School board members honored

Prior to discussing the agenda at the Niskayuna Board of Education Meeting on Monday, Oct. 20, it wasn't business as usual.

First, Board of Education members were honored as part of School Board Recognition Month. They were presented with gifts, paid for by donations from parents, that included jackets embroidered with board member names, as well as piles of books to be donated in the name of individual school board members to libraries throughout the district.

Next, fifth graders from several classes at Hillside Elementary School shared a presentation with Board of Education members and parents about one of their fall projects, Our Pond Life Experiences. Students displayed photos of their learning experience, including a field trip to Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar. Other images included various classroom activities, such as how to examine pond species, images of specimens found in ponds, and information about what a live pond looks like versus what a dead pond looks like.

When it was time to get down to business, topics discussed included plans to redesign the Board of Education meeting room, which currently serves multiple purposes, such as a meeting room and a test-grading room.

Plans for the space include adding updated technology, such as an interactive white board, a large screen and interactive monitor, as well as putting a video camera in the back of the room and upgrading the sound system. Board members said they hoped these new technologies would be used throughout the district.

Also at the Oct. 20 meeting:

A report was made about the Superintendent's Conference Day. Teachers reported that it was valuable time spent planning the curriculum with colleagues.

An establishment of a new money market account with Citizens Bank was authorized. Citizens Bank is offering school districts an opportunity to deposit funds in a fully insured and collateralized money market account that will provide a preferred interest rate of 25 basis points above the federal funds rate through Jan. 5. Currently, the account will provide an interest rate of 1.75 percent.

Committee members also discussed a draft for a policy on fundraising and charitable solicitations. Discussions included who the parent-teacher organization should be fundraising for and what guidelines they should follow before choosing an organization to raise money for it, as well as what guidelines the principal should follow in terms of making donations.

For information, visit the Board of Education's Web site at www.niskayunaschools.org. The next Board of Education meeting will be Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.""

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