Oriskany schools to create catch-up program for students

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ORISKANY — An academic catch-up program is being created for students of Oriskany Central School district who may be struggling with remote learning during the pandemic.

Junior/Senior High School Principal Jamie Grimshaw reported during the Oct. 20 Board of Education meeting, held at the junior/senior high school, that the program allows for the opportunity to have additional face-to-face instruction.

The program will be held in two sessions — one in the morning and one in the afternoon — and serve up to 40 students.

The program will allow students “the opportunity to spend more time in an academic learning environment and have access to all teachers,” Grimshaw said. Children who may be falling behind in a remote learning environment or are struggling because they are not in a typical school setting, will be brought into the program as necessary.

Grimshaw said he met with school counselors last week to derive a Learning Center schedule for specialized study in a small group setting.

It’s where the district can provide, “targeted instruction for students who may be missing out on instruction from a normal school year,” he said.

The principal also recognized there are three new staff members at the school this year: one Grades 7 and 8 math teacher, one Grades 7 and 8 English Language Arts teacher and a special education teacher.

Elementary Principal Mark J. Ranieri said this was an unprecedented school year, but that things at the school are off to a good start.

He recognized pupils and parents who have been vigilant to new health and safety protocols, as well as drop-off and pick-up schedules, with little to no issues, while balancing in-school and remote learning.

Ranieri said while a traditional Halloween will not be celebrated due to the pandemic this year, the Parent Teacher Association is providing pumpkins for pupils to carve, and other non-traditional activities are being planned.

Director of Pupil Personnel Services Melissa Lowell updated the Board of Education about the initiation of the Bravo program, which will be launched on Nov. 1.

As part of the Bravo program, if someone sees a colleague “doing something great,” they may be nominated and entered to win a gift drawing at the end of the month.

The program is meant to build morale and to help support the “social and emotional well-being” of the school community, Lowell said.

Parent and district resident Louis Ciotti asked the board if the district was going to conduct a transportation survey for parents to see if they prefer to have their children bused to school or provide their own transportation because, “If I had the opportunity to drop off my kids every day, then I would find a way to make that work.”

He also inquired about Wednesday school work as part of the hybrid learning schedule. Wednesdays are designed as off days for custodians and staff to conduct a deep cleaning of school facilities. But school work provided to students on Wednesdays, “seems to be more fluff work — Is there a possibility to get more active work?,” Ciotti asked. “I’d like to see more math work, particularly for my daughter.”

Board of Education President Michelle Anderson said the board would get back to him on his inquiries.

In other business:

• Tenure appointment of Probationary Teaching Assistant Linda Romano was unanimously approved by the board.

• Tenure appointment for long-term substitute K-12 Speech Teacher Barbara Sanford-Ferrick was unanimously approved.

• Alumnus Noah Hartung was unanimously approved to serve as a substitute teacher during the 2020-21 school year.

• Extracurricular Appointments: Michelle McGrath was approved as the co-advisor of the Ski Club for the 2020-21 school year; and Kelly Nuccio was also approved as co-advisor.

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