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School board hears about class changes

WATKINS GLEN—Karen Armstrong, technology teacher at Watkins, gave the school board an overview of the plan to redistribute the technology classes in high school, at the Monday, April 26 workshop meeting.
She explained that the changes cost the school nothing and do not require any staffing changes.  The proposed course rearrangements would take effect in September.
Armstrong said one class would be “metal fabrication”, an extension of “history of technology.”  She explained the course currently is 10 weeks each about metal and then wood.  The change would make it 20 full weeks of one subject.
“We’re one of the few schools even offering it,” said Armstrong.
The second class would be “energy application.”  She said there is already a class called “energy and power,” but that is about theory.  As the name states, this class would be about the application of energy.
Armstrong also talked about integrating STEMs (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) more into the curriculum.  Superintendent Tom Phillips said STEMs is a huge regional initiative.  Armstrong explained it focuses curriculum on what companies want to see students know in technology based areas.  High school Principal Dave Warren said Armstrong has been very much on top of what those jobs are looking for.
In other business:
Phillips also presented the board with Watkins’ New York State School Report Card, for 2008-09.  He pointed out that the middle school is exceeding the state average in areas.  Phillips added that the high school graduation rate was around 80 percent, while the state average is 55 percent.  He also said that the elementary school is leveling off in areas, and that will need to be looked at more.
Gayle Sedlack, district treasurer, said that the district budget breakdown will be included in this month’s school newsletter.  It was mailed out Tuesday.
The board heard from Diana Groll, music teacher, on her senior teacher project.  She presented on the files music teachers are keeping, giving ideas and ways to teach the courses.  She said the music teachers in Kindergarten through grade 12 are participating.  Groll described the binders as living documents because the contents are continuously updated and changed.
The board awarded the electrical, plumbing, and custodial supply bids.  Mike DeNardo, superintendent of buildings and grounds, explained this is for annual supplies for the upcoming year.
The board reviewed the revised wellness policy.  Phillips said the board would acknowledge the first reading at the next meeting.
The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, May 4.  A public hearing on the budget will be held at 6:30 p.m., followed by the regular business. 

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