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Capitol project progresses; WACS to pilot state program

October 5, 2016
By David Prenatt - , Westfield Republican

Westfield Academy and Central School district will once again seek to pilot a program of computer based testing for state assessments, board of education members learned at their regular meeting Sept. 26.

WACS Superintendent David Davison spoke to the board about New York State's transition to computer-based testing in ELA and Math for grades 3-8. The district piloted two exams last year, he said. The shift from paper testing to computer will soon become mandatory, Davison said.

"Schools were able to pilot CBT last year and this year to determine school readiness for the eventual shift from paper to computer," Davison said. "Taking the assessments on the computer instead of paper requires some logistical planning of computer labs."

Article Photos

Photo by David Prenatt
The newly painted poles and LED lighting that illuminate the entrance to WACS were part of the capital facilities project.

In another matter, WACS School Business Official Anthony Montero addressed the board concerning a product called BoardDocs. According to the company's website, BoardDocs is a Cloud-based e-Governance program which offers management solutions to school boards across the nation.

The 2000th subscriber to BoardDocs, Lisa Marquez of the Miami Unified School district said, "Our district's decision to adopt BoardDocs showed many positive views. BoardDocs will increase the amount of time board members have to review the agenda, enabling them to better prepare for meetings. Electronic distribution not only saves time and resources, but it also provides unprecedented public access via our website to agenda items and other board-related information."

Montero said that BoardDocs was launched nationally in 2002. He explained that it is a web-based application and can be purchased through BOCES. The cost of the program is $2,000 a year before BOCES compensation, which is 70 percent. "Silver Creek is currently using it," Montero added.

Board member Deanne Manzella volunteered to visit Silver Creek and find out about the district's experience with BoardDocs. Board member Brenda Backus said "I'll look at the website and talk to some board members who are using it."

Westfield resident Jane Loewer addressed the board concerning the district's policy regarding school bus pick-up and discharge of students. She began by telling board members, "I have just found out about a school policy that upsets me."

Loewer said it seems that Westfield's policy for bus transportation requires some students to walk up to 9/10ths of a mile in the road to catch their bus. She noted that in neighboring districts, where sidewalks are not available, students are not expected to walk on the road; they are picked up and discharged at the ends of their driveways.

NYSED transportation policy states: Travel distances to pickup points may be varied according to grade level. The distances for elementary, middle school and high school students is determined by each district.

Loewer believes that Westfield's standards are unsafe for children who must walk on busy roads to get to their bus stops. Board president Steve Cockram told Loewer "we will review this and we will get back to you."

WACS director of facilities Lou Golando reported on the progress of the capital project. The remaining bathrooms are almost complete and should be open early next week, he said. On Columbus Day the electricians and plumbers will be in to do work that requires the water and electric being shut off. Also, the flooring is slightly ahead of schedule, he said.

Board member Deanne Manzella reported that she attended the New York State School Boards Association meeting at Webb's on September 22. New York State Troopers John Campanella and Tom Kelly presented a program on School Safety she said.

Manzella told the board that "many good suggestions were offered," and "Pretty much, everything the troopers mentioned, Westfield is already doing."

Board member Phyllis Hagen noted that the open house on Thursday, September 22 was very well attended. Board member Brenda Backus added "It was nice to see the lobby full. It's good to see that things don't get stagnant."



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