HFM BOCES looks to build connections

JOHNSTOWN — Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services District Superintendent David Ziskin on Wednesday detailed efforts to build relationships with component school district to the Board of Education.

Since his appointment as the new district superintendent for HFM BOCES by the Board of Education on May 29, Ziskin has stated that he plans to focus on improving communication, collaboration and advocacy at the institution in keeping with the organization’s mission of creating educational opportunities for students through collaborative partnership and innovative leadership.

Following his official start date on Aug. 5, Ziskin has sought to build relationships with HFM BOCES administrators and staff as well as individuals from the component school districts that HFM BOCES serves.

Ziskin has set a goal for himself to visit each of the Boards of Education at component school districts by the end of the calendar year to introduce himself and provide an overview of the district’s mission. As of Wednesday Ziskin said he has already met with school boards at Northville Central School District, Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District, Greater Amsterdam School District, Fonda-Fultonville Central School District and Canajoharie Central School District.

Ziskin has also implemented plans to establish advisory committees comprised of the superintendents of component school districts meeting each month to discuss the respective areas of management services, special and alternative education, instructional services and Career and Technical Education, Pathways in Technology Early College High School and early college credits.

HFM BOCES has asked superintendents from component school districts to each serve on at least two of the advisory committees to report out to the full group of superintendents at the group’s monthly meeting.

“The origin was we would have these discussions once a month as chiefs and it was rushed. There wasn’t as much depth to the discussion,” Ziskin said. “So we’ve asked the chiefs to engage a little more deeply with us.”

Ziskin said the first meeting of the instructional services committee has already helped to inform professional development activities that HFM BOCES will organize to support alignment of instructional delivery with next generation standards in physical education and computer science that are due to be released by the state Education Department sometime this year.

“It’s a healthy conduit and relationship building. I think building that connection between our programs and programmatic decisions with our consumers, frankly, with the component schools will help us,” Ziskin said. “It will also better inform our work here as we’re building the budget every year.”

Board of Education member Harry Brooks responded positively to the formation of the new advisory committees and suggested that department heads from HFM BOCES in related areas participate in the meetings to directly involve staff members who will create or redevelop programs and policies as a result of the discussions.

“I’m seeing it as a really good thing for superintendents and something that is going to be really good for our people,” Brooks said. “One of the visions I had is this kind of distributing leadership, putting those people who are closest to the delivery of services in touch with the people who are buying the services.”

“This was the first convening of the meeting as we build this new structure, but it certainly is something that I think is going to naturally happen as part of these meetings,” Ziskin said in agreement.

By Kerry Minor

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