Board of Education postpones field complex discussion

The Liberty Board of Education has decided to postpone its discussion regarding the athletic field complex until more information is given regarding the projects scope and financial implications.

The date of the meeting has not yet been determined. More information will be made public as soon as it is available.

Board accepts Assistant Superintendent resignation

On Tuesday, Aug. 22, the Liberty Central School District Board of Education approved a separation agreement with Assistant Superintendent of Schools Sandy Wagner, effective Sept. 22. The motion was approved unanimously.

Mr. Wagner, who previously served as the district’s director of technology, was appointed assistant superintendent under a probationary contract in October 2016. His final day with the district will be Friday, Sept. 22. Barbara Blakey will fill the role of interim assistant superintendent until a replacement is found. Blakey is familiar with both the district and the region. She served as the Liberty’s interim assistant superintendent from July to October 2016 and is the former assistant superintendent for instruction at Sullivan County BOCES.

The board anticipates the search for a permanent assistant superintendent will begin in September, with the goal of hiring a replacement by Thanksgiving.

The board is also planning a search for a new superintendent of schools to find a permanent replacement for Dr. William Silver, who resigned June 30. Carol Napolitano took the helm as interim superintendent on July 1. She previously served as Liberty’s assistant superintendent from 2007 to 2016.

The board also made a motion to hire the Western New York Educational Service Council (WNYESC) to assist with the search, in order to cast a wider net for potential candidates, while the day-to-day operations of the district are handled by Ms. Napolitano. WNYESC is based out of Buffalo, New York.

“Liberty is going through a period of change, and we understand this may be a confusing time for our staff and school community,” she said. “We assure you that, throughout this transition, we will continue to work in partnership to provide our staff members with the work environment they need to excel in their work and our students with the very best education we have to offer. I encourage anyone who has any questions or concerns to contact either me or their building principal.”

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District considering fall facilities referendum

The Liberty School District is set to move forward with plans on how it will go about addressing the needs for its high school athletic field complex.

The district is considering a facilities referendum that, if approved by Liberty Board of Education members, could be scheduled for an October vote.

During its Aug. 22 meeting, the board is expected to discuss the scope of a capital project that would address the drainage and irrigation issues at the high school’s baseball and soccer fields.

More details about a potential field repair project will be presented at the next board of education meeting, which is set for Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. in the high school’s media center.

Facilities Committee recommends renovating field

Following several meetings of lengthy discussion and deliberation, the district’s facility committee recommended that the board consider repairing the district’s athletic field complex with a capital project that addresses the field’s poor irrigation system and uneven grounds.

The board will take a deeper look into the committee’s recommendations and hash out the projects’ details, including the scope, how it could be phased, and how to lessen its impact on students.

The earliest a public vote could occur is this fall.

More details about the recommended field repair project will be presented at the next board of education meeting, which is set for Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. in the high school’s media center.

Renovations at the high school are still underway

The district’s capital project work at the high school is steadily moving forward and we’re happy to announce that renovated and reorganized classrooms in the music, art and guidance wing will open at start of the 2017-18 school year, and the entire project should be completed by the end of November.

In fact, we’re right on schedule. Our faculty, staff and students deserve a lot of credit. You’ve put up with some dust, dirt and noise and taken it all in stride; that really has helped the work move quickly.

Renovations began last March with caulk removal and window replacement and kicked into high gear at the end of June. Workers from Turner Construction Company will continue to work round the clock until Sept. 6. After that, they will continue their work after school hours to ensure minimal disruptions to regular school operations or to community members who use district facilities.

As a refresher, here’s a look at the work behind done:

Exterior Structure:
– Replace/repair high school building envelope: crumbling brick work, exterior walls, facade and windows.
– Renovate classrooms impacted by wall replacement.

Interior Structure:
– Replace auditorium ventilation, lighting and house lighting systems (circa 1960s), which are past their useful life and/or dangerously antiquated.
– Replace the gym bleachers and air handler unit, which do not meet accessibility standards and have malfunctioning parts that are worn beyond repair.

Guidance/Counseling:
– Renovate Guidance Office to a larger, renovated suite to provide adequate privacy for confidential discussions and space for computer-based guidance resources.

Art and Music Classrooms:
– Renovate the space available for art classes, storage and graphic design technology for optimal use of limited staff.
– Renovate choral and art classrooms, allowing the art department to expand
.

Technology:
– Upgrade technology infrastructure.

LMS selected as model school for RtI Demonstration Project

The district is excited to announce that Liberty Middle School has been chosen by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Instructional Support as one of ten middle schools in the state of New York to participate in its Middle School Response to Intervention (RtI) Demonstration Project.

