking everyone for their engagement, and Board member D’Albertis noting that indeed these “difficult times” which require such discussion on all levels.

The principals then gave their reports.

CLS Principal King boasted about the CLS newspaper, the “CLS Press,” a completely student run group that is publishing its second newspaper edition.

Middle School Principal Kemnitzer spoke of the Veterans Day Assembly, which had 40% participation by the students. Kemnitzer discussed the 7th Grade Salem Witch Trial projects, including their work with the 5th graders and presenting at the Baptist Home. Kemnitzer also pointed out that, with the support of RSF, the day of science at Bard College was coming up soon.

The High School Principal suggested everyone take a look around the High School at the artwork on display. He also spoke about the success of the “writing center” which provides writing support to the students as well as the High School’s participation in the All-State Orchestra program.

The Curriculum Committee reported about their work on 9-11 grade English curriculum, as well as the brand new technology curriculum, which Board Member Schulkind recommended everyone review.

The Audit Committee reported on the technology audit as it relates to infrastructure within the school buildings.

Board member Lyons reported on the Personnel Committee explaining that the School District’s counsel, David Shaw, would be meeting with the Board to answer questions about upcoming negotiations.

Finally, Board member D’Albertis reported on the school start time committee, which is planning on sending out surveys regarding the trial run on school start time change, and that the focus continues to be health wellness of the students.

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Board of Education Meeting – November 8, 2016
Agenda PDF on RCSD site
Reports PDF on RCSD site


Board of Education Meeting – October 25, 2016
Agenda PDF on RCSD site
Reports PDF on RCSD site

Approval of the minutes of the regular meeting of the Board of Ed on 10/11/16 and approval of the minutes of the special meeting of the Board of Ed on 10/18/16.

Public Comment: none

Principal’s reports:
Brett King: CLS had 3rd Grade Safety Day and a very successful Madagascar half-day. Mr. Stiverson is coordinating an Anti-Bully Squad which is part of a national initiative. CLS planning hour of code in December which will be an unplugged version in PE classes. Spirit Days are being scheduled. Common Language for all being updated. Students reps on the PE council are modeling healthy choices for their peers. 5th graders are initiating a CLS newspaper, first issue is coming out next week. Fifth grade is taking CPR training. Harry Potter competition is still on going. Title I/AIS Parent meeting at CLS is on October 26.

J. Kimnetzer: BMS had a very successful Madagascar Day, thanks to Mr. Frischknecht and parents volunteers. There was more follow-up and feedback than previous years. 6th grade studied lemurs, Malagasy foods, book making and worked with SUNY Stonybrook and RHS students. 7th grade studied the arts with Zarina and worked with kindergarten students. 8th grade participated in folk dancing with the 2nd grade and a new program with the Baptist Home, which resulted in a couple of students continuing to volunteer at the home. And a town wide scavenger hunt was held. And later the next week 2×2 Zoo did a lemur presentation for 6th grade thanks tot he Rhinebeck Science Foundation. ELA is focusing on the refugee experience and bringing in a speaker who is a Vietnamese refugee. After school extra help has begun for the 6th and 8th grades. This is the earliest in the year it has started. 7th grade with start soon. 6th grade Circus is on November 4th. Thanks to PTSO for sponsoring. Arts in Ed grant will support 7th grade history class performance of the Salem Witch trials. There will be a Veterans Day breakfast and assembly on November 10. Planning for 8th grade day of science with Bard students, sponsored by Rhinebeck Science Foundation.

Dr. Davenport: RHS’s English department took field trips to Bard and Olana. Math department is experimenting with “flipping classroom” where students do online classes at home and then come into the classroom to troubleshoot with the teacher. With help from the Rhinebeck Science Foundation, a weather station has been installed in the science department. The Weather Bug is linked to 8000 other stations across the country. Art department took a field trip to Storm King, did nature sculpture with the 5th grade, and did a Banksy installation in the gym. Guidance counseling office hosted a presentation by Dutchess Community College.

Committee Report
Finance (Steve Jenkins): The Budget calendar is being set-up. Contract negotiations are coming up. There will be a budget workshop at the end of March.

Communications (Deirdre D’Albertis) They are working with a consultant to update website and create a mobile platform. Collecting data on how people are using the website. Working on branding, consistency of message in the Comprehensive District Education Plan (CDEP). There is going to be a community roundtable on December 16 at 12:30 focusing on enrollment numbers. And working on how to communicate information about the capital referendum vote on December 6. Maybe doing community walk-thru’s or posting pictures of the building repairs needed. BOE’s first coffee hour is November 17.

Policy (Diane Lyons): The committee is going over policy language in the following areas, school dances, public performances by students and interscholastic teams.

Personnel (Laura Schulkind): Successful teacher mentoring program. Looking at bargaining trends and meeting with a speaker to discuss. Looking at the Superintendent evaluation tool. Formatting discussions around tenure positions. Looking at parent/teacher communications, specifically the handouts at the beginning of the year.

2016 NYSSBA (New York State School Board Association) is voting on proposed new Bylaw Amendments and Resolutions. J. Phelan wanted to know how the Board would like him to vote at the conference next week. The Board was split, local v. state control. There maybe more clarification at the conference.
ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act): BOCES gave a presentation on the federal requirements and “High Concept Ideas.” 95% of students must take assessment tests or there will be consequences for the school (not specified). J. Phalen encourages people to go to the Engage NY website to complete their survey.

Good news: J. Phalen announced that Kevin Cahill had secured $500,000 in funding to upgrade science labs in schools. RCSD is one of 10 schools asked to apply for a $50,000 grant. Application will probably be for the physics lab since it has not seen an update in many years.

Girls Varsity won and is moving on in the post-season playoffs.

Old Business: none

Public Comment: A CLS parent gave kudos to Brett King for all the fabulous programs that are happening at CLS.

Other: none

Action Items: The Board approved all action items on the agenda.

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Board of Education Meeting – September 13, 2016
View the video of this meeting on the Rhinebeck Schools YouTube channel:
Board of Education Meeting 9/13/16

Board of Education Meeting – August 30, 2016
View the video of this meeting on the Rhinebeck Schools YouTube channel:
Board of Education Meeting 8/30/16

Board of Education Meeting – May 24, 2016
Approval of minutes of 5/10/16 meeting.
Approval of minutes of 5/17/16 annual meeting.

Public comment period: no comments

Principal reports

Brett King – CLS reported Spirit Day a success. Thanks to Kathy Cassens for photography. Northern Dutchess news was there and CLS featured as school of the week. May 4 and 5 was Engineers Week and Mr. King thanked the Engineer volunteers. Spring concerts were a success. PE teacher for the day will take place next week. CLS faculty will be walking for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Special friends day and field days are coming up next week.

BMS – 7th grade participated in a Week of Discovery. Thanks to Mr. Frischknecht, Rhinebeck Science Foundation and Teaching the Hudson Valley, students spent 4 days traveling around the Hudson Valley, learning through hands-on, multidisciplinary activities. 6th grade completed top 100 project of history’s most influential people. 8th grade finishing studies of Shakespeare. 7tha nd 8th grade are completing foreign language books to share with 1st grade. Choral concert and small ensemble concerts will take place next week. The band will play at Barnes and Noble for a fundraiser for the band. June 13 and 14 will be Engineer Day at BMS. Hopefully this pilot program will be expanded next year. June 16 is the last full day of classes, ice cream social and 8th grade moving up ceremony. June 17 is Field Day. The following week is 5th grade orientation.

RHS – English dept – 12th grade Zombie project. 11th grade – digital author projects. 189 AP tests taken. Regents exams begin next week. Choral ensemble is traveling to CT to perform. Junior/Senior prom a success, attended by over 200 people. Diversity club helped defray some of the costs for kids who could not afford all the prom expenses. Technology club refurbished computers and donated to needy people. Model UN club is sponsoring a movie about the Middle East. Victim impact council will take place next week. June 6 is academic awards. June 7 Senior concert. June 8 athletic awards ceremony. June 15 senior class trip. Commencement is June 25.

Committee reports

Facilities – RFP to hire architects for infrastructure renovations will go out today. Plans for financing were reviewed. Feedback through focus groups. Vote scheduled for November. Water was tested for lead and everything was OK. Security cameras in hallways are being installed.

Policy – The Committee is reviewing a proposed policy on use of district credit cards and continuing its review of the existing policies. Truancy and tardiness policies will be separated and clarified in future.

Curriculum – Elementary health curriculum will change to comply with NYS standards, specifically prevention of child abuse unit. K-5 math curriculum – everyday math 5 or 4, depending on which makes more sense to meet NYS standards. Review of BMS tech lab by Marvin in the future.

The CDEP Committee has drafted a CDEP Plan (Comprehensive District Education Plan) with goals for academic, social and emotional success, collaboration, implementation and professional development. Plan is in further development.

School start time to do list. Survey sleep habits of high school and middle school students before and after start time change. This will be in collaboration with sleep center study. Bus routes to be formulated and rehearsed. Get the information out.

Good news – Budget passed! Rhinebeck and Red Hook JV and V baseball played at Bard. Tennis doubles team made it to sectionals. Varsity baseball made it to sectionals. Mid-Hudson scholastic athletic awards are being given out at a dinner next week. Steve Jenkins elected to the Board!

Old news – dates proposed for summer Board retreat. Bus cameras (audio and video) have been installed. Health service costs report reviewed.

Public comment….
Question from the senior class president. During the shorten classroom changeover breaks, can there be an electronic message system to notify teachers in a student is going to be late for a class? He was told to pass the idea thru Dr. Davenport.

A board member received a mailer from a state rep who said Rhinebeck received an 11% increase in state aid which is about 10 times over what was actual increase was. He will contact that reps office as misinformation could affect the public perception of the school budget.
Dutchess BOCES capital budget referendum vote possibility in late Fall, which maybe the same time as Rhinebeck’s capital project vote.
Updating safety plan is in the works.

Approval of consent items. Approval of tenure for David Woulfin, Tennille Morrisey, Brian McDonald, Sarah Wheeler, Jason Stevenson, Cassie Wintermantel, Gretchen Werner, and Fern Lox. Approval to accept grants from PTSO. Approval of expanded list of substitute teachers. And other personnel changes. Executive session called.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – April 19, 2016

The Board meeting began at 7:00 pm with a public hearing on the proposed school budget for the 2106-2017 school year. Superintendent Phelan laid out two options for consideration. First, Phelan outlined a budget that would have an increase of 2.13%, which is above the allowed cap of 1.62%. This budget plan would require a super-majority vote of the public, but would have less impact on programs and services. In the alternative, Phelan outlined a budget that fell within the cap, but would mean more significant cuts in services and programs. (Phelan gave as an example no new tuba for the music program this coming year.)

The Board members discussed the budget options and with the exception of Board Member Rosenthal, all supported keeping the budget within the tax cap and going with the deeper cuts to avoid needing a supermajority vote and also to avoid overtaxing the public. The consensus was that the there was enough flexibility in event the stricter budget and that, as Board Member Walker said, “they can handle it.”

During the only item on the regular meeting agenda, Board member Schulkind reported on the curriculum committee’s work regarding the public accessibility to the state testing “dashboard” and the extensive data available. Schulkind explained that at the next Board meeting there will be a more complete report on the data and how it can be used and reported. However, Schulkind warned that that data is skewed insofar as higher-income families, and lower-achieving students tended to opt-out in disproportionate numbers so the data has to be carefully considered with that in mind.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – April 12, 2016

Tom Burnell, the head of the district business office, began the meeting by stating that the business office had finalized the special education budget for next year and there is a savings of approximately $217,000. This means that the overall budget gap for next year is approximately half of previous estimates: approximately $233,000 rather than approximately $450,000.

Mr. Burnell and Superintendent Joe Phelan will prepare and present three budget options at next Tuesday’s meeting for the board to consider.

1. Cuts required to stay within the cap (1.26% increase)
2. Cuts required to keep the budget within a 2% increase (pierces cap)
3. No additional cuts – increase at 2.08% (pierces cap).

Those budgets that pierce the cap require a 60% majority vote by the community in order to pass.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – April 5, 2016
The New York State budget was approved last Friday night, April 1st, leaving the Rhinebeck Central School district with a gap of approximately $450,000. The BoE must approve new cuts to the 2016-2017 budget of $32,894,035 by Tuesday, April 19th or seek to lift the state-imposed tax levy cap with a 60% approval vote from the community.

Specific cuts were not discussed publicly at the meeting. The general feeling amongst the members of the BOE is to ask the community to vote on lifting the cap. The BoE will meet next week to discuss specifically what cuts to make and to decide how much of a tax increase to ask for from the district. It had been suggested that a 3% increase in the tax levy would eliminate most, if not all, of the gap.

In other discussions related to the budget, the BOE plans on holding a community forum in the summer for everyone to discuss longer term planning for the Rhinebeck Central School District and might look for input from RSF and the PTSO.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – March 15, 2016 – School Start Time Meeting

Meeting called to order at 7:35.
The minutes from the Board of Ed meeting on 3/1/16 were amended and approved. Video of full School Board meetings are available on Youtube.

Superintendent Joe Phelan gave a budget update saying that there was not much to report since this past Saturday’s budget workshop. Through the communications committee, the board will be sending out communications to the entire school district community regarding the budget gap ($800,000) and a FAQ (frequently asked questions) sheet, as well as who to contact in the state legislature to make specific requests regarding the school budget process. These communications will also be posted on the board website.

Report for the Facilities Committee (Mark Fleischhauer)
The architect has finished the building survey and there are approximately $11.7 million worth of capital projects recommended. A subcommittee will be formed as to how to relay this information to the public as well as how it will be funded.

Report of the Communications Committee (Deirdre Burns)
The Communications Committee met with members of the PTSO and Rhinebeck Science Foundation to facilitate and enhance communications within the district about programs and the current budget gap. The emphasis is on communicating the importance of a strong school district to the community as a whole.

Policy Committee (Lisa Rosenthal)
Is looking into creating school policies for the following: transgender students, acknowledgement of donations (i.e.. plaques on donated equipment), district credit cards, homework, immunization requirements, and treatment protocols for drug overdoses (required for state training to administer Narcan).

Audit Committee (Laura Schulkind)
Just finished the internal tech audit and created policies. Hardware and software now being discussed and contracts with BOCES being examined as well as disaster recovery scenarios through BOCES test this Spring.

Good News – Laura S. announced she served as a judge for the BMS Top Chef contest and there were some really great junior chefs in the school!

Old Business – none

Public Comment – One audience member asked when will the district be notified as to what cuts the school district would be making and when would the public be able to comment. Joe P. the budget will be made public shortly after the state funds are announced at the end of this month. Then public will have the opportunity to comment at any board meeting after that.

Other – 20 students from the Model UN club have been invited to the Nobel Peace Summit in Costa Rica next year. They need approval from the Board to continue to explore this possibility. The club will be in charge of raising the funds. No district funds will be used.

The Board meeting scheduled for 3/29 will now take place on 4/5 because the state aid will be out by then and the budget can be discussed in detail.

Action Items
Motions were passed to give notice of School Board elections on 5/17 and to hire election inspectors to be trained on new voting machines, accepting a grant and book donation from the PTSO, adopting the 2016-2017 calendar, approving medical leave for a teacher, hiring a long-term sub, expanding list of approved subs, hiring a track coach, approving volunteer baseball coaches.
The proposal to change the RHS/BMS school start time to 8:00 was adopted for the 2016-17 school year for a one year test period. The motion passed with only one Board member voting against.

No Executive Session and meeting adjourned 8:50.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – March 1, 2016 – School Start Time Meeting
BoE Member Deirdre d’Albertis and Superintendent Joe Phelan presented a presentation of research and parent, student, teacher survey reports. This information will be made available on the RCSD website including the new study that shows the benefits of even a 30-minute change in start time at BMS/RHS.
This will be on Youtube through the district. It is important to keep in mind that this would be a pilot and would be revisited after a year of implementation if the measure passes. The vote will be on March 15th.
Board of Education Meeting – March 1, 2016 – Regular BoE Meeting
No public Comment
BMS and RHS Principal reports given by Dr. Davenport

BMS:  Highlights
-Taking the Stand was a hands-on project with ENTA and the 8th grade ELA curriculum.
-First RH/RBK Science Fair at Bard College
Laurie Keating of CELT is looking to develop computer curriculum with both computer teachers….ongoing throughout the year
RSF met with both computer teachers about ways to support coding
Top Chef : 7th annual on March 7th
Mr. Moor and his Business Law Class went to visit the Dutchess County Court
ELA : incorporating Grammar into the curriculum at various grades,  non-fiction writing development
Host of extracurricular activities: art, Model UN competition, Debate competition
Budget Development:
Based on current projections and still-to-be-verified information from the State, Rhinebeck has a significant budget gap of approximately $800,000. All 3 principals have been asked to present a budget to eliminate $100,000 from their schools. Plans for budget reductions of $50,000 each for Maintenance, Technology, and Curriculum have been requested, as well.

There will be reductions in equipment and supplies and there may be teaching positions eliminated, as well. There appear to be no expected teacher retirements to help offset costs this year.
The board plans to communicate with the community the impact of these potential cuts and will be meet with representatives of the PTSO and RSF on March 4th to discuss a communication plan in more detail. This budget’s financial impact and possible staff changes have the potential to be quite large and the BoE is  not regarding faculty changes lightly.
There will be a Budget Development Workshop on March 12th that will explore all of these issues. It begins at 9am and is open to the public.
Highlights of Superintendents Day conference was discussed.

Schedule of give back days re: unused snow days was approved and will be made public.


Board of Education Meeting – February 9, 2016
BoE Members and Administrators Present:
Mark Fleischhauer, President
Deirdre Burns
Deirdre d’Albertis
Diane Lyons
Lisa Rosenthal
Laura Schulkind
Thomas Burnell, Ass’t Superintendent
Mary Ann Bovee, Clerk

(This is out of sequence but there were two crucial issues discussed.)

Our district currently has a $1 million budget gap. Each school has been asked to make $100,000 in cuts and each department, $50,000, (e.g. Buildings & Operations; Technology; Administration are departments). BoE members are saying this is the worst they’ve ever seen. The State Aid is still unknown but based on what is known and the tax cap issue, very big cuts are anticipated.

There was a direct request for RSF to help the BoE inform and motivate the community of the need to communicate with our state legislators on this issue.

In the words of Lisa Rosenthal:
“We are being prevented from raising the budget we need to educate all the children. To be in this situation seems utterly insane to me and we don’t have the ability to effect (outcome) due to what the state (legislates). It’s an untenable situation. The community should share in our frustration on this…all should write letters, voices should be heard, attend…they can’t short change school districts.….It’s appalling to be in this position when the state has a $3 billion surplus. The amount of funding going to the schools in the state is appallingly is low – it’s immoral.”

The most recent survey had an extremely low response rate which was distressing to Mark Fleishhauer, President of BoE. If you haven’t filled in this 1 question survey, there’s still time. Link below:

Two Important Dates:

• Tues. February 16th Public Forum on School Start Time Committee’s proposal, 7:30 pm, BMS Cafeteria
• Tues. February 23rd, Public Comment portion of the Regular 7:30 PM BOE meeting; The proposal will be on the BoE agenda for a vote that evening.

Public Comment
Father concerned about school ending 30 mins later and how that will impact other after school activities, sports and study time.

School Start time Proposal: Lyons
Met last week went thru survey, staff, parents and students,
Very low response rate but it is still possible to respond.

Staff 65%
Student (?) only 17 out of 700 responded
Parent 72%

• A lot of comments: one was students having to leave early for sports. Start would not change that except for some post-season games like sectionals
• Before school drop-off, talking about 7:15 at BMS/RHS
• If were to pilot BoE would review again next Jan/March
• Burns: appreciated clarifying especially the leaving early for sports; important to me that at CLS students allowed to enter at 8:15
• Thanks to Laura for helping with slides for next week’s presentation
• Rosenthal: Issue of setting parameters for evaluating the pilot program
• Schulkind: have a commitment from a local psychologist to assess students sleepiness and performance.
• d’Albertis: Another thing we are committed to is sitting with nurse, school psychologist and want to develop with them qualitative as well as quantitative measures of success. We know unexpected things will come up – want to build in that. Don’t want just one measure – want to remain flexible enough to gather info from a lot of different sources.
• Burns: Others possible measurements: tardiness and lateness between classes – they will have 3 mins vs. 4 mins between classes, on-time of buses, timing on return from athletic contests, reports on the athletic program; might want to consider a survey just like you’ve done this time around: Survey Monkey.
•Fleischhauer: I’m highly disappointed that we have less than 20% response on a single question survey, only 17 students out of 700 students; 132 parents responded – I have not heard from a significant # of the community on this start time change.
Public Hearing Next Week – would like to see a good crowd of people who speak and let us know what is on their mind
The vote is 2 weeks from today and I’m going to have a really hard time voting “Yes” with so few responding
• Rosenthal: we have to view surveys as a limited tool
• Schulkind: we have surveyed our parents in Nov, one parent said “why do you keep surveying us?”
• Burns: I look at the survey as getting input, not a vote. I do thank the committee for the multiple ways you’ve connected about this. Found comments very enlightening and one of the things I saw, there seems to be a continued misunderstanding of the underpinning of this change. It took me awhile to figure it out too. There are people who still don’t understand why kids simply don’t go to bed on time, go to sleep earlier. Then there wouldn’t be a need for a time change b/c the kids would get enough sleep and maybe we’ve not communicated this sufficiently and the session next week might be the best opportunity to make this clear. It’s not that kids aren’t going to bed but that their body chemistry changes…”

Father: I had a lot of questions that I contacted Diane about. There may be another way to look at other studies. Studies that show cause and effect relationship. We are allowing them to stay up later – the body adjusts. It’s a natural progression. In their research I saw there was a 1-2 hour start change and I haven’t seen any effects on the 30min delay. With the absence of that, why are we doing 30mins? I’d like to see the data. Impact on accident rates, depression, test rates and we have higher than average test rates anyway so not sure how that will be impacted. I don’t see the gain if you are going to have a chunk of kids who leave after their parents leave for work. I think kids tardiness may go up. We are shortening time between classes just so we can accommodate sports.

Maureen Terranova: It’s enlightening for me to see it from both sides. Why aren’t we reaching out to students in another way? Does a half hour make a difference? What really is the going to be the outcome?

Tom met with company.

Cafeteria: there’s still a loss in cafeteria program but less that it was. And numbers will get better once work thru some inventory – will see numbers at next meeting.

A review will be help as one is being done in Red Hook too.
Online payment system is said to be working well.
Lyons: The cafeteria made so many great changes and it’ll straighten out

• Burnell: Each school been asked to reduce by 100K and each dept. by 50K
Potential cuts due to student enrollment

• Lyons: Struck by the number being asked by each dept – how will that be accomplished?

• Burnell: Different school buildings will cut their budget in different ways. You’ll get the list at the next board meeting. Everything right now is on the table and still being discussed. It’s a tough one to balance this year. This is a really huge issue looking for half a million from the budget.

• Rosenthal: These are going to be difficult cuts – there’s not a lot of fat to trim, 50K for each dept.: technology, operation, district, athletics. We can’t react to reclining enrollment – we need to make a plan.

• Schulkind: have been chipping away at budget lines…we need a longer-range view – the problem is not going away.

• Burnell: right now we have a million dollar gap. So tax levy cap…
I am truly concerned about this budget. There are unknowns in health insurance but that’s not going to create a whole lot of extra cash.

We still don’t know our whole state aid yet. We’ve encountered huge special-end costs that are really hindering us as well as the rest of the programs. Because of retirements in the past things have fallen for us but it’s not working for us this year. We are mandated to do these sorts of things. We have to pick up the first $55,000 for a Boces student b/c we are considered “wealthy”.

