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Meeting of the Board of Regents | April 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - 9:20am

 sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier



Report on the Roosevelt School District



March 27, 2008


Goals 1 and 2







Issue for Information


Monthly report on work underway and progress made in the Roosevelt Union Free School District to support student success.


Reason(s) for Consideration


Requested by members of the Board of Regents.

Proposed Handling 


For information.


Procedural History


Each month, the State Education Department provides a report to the Board of Regents on continued work underway in Roosevelt to strengthen student achievement, achieve fiscal stability, and to provide for a productive learning environment where all students can succeed.


Background Information


The Commissioner of Education exercises fiscal and educational program oversight in the Roosevelt Union Free School District, consistent with Chapter 33 of the Laws of 2002. Each month, the State Education Department provides a report to the Board of Regents on activities and accomplishments in the Roosevelt School District.  This month’s report is attached. 


Building upon the work completed in the first half of the 2007-08 school year, members of the Board of Regents and State Education Department staff continue to work with Superintendent Robert-Wayne Harris, school district staff, and other partners to support student success and to help the district achieve fiscal stability. 




It is recommended that the Regents review the attached update on the operations and oversight of the Roosevelt Union Free School District. Staff is available to provide additional information as requested.


Timetable for Implementation


Not applicable.


update on work underway and progress made


APRIL 2008


The Board of Regents and the State Education Department have significantly increased support and oversight at the Roosevelt Union Free School District.  Building upon the progress made in the district in the first half of the 2007-08 school year, the Board of Regents and the State Education Department continue to work with the new Roosevelt Superintendent and staff to support student success and to help the district achieve fiscal stability.  Highlights of progress made in the district this month include:



Leadership in the Roosevelt School District


  • Superintendent Harris convenes weekly internal Cabinet meetings.  In addition, monthly meetings are held with building principals.  Superintendent Harris is also making every effort to ensure that parents and community members are apprised of news and developments in the district.


  • Roosevelt administrators and teachers are working on a number of important priorities in the district.  For example, work continues to strengthen the scheduling process, particularly at the middle school and the high school.  A Master Schedule is under development that will give all teachers full class loads and provide students with an opportunity to have complete and full schedules.  In addition, Roosevelt leadership continue to discuss potential next steps on a number of important issues impacting the district including the 2008-09 budget, district organization, staffing, and preparations for the 2008-09 school year.  These topics of discussion will also come before the Roosevelt Board of Education.


  • A series of 2008-09 Budget planning meetings are now underway in the district.  Roosevelt leadership is working to finalize instructional staffing needs and is sharing this information with the Roosevelt Board of Education.  The 2008-09 budget vote is planned for May 20, 2008.  The public presentation of the proposed budget is scheduled for May 8th. 


  • Regent Roger Tilles, Gayle Stevens-Haynes, Chair of Roosevelt’s Board of Education and Senior Deputy Commissioner Johanna Duncan-Poitier met on March 20th to discuss academic, fiscal, and operational priorities in the district; planning that is now underway for the 2008-09 school year; and ways in which the Board of Regents, the Education Department, and USNY partners can continue to provide valuable assistance and support to the Roosevelt school community. 


  • Superintendent Harris participated in the March 5th meeting of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents (NCCOSS) at Nassau BOCES.  Agenda items included opportunities for resource sharing among districts, the Algebra Regents Exam, the Long Island Educational Coalition, and Superintendent Professional Development.


Regional BOCES/Long Island Regional School Support Center Continues to Provide Important Assistance to the District


This month, the regional BOCES, Long Island Regional School Support Center, and Dr. Brosnan continue to work closely with Superintendent Harris and Roosevelt leadership to provide direct assistance to district administration. The Long Island Regional School Support Center (LIRSSC) staff has provided technical assistance to the middle school principal to assist with the transition from a 7-8 middle school to a 6-8 middle school (in a new building) next September. LIRSSC staff also worked with the Interim Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Funded Programs to assure alignment and agreement between the middle and elementary schools, and assisted the district staff in their review of effective Academic Intervention Service programs.


Support for High School Guidance Department with SED Grant Funds to Eastern Suffolk BOCES and the Long Island Regional School Support Center


Through a grant from NYSED to Eastern Suffolk BOCES, an experienced guidance chairperson, Dr. Kathleen Corbett, has started coordinating the High School Guidance Center staff.  Dr. Corbett’s work is being coordinated by Superintendent Harris and by Dr. Brosnan.  A summary of Dr. Corbett’s work since she started February 11 is as follows:


  • Created a school counseling activity calendar to guide the work of the counseling staff
  • Reviewed the student files and determined that they need improvement.  Provided professional development for counselors regarding information that must be maintained in the student files:
    • Report cards
    • Testing results
    • Parent conferences
    • ESL and/or Special Education information
  • Developed procedures to ensure close communication between the guidance office and the registrar/census office so that new entrants receive appropriate support as they enter the school system
  • Arranged for counselors to have access to student Individual Educational Plans (IEP’s), as required by law and regulation
  • Organized a course selection process
    • Assisted with the creation of a student course selection guide to provide students and parents with information about course options at the high school
    • All students in grades nine through eleven have now met with their high school counselors to discuss their current program and grades, and to plan what courses they will take for year
  • Organized a college admissions process
    • The counselors have been meeting with seniors to assist them with the college application process
    • Students came to the counseling center to hear presentations, and to speak with, college admission counselors from Nassau Community College and the New York Institute of Technology
    • Wrote a College Planning Guide, which will be presented by the counselors to eleventh graders as they plan for next year

Dr. Corbett will continue working with the district at least through the end of the school year, and possibly through the summer.


