Story By Lisa Rice
The Board of Education celebrated the Warwick Valley Central School District and communications specialists, Louise Hutchinson and Lisa Ramirez, on receiving commendations from the New York State School Public Relations Association (NYSSPRA) at the regular meeting on Mon., Oct. 15.
Hutchinson was recognized for Focus on Education: Looking Back at a Unique STEM Service Project, which received the Award for Excellence in Writing. Hutchinson and Ramirez, along with graphic designer Karen Pacelli, received the Award of Honor for the 2018-19 Budget Newsletter. The strategic campaign, Increase Your Pool of Qualified Teaching Applicants with a Targeted Campaign, by Ramirez with Jodie Orzechowski, Mellissa Braham, Brooks Brown, and the Capital Region BOCES Creative Team, also received the Award for Excellence.
Park Avenue Presents ‘Aladdin Kids’
Before the meeting got down to business, children from the Park Avenue Elementary School drama club performed the finale of their upcoming production, Aladdin Kids. Fourth-grader, Shane O’Hara, who plays Sultan in the show, introduced the number, which featured a tap solo by Gianna Sganga, choreographed by student Board member, Madeleine Wadeson. The production will be presented live on the Park Avenue stage on Fri., Nov. 16 and Sat. Nov. 17.
Board Member Howe Honored
Superintendent Dr. David Leach took a moment to recognize that School Board member Bob Howe is being honored by the Mid-Hudson Prevention Resources as a Hudson Valley Heroes Volunteer. Howe was honored for his accomplishments with the Warwick Valley Coalition by Mid-Hudson on Wed., Oct. 17.
“This is a well-deserved recognition,” Dr. Leach commented.
He then stated that the school year was off to a strong start. He discussed that the elementary school principals have been networking with the tri-state consortium and are excited about the partnerships they are forming. The Middle School and High School Wire Choir members attended a strings day workshop. The Middle School ended the first month with a pep rally and the eighth graders beat the faculty in a tug-of-war.
As Dr. Leach attempted to report on the happenings at the High School, he quickly learned he was covering the events that student member Madeleine Wadeson planned to discuss and deferred to her report.
Wadeson praised the Guidance Department for their support of seniors as they prepare for college. She stated that the counselors were incredibly helpful, offering a Common App workshop and individual guidance meetings. A College Fair was held on Tues., Oct. 16 and advancement exams (PSAT, SAT & ACT) were scheduled for three consecutive Saturdays and offered at the High School.
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) is preparing for Red Ribbon Week. They are selling T-shirts and going down to the Middle School to spread awareness to the younger students.
Headbands and wristbands are also being sold for Breast Cancer Awareness, with proceeds being donated to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Ms. Spano’s art class volunteered to do face painting at the Pumpkinfest in Pine Island on Columbus Day. There will be a Robotics Fair in December. The Leadership Academy took a trip to a horse farm where they learned to be a leader by leading a horse. Many music students got selected for All State and Area All State and the Meistersingers will be singing at the Veterans Day parade as well as tree lightings in the next few months. Mr. Manno’s set design class will be working on sets for the drama clubs as well as other community events.
Wadeson also reported that the Warwick Wildcats Football team lost the Spirit Trophy to Goshen in this year’s game.
“You make us all want to go back to High School, because you’re so excited,” commented Board President Sharon Davis.
Auditors Give District Passing Grade
Independent auditors, Bill Trainor and Jennifer Traverse, discussed the findings of their recent audit of 2017-18. Trainor reported that there were no deficiencies found and that the financial position of the District is strong. They evaluated the reserves and reported that nothing was overfunded or underfunded.
“Everything seemed to go well,” said Trainor. “I look forward to continuing our relationship.”
Davis thanked the auditors for their detailed and accurate report, which was delivered a few days early so that Board members were able to review it over the weekend prior to the meeting.
Following the comments from the auditors, the Board voted to approve the Independent Audit Report and the Independent Audit of Extra-Classroom Activity Funds for 2017-18.
Leases Bring Income to District
Several leases of vacant school buildings were approved, totalling $180,000. A lease of Pine Island Elementary School’s cafetorium, stage, kitchen, main office, nurse’s office, and rooms 201, 202, 203, 204, 206, and 101 to Vision Ministries was approved for a four-year and nine-month period through June 30, 2023 for $2,500 per month. The rent can be renegotiated after each 24 month period.
A 20-month lease was approved for Creative Art Therapist, Patricia Quinn, to rent Room 200A at Kings Elementary School for $400 per month.
A third lease, to DAntono Dance, to rent Kings Elementary School cafetorium, stage, room 305, and the media center, was approved for 20 months for $1,500 per month.
Field Trips Approved
Finishing up New Business, the board approved several student field trips: High School art students will travel to Portfolio Review Day at the Wallace Center in Hyde Park and Marist College in Poughkeepsie on Fri., Nov. 9; the Middle School Wire Choir will visit the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park on Fri., Nov. 16; High School music students will travel to the Riverside Conference Center in Rochester, NY to attend the New York State School Music Association (NYSMMA) All-State Winter Conference from Thurs., Nov. 29 to Sun., Dec. 2; and the Middle School Music Department was approved for a field trip on Fri., Jun. 7 to Six Flags Great Adventure.
Special Musical Request
Each Board member had a small pie left at their place at the table prior to the meeting. It turns out that they were given by Dr. Leach as a token of the upcoming New York State sponsored Board of Education Recognition Week. Before adjourning the meeting, President Sharon Davis stated that she would love for the Meistersingers to come and sing for the Board at the next meeting, which will be held on Mon., Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center, located at 225 West St. in Warwick.