• Burns: Planning is difficult when costs go up. The federal gov’t doesn’t pay for any of this and our hands are tied. It’s a structural problem. We educate all children and that’s a good thing. I don’t think our legislators “get” that.

• Rosenthal: We are being prevented from raising the budget we need to educate all the children. (This) seems utterly insane to me and we don’t have the ability to effect due to the state…it’s an untenable situation – community should share in our frustration on this. All should write letters, voices should be heard, attend hearings. They can’t short change school districts.

• d’Albertis: contacting reps in Albany, time is running short. We need to share concretely with our community the options we have to communicate…

• Lyons: It’s appalling to be in this position when the state has a $3 Billion surplus. The amount of funding to the schools in the state is appalling is low – it’s immoral.

• Rosenthal: Ask community to ask legislature for a tax cap override.

CURRICULUM: Deirdre d’Albertis
• Independent Study: Met w/Dr. Davenport – issue with evening coffee w/ board. What are the options for independent study for the HS? There are opportunities for students to earn credits outside of the curriculum but we don’t’ call this “independent study”.
Students do go to college classes but these credits are not eligible for HS credit.
Other domain is online course work – Dr. D shared virtual HS information: he pointed out completion rate is not robust with these courses. In a perfect world you’d create a support group at the school for those doing online courses.

• Discussed the right # of study halls to have and Dr. D expressed that it’s a norm that you also have to be taking additional coursework. How to share the resources without saying you should do this.

• Opened up a wonderful moment, Dr. D. talked about new course offerings: designed another AP English for 11th grade, more literature.

• Series of permutations of HS schedule

• Talked of other kinds of courses being developed: journalism, drama, mathematics of finance, (to replace a math applications class), maybe a local history course. Guidance office would have to determine if there’s enough student body interest. This is in lieu of other courses – would not need add’l. budget.

• AUDIT of Health Curriculum: prevention of childhood sexual abuse – CDC providing tools for schools; we are in compliance with state regulations. Elementary curriculum is in need of some development so that it’s fully aligned and integrated with 6-12.

• In a climate that is focused on test scores it’s important to be mindful of our health curricula. How can we make time for this? Important for the board to take a leadership role Personal Safety Program – looking at this.

Lyons: these possible new classes – how do you gauge interest?

D’Albertis: he didn’t share with us how they counsel on this.

Schulkind: English department has posted these possibilities so the students already knew a—teachers and students are talking about it.

Lyons: seems a shame this has been pushed out at CLS. What would it look like?

D’Albertis: this is a very first step. There’s a sense that bringing some help in is useful to help give teachers additional training.

Need clarification on what is required: 12thEngR and AP and electives

Eng 11th Honors is going away, Eng 11R will be mandatory.

Dutchess BOCES memo: time to think about nominating people for BOCES board. Election is on April 26th.
Rosenthal: We may want to canvas our parents to see interest for BOCES board.

• Not too many changes as off right now.
• Increases in Admin and Health
• Tax levy unit – changed is the capital local expenditures, that’s increased, max allowable tax levy. Our tax levy gone up to 2.6?
• Revenues: state aid – based on what governor provided to us.
• Increased enrollment in Special Ed program
• The STACK process happens over a series of years
• Rosenthal: the time will be coming soon where we will have to look at some scenarios with the gap that we’ll be facing. Scenarios are how we manage the gap. Cuts are one way. I do not want this to be a crazy rush at the end.
•Burnell: I’d like you to start thinking about class size – what should a true class be K-2? Then maybe bigger classes – it’s okay to have 25 in a class. We cut back 6th grade to 4 sections that allowed teachers to teach other classes. There are 80 students so that’s 20 per/class

Burns: What would impact be for piercing the tax cap to 2%, wld it give us an extra amount of $. What is the right number

Burnell: since we began this tax cap around 2% but b/c of all the growth that’s occurred in our community the tax payer hasn’t seen that tax rate increase been very diff from the tax levy increase

Schulkind: great idea – when we go to the community it’s important for us to give them scenarios: holistic picture: these programs will be lost we need to outline what it really means.

Rosenthal: from RSF Diane Linenbroker: the Flickr album w/ Yearwood 2 grade and HS students the arts studio app to finish the picture. This album is posted on Flickr and I can give you the link. A big Thanks you to RSF who instrumental in buying those iPads

Schulkind: “Take a Stand” project – the writing is getting really great and social visualization really fantastic.

Lyons: WIZARDS – vs Faculty – a great way to raise funds and enjoy the evening at the same time. A lot of people looking for tickets it was sold out.

• At a basketball game a parent mentioned what nice event we put on with the music playing, welcoming and half time make a basket activities along with the Spanish and French club making food. Really welcoming and enjoyable.

• Middle School Choral concert – another great event

• Burns: I was at that basketball game and from Pat Sexton’s group involvement in “Take a stand” – the whole thing from stepping the door was a wonderful environment and worth every penny.

• There was also a Pep rally that was well received by the students.


Cahill Letter: wants input from Joe
Burns: Important to go to local legislative offices
D’Albertis: can we get our plan together to go to Albany?

• Need to start communicating and raising awareness for the available board seat.

Rosenthal: take back to RSF the need to awaken community to budget deficit

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – January 26, 2016
External Audit
The district’s stress assessment is moderate. This is due to the size of the fund balance relative to the budget and the fact that the district has used fund balance the last couple of years. The audit recommended the district to develop a 5 year plan which would help them with expected cost increases over the next several years and if possible to start building up the reserves.

Principal Reports
CLS Science Night Out – Wednesday 6:00-7:30 at CLS.
Very interesting/encouraging to hear all about the cross-class and cross building events happening with the students.
* CLS/BMS – Mr Frischknecht’s kids went to visit 1st graders to strengthen cross-cultural understanding particularly as it relates to Madagascar. They made Mancala boards. Make sure to look for Mr. Frischknecht in the spotlight in February’s Rhinebeck Science Foundation’s newsletter.
* BMS Anthropology Club – creating documentary of cultural and historical sites in Rhinebeck to share with kids in Ranomafana, Madagascar . Those kids are doing the same and will be shared back to BMS kids in the Fall.
* Day of Science was this week. The 8th graders spent the day at Bard performing hands on experiments in this annual trip. Look for photos on Twitter and the website in the next few days.
* BMS Lab – The 7th grade ELA/Foreign Language classes are working on their first joint project in Computer lab. They’ll be creating an interactive Skype project for conversations with kids in France and Spain.
* RHS – Model UN (an extra-curricular activity in which students role-play delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees) will be hosting a competition at RHS in the Spring (date TBD). Red Hook is onboard. They’re inviting other schools to attend as well.
* Kathy Giles (RHS) and Liz Yearwood (Grade 2) are doing collaborative art project again – RHS kids create B/W line art and CLS kids take those images and colorize them using their iPads.
* RHS Play, Fiddler on the Roof, is 4/8-4/10. The 3rd-5th graders are being invited to see the play the following week.

School Start Time
The modified Shift version has been updated to reflect opinions from community and student surveys, principals, etc. An email will go out to the community this week outlining the current and proposed schedules. A survey will also be conducted to determine if the community would support a 1 year pilot of the new schedule.
Ongoing conversations involve how to access the success of the new schedule.
Added benefits were found in new schedule – lunch time now more appropriate for students. The existing schedule has lunch starting at 10:30.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – January 12, 2016
Public Comment: Janet Sistare, president of the PTSO, described the PTSO’s recent change in fundraising to reflect experiences vs. buying items like magazines and wrapping paper. The Harlem Wizards are coming to Rhinebeck on February 4th 6-9PM and is open to all families. As of today, there are only 40 tickets left.

Reports and Discussion: please see attached for Board Committee reports of curriculum, school start time, and communication. Board Goals are included as well. You can download the PDF document here.

Mid Year Review of 2015-16 Board Goals:
CDEP planning underway. Laura Schulkind reports that it has been a collaborative process involving faculty from all three buildings and the PTSO. The mission, vision, core, value statement will be brought to the BOE 1/26 and the plan should be available by the end of the year or Fall 2016. Joe Phelan described how this plan has engaged district faculty more actively.

Program Support Under Tax Levy: Some is tied into the new CDEP process and the district will reach out to stakeholders ie PTSO and RSF, parents etc. More to come.

Advocacy: Deirdre d’Albertis stated that progress has been made with this goal: speaking to elected officials, writing letters to government officials. More underway.

2016-17 Budget Development Update:
NYS aid has not been released as of the meeting date. It is due this week.

A few notable factors for an increase in spending anticipated:
-Special education: $325,000 additional funds as there are some unknowns re: 1 incoming student, 3 students eligible to graduate but may not, and 2 “unanticipated placements.”

-BOCES equipment: $100,000 allocated
-Transportation Costs: unknown: may be 6-7% higher

Looking at a potential gap of $942,000.

Also Noted
-1 less CLS teacher anticipated for the 2016/17 year: 3 sections from this year’s kindergarten moving to 3 instead of 4 sections in 1st grade

Approved Curriculum Documents now available on the district website and via the link above.

Innovation In Technology Report in Curriculum minutes reviews the New BMS lab: equipment, professional development, integration across disciplines, timelines.

Laurie Keating from the Technology CELT audit has been providing professional development for Sue Van Vlack and Gideon Moore, the two BMS lab teachers. Addressing where students are in terms of competency, how to develop the curriculum etc now foucs. All hardware and software in place.

-Health Curriculum: Question: how does RCSD address prevention of sexual abuse, how do we raise awareness.

Both agenda topics will continue to be addressed by the committee.

Committee meeting regularly and addressing all concerns. More to come in near future.

COMMUNICATION: teacher web page use snapshot: 1/3rd updated websites from January 1st, , various platforms used by teachers: should they be standardized, need for curriculum documents to be located in a dynamic collaborative environment

There will be two “Coffee with the Board” meetings on 1/19. Both will focus on finance/budget. The Communcations Committee meeting notes are available here.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – December 22, 2015
Meeting called to order 7:30
Minutes from previous meeting were passed. Board of Ed meetings are posted on You Tube. Search Rhinebeck Board of Education meeting 12-22-15.

The newly formed Model UN club made a presentation. The club has 35 members and attended its first completion at the Bard Conference with 6 schools. The RHS Model UN Club represented 14 different countries. On January 8, they will present an International Foods Day to promote their work and attract new members. On April 23, they will go to the Dalton Conference in NYC which is to have over 700 attendees.

Principal reports
Brett King – CLS
CLS just had its 2nd annual get together and 2nd Annual Potluck.
5th Grade Chorus performed at the Song Fest at Bard College
Outreach projects include Hands Helping Hands which provided 147 hand-knit items to Astor Head Start services. Northern Dutchess News featured after school activities at CLS in a recent issue. Book Angel Project provided 28 students with books.
Looking forward to future events including Science Night Out on January 27 with Bard CCE.

John W. Kemnitzer – BMS
8th Grade ELA is doing a unit called Taking A Stand which focuses on civil rights and social injustice. It will culminate in works of art by students and a gallery walk for the public in late January/early February.
7th Grade Social Studies classes are studying pre Revolutionary War era with the help of some 30 High School student volunteers.
Math teacher Tom Glass has created a YouTube channel with 160 videos entitled Homework Helps. Some videos have been viewed over 100 times.
Art Club donated 52 blankets and hats to Vassar NICU.
The Book Angel project provided 18 students with books.
BMS was recognized in NYC for the tech drive. And all items collected are on their way to Madagascar.
Jan 14 the Peer Leadership Committee is visiting CLS 1st Grade to teach them about Madagascar.
Jan 26 is the 8th Grade Day of Science at Bard.
Jan 28 is the BMS Chorus concert.

Edwin Davenport – RHS
Proud to announce all eight Fall Varsity Sports teams earned recognition from NYS for being Scholar Athlete Teams (composite grades of 90+) and 54 RHS students individually earned Scholar Athlete recognition.
Revised Parent Teacher conference format was well received.
Upcoming speaker series will include topics such as dangers of texting while driving, diversity, and life after high school for seniors.
Discussions on the master scheduling process have begun.
Science classes are focussing on proteins in foods and sustainability, packaging for eggs (engineering), forensics use of police dogs.
Percussion Ensemble concert feature a piece written entirely for kitchen utensils.
RHS Chorus performed for Chamber of Commerce and 5 performances at Thompson House.
RHS extra-curricular activities hosted a Poetry Out-loud event, inducted 19 students into the National Honor Society and conducted a school-wide food drive collecting 300 items. Band Club is conducting a iPod drive for Thompson House residents. Tech Club is also conducting a tech drive for local charities. French Club sponsored A Day of Peace to support victims of terrorism. Diversity club wrote letters to the Children at Astor Home. The Spanish Club is offering Tutoring Tuesday where upper class students will tutor students in Spanish I and II. Auditions are taking place for spring musical Fiddle of the Roof. The Band Club is trying to put together a trip to NYC to see it on Broadway.
Jan 5 – Financial Aid meeting for Juniors and Seniors
Jan 21st – Winter Choral Concert

Board VP Deirdre Burns complimented students and staff on giving back to the community.

Thomas Burnell – reporting on the 2015-2016 school budget.
A rollover budget was presented to the Board as the first step in the budget process. Basically all salaries were rolled over into next years budget and increased at the contractual amount. There was an in-depth analysis of how the numbers rolled over but the bottom line is that the rollover budget as is would require a tax levy of 2.88% while the tax levy cap currently stands a 1.09% which leaves a gap in the budget of roughly $450,000. So that will be the focus in the coming months of the budget process is to close the gap.

Board Committee Reports
Communication – Laura Schulkind reported on the website that professional photographers’ photos can be used and credited as along as there are no logos, and food service part of website will get an upgrade. Communication committee is also participating in advocacy at the state level for increased educational funding.

Audit Committee – Laura Schulkind reported an internal audit is focused on IT including security, data back-up, etc. External Audit revealed $8.7 million has been overbilled by the teachers retirement system so going forward there may be a reduced amount the district has to pay. And special education costs were higher than budgeted this year.

RHS/BMS Start Time Change – Diane Lyons reported that after feedback that the 2 likely options are no change and the shift option. But the shift would have to have no increase in budget and no change to CLS end time. Now the committee will study the details to see if this is possible. Another survey may be possible also.

Facilities – Diane Lyons reported that an architect has completed a buildings survey which as created a 60 item list of upgrades that are advisable. There might be an energy efficiency audit done as well in the future.

Policy – Diane Lyons reported that the committee is in the process of first readings for policies on transportation, use of credit cards, use of wifi by guests in the school. Also it was discussed if there needs to be a policy for handling letters to the Board, but it was agreed that letters to the Board would fall under the Public Concerns or Curriculum Concerns policy.

Finance – Deirdre d’Albertis reported that they are starting the budget planning process as reported by Thomas Burnell. The cost savings of transportation is $350,000 and YTD spending overall is slightly lower so fund balance projections are going from 1.5% to 1.8%.

Personnel – Lisa Rosenthal reported they are in negotiations with ATU. And a report from Poughkeepsie Journal about the cost of short-term substitute teachers ranked Rhinebeck high in spending. But the Journal’s figures included long-term subs so the figures are off.

Good News: Lisa Rosenthal praised the RHS Band for a great winter concert.

Old Business: none

Public Comment: none

New Business: Joseph Phelan reported that the merger with Pine Plains football team was very successful and they will soon be filing with the division for the upcoming year. This filing has to be done every year and several months in advance. The Capitol Conference and lobbying day is coming up in January.

Action Items: none

Motions: A number of motions were passed for the hiring of teachers and staff.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – December 8, 2015
Tuesday’s Board of Education started at 7pm last night with an in-depth overview of the student benefits of a later school start time. Experts say teens need 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep. They recommend schools align schedules “to the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents, whose sleep- wake cycles being to shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty.” The committee is evaluating several different options with the mandates of a relative cost neutral solution, maintain all extra and co-curricular programs, and pilot any recommendation for 1 year to assess the new start times. 
Roughly 50% of parents responded to the survey. A majority of the parents said there would be a positive outcome for a later school start time. Students were also surveyed and are supportive in the high school.

The presentation was well attended with a Q&A session afterwards.  
The presentation slides will be posted on the district website and a journalist from River Chronicle was there so reach out to find out what’s behind this proposal.  
No decision has been made at this point and additional surveys and community feedback will be done.
RSF presented a $1765 check for the STEM Fair.
Public comments – A parent brought up the transportation issues this year and felt that an evaluation to continue with this company or make a change should involve the community more and be more  transparent than last year’s process. This process to start in early January as it potentially has a budget impact.
2 committee’s reported minutes after the presentation.
2016-17 budget – the tax levy cap looking like it will be 0.31% which translates to a ~$500,000 gap.  Albany chatter suggests that they may restore the Gap Elimination Adjustment for next year’s budget bringing an additional $250,000 to the district and cutting the $500,000 gap in half. Finance committee looking at solutions that don’t involve cutting staff and programs – such as using more fund balance. Rollover budget will be avial for the board of ed at next meeting.
Facilities – looking at a possible referendum for capital improvements to the district’s buildings. 

district looking into obtaining a credit card to deal with vendors who wont accept checks. 
Discussions followed about:
Board of Education advocacy to legislators for budget concerns and common core.

Benefits of a student agency.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – November 24, 2015
Attending: Diane Lyons, Laura Schulkind, Lisa Rosenthal, Thomas Burnell, Joseph Phelan, Mark Fleischhauer, Deirdre Burns, Richard Walker, Mary Ann Bovee (clerk)

Brett King, CLS
• Spirit Days: PJ day last Fri., others planned: Mis-matched Day, Team Day; Grade level color day, Rainbow Day, etc.

• Impact Education
Grade 1 & 3 program about the Web of Life
Next is Grade 4 – March 15 specific to the curriculum

• Annual CPR training for teachers in Nov thanks to Northern Dutchess Hospital -thinking about folding in lunch aides

• Kevin Yarnell was able to attend a state conference on Phys Ed – he brought back countless activities – he was also a presenter at the conference got a standing “O” and will re- present in January

• Mrs. Cane’s Grade 5 been invited to winter song conference at Bard

• Community Outreach in the building:
1. Food Drive thru Nov 19 collect 620 food ites for local pantry and filled food baskets for RBK families
2. Hands helping Hands initiative beg on Nov 30
3. Holiday Donation Drive Nov 30-Dec 18 collecting
4. Helping RHS student Liza Goldstone Winter Coat Drive

• Early Dismissal Dec 1 & 3 for P/T Conferences

John Kemnitzer, BMS
• 8th gr ELA completed unit on global refugees, read books and completed reports and wrote own historical free verse poems, held a gallery exhibit in early Nov. Parent attendance was up – highest it’s been since inviting parents

• Annual Veteran’s Day: Keynote speaker: Bonnie Schweppe, West Point grad. Took experiences as early female at WPt and applied to student growth. Honored over 100 veterans this year and had more than 50 guests from various parts of military.

• 7th Grade just finished Salem Witch Trail thanks to Arts in Education grant. Denny D, from NYC, Pat Sexton and Martha Tobias worked with the students. Own son really enjoyed it and learned a lot and enjoyed seeing the accused rolling around of the floor screaming.

• 1st qtr marking period just ended and we are looking to recognize more students for achievement either high academics or improvement and skill and achievement across the specials.
We challenged staff to honor students in creative ways on a quarterly basis.

• “Catching Kids Caring”: a program sponsored by Kwannis Clubs of Dutchess program – improve school climate by honoring those who show positive character and leadership. Last Tues we honored our first 3 students for the 1st qtr.

• Archeological Club
4 trips, 15 students. Archeological Dig

• Service Oriented Project
Student council had early food drive and collaborated with PTSO and RSF at Discovery Festival

• Peer Leadership club has been participating in a tech drive
Sponsored by Zara Aina/ Share Life – for kids and population in Madagascar

• Art Club sponsoring their 6th annual “for the needy” campaign.
40 pp in the art room today – parents, former students, grandparents all knitting and making blankets for Vassar hospital and will delivered on Christmas Eve

• Next Fri afternoon half day P/T

• An hour of Code to promoted, it is a WW event sponsored by ;an intro to computer science and to coding

• BMS band Dec 10th

• Thanks to RSF, 8th Grade students will go to Bard– hands on activities with Bard Prof and students

• Feb Science Fair at Bard College in Feb with Ms. Cogal and McDonald

Dr. Edward Davenport, RHS
• Freshman spent day with Bard Student reading writing and discussing and performances on what they learned, very positive experience – look forward to planning event for next year
Next year hope to take them to the Bard Campus.
Thx to Kemnitzer for bldg. space

• Field trip to Olana, display case outside of Rm 107

• Phys Ed concluding Adventure Unit, learning safe climbing techniques and pushing own “high wire” activities
Important for building community, be supportive of one another
Strong, supportive emotional learning

• Science: Continued study of the cell – metaphorical connections then on to microscope

• Earth Science: geography and features of the earth topographic kits.
Geo features and poured colored water over to see how dispersed

• Writing Center is open all day: 275 sign ins and hoping this will increase over the school year

• Successful field trip to Kinky Boots run by Mrs. Laliki
The usher complimented her students

• Festival at Dover HS

• For P/T Conferences: BLPT piloting a new format in RHS – one day by appointment and 2nd day is office hours, teachers available on a drop in basis.

• A lot of co-curricular activities to update you on
–– French Club inaugural mtg Nov 3 – showed “Finding Nemo” shown in French
–– Tech Club had inaugural mtg Nov 12 – looking for space for students to work taking apart and building back computers
–– Model UN tournament hosted by Bard Nov 14, 26 students, all day 11 hours and students were energized and looing forward to another one.
–– Next is April in Manhattan
–– Auditions are beginning for Fiddler on the Roof – this year’s musical
–– Environmental Club has sponsored 4 elephants on Kenya
–– Science Club sold slime to CLS students – they sold 70 raised $700
–– Two faculty participated in Discovery Festival
–– Art Club working on Sinterklaas panels
–– Next Friday Spanish club hosting a FIFA event in auditorium
–– National Honor Society induction takes place Dec 2nd, usually between 15-20 students
–– HS Band is Dec 9th

BLPT 9th grade exit survey – to plan objectives

NYS Obligation re: Child Abuse
Phelan – pro forma activity we do every year
BOE members have an obligation under the law, you are not employees of the district
All BOE members are required to report any suspected cases or child abuse or neglect. This outlines your obligations under the law.
Please don’t sit on anything like that.
Protocol is to contact Phelan or secretary to guide you thru the process
Abuse of neglect in and educational setting meaning buildings and grounds of the district, etc. it’s school-centric.
Want to be sure we are all aware of this obligation

1. Report on Status of Cafeteria Rules Policy
Been serving purpose and assisting the district in collecting overdue payments for meals. Will be getting an update in early 2016

2. Transportation Policies

3. NYSMA Conf use of media at schools and presenter suggested study have rules on social media use – we are looking into that

Burns: Workshop – material around and cases around regulations and district actions around sexual abuse it’s important to get a policy and legal guidance around this topic.


Input to Gov Cuomo re: Common Core
• Discussion for our input to common core task force set up by Gov Cuomo. Draft of doc is attached here and we’d like to hear from everyone here. We also talked about opportunity to advocate to and for schools in various ways. Legislative, etc. You can review the list of up and coming opportunities

• Dutchess Board Mtg on Dec 3 will be about Advocacy
A lot of RBK school community will be present to meet with commissioner

• Continuing to reach out to parents for their advocacy for specific for specific legislation. Joe receive FB from parents – they appreciate being given a heads up

• This committee has been given a statement drafted for the NYS Common Core Task Force, need you to review. We have to submit by Mon the 30th.

