ICC names new principal, questions state data plan

KINDERHOOK–The school board has appointed Suzanne Guntlow the new Primary School principal. Ms. Guntlow will start on December 9 and has a contract through December 2016.

Ms. Guntlow is currently an Assistant Principal in Watervliet and was an elementary school teacher in East Greenbush for many years. She told the board at its Tuesday, November 5 meeting that she is eager to get started. The Primary School has had an interim principal since August, when Shannon Shine resigned.

This week the board also discussed the state’s regulations for sharing student records with a third party data collection agency. The state Education Department is insisting that school districts choose a portal for sharing data that can be accessed by parents and teachers seeking information about students’ grades and attendance, among other things.

“I have concerns about choosing one,” Superintendent George Zini told the board. He said the state will choose a portal for the district if he does not, and though he said he would let the state make the decision, with the support of the board, once the portal vendor is chosen, “I don’t plan to use it.” He said other districts are taking the same approach.

Mr. Zini said the district currently uses a program to collect student data, which is only shared with the state. The superintendent said that he does not know what the state and the new data portal company will do with the information once they have it.

“I am not in favor of our information going to a third party other than the state,” Mr. Zini said. He also said that like the roll-out of the Common Core Curriculum, information about the new data collection program was not clearly explained to the districts. “There are too many unknowns, too many unanswered questions,” he told the board.

“I’m giving the state information I’ve always given them, but I’m going to start thinking about what I give them,” Mr. Zini said.

Several board members said they supported Mr. Zini’s decision not to pick a data program from the choices offered by the state. “Stay the course,” said board President Anthony Welcome.

Also at the meeting the board:

Heard from Karen Hummel of the Kinderhook Education Foundation about a fundraising event at Winding Brook County Club in Valatie Saturday, November 9 to raise money for the fund, which supports arts programs in the school. The fund needs to raise a total of $40,000 to meet a matching grant from the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation and Ms. Hummel reported that the organization only needs to raise $7,900 more to meet that goal.

Heard Mr. Zini remind residents eligible for the STAR tax credit that they need to register.

Heard the superintendent report on the early closing of school Monday due to a water main break in the Village of Valatie. The high school did not have water and had to close but the other school buildings stayed open and the district bought water from Hannaford for students since there was a boil water warning in effect until Wednesday.

The next board meeting is a workshop meeting on November 19 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .


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