WEST VALLEY—As summer comes to a close, school districts are getting ready to accept students back into the hallways and classrooms, and West Valley Central School is no exception. The Wildcats start the 2017-18 school year Wednesday, Sept. 6 for all students, kindergarten through grade 12.
Among the new services and programs available to students this school year, one of the biggest is the new positive behavioral interventions and support program. This program helps reinforce positive behavior among students in a variety of ways and rewards students for that good behavior with things such as incentives from teachers in the classroom, a school store and quarterly drawings.
“We have different areas in the school building that we really want to focus on what are expectations are in those areas … hallways, on the bus, in the classroom, in the cafeteria, in the bathroom, in other common areas,” WVCS Principal Dan Amodeo said. “We have really good students and we wanted to have an opportunity to also reinforce their positive behavior. So if we see students doing what they are expected to do, we want to be able to recognize their positive choices.”
To help reinforce and promote positive behaviors within the school, the PBIS program will include students participating in social skills lessons that will teach important social skills that will help them be successful in life and highlighting the community service projects that are done in classes throughout the district.
Along with PBIS, Amodeo said there are other new courses and activities available to students this coming year. In the high school, two new college courses will be available through Syracuse University – chemistry and U.S. history – which will bring the total number of college credits available at WVCS to 56. The district is also looking to expand on their technology curriculum by offering courses on computer programming and 3-D modeling for mobile application design.
In the elementary school, two new extra curricular activities will be available for students, Girls on the Run and Boys on the Right Track. These programs are for students in third through sixth grade, and are non-competitive running programs where students are able to build their social and emotional skills while also training for a 5K. WVCS will also be continuing their Lego League club this coming year for students and will offer a new STEAM club for students in kindergarten through third grade.
“For the new school year, we have a good plan in place to start off the school year and continue to grow our school and help our students,” Amodeo said.
With these current offerings from the school, WVCS Superintendent Eric Lawton said they are always looking for suggestions and ideas from students for courses and programs that they feel will help them get the most out of their time at school.
“We are always looking to maintain or increase and look to our students to see what their interests are, whether we want to offer more college courses or local courses that fit into job skills that they might have,” Lawton said.
After a long summer vacation, it can be hard for students to jump right back in the swing of school, but Amodeo and Lawton have some advice for students so they get the everything they can out the upcoming school year.
“You only get to do schooling once so you really want to take advantage of every opportunity,” Lawton said. “It’s not a spectator sport, you have to get in there and participate and I think you will find that the students who participate the most, get the most out of it.”
“I would like all the students to come back with an open mind and ready to learn,” Amodeo said. “Every new school year is an opportunity for a fresh start and every new day is an opportunity for a fresh start. We want students to be able to realize their dreams and goals and that is what I’m here for and what our teachers are here for.”