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Displaying items by tag: schools

Thursday, 06 August 2020 14:37

Local Schools Begin 2020-21 Reopening Plan

SARATOGA SPRINGS – With little time left before the school year begins, school districts and parents need to begin conversations about what to expect for the 2020-21 school year. 

This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that parents would be the “ultimate decision makers” on sending children to school. He added another decision would be made this week on whether or not to reopen schools entirely based on infection rate. At this time there has been no announcement.

“If you have the virus under control, reopen. If you don’t have the virus under control, then you can’t reopen. We’re not going to use our children as a litmus test. And we are not going to put our children in a place where their health is endangered. It’s that simple,” Cuomo said.

While no decision has been made yet, schools have moved ahead with drafted school year plans. The state Board of Regents developed a reopening guideline to help NY school districts developed their plans. They gathered feedback from parents, teachers, school and district leaders, non-instructional staff, school board members and health experts. Some guidelines include mandatory mask wearing by
students, teachers and staff as well as daily health checks for anyone entering the school
building and improving ventilation and air filtration systems.

Local districts have started to ask parents to take surveys about sending their children to school, and Cuomo urges starting video discussions as well. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District plans to gauge whether parents feel comfortable sending their children to school for in-person instruction or if a fully virtual school is preferred. The survey also asks parents if they will rely on the district’s school buses for transportation to and from school in the fall. The survey will be emailed to families and must be completed by Tuesday, July 21. 

Ballston Spa Central School District is also asking for parents opinions. Each week the district will post an updated version of their reopening plan. The draft will be changed through feedback from the district planning team subgroups, building-level workgroups, parent survey results, feedback they received via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and updates from the state and their attorneys.

Saratoga Springs Central School District developed a “Pathways Forward” draft that outlines the steps the district is taking for the school year. Based on how the pandemic continues to evolve, districts are prepared to shift through a learning model continuum. 

Local school districts have outlined a fully virtual school, in-classroom learning and instruction, or a combination of both. Fully virtual gives parents the option to keep the children out of school buildings,
engaging children through virtual learning and meetings. Learning material will be covered the same, in-person and online.

In-Person Instruction would adhere to Cuomo and NYS Department of Health Guidelines for Reopening. Another option is a hybrid instruction, connecting teachers and students both in-person and online. Cuomo added that while neither option is perfect, opening schools is highly problematic. He cited food insecurity, possible dangerous situations at home and the growing concern of socialization.

The state Board of Regents reopening plan can be accessed at www.nysed.gov/reopening-schools. Each district’s detailed drafts can be accessed at www.bhbl.org/district-shares-reopening-considerations/, https://www.saratogaschools.org/files/filesystem/Outline-Reopening-Schools-Draft.pdf and https://www.bscsd.org/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=21781&dataid=44455&FileName=BSCSD%20Reopening%20Plan%20Draft%201%20073020.pdf.

Published in Education
Thursday, 13 June 2019 14:04

Rich Johns: Coaching Students Through Life

SARATOGA SPRINGS —  In 2010 schoolteacher, tennis and basketball coach Rich Johns, retired from the traditional structures of education and coaching and began a nonprofit known as Act With Respect Always (AWRA). The organization has flourished and has taken Coach Johns to schools as far as Duke University and as local as Saratoga Springs High. This month would be the sixth month that AWRA has trademarked it’s new Visibility Project. 
AWRA is an organization, and a mission in itself; to treat yourself and others with kindness and respect. Through speaking engagements, Johns uses his platform to promote others to create opportunities to make positive impacts in another person’s life. 
The new factor of AWRA - the Visibility Project, takes interacting with someone one step further – to be seen. 
“When you become visible, you’re strong, and you believe in yourself, I hope,” said Johns. 
This project promotes reaching out to others and letting them know their presence and visibility in this society is of importance. 
“Part of my mission before I leave a school is to stress to those adults in that environment, connect with them, and tell them I’m one of your solid five, and you can get in touch with me,” said Johns. “To me, making young kids know that they have this solid group with them, and they love you, they care for you, and they’ll do anything for you makes you visible."

At each speaking engagement, Johns attends, he makes a point to bring a book and postcards. This is not only to leave students, athlete and the teachers with something to incorporate but to provide an opportunity to encourage connection through the written word. 
The new AWRA T-Shirt that states “The Visibility Project” is marked with a large, vibrant yellow circle on the back. Literally visible at afar, but meaningfully visible to the wearer, who are all connected through the message of the Visibility Project. 
AWRA IS A 501 © 3 charitable organization. To get involved or to support the organization be visible, and connect with Coach Rich Johns through Facebook or Instagram or actwithrespectalways.com. 
Published in Sports
Friday, 19 May 2017 10:16

School Budgets Pass Across the Board

SARATOGA COUNTY – Voters across New York State took to the polls at their local schools to vote on proposed budgets, board of education elections, and the odd proposition. Across the board in Saratoga County, budgets were passed and propositions were approved. Here are some of things that area voters decided to approve:

Saratoga Springs City School District:
-$122,712,342 2017-18 budget: Passed
-Purchase of six 66-passenger school buses, four 30-passenger buses, one 23-passenger wheelchair bus and one SUV: Passed
-Establishment of Capital Reserves Fund to ““finance future construction, general improvements, reconstruction and renovations”: Passed

Ballston Spa Central School District:
-$90,340,742 2017-18 budget: Passed
-Purchase of buses and vehicles, $907,000: Passed
-Public library funding, $55,650: Passed
-Creation of Ballston Area Recreation Commission, $30,000: Passed

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District:
-$64,492,019 2017-18 budget: Passed
-Creation of student-held school board position: Authorized

Schuylerville Central School District:
-$34,849,537 2017-18 budget: Passed
-Bus leasing proposition: Passed
-Schuylerville Public Library funding: Passed

South Glens Falls Central School District:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         -$57,842,074 2017-18 budget: Passed -Purchase of five buses, one with wheelchair option, and one vehicle: Passed

Galway Central School District:                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -$21,058,918 2017-18 budget: Passed                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Proposition to purchase four school buses: Passed

Mechanicville City School District:                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -$25,480,499 2017-18 budget: Passed                                                                                                                                                                                                              -Proposition to purchase school bus: Passed                                                                                                                                                                                               -Sale of 0.44 acres of land on Elizabeth St. to Saratoga County for $1,000 for expansion of the Zim Smith trail: Approved 


Published in Education