Silver Creek hears plans for elementary students

SILVER CREEK – Silver Creek Elementary School Principal Scott Rudnicki started off the board of education meeting by presenting on the comprehensive school education plan for the elementary school.

One of the main focuses of Rudnicki’s presentation was the introduction of the state common core learning standards into teacher’s curriculum.

“The biggest thing is timing. The time frame is what is stressful for the teachers because it is already May and the state has yet to release all the information,” he said.

He said even though the state has changed the curriculum several times since coming out with it last June, teachers feedback has still been positive.

He said the district is still waiting on some content and skills from the state, but a curriculum map is “ever changing” based on what the state releases.

Rudnicki said the focus so far this year has been mainly on professional development to get teachers up to speed on the changes. He said in the near future the district will align its resources to the new curriculum, bring the Seneca Nation into the new curriculum, develop new report cards based on the new skills and curriculum and maintain the new open house format of a presentation on changes in the school.

He said the positive intervention and support system implemented in the cafeteria is working well where a class works toward winning low- or no-cost incentives like pizza or hot dogs in the park. He said the character education program is also going well.

He said it is a goal to have both these programs under the control of the Shared Decision Making Team, a group including Rudnicki as well as teachers, students and parents, which will tweak programs as needed.

The board also heard a presentation from High School Social Studies Teacher Thomas Buczkowski on a request for new textbooks. He said the current textbooks have a copyright date of 1998. He said this makes them dated in more ways than one.

“There is more of an emphasis now on writing and critical thinking,” he said.

He added times have changed, where “homework” is more flexible and is more like classwork and also lessons are not about copying down notes but are more guided and interactive.

He said the request is for 35 textbooks to be used in class as a supplemental resource. He added the purchase would come with a one-year free subscription to the online text, which if it helped students with reading disabilities could be purchased later.

The final hearing of the budget was also presented. Nothing had changed since the last presentation with the total budget at $20.5 million, the tax levy at $5.6 million, a 2.7 percent increase, and the full-value tax rate at $17.76 per $1,000 assessed value, a $0.47 increase. Full budget details are available on the school’s website The budget vote will be held May 21 from 1 to 9 p.m. in the high school lobby. In addition to the budget there will also be propositions to expend $118,978 from the vehicle reserve on a bus purchase and create another vehicle reserve up to $850,000. Two school board seats are also up for election.

The next board of education meeting will be held May 22.