• Commentary:
Lisa R – this is very comprehensive well-written document.
– One question – on firs page item 2: ……Is it the recommendation that BOE take position that levy be eliminated that it should be undone, is that the recommendation?
Burns: that is the intention there. From a practical standpoint nothing is going to change the legislation
Getting into detail on the tax cap is highly problematic
Lisa R – have to be sure the majority of this board is in favor of that before
Walker: I support – have to take position it should be
Lyons: yeah
Schulkind: Agree, we in RBK we have the benefit to set aside $ to develop our own curricula based on common core state standards.
Phelan: This approach was labor and a financially intensive process but doing it that way while more expensive was much more meaningful in meeting needs of kids in RBK, not an off-the-shelf product
Doing it the right way often costs money vs the most expedient way and the tax levy can impede this
I applaud the committee for calling out 2 legislative actions that have the likelihood of preventing districts from doing this the right way
I support the statement as well.
Burns – think globally and speak to other school districts – think beyond our own situation and support public schools generally

Schulkind: advocacy efforts – trying to support parents in their own advocacy efforts. In order to help them – it’s going to take effort from us for things like Gap Elimination. Need to project is out to the community so they can understand
Phelan: take it one step further as a suggestion. Immediate course of action is submit it to Governors Common Core Task Force
We may want share this statement with our parents – give them a context and background. Send to Senator Serrino, Cahill
Send Statement send to RSF
Perhaps send to the staff as well

Walker: Gratified by statement of the ABPR, thanks to authors and committee

Mark Fleischhauer
Critically important that parents write letters to the legislator. Legislators are tuning out the school boards and they REALLY need to hear from parents – they see them as voters casting ballots

Lyons: Thanks committee for putting this together
PTSO might reach out to them – parents

Great idea to share it with legislators. When work so hard on something and we are in agreement

Survey results from staff initial look
Pleased with number of thoughtful responses from the staff
Started working on presentation for Dec 8th mtg
We watched a Webinar
Overall thrust for staff:
Several comments about ending day later for young kids
Older questioning if 30mins would make much of a difference
The groups we met with today but we aren’t talking about a large number
Walker: I’m hearing more often then I’m comfortable with that the decision has already been make and all this is just window dressing
We did touch on that today – we are still gathering information and will present on Dec 8th.

Burns – good to be clear about that at the opening of the meeting on Dec 8th. I’m impressed by how hard you are working to get input and gathering information – you are doing your due diligence.


Lisa R
RSF Discovery Festival – I’m liaison and attending exec committee meeting last night
Board asked to inform BOE how crucial the success was due to the participation of parents , teachers and students all of whom volunteered in a number of different capabilities. From Food Service to teachers who presented and worked with students
HS students who were there for support and student who presented as well
We have a vibrant and rich a community and this was all that

Salem Witch Trials
Laura: Went 3 years ago and the program has exploded.
Really get into their characters

Lisa: RSF Exec Board Mtg
Talked about what district is expecting with upcoming budget and that board wants to report that the RSF position is that they are standing ready to help RCSD to the max extent they are able consistent with the RSF mission statement.
RSF is an organization with a particular purpose on STEM education with arts being folded in to make it more STEAM and that is something that we should keep in mind.

Advocacy Workshop, Phelan
On Thurs – looking for a content from us by Monday the 30th, let Mary Ann know if are going to be there

Townson Trust Park Committee and a BOE seat on the board, Phelan
Pritchard was that. I did go thru process of contacting village officials and confirmed we do have a seat waiting for us there. If you are interested in filling let me know. I did receive an enquiry from a community member about it

Burns: Any feedback on meetings with Serrino, Cahill?
Phelan: Brief overview

Meeting with Serrino – a good mtg. We hit the causes du jour Gap Elimination Aid, Tax Cap
She informed me that they would be getting rid of the Gap Elimination aide – very productive
De-coupling of the common core state standards from teacher evaluation and student assessments
POK fiscally stressed and other districts
I was most excited about meeting the Speaker and disappointed on how that worked out
Had to leave Serrino to get to Cahill meeting. All I got was to shake hands and was introduced to the Speaker – there was no advocacy happening there at all. Wasn’t able to do what I was there to do.

1 item to approve the
ESL teacher approval

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – November 10, 2015
Richard Hooley, Dutchess BOCES Superintendent, wants to establish a more collaborative relationship with each school district in Dutchess County as he begins his new term. He wants to improve BOCES’ communication, both internally and externally, offer more career/technology classes and possibly more satellite programs where appropriate, and help increase advocacy for funding from the state.

188 AP exams were administered last year.

The Board discussed at length how much state testing time do students undergo through the course of the year. It plans to look at this matter in more detail as it attempts to decipher the correct balance.

There have been significant website upgrades to help assess how much teachers use the teacher web pages.

The school received over 500 responses to the survey that was sent out regarding school start time.

The school busses have been running much more efficiently as of late, although there still are some minor hiccups.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – October 27, 2015
Chair Fleischauer called the meeting to order promptly at 7:30 pm.

The first substantive matter of business was the Principals’ Reports.

Chancellor Principal Brett King highlighted for the Board exciting activities and goings on at Chancellor, including:

  • A packed day of activities throughout the school during the recent Madagascar Day, put on in conjunction with the 7th Graders, including a visit with a real live Lemur thanks to a grant from the Rhinebeck Science Foundation
  • The School’s award winning focus on anti-bullying education and awareness

Bulkeley Principal John Kemnitzer made his report, focusing also on exciting activities in the Middle School, including:

  • Madagascar Day, with a special shout out to Rhinebeck Science Foundation (for the live lemur) and Young Rhinebeck, for a spread of food from Madagascar that fed the whole grade
  • The Audio Visual Club filmed the program throughout the day and will be preparing a short documentary
  • And a joint science fair being planned between Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Bard College

High School Principal Dr. Davenport focused his report on programs being implemented in the High School, including:

  • The “word of the day” (which this week was the word “converse”)
  • An Earth Science scavenger hunt
  • Announcing a number of students who have received State-level recognition in Art and Music
  • A much larger than expected turnout for the Senior Parent Night, where parents learned about college preparation and the application process
  • And an active Science Club, who will be involved in the upcoming Discovery Festival

The next substantive item was the committee reports, as follows.

School Start Time
Member Schulkind reported on a timeline for rolling out the school start time agenda, including the plan to distribute a survey to parents and students and a public presentation on December 8, 2015. Two of the Board Members (Burns and Fleischauer) repeated a few times that they wanted to make sure that the option of doing nothing was on the table and to be discussed.

Member Burns reported that the budget for next year is currently preliminary, but there are still cuts to be made to make it into the tax cap, specifically $750,000. There was some discussion about the cost savings on the new bus contract and whether those can be counted on for next year since the cost savings have impacted the quality of the services provided. Member Burns suggested that the Board may need to look at tiered and across the board cuts to make up the gap.

The Board closed the meeting by approving certain personnel actions as well as resolutions recognizing achievement in academics, the bullying program and sports.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – October 13, 2015
This link has the complete BOE committee minutes for School Start Time, CDEP, Curriculum, Communication, and Policy Committees. Please refer to this document for details on the committee reports.

SCHOOL START TIME Point of Interest
RCSD has decided on presenting an option to students, parents, teachers, etc. via engaging this group at an open meeting before the 12/8 BOE meeting, a phone survey and school messenger survey for parent feedback, engaging student feedback perhaps through the debate club and survey. The potential pilot program if implemented would be a 30 minute later start time for BMS and RHS students and 15 minute later for CLS students. Discussion included what would define success in measuring the change and requiring community feedback.

Penultimate K-8 ELA version of curriculum was supported by the committee. The goals promoted student imagination, encouraged students to discuss and defend opinions and this extended through the high school. Once formally approved the material will be uploaded so the public can read it.

Mission, vision, core value. Document to get RCSD to a preferred place in RBK. What we value in educating our children. Want students to be excited to come to school. It was discussed that perhaps it should be tied into specific BOE policies.

It was suggested that Tom Burnell present the draft budget at the next BOE meeting since there is potential for a limited increase in money for the next budget.

Point of Interest Action Items
Alyce Dolce, Home and Career/Family and Consumer Science teacher resigned, effective 1/29/16

RSF Grant of $550 submitted by Nancy Erlanger for “Visiting Lemurs”for Madagascar Day
PTSO donations of $15,768

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – June 9, 2015
To a packed room, Board President Mark Fleischauer called the meeting to order, going so far as to find and then use his gavel to bring quiet to the room. Fleischauer proceeded to item one on the agenda: recognizing the seven staff members retiring at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. After presentations regarding the accomplishments of these faculty members, President Fleischauer asked for a motion to suspend the agenda and said proudly, “Now we break for cake.”

After a festive 30-minute break, the meeting was again called to order.

Item 2 on the agenda was a presentation on the English language learners’ (ELL) program in the District, including Kathy Barpoulis’ receipt and use of a grant from Dutchess County BOCES regarding same. In particular, the presentation by Ms. Barpoulis and Ken Zipp focused on the currently active (and successful) outreach programs to the ELL community in collaboration with Young Rhinebeck.

Boardmember Laura Schulkind asked about regulatory requirements for professional development regarding ELL and Mr. Zipp explained that the new regulations require that 15 percent of professional development must be geared towards ELL students – “This,” Mr. Zipp concluded, is to acknowledge the difficulty in “walking two worlds at the same time given common core standards.”

Item 3 – committee reports – were as follows:

Curriculum Committee
The Curriculum Committee’s report drew a bit of excitement. While reporting on some specific review being attended to by the committee (ELA K-3), Boardmember Deirdre D’Albertis reported generally that the committee had identified a concerning problem, to wit, the role of the individual teacher in designing the lessons which are so driven by common core mandates. Boardmember Rick Walker took a stronger stance on the issue, noting that common core is driven by “money and political ambition,” and articulating his real concern about the loss of “discretion for teachers,” the ability to engage “differences in development,” and the loss of “dynamic integration of technology.”

Boardmember Lisa Rosenthal engaged the question next, first acknowledging that she understood the “warning shot,” but wanted the Board to keep the question in perspective. “This is a very talented staff,” she said, “they will not turn into robots.”

Policy Committee
Boardmember Rosenthal reported that the committee is wrapping up two policies: student wellness and homework. Rosenthal also brought for discussion the new classification policy for interscholastic sports, especially regarding the importance of communicating the new standards to middle school students who are most effected by the changes.

Boardmember D’Albertis reported that the website work is continuing and student email is now coming online. There was some discussion about what role the new email should play in communicating with students, with several Boardmembers suggesting without opposition that it should be the primary method of communication.

Later than usual, the agenda came to Good News, with Boardmember Schulkind noting that Board’s success at Can Jam. Superintendent Joe Phelan noted with a smirk that he will miss the dunk tank this year since he has been called away to a meeting out of town. There was some discussion of who should replace him in the tank. Boardmember D’Albertis noted the successful eighth grade production of Romeo and Juliet to the Fifth grade and Boardmember Walker proudly noted that the sports facilities are looking great.

Several personnel action items were moved and approved and the meeting adjourned.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – May 26, 2015
All BOE members in attendance with Superintendent Phelan.
RHS students present from their government class along with some members of CLS faculty.
There were no public comments.

Brett King/CLS
-Books Journey sponsored by Arts and Education. Come meet the young CLS authors on June 19th.
-PE teachers won 1K “Get Moving Grant” and moved onto 2nd round.
-PE teachers organized “Meeting of the Minds” PE summit with other local PE teachers to share units and interdisciplinary ideas.
-4th graders had Mythology presentations.
Rejuvination art show in its 9th year k-12 and at Montgomery Row.
Engineering Week next week: 7 engineers coming to CLS.
Color Run in Queens: 9 CLS teachers participated and Brett used this to illustrate this as another example of CLS community building.

Diane Lyons asked about NYS testing and Mr. King responded that math appeared to be a little more developmentally appropriate than last year although he did see examples of questions that seemed very confusing. ELA was noted to have some very high reading passages that seemed to be beyond what was developmentally appropriate. He did note that the it was a better test than last year and time seemed more manageable. ELA writing field test to be given in June.

There was a discussion about how NYS tests are not archived and questions for field and regular tests are secure. Mr. Phelan noted that the NYS had discussed releasing some questions this summer. Mr. King discussed that data that used be available that was helpful re: how many students performed on what kinds of questions are no longer available. Mr. Phelan noted that the tests were not informing instruction.

Richard Walker asked each principal about the use of technology in the schools. Mr. King noted the computers were in constant demand and in use. Alison Vaccarino’s schedule was filled and scheduling usage of computers for MAP testing was challenging due to the usage.

Dr. Davenport reported for Mr. Kemnitzer/BMS:
-Peer Leadership: BMS students reading to kindergartners for National Book Week.
-8th grade Shakespeare will perform for CLS.
7th Grade Historic Walking tour organized by Henry Frischknecht with help from Pat Sexton and Martha Tobias: pre-revolutionary war to present with hands on engagement. He will put together a similar tour that is developmentally appropriate for 2nd graders with 15 BMS helpers.
-7th grade Esopus: water quality assessment, identification and catching fish, etc.
Concerts, moving up ice cream social, field days in June.

Dr. Davenport/RHS
160 attended the Jr./Sr. Prom.
Drama Club: AIDS walk.
Environmental Club: instructed by consultants re: counting egg masses then applied knowledge.
BLPT: graduating seniors and freshman will participate in surveys.
English Dept: 2 assemblies: Holocaust Survivors and MacBeth.
Social Studies: presenter from Dutch County Board of Elections before the vote re: education of registering to vote and voting process.
174 Aps administered to 109 students.
Safe Driving sponsored by PTSO.

Dr. Davenport responded that wireless is up and running. Usage is in high demand. Computer Lab is in high demand and will continue to see a need for technology in the future.

Please see the link above for full report.

Items to note: about 15 % of students are eligible for free and reduced lunch which is up from previous years.

Student petition of switching to biodegradable products. Plan of action asked by Laura Schulkind. Will transition after Styrofoam supply finished. Still in discussion. Cannot recycle any products with food on it reported by Tom Burnell per Sheldon Tieder, Director of Maintenance.

Smart School Bond: technology voted by tax payers in November
-NYS will inform districts re: parameters and constraints on how this money can be used. Cannot be used for professional development. “Stakeholder community” may be included in sharing of funds which would include non-public schools in the district but it is still unclear what this means. Mr. Phelan gave examples of how taxpayer money is used for textbooks and transportation for non-public school students.

Purchase agreement for more devices with Apple.

Efficiency Program: work with Dutchess County Consortium re: sharing costs to decrease financial burden. Saved group $10 million overall as reported by Tom Burnell.

Good News: Budget passed, incumbent BOE members Mark Fleischhaurer and Diane Lyons re-elected, RHS choral concert, scholastic achievement dinner, Memorial Day parade: students and community.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – May 12, 2015

All board members present except Deirdre Burns. Tom Burnell, Joe Phelan and Maryann Bovee also present.RHS 12th grade students in audience as part of their government class.

Call to Order
Approval of Minutes
Public Comment: none
Summer 2015 Board Meeting Schedule discussed and Approved
Board Committee Reports

A. Curriculum Committee (Minutes available as PDF.)

BMS Computer Lab
It was reported that the goals would be for each grade 6-8th taught skills that are being used in their core courses while leveling the field our students have coming into the Middle School.

The CELT audit informed some of the choices for the curriculum decisions using the ISTE standards. RHS faculty are being consulted to see what students will need to know for high school.

Digitial Citizenship, programming (Tynker), productivity/computer skills (Microsoft platform), Multi-disciplinary integration with core subjects are proposed as part of the redesigned curriculum.

RCSD is writing a grant to the Rhinebeck Science Foundation to support the renovation, professional development, equipment, new curriculum.

CLS Curriculum Documents
The board will have the opportunity to review all the k-6 curriculum documents that align with NYS standards. Snapshots for grade levels will be posted on the website once BOE approves.

The curriculum committee will review the documents in depth and report back to the board. Marvin was asked to be present at that Board meeting to field questions.

B. CDEP: launched a meeting with teachers from all three schools across various disciplines, BOE member Laura Schulkind, Superintendent Joe Phelan and two parents of students in the RCSD.

District Strengths, Assets, and Growth Opportunities were discussed. It was reported as exciting and engaging and regular reports will be brought to the Board. Board members feedback and questions are welcomed in this process.

Good News: Rhinebeck Crew (Novice won 1st place), RHS and BMS band concerts were terrific, Holocaust assembly : RCSD showed respect and was a powerful presentation.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – April 28, 2015
It was a full house with several students from the Participation in Government class in the audience.

Personnel Committee Report
Contract negotiations are the topic of update, and not appropriate for public session.

Audit committee Report
-reviewed letter from internal auditor for payroll records for various employee types, to ensure compliance with all payroll regulations. Nothing of note.
-External audit letter also reviewed, and Tom B. to confirm they are doing our extra classroom fund, and we are likely not required to have a federal single audit due to the low of funding. Tom noted that this is likely the last year we will fall outside of the audit requirements, due to calendar timing.
-Will review report with Vanacourt, and asking cafeteria manager to visit committee in June to review the first year of combined operations with Red Hook.

Good News
Superintendent Phalen provided board members with a draft letter in response to a request from the Rhinebeck Village board, who intend to apply for a NYSERDA grant to conduct a feasibility study for a solar micro grid in Rhinebeck, apparently providing the community backup power should an emergency require the village to go off the power grid. This may enable the school to stay open or at least be used as needed in case of emergency. The district was asked to provide a letter of support. Phalen has written letter of support on behalf of the board, pending their support. Trustee Rosenthal asked if the district is likely to be asked to support the build out of a micro grid financially. Phalen noted it is too early to tell.

Trustee Lyons noted that the high school drama club put on a successful school play.

Trustee Schulkind noted that the Principles of Engineering Class marble sorting project was presented by the students to members of the school board, the administration and the RSF board. All projects were impressive in their design, functionality and student though process.

Old Business
Burns requested statistics on the opt-out rates for state testing. Phalen provided an overview, and then discourse ensued.
Math test opt-out figures – of 494 eligible for both exams, 81 refusals. (16.39%.)
BMS: 20.25% opted out.
Chancellor: 11.3% opted out.
4th grade: 5% opted out.
5th grade: 2.8% opted out.

It was unclear if cutoff is 20% opt-out in any classroom, grade level, or district will throw out the scores … or the 5% reported in the Freeman Wednesday morning.

State Ed Department is setting threshold under which the scores won’t affect teacher rating.

If the opt-out rate is sufficiently high, teachers have to write and submit student learning objectives. Burns stated this seems laughable and intellectually embarrassing given how close we are to the end of the school year. Further stated that she is unimpressed with the government’s response.

Phalen noted his lack of faith in the state education department leadership at this time. The last thing anyone wants to see is many districts in the state not turning in teacher evaluations due to the test refusals.

Rosenthal noted that one complication that may make the state ed department more admirable is that they are working to fulfill the obligations of legislation that was passed several years ago, and not of its own accord or decision. Their attempt is to comply with their obligations as an agency based on the legislative requirements. The requirements are not arbitrary, nor a surprise, as test refusal was a topic of public conversation for months, so the political leaders knew this was likely and chose not to take action.

D’Albertis noted that she is pleased we are discussing these real-time issues, especially in the presence of Participation in Government students, so they can understand the stakes and importance of staying informed, and acting through communication with their representatives.

-Revision to budget newsletter statement, follow up by Rosenthal. Currently, we have a draft letter with proposed changes that Rosenthal does not agree with. While this is not a matter to be put to vote she was unclear how much her agreement matters. Phalen noted that it is something all board members names are being placed on, so while there is no vote, the opinions of even a single member of the board that is uncomfortable with the letter matters.

Phalen hopes continued drafting can come to a consensus letter that all Board members can accept putting their name to. Currently two version, one with consensus and one without. likely the consensus version will end up going to print the next morning.

This letter is written as a cover letter to the budget, to put the budget in context. Vice President Burns prefers the ‘spicier version of the letter’ that includes comment on the actions of the state government. She feels that to remain silent on the topic that is hotly debated in public would be disingenuous. Board is not allowed to advocate for the budget, but context and an explanation of the challenges is important, and silence on the issue would be a form of weakness. “I didn’t join this board to be a bureaucrat.”

Rosenthal responded that the first thing that should be done when discussing this statement is to focus on the purpose of this particular document which is a legally mandated document to tell the voters what the budget is, components required to be defined by law, so that all voters have the same understanding as the board with respect to the impact of the budget as defined. It is an explanatory document, not something to state how the budget came to be, not an opinion piece on the process, as this is advocating and not appropriate, which she feels the ‘spicy draft’ does.

While Rosenthal does not disagree with the opinions expressed in the draft, it is not an explanation of the budget, but rather the statement of several opinions by the BoE and the administration. There are venues for those opinions, such as the BoE meetings, and advocacy steps that can be taken, such as meeting legislatures.

There was also comments regarding the BoE needing to discuss leadership and the BoE’s role as leaders, perhaps during their Summer sessions.

Schulkind asked that Phalen speak to the purpose of the letter. The newsletter is not mandated, only the budget notice is mandated, including detailed difference between previous year and this year, and the relevance of the budget cap.

BoE and Administration can add notes, including overview of candidates running for board, that has been added in recent years.

Walker noted that all manner of things have been included in in the budget newsletter in previous years, including pictures, etc. and this is their chance to communicate regarding the budget environment.

D’Albertis thinks the draft language is important as context for the numbers provided., and that the numbers without context may be misleading. Fact is that things that happened in Albany affected the budget plan.

Lyons agreed and feels that compared to some conversations through the process, the language is not overly strong nor is it advocacy.

D’Albertis noted that she is not comfortable with putting a letter out there that makes any board member uncomfortable and asked if there is a way to find a middle ground in the next several hours, as this must be printed tomorrow.

Phalen noted that a third draft by Schulkind may be able to be provided to the printer in time.

Rosenthal noted that if the middle ground language cannot be approved and sent to the printer in a timely fashion, she would not, as the holdout, require they go with the vanilla draft.

There was a consensus that the middle ground language is acceptable to all.

Public comment session II:
LeHane noted that if we are unable to get an updated document to a printer to print given 12 hours, he is concerns for all investment in technology being made by the distrct and RSF. Phalen replied (breaking protocol) that the district is complying with the printers requirement of a physical copy of the file on a USB thumb drive.

Other business
Chamber breakfast presentation by Fleishauer on current events of the BoE and the district were well received. Senator Serino said Fleishauer was asked to represent the district on her education advisory board and he accepted.

Burns noted that a community member at the chamber breakfast shared their excitement with her about all that is going on in the district.

All motions were approved including , Staff pay dates, Inter-municipal Agreement with Town of Rhinebeck, Summer Study Grants, staff and compensation for election day , a few substitutes teachers and admins and a new custodian.

The BoE accepted grant award from RSF for $2,500 in support of the implementation of a Rhinebeck high Scholl Science Club as submitted by Student Sabrina Shin. Check was presented. Burns thanks the RSF for their continued generosity.

She further asked that the BoE consider a formal way to gauge interest in student clubs in the high school. There seems to be a rumble of enthusiasm for new clubs by students. One concept would be a formal process for reporting on club activity, membership, etc. to determine which have the most interest, so the BoE can make informed budget decisions.

Crew Team overnight trip to NYS Rowing Assoc. Champs in Saratoga in May approved at no additional unbudgeted costs to the district.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – April 14, 2015
The 2015-16 budget was discussed. With the passing of the New York State budget, approximately $110,000 was added to the district’s budget. This brings the unfunded amount to approximately $188,000. No explanation was given by the State for these amounts and the amounts varied greatly across the State’s school districts.

Shortfall may be made up of the Tier 1 cuts, retirements, a projected small 2016-17 kindergarten class and other items. At CLS, there may be ability to make Mr. Woulfin full-time and expand the CLS STEM LAB modules for the students.

