OSWEGO, NY – Wednesday morning, Sept. 7, is the start of a new year in the Oswego City School District as more than 4,000 students will enter the seven school buildings.
Summer was extremely busy throughout the district with major construction and renovations in several buildings. Meanwhile, administration and staff have been working diligently behind the scenes in the academic arena to prepare for the 2011-12 school year.
Some new faces will greet students at Oswego Middle School and the Charles E. Riley Elementary School. Mary Beth Fierro has moved to the secondary level and will be the new principal at OMS while Linda Doty, a former principal of the Fitzhugh Park Elementary School, will return as principal at CER.
Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist noted, “On behalf of the board of education, our faculty and staff, we look forward to serving the Oswego area educational community with the best educational program for our children. We take great pride in what our school districts strives to accomplish. We encourage all students to be involved and empowered in every aspect of school life and further promote our community to embrace each child with support and encouragement.”
Meanwhile, school administrators have been focused on the new school year.
Cathy Chamberlain, assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum, said, “This year we will begin unfolding the new common core standards for English Language Arts and mathematics for grades K-12. This will be a year of getting teachers and administrators aware of the new changes so that we can begin incorporating the new curriculum in the 2012-13 school year.”
Continuing she said, “We will also be finalizing some of the work for our ‘Response to Intervention’ Plan. This plan which will outline the tiered process that will be used to ensure that each at risk student will be provided with the strategies and intervention that their area(s) of deficit. We will also be working on making decisions regarding the common assessments we will be using that will eventually be a part of the new teacher evaluation system. These assessments will provide more data on how well the students are doing throughout the year to meet the targeted benchmarks. This information will be valuable as it will guide instructional decisions for the teacher.”
Donna Simmons, Fitzhugh Park Elementary School Principal, said, “I have been working on schedules, updating class lists, trying to work on a better discipline plan of action and of course catching up on all of the paperwork. We have many room changes for teachers.”
Meanwhile, across the river at Kingsford Park Elementary School, Principal Mary Volkomer said, “I’ve been working on building-wide scheduling, a Response to Intervention Plan, reviewing student data, ‘Race to the Top’ implications as well as the construction and impact of the building project on Kingsford Park.”
Volkomer also stressed, “We have a new main entrance which will be at the south end of the building on the Fifth Street side.”
Principals and administrators across the district have prepared for the new school year.
During the past few months construction crews have been swarming several buildings. The 2007 EXCEL capital project continues and the fruits of the proposal are beginning to bear fruit. One of the major initiatives of the capital project was to enhance the safety and security of Oswego’s students.
Crist noted, “When students return they will see new entrances at some of our school buildings. The new safe and secure entranceways at Kingsford Park, Charles E. Riley, Frederick Leighton and Oswego Middle School are just some of the major improvements that will be in place.”
Throughout the summer work continued in a variety of areas including heating, ventilation and air conditions, new ceilings, floors, gymnasiums, boiler room, rest rooms, lighting, and numerous other areas.
New state-of-the-art kitchens will be online at Frederick Leighton, Kingsford Park and Minetto Elementary.
While in the area of physical education, Oswego High School’s pool has been drained and relined while the new gym floor at OMS has been installed.
Campus Construction project manager Dave Butts said, “Schools will open on time. There are going to be some rough edges that we will continue to work on. However, the work will be done after the school day is completed. Overall, it has been a busy and productive summer.”