Tag Archives: High school

Action to contact Board of Regents regarding CDOS – Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential

The Board of Regents discussed Multiple Pathways to Graduation as part of the May Education Committee meeting. CDOS, the Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential, was discussed and the May minutes say the discussion will continue with additional information being presented to the Regents by their staff at the June meeting which is next week June 23-24, 2014.

Stop Common Core parent Christine Zirkelbach has written an extensive explanation of her research regarding the various CDOS issues on her blog and here.

The Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential is supposed to be an “important new exiting credential for students with disabilities.”  In reality, it is a door slam in the face.  What the Regents fail to grasp is that there are so many different types of disabilities.  The CDOS ends up being a door shut in the face of about 4% of students in school districts as per parents and teachers that I have talked to since Common Sense Lobby Day.

The CDOS replaces the IEP/local diploma starting in 2015.  Now if students are not able to pass 5 Regents exams (Math, US History, Global History, ELA and Science) and earn a Regents diploma, all they will receive is the CDOS.

The CDOS automatically labels the holder as being ‘disabled’.  CDOS is not currently recognized as a valid credential for admission to college, trade school, the military, civil service or the federal government.  CDOS is specific to New York State so employers outside New York will not accept it for employment (in lieu of a diploma).

Stop Common Core in New York members are asking parents/teachers to join in writing letters to the Board of Regents members regarding CDOS before the Regents meetings next Monday/Tuesday, June 23 and 24, 2014.

Parent Christine Zirkelbach has written this letter if you would like to use it as a sample.

Contact e-mails for the Board of Regent members

Kingston Board of Education meeting – June 18, 2014

The Kingston Board of Education meeting is tomorrow Wednesday June 18, 2014 at Bailey Middle School.  Principal Julie Linton will do a welcome after roll call at 6pm and then the board will go into executive session.  The agenda does not list an expected time for public comment but it generally is 7pm.

The agenda is available here.

The architects are to present the final designs for the Kingston High School Capital project (the designs that will be submitted for New York State approval for the project later this summer).

I am wondering when the new Kingston High School principal will be announced?  Dr. Manuel is basically done now (working both in D.C. and here this month) and totally done in Kingston the end of June.  KHS students have left the building other than for regents and the ‘make-up’ half day of school on June 26 (assuming kids actually come in) so they will not meet the new principal until September and parents are pretty much done as well.  As president of the KHS Parents Association, I had hoped for the opportunity for some sort of transition from one principal to the next.

The superintendent’s report also includes:

  • Report Card Committee
  • Middle School Schedules
  • Real Estate Update

BOE92 to merge the Onteora and Kingston football teams for 2014/2015 caught my attention in light of a comment made by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill today at Common Sense Education Lobby Day that Onteora was going to only have 1 school/campus very soon (this was new news to the Onteora parents who were meeting with Assemblyman Cahill along with Kingston parents as part of the lobby day).

Updates to 2 policies will have their first reading:

  • Policy 5150 School Admissions
  • Policy 5420 Student Health Services

Board of Ed meeting tomorrow June 4, 2014 with report/parent concerns from May 21 meeting

The Kingston Board of Education will be meeting tomorrow June 4, 2014 at Kingston High School in the auditorium.

  • 5:45pm – public hearing for Kingston High School Jefferson Code
  • 6pm – district recognition/retirement & tenure ceremony followed by executive session
  • 7pm – public comment normally starts around 7pm (when executive session ends)

The superintendent’s report includes:  an update on the high school capital project, end-of-year activities and a middle school schedule update.

Other items of note on the agenda:

  • A classroom at GW is being leased to BOCES for next school year and Bailey is being leased to BOCES for the summer.
  • Subdivision of Sophie Finn property (from Kingston High School) so it can be sold.  Approval of sale of Sophie Finn property.
  • Some additional school volunteers are listed for approval by the board of education.
  • Adoption of Veteran’s Tax Exemption/Gold Star Parents.


I intended to distribute the following summary from the last board meeting last week but got distracted by a variety of education-related items.  I am including it for your reference since there were several items that I thought might be of interest to parents and very little of the information ended up in the newspaper.

