IPAC Minutes – Feb. 28, 2018

Instructional Program Advisory Council

Feb. 28, 2018 Meeting, 6:30 p.m.


Dr. Tangorra welcomed the IPAC group and is looking forward to hearing subcommittee progress on all fronts.

General Announcements and Updates

  • March 16th strategic plan: Present budget to board on 13th of March and then take budget on the road between April and May. Present town halls, 15 or so opportunities for public to see before vote.
  • Advanced Tech Center evening: Very successful night with great turnout. IPAC members who attended were informed by the sessions. Experience will help inform subcommittees on current initiatives. Pathways subcommittee will use student feedback from this event to inform pathway gap analysis benchmarking. Impressive number of community businesses and organizations present at event. This alignment is perfect example of the community partnering IPAC is looking to foster in our initiatives.
  • IPAC group needs to schedule a group picture soon.
  • Dr. Tangorra summarized Dr. Seversky’s Enrollment and Capacity findings. (See Enrollment Study and School Configuration subcommittee notes below).

State of the District

At the Jan. 23rd meeting of the Board of Education, Dr. Tangorra provided a “State of the District” presentation. This included a snapshot of district demographics, academic results, financial information and the status of initiatives stemming from the District Strategic Plan. We are achieving quite well compared to peers across the state of New York. Highlights were:

  • Niskayuna students have access to a wide array of opportunities – and they take advantage of them.
  • Niskayuna students are going places.
  • The district performs well compared with the state and is competitive with peers in the region and around New York.
  • The district serves a diverse student population in many senses of the word.
  • Student-to-staff ratios are returning to pre-recession levels – but needs continue to grow.
  • The district is focused on providing the best possible student opportunities, while being sensitive to spending, taxes, and fiscal stability.
  • The district’s financial position with respect to fund balance is stronger than it has been in some time.
  • Moving the district forward is a community effort.
  • Enrollment is expected to grow, while space is at a premium.
  • A vision for programs and facilities is starting to emerge as the result of the strategic plan and community involvement.

Sub-Committee Report Outs

School Start Times

Met twice since last meeting.

Looked at start and end times for different districts. Middle school start and end times vary quite a bit. Looking at attendance data. Need to talk with Glens Falls. Some education in the community is needed.

Next Steps include:

  • Brainstorm/Vet Options: Shorten School Day, Shift School Day, Staggered Start – Early (1st period) or Late (3rd Period)
  • Constraints: AD about practice/meet/game times, Transportation (pick-up/drop-off times), Teachers/Admin contracts, Music Programs (needs/constraints)
  • Niskayuna Data: Sleep, Performance, Attendance


Superintendents Association replied to Christopher Shortt with two contacts.

A meeting is being setup for the middle of March to discuss indicators in more depth to gain insight into how to better interpret some of them.

Pathways subcommittee members have been busy during the month of February but will reconvene within the next two weeks to build out the next plan for completing the gap analysis.

Chris Delano will then work with Niskayuna faculty and systems to fill in the gaps of our heat map gap analysis. Once this leg of the project is completed, Pathways subcommittee can present findings to the larger IPAC group to discuss and make recommendations on action items based on data.


Met Monday to hammer out next steps:

Focus groups for parents and for faculty are being assembled. Four big questions plus other moderating on key topics to take place. Hoping for March 26th for focus group. Next meeting is April 9th. Goal is to have everything wrapped up in May. Many diverging views. Going to be more of thoughts on consistency within the district, helpful homework, making it so people can come together with their views on what is useful, helpful homework and how much is effective. The focus groups will meet at the district office and RSVPs are sent out. Informal conversation on homework. K-6 age group focus. Survey will offer more district wide feedback.

Enrollment Study and School Configuration

Dr. Seversky completed enrollment and building capacity study. Studies demonstrate some growth and emphasizes where we are in running out space.

Now on to larger group which is a capital project committee. Working backwards from the fall 2020 referendum, between now and then get work done through the lens of programmatic shifts, work that IPAC is doing, the building condition survey that has been done, and the heightening security efforts.

Dr. Seversky will meet with board to give them an update and take temp on what needs to get done. Then, a deeper study extrapolating what we’ve done plus look at what different configurations look like.

Last step would be based on board’s comments, make recommendations to board. Plan that gives the board a look at what it looks like in 2020. We will share more and more with the public as this progresses. Fall of 2020 we can go to public with referendum. Fall of 2021 we get approval to bid with construction beginning 2022.

There could be a referendum sooner around making security capital improvements. Community input suggestions then go to board for approval.

Summary, Final Comments and Proposal for Next Meeting May 2 (6:30-8:30PM):

Starting this year, conduct a survey of exiting high school students and subsequent classes that follow those students 2 and 4 years out so that cumulatively we get a needs assessment of those students. Life track could create this survey. Look at general wellness, health, and several other factors.
We need a time schedule for presenting to the board on June 5th. At our next scheduled meeting on May 2nd, we should deliver the draft of recommendations in prep for the June 5th board meeting. We will create succinct next steps to present to the board to get their feedback.