Last week, all three Marlboro Schools presented their educational action plans to the school board.
Superintendent Michael Rydell said discussions began at the start of this school year when the board established their educational goals, and from that, action plans were developed for each of the buildings.
“With the formulation of action plans you now have a body of work that gives you a road map on how to get to an end and then how do you sustain it and also allows for increased accountability,” he said. “It’s a developed plan, it’s in writing, now let’s do it, as action is much larger than words.”
The goal at the Elementary School is to establish a school wide literacy program by observing and analyzing research-based literacy programs; planning for professional development in the spring, summer and fall; and implementing One School, One Book starting with ‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,’ while having a Literacy Coach on hand.
The Elementary School will stress character education through programs that target anti-bias, promote equity and inclusivity, highlight anti-bullying and cultivate tolerance. A school wide culture survey for k-5 will be administered to all faulty, staff and students while continuing to discuss activities for the 2023-24 school year. There are also designs to honor diversity and foster harmony, promote respect for individual and group differences by involving students in the planning and implementation stages. This will take place over both semesters and be spread out over time.
The Middle School also has a focus on promoting literacy, starting in the 6th grade by using ELA class to create DEAR time [Drop Everything And Read]. All ELA classes will come to the library to sign out a book for independent reading.
The 7th and 8th graders will incorporate independent reading time into their classrooms and during ‘Mindful Mondays.’
In the Guided Reading part of the plan, the Middle School will review all Academic Intervention Services [AIS] to ensure the school is servicing the correct students and will have support programs in place for the appropriate students.
For the One Book, One School initiative, the 5th graders will be reading ‘Wonder’ which is a sequel to ‘White Bird.’ The topics covered are the Holocaust, Bullying and Bravery.
The Middle School will implement a k-12 Development program, with the theme of ‘No Place for Hate’ that will be introduced in the 2023-24 school year.
The Safe School Ambassador Program currently is running in grades 6-8, but will expand to include grades 9-12. The plan states that this, “is an evidence-based program that harnesses the power of students to prevent and stop bullying and mistreatment.”
Mindful Mondays, which targets grades 6-8, aims to, “develop skills to de-stress and learn ways to mindfully de-escalate.”
In addition, the educational plan calls for creating a self-esteem rising program called ‘Beautiful Me’ as well as continuing the 6th grade SOAR program, which prepares students for high school courses.
The High School action plan focuses on Citizenship and High School Planning.
Part of this year’s 9th grade class is in a pilot program known as Marlboro Foundations, which is to be expanded to all 9th graders next year. Topics include resource review, goal setting, resiliency and empathy.
Last summer a Civics Readiness program was developed by Social Studies teachers that requires students to volunteer, achieve mastery in coursework and exams and participate in a project or activity.
The Student Voice Committee brings together student leaders and volunteer and nominated students who meet monthly with the Superintendent and the Principal. In addition, training for the Safe School Ambassadors is scheduled for the summer and fall of 2023.
The High School also has Post High School Planning component, starting with a College Fair that is scheduled for March 30 at 6:30 p.m.
The Orange/Ulster BOCES will host a Career and Technical Academy presentation for 10th graders in their English classes. A student visit for those who are interested will take place on February 15.
Elective Information and Marketing will be scheduled and counseling made available for 10th and 11th grade students. A Military Recruiter will be visiting the school and a partnership with SUNY Ulster will explore course expansion and pathways for students.
Board member Patricia Benninger said these plans will, “clearly create a safe and inclusive environment for all of our students, faculty and staff and families to feel that they can come forward, and you guys are making it more approachable and accessible to us and to all of the community members in the Marlboro Central School District. I just want to thank you, this is tremendous. I’ve been waiting for these action plans since I sat on this [school] board. This is awesome; it’s very encouraging.”
Board member John Cantone said, “this is impressive at every level, the plans, the enthusiasm behind it, the content and the organization.” He said several things stuck out for him: “the integration between schools on how you’re bringing things from elementary all the way up to the high school and back. The second is how you’re open to going to other schools to learn what others are doing.” He was pleased to learn there is better communication going on within the district, pointing out that this was not happening a decade ago.
“Congratulations on all of that, and if you can keep that trend up that’s just a phenomenal value that will grow and snowball with everything you’re doing here,” he said.
Board President Michael Connors said not only does he see a willingness to execute the plans, “but there’s an excitement in your eyes and I can tell that you guys are ready to just jump out and attack this head-on and deliver the best possible product for our students. I thank you all very much.”