Principal Reports
This year’s play, Anything Goes, opens on Friday and runs through the weekend.
Students going to MOMA field trip
109 students scheduled to take 174 AP exams
The SAT is on Saturday, May 2nd
The Jr./Sr. Prom May 22.
Three students are going to Syracuse to participate in SkillsUSA. This is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

World Cup soccer tournament next Friday.
The Spring Dance coming up.
7th and 8th graders will be performing a play: Something Rotten.
47 of 200+ (18%) 7th and 8th grade students opted out of the ELA State tests. 17 of the opt-outs were on the day of the test.

On May 12, other districts will come explore CLS STEM LAB.
May 24th is Family Fitness Day.
May 22 is Special Friends Day.
19 CLS students opted out of ELA State tests.

Paul Slayton joined the Audit Committee as a community volunteer. Thank you, Paul!

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – March 24, 2015
From the Board’s budget workshop the previous Saturday, we learn that the district is still ~$300k over budget for next school year if nothing changes from Albany. That remains to be finalized. On April 14 the Board of Education will vote on budget with the building principals present.

Principal Reports
Grades 3-5 bullying survey underway. 6 students opted out.
Physical Ed’s run across America – Logging mileage running around the gym and then tracking students progress on US map. As of last week, the students have logged 750 miles, burned 75,350 calories, and would be in Columbus, OH.
25 students participated in the STEM Fair.
STEM Lab – surrounding districts’ principals want to come in to see the stem lab.

37 submissions for the Top Chef competition. Goal to potentially serve the winning dishes in cafeteria.
Gateway to Tech’s Energy and Environment teamed up with Science class to design and fabricate wind turbine blades and have a competition.
ELS state test dates April 15-17
Math state test dates April 22-24

April 9 Teen Driving Day
May 29th – BBQ for last year’s graduates.
Utilizing Internet Resources tools to help students get extra help in Math
Google apps being rolled out to Library Media
PSATs to be given during school day next year
Project Lead the Way classes to be offered as math (Principals of Engineering) and Art (Intro to Engineering and Design) electives
District to participate in state field studies for 10th graders.

Committee Minutes
Policy Committee is reviewing Homework and Immunization Policies
School Start Time Committee continues its review of the implications for changing start times and will hold workshops for the community to discuss their findings and recommendations.

Finance Committee
The Committee is reviewing costs of the “Technology Plan C” for BMS in light of budget constraints and state funding uncertainty.
They are also reviewing the costs of implementation of Innovation in Technology Explorations Lab: iTEL at BMS.

Board of Education Meeting – March 10, 2015
The meeting was called to order at 7:34 PM amongst a nearly festive atmosphere occasioned by a large attendance of teachers who were planning a presentation later in the meeting.
After approval of the minutes and the agenda, the teachers presentation was moved forward to be the first item on the agenda.  In particular, a presentation was made to the Board regarding the Chancellor faculty’s participation in an ongoing workshop regarding Extended Response for Science, Math and Common Core.  The presentation was led by Ric Campbell, who explained that he has been the facilitator of the ongoing workshop and professional development program within which 17 faculty participate. 

The focus in the last seven months of work has been on developing what Ric described as “mathematical literacy,” which includes thinking and writing about how you think. However, once the presentation was turned over to the teachers, we learned that this program has been a lot more than professional development on extended responses in math, and has become the creation of a “professional learning community,” where these teachers gather regularly to exchange stories and issues regarding their efforts to expand the learning processes through extended responses in math. Mary Fleischauer, David Woulfin, Debbie Roberg and Kristen Secor, all Chancellor faculty, took turns presenting their thoughts and experiences to the Board.
Ms. Fleischauer spoke about the creation of this professional learning community, and how it has strengthened the team and allowed them to engage in peer observations and quarterly meetings where they discuss their efforts to get the kids to think about their thinking through open ended responses as well as through creative uses of existing textbooks.
Ms. Secor, who teaches first grade, was grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this group and expressed that she was “in awe of each others’ insights.” 
Mr. Woulfin, who teaches AIS, explained how valuable this group has been in dealing with creative ways to effect math intervention for struggling students. He has learned how to use more math games and open ended questioning which gives the students the opportunity to develop their own meaning in math. Mostly, Mr. Woulfin also spoke about the tremendous collegiality of the program and thanked his colleagues and Mr. Campbell (as well as the financial sponsor, the Rhinebeck Science Foundation) for the opportunity.
Ms. Roberg explained that while somewhat dubious at first, the program has been a “game changer” for her especially at it relates to the incredible professional community – and that what she has learned most is the reaffirmation that she is a facilitator to teach the kids how to think, and the program has given her ample new tools for that  task.
In response to the 30 minutes presentation, each of the Board members commented favorably both thanking the group of teachers for appearing at the meeting and for their participation in the program, which they all agreed was a rousing success. When asked by Board Member Schulkind what the next steps would be, the teachers asked the program continue on a voluntary basis and that opportunity be given for this professional learning community to share its work with other teachers and educators in the school system.
The meeting then moved to the next agenda item, which was Superintendent Phelan’s budget update. Mr. Phelan explained that they have met with all three of the School District’s state legislators to lobby for the changes they would hope for, including a new allocation formula as it relates to special education services because, as Mr. Phelan explained, Rhinebeck schools have excellent special education programs and this has led to more students coming to the school with those needs and in turn a disproportionate cost to the school district.
As of the meeting, the working budget was facing a $600,000 gap, although Mr. Phelan in discussion with the Board members explained that by looking at “excess costing” and avoidable costs, that number will be cut down.  Mr. Phelan concluded that by next meeting he will be presenting a “cut list” of other budget items that might be facing deletion.
Board Member Walker reported on the Personnel Committee, which has as its most recent work considering changes to the evaluation process and format.
Board Member Schulkind reported on the Communications Committee, explaining that the Committee was developing a plan regarding better communication, especially appreciative communication to faculty, as well as new technology for building the teacher websites and forthcoming student email addresses.  Ms. Schulkind explained that these new email addresses will be part of a newly designed communication system with students.
In good news, most of the Board Members again congratulated and thanked Ric Campbell and the teachers for their hard work in professional development.  In addition, there were shout-outs to the Boys Basketball team for making it to the sectional finals and for the great team spirit shown by the Rhinebeck community at the game.
In old news, Mr. Phelan reminded everyone that the new school calendar is likely to be voted on at the next meeting, and given the late labor day holiday, “Its ugly.”
After voting on action items mostly related to leave requests from various staff and faculty, the meeting was adjourned.

Board of Education Meeting – February 24, 2015
All BOE members present, Joe Phelan, Tom Burnell, Maryanne Bovee

1. Public Comment:
Ronald Goldman, psychiatrist and parent, commented on the school start time. He presented that the American Academy of Pediatrics reported sleep deprivation led to decreased academic performance, decreased attention, increased risky and impulsive behavior, increased car accidents, increased obesity and more. He pointed to research where district made changes and data showed the above.

2. Nominations for BOCES BOE: 3/11 is the deadline for nominations and 4/21 is voting day for administration budget and BOCES Board members.

3. Principal Reports:
CLS/Brett King:
BLPT: working on a survey for grades 3,4,5. Working on 2 modifications and will meet again in 3 weeks
School Spirit: crazy hat day
Good news: Sandy Kane and Barbara Rizzolo’s 3rd grade class visited multiple resident programs before Christmas, Science Night Out with Bard College and RSF and the Ribbon Cutting of the new STEM lab was very well attended, PE teachers working on BOE goal of communication with recognition of student of the month, Folk heritage festival
Events in the works: Health and Wellness committee planning a parent academy for CLS parents as a follow up to the one at RHS, 3,4,5th student art show, PTSO book fair, Engineering week for grades 2nd-5th.

BMS: John Kemniter:
Gallery display of 8th grade “Taking a Stance” more robust attendance this year, approximately 60-70 guests. Social injustice through art in collaboration with local artists.
Good News: Catching Kids Caring is recognizing 3 students who show a positive attitude, leadership, choral concert well attended, PTSO book fair raised $1,100 and donated books to the library and classrooms, anthropology club creating a video documentary re: how children spend their free time now vs. 50 years ago and identify some community opportunities through this process.
Greysmith House: 7th graders in health learned about dating violence, healthy vs. harmful relationships and in the future will be presented with information about drug and alcohol issues.
March event plan: Top Chef and Artist in Action. This year’s topics in artists in action include: Kathleen White as the keynote speaker and workshops on painting, ceramics, special effects software, theater etc.
RHS/Dr. Davenport:
Extracurricular activities include gearing up for “Anything Goes” the Spring Musical, Environmental club’s benefit concert raised 1K for UNICEF, creative writing collaboration with students from Pine Plains, Spanish Club donated 50% of its fundraising earnings to carepackages for local families in need, NHS organizing its annual blood drive, Debate club going to Bard for its annual meet, Spirit week this week culminating with a pep rally on Friday.
BLPT: recommending end the practice of rank by #. Recommend honor system based on GPAs similar to college latin honors. (i.e. summa cum laude.)
Academic Word List: introducing the word of the week and announced each morning.
iGuitar program in March supported by the PTSO and RSF is open to all RHS students.
AP Chem: Dr. Davenport was invited to observe students teaching mini chem lessons and noted “impressive fluency” by students.
1 senior is being recognized as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist
Portfolio art class collaborated with CLS 1st and 3rd grades re: adding refinements through technology.

Deirdre d’Albertis suggested clear communication regarding rank recommendation change to students and parents.

4. Immunization Exemptions:
Medical and religious exemptions. There are a limited # of families who fall into the religious exemption category. Families submit the data when the children register and most of the time that happens at CLS. Brett was asked by BOE members to elaborate and he said that if for any reason he felt unsure about the religious or medical reason, he could request more information. Some discussion around the policy of documentation should be included from the beginning of the process.

5. Budget Development
Daily Freeman article 2/25/15:
RHINEBECK >> School district trustees are bracing for a return to an era when Albany lawmakers held education aid hostage as part of political battles that left local budgets with great uncertainty.

The update was provided during a Board of Education meeting Tuesday, when officials said they will base an anticipated district spending plan on expectation that aid will be unchanged.

“The state aid runs are flawed in a good year and they’re guesstimates in a good year and in a good year they don’t include some of the expense driven aid like the excess cost aid,” Superintendent Joseph Phelan said. “We’re dealing with a more flawed system this year than usual.”

Business Superintendent Thomas Burnell said the draft 2015-16 budget calls for a 3.7 percent spending increase and a 4.8 percent increase in the property tax levy.

“Our tax levy limit is 2.18 percent,” he said. “So that still puts us slightly below $600,000…to reach that tax levy limit.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has withheld providing school officials with the estimated amounts that can be expected through various state aid programs. He instead has said districts can simply calculation a 1.7 percent increase if his proposed reforms are not enacted and a 4.9 percent increase if the changes are adopted by the legislature.

School officials in the region have criticized Cuomo’s approach because aid cannot be calculated on a straight percentage increase. Information needed to determine aid includes factors such as enrollment, types of projects being done in districts, and property assessments.

“We’re taking the attitude that we need to hope for the best and plan for the worst,” Phelan said. “That’s why this budget process now is [using] zero percent state aid.”

Trustee Deirdre Burns said that residents should be alerted that school budget planning may include cuts that may not have been considered if state officials were able to provide aid estimates.

“We have a concern right now because politics are running really thick in Albany and it’s hard to sort out when you don’t have the numbers,” she said.

“It’s been a few years since we had to make actual cuts in the budget,” Burns said. “This may be a year.”

Trustee Laura Schulkind said the spending plan should still be developed with the intention of having programs that improve students’ academic experience.

“I agree that we have to be as conservative as possible,” she said. “I would like the discussions around cuts and wish lists…to center around what we want the program to look like.”
[end Freeman article]

6. Board Committee Reports:

A. Finance:
$400K deficit. No wishlist items will be funded. No additional CLS teachers. Conservative approach with tiered cuts to be prepared. Will revisit technology plan. As mentioned in the Freeman article, Laura Schulkind recommended looking at what RCSD’s vision for what programs should look like vs. getting to a number.

If state aid comes through that is larger than the budget, Tom Burnell reported 3 options: decreased taxes to homeowners, put towards fund balance, “could be used and new money/revenue” and could restore items.

B. Curriculum: report provides thorough synopsis! Please see Curriculum minutes.

Steve Jensen’s report of k-12 current status and plan. Inconsistency of use is still consistent with CELT report.

Lisa R. inquired about the technology position from this past year’s budget that was not filled. It is not considered a “new position” and the infrastructure manager position may need to also include technology integration for planning for next year.

C. Policy: HW and IEP performance are in the process of review.
D. Collaboration: relaunched with Rhinebeck Village and Town. Got acquainted and shared some ideas like energy audits, solar, technology, taxes, Rhinecliff Waterfront/Crew.

7. School Start Time:
Met with principals and Tom Burnell. Flipping start time with CLS not really an option. Single bus run has potential with cost, but logistics are complicated. Benefits of health and wellness are significant. Challenge of electives, enrichment, sports in discussion. Might change of start time decrease tardiness? 2000 in a school year. How much time makes a difference? Plan: follow up with Tom regarding cost and logistics.

8. BOE Nominations: paperwork and workshop information available on RCSD website. Mark Fleischhauerer declared he would run again. Another board member did not declare. Lisa suggested it be helpful to declare because community members may not want to run against an incumbent and Deirdre B. suggested that it is up to each individual how they handle this item.

9. Good News: BOE members and Joe Phelan met with State Senator Sue Serino and will meet with Assembly members Didi Barrett and Kevin Cahill. CDEP will be meeting in March.


Board of Education Meeting – February 10, 2015
Due to winter weather, including blizzard conditions, the Rhinebeck Central School District Board of Education’s public hearing was rescheduled for Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm. The Hearing was set for the purpose of discussing the adoption of the Alternative Veterans’ Exemption pursuant to §458~A of the Real Property Tax Law for eligible veterans who served during a period of war or have received an expeditionary medal for 2015 school taxes and thereafter.

The components of the Alternative Veterans’ Tax Exemption are as follows:

Basic Exemption:  Tax exemption of 15% of the assessed value of the property, not to exceed $12,000 or the product of $12,000 multiplied by the latest state equalization rate for the assessing unit, whichever is less.

Combat Zone:  For veterans who are documented to have served in a combat zone an additional tax exemption of 10% percent of the assessed value of the property, not to exceed $8,000 or the product of $8,000 multiplied by the latest state equalization rate, whichever is less.

Disabled Veterans:  Where the veteran received a compensation rating from the Veterans’ Administration or Department of Defense based upon a service related disability, an additional tax exemption on the qualifying residential property to the extent of the product of the assessed value multiplied by 50% of the veteran’s disability rating, not to exceed $40,000 or the product of $40,000 multiplied by the latest state equalization rate, whichever is less.

The Alternative Veterans’ Tax Exemption, as passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Cuomo last year, is not supported by additional State funding, as is the current STAR program. Instead, the exemptions provided to eligible veterans who apply are offset by a school district’s non-veteran taxpayers, not by New York State. 

There were several veterans who offered comments, urging the BoE to adopt this measure, as described above. Included among them were Dennis McGuire, Ray Joyce, Al Boutin, and Mayor Heath Tortarella.
BoE meeting began at 7:40.

Motion to accept previous meeting’s minutes was approved, with one correction.
Offer of public comment was declined.

4.1 Taking a Stand Project: (D. Kaake) Ms. Kaake described students’ participation in the ongoing “Taking a Stand Project”, and discussed the feedback she’s been getting from students, and what the project means to them.

Three students gave brief summaries of their last year’s presentations for the Taking a Stand Project. “The Stonewall”, concerning gay rights, (Dylan Potts) “The Glass Ceiling” about gender equality (Lauren Platt) and a video “Making a Stand: The Stonewall Riots of 1969” (Grace Johnson).

There is a show currently hanging in the school auditorium lobby, of student’s projects for “Taking a Stand”.

4.2 Interscholastic Athletics Report (S. Boucher) Mr. Boucher discussed the new Athletic Placement Process (APP), which designates at which level students will play, ie. a middle school student might be allowed to “play up” to high school level. He also discussed recent trends concerning corporate sponsors at athletic contests, saying there will be more of it in the future, but will not be seen at Rhinebeck’s field. The fall sports season was extremely successful, winning several sectional and state championships. The planned football team merger with Spackenkill did not take place. A football merger with Pine Plains is motion # 6.4 on tonight’s action items, awaiting approval.

4.3 BOE Policy #4730: Homework – Discussion of whether there should be an official “Board Policy” about homework – amount, frequency etc. Opinions were offered that no one policy will suit every teacher, and that “less is more” when it comes to constraints on individual teachers’ decisions. One option suggested was to have the Policy Committee modify any existing official policy to allow each teacher to design their own homework program.

4.4 Principals Reports – These reports were postponed until the next meeting.

4.5 2015-2016 Budget Development Update –
The 2nd draft of the current RCSD budget being developed, of 32,100,954, represents a 4.05% increase over the 2014-2015 budget, or approximately $1.5 million.

It was noted that there was a growth of tax revenue in this county, unlike other neighboring counties.
The budget currently being developed, because of issues in Albany relating to state aid, and the timing of state aid announcements, will be difficult for the BOE to finalize in time for the April deadline, or even the May 12th deadline leading up to the annual meeting in late May, when, by law, the budget needs to be finalized and approved. Last year, the school district received 3.35 million in state aid. What the state aid will be this year is unknown, and may not be known until late April, if then.
Among the various line items, there was discussion of adding two and a half positions; discussion of fuel oil prices and electricity prices; health insurance and employee buy-outs; discussion of BOCES administrative costs.

Note: Math textbook for the common core. It seems a search has been going on to replace the current math textbook. It was suggested that such a new textbook has been found, and an item is in the budget for the new textbook, (pending approval?).

4.6 Board Committee Reports: Communications, Finance, Personnel, Audit, Facilities.
Facilities Committee: Discussion of the following topics: 1) An update on the RFP for architectural and engineering services in connection with the Building Condition Survey, which is due to be submitted to the state by January, 2016. It was decided that the RFP should require submission by August 31, 2015 to give the Board a chance to gain experience with the architects and engineers as possible candidates for the upcoming Capital Project. 2) Fuel oil and electricity costs. The district has saved substantial funds due to a sharp drop in fuel oil prices ($3.15/gal. budgeted vs. $1.78/gal. charged) and noted that it was fortuitous that fuel oil prices were not locked in by the district last year when prices were much higher. Locking in at the lower rate is under consideration, as are also locking in electricity rates and adding solar panels to the school roofs. 3) Steps in developing a referendum for approval of a capital project.

4.7 Awards – The following BOE members have been presented awards by The New York State School Boards Association Recognition Program, designed to recognize extensive time and effort of school board members who strive to continually expand their governance knowledge and skills:
* New York State School Boards Association “Board Excellence Award” (Laura Schulkind)
* New York State School Boards Association “Board Achievement Award” (Mark Fleischhauer and Diane Lyons)

Committee Reports
February 10, 205 Committee Reports
January 27, 205 Committee Reports


Board of Education Meeting – January 13, 2015
1.0 – Meeting called to order

2.0 – Motions approved

3.0 – Public Comment
Board was invited by a representative of RSF to the RSF STEM lab official opening and open house on 1/22 from 6-7:30PM. Enthusiasm was shown by many members, and endorsement was made by Sup. Phelan.

4.0 – Reports and Discussion

4.1 – Sup. Phelan outlined Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption. Cost will be ~$19 per year tax increase per year for non-veterans for average assessed single home. If the board should decide to pursue the exemption, there may be a vote before Mar 31. There may also be public hearings. If the board passes it could appear as early as this year on the tax bill.

From the finance committee: other boards in the area have done a similar exemptions.

Some members express support for having a hearing. Pres. Fleischauer indicates that he has heard from veterans in the community who are in favor of it.

4.2 – R. Zipp presented the Annual Special Education Report.

Census of students in various programs, some special notes about individuals, presentation of learning disability classification incidence within the district population.

Some discussion of changes to how children are classified as autistic.

R. Zipp recommends hiring another ESL teacher.

Some discussion of a growing trend and category within special education of “emotionally fragile” students and programs to help them become more emotionally stable.

Overall classification rate is 11% up from 9% last year. State average is 13%.

4.3 – Budget Update. Sup Phelan: Cuomo will say something about it in the State of the State address. Sup. Pehlan: Not much is known about the revenue picture at this time.

4.4 – School Start Time. Trustee d’Albertis presented progress and discussion of changing school start time. One of the major changes is would be that students of all ages would start at the same time. The issue is consolidating bus runs. BOCES buses may be impacted. The discussion is for the school day to start at 8 or 8:30. Ed Davenport has presented data on how delaying start time impacts favorably on sleep and student health. Discussion of how delaying start time may impact sports.
Change could be cost-neutral or cost-saving.

4.5 – Mid-Year Review of the 2013-14 Board goals. L. Schulkind. Have met the communications goal. The Twitter feed is working out well. L. Rosenthal to Sup. Phelan: How have the board’s goals been met? Some discussion of communications and food service.

There has been some work done on a new web site for the school district.

M. Fleischauer. feels the board has made good progress toward its goals.

4.6 – Board Committee Reports. Report from the finance committee. The costs are somewhat higher than expected this year. The middle school will have 30 fewer students due to drop in students at Chancellor.

Report from the policy committee. New textbooks may need to be approved by 3/4 of the board. Some discussion of the district’s policy on homework and whether it reflects the board’s current position on homework. The committee is going to recommend board discussion on homework. There was agreement that this should be discussion item for the next meeting and that the policy will be circulated beforehand.

From the communications committee, report on the new web site that is underway. There is going to be an attempt to talk to parents. There is some exploration underway for how use the site to showcase student accomplishment.

The curriculum committee: there has been some discussion of the reading list in English, and that there are too few female voices. There is some work being done with this. The revised social studies standards have been adopted in NYS. The sciences standards are also in play.

5.0 – Public Comment.

5.1 – Good news. The Church of the Messiah did not run out of food because of the middle school’s food drive. Remarks about the band concert being good.

5.2 – Old news. None.

5.3 – Public Comment. Remarks about school start time: a coordinated start time would make life easier for families with children going at different times. Remarks about homework and to consider ways to reduce homework in drafting a new homework policy. Remark to not forget that students are a big user group of the school web site and to consider their needs in addition to teachers, administrators and parents.

6.0 – Action Items
6.1 – Passed
6.2 – Passed
6.3 – Passed
6.4 – Passed
6.5 – Passed
6.6 – Passed
# # #

Board of Education Meeting – December 9, 2014
It was a full house despite the icy weather that first delayed and then closed Rhinebeck schools today.

Absent Deirdre Burns / Vice President

Previous minutes approved with minor adjustments

There were no public comments during either point in the meeting that allows for them.

The meeting had a few major components; the presentation of the annual audit, the principals’ regular reports, discussion of a possible veterans tax exemption and the draft budget overview. There were no public comments made, some minor discussion of school start time discussions ongoing, and regular business conducted.

First up was the audit report. Tim Thomas, the district’s independent auditor presented and has previously met with the BoE Audit Committee.

The report included a Clarity Statement  to make clear what is being reported upon, and what isn’t.
This is a financial audit report.
Management and auditor responsibilities clearly defined.
Audit of financial position and condition.
They do take responsibility for seeking out and identifying fraud.

Two questions that are always asked, and answered:
1. Is everything ok? Yes, financial balance is ok.
2. Did anyone steal anything? We didn’t find anything.

Financial position summarized and provided in details of the report.

3.3% fund balance is sufficient for cash flow needs
School Food Service fund – $19K deficit. this is similar to experiences of districts across the board. Auditor stated that he felt most of the reasons are beyond managements control, including nutrition guidelines pushing more students to bring their own lunch lowering revenues while maintaining or increasing costs. Deficit will continue to grow unless turn around plan is identified. Deciding to share a food services director with Red Hook was a good start.

