Newark Central Schools

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Superintendent's Message

  • Message from Matt Cook, Superintendent of SchoolsMatt Cook

     

     

    Hello, this is your Superintendent of Schools, Matt Cook.  In an effort to improve communication, I’ll be sending out updates more regularly in 2018-19, using this format.  Hopefully, you find it helpful.

     

    My first update is that our Smart Bond Act plan was finally approved by NYS.  Let me remind you what that means before I tell you about our plans.  Back in the 2014-15 school year, voters in this state passed a bond act that allocated funding to school districts for technology related improvements and upgrades.  The funding has many restrictions on it and plans are scrutinized to ensure they meet the state criteria.  The slow nature of the approval process has been very frustrating for me and many of my colleagues around the state and so after some lobbying and advocacy, the approval process was improved.  Just this month, we found out that our plan was approved and we are working through a process to begin implementing our 1:1 initiative. 

     

    Students in grades UPK – 2 will have access to iPads in their classrooms, while students in grades 3-12 will have access to a tablet computer with a stylus.  While the exact timeline remains uncertain, we are on track to have this rolled out to students in grades 3-12 to start the second half of this school year, while the iPads for the primary grades might come a little sooner.  Our plans call for teachers to have access to the devices first, so that they can learn about the capabilities and begin to plan instruction differently.  Middle School and High School students will be able to bring their devices home and this will allow for our instructional practices to shift in some significant ways.

     

    We have been preparing our teachers for this shift to what is called “personalized learning” for the last several months with professional development to help them understand the core of this instructional model.  There will be much more on this topic coming from the district, principals and teachers over the next few months but essentially the idea is that the use of technology (devices and digital content) will allow for teachers to differentiate and target instruction based on data that is specific to individualized student needs.  Most importantly, students will be able to reflect on their learning as part of the feedback loop to teachers, which will continue to allow students to take a more active role in their learning and give teachers information to better plan lessons.  Many of the schools around us have already begun this process and the approval of our Smart Bond plan allows Newark students to keep pace in an ever-changing world!

     

    On another front, our new interactive menu page has just gone live on our website, which you can find by clicking the fork/knife menu icon near the top of that page or you can use this link: https://newarkcsd.nutrislice.com.  Once you are there click on an item, for instance the pepperoni pizza on October 4, to see a complete nutritional pop out.  We anticipate some tweaks still to be made like adding more pictures and completing missing nutrition info on items but overall, we are pleased with this initial launch. 

     

    This last weekend, I was in Saratoga Springs for a conference with the NYS School Superintendents’ Association and on Sunday, I attended a presentation by the Superintendent of Schools of Newtown, CT, the site of the Sandy Hook school shooting.  In addition to getting some practical recommendations that I will bring back to our safety committee, I was most struck by the emphasis on the social and emotional health of our students and staff.  Dr. Erardi talked about how “isolation is the worst thing we can do to our kids” and encouraged all of us to make sure we were allocating resources on preventative measures.  Much to reflect on as we continue to shape our systems and look for ways to improve in this important area.

     

    My last item is to encourage everyone in the community to think about people they might know who want to drive a bus or work as substitute in the district.  These are great ways to get to know our students!  This year, we kicked off with the theme that every student needs a champion, every day.  Helping us out in these vital roles is a nice way to earn some money while also getting the opportunity to be a champion for a child and positively impact a life!  For more information, contact our Personnel Assistant, Sue Carr at 315-332-3230 or go to our website under Departments/Human Resources: https://www.newarkcsd.org/Page/455.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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