Please pay particular attention to the concerns regarding Project Global and the move of 5th grade band/chorus/orchestra out of the regular school day and into the middle school club/activity period which is outside of what most parents/students consider to be the ‘regular school day’.


Jolyn’s summary from the May 21, 2014 Kingston Board of Education meeting

Attendance was fairly low at the first Board of Education meeting after the school budget/Board of Education vote. with about 20 people in attendance.

During public comment, I invited the Board of Education members, on behalf of Kingston Action for Education, to join local parents for Common Sense Education Lobby Day in Albany on June 17, 2014.

Art teacher for Project Global at Kingston High School, Amy VanKleeck, spoke about how thoroughly convinced the students, parents and teachers involved in Project Global are of the benefits of the program.  However “the life of the program is dependent upon you (the board) taking an interest in what we are dong”.  The students and the teachers are afraid again this year that the program will be displaced from the Carnegie Library next year.  The location is a vital part of the program.

2nd century project – steering committee met on May 21.  Will report to Master Plan Facilities committee on June 4.  All of the drawings and plans will be ready to share with the board and the community by the end of June.  Architects have been asked to provide a cost estimate for adding a/c to KHS auditorium.

Real estate updates:  Contracts have been signed for the sale of Zena and Tillson schools, closing dates will be scheduled.  Ulster county legislator has approved the sale of Sophie Finn.

Administrative staff searches:  All new positions including KHS principal were posted with closing date of May 23.  Dr. Padalino, Mr. Voerg and Mr. Olsen were going to go through applications upon closing.  KHS staff will be asked for input regarding KHS principal selection.  Job descriptions for the new administrative staff positions have still not been written.

Middle school schedule update:  8th grade advanced classes will be kept for next year, technology will be moved back to 8th grade, adding a business class in 8th grade to deal with too many study halls, enrichment/reteach periods being changed to allow teachers to figure out how to best provide (not separate period), will still have block scheduling next year – looking at reducing length of long blocks, 5th grade band/orchestra/chorus will be in 9th period

School lunch price will be increased for next year.

Resolution passed to put Cioni building up for sale.

Many school volunteers approved by the board.  One group of names was in the agenda and another group of names was “walked” into the meeting to be approved for upcoming field trips.

Coffee & Conversation is over until September.  Mrs. Bowers noted that no one has attended the last 2 events she hosted although she then clarified that one parent who did not yet have school-age children attended one event and had a lot of questions about education in Kingston.

KCSD 2014-2015 Budget being APPROVED at Board of Education meeting tonight!

The agenda is available for the Board of Education meeting tonight and the item that SHOULD be the primary discussion tonight is the approval of the budget for next school year.  However the budget is simply listed as resolution B89 in the consent agenda!  I am hoping that it will be removed from the consent agenda so there will be some discussion by the Board of Ed tonight before it is approved in preparation for the public vote on May 20, 2014.

UPDATE:  The draft budget on the district website dated 4/7/14 is NOT the budget being approved tonight.  The budget being approved is dated 4/14/14 and has a tax levy of 1.51% so there are additional reductions from what is listed in the draft on the website.

I am concerned as to whether the public has had adequate opportunity to review the budget, ask questions, and give feedback to the board of ed yet.  The first announcement of the draft budget that I saw was posted on the school district website yesterday April 22, 2014 here .  Just went searching back through old e-mails though and discovered that I missed a very brief announcement a week ago.  Went back to the week-ending district summary for April 11 and found this line – “To review  a draft version of the budget, take our survey, or find your voting location  please visit http://www.kingstoncityschools.org/budget.cfm.”  I have to admit that I was slightly distracted by a big birthday party and frantic packing for a trip that day (what should have been the Friday before spring break if not for all our snow days) – oops!

Whether you are reviewing the budget today or did catch a glimpse of it on April 11, comments submitted directly to board members during the day today or during public comment tonight are your last chance to ask questions or make an impact on the budget so don’t miss out!

The Board of Ed meeting is being held at Miller Middle School.  The meeting will begin at 6pm with a welcome from Principal Jo Burruby and then go to executive session.  Public session is anticipated to resume at 7pm with any actions coming out of executive session and then going into public comment.

