Minutes January 31, 2012


Chappaqua, New York



January 31, 2012



8:15 p.m.



Horace Greeley High School



Board of Education
Alyson Kiesel, President
Jeffrey Mester, Vice President
Randall Katchis
Vicky Tipp
Karen Visser


Staff Members

Dr. Lyn McKay, Superintendent

Mr. Eric Byrne, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

Mr. John Chow, Assistant Superintendent for Business

Theresa Markley, District Clerk / Adm. Asst. to Superintendent


Visitors Present:

Representatives of the Chappaqua PTA, school PTAs, building administrators, faculty, and other interested citizens.


President Alyson Kiesel convened the public session at 6:30p.m. moved to enter into Executive Session for the purpose of the discussion of the employment history of a particular person or persons. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously. At 8:26 p.m. Jeffrey Mester moved to adjourn the Executive Session. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

At 8:28 p.m. Jeffrey Mester moved to reconvene the public session. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

President Kiesel welcomed the community. She reported on the Westorchard Elementary School (Learning Walk) this morning and commented on how much thought and effort goes into the teaching process. Each board member commented on the positive experiences in the classrooms and the enthusiasm that our teachers have for teaching. Their collective wish was for more parents to see what their children do, how they create thesis, reference materials, and provide resolution. It's put into the context of how the program has accelerated and grown and how the teachers are able to revitalize the program, tailoring the program to each child's needs. The dynamic allowed students not to be locked into the same group, but able to move into another area as they progressed.

Allison Wintner reported on the success of the Chappaqua School Foundation (CSF) Harlem Wizards basketball this past Sunday. She thanked the teachers and administrators for coming in on their day off to participate in the game and for being such great sports.

Work Session to discuss: Possible third strategic question.

Superintendent Dr. Lyn McKay opened the discussion by providing some context using the district mission statement as a starting point to talk about life skills and ask if the district needs to more clearly define what we are looking for and how to address those issues.

Lyn set the background of the existing two strategic questions, budget and operations and teaching and learning. She reported ideas and questions from groups such as Chappaqua Education for the Future (CEFF) R21K , Race to Nowhere. How does the district think about bullying, honesty? How do we enhance the social, emotional, and physical health of students? There is a community group composed of clergy, social workers, teachers, who asked how does the district bring these ideas to the community? For a long time the district has used a program to help build character development, but it has not been looked at it in a systemic way. Perhaps there is a need to connect all of this. Should we have a question and if we should, how do we gather the information from all the stakeholders in the community?

Board members offered varied view points and comments such as:

  • My child's social and emotional health are my responsibility. Do I want to give these responsibilities to a teacher who may have entirely different values than mine?
  • But we should come up with a community standard of safety and expectations.
  • Another member felt we are not talking about values, but respect for each other.
  • Student's emotional state reflects how he or she feels in school and supports a good feeling that he or she can succeed. We can teach about personal space and behavior about boundaries and how to enforce them consistently.
  • We are not just about doing well in school, high grades, good job, but teaching "to be able to manage their lives within the world" to help them succeed in life, be resilient, confident, develop good relationships, how to cope with stress. It's about teaching them other than academic skills and you need more than that to be a functioning human being in this world.

Do we focus on these other non-academic aspects? Do we make them into a third questions and how do we assess it? Do we teach kids to have these other emotional skills, but how do we do it? Are we clear with our students? Do they know what honesty means so we can give clear feedback? Dr. McKay stated that we can measure them and we can create core standards to ensure this.

What is the difference between having a mission statement and strategic question?

Dr. McKay explained that a question is actionable. It becomes a goal level and the questions can be actualized. The district can move forward in a consistent way. We need to have three questions to make sure that we can see that we support our children academically, emotionally, and then fiscally. The elements are there to be developed and the strategic questions have been very powerful in guiding our work.

Eric Byrne, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, noted that we saw it on display in the classroom today to help focus on the discussion and work. We could develop a question that would help us with the social emotional needs of the students.

Comments: There were several positive comments from the community to support a third question initiative.

President Kiesel summed it up by saying that there is lots to talk about and we can share ideas and input.

President Kiesel thanked Principal Jim Skoog and the teachers of Westorchard who participated in the hands on experience today.


Information Business Affairs


President's Report


Superintendent's Report


Search status

Dr. McKay informed the board and community of the status of the two principal searches for Horace Greeley High School (HG) and Roaring Brook Elementary School (RB). Dr. McKay has completed the first rounds for both HG and RB. The process is moving forward with two HG candidates and three for RB.

Interim Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Paul Citarella and Principal Mike Kirsch are the facilitators for Greeley Principal. Mr. Citarella and Principal Jim Skoog are facilitators for the Roaring Brook search and they reported on their progress with their respective searches. There were 147 applicants for Horace Greeley and 197 for Roaring Brook. Some applied for both positions.

Dr. Kirsch and Mr. Skoog provided additional background on their respective searches. Both described the process for both stakeholders and applicants as rigorous. Stakeholders had an orientation that included meetings with school district attorneys on appropriate questions to ask and the importance of confidentiality. Mr. Citarella and Dr. McKay met with various stakeholders to determine what characteristics they were looking for in candidates.

Applicants were scheduled for second and third interviews before becoming final candidates. After a full day of interviews with parents, teachers, administrators, board members, and students (at the high school), candidates provided a writing sample and discussed specific accomplishments. By early March, Superintendent McKay should be able to make recommendations to the board.


Proposed calendar for Chappaqua School District 2012-13, continued

Dr. McKay explained the issues with the proposed calendar caused partly by the way the holidays fall, but mostly because school districts are in a state of limbo until New York State Education Department finalizes the "ratings day" - last day that Regents are given. If it is moved back from the tentative date of June 21, the rule that students cannot attend class after ratings day will need to be changed. We await their decision.



Superintendent McKay made the following recommendations:




"BE IT RESOLVED that, the Board of Education hereby authorizes the attached Agreements for Services for the individuals and agencies listed below effective for the 2011/2012 school year, or earlier at the discretion of the Board of Education":

Judith Moskowitz.

Request for Child Care Leave of Absence:

Ms. Lindsay Morton, Teacher of Elementary Education, Robert E. Bell Middle School, effective January 17, 2012 through February 7, 2012.

Jeffrey Mester moved to approve the recommendations. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Recommended Action: Other


Vicky Tipp moved to approve CSE summaries reported to the Board on January 27, 2012. Karen Visser seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Resolution to amend the Artificial turf contract.

Randall Katchis offered the following resolution,

"Be it resolved that the Board authorizes the Board President to enter into an amendment to the August 10, 2011 Artificial Turf agreement with The Chappaqua Turf Committee (TCTC) to provide additional private funds to expand the scope of the project."

Jeffrey Mester seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Resolution to amend the WBA contract.

Jeffrey Mester offered the following resolution,

"Be it resolved that the Board authorizes the Board President to enter into an amended agreement with the WBA Group, Inc. for design and construction management services contingent upon receipt of the necessary funds from the The Chappaqua Turf Committee (TCTC)."

Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Jeffrey Mester moved to approve court ordered tax certiorari assessment reduction for H. P. & Joseph A. H. total school refund $3,177.31. Vicky Tipp seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


President Kiesel gave Notice of Future Meetings -

Tuesday, February 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 2012, which we anticipate will go into Executive session for discussion of the employment history of a particular person or persons.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 8:15 p.m., at Horace Greeley High School


Superintendent's Budget Proposal

Budget Discussion (School Programs and Staffing)



At 10:00 p.m. Vicky Tipp moved to adjourn the meeting. Jeffrey Mester seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

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

Alyson Kiesel, Board President