On Wednesday, November 2, student artists paid special tribute to the seven members of our community who contribute countless hours, at no pay, to make the Bethlehem Central School District the best it can be.
It was School Board Recognition Night, where the community got a chance to say their thanks to board members for their service and where students delivered special tokens of gratitude to the board.
The students who recognized the BOE with their artwork were:
- Stella Convertino
- Grace Fitzgerald
- Marisa Seres
- Liam Ferris
- Allison Austin
- Olivia Dodge
- Ava Gasson
- Nora Ikasolo
- Ellie Pokabla
- Max Waldenmaier
- Chloe Kosoc
- Jacob Bloom
Also, in recognition of the service of current board members, books were dedicated to each of the members and then donated to one of the school libraries in their names. The books ranged from the adorably funny “Rude Cakes,” the deeply inspiring “Who is Malala?,” and the endearingly vibrant “Humans of New York.”
Here is a list of where the books will go:
- Matt Downey’s books will go to the middle school
- Lynne Lenhardt’s books will go to Glenmont Elementary
- Charmaine Wijeyesinghe’s books will go to Hamagrael Elementary
- Christine Beck’s books will go to Elsmere Elementary
- Michael Cooper’s books will go to Slingerlands Elementary
- Joanne Cunningham’s books will go to Eagle Elementary
- Jonathan Fishbein’s books will go to the high school
BCSD Celebrates Board of Education Recognition Week
Local control of education through elected school boards is an American tradition that stems back to the original 13 colonies. While school boards are small and local, they represent one of the most important commitments citizens can make to their community — overseeing the education of its youth.
Bethlehem Central School District would like to thank and honor local board members for their commitment to our community and its children. The BCSD School Board plays a vital function in our community, as they are a voice for our public and spend many hours studying education issues and regulations in order to provide the kind of accountability our community expects.
According to the National School Boards Association, school board members devote 25 hours per month on average to board business — and in New York state, board members receive no financial compensation for this dedication. During the many hours board members serve, they not only attend district board of education meetings, but also devote time to study federal, state and district regulations, stay apprised of national education issues and address district-specific matters.
School boards have a wide range of responsibilities, but because children are their ultimate focus, the end result of their main work is to raise student achievement and oversee academic standards. They do this by:
- Creating a vision for what the community wants the school district to be and for making student achievement the top priority;
- Establishing standards for what students will be expected to learn and be able to do;
- Ensuring progress is measured to be sure the district’s goals are achieved and students are learning at expected levels;
- Helping develop district budgets and presenting them to the community, as well as aligning district resources to improve achievement;
- Adopting and maintaining policies that create a safe, orderly climate where students can learn and teachers can teach;
- Focusing attention on the need for continuous improvement by questioning, refining and revising issues related to student achievement.
The members serving the Bethlehem Central Board of Education are as follows:
- Matt Downey, President, first elected to the Board in 2008
- Lynne Lenhardt, Vice President, first elected to the Bethlehem BOE in 1988. She is a member of Capital Region BOCES’ Board since 1997, on the Operating Board for Tech Valley High School and has served as the President of the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) from 2013 to 2015 after serving on their Board of Directors since 2001.
- Charmaine Wijeyesinghe, first elected to the Board in May of 2009
- Christine Beck, first elected to the Board in 2014
- Michael Cooper, first elected to the Board in May 2010
- Joanne Cunningham, first appointed to the Board in 2013 and elected in 2014
- Jonathan Fishbein, first elected to the Board in May 2016
Read more about our district’s board members here. Thank you, Matt, Lynne, Charmaine, Christine, Mike, Joanne and Jonanthan for your service and the time you dedicate to making Bethlehem be all it can be.