General Fund $162K loss for the year on $29Million revenue.
Special ed costs went “through the roof” after budget cycle in 2014 which account for a large portion of the loss.

Switch from partial accrual to full accrual accounting shifts additional liability onto the books.
A large balance of callable bonds were paid off early.

$4,400 in charges for kids that didn’t pay for them – the audit questions whether this is this avoidable?

Extra classroom activity fund – year book account – that is in the wrong account, technically, it should be separate, and the students should maintain oversight, but managing in this fashion leaves the management and board open to blame if the funds were not accounted for in this fund where oversight is built in to the process.

Generally good shape and BoE should be comfortable with the state of affairs. spoke at length with audit committee. no questions from BoE.
Brett King – CLS

– STEM lab continues to work well
4th grade halfway through module 1
Woulfin doing a bang-up job in flexibility, planning and communications with all teachers in CLS.
Staff is open and students are enjoying and learning in the STEM lab.
Starting to prioritize upper grades for second half of the year and preparation for standardized testing.

They will be moving forward with survey in February and then use outcomes to develop goals for students 3 -5 to start.

PE news – early morning enrichment program with morning can jam student/teacher event with 12 teachers participating. The event was well received and they are looking to hold similar combine teacher/student sports activities in the future.
The 2 new PE teachers are doing a great job of integrating subject areas and content into their units.

Community Support activities at CLS
PE turkey trot food drive 501 items donated to local food pantry
hands helping hands drive collecting hats, mits, gloves, etc. for Astor Home in Rhinebeck – tree already full with a week and a half to go. lots of donations and teachers knitting items.
penny harvest for coats for kids
holiday donation drive for astor home and services through the social services team at CLS spearheaded by Morgan Lobruto
and many more smaller giving and charity activities throughout the school.

Supporting families in need locally, BoE has been supportive of this initiative also championed by Morgan Labruto.

Upcoming events
4th and 5th grade concert on 12/18
STEM lab Jan 22nd ribbon cutting sponsored by RSF.

Diane Lyons asked about laptop carts – as of now all have been distributed to all grades with tablets for lower grades and laptops for upper grade. tablets have been running for a few weeks and are always booked. laptops just got up and running last week, and are already scheduled to capacity. Brett expects to have much more to report in his next update.

John Kemnitzer – BMS
Student accolades – 3 students highlighted in catching kids caring – Kawanis club anti bullying program. Focus on improving school climate through recognition of positive character and leadership of parents. awards include $25 gift certificate to Oblong books.

8th grade parent teacher meeting to provide info on high school graduation requirements. thanks to high school guidance staff for leading Q&A. Parents were grateful for the opportunity and information.

Projects in classrooms of note – 8th grade ELA learned about universal experience of refugees around the world – read book on topic and then studied refugees in current events and wrote poems based on research, culminating in gallery presentation with record parent particiaption

7th grade social studies improv and study and re enactment / improv of salem witch trials with 3 professionals.

Annual Veterans Day assembly was held with active duty officer speaking
115 students participated – over 40% of student body. Honored 185 veterans, over 60 guests, including guests from neighboring town of Clinton.
Highlight of the program – John Worth from County Veteran Affairs organized on this 23rd veteran’s day assembly.
Roberta ‘Bobby’ Bloomer was presented with commendation from Joint Chiefs of staff

Participated in Mix it up day – – students mix up at lunch tables as a means of breaking down social barriers in an unstructured space with parent and HS volunteers.

8th grade band attended open rehearsal of NY philharmonic

Winter band concert this Thursday – new time 6pm start.

Club – BMS
Quiz bowl
Bard mentoring program well attended working with Brian McDonald and bard students in prep for Science Night Out at CLS.

Thanks to the hard work of Mr. McDonald and Marvin Kreps, along with RSF, BMS has received national accreditation from Project Lead the Way.


Dr. Davenport – RHS
Peer Mentoring Club partnering with students across grade levels and even schools, extending to BMS and even CLS

National Novel writing (competition?) – 50,000 word draft of students first novel from the creative writing club. Net Neutrality and transgender issues among topics covered in essay writing activities in persuasive writing program.

— Trustee Rosenthal asked about incorporation of fiction and non fiction into learning under common core. Dr. Davenport stated that the district and ELA department firmly believe it is not an either or proposition, but a blend of both needed to prepare our students fully.

AP Physics and engineering classes (2 of them now) were visited by local scientist.
Designing motorized vehicles included choices between alkaline batteries and fuel cells.

Certified Career Readiness is a program being evaluated(?)

parent teacher conference format being reviewed. how can we use that time to improve that time with parents.

national honors society inducted 13 students into our chapter and conducted a stuff the bus food drive.

first edition of the school newspaper is out. without a journalism class, this is all done outside of class in addition to writing assignments.

several students invited to state music programs
Band concert tomorrow night weather permitting

— end of principal reports —
School districts as of last year may provide tax exemption to veterans in their district. this was passed late last winter, and requires board discussion and hearing and adoption of a revolution and was to be completed by late February. this was not done in this district last year, based on boards discussion and factors of a compressed decision timeline as well as a concern with the legislation, that does not include any state funding to support the exemption, shifting the burden from veteran to non veteran residents. Last year the plan was made to revisit the issue again and now is the time to start that conversation. Joe asked Tom to pull together relevant information, and a packet was prepared. Decision should be made by January, and then if suggested, a hearing would have to be held.

Town and County already have a veteran’s tax exemption on the books through other legislation. no municipalities get state relief for existing veteran exemptions

Basic exemption – during certain periods of service $6,000 to $12,000 assessment reduction
combat exemption – up to $4,000 to $8,000 assessment reduction
disable veteran – up to $40K assessment reduction or 50%

cumulative effect of these 3 exemptions. Board can only grant all 3 or none, and can define the level. amounts other than top (default) would require second hearing.

Gold Star Parent – lost son or daughter in line of duty.

Veteran’s must apply for this tax exemption

.38% would be the maximum amount of taxes shifted from veterans to non veterans. This amounts to an average of $330K non veteran house would see an increase of $19.93 annually to their tax bill, not including any Gold Star, for which we have no estimates.

9 local districts have adopted plans, 4 are considering enacting.

2015 – 2016 Budget Development Update

– Budget books from department heads will be back to Tom before winter break and then Tom will deliver first draft budget

Third Tuesday in May 19th is Budget vote

enrollment – went up this year, including high special ed enrollment.

91 graduates last years, 85 expected this year, followed by larger classes of about 100.

1,101 total students for the rest of 2015 and into next year.

74 – 75 kids expected for k next year, keeping 4 classes, 30 fewer students than this year for BMS next year.

CLS slightly less but leveling off moving forward. BMS slightly declining.

roll over budget planning – RTA contracts are settled. hoping for setting for ANI. RBK administrators and managerial staff – no increases in rollover plan.

One retirement scheduled, but not accounted for in rollover budget.
BOCES increases 3% on average.
Equipment and supplies no change.
Special ed population and costs have increased and are a concern.
Other area to note is retirement system contribution rates have decreased and this is reflected in the rollover budget.
Forecasting 8% increase to health insurance costs, hoping it comes in lower.
Fuel oil and electricity – expect to save a bit this year with current rates on fuel.

$190K increase in tuition for other schools – special education students placed in residential settings or other.
More than tripled the number of special education students attending BOCES, due to their IEP requiring services provided at BOCES.

Two very high cost students, one at the high end and one at he young end. More aid will be provided by state, but not sure how much yet.

Occupational education also has significantly due to introduction of the ptech program out of ulster BOCES highly skilled education program towards computer and technology that is about double the cost of duchess CTI automotive, etc. This is a full day program.

Employee Benefits –
retirement system reduction of $80K 13%
SS down a bit
Health insurance up 8% estimate (likely less)

Concept of Self Insurance can be considered no sooner than 2016.

Debt service should be down $5K or so

Rollover Budget projects $1M increase or 3.34% increase over previous year.

Tax Cap math –
inflation running at 1.6%
.61% growth factor (second or third highest in the county)
2.2% estimated levy max based on those numbers.
—–end budget discussions——-

Board Committee Report (Personnel)
– Richard reported – personnel topics best dealt with in executive session.
——–end of report —

School Start Time – committee has not met since first meeting. meeting scheduled for next week. request of administrators to run the numbers on transportation and reporting on current tarty and auto accident reports, as well as steve Boucher (athletics) to attend meeting for comment of any potential issues with later start times (30 minutes to an hour).

Asked building principals to communicate that the topic is being studied, and for them to contemplate and feedback.

Obvious options
– flip k -5 and 6 -12 times
– single time between the two with single buses
– move both time slots later
– shorten the school day and the number of periods
– leave it as is.

Coffee with the board next Tuesday would be a good opportunity to share on this topic.
Good News
Parent Academy Last week – Laura Schulkind attended 2 of three sessions and they were remarkable. living as a student in 2014 – student on the panel and was engaging.

Phalen Good News – Molly Albrecht has been doing an administrative internship with Dr. Davenport, and will be able to qualify for her school district leader certificate and interning with Marvin Kreps. Doing a great job.

Thank Tom B. and staff for the positive results of the independent audit.

Acknowledge building principals, Sheldon Tieder, Tom and Mary Ann Bovee for getting here on the snow day, and dealing with the power outage today.

Dutchess County School Boards Association – Joe has been attending and Laurie Rich (past board member) has been hired as exec director of association (PT).

Joe actual tweets photos submitted by principals about community and communication events….and is up to 165 followers up from 124 at the previous meeting

Formal invitation to Mayor and Town Supervisor to reconvene the Rhinebeck Collaboration has been extended by Joe.

Reminder of BMS being nationally recognized by PLTW, and the success and opportunity.

d’Albertis impressed by the range of innovation and imagination and integration across disciplines. Also kudos to Dr. Davenports response that our curriculum embraces chooses both literature and factual language.

Most districts are coping with common core, but joe mentioned that Rhinebeck has taken common core and rhinebeck-ized it instead of taking state curriculum whole sale.

School District BoE Coffee meeting Wednesday 12/11
9-10am at CLS
7:30k-8:30pm BMS Library


Board of Education Meeting – November 25, 2014
Board President Fleischauer called the meeting to order at 7:40 pm and invited “public comment,” the communities open mic opportunity, of which there was none.

Superintendent Phelan then spoke on the first substantive agenda item, reminding the Board members that they are mandated reporters under the State Education Law if they have reason to believe a child is being abused by an employee or volunteer in the educational setting.

Superintendent Phelan and Board Members Schulkind and Lyons reported on the activities of the School Start Time Committee, which is studying options for starting the school day later.  Superintendent Phelan reminded the Board that at the last meeting the Board had decided to put it on the agenda for every meeting — a “running agenda item.”  The Committee reported to the Board that they had begun identifying the subjects that needed to be researched, including:  financial impact, athletics, lunches, transportation.  All agreed however that the motivating question is “how late is late enough” to accomplish the goal of doing better for the “health and wellness” of the students.

Board Member Burns offered her opinion as to what she thought the most logical choice for starting the school day later (“pushing everything later”) and also telegraphed her opinion that she thinks any plan should be cost neutral.  The Committee members responded that they are doing a comprehensive study of all options with the focus on the health and wellness of the students, explaining that the Committee’s intention was to have all available information about all available options and to not be limited by any one idea or any one rule.

On to five committee reports:

Finance Committee
Bringing a bit of controversy to the evening, Board Member Burns reported that the Finance Committee was considering whether the District could afford it’s already-approved Technology Plan’s goal of providing a computer device to each student in the District, foreshadowing her own sense that downsized alternatives will be necessary.  Board Member Schulkind answered back that nothing should be done to “downgrade the process of integrating technology into the District” especially since there were ways to find the money elsewhere in the budget and from other sources.  Board Member Burns stood her ground, which she characterized as “being cautious” and “prudent.”

Audit Committee
Board Member Schulkind reported that the Audit Committee is seeking new members, especially some with a background in finance.

The Facilities Committee reported to the Board that it was soliciting RFPs from architects to do a buildings survey, with the goal that the architect chosen would also do the work on any work surveyed as necessary.

The Policy Committee reported on its progress being made in reviewing all District Policies with the goal to complete the project in the next year.

Board Member Burns reported that the new website for the District is likely to be ready to go live in January.

Superintendent Phelan then announced that the next agenda item “Potential Programs and Services,” was the very first step in next year’s budget process, and then proceeded to discuss an extensive wish list of items that Superintendent Phelan repeatedly reinforced was not things that were “needed” but things that were “wanted.”  By way of example, Superintendent Phelan mentioned:  additional storage facilities; expansion of services; expansion of the Project Lead the Way curriculum; and co-curricular clubs.

In “Good News,” Superintendent Phelan reported that the Dutchess County Legislature was planning on a special recognition for the State champ varsity soccer team and that he hoped that would be in time for the victory event likely to be held on December 17.  Board Member Lyons reported that the seventh grade Salem Witch Trials was an “amazing” success.

The Board’s action items were also filled with good news, such as the receipt of over four thousand dollars in grant money from the Rhinebeck Science Foundation for four events including Bard College’s Citizen Science, the 2015 STEM Fair, the annual “Fun with Energy” presentation, and the retrofitting of five electric guitars with digital output devices.  The Board also received grant money from Richard Matthies, who contributes annually towards the support of Math and/or Science.


Board of Education Meeting – November 11, 2014
1. Call to Order
2. Approval of Minutes 10/28/14
3. Public Comment: none
4. Reports and Discussion

4.1 Food Service: Larry Anthony reviewed the current status at the 3 schools and his vision for the next couple of years.

Recently: -Dairy went out to bid
– Recognize local farms in menu items
– Noting calories/portion size
– Food Safety Program
– Establishing idea of personnel/what needs to be provided with training etc
– Reviewing refrigeration, ovens, steamers

-replace racks/storage at CLS
-healthy snack center at CLS
-considering ways to turn CLS into Commissary for RCSD as it has the space and equipment for large scale cooking
-objective/goal: feed staff, students, visitors, have an electronic communication device for all kitchens and to send out info to parents with students who have diabetes, food allergies etc.

Richard Walker asked what the BOE could buy to help and L. Anthony suggested pots, pans, thermometers, spatulas, scoops

Laura Schulkind asked about the timeframe for all of the above and the answers ranged from a month with repairs to perhaps two years with all complex integration

4.2 School Start time
Result: Ad Hoc Committee of Laura, Deirdre d., Diane will start investigating and report back to the Board.

4.3 CLS Local Assistance Plan
Brett King gave an overview of the Diagnostic Self-Review Document and Report. The target audience that was addressed was Special Needs and Economically Disadvantaged students because they are having a difficult time meeting proficiency standards based on the Common Core tests. The plan is to address these goals without “teaching to the test.”

Brett will follow up re: Laura’s question of any professional development money available from NYS for LAP. Some action steps already in place for teacher collaboration and peer review based on the RSF funded Extended Response Grant. Another part of this plan is release time for teachers, but will try to minimize time teachers spend out of the classroom.

4.4 Curriculum
Please see the report for the details of numerous topics discussed.

-RCSD will continue to use MAPS K-12 to look at student growth year to year
-RCSD will continue to offer the current Social Studies curriculum
-Regents testing will have some flexibility. Students won’t be required to follow the Pathways to Graduation 4+1 scenario but will have the option to opt out of the one of the 5 regents exams in favor of one of the new focus areas outlined in the committee minutes.
-In an effort to maintain a broad range of English genres, RCSD is investigating ways that other courses- social studies, science, other, can meet the non-fiction text, expository writing requirements in the new CC requirements.
-Extended Response grant with Ric Campbell: Marvin Kreps and Joe Phelan are awaiting the report from teachers, Ric Campbell, and Brett King.
-NYS mandating all students should be trained in CPR

4.5 Audit
Review of audit minutes: audit was positive and raised no concerns.

4.6 NYSSBA Convention review moved to next BoE meeting

5. Good News: Tons of good news including great girls varsity swim season, boys varsity soccer going to states this weekend, BMS veterans assembly and $277,000 from NYS Tech bond that passed on election day.


Board of Education Meeting – October 28, 2014
Principal Reports

16 teachers involved in fall enrichment program. Programs include peer mediation and math.

STEM Lab – PTLW program wrapping up for first grade. Second grade starting soon. Student feedback has been excellent. Integration between Mr. Woulfin and teachers around STEM also very successful.

Tech wireless working better. 3 tablet carts in process of being set up and delivered. STEM Lab already has their iPad cart.

CLS will participate in school spirit days this year.

Anti-bullying program to include student survey grades 3-5 paid for by grant.

75 dictionaries handed out to 3rd graders by Rhinebeck Rotary for reading program.

Highlight was finding out what the teepee is doing on CLS lawn. It is part of the With Flying Colors program which educates children on native American art.

Madagascar project for grades 6-8. 6th grade learning about culture, biodiversity, day in the life and comparisons to US students life. 7th grade focused on exchange of ideas around the arts, performing folk tales.

8th grade sharing project with community via Oblong Books and Lemurs around town with QR codes allowing people to directly link with district for more information about Madagascar.

6th grade exchanged autobiographies with student in Brazil.

Anthropology club visited Bard for hands on archaeological dig on campus.

8th grade mentoring with Bard students to for Science night out at CLS on Jan 22. 9 students currently signed up.

PTSO sponsored another successful 6th grade circus.

100 students took the PSATs on Oct 18th.

Integration of Amy Benjamin’s 570 word list – consists of the 570 most used words in academics. The goal is to make these words part of students vocabulary to help them succeed in college and career.

Nov 7th Costume Halloween Dance and Veteran fundraiser.

Tech wireless up and running. Steve Jensen, tech director, working with teachers on smart board alternatives. Smart boards are not supported anymore.

Personnel Committee Minutes
Discussion with Unaligned employees considering entering into a formal contract.
Discussions with districts legal counsel on tenure.

Finance Committee Minutes
Lunch program participation up at CLS and RHS. Down slightly at BMS. Program still losing money but less than last year. Fruit sales up and drink sales down. Brown bag breakfast at BMS being offered where students can take breakfast upstairs and eat quietly.

Tom Burnell to move $17,500 to general fund as part of a 10 year plan of moving the workers comp reserve fund into general fund due to change in legislation.

Expenditures looking to exceed revenues for this year due to increases in Special Ed, A lower tax cap and salaries and benefits outpacing the tax cap.

Items on next meeting is how to fund next goal of the technology plan. Still some open items to be ironed out between Steve Jensen and the teachers regarding deployment of devices. Will there be a 1-to-1, cart per grade, or cart per department, etc.?

Audit Committee Minutes
Audit committee looking to add a community member. Working on an application process and direct link on school’s website.
Disclosure of wrongful conduct procedure and communication being reviewed.


Board of Education Meeting – October 14, 2014

• Parent Concern: Heard a presentation from Marvin Kreps that would answer some outstanding questions. Youtube isn’t working – where can I find this presentation?

Phelan: We’ve been having problems getting Youtube postings – they are posted up thru August. We can send you the link.

If any holes – who do I direct question to? Mr. Kreps directly.



Need participation levels to increase
Savings because of labor decrease and USDA

• TECH PROJECT funding

We tightened up the budget to have a closer match between spending and revenue and this may impact our fund balance for wiggle room. It’s going to be real, real close and typically there’s a lot of space there.

Burnell: looking at any issues that may come up if expenditures exceed revenue. In the past revenue and spending has been aligned. We took some money budgeted in the general fund b/c we knew federal funding would reimburse.

Spending is higher due to:
– Increase in Special Ed budget this year. District has more Special Ed students than expected.

– No DEHIC holiday means higher health cares costs: 12 months instead of 11. (NOTE: DEHIC stands for Dutchess Educational Health Insurance Consortium which helps schools create a bigger purchasing block with Empire BC/BS. Last year, adjustments to the plans were made so the district basically got 1 month free (a holiday). This year, we’re not getting that holiday. – thx to Laura Schulkind for clarification)

– Have had more than expected students moving into the district.

– Good news is fuel oil prices are going down but not sure what kind of winter we’ll have. We’ve done well with electric use.

– Facilities – one of the hot water heaters is broken.
• External audit is most important – will meet on this next week
Once it’s done and accepted we will be able to close last year
Hopefully can bring to next meeting on the 28th

• Would like a community member on the audit committee – looking to see if other districts have done this and how.
• On-going contract negotiations.

• Next meeting to focus on current tenure recommendation process and look to see if can make changes.

• Changing AP? It’s possible. May be refining AP.
– Phelan: Decided to wait until next year’s AP cycle before making any significant changes but we do meet regularly. Things will stay the same for the 2014-15 school year. We are still in a learning mode on AP and state regulations.

• We DID NOT wholesale engage NYS curriculum plans – we have some fluctuation.
– Mid-Nov first run at curriculum documents as a committee.

– CLS: This summer a tremendous amount of work done at CLS. The curriculum done for last 2 summers are specific to Rhinebeck students.
– Goal: to be flexible in structure and with personal teaching styles. Also know that the district still needs consistency. The teachers were excited to present and to creating communities of best practice.

– BMS: much of the curriculum is already aligned.

– RHS: Continuing to be developed, e.g. Algebra; ELA: 9-12 reviewed in light of new exam and goal is to align w/ state standards in 2016.

D’Albertis: there is a sense of how important it will be to members of community on what’s happening to our curriculum. It was helpful for us to hear how that’s developed and what the timeline might look like

Burns: good to hear the teachers share their curriculum work w/ each other at CLS. Important to do this on a conference day – nice to hear that has happened.

• We were very very excited along with Steve Jensen to get the web design under construction.

– On committee we got feedback – lots of ideas; How to use twitter feed; google; How to make site work more effectively for teachers for their crucial work

–The new RCSD Web design has to be responsive to ALL those who use it: teachers, principals, parents. Great to work with all the constituencies who need this to be an effective communications tool.
TECH UPDATE / STEVER JENSEN: Technology and Communications Director

• WI-FI TIMING. District put an RFP out last spring for wi-fi. One was to replace the wire as well as put a wireless is. Our system was ancient at 15 yrs old.
We awarded to a vendor w/an aggressive time line – all to be done by Aug 15.
– Contractors came in and put in library.
– Did not make deadline b/c of aligning with BOCES system. BOCES has a tech arm: CSI, integral to how systems are set up and as well as the ISP server group. What they found was not fully understood that had to go thru all those groups they didn’t make the Aug or Sep15 deadlines.

– WI-FI. We are almost Oct 15 and we are almost up and running. We were down for 2 days. Wirel ess was the problem – we didn’t have a structure – we had to build it. We have few spots that are wireless dependent, eg. Library. We kept having to bring it up and down to test it and this caused a lot of problem with the library system here – caused disruption. We’ve ironed out MOST of those issues – there’s still some refinement. Today I loaded about 6 teachers w/ Office 365. It offers 5 complete software sets for each staff member – they can load on 5 different devices: school computer, iPad, iPhone, etc..

– STEM lab is communicating w/ wireless at CLS as well.
We have to do some reconfiguration w/ laptops and tablets, etc

– The speed has dramatically increased as far as getting on the internet – downloads are coming faster and uploads are going better

– Having trouble w/ authentication – for computer to recognize who I am. Bringing in CSI to help us – DNS, DHCP?? Beginning to look at that – once they are on the speed seems to be there.

– Have had some viruses attacks – info from BOCES. Trying to figure which are county-wide and which are Rhinebeck based.

– Response from Students has been positive – they can pick it up on their phone.

– Guests can’t access wi-fi, e.g. parents – once all smoothed out

– Staff has been great – been patient. CLS has been excited.

– Student Access The student filter applies to each student. The guest network is even more restrictive.

