BOCES board eyes updating goals

JOHNSTOWN – The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services Board of Education plans to update its goals for the 2013-14 school year.

The district also wants to reflect the HFM BOCES slogan – “we transform lives” – in every interaction with the students and families.

“We have to have something to strive for and I want to make sure the board knows what we are doing and the community knows what we are doing to support our component school districts as we move forward,” HFM BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel said about the importance of setting goals each year.

One of the 2012-13 goals was to change the district’s mission and vision to relate to the current educational, economic and political climate.

The board took the first step toward that in December when it approved the new slogan, mission and vision.

The new vision was, “HFM BOCES – transforming lives through innovative leadership and educational excellence.”

The mission was, “through collaborative partnership and innovative leadership, HFM BOCES creates educational opportunities, prepares individuals for lifelong success and provides efficient, high-quality services to the region.”

The district also looked to reinforce strong partnerships with the component school districts and Fulton-Montgomery Community College, as well as expand and market career and technical education and specialized programs, according to meeting documents.

The district plans to promote the leadership and success stories of BOCES programs next school year through multiple communication channels, including the website, newsletters, blogs, advertising, social media and public speaking, documents said.

The district also is looking to add future academic goals to support its component school districts.

“We are going to be working very closely with our component schools so that they can save money and shift as much money as possible into the classroom where it belongs,” Michel said.

BOCES will look to provide its component districts with an improved Alternative Education program, officials said, which was recently changed to meet schools’ needs and increase participation.

BOCES had looked at closing its Alternative High School program.

However, the district decided to keep the program open for next school year and redesigned it.

Documents from the district said the revised program will be for students in grades seven through 12. Students and parents will meet with an “intake” team consisting of the principal, a guidance counselor, a student leader and a teacher where an achievement agenda will be created for each student, according to the new design outline.

The students’ academic day will be scheduled in blocks and “semesterized” where strategic learning will be given to every student, documents said.

Also as part of the redesign, every student will be given an iPad. Teachers and students will be trained on how to use the iPad and it will eliminate the need for textbooks, documents said.

Sharing services

Some of the board’s 2012-13 goals involved regionalization, including exploring and fostering partnerships with local municipalities for shared services to increase efficiency.

BOCES recently worked with the Greater Johnstown School District and the Gloversville Enlarged School District to help the districts begin sharing transportation and food services.

Michel said nine other districts will be looking to combine food services this year as well.

Michel also said he is working with districts in Montgomery County to create a central business office and looking at the possibility of creating another transportation hub for that area.

Michel said BOCES also is actively involved in attempting to merge the Mayfield and Northville school districts.

“We reached all of our goals and in many cases exceeded them,” Michel said.