The Board adopted the following goal for 2018-2019:
Support the development of a long-term, district-wide plan that strategically addresses educational goals, declining enrollment, facilities, community impact, budget and cost-saving measures. Accomplish this through input from Superintendent recommendations, Board Ad Hoc committee, Shared Decision Making committee and community outreach.
See all the Board's Goals
This is not a one-year process, but a multi-year process with many stages and benchmarks. It will require all stakeholder groups in the Onteora Community to be involved so that we can move forward as a District to create the best possible structure for our students.
Why is a long-term plan is needed?
There have been many changes over the years and we need to change and grow as well:
- The 2004/2005 school year was the first year that Onteora began to operate with three elementary buildings, in addition to the Middle/High School. Prior to the 2004/2005 school year, the district had four elementary buildings. The West Hurley campus was closed at the end of the 2003/2004 school year.
- Our enrollment has decreased by over 850 students since the 2004/2005 school year and the projection is that we will decrease an additional 80 students by 2022:
- 2004/2005 = 2,111
- 2017/2018 = 1,252
- 2022/2023 = 1,172 (projected)
- Socioeconomically, the percentage of students eligible for free meals has more than doubled during that same time frame:
- 2004/2005 = 15% of our student body was eligible for free meals; in 2017/2018 = 42.4% of our student body was eligible for free meals.
- Our student body, although now has significantly fewer students, it also has greater diversity:
- Hispanic/Latino: 2004/2005 = 3%;2017/2018 = 11.6%
- Multi-racial: 2004/2005 = 0; 2017/2018 = 8.1%
- White: 2004/2005 = 87.2%; 2017/2018 = 76.2%
- In 2004/2005, a Middle Level Steering Committee was tasked with the mission of creating a middle level school where the environment maximized the unique developmental needs of early adolescence.
- They recommended creating a separate Middle School that would have a distinct identity and an expanded grade configuration. They ultimately recommended a 5-8 Middle School be created. The vision at that time was for a separate and distinct building. This recommendation never came to fruition.
- In 2010/2011 a Middle School Task Force was created to advise the Board of Education of an educationally desirable, sound direction for the structure of the Middle School. They were also asked to consider whether the existence of a Middle School is the ideal model, or whether some other configuration would be more educationally and fiscally sound.
- They recommended a 6-8 Middle School configuration. This recommendation was also never implemented.
- Both of the committees that reviewed the structure of our existing 7-8 Middle School concluded that the current configuration was not optimal for the students. They provided research and recommendations to explain their positions. Some of the rationale for expanding the Middle School configuration includes expanding the grades to create a greater sense of identity and belonging for the Middle School as well as allowing additional time for our Middle School students to complete the coursework required at the Middle School level. With only two grades, our current Middle School students have no flexibility in their schedules and cannot even include a study hall to help alleviate the pressure of more rigorous coursework and increased after school activities including sports.
How will a long-term plan happen?
- We are currently looking for the right consultant to help guide us through the process of creating a plan that is suitable for our District. We want to ensure that the process is a thoughtful one that incorporates the input and ideas of our community so that we end up with a plan that can be successfully implemented with the community’s support. Most importantly, a plan that will provide our students with the best possible educational opportunities and supports.
This website will be updated as there is more information to report.
Related Information Links:
Board of Education 2018-2019 Goals
Superintendent Victoria McLaren's presentation to PTAs
Past Committee Work on the Middle School Configuration