Despite a bus driver shortage that is threatening a smooth opening day, the administration of the William Floyd School District is looking forward to building on their successes from previous years and monitoring the application of new programs.
“[We will] continue to provide a safe and sound education for all of our students,” said Kevin Coster, superintendent of schools, in an interview with the Long Island Advance earlier this week.
After a state law was adopted in 2016 which went into effect this July, schools will now be required to offer education on mental health. William Floyd has been focusing on the subject already, but will now have K-12 implementation of the program, according to Stacey Scalise, assistant superintendent for elementary instruction. The district has also added guidance counselors, in addition to the social workers and counselors already in place, to elementary schools as an additional resource for students.
The administration will also build their program at the William Floyd Learning Center, which opened in September of last year. The center provides additional resources and more personal learning options for students with additional needs. Officials said the program has allowed programs to be done in-house, rather than at BOCES, which cost tens of thousands of dollars per year in services. Coster said he wanted Floyd students to be able to learn from Floyd teachers in a Floyd building. He added that the growth score measurement for the first year was rated “highly effective.”
Changes to the high school program have come due to the changes in the New York State Regents program. New pathways now allow for students to focus on one particular area of study, rather than one throughout the state. William Floyd will be expanding programs for vocational skills like auto, culinary, business, technology, and cosmetics, also known as the Career and Technical Education pathway.
As with schools across the country, William Floyd will be looking to focus on security measures for the 9,000 students that will return to school next week. Administrators said that their security measures range from the most lenient at the elementary school to the most strict at the high school. There are currently 75 security officers on staff.
“We have been ahead of the curve with security for quite some time,” Coster said.
Coster added that the district is waiting for funding to come in from a state bond that will allow for $10 million infrastructure and technology improvements, a portion of which will be dedicated to security.
The administration is also looking to improve their relationship with the Suffolk County Police Department and will seek their help in upgrading emergency procedures if necessary. Officials said that students are already made aware of the expectations at school and how to keep themselves and others safe. Scalise added that security comes from a complete effort by all staff and faculty members.
“We’re all on board,” she said.
Lastly, the administration is looking forward to $39 million in capital improvements, which are currently waiting on state approval. While some projects will be started this school year, most will take two or three years to see completion. Improvements include an upgraded auditorium, HVAC repairs that include the addition of air conditioning, sports field repairs, and more.
Coster said that as the school year begins, he is privileged to have students come back to school in the district. “[This will be another] great chapter in their education at William Floyd,” he said.
The William Floyd School District returns to school for the 2018-19 year on Wednesday, Sept. 5.