At last Tuesday’s Pine Bush Central School District Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Tim Mains outlined the proposed costs of the strategic plan for the 2020-2021 budget.
The District adopted the strategic plan in the fall of 2018. The plan creates a five-year road map for what must be done in order to prepare Pine Bush students for the world they will encounter once they graduate.
“The goal of our strategic plan is to meet the needs for every single one of our students,” Mains said in a letter to all Pine Bush stakeholders within the strategic plan.
There are four domains in the strategic plan. They are the cognitive, personal, relationship and systems domains. The cognitive domain outlines how students should be prepared for college and their careers. Creating a positive school climate is shown in the personal domain. The relationship domain outlines how by building strong partnerships with parents and the community, the whole village can be enlisted in educating each child. The systems domain discusses how to maximize its technological resources.
In order to better prepare students for college and their careers, the District plans to continue to work with the Orange-Ulster Board of Cooperative Educational Services. OU BOCES has provided a consultant for each school in the District to do Data Wise training. Data Wise is a protocol developed by Harvard University to analyze data in a responsible and specific fashion. The District plans to continue to provide subscriptions to the pblproject.com for all teachers in grades K-12. There are also plans to begin school comprehensive education plans at EJ Russell Elementary, Circleville Middle and Crispell Middle Schools.
For the upcoming school year, Pine Bush aims to transition to NYS Next Generation Learning Standards. They also expect to continue to provide a consultant to support PreK-12 literacy and social studies transition to Next Generation standards. The Board plans to purchase additional literacy instructional materials for their middle schools. Crispell and Circleville Middle Schools also expect to receive new science materials and resources.
To build a more positive school climate, the District hopes to implement a K-12 universal behavior screener.
To strengthen the relationship domain within the Strategic Plan, the District plans to hire a full-time teacher to manage the High School to Work Program. Teachers supporting the students in the program are expected to receive additional training.
Budget implications of the Strategic Plan include funds to support purchases of flexible furniture.
“We want to have some funds available to give some of our teachers the chance to experiment with what we call flexible furniture,” Mains said. “Furniture that allows the room to quickly be changed depending on the type of instruction that’s being given. Whether it’s moving from a large group to a small group… We believe we can have some teachers who apply for the funds, get some furniture and experiment with different configurations so that we can begin to see what works best for Pine Bush.”
For the systems domain, there are also plans to purchase additional materials and resources to support coding, engineering and robotics for grades K-12. The District hopes to upgrade the science labs at Pine Bush High School, Circleville Middle School and Crispell Middle School.
The Board also plans to develop and implement a mini-conference, which would provide Pine Bush teachers with the opportunity to learn from their peers about what is happening in each classroom. Teachers from other districts would also be invited to the mini-conferences.
“It is really going to be teachers saying, ‘Oh I’m doing something interesting that I think has worked really well and then give a chance for other teachers to see that and learn about that from them,” Mains said.
The overall Strategic Plan proposed costs for the 2020-2021 budget total $170,000. The Data Wise professional development will cost $20,000, while additional training to support the School to Work program at the high school will total $5,000. Proposed costs for coding and robotics are $25,000 and upgrading the science labs will cost $20,000. Purchasing flexible furniture is the most expensive proposed cost at $100,000. Other expenses Mains outlined at Tuesday night’s meeting will be funded through the instructional budget and through grants.
Mains noted that changes will be made to the Strategic Plan budget as needed.
“I want to make it clear that as we move forward, there will be ongoing budget implications…,” he said. “We want to make sure that we are open to learning as we develop our implementation.”