– Important is to see it as a tool not a toy. Phones can be a valuable tool but can also be a distraction. Time to learn how to be self-disciplined

ROSENTHAL: appreciate some of the problems you’ve been dealing with. I’ve been approached w/ staff members that while they understand the problems – they are frustrated with the lack of communications on timing.

STEVE: we were not getting accurate info from the vendor. We were vendor dependent and they couldn’t give us a standard time line.
One weekend we spend 45 hours in here doing things – trying to get this done when school was out but the system has gone down at inconvenient times. We will try to improve communications with the staff.

I chose 6 teachers today to be guinea pigs. We are currently fine-tuning.

SCHULKIND: potential virus – how confident are you that whatever hits, that we are protected.

JENSEN: Our systems shutdown was the defense. The problem is that we don’t get any warning. We need to find a way to stay operational and fight the virus. There’s another one out there now. Some of the ancient equipment in some of the schools make them more vulnerable than we will be.

FLEISCHHAUER understand glitches being in IT myself. You mentioned there’s fine-tuning going on – is Nov 15 realistic?
YES – I think it is. The big issue is authentication.

We had a system that grew over 15-20 years – there’s SOME logic but it is highly customized – so it’s taken 15yrs to build that and this vendor had to bring that over in 15 days.
The end-user won’t see a change but the back of house will – we have to do switch by switch. Outstanding issues are:
• Unknotting the network
• Authentication

PHELAN – memories grow dim – we built this piecemeal over the last 20 yrs. This summer is the firsts time in 17 years we brought in a huge vendor – we’ve cobbled it together – shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s a mish mash b/c that ‘s how it was build in order to save money.

• Oct 23rd CLS in AM for coffee
7:30-8:30 in evening for BMS and RHS members of boards will be there to meet families.

• Opportunity to recognize accomplishments by teachers, admin students and this is at the top of our agenda.

• RHINBECKCSD is being tweeted by Phelan – interested in having PTSO to get community to follow. Rbeck athletics are tweeting too.
• Building Use fees – new ones take effect tomorrow.
– Charging for parking lot and issues to using auditorium and audit equipment.

• Awaiting results of BOCES RFP for conditions surveys; will see if we want anyone else to apply to use.

• SCHULKIND: Are there provisions for replacement: e.g. headsets. – – BURNELL: Yes, if we know they broke something – we’ve been pretty good at that. I have in budget $5K for supplies for auditorium. We do charge groups for missing equipment.
-No specific inventory taken after. Usually Sheldon will check the next day. It has not been a problem – one time we thought a headset was gone and a teacher had it.

FLEISCHHAUER to clarify: these changes are for profit and out-of-town groups, not for local or non-profit that are using the facilities.

• Possible statements about Professional Development. Looking for anyone to weigh in on that.

D’ALBERTIS: I would appreciate the opportunity to review examples of this before making a decision.
SCHULKIND: did just find that PPT and there was a mention that NYS does make mention that we are required to structure some professional development.

LYONS: review of policy was minimum class size
Current policy is minimum of 12 students – flexible especially in the summer.
Question came up should we change this number?
BURNS –being flexible has worked, 12 is a good number and we review if it’s lower. It’s a useful opportunity for us to discuss that.
2 Others agree that keep the same.

SCHULKIND: the actors were incredible, it was quite remarkable
BURNS – wasn’t able to be there but Sunshine sent out a thank-you and there were a series of thank-you emails.
Lots of wonderful comments – inspiring, bringing a community together – so beautiful.

Amount of info and aid given to those in community given to helping families early on

RHS Open House – last Thursday – terrific. I commend the facility – Teachers presentations were interesting , absorbing and daunting

Our communications goals are working.


Communications report – be great for more opportunity for celebration w/ students, teachers. How to make people more engaged by BoE meetings?
The good news is just a joy to listen to.
Don’t know what boards role in letting folks know stuff that may not be in a newsletter
You want to know there’s excitement happening at all levels.

BURNS – it is one of our goals. One of the ways is redesigning the website and communicating that way. Thanks you for sharing that observation.

PHELAN – a brochure on joint support dinner on Nov 13th There are usually a few of us that go. This year “leadership strategies” . Give it some thought and let us know.

Motions to Approve various proposals and resolutions.

ROSENTHAL: RSF grant approval process
Rosenthal – acknowledged and thanked the RSF for their consistent generosity.

FOOD SERVICE: Shared food service director with RH and Rbeck to realize costs savings – sharing service w/ other districts.
We need to come up with savings of 250K.
Motion passes


Board of Education Meeting – September 23, 2014
October 10th is Madagascar Day.  This special day as for CLS and Bulkeley students who will be able to learn about the culture and biodiversity of Madagascar.  Local artists, theatre performers, anthropologists, musicians, photographers, SUNY graduate students and dancers will all be on hand as this event will not only involve students and teachers, but also the community at large as well.   This program is expected to be sustainable in that if all goes well it will be a special day for years to come.

Plans are underway for some other activities including Citizens Science Programming with Bard College as they development a mentoring program with professors and graduate students.

There are two new faculty members at Rhinebeck High School, including a new science teacher.  There are also three new classes students can take at the Rhinebeck High School:

  1. Principles of Engineering, which is a second class in the “Project Lead the Way” series.
  2. Anthropology for 1/2 the year.
  3. Sociology for 1/2 the year.

January 22nd, 2015 is a ribbon-cutting event and open house for CLS Stem Lab.  The RSF Board is proud to be part and contributor to the event.

Rhinebeck Athletics has a new Twitter account. @RBK_Athletics.

Rhinebeck Central High School was ranked 73rd by Newseek in their national rating of high schools.

There will be a future discussion regarding changing school times as more research is needed by the district.

RCSD accepted AED instruction donation from the Rhinebeck Heart Safe Club.

The BoE granted tenure to Richard Zipp in the administration position of Director of Special Education.


Board of Education Meeting – September 9, 2014
1.0 Call to Order
2.0 Approval of Minutes
2.1 Motion to approve the minutes of the August 19, 2014 Regular Meeting.*
3.0 Public Comment
4.0 Reports and Discussion
4.1 2014-15 Fire Inspection Report* : Good report from August 2014 per Superintendent Phelan. One “noncomformance” related to locked storage areas in the kitchen at BMS/RHS.
4.2 Board Committee Reports*

Deirdre Burns reported on the August 27, 2014 minutes of the Audit Committee

Laura Schulkind 9-5-14 Communication meeting minutes
-The BOE will have “coffee” dates throughout the year to address parents questions.
-Steve Jensen was asked to continue to follow up on the analysis of students who leave and come back to the district to investigate preliminary information to see if there are any trends
-The BOE will continue to work on the goal of improving teacher, parent communication by redesigning and relaunching the district website ie refresh images, google calendar, feature community partners, will have focus groups with teacher templates to see what works best for them. There will be a soft launch in November and intend to have a full rollout in January.

Joe Phelan added that Steve is working with a paid consultant.

There will be a communications survey.

Please see 9/5/14 Communication meeting minutes for a more thorough synopsis.


Melissa Cohen:
Opening of school at 8:30AM Vs 7:30 AM. Scientific studies show teens benefit from starting at the later time.
Homework and gym: Is this required for the Common Core and expressed that more homework does not make you smarter. Is this really necessary?

Joe Phelan: Joe responded that homework in gym is not in response to Common Core and not a new thing. The BoE can take up reviewing the change in start time. There are a lot of issues involved including an increased cost particularly because of transportation costs. Superintendents are having this discussion at the County Superintendent level. Not sure what the schedule for a conclusion is at the county level.

Deirdre Burns: One of the BoE goals is improving parent teacher/parent communication. She encouraged Melissa or her child to speak to the teacher directly about the curriculum and testing.

Tara Dwyer: Raised concerns last year and wanted to follow up on Professional Development around Balanced Literacy at the Primary Level. What is the follow up process with parents who raise questions? What can be the bridge to this communication? Does the BoE have specific board goals for student achievement across the district? For Example, % readers by x grade?

Deirdre Burns: Described that there is a CDEP plan that outlines student achievement goals may which are driven by federal and state mandates. She also described Joe Phelan as being very responsive to parent concerns. She stated that the revamped website will make it easier for parents to access information.

Lisa: Reported that BoE had informed the public through committee minutes about balanced literacy and at board meetings.

Deirdre d’Albertis: Seconded this and reported that Mr. Kreps reported on district wide data at the last BOE meeting.


Jen Hammoud: Inquired if the data presented by Mr. Kreps could be put on the website for parental review. Joe indicated that the report needed minor adjustments and then would be posted.

5.1 Good News

Lisa Rosenthal. : Poughkeepsie Journal featured CLS in the back to school article and the launch of the STEM lab. Thanked the community and RSF for their support.

Deirdre d’Albertis. : Thanked the PTSO and noted the PTSO back to school picnic this Friday
Deirdre Burns: Athletic activity participation for Fall sports is underway and nice to see so many people involved.
Diane Lyons: Successful beginning of school
Rick: Thanked Maryanne Bovee and Meg Todisco and welcomed new cafeteria manager, LarryAnthony.

5.2 Old Business
5.3 Public Comment
5.4 Other

A fairly lengthy and extensive discussion took place, which we have summarized to the best of our ability. Please refer to the RCSD minutes for a more thorough explaination.

Lisa Rosenthal described a letter RCSD received from the State Education Department (SED) on 8/21/14 which stated that RCSD was out of compliance with the law. It described that the APPR from 2012-13 was only submitted with half a year’s data. RCSD put the APPR into place before the January 15th deadline. They delay was part and parcel with the negotiating the RTA contract. RCSD duly submitted the data they had and did not alter data for year when they only had half a year to report. The SED acknowledged the reason for the delay and the process that the RCSD went through back in October 2013 and in the most recent 8/21/14 letter.

She urged the Board to respond to the SED with a letter that disagreed with the penalization of additional paperwork, more time that the overstretched staff had to spend instead of looking at the compliance and data from 2013-14 data.

Discussion ensued and ultimately the majority of board members agreed with Joe’s recommendation to agree to the additional paperwork required by the SED and Lisa Rosenthal would draft the letter of objection which will be reviewed at the next BOE meeting.

6.0 Action Items

6.1 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve the following consent items:
6.1.1 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve the Treasurer’s Report (General Fund and Extra Classroom Fund, July 2014).*

6.2 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to accept the following donations:
6.2.1 Samsung ER-4915 cash register from Laura and Gary Magley, for use by extracurricular clubs in the concession stand; and
6.2.2 HP LaserJet 8100 Series laser printer from Ed Haas.*

6.3 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve
additional Summer 2014 program work. (See attached.)*

6.4 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve
additional Mentors for the 2014-15 school year. (See attached)*

6.5 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve
the appointment of additional advisors for Rhinebeck High School and Bulkeley Middle School for the 2014-15 school year. (See attached.)*

6.6 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve a leave request under the Family and Medical Leave Act from Nicole Sandoval, to commence on or about January 5, 2015, with such leave to be taken as paid medical leave through the period of disability as certified by a physician in writing, to the extent of her accrued sick leave and, thereafter, such leave to be taken as unpaid child care leave through April 7, 2015 or thereabouts.*

6.7 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve
the permanent Civil Service appointment of Daria Barry as Teacher Aide, effective March 3, 2014; Susan Cotter as Food Service Worker, effective July 9, 2014; Mary Ann Bovee as Clerk of the Board, effective September 14, 2014.

6.8 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve the
appointment of Kim Dwyer to the position of School Monitor, assigned to the Bulkeley Middle School, effective September 2, 2014, at a rate of $16.11 per hour for a 3.75 hour day, in accordance with the ANIE Salary Schedule for 2013-14, with a 26 week probationary period.*

6.9 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve
the appointment of Amanda Whyte as a long-term substitute in the position of Elementary Teacher at Bulkeley Middle School, at the pleasure of the Board, effective September 2, 2014 through December 23, 2014, at the salary of Step 1 ($51,794, prorated), in accordance with the 2014-15 RTA Salary Schedule. This appointment is to fill the vacancy created by the leave of absence granted to Julie Tait, Elementary Teacher at the Chancellor Livingston Elementary School.*

6.10 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to increase the length of Daria Barry’s work day as a Teacher Aide assigned to the Chancellor Livingston Elementary School, from 6.5 hours to 7.00 hours per diem, effective September 2, 2014.*

6.11 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to increase the length of Kathy Smith’s work day as a Teacher Aide assigned to the Bulkeley Middle School, from 6.5 hours to 7.00 hours per diem, effective September 2, 2014.*

6.12 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve an additional Fall coach for the 2014-15 school year:
Golf: Varsity Assistant TBA Volunteer

6.13 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve
the list of additional emergency conditional substitute teachers and non- instructional staff for the 2014-15 school year.*
6.14 Motion upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to approve the selection of the follow textbooks: Writers Workshop course – How Fiction Works (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008); Participation in Government course –
Politics in Action (Pearson, 2008); and Psychology in Action (10th edition) (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012)

6.15 Motion to appoint the Secretary to the Superintendent as Records Access
Officer for the 2014-2015 school year, at no additional salary.

7.0 Proposed Executive Session

8.0 Adjournment


Tuesday, September 9, 2014 Board of Education Annual Building Tour, CLS, 6:30 pm
Board of Education Mtg., RHS/BMS Library, 7:30 pm
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 Facilities Mtg., District Office, 11:00 am
CLS K-2 Open House, 7:00 pm
Thursday, September 11, 2014 Policy Mtg., District Office, 12:00 noon
Friday, September 12, 2014 PTSO Back to School Block Party, 3:30 – 5:30 pm
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 Policy Committee Mtg., District Office, 12:00 noon
RHS Senior Parent Meeting, 7:00 pm
CLS 3-5 Open House, 7:00 pm
Thursday, September 18, 2014 BMS Open House, 6:30 pm
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Finance Committee Mtg., District Office, 12:00 noon
Audit Committee Mtg., District Office, 1:30 pm
Board of Education Mtg., RHS/BMS Library, 7:30 pm
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 Personnel Committee Mtg., District Office, 12:00 noon
Thursday, September 25, 2014 Rosh Hashanah – School Closed
Friday, September 26, 2014 Superintendent’s Conference Day – School Closed

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – July 8, 2014
-Richard Walker and Deirdre Burns took their oaths as RCSD BOE members

-Mark Fleischhaurer and Deirdre Burns were nominated and sworn in as BOE president and vice president respectively

-BOE committee assignments except CDEP, coordinators, motions and resolutions approved

Board Goal Development Process
-Workshop will be on Monday 7/21/14 1PM
-Goals for 2014-15 school year
-It was suggested that Mr. Phelan set the agenda; he will send out goals from previous years
-Suggested that BOE members submit topics and discuss via a place like google docs

Good News
-wireless project has begun

Old Business
Mark, Deirdre B., and Deirdre d. met with RTA reps regarding communication specifically items related to communication between parents and teachers, tenure process, and how to improve communication. Reported that it was a positive meeting.

Action Items (see below)

-6.15 withdrawn until a later date

-Laura Schulkind asked about the difference in stipends: Joe responded that the dollar amounts were based on numerous differentials including varsity, jv, modified, length of season, historic context and all are based on the RTA contract.
A committee has been formed and will investigate clubs and athletic advisors stipends internally and compared to other small schools to determine if a more equitable outcome might be advised for the future.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – June 10, 2014
Meeting started with a tribute to the 13 staff retirees followed by some cake and coffee. Combined years of service was over 300!

When meeting resumed, summer meeting schedule was discussed at length.

Rhinebeck Science Foundation presented two checks totaling $48,497.95 in support of the implementation of the CLS STEM Lab/K-5 Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum ($33,927), and the PLTW Principles of Engineering high school course ($14,570). Also, verbal approval was given for the continuation of Ric Campbell’s program: Extended Responses for Science, Math & Common Core.

PTSO gave a $2,422 check to the district.

The board approved the CLS/BMS/RHS wireless Project for $220,040. Project will start over the summer and be complete before start of 2014-2015 school year. Project will add wireless capability to both buildings and include improvements to current system and eliminate bottlenecks. This amount is over the $150,000 budgeted for the upgrade. Tom will present options to the board on how to pay for the added costs.

Lisa Rosenthal presented the Finance Committee minutes. She discussed Senator Gibson’s two proposed bills and how they may impact the district. Meetings were held with the senator’s staff to discuss issues having negative financial impacts on the district. A 3rd bill is in the works and that hasn’t been discussed yet.

New bus route software is being used to reduce transportation costs.

Cafeteria is still operating at a loss and new child nutrition mandates may have a negative impact on the cafeteria budget.

Lisa Rosenthal presented Audit Committee minutes
Internal audit started on cafeteria. Discussed using Cognitive Cuisine for help with cafeteria.

Diane Kantaros discussed board transparency and how adding the topics being discussed from committee minutes to the board agenda would allow the community to know what was being discussed at the meeting and may help parents stay informed and attend the meetings.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – May 27, 2014
The Rhinebeck Central School District budget was approved by district voters by a three-to-one margin for 2014-2015. This marks the second year in a row that voters had approved the budget so overwhelmingly. The budget featured a 1.87% budget-to-budget increase from the previous year and similarly marked a tax levy increase of 1.87%.

In other news Deirdre Burns and write-in candidate Richard Walker were elected to new three-year terms beginning July, 1, 2014 as Trustees to the Board of Education. Richard Walker returns after a previous stint on the BoE from July 1989 through June 1998.

The meeting opened with public comments from a group of teachers represented by Susan Van Vlack in response to what they believe is an ongoing secretive practice of evaluating teachers without their knowledge. The group requested to the BoE that this practice stop immediately. The BoE responded by asking for more dialogue on the matter and looked forward to clearing up any issues as a result of any future discussions.

After the “Principals’ Reports” BOE Trustee, Diane Lyons, had asked each principal about what kind of feedback they were getting in regards to the NY State tests. Mr. King, CLS Principal, said he was hearing that this year’s tests seemed “pretty fair” while Mr. Kemnitzer, BMS Principal, noted that the feedback was not quite as positive from his end. Both principals did mention, though, there were more positive responses for the tests in Math than in English/Language Arts.

The BoE meets again in the RHS/BMS Library at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 for all those who would like to attend.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – May 13, 2014
The May 13, 2014 Board of Education meeting began thirty minutes earlier than usual to allow for a hearing on the proposed budget.  Superintendent Phelan provided an outline of the budget’s terms, reminding the Board and the three audience members that nothing has changed since the April meeting except that a different spreadsheet had been created for distribution to the taxpayers; a form / a spreadsheet mandated by NY State.

Superintendent Phelan reported that all taxpayers will receive the “budget brochure” in the next few days and noted that the budget request is up 1.87%, just 0.01% (or $2,700) shy of the tax increase cap of 1.88%.  On the expenditure side, the District is benefitting from the retirement of some senior (and more expensive) faculty, but expenditures are increasing a bit to accommodate a new staff person in central administration, a new tech person in central services and the now-rote 8% increase in the cost of benefits.  Savings were also accomplished  by way of the rebidding of the student transportation contract, which resulted in a $81,000 savings in the upcoming year.

On the revenue side, Superintendent Phelan noted there is little change, with state aid increasing 3.4%.

Superintendent Phelan gave an outline of the upcoming Board elections, which has only one official candidate, Deirdre Burns who is running for re-election.  There are two announced write in candidates, David Tobias and Richard Walker.

On to the regular Board agenda, Board Member Schulkind provided reports from three committees.

Curriculum Committee. The Curriculum Committee has been discussing and seeking ways to implement the “balanced literacy” approach and “workshop model” which calls for 20 minutes of full class teaching and 25 minutes of small group attention.  Board Member Schulkind also discussed renewed conversations about delayed start time for the High School, including efforts by Superintendent Phelan reaching out to other Superintendents to seek ways to accommodate such a change without inordinate conflicts.  Finally, the Curriculum Committee reported out that the District is working on preparing a grant request for the Rhinebeck Science Foundation regarding “extended response in STEM,” using the services of consultant Ric Campbell to facilitate enhanced writing work for STEM subjects.

Audit Committee.  Boardmember Schulkind also reported out from the Audit Committee which is working on (i) the “extra classroom fund,” and ways in which to implement best practices regarding the fund; (ii) food services, including looking at the cafeteria’s point of sale system; and (iii) cooperating bidding ring, and efforts by the District to coordinate bidding with Red Hook.

Communications Committee. Boardmember Schulkind also reported out for the Communications Committee, which is now deep in work on the upcoming Board elections and communications regarding same as well as fact-finding regarding families that take kids out of the District either for good or families that leave the District and return.  Finally, Boardmember Schulkind spoke about the Committee’s continued work on the website, and their efforts to update and revisit the core values before revising the website.  In the only bit of controversy during the truncated meeting, Boardmember Burns expressed her concern that waiting for revised core values would just add more delay to the much-needed website update. Boardmember Schulkind agreed that a delay would be problematic and added that the Communications Committee will still be moving forward on plans to add additional information to the website in the interim.

Policy Committee. Boardmember Lyons reported for the Policy Committee, advising that the Committee is working on the Staff Complaint and Grievance Policy as well as issues regarding the cafeteria’s large end-of-year unpaid balances from student accounts (which last year totaled $3,000), a conundrum given the District’s interest in ensuring that everyone who needs a meal gets a meal.

The meeting concluded before going into executive session with a list of “good news,” including the report that the Tennis Team was undefeated this year (gloated Boardmember Rosenthal), that there were two “great” band concerts (boasted Boardmember Flieschauer) and a “fantastic” Madagascar event with enthusiastic participation by the 6th and 7th grade (reported by Boardmember Burns).


Board of Education Meeting – April 22, 2014
Diane Lyons
Laura Schulkind
Lisa Rosenthal
Deidre d’Albertis
Diane Kantaros (7:15 arrival)
Deirdre Burns, Board President
Mark Fleischauer, Board Vice President
Thomas Burnell, Ass’t Superintendent
Joseph Phelan, Superintendent

4 members of the public attended without comment.

This meeting was short and only touched on a few topics beyond the Principals’ updates on recent and upcoming events. These topics included a lack of Board of Education Candidate filings, district athletic field limitations, and the potential purchase of new transportation routing software.

The April 8th Board minutes were approved unanimously.

Principals’ Reports
Brett King – K – 5 Chancellor Livingston
Spirit Day (Hat Day) in February enjoyed 80% participation with near complete participation by staff and faculty.

Common language for all, an ongoing program to promote community through vocabulary – perseverance timely with state assessments.

The “Principal for the Day” is coming up. This is a raffle for the Rhinebeck Science foundation that is promoted with a life size cut out of Mr. King in the main hall with ‘mini’ principal. This gains a great deal of attention and ‘shout outs’ from the student throughout the day.

Special friends day is Friday, May 23rd.

The inflatable planetarium is coming back again this year.

Staff appreciation and math assessment next week.

Pre-K assessments for next school year are ongoing.

Board members asked if he had heard any feedback regarding this year’s state tests. Response: much less than last year, and mostly through discussions with teachers. The students were given slightly more time which helped. He also stressed that there was less variety of story types, and fewer question types to the point of repetition. More students able to finish tests than previous years due to the better time frame allowed.

No student feedback on tests, and less from parents, More feedback last year from students.

Dr Davenport reported for the high school and for BMS on Mr. Kemnitzer’s behalf.

Committee reports
Communications committee report was provided by Laura Schulkind.

Elections: There was only one petition filed for candidacy of the upcoming Board elections. This one filing was from sitting board president Burns. Lisa R noted her disappointment that there was only one filing, and noted that public announcement of any current board members that are not running again would likely increase the potential of candidates filing. Laura S agreed that it was disappointing and noted that the communications committee should take up the issue to improve communications. President Burns noted that the announcement was on the board website.