Facilities and Construction


The middle school remediation is complete.  A final engineering report is being prepared for the Department of Environmental Conservation. The project is expected to be completed in May and scheduled to be open in September 2008, pending the final remediation report.

The construction project at Ulysses Byas is proceeding well.  There is one union issue that is under negotiation and is expected to be resolved.  The building is expected to be open for school in September 2008.

Carl Thurnau, SED staff member, made a Board of Education presentation to discuss how to utilize the district's EXCEL allocation.  The district is considering how and when to seek voter authorization for the use of the EXCEL allocation.


Follow-up on Recommendations of the Office of the State Comptroller


Leadership in the Roosevelt School District and the Board of Education are developing a Corrective Action Plan to implement recommendation made by the Office of the State Comptroller.  The Board of Education is scheduled to act on the plan at their April Meeting.  The plan will subsequently be submitted to the State Education Department.  In addition to the Corrective Action Plan, consistent with OSC recommendations, the Board of Education and Roosevelt leadership are discussing next steps on several other agenda items including policies and procedures, budget status reports, school lunch fund appropriation, payroll, and human resource issues. 


The Audit Committee of the Board of Education is meeting routinely and sharing their work with the Full Board.


Student Development Activities


  • A Chinese Fair was held at the Washington Rose School on Saturday March 8th.  Ms. Lissette Laboy,the District Coordinator of ESL, and the Chinese Fair, reports that the program was a real success.  Between 175 and 200 participants attended including; Ms. Pat Lo - from the New York University Metro Center, Marissa Fang - President of the Chinese Teachers Association of the Greater new York, Belle Lam - Chinese Association of NY, Ms. Charthern - Centennial Avenue Elementary School, teachers and school personnel, and Mr. Scott and Ms. Boxley from the community. Telemundo (Channel 16) televised the Chinese Fair and it was highlighted on the 6:00 news.  At the Fair, Roosevelt 1st to 3rd grade students sang in Chinese to the audience, and students saw demonstrations and participated in Tai Chi, Chinese sword officer training, Chinese dances, dough figurines, Opera mask painting, Chinese Paper Cutting and Origami, and a Power Point Presentation on last year’s trip to China. 


  • On March 6th, an O Ambassador’s program was held at Roosevelt High School.  The O Ambassador’s program was founded by Oprah Winfrey for young people who want to get involved in promoting education and eliminating poverty and violence throughout the world.  The program featured a student from the Congo in Africa who spoke about how he was kidnapped from his family, to become a soldier at the age of 5.  He later escaped and became a spokesperson against crimes, wars, and violent activities.  The students who attended thoroughly enjoyed the program and many are involved in the O Ambassador’s program in Roosevelt.  Also in attendance was Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby.  Similarly, an O Ambassador’s Program was held at Ulysses Byas Elementary School on March 18th with Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy attending.


  • On March 25th, a Woman’s History Month Celebration Program was held at the Ulysses Byas Elementary School.  Roosevelt’s first grade students did an outstanding job reading and reciting poems and narratives regarding famous women throughout history.  Ms. Moore and Mrs. Watson were honored at the event.



Fiscal Update


Work continues on the district’s 2008/09 budget.  One of the larger considerations in the budget discussions is just how many secondary positions will be needed given that the new separate middle school facility will be open in the next school year.


On March 5th the district received cash in the amount of $ 14 million pursuant to the legislative appropriation; $ 8 million to address the deficit and $ 6 million for the additional special academic improvement grant. 


To be in compliance with Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement #45, the district has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for actuarial services.  The new GASB statement requires that all governmental entities perform a valuation to determine and report the value of employees post employment benefits.  The district expects that the board will pass a resolution this month to appoint an experienced actuarial firm that will set the valuation of these future employee benefits costs.


The district is working with its bond counsel and financial advisor to address the Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) that will mature on August 17, 2008.  Given the current state of interest rates, it is likely that the district will not renew the BAN, but will instead issue a bond through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY).  The plan is to close on the new debt by July 15th.


To strengthen business office operations, the planned staffing changes are being implemented.


Next Steps


The Board of Regents and the State Education Department will continue to work closely with the Superintendent, the Roosevelt Board of Education, district administrators and teachers, members of the community, and other partners to address both short and long term priorities for the district.  In addition, Dr. Brosnan continues to provide support to the district through the Long Island Regional School Support Center.  Highlights of future next steps include:


  • Continue to ensure that key leadership positions are filled.
  • Continue to provide Department and local network support as needed.
  • Complete major construction projects at the middle and high school.
  • Complete 2008-09 budget and present to the community in May 2008.
  • Continue to implement fiscal systems to maintain financial stability.