The Orange Board of Education welcomed two new board members at its November monthly meeting. Mary Welander has three sons at Race Brook School and Charles Flynn has a child at preschool and two at Peck Place. “I really appreciate the opportunity to work with a lot of the people that I have respected from afar and now get to work with,” Flynn said. “I’m so excited to be joining you guys tonight, thank you for the opportunity,” Welander said.
Superintendent Vince Scarpetti took advantage of the introduction of new members to explain a bit about philosophy of the board and district overall. “With new board members, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about the lens that I see myself and our team sees themselves,” he said. “I have set three goals for myself and the entire district. This year we are focusing on creating and instilling a viable curriculum, implementing process writing and reviewing and revising our SRBI (scientific research based interventions) process.”
These three goals will continue to be the focus throughout the school year in classrooms and at the district level. “It’s important that you hear about these elements throughout the whole entire year in many different ways: at board meetings, budget workshops, so that you can see it living and breathing by sharing these documents, for example, the long range plan I’ll be talking about, writing pieces that I’ll share with all of you. I ask you to remember that. It is important that these goals are followed through,” he said to the board.
He said he preferred to keep the list of goals short for a reason. “One thing that I appreciate is that while we’re focusing on three goals, there are others we will be focusing on, too. If you look at the acronym FOCUS, (follow one course until successful), I think that’s very difficult to do, but we remind ourselves that if we do too much, we usually don’t succeed at the things that we set out to accomplish,” he said.
He explained to the new members that education in Orange is about more than curriculum. “Even though we are focused on teaching and learning, which many think is the main focus of a school system, we also focus on the entire child. We focus on the physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs of a student,” he said. “You may hear about me dressing like Woody from Toy Story and going to the schools. You may hear me talking about parades, or going to Lego League or the PTA pancake breakfast. It’s not just to say I went. It’s about connecting. I thought this would be a good time, with new board members, to remind ourselves of our goals.”
By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent