Gloversville school district working on ‘focus’ plan

GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education was given a focus review update by Diane Albano at its meeting Tuesday.

Last year, 70 districts across the state – including Gloversville – were identified as “focus districts.” A total of 496 schools within those districts are identified as “focus schools.”

In the Gloversville district, the focus schools are Boulevard Elementary School, McNab/Meco Elementary School, Kingsborough Elementary School, Gloversville Middle School and Gloversville High School.

Focus schools have shown “low performance and lack of progress in English language arts and math combined or graduation rates for one or more accountability groups,” according to a news release from state Education Commissioner John B. King earlier this year.

The accountability groups include racial/ethnic groups, low-income students, English language learners and students with disabilities.

The focus districts must create and implement a “district comprehensive improvement plan,” which will outline how the districts will use Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act money to promote academic achievement.

Albano works as the facilitator with the administrators and teachers to build the plan that will be submitted to the state, district officials said.

Albano said the district currently has a District Leadership Team that discusses items as an entire district and more focused teams in each school known as Building Leadership Teams.

“They have the same types of goals, but should mirror what the district is planning,” Albano said.

She said the teams have met with teachers, students, parents and administrators a number of times since November. Among the issues discussed were district and school leadership practices, curriculum, teacher practices, student support and family.

She also said the district has been aligning curriculum to Common Core standards. As an example, she said Middle School students will have a new reading and writing program in 2013-14.

The district plans to add two additional reading teachers for sixth-grade students.

Albano said the district is implementing more instructional technology to be used in classrooms.

However, she said, teacher practices and support can be inconsistent. For example, there are differences in instruction and questions about whether there is a defined protocol or expectations, Albano said.

“It is important to mention that from where you were and where you are, you are making progress and putting a lot of effort into that,” Albano said. “The next question will be how do we sustain development?”

Albano said the district will work on the differentiating teaching strategies between the elementary- and middle-school classrooms by developing more defined strategies.

Albano also has been working with the special education department in the district to push the program in the direction the district is heading.

Albano is expected to speak with the school board in July about recommendations to improve students’ performances within the district.

Levi Pascher can be reached by email at