Minutes November 30, 2010


Chappaqua, New York



November 30, 2010



8:15 p.m.



Horace Greeley Commons



Board of Education
Janet Benton, President
Gregg Bresner, Vice President
Alyson Kiesel
Jeffrey Mester
Randall Katchis


Staff Members

Mr. John Chambers, Interim Superintendent

Dr. Lyn McKay, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

Mr. Thomas Cardellichio, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources

Mr. John Chow, Assistant Superintendent for Business

Theresa Markley, District Clerk


Visitors Present:

Representatives of the Chappaqua PTA, school PTAs, building administrators, faculty, Bruce Dennis, Deborah Raizes consultants with Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, and other interested citizens.


President Janet Benton convened the public session at 7:30 p.m. Janet Benton moved to reconvene to Executive session to discuss negotiations, litigation, personnel and real property. Gregg Bresner seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

At 8:30 p.m. Jeffrey Mester moved to adjourn the Executive Session and reconvene the public session. Alyson Kiesel seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

President Benton welcomed everyone.

She turned the meeting over to Interim Superintendent John Chambers and Deputy Superintendent Lyn McKay to introduce the latest release of Classroom Clips.


  1. Classroom Clips: Kindergarten Conversations

    Dr. McKay introduced Kindergarten Conversations at Grafflin School with teachers Lisa Ultan and Beth Leventhal. John Chambers and Dr. McKay expressed particular delight in this clip as kindergarten children learn to discuss books. They listen to each other, talk, give evidence, and respectfully disagree on topics in the early stages of critical and independent thinking skills.

  2. Response to Intervention (RtI) - academic strategies

    District Staff Developer Mary Ford explained the RtI mandate that requires districts to provide multiple levels of instructional support before identifying a student as learning disabled in the area of reading. New York State regulations define RtI as a school district's process to determine if a student responds to scientific, research-based instruction. Effective July 1, 2012, all school districts in New York State must have an RtI program in place as part of its evaluation process to determine if a student in grades K-4 is a student with a learning disability in the area of reading (NYSED, 2009). We currently have a very strong program in place and have reduced the number of students requiring services from 18% to 12% because of our assessments. An RtI model will eventually replace current Academic Intervention Services (AIS) model, although many of the components and structures are similar and in place. Our goal is to eventually have a process for K-8, literacy and mathematics.

  3. Elementary Principals' Goals

    Elementary principals Jim Skoog from Westorchard, Dr. Michael Kirsch from Grafflin and Eric Byrne from Roaring Brook discussed building goals that are tied to the Board's strategic question regarding student learning.

    Jim Skoog noted that at the elementary level classrooms are focused on meeting individual needs of learners that vary within the school and within the individual classroom. A video clip illustrated the work of a professional staff developer sharing an assessment and observational data to provide a "prescription" for a particular student. Faculty and grade level meetings have been focused on collecting data on individual students. They will then analyze and assess this data, share it with each other to adapt instructional strategies that will support each other.

    Mike Kirsch shared goals at Grafflin, including literacy work to expand offerings for older students and training teachers to utilize Smartboards more effectively. He pointed out that the district expects all children to meet or exceed grade level benchmarks as determined by universal assessments. Mike and Assistant Principal Debbie Alspach have begun working with a classroom teacher on each grade level and one of the reading teachers to track student progress or need for more assistance. This is in preparation to implement a more formal response to an intervention program.

    Eric Byrne reported that in line with the staff development work last spring, every grade level came up with a goal of supporting individual learners in differentiated classroom. Since finding time for completing some of the topics suggested by teachers is a challenge in itself, it was decided to restructure some of their faculty meetings to utilize the time more effectively. Teachers identified five different topics such as using technology across all student needs in a classroom, supporting critical thinking using inquiry circles, etc. and were provided baskets of resource materials and a revamped professional library identifying materials and online resources to support their research.

  4. Elementary Report Card Changes

    Dr. McKay explained that the Elementary Report Card Committee was formed in the winter of 2009-2010 and includes teachers from each school and grade-level, building administrators, parents and staff developers. Three major concerns were identified: 1) Existing report cards do not reflect the current literacy and math programs; 2) Report cards are inconsistent between grade levels and between schools; and 3) Reports cards need to more effectively communicate student progress and be formatted to be transmitted electronically using Infinite Campus. If the revised format is adopted for this school year, it will be used for the first report card, distributed in early February (possibly in electronic form). The report card distribution has also been revised to provide two report cards instead of three with a report conference in November. Dr. Mckay explained some issues with the template format available via Infinite Campus that need to be tweaked to make print and online copies look the same and promised a look at the final document for a future meeting.

Questions and Comments on Presentation - there was one comment.


Information Business Affairs


President's Report


Superintendent Search - Consultants' Update

Bruce Dennis and Debbie Raizes of Hazard, Young, Attea provided a progress report. They reviewed the full report prepared by Chuck Fowler. After spending over three days in the district, they met with approximately 100 individuals and small groups comprised of board members, principals of all six schools, parents and Parent Association leaders, Chappaqua Congress of Teachers leaders, other teachers and support staff, plus two open, public community meetings for all residents. In addition, an online survey garnered only 80 responses, statistically, an insignificant number for a district this size. The strengths of the district, as well as the issues, needs, and concerns of the district were important for the consultants to understand. They will then use these perceptions to find the appropriate candidate for Chappaqua. The desired characteristics and attributes of the new superintendent were also defined. The position has been widely advertised and active, direct recruitment pursued with good results. It is anticipated that a slate of candidates will be proposed to board by mid-January, board interviews late January or early February, and appointment in early spring.