The communications committee is preparing the annual budget newsletter for a May 13th release ahead of the May 20th Board election.

Steve Jensen, the District’s Director of Technologies and Communications has interviewed 13 of the 20 families that have departed the school district over the last 5 years. No trends have been identified other than gratitude at being surveyed. The goal is interview the remaining families before finalizing a report.

The Policy committee report was provided by Lisa Rosenthal. The policy committee requested from attorneys and received and reviewed a draft policy for managing staff grievances not covered under collective bargaining agreement. This has been provided to the Superintendent to administrators for review and comment.

A policy for managing unpaid school lunch debts by students who received credit when unable to pay was suggested by the superintendent. The committee requested more information on the magnitude of the issue before continuing discussion of policy.

The Policies on gifts to personnel and Litigation procedures have recently been reviewed by the committee and no changes were recommended.

Good News:
Phelan attended SUNY New Paltz luncheon honoring among others RCSD for its ongoing participation in the student teaching program. Phelan noted the especially intensive participation of the middle school in the programs that prepare SUNY New Paltz students for their time student teaching.

New Business – Transportation Routing software is out of date, and Tom Burnell and Superintendent Phelan are pursuing the purchase of an updated software that is web-based, and will be a significant up front cost, but will save time and annual software expenses as well as may provide significant savings if the improved routing can eliminate a bus route.

Old Business: Board member Schulkind asked about Phelan’s email regarding field space use at the HS. The lacrosse team will have to practice at CLS. Phelan noted the options have all been considered, and non-school teams have been moved off site, but the increased number of sports offered, as well as the demands of the sports being played are surpassing our field capacity. The fields are well maintained and properly funded, but in order to maintain the fields, they must be allowed to recover and have some down time.

All motions listed in the Agenda were unanimously approved with little comment and nothing of note.

The meeting was adjourned to executive session.

# # #
Board of Education Meeting – April 8, 2014
There was a mandatory public hearing on the proposed school budget for the 2014-15 school year. The budget is for $30,851,358 which represents an increase from last year’s budget of 1.87%. This increase is below the tax levy limit. As Superintendent Joe Phelan pointed out in his opening remarks the board adopts a sum of money to be approved, but not necessarily assigned to specific projects. Therefore, when the public votes on May 20th, 2014, it is voting for the amount of money to be used for the upcoming school year.

Steve Jensen, who is the new Director of Technology for the school district, gave a comprehensive overview of his vision over next five years. In response to some of the recommendations in the CELT and SAGE report which identified several needs for the school district, Mr. Jensen outlined several short-term solutions as well as a longer-term plan. The plan includes installing a Wi-Fi network throughout the district and Mr. Jensen expects it to be completely operational by September 2014. Also, Mr. Jensen will replace all computers K-5 and provide mobile computers for teachers to build capacity. He will begin moving to a mobile tech environment and repurpose the CLS lab. There will be professional development for 1:1 environment K-5 as well as curriculum integration and software selection. The plan also includes creating more student participation in technology integration through GENYES.

Mr. Jensen also pointed out an inherent “lack of trust” by some of the faculty that exists because they have been using obsolete equipment and an unstable network. The infrastructure has not been updated in 15 years. By building better infrastructure throughout the district and implementing more professional development, he hopes to bring the RCSD up to speed in terms of technology integration and implementation.

When asked by one of the board members if the budget was sufficient for achieving all of those goals Mr. Jensen assured everyone that he felt there was enough money to implement his plan.

The BoE responded very favorably to Mr. Jensen’s presentation and thoughtful analysis.

The BoE also approved the 2014-15 budget unanimously.

# # #

Board of Education Meeting – March 25, 2014

Diane Lyons
Laura Schulkind
Lisa Rosenthal
Deidre d’Albertis
Diane Kantaros
Deirdre Burns, Board President
Mark Fleischauer, Board Vice President
Thomas Burnell, Ass’t Superintendent
Joseph Phelan, Superintendent

Audience: 5 parents, representatives and reporters: 1 spoke

The meeting was started with Principal reports, and included a minor review of the budget status, brief committee reports from the Policy committee, and closed with an executive session.

The minutes from the recent Budget workshop and previous meeting were unanimously approved without comment.

Board members were provided with a short itemized list of budget update items, and reviewed highlights:

With the submission of 3 more retirement notices – one teaching assistant and 2 teachers results in additional funds, as well as additional insurance premium savings the overall budget has improved.

The total change provides savings of $183,556 compared to the previous draft of the budget. Overall this would result in:
1.46% budget increase.
1.73% tax levy increase proposed based on current draft.

1.91% is the levy increase limit based on state requirements, resulting in current draft being $47K under levy limit at this time.
Any possible changes in state aid are not yet included in these calculations.

The state is aiming for April 1 budget approval. Once finalized, this would include any changes in state aid. If there are changes, they will be included in RCS budget updates before the next BoE meeting on 4/8, where BoE hopes to adopt budget. If the state delays budget finalization, Rhinebeck will also delay our budget approval until 4.22, but the BoE will not delayed beyond that. In the past we have had to finalize out budget without final numbers from the state.

Two items were mentioned as possibly being added to the budget if they can be funded and remain below the levy limit; one is a curriculum governance council, and the other is increasing the STEM teacher for CLS from half time to full time, in this order. The board feels we can make do with half time, but increase in state aid may enable increasing this position to full time.

Principal Reports
Brett King – Chancellor Elementary
ELA testing is coming up next week – President Burns asked if we remind the students, Mr. King noted that it is mentioned in the newsletter. As an aside he also noted that there is a reduction in morning enrichment programs attendance during testing weeks.

Mr. King reviewed several ‘spirit’ programs’ including the recent bingo night, and upcoming crazy hat day, and a potential red, white and blue day. President Burns expressed the boards gratitude to the PTSO for their successful community building and fund raising programs. Mr. King noted much of these programs are guided by Ms. Fern Lox, the assistant principal.

Mr. King noted additional ennrichment opportunities, notably a possible (later approved) STEM fair and thanked RSF for their financial support of this program.

Principal of the day coming in collaboration with RSF upcoming.

Mr. King participated, along with several administreators and teachers from Rhinebeck in a visit to Saratoga schools to see their implementation of Project Lead The Way STEM programs in k-5. It was a great learning experience for all.

Pi Day (3/14) included fund raising – Pieing of teachers and administrators fundraiser – in memory of recently deceased alumni. Students were allowed to capture video of these activities and Mr. King noted several students pulled out smartphones or similar handheld that he are not otherwise allowed or a problem, but was apparent the children have available.

As a follow up, Trustee Kantaros pointed out that one of the long term subs is participating in the STEM fair, noting that there have been board discussions about over all effectiveness of these positions, and this highlighted a positive aspect to their impact.

Kantaros also noted that this weekend is the Dutchess County Science Fair, which can only be entered by first participating in a school district fair, and that is not possible with our timing this year. There is momentum in yearly science fairs, and Kantaros hopes to see it build in this district. Mr. King agreed and hopes that we can get this this done in time for the county science fair, and hopes that the middle and high school will offer similar in the future.

John Kemnitzer – Middle School
Among other updates, Kemnitzer mentioned the health and wellness day was held on March 14th, and it planning and execution had more challenging than in the recent past. Due to a niche theme there was very little initial presenter interest and response, but volunteer parents rallied to the challenge and more than the planned number of presented eventually stepped up. On the day of the event there was several unforseen obstacles including the keynote speaker being delayed by traffic. A parent that was present, Dr. Ali Hammoud, stepped in with knowledge of the topics until the keynote speaker was able to make it to the event.

Another positive collaboration in the middle school was the Spanish 1 class pairing with a class in Columbia that is learning English. This is being implemented through an online program that enables exchanged learning of language and culture with the teachers in each country exchanging emails written collaboratively with their students twice a month.

Mr. Kemnitzer also noted ELA state testing is next week and math later in the month.

Dr. Davenport- High School
Among other updates, Dr. Davenport highlighted a program where the seniors Spanish students prepared lessons for freshman Spanish classes, which was a great opportunity for collaboration and raised the bar for performance and preporation for the seniors.

The AP Biology class had a full day “in-class field trip” designing enzyme labs with
Dr. Heidi Kaplan who spoke to AP bio students about bacteria quorum sensing, and guided experiments.

The high school is planning to revamp their alumni event from a breakfast that was not well attended to a BBQ with the hopes of having alumni interact with teachers and students as well as complete a survey of how well their time at RCS prepared them for their current endeavors (school or work)

This concluded the principal reports.

The 2014-2015 School Calendar Draft was reviewed with little comment – 6 snow days in the schedule which in this reporters estimation ensures a warm winter.

Board Committee Reports
Policy Committee
(see – As part of their ongoing policy review, the committee recently discussed Chancellor student use of technology devices on buses. The existing policy was design to cover hand held gaming systems such as Gameboys in the past, but was deemed appropriate for newer devices (smartphones, etc.). The policy is in the form of a code of conduct forbidding inappropriate use. There are no monitors (parents or other) on the bus, so while not enforceable at this time, there have been no current reports of issues, and the addition of monitors would be a significant expense. Policies are reviewed annually, and no recommended changes at this time.

Comprehensive District Education Plan (CDEP) Committee
The current committee is made of up teachers, parents, students, president Burns, Superintendent Phelan, and Marvin Kreps running the meeting. The Committee oversees curriculum development. The discussion is ongoing as to whether this is still the best structure to evaluate and develop initiatives. Other options include building level teams and/or curriculum governance council. Mr. Kreps is researching implementation of a governing council and stakeholders will review building teams, and how to ensure continuity between building grade levels and maintain strengths of vertical team model. Trustee Rosenthal asked about anticipated timeline of governance council if budget allows. Superintendent Phalen stated that it would be in time for next school year.

Public Comment II
Roger Quon made comment that while reviewing the district website, he couldn’t find descriptions of various committees that include parent volunteers. President Burns noted that the tech and communications director is working on improvement to website content and that new curriculum objectives and documents will be posted on the website once they are developed, vetted and approved, which should be by early summer.

He also asked about report card formats, where he might direct suggestions and any improvements that could be made. Superintendent Phelan noted the format is less than 2 years old and just recently provided online as well. Any changes would likely be incremental, not wholesale.

Other: comment on website communications by trustee Kantaros – noted the importance of a complete content on the website for new or potential parents to the district on how the district works, their philosophies and curriculum.

Trustee Schulkind noted New York Times article about school start times, and what the history and potential to review changes in start times. Superintendant Phelan suggested this should be reviewed in curriculum meeting.

The board approved all resolutions outlined in the agenda including and of note:

The acceptance of 3 retirements, one teaching assistant, one high school English Teacher (Nugent), and one HS math teacher (Sutherland).

The donation of color laser printer by Ms. Robin Berger, a member of district’s instructional staff.

The acceptance of a grant award from RSF in the amount of $1,791 in support of the STEM fair at CLS per grant submitted by Allison Vaccarino, CLS Computer Teacher.

The meeting was adjourned to Executive Session


Board of Education Meeting – March 11, 2014

Diane Lyons
Laura Schulkind
Lisa Rosenthal
Deidre d’Albertis
Diane Kantaros (absent)
Deirdre Burns, Board President
Mark Fleischauer, Board Vice President
Thomas Burnell, Ass’t Superintendent
Joseph Phelan, Superintendent

Audience: 4 parents: 2 spoke

The meeting was started with comments on how this was to be a short meeting due to the long budget committee workshop held this past Saturday March 8, 2014. This workshop was referenced throughout this meeting.

Public Comment
Parent of a Kindergarten student expressed her dismay with her daughter’s Kindergarten experience. She expected the best and has heartache and disappointment. She focused primarily on the lack of balanced literacy and that the surrounding districts seem to have it and CLS does not. She has not received satisfactory answers from her child’s teacher or Mr. King. She doesn’t “see cornerstones like I see in other neighboring districts” and believes CLS is “behind the 8-ball”
She went on to express: “This year has been an academic waste.
What does this district expect from its Kindergarten?…
I urge you to go into the classrooms and look for the mission being carried out … As a parent I believe in the mission statement but do not see it being carried out.”

Budget Committee
Interscholastic Athletics
Review of Expenses for 4 programs
Burnell handed out budgets worksheets with specifics – there are several unknown costs for Crew.

On Saturday Budget Workshop people wanted to get a sense of what is being spent vs what RCSD is spending.

Phelan: Girls Swimming, as an example program is $8,000ish and RCSD paid $5K , transport paid for by parents. My goal is to get to where we are fully supporting the teams. Crew, my guess is it’s going to be a long cold day when we are able to support that fully – it’s an expensive sport 40K –it’s unlikely we’ll get there with crew b/c it is more expensive than the others

Burnell: handed out budget sheet: A Look at participants in each of the sports. With Spring Sports: Mr. Boucher, try-outs happening and expect there’s more participation this year than last year. Enrollment is about the same. Over the next few years enrollment will go down so we can expect participation to decrease as well.

Schulkind: Internal Audit number has not been adjusted down.
Burnell: Need to go back and do that.

Burns: We had a long workshop on Sat so that’s why it’s a short meeting today

D. d’Alberti Reported:
Overall: Working toward a capitol project referendum
Goals: talking at board level to see if it makes sense to come forward with a capital project
Burnell to present a preliminary plan – to bring to committee and BOE

Working from last building survey 2010-11 – looked at a list of project costs. Tom Burnell is working w/ Shelden to work on this document, it is not finished
Looking at:
Safety and Security
Environmental Initiatives
Physical Plan
Education Initiative

Security: Swipe Card System
All the swipe card hardware is not integrated
Some swipe cards are beginning to fail
It is labor intensive to re-program them if a card is lost b/c they aren’t reviewing updating the system

Asbestos floor tile removal issue referred to from previous

Personnel Committee Minutes
Little to report

Curriculum Committee Minutes
D Lyons reported:
– STEM up at CLS was covered on Sat.
– Shift in some of the Regents requirements

Topic of Concern: HOMEWORK
Lots on concern over homework – parental issue, lots of different opinions.
Individual teachers develop their own philosophy on homework.
We did think that it may be for a BOE concern.
Parents aren’t happy with too much or not enough – we believe that they need to talk to the teacher first – the teacher and parent relationship is important.
This lead to another issue about parents having a hard time talking to teachers about issues like this, e.g. Homework.

Marvin updated us on new standards that are meant to stretch student abilities a little more can be frustrating for parents and we will idscs at next mg but started the topic

Rosenthal: Does BOE’s policy need to be updated?

Lyons: Parent wanted to know if there was a policy, we didn’t discuss the policy much. Evident there are a lot of opinions out there.

Rosenthal: If committees are not in agreement then maybe the policy committee should be discussing

Burns: 8/9 years ago it was an issue – my recollection is that principal did a parent event, the conversations were good and people got an opportunity to talk about it and that was positive.
Of course you should always talk to your child’s teacher about it

Policy Committee Minutes
Fleischauer Reporting:
• Busy – review of 2010
• BOE access to school records and personnel
• Sec 2801 of Ed Law on Conduct

Communications Minutes
D. d’Alberti Reporting:
• Curriculum Committee discussion encourages all to come to coffee with the board to share concerns at any level

• Banners will fly again for Class of 2014

• Tech Director
Telephone survey on families returning and those who left district

Emerging technology
• Talked briefly about importance of school board elections

• Communications Survey
The District is crafting a survey and have to answer 2 key questions
–what are we looking to learn
–what will we do with what we learn?
There are examples out there – market surveys specifically developed for educational needs
Meant to measure all kinds of climate issues in a school district
None of us are social scientists so want to be sure we find a good model if we are moving forward to this
We move forward as D Burns asked us to: Improving communications between parents and teacher; What are best practices in opening up that? How are we going to nurture a climate that promotes talking to your teacher?

Burns: a campaign about talking to your teacher is REALLY important. Trying to get parents to talk directly to teachers
Would like Communications to think about how we dial that up.

That’s it for Board committee Reports

D. d’Alberti: Outpouring of community support for the crew fundraiser. Large community outpouring raising $ for crew. Amazes me how generous the community is to make our schools places where the kids have opportunity.

Reminder on tomorrow morning and evening coffee hours
Meeting this Fri w/ state senator Gibson: Laura, Deirdre, Mark


Mom of Middle school student: How are grades stored, Voiced concern with how grades are stored and how they come on line and issues around incompletes

Phelan: Program at St Mary’s College on April 10, legal workshop. If you want to go let me know.

D Burns: described her participation at a Dutchess County-wide board members conference commenting that it was a positive meeting with lots of fruitful discussion from board member from different districts about different school districts and common core
She distributed documents to the BOE and felt there was interesting info they might want to read

MOTIONS all passed
Range of paid medical leave and unpaid child car leave and extensions
Add’l Spring coaches for Baseball
Resignation of Shirley White, teacher’s aid
Add’l advisors
Kaitlyn Grande as HS Yearbook advisor
Vote for annual school budget –
Geri Ely to step into music dept from sub at CLS to take place of Stephanie Calli
Add’l emergency substitute teachers

Confidential: No public allowed


Board of Education Meeting – February 25, 2014

The February 25, 2014 Board of Education meeting was held before a full house of administrators, teachers and faculty in the audience.

The Auditor presented his report, giving the good news that the District is in the black and that the District’s fund balance is 3.9996 percent, an interesting result since anything at 4% or higher would require that the District rebate money to the taxpayers. An issue did arise regarding the auditor’s late filing of the 2012 report and its implications on the District, with the auditor explaining that it is of nominal economic impact but does put the District on the “high risk” list, which will last for two years.

After a lengthy and detailed report, with some hard questions, the Auditor asked, “I can go now?” and was pleased that the answer was in the affirmative.

Next up was a group of teachers led by consultant Ric Campbell from Bard College who spoke in turn about their experience working with Ric on “extended responses in mathematics.” Ric presented his work to the Board, explaining that it all started with a Rhinebeck Science Foundation workshop held at Aroi Thai restaurant in the Village and then enthusiastic follow up from a group of teachers who wanted to do more. Thanks to a second grant from the Rhinebeck Science Foundation, a group of faculty engaged in an intensive program of weekend and after school workshops as well as in-class visits to engage their students in language, writing and math. To summarize, Ric explained that the goal is to get students to “think about how they solve problems” and write narrative answers to this interesting question.

In discussing the “thinking classrooms” curriculum developed through this workshop, Ric explained that it is a curriculum that the school owns and should consider taking to the next level.

The teachers involved in the workshop all echoed Ric’s enthusiasm, and then some, and asked the Board to consider opportunities to continue the work on extended responses and thinking classrooms. Lots of examples were provided by the teachers of the effectiveness of this curriculum. When questioned by Board Member Kantaros about how to get more teachers involved, the teachers all agreed that given the success and excitement about the curriculum, it was “just a matter of time.”

When asked about all of the extra time put into this work with Ric, one teacher explained that she did not mind giving up that time “when it can be so productive.”

On to the Principals’ Reports, during which it was reported that the CLS students had logged in over 100,000 pages of reading this past semester and that there is an upcoming Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fair planned for the CLS students — with preparation ongoing for a big presentation in the spring.

The Middle School principal reported on the success of this year’s Top Chef contest, with 27 contestants and an excited group of local prestigious foodie judges. In addition, it was reported that the BMS are engaging in an interesting study: The Culture of BMS Through Garbage!

In the High School, it was highlighted that a group of students had their writing recently published in the Poughkeepsie Journal and that Spring sports start in March.

In terms of the 2014-2015 budget update, Superintendent Phelan gave a detailed report of the status, including providing the Board with a list of the ten items he hopes to have included in the budget — these are not “must haves,” he explained since those are already included, these are “wish we hads.” The Superintendent’s wish list includes creation of a curriculum guidance counsel and extending the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum to CLS (and while explaining this item, Superintendent Phelan gave a shout out to the Rhinebeck Science Foundation for its generous grants which allowed the curriculum to be brought into the Middle School).

Superintendent Phelan, expressing confidence in the PLTW curriculum, explained that it is expanding into the High School as well, but that could be accomplished with existing budget items and was therefore not on a wish list.

The same is the case, he explained, for putting wireless in the school buildings — which should be accomplished soon and also within existing budget constraints.

The two committee reports, Finance and Audit were uneventful. Board Member Kantaros reiterated the status of the budget process and Board Member Schulkind identified some of the “small focused” auditing going on, including the cafeteria finances and point of sale procedures.

In Old Business, Superintendent Phelan reported that the Union had agreed to reschedule a conference day which means the students (provided there are no more snow days) will see a full spring break. This was an upbeat way to end Old Business so the Board could move on to approving several personnel actions, including the appointment of new Mentors, Substitutes and Teaching Assistants.

And with that, the four hour meeting adjourned.


Board of Education Meeting – February 11, 2014

Auditor Report
Auditor not available. Will present at 2/25/14 BoE meeting.

Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption
Local districts can adopt to have Veterans pay reduced school taxes. Decision deadline is 2/28, which means that a hearing would have to held at the next BoE meeting and the BoE would have to vote that same night. Finance Committee recommended waiting because they needed time to get information out to the community and discuss the question of burden shifting. Should this be grouped with a possible aging exemption (RCSD does not do this currently). A straw poll on the ballot was suggested, but others said this would send out mixed message of what is binding and not and implied a psychological binding.

Committee Reports
These reports, summarized below, are also available for download on the district website at

First draft of 5 year plan from Sheldon Tieder that will begin to tier issues including original roof, safety swipe cards etc. What will be the options for funding? May also need curricular items for technology.

Steve Jensen presented a draft communication plan including goals and strategies with community members and within the school itself.

Community Coffee in March.
Survey of parents with other options to continue to be discussed for parent feedback.

Dutchess County BOCES 2 open seats and Rhinebeck is eligible to elect someone from our town.

Budget Update: Within the Tax Levy
This does not include money that may be needed for technology and will need to discuss with Marvin Kreps and Steve Jensen.

Other News:
Chamber of Commerce presented the State of Rhinebeck which included elected officials Elizabeth Spinzia, Terry Gipson, Joel Tyner, Kevin Cahill. Cahill praised the RCSD schools particularly with the implementation of GTT and technology. Valuable for business community to hear this kind of feedback.

Policy Committee will meet and continue to revisit policies including personnel files open at the BOE vs. executive session.

Board of Education Meeting – January 28, 2014

Independent Auditor Report: postponed.

Interscholastic Athletics Report by S. Boucher
Changes BEDs # classification causes Rhinebeck to toggle between B & C which causes funding and other issues.  Boucher advocating for better solution.  2014 Rhinebeck will be a C classification.

Mixed Sports competition under review by NYSPHSAA.  Only mixed sports team in Rhinebeck has been in Volleyball.

NYPHSAA looking for corporate sponsorships to help funding sports.  Time Warner and American Dairy Association already signed up.

Rhinebeck participated in NYPHSAA’s battle of the fans completion.  Link:

Goals for Year:
Football merging solution by end of Jan.
Increase Participation Varsity boys and girls swimming.  Advocate for moving girls swimming to winter.
Add additional time to Athletic Trainer
Add Financial support to Crew, Lacrosse, and Swimming
Increase Number of Teacher Coaches.

Principal Reports
Peer Mediators project expanded, turnaround of referrals addressed, training and advertising has increased the # of students seeking help.  Successful.

Science night out – a highly successful event sponsored by Rhinebeck Science Foundation and Bard.  Attended by over 200 students for night of hands on science experiments.

New Enrichment Opportunities very soon – STEM Club and Mini Maker Club.  Diane Kantaros wanted to thank the CLS teachers for stepping up for the clubs.

Parent Portal going live for Q2.

Safety Audit meeting held.  Going forward, there will be 2 meetings/year to ensure CLS keeping up with recommendations.

Folk Heritage tonight

Kindergarten Registration opens Feb 11.

