January 2003

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January 2003 news and commentary

-- Anonymous, December 28, 2002


Helloooooooo! Greetings..anyone around? Tobe

-- Anonymous, January 13, 2003

It's Hal 6-0. Yay!

-- Anonymous, January 14, 2003

Hi Tobe! I wasn't able to make it to the board meeting last night, too enmired in this revolting bronchitis. I haven't seen anything on it in the Freeman online edition yet, how did it go? Do we have Hal around for another year?

-- Anonymous, January 14, 2003

Hal for another year by a unamimous vote. Anyone interested in running for the school board this year??

-- Anonymous, January 21, 2003

Not a snowball's chance in hell that I'd be interested, or competent.

And given that Ted just fractured a vertebrae on Saturday after hitting an ice patch while cross-country skiing at Frost Valley, and I've been totally done in by bronchitis and a sinus infection for almost a month now, I'm not going to be able to be able to do much this spring what with all the catching up.

-- Anonymous, January 22, 2003

Jim's right...we need to think about viable, progressive candidates (need two) to take on Greg Walters (the Enabler) and Millman (if he should run again) (the Shape-Shifter) Tobe

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2003

I'd just like to offer a word of support and appreciation to our board members in this time of difficult decisions.

-- Anonymous, March 09, 2003

Off topic, but just in case any of you see anything like this, or know someone else who has reported it, let me know (besides, we need to have a little activity on this board or it will be shut down automatically by the server software):

BOICEVILLE --Last Friday night, March 21, 2003, my mate returned a bit unnerved from her drive passing along a road with a clear view of the Ashokan Reservoir in Olive, NY. She reports that she observed two black flying wedges (triangular) with unusual light configurations. What particularly struck was the silence of their flight and even more so the seemingly impossible SLOWNESS of the craft. This was between 8:30 and 9 PM. It is likely others also saw the craft. Since this is a distant source of New York City water, the primary road across the reservoir was closed to traffic at the start of the Iraqi invasion. I don't subscribe to the "aliens" scenario but I hope this was somehow helpful. Thanks to GA


-- Anonymous, March 26, 2003

Onteora may cut $2 million in spending William J. Kemble, Correspondent March 30, 2003

BOICEVILLE - Onteora school board members are ready to review a budget proposal that would require more than $2 million in spending cuts because of a projected loss in state aid. As for the cost to district residents, "I'm planning to recommend a budget that would require an estimated tax levy increase of less than 8 percent," said Superintendent Hal Rowe.

The board is to review the draft budget at 7 p.m. Monday in the auditorium of the high school on state Route 28.

Information about appropriations changes from the current spending plan of $38.38 million were not immediately available.

"I'm still working through the figures and looking at the programs that would be recommended for cuts or left in place," Rowe said.

The proposed state said to Onteora for 2003-04 stands as $6.17 million, a decrease of $732,176, or 10.61 percent, from the current year's aid. At the same time, employee retirement costs are projected to increase by about $2 million.

At a recent school board meeting, Rowe said the district must cut about $2.26 million in programs to keep the property tax levy from increasing more than 9 percent.

Among areas being considered for reductions are academic intervention positions, a social worker's position, field trips and extracurricular activities, assistant principal positions, advanced placement courses and high school courses not required under state graduation standards.


-- Anonymous, March 30, 2003

ADHD conference aimed at parents, teachers By BLAISE SCHWEITZER, Freeman staff May 08, 2003 http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm? newsid=7941917&BRD=1769&PAG=461&dept_id=74969&rfi=8

Onteora school board member Kathy Hochman says without a working knowledge of student rights and district policy, trying to advocate for children with ADHD is as difficult as trying to win at Monopoly without knowing the game's rules. "What do you think the chances are you're going to win if you have to ask them the rules," said Hochman, who will be a featured speaker at a conference next week in Kingston on a complex condition that many parents have come to know - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Hochman, a longtime advocate for children with learning disabilities, has no special legal or medical training in the field but has educated herself at conferences like the one scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. May 15 at the Ulster County Office Building, 244 Fair St., Kingston. She also has coached many parents into good working relationships with school officials without having to resort to a lawyer.

"All I am is a parent just like them, but I know the rules," she said.

A key to Hochman's perspective on ADHD advocacy is for parents and students to prepare themselves with the best possible tools to deal with the repercussions of the condition.

