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Briarcliff Schools Close the Books on Busy Year

Meant to be their final meeting as a board—it wasn't—the trustees celebrate achievements, say some goodbyes, tie up loose ends and prepare to meet again next week.

In a fast-moving evening devoted largely to farewells and unfinished business, the Briarcliff Manor school board officially wrapped up an eventful school year in a final meeting Monday. Then, indicative of their workload, members voted to do it again next week in an overtime session.

As it was, for much of the nominal final meeting, board members saluted student achievement, teacher influence, custodial service and the contributions of two of their own.

In addition to the accolades, which started in the middle school cafeteria and continued in the theater next door, the board also took up a number of items long settled but still requiring official action. Voting on those items, the trustees:

CREATED the position of assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction assessment and human resources, for, among other things, curriculum, a job deemed necessary to implement new Core Curriculum standards mandated by the state as part of a federal program.

SCHEDULED an Aug. 7 vote on previously discussed plans to spend $160,000 from the district’s unassigned fund balance to build a new playground at .

ADOPTED sweeping rules to safeguard against further brain injury after a student suffered a concussion.

Concussion policy

For students who sustain a blow to the head in sports or other school activity, the rules adopted Monday spell out specific steps for adult evaluation and management of the injury.

Designed to prevent further, potentially more serious brain damage, the new policy requires coaches, physical education teachers, nurses and others working with student athletes to be trained and certified annually to recognize concussions and manage them. Noting the cumulative dangers of repeated concussions, the rules spell out a strict return-to-play policy that includes a doctor’s assurance that an injured athlete has been symptom-free for at least seven days.

The policy comes at a time of growing concern for the safety of young athletes, especially in so-called “contact” sports like football. Last week, the national Pop Warner youth football league restricted how much contact its players, aged five to 15, undergo in practices.

Playground vote

At Todd Elementary School, if voters approve the spending and the district meets its construction goals, the new playground could be up and running by Labor Day, Stuart Mattey, assistant superintendent for business and technology, told the board.

In addition to setting the vote, the board also declared that the project, a Type II action, will not have “a significant adverse impact on the environment.”  

Core Curriculum

New national education standards, called Core Curriculum, are described as an effort to produce graduates who can meet increasingly tough college or workplace challenges. For multiple districts throughout Westchester and across the state, they have often also meant a new chair in central administration to oversee the standards’ implementation.

While the standards define an educational goal, they leave it to local districts to map the specifics on the route to achieve it. Briarcliff Manor’s newest administrator, in addition to putting the new curriculum in place, will also supervise instruction, assessment and human resources.

Superintendent Neal S. Miller said a search firm employed by the district had attracted a field of 58 candidates for the job and narrowed it down to 13, ultimately naming four to be interviewed by the district. Miller said he will recommend one candidate to the board, one of the items to be addressed at its meeting next Monday.

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McKey Rivers June 20, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Many thanks to Mr. Bashford and Mr. Rotondo for their outstanding contributions to the well being of the Briarcliff School District. Hopefully their successors will emulate the strong balance achieved over the course of the past three years of continuing educational excellance and restoration of fiscal responsibility.
Mike Valenti June 20, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Mr. Bashford and Mr. Rotundo presided of a three year "reign of terror" by the Briarcliff School Board that nearly destroyed all that was great about this school district. They tortured and disrespected many loved and respected administrators until they left, including Dr. Fran Wills - our Superintendent of 16 years. Their hardball, disrepspectful treatment of faculty and staff was the catalyst for district-wide unionization. They brought disrespect and disregard for the community and the students to new and unthinkable heights. They pulled punches repeatedly on their fellow BOE members. And, they sharply divided this community. It is with pleasure that I wish them the very best in their retirement as BOE Trustees.
W Obermeyer June 20, 2012 at 08:51 PM
As the old proverb goes - Rather let the world think you are a fool than open your mouth (again) and remove all doubt.
Mike Valenti June 20, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Oh....we're doing Mark Twain quotes. Here's one for Werner: "...we all know that in all matters of mere opinion that [every] man is insane--just as insane as we are...we know exactly where to put our finger upon his insanity: it is where his opinion differs from ours....All Democrats are insane, but not one of them knows it. None but the Republicans. All the Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats can perceive it. The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane."
Mike Valenti June 20, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Just for the sake of levity, here is one more Mark Twain quote: "In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards." Mark Twain quotes? Anyone else?


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