BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa Central School District held a Board of Education meeting on Jan. 5 for several presentations and updates.
LETRS & Libraries
LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) & Libraries was the first presentation. LETRS & Libraries is a professional development program that contributes to the goal of supporting literacy instruction and sharing the crucial role of librarians. This training helps teachers identify reading barriers and diagnose reading difficulties – meeting students where they are at, whether that is below or above grade level.
In the middle school library from September – November, close to or over 2,000 books (physical copies and on devices) were circulated each month.
The presentation also addressed the important role that teacher-librarians in the BSCSD play. They have been assisting as Information Specialists in the science department as the department transitions to keep up with NYSED standards. Their job title has changed in recent times to include being Program Administrators and Media Specialists as well; the librarians have begun to teach copyright, plagiarism etc. starting in the fourth grade. The district’s librarians also open up their library spaces for community programs.
Updates on High School Initiatives
Spa Academy, for students who excel in nontraditional classroom settings, has 55 enrollees in grades 9-12; 14 students will have earned HVCC credits for Semester 1. The program is closely monitored by administration and a recent student survey showed very positive feedback.
There are five new proposed courses for Spa Academy in the 2022-2023 school year: Multicultural Literature; Physical Science – Physics; Physical Science – Chemistry; Video Production & Broadcasting; Advanced Video Editing, Animation, and Visual Effects.
The district is planning on holding an in-house summer school program from 7/22/22 – 8/15/22 in conjunction with the 8/16 and 8/17 Regents Exams. Coming off another school year during the pandemic, the target students for summer school are those who failed courses or transfer students who lack credits/NYSED deficient. During the six-week, Monday-Thursday summer school, students have the opportunity to recover three credits. Breakfast and transportation will be provided by the district.
The district is also envisioning a new education program for the fall of 2022. The Spa Twilight School will be an on-campus alternative education from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a GED component to cater to a population of students they don’t have education solutions for currently.
The district is continuing to work on their COVID policies and the bussing issue. The district has exactly the number of drivers needed to fulfill their routes; if any call in, that results in routes being cancelled for the day. Information about the distribution of at-home rapid COVID testing kits will be made available by the end of the week.
January is the district’s UPK (Universal Pre-K) enrollment and recruitment month. There will be an open house on Jan. 20 at the community center. For more information, please visit the district’s website at bscsd.org, or contact the district office.
Also on Jan. 20, there will be an Early College information night for 8th graders at the TECH-SMART campus. Register to attend in-person or virtually on the district website (bscsd.org).
In addition, the Board of Education passed a resolution to increase public comment time at their meeting to a flexible 60-minutes (total). The resolution’s first reading was at this Jan. 5 meeting, and it will now be tabled for 28 days.