RIPLEY - The reins of leadership changed hands at Ripley Central School as Karen Krause has officially passed on the duties of superintendent to Dr. Lauren Ormsby.
While Krause's last day is officially Feb. 28, she will be using up accumulated vacation days from Dec. 20 onward. Ormsby will serve as acting superintendent until being named to the position on March 1.
Board president Robert Bentley referred to Krause's departure as the "end of an era," saying, "I will miss you very much. It's been a lot of fun, it hasn't always been easy, but it's been interesting."
Ormsby's first item of business was to reveal to the board a project to help educate board members to the different aspects of the Common Core initiative.
"As board members, people may come up to you and ask about the Common Core," she said. "We have to understand that when people say "Common Core," they could mean a lot of different things."
Ormsby used the analogy of a ball of yarn to graphically illustrate how the Common Core actually contains different initiatives released by the state department of education during the past four years, including APPR, curriculum modules, assessments and learning standards. "All of these got tangled up into one big ball called the Common Core," she said.
For this reason, there is a lot of confusion among parents and educators about what the Common Core demands, Ormsby added. For instance, the state has mandated certain learning standards that must be met by every school. However, it has also released a curriculum that schools can choose whether to adopt fully, partially, or to create their own in order to meet those standards, she stated.
If people had a greater understanding of the standards, they would not feel as threatened by the Common Core, according to Ormsby.
"No one is going to look at the standards and say, 'I don't want my child to read a text,' or to say, 'I don't want my child to understand math in a deep conceptual way.' Of course they want these standards, but people get the other initiatives confused with the standards," she said.
For the next few months, Ormsby said she will present a brief "lesson" in various aspects of the Common Core initiatives with the hopes that board members will be able to help others come to understand them as well.
In other business, Ormsby gained approval from the board to allow parents to purchase their child's sports jersey from the school, since they will not be used again. The school will also sell unused spandex articles from its sporting program and use the revenue to purchase materials for the library, she said.
The board also took a "field trip" to see one of its extra-curricular clubs in action. Members visited the Christmas Extravaganza Club, led by third-grade teacher Michelle Lukasiak. An average of 22 students attended every Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to make gifts and ornaments for parents and friends.