Michelle Miller The Cooperstown Crier
---- — Summer is coming to an end and students are back in school. Many students are back sporting new wardrobes and some may even have new hairstyles. While parents and students adjust to the transition from August to September, so are faculty and staff at each school district.
Students attending Cooperstown Central School started classes today, while those at Milford and Cherry Valley-Springfield central schools started Wednesday.
Each year, students and teachers at Cooperstown Elementary School adopt a theme that is used as a focal point for much of what is done throughout the year. This year’s theme is “The Sky’s The Limit — Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It.” The school will also continue to focus on the ongoing theme of PRIDE: Personal Responsibility In Daily Effort and keep it as a primary ongoing theme.
Elementary Principal Teresa Gorman said she is delighted to welcome many new faces this year. Susan Clark will be teaching English language arts in grade six, Emily Craig will teach ELA in grade five and Melanie Brewer, after teaching part time in the first grade, will be teaching full time in the second grade. Taylor Brose will be joining the special education team and Maureen Schuermann will be serving as a teaching assistant in the computer lab. There will also be three new cafeteria employees.
An open house is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Sept. 19.
According to Secondary Principal Michael Cring, there has not been any additions or reductions in courses at the junior/high school. However, he said the teachers have worked on some changes on curriculum.
Enrollment is estimated at about 430 students in grades 7-12, which is similar to last year, according to Cring. This year’s senior class of 61 students plus four Rotary exchange students is the smallest it has been in many years, he said.
Cring said there will be a few new staff members as well as some who have decided to move into other instructional areas within the district. They include: Mary Beth Murdock (academic intervention service provider), Lynn Strang (director of student services and executive principal), Jessika Fancher (high school science teacher) and Mary Martini (school psychologist). The high school had three positions to fill before the first day of school, but names were not available before press deadline.
“We were fortunate that there were no positions eliminated,” Cring wrote in an email to the Crier. “We did remove driver education (during the school year) after the retirement of Mr. James Knodel. The school also saw the retirement of long term teacher aides Lynn Green and Connie Hobbie.”
Cring said the district has been equipped several classrooms with white boards with interactive technology.
“This summer has been very busy as we continue to work on the district and staff’s annual Professional Performance Review. We have almost completed the first year of the process, which will help guide us to address areas which need a focus. We are also reviewing all of the district scoring on the new 3-8 testing along with our Regents and advanced placement scores. This will inform instruction and help staff work with individual children,” he said.
An open house is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Sept. 26.
Last week before school started, MCS Superintendent Peter Livshin said he is excited to have the students return.
“I always look forward to having the kids back. It gets dull and boring when they are not here,” said Livshin, who is going into his 17th year with the district.
MCS has added two new faces to its staff: Nicole Lawton, who is teaching high school math and Sylvia Quick who will serve as a licensed teacher assistant and physics teacher. The district had three retirees.
Livshin said Milford has added some college credit and advanced placement offerings. Enrollment is at about 465 students, which is about the same as last year, he added. There is just one section of second grade.
CV-S began the school year under the leadership of Interim Superintendent Richard Rose. He will be staying with the district a longer than expected because the school board reopened the search for his replacement after the top candidate rejected the position, according to Rose.
The board of education was expected to choose a final candidate for the position in July with a projected start date of Sept. 1. According to Rose, the second round for applications had a deadline set for Aug. 30. Interviews are expected to be done this month and the hope is to have a superintendent begin around Nov. 1, he said.
Rose was appointed to the position during a board of education meeting on April 18. He served as the deputy superintendent from April 23 to May 10 and became the interim superintendent on May 11.
The interim superintendent was the superintendent in Canajoharie for more than 23 years before retiring in December of 2011. Robert Miller ended his tenure as school superintendent at CV-S by accepting a superintendent position at Herkimer Central School District.
Rose said enrollment is about the same as it was last year with about 500 students.
Students returned to an improved facility. Several new doors were installed in the building at the end of June, floor tiles have replaced carpeting in the elementary hallway, student artwork has been mounted near the auditorium and staff gave the building a thorough cleaning, according to Rose.
CV-S has added two new faces to its staff, an elementary teacher and a teacher who will be linking technology to instruction, according to Rose. The district will be sharing a French teacher with Owen D. Young Central School as it phases out the program. Three teachers have retired.
Of the few changes from last year, the most immediate involves calling the school to request a transportation change for a child. Parents are being asked to press 1 when getting the automated phone attendant to be directed to a person at the bus garage. Parents may also email the district at firstname.lastname@example.org as long as it is done by 2 p.m.
“Being here only about three months, I have not had the opportunity to introduce new things or ideas, and appreciate the very competent staff who have been doing what they do every year in preparation for a new school year,” Rose said.
He said the district’s greatest challenges should always center on how to facilitate each child reaching his/her fullest potential.
“To that end, our focus naturally will be on teaching and learning,” Rose said.
“We will treat each child as if he or she was the only one,” he added.