WESTFIELD – Officials at Westfield Academy and Central School are ready for the school to open in September.
District Superintendent Michael Cipolla told council members that preparations for September are going well.
“We are satisfied with the progress we are making” he said. “Building and grounds staff are working diligently and tirelessly to ensure that we open our doors in September ready for our students and staff.”
Cipolla also told the board that there was positive energy and excitement at WACS for the start of the new school year.
“Our administrative team has spent time planning for the 2022-23 school year,” he said. “Some areas of focus for our school include connecting with our families and students. This involves increasing the level of communication with our families.
Cipolla noted that bonding this year is especially important given the challenges everyone is facing with the pandemic.
“Special attention will be paid to the health and well-being of our students and staff,” he said.
In his report to the board, secondary school principal Corey Markham said the middle school summer program ended Aug. 5 and the high school summer program ended Aug. 11.
“Now we are preparing for fall, and we are slowly entering the fall sports season,” he said.
Elementary Principal Dr. Mary Rockey showed council members photos and examples of student work from the extended school year program and summer camp. Rockey noted that the extended school year was offered for five years and was very successful. Rockey also told the council that the primary school was “overwhelmed with registrations”. She said it seems like kids are coming from all over and signing up for WACS. An open house is scheduled for September 1 with a picnic behind the school, she added.
In her report to the Board, Curriculum Director Molly Anderson provided an update on summer professional development, including the BOCES Online Academy. Anderson told council members that Mike Putney has begun his transition to the district’s new TOSA Technology Integrator position.
“He will teach a full day of basic computer science classes and the rest of his schedule will be based on goals and needs,” she says.
Anderson also spoke about increasing the district’s STEM programming and implementing the WOZ kits and curriculum, which is based on Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s vision for technology education.
During the board member comment period, Tarpley said he thought the board retreat had been very productive and he thanked his fellow board members for their input.
“I believe this will improve the overall operations of the school this year, especially with regards to the safety of our students and staff,” he said.
In other cases, council members have recently adopted district goals. The goals reflect those of the 2021-22 school year, but have been slightly revised and now extend to 2024. Goal 1, which deals with operations, states that “The district will provide a safe environment for in-person student learning and quality education for all, with the flexibility to respond to unforeseen circumstances.”
The second through fifth goals relate to student development, finance, climate, and communication. these goals are on the agenda of every school board business meeting.
Board members also approved the 2022-23 appraisal instrument for the Superintendent, which, following recommendations from board members, was updated from the 2021-22 appraisal.
Following discussion, the board approved meal rates for the 2022-23 school year at $2.50 for lunch and $1.80 for breakfast.
Council Member Tom Tarpley asked District Superintendent Michael Cipolla to explain “how the process went from not charging families for breakfast and lunch to now charging them.”
Cipolla said meals are now treated as they were before the pandemic.
Tarpley also asked if parents are made aware that there is a process in place to reduce or waive meal fees. Cipolla assured the council that the ability to apply for free or reduced-price meals is readily available to all families in the district.