In addition to the district budget for the 2014-2015 school year, the Superintendent’s Report contains 2nd Century Project (KHS), a School Safety Excellence Award and Common Core Testing.  A variety of personnel resolutions are on the agenda including ones having to do with Assistant Superintendent Marystephanie Corsones.

First reading of the following policies are also scheduled for tonight:

  • Policy 1530 Smoking and Other Tobacco Use on School Premises
  • Policy 4321.3 Allocation of Space for Special Education Programs
  • Policy 4321.8 Impartial Hearing Officer Appointment and Compensation


Refusing the New York State tests and potential impact on Kingston Honors courses

Our family struggled long and hard with the decision as to whether Julia, our 7th grader, would refuse the state tests this year. Julia had kids signing a petition against the tests last year and she has been wearing green laces (Lace to the Top) for a year so she is personally concerned about issues related to testing. I have also been concerned by many issues related to high-stakes testing. Our family’s primary reluctance has been the issue of placing stress on the child to have to practice civil disobedience in refusing the tests. With the assurances from the Kingston school district the week before ELA testing was to begin that pressure would not be placed on the students to sit and stare and the expected extensions of that philosophy into treating all refusing students with consideration and respect throughout the testing time, we decided to refuse the tests.

Green Laces

I am very happy to report that other than having to spend 9 hours last week sitting in the Bailey auditorium (3 hours on each of the 3 days of testing), the testing week went smoothly for Julia.  She loves to read and passed the time with her books although having to sit in the same spot for 3 hours is hard for anyone and I feel for the staff who were overseeing the approximately 180 students on day 1 of testing in the auditorium and over 200 students on days 2 and 3.  Julia said that some students did not remember to bring books with them to read so I am not sure how they kept themselves occupied.

One question that was not answered before the testing began was what impact, if any, refusing the state tests might have on Julia’s ability to participate in honors courses next year.  I submitted the question to the district via the new Let’s Talk application when it was introduced last Tuesday April 1, 2014 and received the following answer in my e-mail today April 9, 2014.

Question: What impact will my daughter’s refusing the state tests have on her ability to participate in honors courses next year?

Students may opt of state tests and still be selected to participate in honors courses; however, sitting for state exams and achieving a high score can help students better their chances of being chosen for the honors program.
In English Language Arts, students must meet KCSD standards in 5 of 7 criterion:
1) 7th Grade ELA test score
2) 8th Grade ELA test score
3) Report Card average over 92 percent
4) STAR assessment
5) Guidance recommendation
6) Teacher recommendation
7) Honors Essay

In Math and Science, students must meet KCSD standards in 5 of 6 criterion*:
1) 7th Grade Math/Science test scores
2) 8th Grade Math/Science test score
3) Report Card average over 92 percent
4) STAR assessment
5) Guidance recommendation
6) Teacher recommendation
*Math and Science are separate courses


Parent Highlights for April 2, 2014 Kingston Board of Education meeting

The agenda appears to be relatively short for tonight’s Board of Education meeting (April 2, 2014) at Crown Street.  Public comment generally begins at 7pm.

The district has posted the agenda for the meeting here.

The topics I find to be of note for parents are in the superintendent’s report and include a 2nd century update (the KHS capital project) and an update on the 2014-2015 budget.

I am hopeful that Dr. Padalino will give some information on the stakeholder meetings that the architects are conducting with various groups regarding the 2nd century project.  I am also wondering when parents will have opportunity to give input on the project and what is the proper way for parents to ask questions/give input?  Will there be a stakeholder meeting for parents?  There are parent representatives on the KHS BLT (Building Leadership Team) that received a report in February but only a small number of the comments/concerns from the BLT team were presented to the architects in February and the KHS BLT has not heard when to expect future reports from the architects (as of the March 27, 2014 KHS BLT meeting).

I believe the board will need to vote on the 2014-2015 budget at the next board meeting so I expect them to be discussing a draft budget at the meeting tonight.  Parents need to be watching for how the $2.9 million budget shortfall presented at the first budget forum (and possibly larger if less money than hoped for is received from the state) will be addressed.  The final budget forum that the district will be holding is next Monday April 7, 2014 at 6pm.



