WACS hears about ‘proud’ program | News, Sports, Jobs

Submitted Photo WACS faculty member Robert Dyment gave a presentation about the alternative education program to the WACS board of education

WESTFIELD — Westfield Academy and Central School District Board of Education members received several presentations and had their first budget study session for the 2022-23 school year last month.

Faculty member Robert Dyment gave an overview of the alternative education program conducted in the Wayside building. Dyment noted that the program began in 1996.

“We had a dozen or so kids who sent to BOCES,” he said. “We came up with the idea that we could create a program so we could keep the students here.”

Currently, 32 students are enrolled in the alternative education program, Dyment said. The program encompasses six categories of alternative education: recovery is offered when a student fails a class and cannot reschedule it, he said. The other categories are scheduling conflicts, medical, behavioral, GED and “other.”

“I am very proud of our program and I am very proud of the kids in our program,” Dyment said. “The kids are a joy to be around. They are polite to each other and they are polite to us.”

Kent Knappenberger, music instructor, addressed the board about a change in venue for the Westwinds trip. Originally it was planned for the group to go to southern California, as they had done before, he said.

However, Knappenberger said, it would be difficult to take the group to California this year, so he chose a location about two hours from Ft. Worth, Texas. He requested and received board approval to change the venue to Texas.

Board members also received presentations on various areas of the proposed budget as part of its first budget workshop session. General support, transportation and building and grounds were discussed.

Joshua Brumagin, facilities director,discussed the buildings and grounds, as well as the operation and maintenance of the physical campus. He said there is a projected overall buildings and grounds budget decrease of $11,731.

Jacob Alonge, head bus driver, talked about transportation, which he said includes the cost to transport students, maintaining the vehicle fleet, the cost of insurance, fuel, maintenance and utilities, as well as salaries. He projected an overall increase of $60,753 in transportation costs.

Joshua Melquist, business official, discussed areas of general support for the district. Taken together, all areas presented in the first budget study session are projected to have an overall increase of $117,747.

In other business, District Superintendent Michael Cipolla told board members that the National Federation of State High School Associations has enabled WACS to put a camera and microphone in the gym at no cost to the district. The NFHS Network provides access to live high school sports to school districts, “We are continuing with the old system of streaming, as well,” he said.

In his report to the board, secondary principal Corey Markham announced the Students of the Month for December and January and noted that 221 students are on the honor roll for the first marking period.

“Last year, 185 kids were on the honor roll for the same period,” he said. “We are getting back to where we were before remote learning.”

Markham also told the board that the students who participated in We the People took fourth place in New York state and several individuals received exceptionally high rankings.

Markham also noted that winter sports are nearly over and he told everyone how to obtain tickets for Section VI Championship Events through GoFan.

“Section VI has moved to all-digital ticketing,” he said.

Molly Anderson, curriculum director, told the board that the next staff development day is March 18.

“We are partnering with Cassadaga Valley and Bemus Point Central Schools to bring in Dr. Darryl Tonemah to share his psychological expertise with staff on responses to stress and social emotional wellness,” she said.

Anderson also noted that two WACS six graders, Ayden Reese and Jack Bratton, placed in the top 20 rank in the nation for coding. As Mary Jo Andalora, WACS computer applications/science teacher, explained, the students ranked third and fourth out of 285 students nationwide who participated in a coding exercise.

“This is quite an accomplishment for the Ayden and Jack,” Andalora said. “They both have been spending time beyond class to code in this competition and are learning the fundamentals of computer programming.”

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