Outgoing North Collins School Board Trustee Richard Foster, left, receives a plaque from Superintendent Benjamin Halsey to thank Foster for his years of service on the board.
The North Collins School Board learned at its June 18 meeting that the High School had again risen in a local publication’s annual review of 135 Western New York high schools. Now at 34, the school had been in 40th spot last year and and 52 the year prior. Building Principal Annie Metcalf said “It is the consistently improving performance of our teachers and students that is most impressive.” She also noted that the school was also presented, for the first time, a “Subject Award” for English language Arts/Foreign Language. That award records that the scores in those subjects are in the top 10% of scores from other area schools.
Metcalf relayed that three Seniors, Kyra Malinowski, Jessica Smith and Dylan Schultz were honored at the Superintendent’s Scholar Dinner held at Salvatore’s and that Jessica Lawton had been named Outstanding Pitcher in the schools Softball league, while Jan Warren was named “Coach of the Year.”
The Board bid farewell to five-year plus member and past president, Richard Foster who ended his term that evening. Superintendent Benjamin Halsey, in presenting Foster with a plaque said, “Dick is a person who will do the research. He’ll take the time to study an issue. He has touched everybody who works here.”
Foster responded by saying, “It has been my pleasure to work with the board these past years, It’s one of the highlights of my life. I was in education for 38 years and it seems fitting to end it this way.”
Halsey echoed the ranking accomplishment in his District Status Report for the year just ended. Aside from the ranking, the high school was able to achieve a 96.3% graduation rate among all students, attaining a 100% mark for males. Halsey said the rate places North Collins in second place among 97 schools in WNY. The statewide overall graduation rate is 74%. The report also featured a detailed “report card” on the district’s performance following implementation of the new “common core” curriculum mandate. All areas noted that adequate yearly progress was being made.
Financially, Halsey said that the budget approved by voters in May that was below the tax cap, gives the district flexibility for levying taxes in the future. He noted the reduction of some staff that is allowing some areas of concern receive some restoration. While the cost per student in the district is often mentioned, Halsey reported that it is in line with similar districts. The numbers for the 2010-’11 school year show a total cost per pupil of $21,288. In similar districts the figure was $18,876 and for all of the state it was $20,410. In the general education category the total for general education was nearly identical to similar districts, it was in special education that a nearly $2,000 per pupil higher cost was detected compared to those same districts.
Halsey also reported that the extracurricular activities have seen improvement and even expansion with sports teams’ success, the musical, “Bald for Bucks” a new after-school program at the elementary school and increase use of facilities by multiple organizations.
For the future the Superintendent saw greater technological integration, especially with the use of personal devices, room layout and design and better communication with staff, students and the community. He also stated that additional collaborative use of resources in both instruction and function will be researched with neighboring school districts, institutions of higher education, agencies and municipalities.