March 28, 2013
The recent "increase" in State aid being reported for
the Greater Johnstown School District is certainly
welcomed. However, the report of a one million dollar
"increase" is very misleading.
As to the reality of the State Aid picture, the facts are:
There are three categories of aid accounting for a
$382,000 increase, which represent aid from funds spent
in the 2012-2013 school year - it is called expense
driven aid. In other words, the money has to be spent
by the district first, followed by reimbursement from
the state the following year.
Expense driven aid is not “new money", it is
The largest "increase" actually represents less of a
decrease from what was promised! Over $500,000 of GAP
Elimination was erased by the state. In other words,
the amount from the Governor's Budget reducing aid to
Johnstown was supposed to be $1.3 million. The new
budget will instead reduce aid by $828,000. This is NOT an
increase of funding; however, the numbers are being
portrayed as an increase.
The Software, Textbook, Technology and Library aid was
reduced by $5,400
The true increase? Foundation Aid is increased by
$42,078. A far cry from one million!!!!
The method of state funding for public schools is
severely flawed. Ongoing advocacy for appropriate funding
to support programs for students is important. There
appears to be some understanding amongst our elected
officials, as they moved to add funding to the Governor's
proposal. That being said, there is a long way to go.
Dear School Community,
One key component to the Board of Regents reform agenda
is the shift to the Common Core Standards. The goal of
the reform is to have every student graduate from high
school with skills for college and or careers.
The Commissioner of New York Education Department, Dr.
John King, Jr. has outlined the following:
Any major change initiative comes with anxiety and
challenges. Some have even called for delaying the
alignment of curriculum, instruction, professional
development, classroom feedback, and assessment to the
higher standards required for college and career success
in the 21st century. But in point of fact, our students
are already accountable for the Common Core. They do not
have time to wait. Every time a college freshman takes a
placement exam that first month on campus, he or she is
being tested against the very expectations in the Common
Core. Every time a high school graduate faces a daunting
task on a challenging job (from the welder applying
knowledge of fractions to the electrician reading the
National Electrical Code), he or she is being tested
against the Common Core. And quite frankly, our students
are not doing well enough on those real world tests.
Only about 35 percent of our students graduate with the
skills and knowledge necessary to be called college- and
career-ready. That's why the Regents moved forward so
decisively in 2009. They understand that going slow
means denying thousands of students the opportunity to
So, what do Common Core assessments really mean? Here
are five key points that should help address some
frequently asked questions about the transition to the
In 2013, New York State, for the first time, will
be reporting 3rd through 8th grade student grade-level
expectations against a trajectory of college- and
career-readiness as measured by tests fully reflective
of the Common Core. As a result, the number of
students who score at or above grade level
expectations will likely decrease.
As mentioned above, we expect the assessment scores
will decline. But we also expect that decline will
have little or no impact on principals' and teachers'
State-provided growth scores. Based on New York's
approach to measuring growth relative to
demographically similar students, similar proportions
of educators will earn each rating category (Highly
Effective, Effective, Developing, and Ineffective) in
2012-13 compared to 2011-12.
The number of students meeting or exceeding Common
Core grade-level expectations should not be
interpreted as a decline in student learning or a
decline in educator performance. The results from
these new assessments will give educators, parents,
policymakers, and the public a more realistic picture
of where students are on their path to being
well-prepared for the world that awaits them after
they graduate from high school.
No new districts will be identified as Focus
Districts and no new schools will be identified as
Priority Schools based on 2012-13 assessment results.
Local policies and practices should balance the
need for increased rigor against legitimate student
expectations for access to educational programs,
including local promotion and admission policies.
There's much more information about the Common Core
and the new assessments on
EngageNY.org. Take a moment to check out what's
Again, I understand how stressful change can be,
especially when you're asking students to read more
challenging texts, to better support their arguments
with evidence drawn from text, to write from sources, to
achieve deep conceptual understanding of the most
important math concepts of each grade, and to apply
their math skills to real-world problems. But we owe it
to our students to move forward; opportunity awaits them
and it's our responsibility to make sure they're
equipped to seize that opportunity."
Please know that the teachers and administrators have
spent a great deal of time making adjustments to
practice in order to make shifts to the Common Core.
Also, training is ongoing as we prepare students for the
future. As Commission King states above—change can be
stressful, but we owe it to our students to best prepare
them to seize opportunities in the future.
Robert A. DeLilli
Superintendent of Schools
January 3, 2013
Dear Johnstown School Community,
On Friday, January 18,
2013, students will be dismissed early in order for
staff to attend training on school violence and intruder
awareness. Students at the high school and Knox will be
dismissed at 11:15 a.m.; at the elementary level,
kindergarten and first grade will begin dismissal at
11:45 a.m., followed by bus students and remaining
elementary grades at noon. Lunch will be served in all
buildings prior to dismissal: pizza at Knox and the high
school and bag lunch at the elementary schools.
