School board could vote to bolster youth program

Published Jul 11, 2018 at 4:00pm

Approving a fifth year for a youth development program that aims to boost graduation rates for at-risk students, plus hiring a new elementary psychologist and middle-school business teacher, will be considered by the Board of Education Thursday afternoon.

Among other items before the nine-member board will be
individual employment agreements with nine school district employees.

The board meets at 2 p.m. Thursday at the school district office, 409 Bell Road.

On the agenda:

• For the youth development program, a resolution calls for an agreement with the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection for $267,280 for a term from July 1 this year to June 30, 2019.

Launched in 2014, the youth development program has included adult professional youth advocates who serve as mentors and role models, working with students to help address needs along with obstacles that may hinder success.

It has focused on grades 9-12 at Rome Free Academy, involving certain students who pose various risk factors such as high absenteeism, low test scores, and eligibility for free or reduced price lunches.

The program included about 50 students who were on track to graduate from RFA in the recently completed 2017-18 school year.

It has been praised by district Superintendent Peter C. Blake, including telling the board at a December meeting that the program is clearly working.

• Instructional staff to be appointed include Susan Schaeffer, business teacher at Strough Middle School, at a salary of $55,336; and Brianna Janes, school psychologist at Staley Elementary School, at a salary of $50,806.

Both appointments are effective Sept. 1 this year through Aug. 31, 2022.

The board last month approved the creation of several school district positions based on needs, including business teacher and psychologist jobs among them.

• A resolution to accept individual agreements includes district Treasurer Nicholas Panuccio, Jr.; Maintenance Supervisor Marc Elefante; Senior Custodian Richard Randall; Public Relations Assistant Shannon Eddy; JROTC program Instructors Kevin Tracy and Dellouise Pray; School/Home/Community Liaisons Michelle Tikalsky, Shelley Razy and Jennifer Davis.

Further information on the individual contract terms was not immediately available.