Brookfield Central School District continues to look for methods to help students rebound from the pandemic.
At last week’s BCS Board of Education meeting Carrie Smith, who is leading the post-pandemic strategy for the District, gave an update. She said programs and goals are determined by data.
Smith said increasing the school day has made a difference. All students start in Tier I and move to Tier II for work in small groups with the teacher in class.
Smith said if the Tier II students are not meeting expectations they go to Tier III, which gives them time to work one-on-one with the teacher. If more is needed Special Education services are considered.
Smith said the incoming Mohawk Valley Safe Schools program will allow access for more community services.
Programs already in place at BCS have helped make impressive gains at the elementary level, Smith said.
One surprise found is that students need more speech therapy than expected, Smith said. “What sounded correct over the screen or through a mask was not when in person,’’ she said.
All students struggle at some level with catching up socially and emotionally after missing two years of development, Smith said. “I’ve been a counselor for 23 years and never seen anything like this,’’ she said, telling the Board there is no sign of that changing soon.
Focusing on the District’s mission of Raising the Banner, Smith said project-based learning has returned and speakers brought in. In addition learning activities have increased off-campus, such as visits to colleges and other places.
The Positivity Project in elementary grades has had an impact. All students in grades seventh through twelfth have a faculty mentor.
“We’re coming back two years behind across the board,’’ Smith said. “Academically, socially, emotionally, it’s deeper than expected.’’
The pandemic did have an unintentional benefit for BCS. For the 2019-20 year the District had switched its lunch program to be run by BOCES. Running the program on their own had built up a $90,000 deficit for BCS.
When free lunches went to all students starting in spring 2020 it allowed Brookfield to save money and apply it toward the deficit. Superintendent Jim Plows said the $90,000 is almost eliminated.
Board members started the meeting in their role as the Financial Audit Committee, reviewing the external audit completed in January on the 2021-22 school year.
Plows said the Brookfield budget as predicted and how it turned out came extremely close to matching. “That doesn’t always happen,’’ he said.
The projected budget said the District would spend…