Music in Our Schools

With school budget season upon us, I would like to pause for a moment and reflect upon music and arts in our schools.  Many would say that when times get tough, this is an area where money should be cut but I beg to differ.

I had the privilege of listening to children grades 5-12 from throughout Ulster County sing at the All-County Choral Festival on March 1, 2014.  All three groups of singers (elementary, junior high school and senior high school) sang with enthusiasm and did an amazing job after their full day of rehearsal.  The music was varied in style and very enjoyable to listen to.  The elementary and junior high school choruses had songs in foreign languages as well as with clapping and/or other choreography to add to the excitement of the song.  It was obvious that the teachers and students had all worked hard to prepare for this concert.

In this atmosphere of enjoyment contrasted with the yearly rounds of budget cuts, I read the President’s message with a somewhat heavy heart and have received permission to share it for your contemplation.

We would like to thank you for joining us in our celebration of music in the Ulster County schools.  Parents, students and teachers have worked hard to produce the beautiful concert you will hear today.  And even as we take pride in today’s performance it is equally important that we consider the environment in which it has been created.

We are continually called upon to defend and justify the importance of music.  We are asked to provide scientific data to prove that music changes lives, shapes neuro-pathways, creates social bonds, sensitizes the emotions, and develops compassion for our fellow human beings.  Students and teachers of music have always known this.  The president of Cornell University David J. Skorton stated on June 26th, “It is through the study of art, music, literature, history and other humanities and social sciences that we gain a greater understanding of the human condition than biological or physical science alone can provide.”

The current path of education leads us away from what matters most.  As Diane Ravitch has pointed out, the concept behind a ‘race to the top’ is fundamentally flawed.  There is no race where everyone wins.  The democratic ideal is educational equality, not winners and losers.  When the value of education is reduced to a formula then the essence of education is lost.

The health of music education reflects the state of education as a whole.  How long can the canary sing in this environment?  You are about to hear a wonderful concert.  You will be inspired, moved and uplifted in spite of over-testing, cuts, and reductions of music departments county-wide.  The canary is still singing, but for how long?

We don’t have to claim that participation in the arts raises test scores.  That’s not the point.  The arts are far more valuable.  They awaken our soul and spirit and they don’t need any more justification than that.

- Dr. Barbara Wild & Mr. Randolph Loder, Co-Presidents, UCMEA

Perhaps you attended the All-County Band Festival last weekend or will be joining me in attending the All-County Orchestra Festival this weekend.  Perhaps you enjoy other musical venues put on specifically by Kingston school district students.  Maybe your focus is visual arts rather than music or maybe sports or some other aspect of the many wonderful experiences that Kingston offers to our students beyond just “reading, writing and arithmetic”.  Please be involved in the budget process and urge the Kingston Board of Education to continue their focus from past years and retain our wonderful music and arts and other programs that make KCSD such a rich experience for our students.  Also remind our board of education that as we continue to deal with the Common Core Agenda not everything can be measured by STEM and high-stakes testing.

Additional opportunities for you to get involved include an online budget survey that the district will be posting on March 24, 2014 and the third budget forum on April 7, 2014 6pm at the Cioni administration building.

Parent Highlights for March 19, 2014 Kingston Board of Education meeting

Lots of interest for parents on the agenda for the Kingston Board of Education meeting this Wednesday March 19, 2014.  The meeting will be held at John F. Kennedy Elementary School.

5:00pm – 6:00pm Public Hearing on the Veterans Tax Exemption

6:00pm Video welcome by John F. Kennedy Principal Dr. Perez who will be out of town.  After the video, the BOE will go into executive session.

