Oswego School Board Committee Says Oui To French Club Trip

By Bill Foley, OCT Contributing Writer

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego City School District Board of Education met on Monday evening at the Education Center for the first of two February meetings.

Superintendent of Schools Benjamin Halsey had a brief report as he turned the floor over to Oswego Middle School French teacher Lilly DeCaire who explained the proposed French Club Trip to Quebec.

She explained to the board that the students will travel on Saturday and Sunday in early June and the trip will not interrupt instruction.

DeCaire said this is a tremendous educational trip as past students received a wonderful cultural experience. She noted, “This is definitely student centered.”

She said this is a wonderful opportunity and this will be her 14th year conducting such a trip.

Chaperones are not an issue as the adult to student ratio is one to ten and faculty members from OMS volunteer their time.

DeCaire explained that the trip ties in with the standards. The students will make connections with what they have learned in the classroom especially in relation to the Iroquois Nation.

She said, “This is an extension of my curriculum.”

In order to make the trip the students must have a passing grade in French as well as sign an agreement with parents which requires certain specifications that must be followed.

She explained “there are opportunities to fundraise” for students she  encourages them to raise their money for the trip.

The members of the board seemed very receptive to the trip and it is expected that the field trip will be on an upcoming regular meeting agenda.

The superintendent talked briefly about the much talked about prospects of redistricting the students.

He said, “The redistricting proposal is in a preliminary draft with a formal presentation coming at the next board meeting for the board consideration.”

The regular meeting agenda resolutions were relatively routine.

Approval was given for posting the Assistant Director of Special Programs position as well as OMS modified baseball head coach.

Board members also approved a transfer of funds for the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness in the amount of $3,600.

With the district already using $10,000 for this from a school improvement grant for Oswego High, Frederick Leighton and Fitzhugh Park elementary schools, the re-allocation of funds will allow for the other schools in the district to participate in the staff, student and family surveys that align to the DTSDE 2.9 Rubric.

Approval was given to hire PLC Associates  to conduct the surveys.

The board members also accepted a prize award of one free consulting day plus onsite workshop of webinar  which was won by FPS Principal Donna Simons while attending the SAANYS Conference.

There were two items from board members.

Lynda Sereno congratulated the “team” who put together the annual musical of “Pippin.” She thanked the staff for its effort and a wonderful job.

Heather DelConte focused on improving the environment within the schools as students are facing anxiety and stress. She asked about the televisions being off in the lunch rooms.

DelConte encouraged a positive atmosphere as some children come to school from “stressful situations.”

During the committee meeting Oswego Middle School Principal Beth Fierro and Assistant Principal Robyn Proud made a brief presentation and spoke about numerous points of pride.

Students at all academic levels are benefiting from the OMS  program.

There are numerous enrichment offerings including Living Environment, Integrated Algebra, Spanish 1, French 1 and Career and Financial Management as well as Accelerated seventh grade math and science.

She spoke of the pilot “Hands on History” Club which will be traveling to Gettysburg in the Spring and the state of the art communications program with daily broadcasts by ‘The Daily Buc.”

A ‘Gateway to Technology’ program is a pre-engineering course and part of “Project Lead the Way.”

Clubs, extracurricular programs, a highly regarded and recognized music program and a community atmosphere highlight the school.

Students ‘At-Risk’ have numerous programs including online learning, prioritized math and English, an intensive learning center, PLATO lab, alternative scheduling,  and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support initiatives.

It was noted that this was no longer a suspension classroom situation and there is an expanded plan to work with ninth graders as well as seventh and eighth graders.

Fierro explained an alternative schedule format for a small percentage of students to assist in increasing attendance for at risk students that have difficulty in attending school or have difficulty making it on time to school.

She explained that the administration has started to use the Oswego County Youth Court in place of suspension.

Already the process has been implemented and they explained the positive impact that the program had on a specific person.

The Buc School alternative was a transition team for the 13 students who returned to OMS as well as meeting with students and parents with personal meetings.

A teacher volunteered to assist with helping advising the students.

It was noted there was an interest in community service.

OMS has built partnerships with SUNY Oswego, which have proven beneficial for not only Oswego secondary students, but also the college mentors.

Sereno expressed appreciation for the teamwork displayed by the administration as there was a personal one-on-one solution which resulted in a positive outcome with the development of a plan which was implemented in an efficient manner.

The next regular meeting of the Oswego City School District Board of Education is scheduled for February 23 at 5 p.m. in the Education Center Board Room.