School enjoys its ‘gift of extra time’
CORNWALL — Slowing things down, finding new ways to encourage good behavior and understanding goals at Cornwall Consolidated School (CCS) were among the issues discussed at the Nov. 15 school board meeting.“A gift of extra time,” was how kindergarten teacher Candise Stiewing described an extra hour added to the half-day program at the beginning of the school year.“We really have been able to slow the flow and make the classroom more relaxing,” Stiewing said.Last spring, the board discussed a proposal to go to a full or extended kindergarten day. It has been the trend in the Region One School District and around the nation. Board members were supportive of the concept, but were concerned about finances. The budget for the coming year had already been written at that point.It was eventually determined the extended day could be accomplished at virtually no added cost, and the board approved the plan.Reading is the main focus in kindergarten, Stiewing told the board this month.“Students come in with a wide range of skills, from already reading to needing to learn the alphabet. Even with the very small class this year, there is quite a need for one-on-one intervention already.”Principal Michael Croft advised the board that the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program is in year one of a four-year implementation. He described it as a systematic way of connecting with students about expected behavior, and rewarding good behavior. He noted CCS is the last Region One school to adopt the program.“This is a planning year,” Croft said. “We need 80 percent staff support before we can move forward. We are working on learning about it.”PTA President Stacey Marcin passed on a request about school board goals, saying parents are interested in the process. They also want any goals that have to do with students to be posted on the school website.Board Clerk Susan Gingert said goals are already posted, but that it might not be as detailed as the PTA would like. The matter will be explored.The board agreed to continue to hold its regular meetings in 2012 on the third Tuesday of the month, and changed the time from 4 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.