Monday, January 30, 2012

Babs Gets A "Thumbs Up"

  
Congratulations Are In Order

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, the Greece Central School Board of Education unanimously approved Superintendent Barbara Dean-Williams’ School Consolidation Plan. Let me say that again, “unanimously” approved the consolidation plan.

This is a landmark decision by the Greece School Board of Education. This is the first time in over a decade the Greece School Board of Education, has been able to put aside their political, petty, irritating and demeaning differences and come together for the good of the students, taxpayers and the Greece Community. This action finally shows a sense of maturity and professionalism on the part of the Greece Board of Education.

Superintendent, Barbara Dean-Williams, with her staff and community members, put together an outstanding school consolidation plan that reduces cost, improves education and attends to long over due needs of Greece Central School District. This conservative yet innovative plan was put together in a little more than six months after the arrival of Superintendent Barbara Dean-Williams. Her ability to think of instruction first, strategically plan, bring community members together and to be able to receive an unanimous vote from the Greece Board of Education, speaks to her outstanding educational characteristics as a school superintendent. In less than seven months, Superintendent Barbara Dean-Williams succeeded when, for over a decade, other school superintendents failed.

Much more work is needed to improve instruction, increase the effectiveness of the school district, raise standardize test scores, and graduation rates but for the first time in over a decade, I am confident that Greece Central School District is finally moving in a positive direction. Congratulations are truly in order for Superintendent Barbara Dean-Williams and the Greece Central School Board of Education.

Sincerely,
Douglas G. Skeet, Former Greece School Principal

SCATS ~~ PLEASE NOTE: Mr. Skeet knows that we're on opposite ends of the spectrum regarding his assessment.
  

Getting A Handle On Teacher Absenteeism


   
Friends who work in the Rochester City School District tell me that this school year, teacher absences are much lower than in years gone by. One significant reason appears to be that under the leadership of Greece's own Bolgen Vargas, teachers MUST provide detailed lesson plans if they are going to be absent from work. Makes sense, right?

Many teachers are no longer calling in ill, since this requirement was reiterated along with a stern warning that complaints from substitute teachers about inadequate lesson plans would be followed up on. The subs are ecstatic to be able to do more than merely babysit!

Hey Babs, how about giving this a try in Greece? It might help us climb out of the basement on academic performance and it shouldn't require any sort of contractual negotiation, since a lesson plan is a basic "must have."

By jove, I think GCSD might have missed the boat in not hiring Dr. Vargas to be our supt!
  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oh The Irony~

   
 How The Greece Teachers' Assn. Defines 
"Professional Development"

Anonymous said...

On another note.........was eating lunch at the Mt Read Wegmans today and about 30 teachers from Olympia were there sitting eating lunch. How do I know they were from Olympia????? Well many of them had on the real "professional" black GTA Union tee shirts along with some Olympia pullover hoodies. Just gotta love the professionalism of our teaching staff.

I think it is time for the School Board to insist on a dress code policy for the entire district staff. I have never seen more inappropriate attire as I do when I see school employees. Especially teachers who want to be treated as professionals but dress as though they shopped at the Goodwill store! This has been going on for years. Time to put a stop to this.   1/27/2012 6:36 PM

SCATS ~~ So this is how they dress for & spend time on a "Professional Development Day?" 

  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Over 400,000 Pageviews!!!


THANK YOU READERS!!
  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Level 2 Sex Offender

Relocates To Affinity Ln
Link to Info

Appropriate Changes Shouldn't Be This Hard ...

   
"Change is scary!" ~~ Roger Boily, Greece BOE

"Change is difficult." ~~ Babs, Greece Supt.

"Change is hard." Julia VanOrman, Greece BOE Prez.

SCATS ~~ If our "leaders" were convinced that these were the RIGHT changes they're making, I'd expect to hear them saying something like: "Change is exciting ... Change promotes growth ... Change provides opportunity ... " Those messages were mostly lacking, so perhaps it's because these are the WRONG changes, made for the WRONG reasons ... ?
   

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What We Know About Schools-of-Choice ...


  • They CO$T us more, but ...
  • There is NO DATA to support their existence
  • There is NO stated purpose for having them*
  • They provide NO BENEFIT to the district

* Other than providing an escape mechanism for a selected few to avoid less desirable schools
   
SCATS ~~ So, by all means, let's make sure we keep them! (oozing sarcasm)
 
THE DEED IS DONE.
BOE passes school consolidation plan unanimously.
 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What Will The BOE Do To Make Ends Meet?

