FORESTVILLE — During October’s meeting of the Forestville Board of Education, board members learned about recent improvements to students’ educational experience through the technology department.
However, one of the biggest changes on the horizon for students actually removes them from the traditional classroom and takes them to a place where the area’s natural resources can be explored first-hand.
Michael Murphy, director of Technology and Communications, provided the board with a presentation of the new technology upgrades implemented at the start of the school year. He reported that the district replaced 80 computers that were eight years old or older and upgraded the internet network from one-line to one gigabyte ethernet. Other upgrades include 90 new Chromebook laptops for 1:1 usage by all students in grades six through nine and more digital textbooks with multimedia capabilities.
Murphy was pleased to extend the life of the six-year-old iPads that had been in use by middle/high school students. The iPads have now been repurposed and provided to students in grades one through five.
Additionally, the computer lab has undergone significant upgrades, and the district has implemented centralized printing via PaperCut Server. “The cost of utilizing the new system is 1/8 of what it was before,” Murphy stated.
During the board reports, Board President Carol Woodward and Board Member Sylvester Cleary discussed upcoming Chautauqua County School Board Association meetings and the excellent opportunities they afford the district. Cleary referenced a recent speaker, NYS Regent Catherine Collins, as just one example of the high-quality programming of the CCSBA. According to Cleary, Forestville has shown the maximum amount of participation in the county and encouraged all to continue participating in CCSBA programming. “If we want the best for our kids, we have to be the best,” Cleary said.
During the Superintendent’s report, Superintendent Renee Garrett shared the news of a grant recently received for the Farm to School program to hire a nutrition education integrator. Garrett also commented on the recently expanded Pre-K program, which now offers a full-day program for four-year-olds and includes transportation.
Garrett and Cleary discussed a recent visit to a nearby property that has offered itself to the district as an outdoor classroom. Located just 15 minutes away from the school, the property is comprised of 124 acres of land and includes ponds, streams and woods, and many natural resources. According to Cleary, the prospective outdoor classroom is something that can be utilized by districts throughout the county. “This is not only a wonderful opportunity for us to educate, but for kids to realize the natural resources we have here to make a living,” Cleary explained. He went on to explain that he and other board members are working to solidify a team of professionals to help develop the outdoor classroom for use in the near future.
Garrett concluded the meeting by sharing a recent report from Buffalo’s Business First, which ranked Forestville Central School District as the third “biggest gainer” in the upstate school rankings. According to the report, Forestville was ranked 403 out of 431 schools in upstate New York in 2011; in 2018, the district now ranks 243 out of 431 schools. “This is a testament to the hard work and dedication that we have in place at the school,” Garrett stated.
The next meeting of the Forestville Board of Education is Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the high school library.