My wife, Angela, and I have lived in Hartsdale for 19 years. We are a diverse family, and we chose to come to Greenburgh after touring the schools and fi nding that here academics are respected and diversity is celebrated. We have one daughter who attended Greenburgh CSD schools from kindergarten through high school, graduating from Woodlands in 2014. She earned a bachelor’s degree and is now attending graduate school.
I am a retired software engineer. I have a BA in English, and an MS in Computer Science. I obtained a secondary school teaching credential in English in 1984 after student teaching in the Santa Ana school district in Southern California. I then chose to pursue a career in technology. Over the next three decades I became a technical editor, technical writer, and then software engineer, working for a Fortune 500 company (Unisys) and later Timeplex.
As we progressed through our district schools, I volunteered for the school reorganization task force, Highview homework help, the Community Engagement Committee, and the PTA Council (VP and Treasurer). I was then elected to the board of education, where I have served as a trustee, then vice president and currently as the board president.
Why did you run?
I ran to finish the good work that is already in progress, and to improve the things that still need to be improved. See below.
What are the top three challenges facing our school district?
1. Academic Achievement: Each learner is unique. Students may excel in one area and struggle in another based on both the subject matter and how lessons are taught. We must provide an academically challenging and supportive learning environment for students at all levels of achievement, and with a variety of learning styles.
2. Facilities: Our facilities are in dire need of repair or replacement as evidenced by multiple plumbing, heating, and asbestos-related school closures and evacuations during the winter months. The $700,000 repair reserve fund we voted for in 2016 is inadequate, and repeated lobbying efforts to increase NY state aid have not yet proven successful. Our recent facilities consolidation bond did not pass primarily because it was too expensive and there was insuffi cient state aid to offset the costs.
3. The Future: The world our children are growing up in is not the world their parents grew up in. Traditional academics are essential, but they are not enough. We must prepare our students to become adults who can compete in a global, diverse, technologically complex and ever-changing society without sacrifi cing their identities or their humanity.
How would you like to address those challenges?
1. Academic Achievement: We need to continue to provide academic rigor for advanced students, and academic support for everyone. We must implement programs, measure outcomes (within the programs as well as linked to external metrics like state tests and SAT/ACT scores), and adapt what we do for our students based on those outcomes. We have implemented an Advanced Learning Program (ALP) in ELA, math, and science for grades 1 through 6 associated with academic and cognitive aptitude tests. We are also using the Response To Intervention (RTI) model to provide varied levels of support in ELA and math, that includes six-week checkpoints. At Woodlands next Fall, we will implement the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, to include rigorous history, ELA, science and math courses and corresponding examinations. We have dedicated a block of time after school to make teachers available for homework help for all classes. We are also providing SAT and ACT preparation courses. To accommodate varying learning styles, we have provided Universal Design for Learning (UDL) training for our staff to ensure lessons include multiple means of gaining student interest, presenting content, and obtaining student feedback. Monitoring and measuring outcomes that matter to the community will be proof points for district stakeholders to rally and advocate for our students.
2. Facilities: We have shifted funding in our operating budget to make a few urgent repairs next year, and are pursuing an Energy Performance contract, but based on current cost estimates this will be insuffi cient. Going forward, we need to continue to push for more state aid, gather community input and improve communications to determine what solutions are acceptable.
3. The Future: Address changing technology by promoting Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics (STEAM) offerings. We have introduced a host of new coursework in these areas, and now need to participate in nationwide science research competitions to show our progress and identify areas for improvement. Address global diversity by teaching foreign languages and cultures at both elementary and secondary levels (currently Mandarin and Spanish). Opportunities to include other languages, as funding allows, is crucial. Address character education through teaching the International Baccalaureate (IB) learner profi le virtues (including being kind, open-minded, refl ective and principled). We offer a Digital Citizenship course to help students deal with our social-media saturated culture. Ensure the IB Diploma program gets implemented and delivered as expected. At the secondary level, the IB Diploma program will add a Theory of Knowledge course, which will ensure that our students will be self-aware and self-directed life-long learners. To put ideals into practice, under the CAS/ WISE portion of IB, Woodlands students will complete a two-year project in the areas of Creativity, Action, and (community) Service.