February 2019 District Newsletter
February Calendar
  • 2/12 Board of Education Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
  • 2/18 - 2/22 February Recess, No School for Students
  • 2/26 Board of Education Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
Family Involvement Survey
Recently letters were sent sharing information about the district's  Family Engagement Survey.   We hope you received the information about our continuing school improvement efforts and will take a few minutes to share your feedback by completing the 25 question survey. Surveys provide information which we use in the decision making and planning processes as we begin to prepare for the upcoming school year.
The survey will be open through  February 22, 2019 . Your response to the survey is very important.   Please take ten to fifteen minutes and share your ideas, experiences and feedback! We want to hear from you!
 **Paper copies of the survey are also available at your child(ren)'s school. If you prefer to complete the survey on paper, please ask for a copy from the building office.
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.
New Names for “New” Schools
At their January 22nd meeting, the Board of Education renamed the district's elementary schools. This was based on the recommendation of the District transition Committee:
  • Franklyn S. Barry Primary School (Barry Primary)
  • Ferdinand E. Smith Intermediate School (Smith Intermediate)
  • Randall Middle School (Randall Middle)

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. 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.
Fourth Graders Sing With Ithacapella
On January 16th, fourth graders from across the district united for an exciting musical experience! The fourth graders came together to present a combined concert with the college a cappella group Ithacappella, for community members, staff and parents. This concert, was a collaborative effort of the music teachers in all five elementary schools.

Virgil elementary music teacher, Jonathan Keefner said, “When our team of music teachers met during collaboration time, we saw an opportunity to create community through music during a transition period where community will be more important than ever."

Ashley Merritt, student at Randall School said, “I really enjoyed this performance. During the last rehearsal we had Ithacappella come and give us some advice on how we can make our performance better. Ithacappella also showed us how to beatbox which was really cool!”   Read more...
Update on Auditorium Project
The transformation of our auditorium into a performing arts center is continuing, even though there are no physical indications so far. At their January 22nd meeting, the Board of Education approved the contracts for the project. Work will begin on or about the first of July and is expected to conclude by the end of the 2019-20 school year. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Most of the work will occur inside the shell of the auditorium, with the exception of the raising of the roof over the stage.
  • All of the seats will be removed, renovated, and reinstalled. They’ll be purple when they return, rather than the orange that they are now.
  • The interior ceiling will be removed, reinforced, and replaced with a modern, acoustically and aesthetically superior design.
  • The sound and lighting systems will be upgraded and improved.
  • A handicap-accessible seating section will be established on one side of the auditorium.

Because the work will take place so close to the the bus circle and front courtyard, foot traffic and vehicular traffic patterns will be impacted during construction. Large and clear signs will be employed to direct new traffic patterns. 
Title I Funding
Title I (pronounced “Title One”) is the largest federal aid program for elementary, middle, and high schools. Through Title I, the Federal government provides funding to school districts around the country based on the number of low-income families in each district. Each district uses its Title I money for extra educational services for children who are behind in school. Schools where more than half of all students are low-income can operate a school-wide Title I project.

Local districts, schools, and parents know best what their students need to succeed. Title I allows them to decide how to use Title I money to help students who are behind. In Cortland, Title I funds are being spent in these ways:
  • Reading specialists who help students to read and write
  • Math specialists who help students with their numeracy
  • A teacher who works with students for whom English is a new language
  • Professional development and training for teachers
  • Literacy supplies and materials

Title I money can also be used for different types of parent involvement activities. It can be spent on things such as:
  • Family literacy activities;
  • Parent meetings and training activities;
  • Transportation and child care so that parents can come to school activities or volunteer in the classroom;
  • Materials that parents can use to work with their children at home;
  • Parent resource centers.
High School Students Bowl and Ice Skate in Physical Education Class
Sean Mack, one of the physical education teachers at Cortland High School, has been taking his students off campus for ice skating and bowling. Part of the goal of the physical education program has been to instill a lifestyle of life long activity in his students. In order to do this, he and the other physical education teachers have incorporated different units that involve activities that the students can practice throughout their lives, such as bowling and ice skating. Bowling and Ice skating are offered for free to all 11th and 12th grade students.

Before the holiday break, students were bused to SUNY Cortland Park Center Alumni Arena. Students then laced up and ice skated. 11th grade student, Alysha Wehnke said, “some people have not ice skated before so it is cool we get to try it in physical education class. Getting out of the building in the middle of the day to be active always makes me feel better throughout the remainder of my day. Read more...
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