Student and other award winners were announced at a regular meeting of the Fredonia Central School District (FCSD) Tuesday evening.
Three Fredonia music students received scholarships from the Chautauqua County Music Teachers Association: Katie Mosier, clarinetist; Michaela Tramuta, saxophonist and Michael Hawk, vocalist.
The BEEP (Business And Education Employability Program) Scholarship winner is Mackenzie Schanzlin.
OBSERVER Photo by Shirley Pulawski
Fredonia Central School District Board of Education met to finalize appointments for the upcoming school year at a regular meeting Tuesday night. Pictured, from left: board member Edith Byrne, Secretary Wendy Heslink, member David Giambrone, President Roberta Coniglio, Superintendent Paul DiFonzo and Vice President Rosie Joy. Present but not pictured: Karen Mosier and Tom Hawk.
In addition, a faculty member also received recognition. The Minx M. Auerbach Award for Excellence in Education was won by FCSD faculty member, Brandy Noody.
During the reports portion of the meeting, Director of Special Education Kristen Ferro announced big plans for the upcoming year with a pilot work-based learning program. Kristen Tomaszewski, who also was approved for tenure during the meeting, spoke about a program discussed at a special education conference she attended earlier in the year.
The pilot, approved by the board to move forward, would involve one special education student who is transitioning out of the program by turning 21 years old next year. The work-based learning program would combine classroom instruction with local business partners to provide employment skills development.
"We already have a lot of this in place," Tomaszewski said of existing resources, including transportation. "This is taking it to the next step."
Superintendent Paul DiFonzo was supportive of the program. "It sounds like you'll be giving the student a significant advantage," DiFonzo stated. Tomaszewski said the program would ultimately be developed to encompass all four high school years for suitable special education students. The first two years of high school would involve preparatory training and work partnership in junior and senior years for the students.
Ferro followed Tomaszewski with the report on the special education program. Ferro said the school currently has 150 special education students across the elementary, middle and high schools. Ferro said over recent years, the number has declined by about 5 percent. "After doing some research, I found that number was in keeping with the decline in total population in the area," Ferro explained.
Ferro told the board special education enrollment is at 13 percent of the student population, which she said is roughly 17 percent on average around the state.
Director of Instruction Joseph Reyda introduced instructor Gregory Haase to present the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) curriculum report to the board, along with a host of colleagues.
The group explained the innovative learning techniques the school has been implementing to teach computer proficiency and job skills. One instructor explained that they learned of a program which involves putting a keyboard inside a pair of boxer shorts to cover the keys from the student yet allow access by hand to the keyboard. "We teach total keyboard mastery," to the fifth graders, the board was told.
Haase explained at the 6th-grade level, students are taught more about programs like Microsoft Excel and MS Word. In later years, Haase said the emphasis moves to job skills such as resume building and interviewing skills and computer offerings in CAD (computer-aided design), and training in architecture and engineering were also available to students.
"We've had some enrollment problems, but we're working on bringing back some programs," Haase said regarding programs offered in the past such as woodworking. Other higher learning programs were available in conjunction with Jamestown Community College, Haase told the board.
In other business, the board passed a host of annual appointments, setting the teaching roster in place for the upcoming summer and 2012-2013 school years.