Finance Committee Report

Randall Katchis and Jeffrey Mester reported that the Finance Advisory Group held its second meeting. The group reviewed the budget preview presented at the last board meeting and have decided to divide into three subgroups: 1. Communications: Interact with community using a survey; 2. Statistical: Perform statistical analysis of contracts, data, etc. 3. Mandate: Compare spending to other districts in the county and understand what expenses we cannot control. Our school attorney, David Shaw will address the next meeting to help understand state laws and mandates.


Communication Committee Report

Alyson Kiesel noted that the latest issue of News and Views has been distributed. Discussion has included budget topics and distribution of future issues. Meeting is scheduled for next week with New Castle Community Media Center (NCCMC formerly NCCTV) to discuss issues with bandwidth and cost of live streaming of board meetings.


Facility Committee

Jeffrey Mester noted that he would like to add an updated a Facility Report. Randall Katchis reported that Campbell has completed the survey, topographical study, sketch of what will fit, and next step is to determine drainage.


Superintendent's Report


Latest News from Albany

Race to the Top - Chappaqua will receive zero dollars from the $700 million dollars awarded to the state. Although no regulations will be available from the state until spring, the district will still have to follow the mandates for district evaluations of administrators and teachers and have begun looking at a possible process.

Governor-elect Cuomo has indicated that he would support a 2% property tax cap. Schools and small municipalities do not have much latitude to increase income except for cutting budget.

Question and Comments on Report Items




First reading of Revision to Policy 6035 Disposition of Personal Property and Equipment

After reading the minor revision to Policy 6035 Disposition of Personal Property and Equipment, President Benton asked if board members would like to forego the required two readings. By consensus the Board agreed and Jeffrey Mester moved to adopt the revision to Policy 6035 Disposition of Personal Property and Equipment. Alyson Kiesel seconded. The motion passed unanimously.




Jeffrey Mester moved to approve the Minutes of November 9, 2010. Gregg Bresner seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Recommended Action: Personnel

Interim Superintendent John Chambers made the following recommendations:





"BE IT RESOLVED that, the Board of Education hereby appoints the individuals listed as per diem substitute teachers to be employed on an "as needed" basis":

Christine Donohue, and

Tiffany Mueller.


"BE IT RESOLVED that, the Board of Education hereby appoints the individuals listed as AP proctors to be employed on an "as needed" basis effective for the 2010/2011 school year, or earlier at the discretion of the Board of Education":

Karen Berkey

Barbara Brandfon

Janine Bronen

Lori Brosnan

Karen Clarke

Joan Handwerger

Lizabeth Haas

Barbara Keimes

Elaine Krim

Raquel Moskovitz-Grey

Paula Petito

Beth Quinn

Audrey Rabinowitz

Barbara Scheine

Giselle Weiss

Lynne Brennan

Charles Buchanan

Rita Campana

Gabrielle Giordano

Noah Mitchell

Lauren Mozian

Request for Discretionary Leave of Absence:

Ms. Hedi Sperling, Teaching Assistant, Douglas Grafflin Elementary School, effective November 10, 2010 through November 19, 2010.

Increase in Position - Part Time (.5) to Full Time (1.0) Probationary:

Ms. Ann Ouellette, Teaching Assistant, Seven Bridges Middle School, effective November 23, 2010.

Appointment: Teaching Assistant

Ms. Jessica Moschetti, Teaching Assistant, Horace Greeley High School, effective November 22, 2010, $20,356, prorated.

Appointment: Tenure

Ms. Christina Annunziata, Teaching Assistant, Robert E. Bell Middle School, effective January 16, 2011, $20,356, prorated.

Alyson Kiesel moved to approve the recommendations. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.



Interim Superintendent John Chambers made the following recommendations:


BE IT RESOLVED that, the Board of Education hereby decreases the hours of Marie Masi, Teacher Aide at Westorchard Elementary School from 29.75 hours per week to 28.75 hours per week, effective November 9, 2010.

Gregg Bresner moved to approve the recommendations. Alyson Kiesel seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Recommended Action: Other


Alyson Kiesel moved to approve CSE summaries reported to the Board on November 12, 2010. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


President Benton explained that the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES election of component school districts on November 9, 2010 to fill their board vacancy, resulted in a tie. The second date of November 29 was added to the calendar, but was cancelled after BOCES announced that any date until December 2 would suffice. Therefore, Jeffrey Mester offered one vote on behalf of the district for Tina Mackay to fill the vacancy on the Putnam Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (PNWBOCES) to serve from December 3, 2010 to June 30, 2013. (Candidates for the position were: Tina Mackay and Alice Joselow) Alyson Kiesel seconded. Bresner, Katchis, Kiesel, and Mester voted for Mackay. Benton opposed. The motion passed.


Randall Katchis offered the following motion, "Be it resolved that the Chappaqua Board of Education, in the event of a second tie vote in the election to fill a PNW/BOCES Board vacancy, authorizes PNW/BOCES to draw lots to select a winner from the two candidates." Jeffrey Mester seconded. All board members opposed the resolution. The motion failed.




President Benton announced the Board Facilities' Tours: Horace Greeley High School, December 1, 2010, 7:15 a.m. and Roaring Brook at 8:00 a.m.



Questions and Comments


President Benton gave Notice of Future Meetings -


Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - Board Facilities Tour of Horace Greeley High School, 7:15 a.m. and Roaring Brook at 8:00 a.m.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at Horace Greeley High School - 8:15 p.m.


HGHS-Senior Year Experience Pilot: Progress Report

Tri-States Visit Preview



At 11:04 p.m. President Benton asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Alyson Kiesel moved to adjourn the meeting. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Theresa M. Markley, District Clerk / Admin. Asst. To Superintendent

Janet Benton, Board President