The Camden Central School Board of Education, Dr. Ravo Root, Mr. Karl Keil, Mrs. Louise Rutherford, Administrators and Directors worked diligently to create a school budget that is fiscally conservative while being progressive and moving us forward. This budget provides several new opportunities for staff and students.
High School FAA Drone Pilot Course – Beginning in the Fall of 2019, Camden High School students will have the opportunity to participate in a new elective that focuses on piloting drones. The goal of this initiative is for students to be able to pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tests to earn their Certification and Pilot License. Drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems are being used in many ways by different industries. We live in the drone corridor from Rome to Syracuse. Camden Schools will be one of the first school districts in the region to support students who want to pursue careers using drone technology. Colleges including the Mohawk Valley Community College, now offer degrees in drone technology. Senator Joe Griffo provided Camden Schools with a grant for $50,000 to fund this initiative.
Expansion of School Patrol Officers – The Camden School District currently takes advantage of the Oneida County Grant established by County Executive, Anthony Picente and the County Legislators to pay for half the cost of having School Patrol Officers (SPO) in public schools. The role of a School Patrol Officer is to keep our schools safe and secure. This year we shared officers between Camden High School and Camden Elementary School and Camden Middle School and McConnellsville Elementary School. Next year, with continued support from the Oneida County Grant, which will again pay for half the cost, we will expand this program having a School Patrol Officer in every building, every day. We will no longer need to share Officers between buildings, ensuring we have a trained and armed School Patrol Officer in every school, every day. All Officers are trained and employed by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department. This is a continuation of our commitment to protecting our students and staff members while they are at school. Being stationed in one building will allow our School Patrol Officers the opportunity to become even more familiar with their surroundings while forming positive relationships with parents, staff and students and it will ensure that no building is without an Officer during the school day.
Middle School Teaming – Using existing staff, the Camden Middle School will return to a teaming model across grades 5-8. Currently, teaming only exists in grade 5. Teaming allows a school to create smaller learning environment for students similar to the “school within a school” concept. Teams often consist of a Math, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Special Education Teacher who all teach the same group of students in their different classrooms. The team teachers meet daily to discuss ways to support the students and plan out their instructional initiatives. Teams will be available to schedule parent meetings as needed during team time as well. When effectively applied, this model is designed to meet the needs of all students and it helps ensure students excel as learners.
Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS)- All Camden Schools will continue to focus on social emotional learning while meeting the mental health needs of all students. We will work to identify students with mental health concerns and provide various mental health supports for students and families both in and out of school as needed. Positive mental health and well-being not only helps students to learn in school, it helps them in life. Having healthy adults in our communities helps to ensure they raise healthy families, which improves the quality of life within our communities.
District Wide Enhanced Communication – Camden School District will adopt a communication tool that can be used by students, parents, staff members and community members called Parent Square. The tool can be downloaded to a tablet, computer or phone and it will allow parents to receive messages from administration as they currently do using School Messenger. In addition, it will allow the user to access the school lunch menu, calendar and sports schedules with a few clicks. It is our goal to have a Good News section that will allow us to share the many great things that are happening in all of our Camden Schools as well. This is an exciting initiative that will allow our schools to take the next step in electronic communication.
In conclusion, we need your vote in order to implement these initiatives and maintain the high quality educational program that the residents of Camden are used to. The Camden School District Budget Vote will be held on Tuesday, May 21 at the Camden High School Auditorium Foyer from 12 pm to 9 pm. You will also have the opportunity to vote on candidates for the Board of Education. We have a 1 year Board Member term and two 3 year Board Member terms that are open. We have three incumbent candidates running for these open School Board seats: Jaime Albrecht, Anthony Gonzalez and Stewart Hatzinger.
Thank you to our community members for continuing to support the Camden Central School District.