Cullin Johnston, Aidan Parrott, Makayla Coleman and Alex Russell were named Crown Point Central School’s students of the month for September.
Shari Brannock admits, things are tough for small, rural schools like Crown Point Central.
“As everyone knows, schools have faced huge cuts in funding and major increases in fixed costs in the past few years,” said Brannock, the Crown Point superintendent. “This led to the highest number of teacher layoffs in New York State in its history. Crown Point Central School is no exception when it comes to being forced to make very difficult budget decisions. Our choices are based primarily on providing a high quality education, meeting student needs and being responsible to our taxpayers.”
But while the challenges are great, Brannock is confident Crown Point is a good school and serves its 290 students well.
“Crown Point Central School prides itself on offering a quality education to its students,” she said. “Small rural schools face many challenges in meeting all New York State requirements for graduation as well as the curriculum needs of students. Crown Point has done an outstanding job at balancing requirements and meeting initiatives that make our students career and college ready.
“Crown Point Central School was recently designated as a College For Every Student School of Distinction for the second year in a row,” she added. “Also, in 2005 Crown Point became an America’s Choice National Model School for its overall academic performance as chosen by the National Center on Education and the Economy.”
Crown Point Central has a $6 million budget this academic year, $200,000 less than the previous school year. This year the school has cut 3.5 non-instructional positions — bus monitor, bus driver, account clerk, office and operations and maintenance — and 2.9 instructional jobs — one teaching assistant, half-time math, half-time AIS teacher, half-time science, part-time Spanish and part-time special education — among other cost savings measures.
The cuts have been difficult, Brannock said, but have not hurt students.
“The programs offered meet New York State requirements and are extraordinary in our ability to meet student needs to be career and college ready,” Brannock said. “Each year, in March, our guidance counselor organizes a curriculum fair. Teachers provide displays and valuable information regarding program offerings for elective courses in all subjects. Students complete course requests based on their interests. These requests drive our scheduling process. We do our best to offer those courses students want to take most.
“A bit of history substantiates the fact that Crown Point Central School is doing a fantastic job helping students and their families begin the college readiness phase,” she added. “In fact, Crown Point goes well beyond the college preparatory stage and provides opportunities for students to complete both their high school requirements and the equivalent of their freshman year of college credits.”
Crown Point participates with North Country Community College and Paul Smith’s College to offer classes that simultaneously garner high school and college credit, Brannock noted. The classes are taught at Crown Point by Crown Point teachers with the approval of NCCC and Paul Smith’s.
“In the 2007–08 school year our junior and senior students were able to obtain a total of 274 college credits (each course generally worth 3 credits),” Brannock said. “Last year, our students enrolled in and earned 432 credits with the seniors taking 231 of them. This year Crown Point offers 12 courses. If every student pays the $50 course fee to the college they will earn 542 college credits.
The NCCC and Paul Smith’s classes include English composition I and II, creative writing, Adirondack history, psychology, American history I and II, integrated algebra, statistics, financial accounting, and introduction to nutrition.
“This group will leave Crown Point Central School with approximately 500 college credits, averaging 30 credits per student enrolled or the equivalent of 80 percent of them leaving high school with one year of college under their belts that cost their families around $500 total,” Brannock said.
And Crown Point is providing other academic opportunities, the superintendent said. This year six Crown Point students are taking physics at Ticonderoga High School through an arrangement between the two school districts. Crown Point has also added a forsenics course for its students.