7:00pm Expected return to public session and Public Comment

Topics of Note:

  • Dr. Chuck Khoury, Ulster BOCES, speaking about PTECH – Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools Program; here is an article from January about the PTECH program
  • JFK Playground donation
  • 2014-2015 budget update including announcement of a public hearing on the budget on May 7, 2014 at 5:30pm (note that the budget will have already been voted on by the BOE so it is too late to have any impact on the content of the budget at this time), voting locations (listed on the district website), due date of petitions for those who wish to run for the Board of Education – 5pm April 30, 2014, and information about registering to vote in the May 20 election/budget vote and absentee ballots
  • Two recalled teachers Lori Demercurio and Anthony Fabiano (teachers who had lost their jobs and now are getting their jobs back) – resolution P84
  • Amendments and authorizations to change who acts on behalf of the board/district for duties previously performed by Sandy Miller, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, and Marystephanie Corsones, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction.  John Voerg, Assistant Supterintendent for Personnel & Administration, will be responsible for Special Education related areas/contracts previously covered by Sandy Miller (resolutions R01 and R08 revised).  Beth Bonville will take MaryStephanie Corsones’ place as the Title IX Coordinator, Title VII Coordinator and Title VI Civil Rights Act Investigator (resolution R01 revised).  Allen Olsen, Assistant Superintendent for Business & Operations, will be the responsible party for signing contracts for health services for students in non-public schools through the end of this school year (resolution R09 revised).  Sandy Miller was previously responsible for this authorization.
  • Proposed calendar for 2014-2015 school year:  1st day of school for students is Sept 3, 2014; Thanksgiving recess Nov 26-28; Winter recess Dec 24, 2014-Jan 2, 2015; President’s Weekend Feb 13-16, 2015; Spring recess March 30-April 6, 2015; last day of school June 25, 2015; assorted other individual days off/supt conference days available in the agenda for viewing
  • BOE vote on School Volunteers Policy #1250 – the only change from the version of the policy presented at the 2/19/14 and 3/5/14 BOE meetings is a statement that fingerprinting will be paid for by the district.  It appears that the BOE policy committee is not recommending any other changes in response to feedback received from the community regarding the School Volunteers policy.  See here for past discussion.

Parent Highlights for 3/4/14 Kingston Board Of Education Meeting

The Kingston Board of Education will be meeting tomorrow March 4, 2014 at the Cioni Building on Crown Street.

Several items on the agenda caught my eye as being of particular note to parents.

The second reading of the School Volunteer Policy #1250 is occurring.  Changes previously discussed here and here.  The changes to the School Volunteer Policy are scheduled to be approved at the BOE meeting on 3/19/14.

The Superintendent’s Report includes the 2nd Century Project (the high school capital project) and the quarterly update on Board/Superintendent Goals (curriculum, facilities, budget, student achievement and transitions/redistricting). The November update on Board/Superintendent Goals had a lot of details about Common Core implementation, middle school changes, the KHS Scholar’s Academy and other topics that parents are often talking about so I recommend parents attend for this update if at all possible.

The September 18, 2013 BOE meeting minutes contain the Superintendent Goals that are being reported on at the meeting tomorrow.

Are there other topics that you think parents should particularly note as you read through the agenda?

Parent Highlights for 2/19/14 Kingston Board Of Education Meeting

If the weather cooperates, the Kingston Board of Education will be meeting tomorrow February 19, 2014 at Robert Graves Elementary School.   UPDATE 2/19/14 3pm District clerk confirms BOE meeting is still being held even though after school activities are canceled.  Quarterly update on Board/Superintendent Goals moved to 3/5/14.

I would like to draw your attention to several items on the agenda that I think are of particular note to parents.

The first reading of changes to the School Volunteer Policy #1250 is on the agenda. Changes of particular note to parents include requirements for room parents, classroom readers and field trip chaperons (tier 2 volunteers).

The Superintendent’s Report includes the 2nd Century Project (the high school capital project) and the quarterly update on Board/Superintendent Goals (curriculum, facilities, budget, student achievement and transitions/redistricting). The November update on Board/Superintendent Goals had a lot of details about Common Core implementation, middle school changes, the KHS Scholar’s Academy and other topics that parents are often talking about so I recommend parents attend for this update if at all possible.

The meeting agenda is posted on the school district website.  Pages 8 and 9 contain the updated School Volunteer Policy #1250.

The September 18, 2013 BOE meeting minutes contain the Superintendent Goals that are being reported on at the meeting tomorrow.

Are there other topics that you think parents should particularly note as you read through the agenda?