But wait, what IS RtI?

Response to Intervention (RtI) is a model used to provide research-based high quality systematic instruction and interventions that address student’s individual needs by measuring the level of progress and performance of students over time. RtI is about general education and represents an educational strategy “to close achievement gaps for all students including at risk-academically and behaviorally, students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and academically talented learners preventing smaller learning problems from becoming insurmountable gaps.”

And that’s where a school’s RTI Problem-Solving Team (or ‘RtI Team’) comes in. The RtI team is responsible for assembling customized intervention plans with teachers to help their students who are experiencing achievement difficulties, academically or behaviorally.

In short…
Response to Intervention is the practice of providing high-quality instruction/intervention. This instruction begins in the general education classroom and may be provided by a variety of school personnel. The students’ progress is closely monitored to assess their learning rate and level of performance.

The components of RtI are:

  • quality, research-based instruction
  • at least one screening a year for all students
  • instruction matched to student needs
  • progress monitoring to assess student progress toward meeting goals
  • data driven decision making; and
  • parent notification

What does the RtI Demonstration Project mean for Liberty Middle School?
The state has recognized Liberty Middle School as a school that is integrally involved—and has the potential to be linchpins—in planning and implementing RTI initiatives.

As part of the project, members of the middle school’s RtI team will receive continual professional development training and webinars with prominent experts in all things RtI.

Over the course of a three year period, teachers and staff will apply what they have learned and share their progress and help NYSED create a data-driven prevention/intervention framework for all schools across the state to adopt.

What should students and parents expect from the LMS RtI Team?
Participation in the demonstration will likely equip us with valuable tools for assessing our current RtI procedures as well as collecting and analyzing program and student achievement data.

The school will receive training and technical assistance about an additional student support option particularly successful with those who struggle academically despite traditional support and instruction.

The school is excited to share what it learns with its students and parents and looks forward to its journey in ensuring that all students thrive educationally, socially and emotionally.

Who should I contact if I have questions about RtI?
Please reach out to the Assistant Director of Student Services, Patrick Sullivan, at psullivan@libertyk12.org or (845) 292-5400 ext. 5112.   

 

Make the most of open house

With the start of the school year comes another annual tradition: the open house. Open house is an event when schools open their doors so parents can meet with teachers and get a glimpse into their children’s learning day.

Mark your calendars!

  • Sept. 11: First Day of School for all students
  • Sept. 14: High School Open House
  • Sept. 19: Middle School Open House
  • Sept. 28: Elementary School Open House

Open houses are held shortly after the start of the school year so families can get acquainted with their children’s teachers, see the classrooms after students have settled in and get an overview of classroom expectations.

Open house is great opportunity for chance for the teacher to explain the grade level curricula, the school and classroom discipline policies, and answer any questions parents may have. It’s also a chance for parents to meet other parents.

To make the most of open house night, consider reading the school discipline policies and procedures, the state standards for your child’s grade level and curricula and any other materials your child’s teacher(s) have provided.

Although open house night is not a time to talk about your individual child’s needs, you can ask big picture questions.

It’s important to remember that your child’s teachers and administrators will want to cover a lot of information with all the parents in a very short amount of time, while still having a few moments to answer questions. If you have concerns over your child’s academic progress or classroom behavior that won’t be addressed during open house, you can get your teacher’s e-mail address, give him/her a letter with additional questions or schedule a one on one conference.

Assistant Director of Student Services Patrick Sullivan will host a “town-hall” meeting from 6:30-7 p.m. prior to each school building’s open house events. This meeting will discuss safety protocols and procedures as well as in depth look at the Dignity for All Students Act.  

The town hall meetings will take place at the following  places and times:

  • Liberty High School: Sept. 14 from 6:30-7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria
  • Liberty Middle School: Sept. 19 from 6:30-7 p.m. in the middle school gymnasium
  • Liberty Elementary School: Sept. 28 from 6:30-7 p.m. in the elementary school gymnasium
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Athletic field complex closed until further notice

Beginning Aug. 7, the baseball and soccer fields located behind Liberty High School will be closed off until further notice.

School might not be in session yet, but our buildings and grounds crew has been hard at work to make sure that our facilities are in shape for the coming year.  It saddens us to say that our baseball and soccer fields are not in playable conditions for our student-athletes or community members.

The district is currently making arrangements for off-site practice and will update our student-athletes by the start of the fall season on Aug. 14.  We appreciate your patience as we work toward addressing the lumps and bumps in our athletic fields.

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