By Bill Toscano
When Principal Andrew Cook looks at changes coming up for the new school year, his attention focuses not on his students but on his teachers.
“The tough part this year will come with the teachers,” he said, referring to the new state-mandated teacher evaluations, which direct schools to give a test to incoming students, then another at the end of the year. The progress the students make will count for a percentage of the teachers’ evaluation, as will state standardized tests or Regents exams for those grades that have them. The rest will be based on observations and other factors.
“Our teachers have been working on this all summer, and they have been doing a great job,” said Cook, who noted he has been working with the faculty association and added that the program is almost complete. “We are just putting the finishing touches on it,” he said.
One new teacher
There is one new teacher at the school. Kate Boucher will teach middle-school English. She taught at Maple Hill last year.
Hartford has gone through a spurt of school construction, but this year, for a change, there was none. Still, Cook said his custodians worked extremely hard during the summer.
“The custodians have done a fabulous job all summer. It’s something the public does not see. There are always a ton of projects for them to do,” he said. “The building is looking really good.”
There is work going on outside, where a group of volunteers is building new athletic fields for the Hartford Youth League. When the new fields are done, they will be shared with the high school, allowing an expansion in fields for all Hartford athletes.
“That volunteer group out there is working really hard,” Cook said. “When the school and the community can work together, everyone really benefits.”
Cook said there are no changes in offerings for students.
“The board and the district worked hard to maintain the programs for students,” he said. “We have been able to preserve all our college-level and advanced-placement courses.”
Cook said that as of Aug. 27, there are 470 students registered in kindergarten through 12th grade. “That number will definitely fluctuate before opening day. We usually wind up with large numbers of enrollments right before school starts,” he said.
There are 31 seniors registered, which is about the same number as last year. There are 44 students in eighth grade, but only 25 in sixth. “That’s the smallest class in the district,” Cook said. He added that 16 Hartford students are going to the local BOCES part of the day for technical training and one is taking part in BOCES’ New Visions’ program.
School will open at 8 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5. On Sept. 14, students will be dismissed for a teachers’ in-service da