  
School Consolidation Special Meeting
&
BOE Vote On The Plan
Tuesday @6:30PM




"We know what our financial picture looks like ... we can't bury our heads in the sand." ~~ Julia VanOrman, Greece BOE Prez.
  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Another Question For Babs ...

    
Charlie Hubbard said...

I'm still waiting for an answer to my question from several weeks ago - what is the 'purpose' of schools of choice?

The 'purpose' when they were started are no longer. I have no choice but to assume it is all based on touchy/feely. I agree with 3:11 this lady is blowing a perfect opportunity to 'unite' this district and community and she is doing it to make a few self/centered people happy.

VERY disappointed to see the sibling rule and open enrollment continue.

Thanks to this 'half/baked' approch the true 'problem' will continue - yes we seem intent on kicking the can down the road by putting a different shade of lipstick on the pig.  1/20/2012 9:35 PM

SCATS ~~ I'm very curious to hear the answer to this question too ... and what benefit do they bring to the district?  More crickets chirping?
  

Friday, January 20, 2012

We're In The $$!!

  
According to the Town of Greece, the money received from the settlement of the Kodak tax fraud case was distributed as follows:

  • $292,277.82 to the town of Greece general fund
  • $12,185.76 to the town of Greece lighting fund
  • $368,524.40 to Monroe County
  • $147,840.11 to the Ridge Road Fire District
  • $1,081,648.91 to the Greece Central School District
(Source)

SCATS ~~ Let's see ... $2.2million from closing schools + $1.1 million from this settlement = $3.3 million. Babs only need to find another $3.7 million to balance the 2012-13 GCSD budget!! Should be a piece of cake, right? ;)
 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Greece Town Board On The B&S Case ...


Auberger, DiRaddo & Tajkowski Talk ...




Neighbors' Reactions

Special PTSA Meeting on School Consolidation

   
special joint PTSA meeting has been called for Wednesday night, January 18, at 7:00 pm, in the Apollo Cafeteria. Interested families from Odyssey, Apollo, and Olympia are invited to attend. At that time principals and other staff will be on hand to answer as many questions as possible about the school consolidation proposals from the January 10, Board of Education meeting.

SCATS ~~ How interesting that I could only find this notice on the Odyssey PTSA website, and not that of the other schools ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Auberger Stifles Resident Input ... Again

  
Several people sent notes to me about the goings on at tonight's Town Board meeting. It seems that a bunch of very angry residents who oppose the building of the Bryant & Stratton on Long Pond Rd. showed up, so the Town Board dealt with this before the regular meeting began. Auberger passed the buck to DiRaddo & Tajkowski to deal with. DiRaddo told them that an appeal would be futile, because the judge determined that the traffic for B&S would be no worse than traffic generated by other uses that wouldn't require a special permit. (So why did our Town Board ever vote against this project and waste our money on a court case in the first place?)

Once the B&S issue was settled, I'm told Auberger skipped right over the Resident's Forum portion of the meeting and went onto the other business of the board. At the end, and after everyone had left, he asked if anyone wanted to address the Town Board. He was described as wearing his "sh*t eating" grin.

Updates to be posted as I get more info ...
  

From The School Consolidation Forum ...

   
Thanks to Greece School Board President Julia VanOrman for outdoing ALL of her previous performances in the area of exhibiting condescension towards community members at the start of this evening's meeting. Not everyone is as much of an idiot as you seem to think, Julia!

Here are many of the questions, concerns and topics brought forth by those who spoke at tonight's "Parent Input" session:
  • Several Koda-Vista neighbors expressed concern over changes to their neighborhood with the closing of Odyssey and want reassurance that the building will be kept up, etc.
  • One Koda-Vista neighbor told us that Roger Boily says, "Bryant & Stratton isn't interested in Odyssey." HOW COULD ROGER KNOW THAT???
  • One parent lamented that they hope that after the moving around of all these kids that the BOE & Supt. don't tell us a year later, "Oops! that didn't work!" in the same way that they told us that for three years running in attempting to improve academics at Apollo. She cautioned them that, "Your legacy will be that you undermined the top performing schools in the district."
  • A couple speakers talked about "rumors" that it might cost anywhere from $4-8 million to close Odyssey. No one said otherwise, not the Supt. and not the BOE.
  • One parent asked a very good question: "How will the BOE tell the public about what they plan to vote on next week?" before next week's board vote. I guess others are starting to catch onto the BOE's lack of public discussion ;)
  • Other questions included: "What happens to Odyssey staff?" "If Odyssey becomes larger, will they be able to offer more kinds of classes?" "What things that work will be extended from schools-of-choice to other schools across the district?"

A Simple Question Babs Hasn't Answered Yet ...

