B-P looks to expand opportunities, increase efficiency through capital project

2016 Capital Project

Broadalbin-Perth Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tomlinson says that, by reorganizing the district so students in pre-K through grade 6 attend school at the Perth campus and students in grades 7-12 attend school at the Broadalbin campus, the district could be 10 to 20 percent more efficient in how it delivers its academic program.

“This isn’t a guess or wishful thinking – it’s a mathematical reality,” Tomlinson said. “We’ve looked at different scenarios and crunched the numbers. And what this increased efficiency means is more opportunities for kids without increasing our spending.”

Tomlinson explained that several teachers and related service providers travel between the two campuses to meet students’ needs, including the district’s elementary music teacher. If all elementary students were at the same campus, B-P’s elementary music teacher could spend more time with students, instead of spending time traveling between the Broadalbin and Perth sites.

Tomlinson says the key to increased efficiency lies with the way New York state certifies its teachers.

“There are some variations, but teachers are basically certified for grades K-6 or grades 7-12, so all teachers are divided into two groups,” Tomlinson said. “Right now, Broadalbin-Perth’s two groups of teachers are both split between our two campuses. If we can get one entire group of teachers on one campus and the other group of teachers on the other campus, we open up a lot more possibilities.”

Tomlinson explained that, by grouping like teacher certifications together, the district could maximize the number and variety of courses offered by each teacher every year.

For example, home and careers is a state-mandated course for middle school students. If middle and high school students were in the same building, the district’s home and careers teacher could also offer a culinary arts elective for high school students interested in learning to cook for themselves or contemplating culinary career opportunities.

Another example involves B-P’s technology teacher, who teaches the state-mandated course once known as “woodshop.” If middle and high school students were together, the technology teacher could also offer an introductory automotive technology elective for high school students interested in learning basic car maintenance and repair.

“We’re not looking to replicate the kinds of programs offered by HFM BOCES’ Career and Technical Center,” Tomlinson said. “But right now, students’ only choice is between enrolling in a two-year, half-day program or nothing. Offering these types of elective classes at B-P will give students the opportunity to learn valuable life skills and try out possible career paths that might lead them to a more intensive BOCES program.”

At both the elementary and secondary level, Tomlinson said the district would also use the increased efficiency to expand STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) offerings. At the elementary level, these offerings include drama productions and coursework in video production and graphic and web design. At the secondary level, B-P could offer elective courses on such topics as cyber-security, space technologies, alternative energy, music production, and financial literacy.

Residents are invited to learn more about the capital project proposal during an upcoming public presentation; all presentations begin at 6 p.m.

  • Tuesday, April 19 – Capital project forum (Margaret Robin Blowers Auditorium at BPHS)
  • Monday, May 2 – Presentation to the PTO (TLC Media Center; public welcome)
  • Tuesday, May 10 – Presentation on the budget proposal (Margaret Robin Blowers Auditorium at BPHS)

The district is also preparing a publication about the proposal that will be mailed to all households. Project information will be posted to the district website and shared on the district’s Facebook and Twitter pages and through the district’s mobile app, which is available for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.

Residents are invited to submit questions about the capital project proposal to district communications specialist Michele Kelley at kelleym@bpcsd.org, or anonymously through Patriot Plain Talk. Residents may also contact Kelley with requests for presentations to be made to their community groups.

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