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Westfield may combine softball team with Brocton

June 15, 2017
By David Prenatt - , Westfield Republican

Westfield may be combining its softball team with Brocton.

At the June 5 Westfield Academy and Central School Board of Education meeting, Superintendent David Davison raised the issue of the future of Westfield softball. According to WACS Athletic Director Jake Hitchcock, Westfield is currently a varsity/modified format. Modified finished the season with nine players and varsity had 13, however seven of those 13 are seniors.

Hitchcock noted that Westfield could not finish the modified season this year since nine players are required to play and the district had students on the ineligibility list and on family vacations.

If WACS combines with Brocton, it will follow a varsity/JV/modified format, Hitchcock said. Projected numbers for a combination team would be 30 players for Brocton and 15 for Westfield, He said Brocton will be the "host" school. Board members voted to pursue the possibility of combined softball.

In other business, Davison told board members the New York State Department of Education is expanding measures for school accountability.

School accountability strategies in New York will be expanded to include multiple measures of school and student success, including such criteria as absenteeism rates as well as students' accomplishments and overall academic growth, Davison said.

The new plan, if adopted, will expand accountability measures beyond English language arts and mathematics. It will also take account of science and social studies, Davison told board members. The shift to a more holistic approach to accountability means that districts with high test refusal rates will be evaluated on other things, he added.

Davison presented certificates of recognition from the NYSSBA to board members Eric Allen, Steve Cockram, and Deanne Manzella. According to the NYSSBA, "the School Board U Recognition Program acknowledges the extensive time and effort required of school board members who continually strive to expand their knowledge and skills for better board governance."

The NYSSBA maintains records of members' participation in credit-earning activities, such as the annual convention and regional workshops.

"It is very challenging being a board member and it takes a lot of work and a lot of time," Davison said.

Davison also told board members that there are changes in the proposed rule regarding all students in grades K through 12 having access to a guidance counselor, which was slated to become effective this year on July 1. This mandate has been pushed to the 2019-2020 school year, and they've removed the cap on the number of students a guidance counselor is allowed to see, he added.

In other matters, Spanish teacher Monica Knoll gave the board a presentation of the Spanish Club's April trip to Costa Rica. She told the board that, for the students, it wasn't like being tourists. They had experiences like they would have if they lived in Costa Rica, Knoll said.

The students had many hands-on learning experiences. They worked through problem solving and "learned by doing," with their sessions entirely in Spanish, Knoll said.

Knoll shared several quotes from Spanish club students with board members.

Austin Ohlsson said, "Costa Rica was a life changing experience for me. Not only was it my first time out of the country, but the environment, people and culture were amazing."

"The activities we did such as dance lessons, cooking, eating the food and speaking their language gave us a hands-on perspective of Costa Rican Culture," Katie Dalton noted.

"There is no other way that I would have rather spent my spring break of my senior year," Madison Abbey-Mott said.

Knoll extended her appreciation to the board for approving the trip and supporting the group.

Faculty member Daniel Martin updated the board on Westfield's participation in STEM Wars 2017. He said students compete in technology events while building leadership skills, and forty WACS students attended and competed this year.

Martin told board members that Hunter Dellow took second place in the Middle School CO2 car race; Brent Post, Garrett Zimmer and Garrett Haskin finished third in High School Catapult Design; and Carl Laurie and Zach Paternosh took second place in the Robot Hippo Ball competition.

Martin noted that many Westfield students who didn't place in the top three performed very well. Westfield had four of the top eight cars in the middle school CO2 races and three of Westfield's robotics teams made the semi-finals, he said.



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