Breakfast of 4/21/16: ‘Changing Face of Education’

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3rd Thursday Breakfast Meeting
Greenbush YMCA
20 Community Way
East Greenbush, NY

Members Attending (11): Terry Brewer, Shanon Romanowski, Monika Annis, Ron Annis, Mike Dewey, Andy Leyhane, Murray Forth, Jim McHugh, Matt Smith, John Sawchuk, Josh Wainman.


President Terry Brewer reviewed upcoming Rotary activities and programs and encouraged participation in scheduled events.

• This Saturday, April 23, Roberto Martinez and Jim Leyhane will co-host a social mixer for members and significant others at Roberto’s residence from 5 to 7:30 p.m. From among the breakfast group, Mike and Deb Dewey, Andy and Kara Leyhane, and Matt Smith and friend Guiliana have indicated they will attend.

• On Saturday, April 30, A.J. Amato is hosting a document shredding day at his office, 4 Springhurst Drive, East Greenbush. People may bring as many items as possible, and will be asked to make a small donation to the club’s youth programs.

• On Thursday, May 12, a contingent from the club will be preparing dinner for lodgers at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany.

• Terry and Murray Forth are planning a nine-hole outdoor golf tournament as a June fundraiser. Details to come.

PROGRAM: “The Changing Face of Education”

Screen shot 2016-04-22 at 9.37.00 AMMembers John Sawchuk, principal at Columbia High School, and Jim McHugh, principal at Belltop Elementary School, spoke on the challenges that students, staff, and families face in the current education environment.

John discussed principal leadership and how to support teachers and students through evidence-based decision making. He also spoke about the qualities of effective leadership and how to work with staff and communities in meeting high stakes educational goals.

He shared insights into his personal management system and how Columbia has moved into the top five schools in academic success in the Capital Region.

Jim shared insights into the changing culture of schools and preparing students and families for the rigors of the Common Core elementary curriculum. He shared information on professional evaluation processes, data on the shrinking number of people going into education programs, the absence of quality substitute teachers, and the rigors of the grades 3-5 ELA and math test.

He shared sample questions from the tests and noted that even intelligent adults would have difficulty with some of the questions. He also shared stories on how the new testing process with no time limits has some students taking tests for more than five hours in a school day.

The culture of schools and communities is changing with more students/families in poverty, more transient families and less funding for programs such as social workers and librarians, as most financial support is driven by required programs tied to Common Core.

NEXT BREAKFAST MEETING — 7 a.m. Thursday, May 19, at the Greenbush YMCA.


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