CLS Show Choir performed for Rotary.

Olympic Reading Contest – class that reads most pages wins lunch with Bad Kitty author, Nick Bruel.

Citizens Science – Jan 8th 8thgraders went to Bard for hands on learning in Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Robotics, and Math.  This year there was much closer ties between experiments and curriculum which was positively received by students.

Take a Stance in America –  8th grade ELA common core project to examine social injustice through art and history.  Students work on exhibit next Wednesday 5:30-7:30 in auditorium hallway.

PTSO Book Fair resulted in $1,000 in books donated to classrooms.

Tech Club Participation resulting in formation of 2 groups.  One focused on Robotics and one on Prototype Design.

Financial Aid and scholarship – held for parents.  Expansion to parents of 9-12 graders next time.  Also bring to CLS on how to save for college.

Dutchess Community College expansion of college courses beyond statistics to include Social Psychology and Digital Photography.

Drop-in Math labs assisting students continues.


Budget Development
State budget projects $32,000 less for state aid for Rhinebeck.

$227,209 for Smart schools allocation – possible additional money for tech infrastructure.  Fits in well with Steve Jensen hire as Tech Director.  State details vague on qualifications.

Nov 2014 $2Billion bond on ballot to explore shared services within Counties.   Unclear on whether County, towns, and schools have to participate to qualify for funds.

Joe investigating Governor’s  Universal PreK mandate and if and how it would apply to Rhinebeck.  Doesn’t look like any funding available.


Board Committee Reports

Personnel Meeting Minutes by Diane Lyons focusing on contract negotiations.

Policy Meeting Minutes by Mark – reviewing policy manual and determining policy for website and how to handle info security breaches.

Curriculum Meeting Minutes by Laura –

Reader program encouraging students to read outside classroom is successful.

College and Career Ready – a 4-5 question survey exists already that can be enhanced to access graduating students perception of preparedness for college/career.

College and Careers day – professionals meet with guidance dept to conduct pre and post meetings to prepare mentors present in more meaningful manor for students.

Suggesting for new teachers support/mentor program.


Board of Education Meeting – January 14, 2014

Annual Special Education Report by Richard Zipp data will available on district website

-Residential schooling significantly greater cost vs. RCSD can provide

-RCSD has access to preschool students who are eligible for services which are paid for by the county.  This way RCSD is prepared for who will be entering in the next couple of years

-His greatest goal is to begin de-scaffolding services for high school students so they will be more ready for the next step

2014-15 Budget Development Update

-Mirror process from last year by starting early

-early timeline =guesswork and RCSD won’t get some actual numbers for another month or two in important areas

Tom Burnell gave an overview which showed some trends of some increasing costs and decreasing costs, but that the district will be within the tax levy cap again this year and the number they are proposing today is 2.78%

A couple of noteworthy comments:

Marvin Kreps has asked for an additional 30K to “attack” the common core curriculum development

Textbooks are increasing by 9% and many are not available yet for the aligned common core standards.

Adult education has been taken over by the Town of Rhinebeck

The new director, Steve Jensen, is working on a plan with curriculum in terms of how curriculum will be delivered.  Will it be a 1:1 model? Computers as CLS need to be switched out. What do you replace them with?  CLS is going wireless.  There needs to be a thoughtful strategy and plan that will probably involve a phase in process.

Mid year BOE goals reviewed
The board had a general consensus that progress had been made in the first 3 goals of curriculum and the common core, communication, and technology.  Strategies for each goal are now available on the BOE document section.  They would like to see more be done to address goal 4 which is food service.

Specifically, Joe pointed out that significant progress had been made with technology in hiring Steve Jensen as the technology director who assessing what will support and improve programs in a cost conscious way and facilitate improved communication with input from Joe and the Communication Committee.

Coffee with the Board and algebra common core parent/administrator/teacher meetings were reported as good starts to improving communication and common core goals.

Committee Reports
Audit: No detailed information presented

Curriculum: A meeting with parents to discuss the earth science opt out option is being reviewed by BMS principal John Kemnitzer.  They are waiting his feedback.  Can the BMS accelerated reader program be used to build upon common core standards of depth of knowledge goals?  Curriculum governance council is an idea per Marvin Kreps to include input from teachers but will have to be discussed with the RTA.  They will be examining what is college and career readiness.  Diane Kantaros noted that a survey of RHS graduates was conducted two years ago and may be a helpful resource.

Communication: The next parent BOE coffee meeting will be in March.   Next year they will be quarterly.  Steve Jensen provided preliminary research about families who left the district in the last 5 years.  100 families left with 70% due to geographic relocation.  Next step is looking at who left and returned, how many and why?  Website will be the first priority and beginning to plan this while social media is a secondary piece.

Finance: There was an unusual spike in fund balance so use of fund balance and how it related to the audit committee was discussed.  Additional information will be available on district website.

Policy: They are reviewing all the RCSD policies.  Should there be a policy for spectators at events was discussed.

Old business:

Laura brought back the point that was made in December of whether the district is meeting the needs of students and families.  This was brought up in the context that RCSD is considering exit interviews or information gathering from families who are leaving the district.  BOE members were encouraged to email their comments.

Exit interviews with mid year retirement teachers was also revisited.  Some discussion whether it should be with BOE members or an administrator.  Joe Phelan and Deirdre Burns recommended interviews with Joe Phelan.


Board of Education Meeting – December 10, 2013
1. Principal Reports
CLS – Brett King
The Year So Far

Teamwork Counts: Third-graders and the PTSO had another successful year.

Dr. Ron: The space program wrapped up in October with 15 4th and 5th graders completing special projects. The whole thing will become part of the NASA archive.

Dutchess Dental Players: Local dentists put on a highly entertaining show about tooth decay for CLS students (no small feat!), plus students got free toothbrushes.

Helping Hands: Collecting warm clothing and other supplies for the Astor Home through this month.

Upcoming Programs
Winter concerts (December 2013): Check the CLS calendar for dates!

Science Night Out: A collaboration between RSF and Bard with activities like Follow the Termite  and Make Your Own Lava Lamp.

Language & Culture Program: A partnership with Young Rhinebeck for Spanish immersion classes and activities.

Peer Mediation: 10 fifth graders were nominated and will receive training to counsel peers.

Field trips: Current budget for field trips, with each grade getting 2-3 a year, but more is better. They are often funded by PTSO or arts & education grants, BOE funds fill in the gaps like transportation.

Science/Math: It is a mission to get students, and more girls in particular, involved in science and math. Discussions of new K-5 STEM modules are underway with middle school science teacher Brian McDonald.

BMS – John Kemnitzer
The Year So Far
Veteran’s Day Celebration: More than 100 students participated, with plenty of community veteran superstars

Salem Witch Trial: 7th graders worked with improv artist to re-enact salem witch trials and invited 4th and 5th graders to watch

Knit for the Needy Campaign: Sponsored by art club, last year they donated up to 100 scarves, hats, mittens, this year they are hoping to top that

Student Council Food Drive: Planning to gather 1000 items in one week to donate to a local food pantry

Algebra Workshops: Lots of parent participation in these workshops explaining the changes in the algebra program.

Upcoming Programs
Winter concerts (December 2013): Check the BMS calendar for dates!

Anthro Club: One of the newest clubs is going to look at a dig site at Bard.

ELA: 8th graders are putting together an art installation about social injustice.

Wolf Conservation Center: A program for 6th and 7th graders about animals and the environment, plus a real wolf!

Citizen Science Program: RSF and Bard will sponsor this program for 8th graders.

Peer Mediation: 10 fifth graders were nominated and will receive training to counsel peers.

Foreign Languages: Looking into supplementing every other day instruction with interactive programs to move to daily instruction.

RHS – Ed Davenport
The Year So Far
Talent Show: The Gay-Straight Alliance organized the first RHS talent show, which was spectacular.

Mid-Hudson Athletic League Scholar Program: 50 students received a 90% or higher academic GPA in the fall athletic season.

National Honor Society: Inducted 15 new members this fall.

Environmental Club: The group has raised money to sponsor baby elephants in Kenya (aw).

Flashmob Dance: High schoolers, and possibly Mr. Davenport, dancing the halls of RHS for this PE program!

Algebra Workshops: Lots of parent participation in these workshops explaining the changes in the algebra program.

Music: Several RHS students have placed in regional competitions for choral and instrumental music.

Field Trips: Students saw The Tempest in New Paltz and a musical in NYC, and were reportedly model citizens.

Upcoming Programs
Pep Rally: With dance numbers from the Flashmob Dance project.

Anthro Club: One of the newest clubs is going to look at a dig site at Bard.

2. Budget Update
In preparation for upcoming budget discussions, the board looked at the current budget and made adjustment for the new year (called rollover budget).

Equipment, supplies, materials are rolled over as is.

Adjustments for social security are already made.

Salaries are the biggest change, some are known, some contracts remain to be settled in the coming months.

Special education costs are going down with fewer kids in the program.

Employee retirement costs are also going down slightly.

Health insurance and teacher retirement benefits are going up.

Under revenues, adult education is taken out of the forecast, interest and earnings are flat, and state aid is likely to increase by 2%.

The budget factors in a tax levy increase of 4.52%.

This rough first-pass at the budget comes out about $440K over the limit.

Next time the board will really start to get to work on the particulars of the budget.

3. Committee Reports
Curriculum Committee
Earth Science: Laura Schulkind talked with Principal Kemnitzer about the opportunity to test out of earth science, make the option more open and doing more to communicate what it means for students later.

Reading Program: The group is also discussing the middle school reading program, hoping to shift the focus away from points based on the amount reading completed.

Communication Committee
Coffee Hours: The BOE coffee hours proved to be a successful way to reach out to parents and the community. The group plans to move forward with two more this year, in January and March.

New Tech Director: The group has had initial conversations with the new technology director, Steve Jensen. Improving the district website as a primary point of contact for the community is a top priority.

Exit Interviews: The group wants to create a process for looking at the data about enrollment combined with exit interviews for families who leave the district to understand more about what causes people to leave the system.

4. Other News
New Water Fountain: The high school is trying out a new water fountain that encourages filling water bottles rather than sucking water from the nozzle. More sanitary and more eco, plus it tallies the number of bottles saved by refilling to motivate students.

New Computers: A bunch of new computers came in as a result of a grant.

Legislator Meetings: The board plans to meet with legislators in the district offices rather than on lobbying day to, hopefully, get more time and attention.

5. Action Items
All items approved, including replacements and leaves.



Board of Education Meeting – November 26, 2013
Under discussion at this meeting was:

  • Placing budget items in front of the board earlier for the benefit of discussion and prioritizing. Some budget items may currently be “place holders” for more specific terms, yet to be developed. This list is not for “must have” items.
  • Request for STEM teacher at CLS: .5fte science with full time STEM responsibility. Could take on PLTW if that curriculum is deemed appropriate.
  • Budget review of cafeteria overview, costs, p&l, improved food quality, vendors reviewed
  • CLS staffing review
  • Hiring practices, communications
  • Joe asked to develop hiring letters and standards. (Facilities committee, cost saving)
  • Building condition surveys – air returns, asbestos concerns/ no known asbestos
  • Need the creation of a capital fund for eventual updates and replacements

News items:

  • Initial “Coffee with the Board” sessions were small but off to a nice start.
  • Discovery festival success
  • Gay straight student alliance talent show
  • Sports banquet

Old Business
Data dashboard/ generating data on students that we losing to other schools? Boardmember Kantaros, available at the district,school, teacher and parent level. Who could conceivably view this info in the future? Colleges, etc? Still awaiting surety SED and their vendors are securing this information.

Boardmember Kantaros asked for more feedback to the improved practices as presented by Ric Campbell. Joe said this needs further discussion

Board of Education Meeting – November 12, 2013
After being called to order promptly at 7:30 PM and proceeding swiftly to the first substantive item on the agenda, the Board spent 90 minutes discussing and debating student data issues arising out of the Regents Reform Agenda. In particular, the Board heard a report from Superintendent Phelan and Marvin Kreps regarding the State Education Department’s use of a third-party vendor to store student data, the various “data dashboard’s” being offered to access the data and SED’s decision to allow the data to be mined for solicitations related to available (for profit commercial) educational tools. Superintendent Phelan reported that some districts were opting out of the entire program “in protest,” and thereby forfeiting certain state funds and some districts were sending letters in protest, while staying in the program.

Board Chair Burns noted certain additional controversial aspects of the program, including that only New York has gone live with the program state-wide and that the underlying software being used is owned by News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s media company that is embroiled in serious data security issues.

While the Board decided to take no action and the District is continuing its participation in the program, Board Chair Burns noted that this is one of the “hottest educational issues” out there and encouraged that the Board stay on top of the subject.

The Board reported on their attendance at the NYSSBA conference in Rochester New York, with Board member Laura Schulkind being appreciative of the opportunity as a new Board member to assemble and engage with school board members from around the state.

Three Committees reported to the Board. Facilities Committee reported that the removal of certain deteriorating asbestos tiles is in the planning stages and with no irony intended that the District won an Excellence Award from the National School Safety Association. Personnel Committee gave a short report that they are working on an analysis of the District’s hiring practices with an eye towards more diversity in applicants. And the Communications Committee reminded everyone of next week’s Coffee with the Board at Chancellor in the morning and the High School in the evening.

In the last fifteen minutes of the meeting, the Board moved swifty through seventeen action items, all of which were approved unanimously and included: (i) receiving grant donations from PTSO and Rhinebeck Science Foundation; (ii) final approval of the 2013-2014 Superintendent’s Administrative Goals; (iii) probationary appointment of a new High School phys ed teacher; (iv) selection of “Chemistry: A Molecular Approach” as the textbook for AP chemistry; and (v) approval of the retention of a Boys Varsity swim coach; along with several other personnel items.

The meeting adjourned with no executive session at 9:50 pm.


Board of Education Meeting – October 22, 2013

Curriculum Department
Marvin Kreps spoke about NY state’s adjustment of common core standards, essentially given each school district one summer to meet those guidelines.  The change has been dramatic for both the students and teachers.  NY state continues to make adjustments, even today, to common core standards.  RSCD has a choice either to adopt those standards or create their own standards.  RCSD decided to migrate longstanding relationship with professional developers in the area of literacy into common core standards.  RCSD is writing their own units.  90 teachers involved in trying to write the new curriculum.  RSCD hoping to incorporate a full draft of curriculum by the end of the school year 2013-2014.

RSCD is looking at teachers’ professional development programs to support new common core standards.  A lot of time has been put into professional development and there has been a lot of enthusiasm by the teachers.

Principals Reports
Brett King updated everyone about the successful partnership between Bard College and Rhinebeck Science Foundation.  Looking to expand on this initiative as there is a lot of excitement surrounding it.  Dr. Ron is back for Scientist in Residence program. Early morning enrichment program has been contingent upon teachers involvement while trying to best use the money on kids that have the most need.  The focus has been more on the kids who need help the most.

Mr. John Kemnitzer gave accolades to Christen Koegel, who has been named 1 of 18 teachers from 12 school districts across the Lower Hudson Valley as part of Novel group of Master Teachers in an effort to create to science, math, and engineering teachers to serve as profession mentors and content masters. The program is runs 4 years.  Out of 77 teachers registered for the program Rhinebeck also had a runner-up.

The circus is coming to town.  21st year for the circus.  Extracurricular clubs have had outstanding attendance this year.  Hoping to add new clubs: technology, anthropology, creative writing, and BMS choir.  Support lessons in bullying and harassment will be held in the next few weeks for students in all three grades 6th-8th.

Dr. Ed Davenport reported that the guidance department will begin review of its current program Site.

Committee Reports
Public Communications:  Looking to have informal meetings in both the morning and evening for parents to chat with board.  Exact date still undecided.

Will begin comprehensive review of district policies in the upcoming year.  Goal of review is to do this in-house.

Looking at “Affordable Care Act” to see how it impacts part-time workers.  Sent press release to remind everyone to get their STAR application in.  POS service has been purchased for food service.  Management will be reorganized and changed.

Met with claims auditor.  Spoke very highly of RSCD process.  Discussed succession planning to help with consistency.

Waiting for new science standards.  Discussed adding parent meeting during school year to ask questions about curriculum.


Board of Education Meeting – October 8, 2013
CLS early retirement was brought to the BOE by a parent (Mary Krembs). Mr. Phelan responded that it was not a budgetary issue and that although it was not ideal or preferred, it actually saved the district money. Tara Dwyer, parent, asked how RCSD supported students at CLS who excel. How are they addressing those kids and to grab and inspire that subset?

Mary Krembs reported spending a great deal of time analyzing state test data which showed decreased CLS state scores compared to many local school districts, but increased BMS scores. She described this as a CLS teachers not prepping the students for the tests, but providing the students with a deeper understanding of the content area which became apparent in later years in the test scores.

Curriculum Committee: Will focus on health curriculum, foreign language perhaps space for growth, PLTW expansion in RHS, lego pilot program, accelerated Science program possibility, full report by Mr. Kreps will be given at the next BOE meeting re: Common Core.

Gateway To Technology (GTT) will be on a nationally recognized program track by the end of the year per Mr. Phelan.  The Advisory Board of community members is in the works. District is looking at bringing GTT down into the elementary school : how to implement into the science lab? There is a pilot GTT elementary program currently underway elsewhere, and the retirement of CLS science teacher in June gives some time to plan.

Should the next position be a k-12 technology hire? Background in science? Elementary school teacher? Mr. Phelan will present in November to BOE some service enhancements for the next budget season. Re: a possible Project Lead the Way program expansion in high school: facility needs if it is expanded?

Foreign Language: Discussion on whether there is enough time in the day at CLS and Diane Kantaros reported that the expense of an infusion model has not come before the BOE. Deirdre d’Albertis stated that the infusion model in their report from Binghamton, NY employed Chinese nationals who were expensive, not local community members.

Mr. Kreps to report on the Common Core at the next BOE meeting implementation thus far and what needs to be done.

Curriculum will be put on the website in the future.

Communications: Efforts of faculty and administration reaching out to parents in the first 5 weeks at school and at open houses were praised in terms of communicating assessments, practicing skills, learning.  It was noted that the listening and communicating BOE goals were critical components of the the BOE communication goals.

Jen Hammoud thanked the BOE for conducting the CELT audit. Their results inspired Diane Linenbroker, BMS/RHS library media specialist, to write a grant aligning the goals of the CELT audit by beginning to make the library a nexus of integrating technology across disciplines. She enlisted 10 early adoptors from BMS/RHS from science, PLTW, art, ELA, and social studies who had clear goals of how to implement technology goals into the curriculum at this time. $54,000 + RSF grant was submitted for new technology and professional development, approved by the BOE, and check was submitted by Mrs. Hammoud on behalf of RSF.

Discussion of  about mid-year retirements: Mr. Phelan did not want to speculate although there are a lot of changes. Most likely they are not all retiring for the same reason, but there will be research into the possible reasons. It was discussed how this will disruptive to the students, cautioned about transitions, not just hire too quickly, discussed how to replace teachers.

Maybe the critical mass of new hires should expand the search to include a greater outreach with advertising costs increased that could impact the quality of teachers to the district. Perhaps a restructure of teacher contracts? How will the BOE/RCSD communicate the hiring and transition to parents? Mr. Phelan suggested the BOE meetings on the website and will follow up with Mr. King to ensure that the teachers communicated to the parents directly. Communications Committee suggested informal opportunities to meet with parents about a variety of topics and will suggest a date at the next meeting. Constructive Communication = inquiry and listening.

Financial Planning and financial literacy floated as an idea for the future.


Board of Education Meeting – September 24, 2013
The majority of this week’s board meeting was dedicated to reports from the three school principals on the start of the school year and an overview of AIS – Academic Intervention Services – which was a continuation of discussions from the last meeting.

All three principals reported successful starts to the school year focusing on the continuation of orientation programs for students and parents new to the district or their buildings. These programs include Open House programs, walk-through nights for students, and peer mentoring programs.

The principals also thanked the district’s facilities team for the excellent condition of the buildings due to their hard work over the summer. Teacher across all grade levels continued curriculum development work during the summer to align lessons with the Core Curriculum.

Top level AIS reports were provided by the principals to the board. The reports noted that more students are eligible for AIS based on test scores, but the late summer adjustment of the cut points resulted in a dramatic reduction in students qualified for services. The principals noted that the tests are only one metric used to identify students in AIS. That being said, all principals reported a slight increase in the total number of students being provided AIS services, and being monitored for potential service needs, while ensuring AIS capacity for all students qualified based on the test score cut points.

Other than AIS Mr. King highlighted upcoming safety and other enrichment programs and noted excitement among teachers for Ric Campbell’s upcoming co-teaching and writing seminars. (Provided through a grant by RSF.)

Mr Kemnitzer noted the recent donation of $3,000 to Dr. Patricia Wrights Madagascar research programs and the imminent return of the collaboration between BMS and this SUNY Stony Brook program. He also noted new offerings of a technology club, an anthropology club, wind ensemble, choir and junior chapter of the Rhinebeck Historical Society.

Upcoming events include the Bard Day of Science (RSF sponsored), Veteran’s Day and the 6th Grade Circus organized with the PTSO.

Dr. Davenport highlighted the live student council candidate speeches and elections that started off the HS year on a high note. The two new electives, Introduction to Engineering offered in first period with a full class of 28 students and the 9th period Introduction to Psychology with 15 students, have been met with enthusiasm.

Prompted by a question by trustee Diane Kantaros, Dr. Davenport noted that these new classes do appear to have resulted in a reduction in students with first and ninth period free periods arriving late and leaving early, and as Kantaros noted, bearing out the theory that if you provide students with more options for exciting coursework they will take up the challenge and choose to take more classes.

Committee reports were brief. Both the communications and personnel committees discussed the upcoming hire and introduction of the Director of Technology. The communications committee is working to ensure goals for the position are well defined to allow the person in this position to evaluate the current state of technology in our district and implement the recommendations of the CELT audit from last year.

The personnel committee discussed the possibility of a representative from the BOE on the hiring committee and consensus was that there should be one. Superintendent Phelan asked any board member interested and likely to be available to let him know very soon, as it is time to move forward with this process.

The communications committee also discussed the need for an update to the current district website platform and to institute a regular email to parents to update their emergency contact information for use by the district’s emergency broadcast system.

In the Good News segment of the meeting, Trustee Laura Schulkind noted the recent success of the newly founded girls swim team. Despite the small team size, the individual achievements at recent meets is impressive.

All motions on the agenda were approved with little discussion, except for trustee Kantaros noting a desire to increase teacher participation in professional development prior to approval of the BOE goals, and a quick review of the intramural program at the request of Trustee Schulkind.

Board of Education Meeting – September 10, 2013
The first half of the unusually short September 10, 2013 Board meeting was spent discussing the current draft of the “Board of Education Goals 2013-14,” a document designed to set both general goals and specific action items to accomplish each of the goals. Board Member Deirdre D’Albertis described the goals as “ambitious,” and concurred with Board Member Lisa Rosenthal in encouraging a mid-term review of the status of accomplishing the goals.

The District’s State test scores were discussed including the slight delay in sending the results out to parents. Superintendent Joseph Phelan explained that the District is waiting for word from the State regarding any adjustments that will be made to the “cut points” to accommodate the low scoring throughout the state. Superintendent Phelan noted that the District is considering how such modification of the cut points will impact provision of AIS; noting that it might not have any impact and that he hopes to go above-and-beyond the cut point to ensure full efficacy. In that regard, Superintendent Phelan reminded that Board that the current budget includes an additional full time (unfilled) AIS person for this very purpose.

The Board approved a new civil service position, Personnel Assistant, as additional clerical support for the administration.

The public session of the meeting concluded with the announcement of two unusual mid-year retirements: elementary school teachers Joan Berland and Linda Mortensen.