This training will be provided by the Office of Homeland
Security and will include local law enforcement as well
as staff from the Gloversville and Wheelerville school
districts. The District is fortunate to have this
Please be assured that the safety of our students has
always been and continues to be a District priority.
Robert A. DeLilli
Superintendent of Schools
December 20, 2012
In order to address a rumor regarding threats of
violence at JHS, police have been notified and
investigated, administrators have investigated, and no
corroborating evidence has been found. Please know that
threats, rumors, etc. will be taken seriously,
thoroughly investigated, and appropriate actions under
the law will be taken.
I have spoken to the Chief of Police and the Mayor
regarding the needs and security of the schools--both
have been receptive and helpful. The Johnstown Police
Department and the school district are working together
closely on any and all issues that arise and, as of this
correspondence, I have been notified that the police
have provided an increased presence throughout the
District --for that we thank them.
Additionally, in the coming days I have meetings with
experts in the field of security to get advice on best
measures to take regarding school safety. An architect
has been invited to review each entry way and see what
can be done. We have a company coming in to take
measurements and spec the doors for parts to retro fit
entry doors with the camera and remote release system.
The Board of Education has considered surveillance
cameras in the past, and I'm sure they will again.
Each building Principal has reviewed emergency planning
and, as a District, we will revisit those plans and
modify/update as necessary. In the coming weeks/months,
each school will practice/drill on safety protocols that
can only serve to help students and adults if
emergencies occur of any kind.
I hope this helps as we move forward and I thank
everyone for their valuable input.
Robert A. DeLilli
Superintendent of Schools
Letter from the JPD
Safety in Johnstown
December 17, 2012
Johnstown School Community,
The tragedy that occurred in Connecticut on Friday
caused all of us to stop and cringe in an emotional
state that had a very tight grip. Our thoughts and
prayers go out to the victims of this horrible event as
well as the people of Newtown, as they try to move
Below are resources you can use to help your child if
for coping in the aftermath of tragedy:
Tips for Talking to Children After a Disaster
Helping Children Cope After a School Shooting
November 13, 2012
All students in the Johnstown School District will be
dismissed from school 15 minutes early on Wednesday,
November 21, 2012, as part of a drill for the School
Emergency Management Plan. The buildings must be vacated
for an hour during the drill. Therefore, all after
school activities will be postponed for one hour
following the release time in each building. School
personnel will also be released early so parents must
make arrangements for their children.
The drill, which is held in accordance with the NYS
Department of Education regulations, will test the
usefulness of communications and transportation systems
during an emergency.
Non-public and special education students who do not
attend Johnstown schools will also be dismissed 15
minutes early so that bus routes can remain the same.
If you have any questions, please contact your child’s
Believe it or not, one month of the school year is just
about behind us. Yes, 1/10 of the academic calendar will
be completed next week. The 2012-2013 school year has
brought about change, and I believe will continue to
reflect change in many ways.
Your child may talk about some of the change headed our
way. For example, the requirements of Annual
Professional Performance Review (APPR) may be mentioned
by your child. This refers to the legislation for all
teachers to be evaluated. Included in the evaluation
process are assessments. In Johnstown, the students
will be taking STAR Assessments as part of the teacher
evaluation process. So again, your child may come home
and tell you about a test he/she had to take on the
computer. These test results will be utilized in a
couple of ways. First, there will be ongoing assessment
to best address weaknesses of students in order to help
them achieve and, second, the assessment data will be
utilized in the aforementioned evaluation process. No
matter what, the quality of education your child
receives remains very important. Our teachers worked
hard over the summer in order to best serve our students
this school year. That being said, the APPR process is
new and will likely cause some stress. Hopefully, the
wrinkles will get ironed out and all of us will move
The unfortunate circumstances that led to the end of the
Varsity football season are very emotional. I can assure
you the decision was not easy; however, in the name of
safety, I believe the right action was taken. On the
bright side, the Modified and Junior Varsity programs
have healthy participation and should carry through to
the Varsity level.
The conversation regarding Grade Level Grouping
continues. The Board of Education's restructuring
committee will meet on September 27th to further this
discussion. Input from parents is important, and there
will be more opportunity for involvement in the near
Glebe Street Elementary has welcomed Mrs. Abbey North as
the new principal. The welcome signs in the hallway were
a very nice gesture to Mrs. North on September 24th, her
first official day. Welcome aboard Mrs. North!
A communication tool called Blackboard Connect will be
utilized by the administration this year to communicate
directly with you. This "all call" phone system will be
used for important messages to families in the district,
such as notification of school closings, events and
other important information. Please make sure your
telephone numbers on file with the school are up to date
and accurate, and promptly notify the main office in
your child's building any time this information changes.
I hope the system proves valuable to you as a
communicative tool, as opposed to a nuisance!
I hope you enjoy the early days Autumn—before all the
leaves fall and the snow flies!