SILVER CREEK - Silver Creek Elementary School is facing unique challenges in reaching the districts goals this year, Principal Scott Rudnicki explained in a presentation Wednesday.
Rudnicki was asked to present on the Comprehensive School Education Plan (CSEP) for the elementary school at the board of education meeting.
He explained the district's two goals are by 2014 to have student outcomes meet or exceed state expectations for the district along with providing 21st century education to students and to have a 90 percent graduation rate.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Silver Creek Elementary School Principal Scott Rudnicki presented the Comprehensive School Educa-tion Plan, part of which included character education embodied by the friendly knight on the slide, at the school board meeting Wednesday.
He said the elementary is unique from the middle and high schools, which will present CSEP plans at the next meeting, because the state has recently come out with a curriculum.
"Whereas in the past the state laid out standards, but the state hadn't laid out a solid curriculum, they've done that now (for the elementary)," Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich said.
Rudnicki said the curriculum is much different from what was put forth from the state in the past.
"It is less content-driven and more process driven. It's not thematic-based anymore. It's not that we are studying butterflies or addition, it's how do addition and subtraction work together to solve problems," he said.
Ljiljanich described it as a shift toward skill development and said the district's challenge this year will be to decide whether to adopt the state's curriculum and incorporate what was good about the old curriculum but no longer included by the state.
Rudnicki said another unique thing about the elementary program is the use of a program called STAR for assessments.
He said the district will use this five times this year in order to gather data and for early intervention in the case of students falling behind. He said the software gives predictions for the state assessments and recommendations for improvement.
The other side of the education provided in the elementary school was character education. The school is now a member of the national organization Character Counts which bases its model on six virtues: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
Rudnicki said this helps the school and parents use similar language in values and if these virtues can be instilled it will carry on past the elementary level.
"It is something that I truly feel is part of being a knight, you're here to serve the greater community. I see the elementary students as squires and they are learning to be knights," he added, explaining how he "knights" students by giving them pencils.
In other business:
Rudnicki also announced the elementary school recently welcomed Mrs. Zhao Shuo as a Chinese teacher through the Confucius Institute at UB. Zhao will begin teaching kindergarten first and second graders on Monday.
The board renewed the sharing agreement with Dunkirk City School for the varsity and modified wrestling programs. Ljiljanich said this is the second year of the agreement where Dunkirk hosts varsity and Silver Creek hosts the modified team. He said this is positive in that students may not have this offering without the sharing agreement.
Ljiljanich explained the school has had the opportunity to work with an expert on bullying to train staff, funded through state aid for the Dignity for All Students Act, and will be planning a future evening program for parents.
The next school board meeting will be held Oct. 10.
The board will hold its retreat Nov. 3 to discuss budget development and goal setting.
In honor of school board recognition week next week, Ljiljanich presented the board with gifts and thanked them for the time they spend "doing what is right for students."