  
Babs, I see you've posted more Q's & A's on the GCSD website. That's great. However, the BIG QUESTION that no one has responded to yet is this one:

According to the GCSD website, Odyssey's 2012-13 Grade 6 class at Apollo will be around 300 students comprised of siblings of current Odyssey students, all students who would have been formerly been assigned to Apollo, and an undetermined number of other students selected via lottery. WILL THESE STUDENTS BE COMPLETELY COMINGLED into several, similar heterogeneous groups (blended) as they attend Math, Science, Humanities & other classes in the new Odyssey @Apollo?

By the way Babs, the answer required is a SIMPLE YES OR NO. Thank you!
  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Days Of Empty Praise Over In Classrooms?




Let's Hope So!!

"A growing body of research over three decades shows that easy, unearned praise does not help students but instead interferes with significant learning opportunities. "

“We’ve become so obsessed with making kids feel good about themselves that we’ve lost sight of building the skills they need to actually be good at things.”  ~ ~ Michelle Rhee

(Wall St. Journal Article)

SCATS ~~ When teachers motivate students to aspire to do better, achievement gains will result. Giving out meaningless awards teaches entitlement & laziness, IMHO.
 
  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mark Your Calendars ...

  
MONDAY JANUARY 16th
  • Martin Luther King Holiday

TUESDAY JANUARY 17th
  • GCSD/BOE ~ Community Input Session on School Consolidation; 6:30PM in BOE meeting Room; Apollo 3rd floor (They must think few will attend!)
  • Town Board Meeting ~ 6PM @Greece Town Hall. ( Agenda does NOT show plans for Town to grant special use permit to Bryant & Stratton as per Gary Tajkowski's statement to the D&C Friday.)

 WEDNESDAY JANUARY 18th
  • Public Hearing for Dewey Avenue Mixed Use Zoning District ~ Greece Community & Senior Center Multipurpose Room, 3 Vince Tofany Blvd, 6PM
  • Greece Planning Board Meeting ~ Community Rooms @ Greece Town Hall; 7PM(Wilmorite expected to present a concept for redevelopment of Bonton's space at the Greece Ridge mall.)

FRIDAY JANUARY 20th
  • County Executive Maggie Brooks ~  the featured speaker at the meeting of the Northwest AARP Group; 1:30PM; Greece Town Hall
  

Bryant & Stratton: Coming Via Court Order

  
A state Supreme Court Justice has ordered the Town of Greece to grant a special-use permit to Bryant & Stratton College for a new campus center near Long Pond and English roads.

Following outcry from neighbors of the Long Pond site about potential traffic increases, noises and general disruption to the area from a college campus, the Town Board voted unanimously in August to reject the Bryant & Stratton proposal. The college sued in September, seeking to have the decision annulled.

In a decision filed Thursday with the Monroe County Clerk, state Supreme Court Justice William P. Polito Jr. directed the town to issue the special-use permit.

Gary Tajkowski, Greece’s director of development services, said the town board will likely do so during its upcoming meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall, 1 Vince Tofany Blvd.

“The town board is disappointed by the judge’s decision, but they have to abide by a legally binding order,” he said.

The town notified residents living near the proposed campus of the judge’s order by mail sent on Thursday.

Bryant & Stratton’s current Greece campus is a 20,400-square-foot space in Canal Ponds Business Park near the border of Gates and Greece.

The college’s new 33,000-square-foot building is proposed for a site on land behind the existing CVS pharmacy, Rockcastle Florist and Northwest Savings Bank. The property has been zoned for commercial use since 2001, but town law requires a special-use permit for any institute of higher education. (SOURCE)

AGENDA for Greece Town Board Meeting, Tuesday, 6PM

SCATS ~~ Like the song goes, "you can't always get what you want ..." Looks like the neighbors will have to get used to seeing, hearing & smelling the students anyway.
 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Editorial "Misrepresents" Principal's Efforts

(From Greece Post - 1/12/12;
Click image to enlarge)

SCATS ~~ Excuse me, Ms. Williams. Although your principal addressed the Greece school board on multiple occasions concerned about the future of her school, pressing them to make changes to the demographics of Odyssey Academy was never on her agenda!
 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Greece To Get $1.9 Million In Settlement

  
Kodak to get $7.8 million, Constance Roeder to get $2 million & Town of Greece to get $1.9 million in settlement of funds seized from tax swindler John Nicolo. (STORY)

SCATS ~~ John Auberger, please use these funds to LOWER OUR TAXES!!
  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Babs' Extreme Greece School Makeover Plan


  
CONSOLIDATE/CLOSE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Move West Ridge School (K-5) to Parkland. Create an attendance zone around the relocated West Ridge School to include Affinity Orchard Place. Expand student enrollment.

