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Guilderland Central School District awarded three grants

Aug. 19, 2014—The Guilderland Central School District is pleased to announce that it has been awarded three grants this month to help improve student assessment practices, records management, and student participation in the preservation of the Pine Bush.

“We are incredibly pleased and excited about the opportunities before us,” said Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Marie Wiles. “As a district, we have made it a priority to pursue alternative funding resources to support school initiatives whenever possible. The three grants most recently awarded to Guilderland will enable us to collaborate with our peers and provide necessary support for students and staff.”

Teaching is the Core grant
Guilderland Central School District is part of a consortium of 12 school districts led by Capital Region BOCES that has won $399,946 to review and improve student assessment practices.

The Teaching is the Core grant from the New York State Education Department will fund activities from Sept. 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. The grant was one of 31 awarded statewide.

“We are excited that these districts will now have the resources to complete this important work,” said Capital Region BOCES Assistant District Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Lynne Wells. “Reviewing assessment practices will help ensure they support student learning to the highest degree possible.”

Guilderland is one of 12 districts in the consortium, which also includes: Cohoes, Mohonasen, Niskayuna, North Colonie, Schalmont, Schoharie, Scotia-Glenville, Shenendehowa, South Colonie, Voorheesville and Watervliet. Each district will create a local assessment review team of teachers and administrators to conduct the work. An education consultant will also provide extensive training, helping all the districts to determine the review process, what assessments to review, and to create an action plan based on their findings. Engaging parents in each district on the use of assessments is also a goal of the grant.

New York State Archives grant
Guilderland Central School District was awarded a Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF) grant in the amount of $21,329 from the New York State Archives, a unit of the New York State Education Department. Funding will enable the district to establish the foundation for a more efficient and reliable records management system for retaining permanent records through a digital document management service, which will allow these records to be stored safely with instant accessibility.

Specifically, the project will include converting 31 rolls of previously microfilmed Board of Education minutes and 23 rolls of microfilmed Individual Earnings Records (IER) to a document management system called Laserfiche hosted by the Capital Region BOCES Northeastern Regional Information Center (NERIC). The project will also include transferring eight years of board minutes from a software program on the district's network called Docuware to Laserfiche, and scanning five more years of paper copies of board minutes to be imported into Laserfiche. As new records in this series are created they can be easily scanned and uploaded to the new Laserfiche system on a regular basis for permanent retention.

The grant provides funds to install Laserfiche, through NERIC, including user licenses, support, coordination, training and storage costs for one year. The grant project would also provide funds to contract with an imaging vendor for document conversion of the microfilmed rolls, purchase a dedicated scanner, and hire a part-time records clerk to prepare and scan the paper records and verify and index the digital images.

2013 Priority Project legislative grant
Guilderland Central School District was awarded a 2013 Priority Project legislative grant in the amount of $6,000 from New York State Assemblymember Patrica Fahy, 109th District, to support Farnsworth Middle School’s Pine Bush Project and Butterfly Station.

The grant will allow hundreds of middle school students to participate in authentic research and restoration in the globally rare Pine Bush ecosystem. This research will include, but not be limited to: raising endangered Karner blue butterflies, monitoring the restoration of the Albany Landfill and clearing invasive aspen trees to open habitat. Students will publish and present their findings at public forums. Students will also share their findings and act as docents at Butterfly Station, a student run butterfly house located on the grounds of Farnsworth Middle School and open to the public each summer.