The disorder, which is believed to be triggered by chemical imbalances in the brain, causes distractibility and hyperactivity and makes it more difficult for children to organize and process information, something that can be frustrating both for children and for the parents and teachers who try to help them.

Helping teachers understand ADHD and the many related learning disabilities and disorders is part of the aim of the conference, Hochman said.

Students with ADHD or related learning disabilities that can give them trouble reading in front of class may dread such assignments. Rather than allow that to happen, such a student may well choose to disrupt a class to avoid having to read aloud, Hochman said. If a teacher realizes that, he or she might be able to find other ways for the student to participate in class without feeling humiliated.

Even allowing kinetic learners - students who have to rock in their seats to focus on assignments - to sit in the back of a classroom where they won't distract as many people can make a big difference.

Students with ADHD and the many associated disorders and diagnoses may be different from their peers in some ways, but that doesn't mean they don't want to fit in, Hochman said.

In all the time she has spent helping families deal with ADHD, Hochman never has had a parent weep over a student's poor math scores, she said, but one father did break down as he described how his son responded to being the only child not invited to a classmate's birthday party.

A portion of the May 15 conference is dedicated to a panel discussion featuring youths from the Kids Together program at the YWCA in Kingston, a once-weekly program dedicated to children with ADHD issues.

George Boundy, a 15-year-old Onteora High School freshman, is one of the youths involved in the Kids Together program at the YWCA. When interviewed by telephone, Boundy encouraged other youths with ADHD- related issues to sign up.

Unfortunately, due to funding problems, there is a waiting list for the YMCA program.

Boundy, who has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, said the Kids Together program has been a great help.

"I feel like I can talk about myself openly," Boundy said. "I can relate to the others."

Classroom tension is a frequent topic of discussion, he said, along with anger, self-control, family and relationship problems. Adults set up the program, he said, but they mostly get out of the way and let the children interact.

Mostly, Hochman said, the Kids Together program at the YMCA is a safe place to be around other kids facing similar challenges. "It's an opportunity to socialize and not be singled out as a bad kid."

The YMCA program, administered by the Ulster County Mental Health Department, also gives parents a chance to let off steam, said Marcy Pollitt, a Saugerties parent who helps coordinate discussions between parents of Kids Together kids.

Parents frequently feel overwhelmed by the disgust others feel toward children who are different and always seem to be the focus of a teacher's anger or a classmate's disparagement, Pollitt said. Newcomers to the program also often talk of their relief knowing their children are safe at the YMCA. Common ADHD behaviors sometimes make it hard to retain babysitters.

One of the first things parents do is exchange telephone numbers and offers to babysit, Pollit said. "You go take a walk," they tell the parents.

In addition to Hochman's talk and the youth-run panel on ADHD at the May 15 conference, a local specialist on ADHD will talk about how diagnoses are made and what new drugs are available to treat ADHD- related disorders.

Both Hochman and Pollitt warned of doctors who make casual diagnoses and prescribe drugs without ensuring full assessments have been done to properly diagnose the problem.

A doctor who misses signs of Tourette syndrome, a condition related to ADHD that is characterized by poor impulse control and physical and vocal tics or outbursts, can easily do more damage than good when prescribing anti-hyperactivity drugs, Hochman said.

A new drug has become available that can help with hyperactivity without boosting Tourette-type tics and outbursts, she said.

One of Hochman's children who had been diagnosed with ADHD responded so well to the medicine he was given that he quickly breezed through an entire page of math problems - problems that had stymied him earlier - without a single mistake.

"He took that pill and he could do math," Hochman said.

All medications have side effects that must be weighed, Hochman said, but the upside of taking the medicines also must be considered.

"It's as big a decision to not medicate as it is to medicate," she said.

Pollitt said the conference was scheduled for a time that might be convenient for teachers, who she dearly would like to attend. All teachers have continuing education credits they must satisfy, and the Kids Together conference is one of the options they have to satisfy those requirements.

"They can choose this," Pollitt said.

There is a $20 fee to participate in the program, and seating is limited. The registration deadline has been extended to Monday. To register or get more information, call Erika Scannell at (845) 340- 4118 or Rosa Lattanzio at (845) 340-4104.

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2003

Vote on Tuesday!

-- Anonymous, June 02, 2003

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