• Create a K-5 school at Brookside to include Parkland students who are not in the new West Ridge attendance boundary. The new Parkland/Brookside School would have enough space to accommodate enrollment fluctuations in future years. “Grandfather” those students already in attendance.

• Move Kirk Road students (3-5) to Paddy Hill (K-2) to create a new Paddy Hill K-5 school. Current student enrollment would enable all current students to attend Paddy Hill. If grade level enrollment shifts occur, adjust boundary assignments.

• Create an attendance zone around Pine Brook. In addition, implement a weighted lottery model to continue to work on meeting the Board goal for demographic balance in Schools of Choice.

• Eliminate elementary signature schools and elementary open enrollment in September 2012 for new students. “Grandfather” those students already in attendance.
 
SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION/CLOSINGS SECONDARY
  • Move Odyssey Academy 6-12 to Apollo. Create an attendance zone to include the former Apollo attendance zone primarily east of Mt. Read Boulevard and southwest of Stone Road. Implement a two-year transition plan to fully include all feeder pattern 6th graders until September 2014. Enrollment fluctuations, or a need to redistrict for achievement or space in the future, can be accomplished by assigning some students after grade 5 to Athena or Arcadia Middle Schools.
  • Allow students from Olympia, Arcadia, and Athena entering grade 11 to attend the IB program at Odyssey by application. It is more cost effective to transport students than replicate the program in other schools.
  • Implement a two-year transition plan at Olympia, creating a 6-12 school at Olympia (grades 7-12 in 2012-13, grades 7-12 in 2013-14, grades 6-12 in 2014-15). Olympia grade 7 and 8 will implement recommendations of New York State Education Department Joint Intervention Team expected March 2012.
REDUCE EXPENSES

  • Reduce busing from four runs to three runs by combining K-5 transportation and grouping bus runs by neighborhood.
  • Sell Barnard and Kirk Road. Lease West Ridge and/or use the facility for alternative purposes. West Ridge is connected to the Family Support Center leased until February 23, 2020. Follow the procedures advised by legal counsel regarding how to proceed with the Hoover Drive facility.
  • Support a process to study schedule options for all secondary schools for implementation in 2013-14. Specifically, study the advantages and disadvantages of current block schedules as related to both staff utilization, efficiency and achievement.
ENSURE SMOOTH TRANSITION PLAN & FOCUS ON IMPROVING ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH EXPANSION & REPLICATION OF EFFECTIVE PRACTICE

  • Simplify the school choice selection process. Eliminate the current time consuming and resource intensive lottery system. Beginning February 2012, new school choice applications in K and 6 will have waiting lists expire each year in June. Implement a tiered model that ensures student populations at Schools of Choice reflect district demographics and that the lottery is simplified for parents.
  • Continue to work toward ensuring that the student populations at Schools of Choice reflect district demographics as directed in 2011-12 Board goals and in accordance with December 2011 joint guidance document from the U.S. Department of Justice/Department of Education.
  • Focus instructional resources on expanding effective practices, implementing Joint Intervention Team recommendations, and implementing AVID program at Olympia to improve student and teaching performance and close achievement gaps.
  •  Appoint a formal Transition Team to develop a detailed public timeline between February 1, 2012 and May 1, 2012 to communicate a smooth transition and opening for children, families and employees in September 2012.
TOTAL EXPECTED YEAR 1 SAVINGS = $2.2 million
(not including building sales)
     

Northgate Neighbors Meeting Wed. @7PM


2012 Town/County Tax Bill EXPLAINED
(Line By Line)

Who ~~ Rick Pellegrino (Dir. of Finance) & Leo Carroll (Town Assessor) will explain & answer questions.

Where ~~ Aldersgate Methodist Church - 4115 Dewey Ave.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FOUND on CRAIGSLIST:

Are You Getting Screwed on Your Property Taxes?  
(How to Find Out & How to Fix It!)
Author: Patricia Quintilian, Esq.

A great book on reducing property tax. You will be shocked and appalled at the level of corruption that has permeated a dysfunctional and complicated property tax system. Around $30. Apparently she assisted Golisano in his successful case against the Town of Mendon. I am using this guide to teach the Town of Clarendon, NY an expensive legal lesson.

Start bending over your town appraiser today for fun and refund!!!

See www.propertytaxrights.com for more info.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Odyssey Parent Behavior Questioned

  
Anonymous said...

