I hope you all are enjoying your summer. This happens to be a different working summer for me as I am enjoying my newborn son who entered the world earlier this month! Now I understand how sleep becomes a rare commodity, so forgive for any mistakes made in this message from my exhaustion. As our break comes to a close, let me fill you in on what has been going on this summer.
We have been working hard with NYSUT and other public sector unions to get the word out to vote NO for a Constitutional Convention. This is of the utmost importance for all in service and retired members. The fate of everything that we are and have worked hard for is at stake and you must tell your friends and your neighbors to do the same. This is about the safety of your benefits, particularly your pensions, which are at stake. We will have magnets for all members to promote Vote NO at the start of the school year. We have also included an informational video on the Constitutional Convention below, please share this on all of your social networks.
Right now in the district, we are in the search for a new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum as well as Directors for Humanities and STEM. As for teachers, we expect approximately 28 new teachers entering South Country for training next week to start school for the upcoming year.
As of now, we have no developing or ineffective ratings for the observation part of the APPR this past school year. The other 50% are the building NWEA scores from K-8 and the graduation rate for the HS. That means minimally there will be no ineffective ratings and the only way anyone can be developing is if a building score is in the ineffective range and that is very highly unlikely.
The major story of this summer has been the ongoing situation at FPL. This health situation is not new. It has been a decades old problem that is now coming to light where it needs to be. We have been working with the BOE and the district in testing for the past few years. We also have been working with parents to address the eventual closure of FPL for the health and safety of our members, children, and all lives that spend time in the building. The district has tested and tested but with the help of dedicated teachers and community members (such as BTA Executive Officers Patricia Gallina and Joe Tortora, FPL teacher Connie Havens, retired FPL teacher Theresa Palermo, and SCOSH chair John Romashko), we have presented qualitative data to the board by comparing test results and linking the symptoms of the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to their locations in the school identified by the quantitative tests from EnviroScience and other testing companies. This has been a difficult task because it seems as if even the Town Supervisor, Ed Romaine, made an attempt to discredit our claims by implying at a town meeting that FPL has the best attendance throughout the district, which is not correct. Where did he get this information from and does he realize our members are professional enough to come to work to take care of our children even when we may not feel 100%? His implication is a slap in the face for all of the hard working people we have in this district who have put their own personal health issues on the back burner to make sure our kids are educated. This implication about attendance is used to justify the tests results of the building and protect their own economic interests. We have worked hard to protect our precious human resources that attend FPL and we will share our findings with the staff from FPL. However, we all need to support not only our members but all of those in FPL from the students to administrators to our TAs, secretaries, custodians and security guards in the building. With that being said, please make an attempt to come to the emergency meeting this Wednesday 8/16 at BHS approximately 7:30PM. A decision about the future of FPL should be made at this meeting and we need all need to support our colleagues during this time.
We will have our first general assembly meeting at the start of school on August 30th during staff development day to discuss all new information and concerns. In the meantime, enjoy the free time you have left. I can't wait to see all of you then and as always, I'm proud to represent you.