April 2019 District Newsletter
Calendar
4/01 - 4/02 NYS Grades 3-8 ELA Testing
4/09 Board of Education Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
4/12 Elementary Report Cards Distributed
4/15 - 4/19 No School, Spring Recess
4/22 Board of Education Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
4/30 - 5/01 NYS Grades 3-8 Math Testing
Early Dismissal Dates
All K-6 students will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. on May 14 and June 21. This is AFTER all students have had their lunch. Our faculty and staff will be using this time to prepare for the transition to three elementary schools. Please reach out to the principal with any questions.
NYS Assessment Message
The New York State assessments for about to start. Although these assessments are routine, questions sometimes come up about them. Why do we take these tests? What is their purpose? Are they necessary? Here’s an explanation:

School systems should be accountable to the public.
  1. The public is invested in schools and we need to measure what students are learning and if they are on track for success.
  2. Accountability systems also monitor for equity, ensuring that students living in poverty or students receiving special education services are progressing as well as other students.
  3. We are raising the bar and holding our students to the higher standards they will need to succeed in an increasingly competitive world.

State assessments are part of a balanced assessment system.
  1. Assessments and tests are a routine part of education; different types of assessments provide different types of information.
  2. The most useful assessments are those that teachers use to make adjustments to instruction based on day-to-day learning.
  3. Other assessments, such as SATs, AP tests, final exams, and state assessments provide information about what students learned over the school year (or longer).

Participation in the state tests is a part of the state’s accountability system.
  1. State assessments are actually a federal requirement, not a state requirement
  2. The replacement for the No Child Left Behind law, the Every Child Succeeds Act, continues the 3-8 annual testing requirement.
  3. There are consequences for districts that have less than 95% of their students participating in state assessments.
New Schools Meet For the First Time
On the March 18th Professional Development Day, our three new elementary schools met for the first time. The new school staff members got to know one another, toured their buildings, previewed schedules, and started to develop their shared mission and vision. It truly was a day of new beginnings!
Preparation for Transition to Three Schools
Preparation for the transition to three elementary schools continues. Various committees are working on the transition, as are different parts of the District’s administrative team.

  • The District Transition Committee includes representatives from all five elementary schools (parents, staff, and community members). This group is making recommendations about names, identities, and transition programs between buildings. Their meetings are open to the public. Notes from the meetings, as well as meeting dates, can be found at the District’s transition planning page.
  • Ongoing meetings with the government and community partners are occurring, as the best possible use for the two closing schools are explored.
  • Questions and suggestions from parents and community members are being collected through an online tool. Questions and ideas can be submitted at any time and are regularly reviewed.
  • As decisions are made about the transition to three schools, information is added to a Questions and Answers Document which is on the transition website. Similar questions (and their answers) have been grouped by topic.

Work remains to be done, but a great deal of progress has been made to prepare for this very important transition. Rather than thinking about this as merging five schools into three, think of this as the reorganization into a new system with three “new” elementary schools all aligned with one another. Below is a video that showcases Smith Intermediate School. This video will be shown to students that will be going to Smith next year.
Transition talk video with Superintendent Hoose and Board of Education President Janet Griffin.
Welcome tour guide video of Smith School.
Kindergarten Registration
& Screening Dates
Steps to register your child:
  • Child must be 5 on or before December 1, 2019. Children who turn 6 before December 1, 2019 must attend school.
  • Parents are urged to call (607)-758-4106, prior to April 20, 2019, to make a registration/screening appointment and to receive a pre-registration packet.
  • All students must have an appointment prior to the school registration/screening dates listed below!

All screenings will take place at Barry Primary School
Dates for screenings:
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019
  • Friday, June 28, 2019
  • Monday, July 1, 2019

There will be a Kindergarten Meet and Greet in the month of May.
  • This is an event for parents AND their entering kindergarten student.
  • There will be activities for students and students/families will get to meet all of our kindergarten teachers and other staff members.
Spring Sports Season Preview
Although winter continues its tight grip on Central New York, Cortland Athletics has already made the transition to spring with several varsity programs kicking off action over the past few weeks. The final stretch of the academic year promises to be jam packed with excitement, so be sure to make your way out to a game, meet or match this spring and cheer on our Purple Tigers!

With schedules just starting to get underway, we sat down with all of our varsity head coaches to get an outlook on their teams for this coming season. The following rundown will give you a sneak peek inside the season for several of our spring athletics programs. Read more...
Science Honor Society Starts at CHS
It was at a STANYS (Science Teachers Association of NYS) conference that Cortland High School Physics teacher, Charles Canestero first heard of the NYS Science Honor Society. Canestero said, “immediately when I heard about the Science Honor Society, I thought we should definitely bring this to Cortland High School. The more I looked into it, the more I thought this would be a great opportunity for our students and be something really special.”

The New York State Science Honor Society was established in 1991 and was the first statewide Science Honor Society in the United States. Its purpose is to encourage an interest and understanding of science and science-related careers, as well as to recognize the academic achievement in science of high school students.  Read more...
Universal Pre-K Program
Universal Pre-K offers engaging activities and nutritious meals in safe neighborhood centers. This free, half-day program promotes early education and independence through creative play experiences with other children and is staffed by caring professionals.

To be eligible your child must reside in the Cortland Enlarged City School District and have a birth date between 12/2/14 and 12/1/15. For information on program
locations and the registration process, call 758-4106.
High School Students Learn Songwriting
Songwriting can be described as the art of taking a blank canvas of words and stringing them together to make meaning. It is not something that often is taught in high school. Cortland’s modern band program is one of the few music programs in the state that caters to students who are eager to learn how to write and performer their songs using instruments such as guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard.

Thanks to a grant from Cortland County, local songwriter, Chris Merkley, has been working with students in the modern band class throughout this semester. On Friday, March 23rd Chris brought his whole band “Digger Jones,” to explain and demonstrate the songwriting process.

Music teacher Jon Keefner said, “Songwriting can be an excellent way of enabling students to express themselves about topics that are important to them. This particular task is part of the Deeper Learning Project in which students are asked to answer the driving question, ‘How can music be used to inspire social change?’ Students were able to exercise voice and choice to pick a social issue that is important to them. It was great that we were able to have singer/songwriter Chris Merkley and his band here to talk about the process.” Read more...
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