Mineola school board promotes integrated curriculum, IEP training

Mineola school board promotes integrated curriculum, IEP training
The Mineola board of education approved four new positions for the upcoming school year during Thursday's board of education meeting. (Photo by Jedidiah Hendrixson)

By Jedidiah Hendrixson

The Mineola Board of Education met at the Willis Avenue School to kick off the new school year Thursday night, approving new appointments and reviewing changes to the curriculum.

The board unanimously approved a resolution that appointed four new positions, totaling more than $288,000 in salary.

The board also approved an amendment to the agenda, resulting in Steve Benner, whom Superintendent Michael Nagler called “a bundle of energy,” being appointed dean of discipline at Mineola middle school.

Earlier in the day, the school district held its superintendent’s conference day, to which members of the board spoke to the courage of their students, past and present.

“Watching those students go up in front of hundreds of people and speaking,” Margaret Ballantyne-Mannion, vice president of the board, said. “They were so brave and articulate. The best part of being on this board, aside from the people sitting around me, are the students.”

Also during the meeting, members of the board and administration presented two presentations on their work over the summer.

Catherine Fishman, director for pupil personnel services, and her team of teachers, spoke about their work with advancing the districts Individualized Education Program (IEP).

The main objective of Fishman’s program is to prepare those in IEP for collegiate success and careers.

“A student may come in [to college] in September as a freshman and hand me their last IEP from high school and say ‘Here it is, I’m supposed to hand this to you and get more time on this test,’ and I may say tell me more about that,” Fishman said. “This is meant to prevent that.”

The IEP district program focused on New York State Education Department special education Indicator 13; secondary transition. Secondary transition is what students decide to pursue after leaving high school.

Program goals focused on self-directed meetings, career development skills and the formation of intra-district teams for improving communication. This past spring, three graduating seniors from Mineola High School received career development and occupational studies (CDOS) certifications with their diploma.

The same career development opportunities will now be available to the general education population, as Fishman works to develop a second stage to the program.

Matthew Gaven, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, technology and assessment, presented with Nicole Moriarty, director of English as a new language, and their team on the school districts new K-7 integrated curriculum.

The new integrated curriculum will go into implementation this year and combine New York State next generation ELA and science standards, New York State social studies framework, Mineola’s writing initiative and growth mindset.

The new curriculum will blur the lines between each of the three subjects in order to promote student engagement and satisfy state guidelines, while allowing teachers to still address each topic individual, school officials said.

“One thing you may have noticed is we did not include math in this particular presentation,” Gaven said, to slight laughter. “That was purposeful.”

The board expressed hope and will continue to monitor and reflect on the new curriculum as the year proceeds.

The board will meet again Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Willis Avenue school.

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