Story by Shelley R. Clapper
At the beginning of the Warwick School Board meeting on Mon., Jan. 9 a performing arts moment was provided by the fifth grade band under the direction of band director Ashley Head.
“Band starts in fourth grade. It is one of the foundations of our great music program,” explained Head, who added that students actually start playing the recorder in third grade.
Board members were entertained by three pieces of music played by the fifth grade band members: “Shepherd’s Hey,” “Variations on a Theme by Mozart” and the theme from Symphony No. 9, “Ode to Joy.” In between the music pieces, band members stood up and explained why they chose their particular instrument.
Mackenzie Henkel said, “I chose flute because I like the high sound. To me band is expressing myself.”
Other band members included Ava Gell on flute, Julianna Woods on clarinet, Luke Kraszewski on clarinet, Austin Droge on alto saxophone and Naa Korkoi Aryeetey on trumpet.
Board Work Sessions Update
Superintendent Dr. David Leach provided an update on future board work sessions for this year. The Board will make the first budget presentation on Mon., Jan. 23. On Mon., Feb. 27 the Board will make the second budget presentation and present an update on school lunches as well as the Comprehensive School Plan at the high school level. A third budget presentation will take place on Mon., Apr. 3 along with an update on community partnerships.
Dr. Leach explained that the March meeting had to be rescheduled to Mon., Apr. 3 as there would be more financial information from the State by then. At that session an updated demographic study will also be shared.
The final budget presentation will be held on Mon., Apr. 17. A literacy update and the Comprehensive School Plan will be presented on Mon., May 22. On Mon., Jun. 26 the Board will hold a workshop on human capital.
Capital Project Updates
Dr. Leach provided an update on capital projects within the District. He listed the projects that were completed or near completion, such as the redesign and remodeling of the high school media and communications wing and the high school window wall replacement project. He said that major projects such as the swimming pool should start in the spring. Dr. Leach projected that work on the solar project at Sanfordville Elementary school should start in April or May.
No Name Calling Week
Dr. Leach reported that there would be a No Name Calling Week starting on Tues., Jan. 17 with the slogan, “Stomp out Name Calling.” He listed the activities that are planned for the week.
On Tues., Jan. 17 students wore blue to acknowledge No Name Calling Week. On Wed., Jan. 18 students will wear boots to stomp out name calling. On Thurs., Jan. 19 students can wear their clothes backwards with the idea that words can hurt you and you can’t take them back and a good person always has another’s back. On Fri., Jan. 20 students will wear purple and gold to remind us that we are all on the same team.
Engineering at Elementary Schools
Dr. Leach reported that Park Avenue Elementary School students are doing exciting work in the engineering studies. Students designed an alarm circuit that lights up a light bulb and activates a buzzer. In engineering groups they learned how to build a circuit, which components are used in a circuit and the differences between an open and a closed circuit. Leach said that this work “highlights problem-solving skills.”
At Sanfordville Elementary School, third grade students were working on the engineering unit “Marvelous Machines: Making Work Easier.” Students learned how workers in the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory were trying to find easier ways to move and lift heavy bags of potatoes using various types of simple machines.
PTA Reflections Program
Dr. Leach reported that two students from Park Avenue Elementary School were moving up to the state level in the P.T.A. Reflections program: Arthur Buliung for visual arts painting and Madison Buliung for photography.
Junior National Honors Society in Middle School
Dr. Leach reported that planning continues for a Junior National Honor Society for the middle School. He said the Honor Society will be service oriented and will place value on leadership skills.
Dr. Leach announced that members of the middle school Guitar Club are working toward their final performance on Fri., Feb. 3 in the high school auditorium.
United Nations Club at High School
Dr. Leach reported that there is a new club at the high school called The Model U.N. (United Nations) Club. He said that the club attended the prestigious Bronx School of Science Model U.N. competition on Sat., Dec. 10. He explained that in this club students role-play as delegates to the United Nations and simulate committees. They use skills such as researching, public speaking, debating, writing, critical thinking, teamwork and leadership.
Students Raise Funds for American Heart Association
High School students raised nearly $1,200 for the American Heart Association in a volleyball tournament during unit lunch on Thurs., Dec. 22.
Dr. Leach concluded his report saying, “There is a lot of exemplary work taking place at all our schools. We are very proud of their accomplishments.”
Board member Dory Masefield reported an interesting discussion about a later starting time for high school students at a Board of Education conference she attended. She said that there was physiological evidence of the benefits of a later starting time and that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that 8:30 a.m. is the earliest that school should start for high school students. Research has shown that the early school starting time causes an increase in depression, substance abuse and car crashes.
School Trips Approved
The Board approved the following trips: the high school Leadership Academy trip to Albany, NY on Tues., Jan. 24, the high school Student Senate trip to Washington, D.C. on Fri., Feb. 3 to Sun., Feb. 5, the seventh grade field trips to the Bronx Zoo on Wed., May 10 and Wed., May 17, with a rain date of Wed., May 24.
The next regular school board business meeting will be held on Mon., Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center, located at 225 West St. in Warwick.