YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Summer vacation officially ends for Lakeland students Wednesday with the start of the 2012-13 school year, which will bring both minor and major changes to faculty, school lunches, curriculum and more.
The only administrative changes for the district were assistant principal and principal changes at Lakeland High School. Former assistant principal Lorrie Yurish will replace former principal Cheryl Champ on an interim basis. Yurish’s old position will be filled by Alfonse Davino.
Communications Manager Jim VanDevelve said the district hired about 20 new staff members, which mostly are leave replacements.
“We had a couple of psychologists leave; we had a speech person retire. It’s not that we’re hiring a lot of new staff,” VanDevelde said. “It’s not a big hiring year; we didn't establish a lot of new positions.”
Construction-wise, the district’s eight schools were fixed up with the usual refurbishing and repainting. Bigger projects included paving sidewalks and parking lots at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. Wireless Internet also has been installed in every building
The elementary school autism program, Aspire, was moved from Lincoln Titus Elementary School to Thomas Jefferson to keep enrollment balanced across its elementary schools. Total enrollment has remained steady at around 6,300, VanDevelde said.
Superintendent George Stone said the district also will be further aligning its curriculum with common core standards, which the district began re-writing last year. Pre-testing in all subject and all classes will be carried out as part of the new Annual Professional Performance Review plan.
“They’ll not be used to grade or anything like that, it’s just to assess where they are and where teachers need to start,” Stone said. “And then we’ll do another growth assessment at the end of the year and we’ll see how far students progressed.”
New regulations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will force the district to change its lunch menu. Changes include making fruits and vegetables a required part of lunch; banning anything more than 1 percent milk; all flavored milk, including chocolate milk, must be fat-free; and the school only can serve a maximum of 10 grains per week.