The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

September 1, 2012

Area schools face many challenges

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The Daily Star

---- — Challenges facing schools this year were spelled out in a recent media release from the New York State School Board Association.

They include adopting common core math and English language arts standards for grades 3 through 8, tying teacher evaluations to growth in student achievement, and stepping up bullying-prevention efforts.

“The start of the new school year often brings many new initiatives, but this year is notable for the breadth and complexity of them,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “School board members are poised to raise academic standards, put the best possible teachers in the classroom, and create a safe school environment. They certainly have their work cut out for them, but they are up to the challenge.”

A recent poll from the association indicated that school board members are optimistic that the new state initiatives will benefit students. According to 583 respondents to its “Pulse Poll,” 45 percent ranked the adoption of common core learning standards as likely to have the greatest positive impact on students of any of the new initiatives taking effect this year.

In addition, 21 percent of board members ranked the new teacher and principal evaluation system as likely to have the greatest positive impact on students, while 14 percent believe anti-bullying legislation will have the greatest effect.

While respondents are optimistic about the effect of the initiatives on students, they were concerned about the schools ability to pay for some educational programs. Forty percent of school board members said their top priority for the year was to make sure they can continue to provide such programs in the face of current financial realities.

“Schools continue to be hamstrung by an economy that has yet to rebound fully from the recession and by myriad state-imposed mandates,” Kremer said. “Despite these fiscal pressures, this is an opportune time for reform-minded school leaders to promote student achievement and a safe school environment

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A tractor company is providing a way for children to address an important farm issue while having fun and maybe winning a prize. Kubota has launched a family coloring contest to promote farm safety.

Now through Oct. 1, children 12 and under can visit the safety tab at Kubota.com and download the “Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety” coloring book. Each child can select a page to color as an entry. Scan and email the page along with the parent’s and child’s name, to KubotaSafety@fleishman.com. Or mail the entry with the same information on a 3x5 card to 500 Capitol Mall, Suite 1850, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Entries will be judged on coloring skill in each of three age groups: 5and under, ages 6 to 8, and ages 9 to 12. In each category, one grand prize winner will be selected to win a $100 gift card and Kubota merchandise gift pack. Additionally, one first prize winner in each category will receive a Kubota merchandise gift pack. The first 100 entries will receive a Kubota “Safety First Sheriff” badge.

MARK BOSHNACK can be reached at mboshnack@thedailystar.com or 432-1000, ext. 218.