A. 1. Steps to Success: The Process of School Improvement

Presenters: Dr. John McKenna, Principal of Fletcher Elementary School / Past President, SAANYS; Dr. James Newton, Superintendent of Tonawanda City School District

About the school: Gr 4-5; Erie County; Tonawanda City School District; 280 students; ED 54%; ED student performance on 2016 NYS ELA: 75% 2,3,4; 47% 3,4; ethnicity: W 92%, H/L 4%, Mult. 2%

Participants will learn about 1) a school-wide goal-setting system and how to develop a structure for success around those goals, and 2) how to set up a school-wide data-collection and data-analysis system.

Participants will see copies of all documents used to communicate with the staff and collect data; video of data teams in action; and student data, portfolios, and anecdotal data illustrating student growth and success.

Participants will walk away with a copy of the structural model Dr. McKenna utilizes to set goals and communicate with staff on a daily basis, and the school’s data-collection system.


A. 2. Clear and Loving Structures: How Our “What I Need” (WIN) System Builds School Culture and Ensures Every Student’s Needs Are Met

Presenters: Paul Kesler, Principal of John Kennedy School; two Gr 3 teachers

About the school: Gr 2-4; Genesee County; Batavia City School District; 530 students; ED 64%; ED student performance on 2016 NYS ELA (343 students tested): 65% 2,3,4; 33% 3,4; ethnicity: W 74%, Mult. 12%, H/L 8%

Participants will learn about how we implemented WIN (What I Need) AIS for all students. Participants will learn how we have utilized our PBIS team to help build our school culture and about how our students have benefited from having clear and loving structures. Participants will also learn about our processes for training our new teachers to become leaders within the school.

Participants will see the school’s WIN Schedule that allows homogeneous groups each day in math and ELA at all levels, photos of STEM activities designed to enrich all of our students, and photos of our WIN and PBIS Programming. We will also show data on how we have sustained strong academic results among similar districts (particularly in math), data of how we found success in improving the attendance of some of our frequently absent students, i-Ready data that shows how our students are closing the achievement gap, and several years of discipline data.

Participants will walk away with a roll-out plan for making changes to their schedule to provide AIS for all students. They will also leave with a process for implementing a Check-In/Check-Out attendance system with persistently absent students.


A. 3. Deciding Moments: Factors that Motivate Students to Choose to Learn and Persevere

Presenters: William (Bill) Frandino, K-5 Principal of Emma C. Chase Elementary School, and Teachers

About the school: Gr K-5; Sullivan County; Monticello CSD; 300 students; ED 55%; ED student performance on 2016 NYS ELA: 72% 2, 3, 4; 34% 3, 4; ethnicity: W 70%, H/L 16%, Mult 6%

Participants will learn about  a balance of formative assessment strategies, use of benchmark data, and the growth and perseverance mindset, and will gain ideas for creating intrinsic motivation and avoiding toxic grading practices. Participants will reflect on a handful of key moments for instructional decision-making and compare research-based best practice to what currently exists within their learning environment. 

Participants will see three years of growth and achievement data, photos of examples of initiatives in action, data illustrating the past three years of growth and achievement on NYS exams and NWEA benchmark assessments. 

Participants will walk away with a sketch of initial first steps for implementation of any strategies they wish to try, developed with the time and support of presenters. 

A. 4. Building a Culture of Belonging and Success

Presenters: Gina Cappiello, Principal of Valley Cottage Elementary School; Michelle O’Sullivan, Math Specialist; Amy Leibel-Farrugia, Reading Teacher

About the school: Gr K-5; Rockland County; Nyack CSD; 453 students; ED 41%; ED student performance on 2016 NYS ELA: 69% 2, 3, 4; 38% 3, 4; ethnicity: W 43%, H/L 24%, B/AA 18%

Participants will learn about how to create a focus on the Growth Mindset, initiate an off-campus homework assistance area in or near low-income housing developments, and roll out a successful PBIS program.

Participants will see evidence of the effectiveness of what we do in test score growth and behavior incident reduction. We will show photographs of our Growth Mindset messages and our Homework Club, and artifacts and photos from our PBIS program.

Participants will walk away with on outline of a plan for implementing PBIS.

A. 5. Recipes for Success: How Malverne Students Achieve

Presenters: Dr. James Hunderfund, Superintendent; Steve Gilhuley, Assistant Superintendent; Rachel Gross, Common Core Chair; Daniel Nehlsen, Principal, Howard T. Herber Middle School; Ed Tallon, Principal, Davison Avenue Intermediate School

About the schools: Gr 3-5 and 6-8; Nassau County; Malverne UFSD; 776 students combined

Middle School: ED 48%, ED student performance on 2016 NYS ELA: 70% 2, 3, 4; 40% 3, 4; ethnicity: B/AA 55%, H/L 28%, W 19%

Intermediate School: ED 49%, ED student performance on 2016 NYS ELA: 82% 2, 3, 4; 49% 3, 4; ethnicity: B/AA 48%, H/L 23%, W 23%

Participants will learn about recipes for success: technology, Spotlight Standards, committees, branding, curriculum reviews, extra-curricular activities, collaboration, Twitter movement, ceremonies

Participants will see evidence of success: testimonials, data, awards, recognitions; videos (Spotlight Standard Initiative, K-12 Tech); photos (students learning and activities, K-12); data (discipline records, regents scores, NYS assessment data, STAR data); our Twitter feed (#gomules – universal hashtag highlighting all events, departments, and programs)

Participants will walk away with samples of successful initiatives (Perception and Branding Initiative, RtI, Technology Initiative, Spotlight Standards Initiative)