I'm going to wait to see what the supers recommendations are come Tuesday before I make a opinion. I heard some odyssey parents griping at wegmans today it sounded like they were told by their administration what the recommendations were most likely going to be. From their complaining i did not get the impression that it was going to be two different schools at all, they were complaining about how big the population was now going to be and how they needed to storm the board with survey comments and recruit people to come to the public meeting and demand that odyssey be unchanged, one of the woman pointed out that it had always worked in the past andvwith gayles support they were sure it would be put off for at least another year. I am sure they were pointing the finger at me as I walked past them in my Arcadia sports sweatshirt with my son. They probally were thinking there goes one of those undesirable kids we are trying to shelter our kids from cohabitating with now. I really hope others respond to the survey and show up and not only these kinds of parents that are going to put on a show for thevboard because their sort of bullying tactics have worked before, and in hope the board doesn't fall for it again. It is sad watching adults plan and ploy openly in public for others to see, I am pretty sure many of the kids working at wegmans are students of Greece and attend schools other than odyssey, imagine how they feel listening to this. They certainly were not role models, if that is how odyssey families behave I can positively say I am glad my kids didn't make the cut, I am happy they are attending their neighborhood schools, I now truly believe they will be better off in the future for it. They will not grow up believing they are a superior group, as it seems this is what their parents are teaching them by their behavior. I hope the kids do not get to see that you get what you want by acting this way, shame on the board if they let them.    1/07/2012 11:32 PM
   

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Come Question Maggie

  
    (Image from YNN)

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks will address the Northwest AARP group as their guest speaker on Jan. 20th at 1:30PM in Greece Town Hall. Following her discussion of current issues, questions will be taken from the audience. This program is open to the public.
   

Friday, January 06, 2012

BOE Meeting Tuesday, 6:30PM

  
It's anticipated that the BOE will go into an Exec. Session at 5:30PM to discuss collective bargaining, the employment history of particular person(s) & pending litigation.

AGENDA ITEMS of NOTE
  • Differentiate Accountability Quality Review Process/JIT Process Update
  • 2012 - 2013 Budget Process Update
  • Supt's Recommendations to BOE - Consolidation of Schools
  • AGCEP Contract Approval

SCATS ~~ Will Babs admit that the "new Odyssey" will actually be the same old Odyssey group plus a separate school for the poor who will be kept separate during most classes? Mincing words about school schedules doesn't seem very honest.
 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Gov. Cuomo On Education


"The future of our state depends on our public schools. A strong, effective school system is the hallmark of a healthy democracy. We must make our schools accountable for the results they achieve and the dollars they spend. I learned my most important lesson in my first year as Governor in the area of public education. I learned that everyone in public education has his or her own lobbyist. Superintendents have lobbyists. Principals have lobbyists. Teachers have lobbyists. School boards have lobbyists. Maintenance personnel have lobbyists. Bus drivers have lobbyists. The only group without a lobbyist? The students. Well, I learned my lesson. This year, I will take a second job -- consider me the lobbyist for the students. I will wage a campaign to put students first, and to remind us that the purpose of public education is to help children grow, not to grow the public education bureaucracy. Today, we are driven by the business of public education more than the achievement in public education. Maybe that's why we spend more money than any other state but are 38th in graduation rates. We have to change the paradigm. We need major reform in two areas: Teacher accountability and student achievement. We need a meaningful teacher evaluation system. The legislation enacted in 2010 to qualify for Race to the Top didn't work. Management efficiency. We must make our schools accountable for the results they achieve and the dollars they spend."

SPEECH TEXT
   

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Maggie, Please Pick John For Airport Director

  
We Already Know What His Vices Are! 




Cigars & Strip Clubs










Drinking While Driving (alleged)










Sex, Fibs & Memory Loss







How Much Did YOUR Tax Bill Go Up?

 
Much ado was made by politicians last year (an election year) over keeping our property taxes flat. Both John & Maggie promised to hold the line. On top of that, a new 2% property tax cap has been put into place for NY State. Given these things ...
  • Why did my county/town tax bill rise yet again?
  • Why is it that all local fire districts didn't have to adhere to the 2% cap* when the town, county & school districts all did?
The person who wrote the comment below makes a good point even though it wasn't just the North Greece Fire District that sent that help to other areas.

Anonymous said...
I keep trying to forget, but I just got my County tax bill and read it.

The Union Firemen sure seem to be doing well. When will NGFD collect for all that OUT OF DISTRICT pumping they did? 
1/03/2012 4:14 PM

* "Chapter 97 of the Laws of 2011 (Part A-Property Tax Cap) establishes a tax levy limit (hereafter referred to as the “property tax cap”) that affects all local governments, most school districts in New York State, except New York City, and a host of other independent taxing entities such as library, fire and water districts."
 

2011, Buh-Bye