B y Jaime Thomas
The custodial staff was washing windows, tweaking landscaping and generally cleaning up the Hartford Central School Monday as the district got ready to open its doors.
Administration and staff have less than a week left to ready their classrooms and lessons and create plans to keep up with new Common Core standards.
Next Wednesday, Sept. 4, the school year officially starts.
Among several new changes within the district is the school’s new distance learning room. After months of installations and beautifications, the very smart classroom is ready to go.
Cameras monitor both the instructor and the students in live time and project them into classrooms in other towns. Hartford students, in turn, are able to watch the other students during class. Such technology is in the room as an advanced overhead projector that shows 3D objects to local and outside students.
Superintendent Andrew Cook said the school will start off hosting English 101 and 108 from SUNY Adirondack and will receive one course—nanotechnology. Additionally, teachers throughout the building who want access to the technology can bring their students to the room when it is not in use.
Cook said there will be two half superintendent days on Sept. 20 and Oct. 4, which will be used to do teacher training on an assessment tool called eDoctrina.
“It’s a really cool program; I’m very excited about it,” he said. Teachers can send in assessment results to the program which will correct tests, send back score sheets and analyze data for the teachers. Staff can also use eDoctrina to create their own assessments or answer sheets.
New Principal Brian George will take the place of Cook, who moved up to superintendent in the spring. There will be an ice cream social and meet the principal day on Thursday, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. George and his family will be at the school to get to know the students and community.
As for as new faces, special education teacher Karen Keefe will join the staff. The district is still looking for a literature specialist.
And before the school year even begins, administrators will stay busy studying recently-released teacher growth scores and tying up loose ends for their APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review.) This plan must be submitted by Aug. 30 in order for the district to not lose significant state aid.
“We have to make last minute changes and additions from the state; we’re finalizing and making sure it’s accurate,” Cook said.