Dear Camden School Communities, Parents and Students:
The Camden Central School District Board of Education and Administration are pleased to share the following improvements for the 2019-2020 school year. The District continues to strive to meet the varying needs of its students through high quality programs and practices. Below is a summary of some of the new programs and practices for the 2019-2020 school year.
School Patrol Officers – The safety of our students and staff members remains a top priority. Last year we introduced Special Patrol Officers (SPOs) who are retired law enforcement officers assigned to maintain a safe and secure environment within a school. Last year, we had 1 full time officer assigned to two buildings and the officers moved between the buildings as needed. This year, we have doubled the number of SPOs and assigned 1 full time SPO Officer Position to each school building. These highly trained and armed officers are always present to help maintain a safe and secure learning environment. The Special Patrol Officers are hired and trained by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department. Our Oneida County Executive, Anthony Picente Jr., Oneida County Sheriff, Robert Maciol, and the Oneida County Legislators have agreed to pay half the cost of the Special Patrol Officers making it a program that our District can afford. Our Board of Education and Administration are able to implement the SPO program in a cost effective manner. The support we receive from Oneida County is greatly appreciated.
Social Emotional Learning Building Committees – The New York State Education Department says, “Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children, youth, and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” Students come to school with a variety of behavioral expectations and understandings due to coming from different households. We understand the importance of every student being taught specific behaviors that have been problematic and disruptive to the learning environment in the past. Therefore, beginning this year, every Camden School Building Principal will form a committee of volunteers who will review behavioral data, select one behavior that needs to improve, and the staff will agree to common expectations for the behavior. The staff will teach the positive behavior in creative ways to all students. All staff will reinforce the importance of the behavior in several ways and each building will measure the behavior during the course of this school year to see if it improves. Teaching specific behaviors to students helps prepare students for life and reduces negative behaviors creating a better environment for teaching and learning.
Addiction Counselor – The District has partnered with the Center for Family Life and Recovery to hire an Addiction Counselor one day a week. This Counselor will provide a variety of services including but not limited to: providing counseling to students who have a family member suffering from addiction, partnering with our health teachers to teach students about the dangers of vaping, drug and alcohol abuse, provide counseling for students struggling with addiction, and support for families struggling to deal with addiction.
Unified Bowling: Last year, Camden High School had a unified basketball team for the first time ever.
Unified sports combines athletes (students that receive support services) and their peers as partners. It provides the opportunity for all students to be part of a team, compete and have fun. In addition to the unified basketball team, this year we will also have a unified bowling team for the first time ever. The team was wonderful, and the student athletes really enjoyed the meaningful experience. Be sure to watch some of these matches and games this year!
Camden Middle School Teaming Grades 6-8: Camden Middle School had teaming in grade 5 last year and this year grades 6-8 will have teaming. Teaming helps create a school within a school, by assigning half the students in a grade level to the same group of teachers for the core subjects such as Math, Science, Social Studies, Special Education and English Language Arts. There will be two teams per grade level. The teachers meet daily to talk about instruction, meet with administration and school counselors, review academic assignments, develop team activities, team expectations, work to meet the academic, social, emotional needs of students and communicate with parents.
Camden Middle School Online Reporting – “STOPit!” is an anonymous reporting platform that will allow students and parents to use the “STOPit!” app or website to report concerns related to student safety and/or DASA anonymously. Administration and the counseling department will be able to respond to reporters to gather additional information and investigate reports made in a timely manner. In order to make a report using “STOPit!”, students must have a building specific code that is only for students and parents will have a different code. We are excited to offer an electronic form of reporting. Students at the middle level are still uncertain and self-conscious and often will not report to an adult. It is our hope that this platform will encourage students to report their concerns so that we, as a building, can better address them. This will be a pilot year at CMS.
BIMAS II - The BIMAS II is a tool that screens for depression and anxiety. This year the teachers of the students in grades K-4 will participate. The screening consists of teachers answering a few questions about each student. The school will support the student receiving additional supports if needed. We will contact the parents and partner with them in support of their student as needed. As a district, we are striving to help students address any mental health concerns so we graduate healthy well-adjusted adults who positively contribute to our communities.
Parent Square – Parent Square is the new district approved communication tool that can be used by administrators, teachers, coaches and advisors. It is the message tool that will be used when calling weather/emergency related delays and closings. If you are the parent/guardian of a student that is not receiving messages currently, but would like to sign up for Parent Square, please contact Mrs. Archibee at 315-245-2500.
Drone Pilot Course – A new high school elective has been added this year to provide students with another opportunity to earn college credit from MVCC. Mr. Mitchell and Mrs. Turner have been trained to instruct our new and exciting Drone Pilot Course. Students who take the new Drone Pilot Course can take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Exam that will allow them to earn their FAA Part 107 Certification as part of the course. Camden School District is the first school in the area to offer this unique opportunity to learn a skill that could lead to a career. Once again, the Board and Administration are implementing this initiative in a fiscally conservative manner. Funding for the course came from a Grant secured by our NYS Senator, Joe Griffo, in the form of $50,000.
The Camden Central School District will continue to focus on making continuous improvement to our educational programs and practices in order to benefit our students. We wish everyone a happy, safe and productive school year.
Dr. Ravo Root, Superintendent of Camden Central Schools