HFCS board inducts new member, hears reports


HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- The Hoosick Falls Central School Board of Education said farewell to long-standing board member David Sutton and inducted Andrew Beaty at its meeting Thursday night. The board president presented the school with the Utica Insurance award and reports revealed curriculum changes to meet Common Core.

Sutton served on the board for 13 years, spent seven of those years as board president and retired as of Thursday's meeting. Board President Greg Laurin presented Sutton with a plaque and thanked him for his work.

"We are where we are because of his work. His dedication to the kids of the district and the kids of the town is beyond reproach," Laurin said.

Sutton said that as a child, the school gave him 13 years of education and he views the time he spent on the board as giving 13 years back.

"I took on some great challenges early on here," said Superintendent Ken Facin. "David was just essential It's made a difference for every student who has come through this school and they're getting a better experience."

As voted by the district residents on May 20, Beaty was sworn in by district clerk Pam Cottrell for a two-year term, and spent his first meeting as a member of the board.

During the board president's report, Laurin announced the board's "titanium" achievement of the Utica Insurance Safety Award, recognizing HFCS as one of the safest schools in the state of New York. Hoosick Falls was one of 133 schools to receive an award, and received the highest honor awarded of three levels. The district received $500 along with the award to go toward safety initiatives.

"This saves us money: It is superb to have an award," Laurin said "Understand that when you work with insurance companies, they give you awards and your rates stay low."

During the administrator's report, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment Patrick Dailey said changes in the school's curriculum will begin this summer, to meet new standards set by state assessments and Common Core testing.

"Common Core Testing just happened at the beginning of June," Dailey said. "Talking with the students that usually achieve very high were running out of time reading the passages It's not that they're difficult to read, it's just that they are long."

High school principal Stacy Vadney said the state assessments are more heavily involved with reading than they ever have been. "Even in physics, chemistry, algebra and trigonometry, which are our more difficult regions, there is more reading and writing and they're barely getting a passing grade on that."

To reflect the high level of reading demanded by most subjects in testing, Dailey said the school will be changing the texts it uses, require more short readings and encourage argumentative essay writing over persuasive essays.

The state announced that Common Core tests will be released eventually. Dailey said the released tests will help teachers and himself to mirror the curriculum accordingly.

During the regular meeting session, the board approved staff adjustments reflected by the projected 2014-15 budget passed by district residents, all of which passed six to zero with one abstention made by board inductee, Beaty.

As required by the New York State Child Nutrition Program Administration, the board carried the motion to raise minimum lunch prices by 10 cents. The motion passed six to one with the dissenting vote cast by board member John Helft.

The board will hold its next meeting, a reorganizational meeting, on Thursday, July 10, at 6 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg


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