JPS Board Extends Apthorpe’s Contract

At Tuesday’s board meeting where Jamestown Public Schools Superintendent Bret Apthorpe’s contract was extended, he also discussed ongoing initiatives to better the district that have been in works for more than a year.

Around this time last year, the board of education members held a retreat where they and Apthorpe discussed the best way forward for the district. Out of that meeting, spawned several ideas that would later become the initiatives Apthorpe presented. Those initiatives include an expanded summer literacy program, a physical plant maintenance plan, a survey of the current student climate and culture, a push to modernize courses and the creation of the Success Academy.

“At that retreat the board and I worked together on a direction forward for our community and our students,” Apthorpe said. “And I wanted to highlight to the board, because we’re about to go on another retreat, the work that’s been done since the last time we met.”

The district is anticipating 600-700 students in grades K-Fourth will be participating in the summer literacy program. The program will provide transportation and food while the students receive two hours of literacy. Additional daily programming will be provided by the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club. Other youth groups will provide field trips and other experiences.

The physical plant plan includes an upcoming building condition survey that will assess the needs of the district’s facilities. The plan will look to modernize administrative systems and identify long-term physical plants needs and develop a financial plan.

“That work is well underway,” Apthorpe said.

The survey of student climate and culture will look to promote extra curricular activities for students like athletics and music programs. The district will also be looking to align curriculum with the needs of colleges and the local labor market in order to modernize what it offers in terms of courses.

The Success Academy is scheduled to open in the fall in limited fashion and then gradually grow its reach. The school, housed in the former Rogers Elementary School building, will offers Career and Technical Education courses, Pre-Kindergarten classes and offer student and family support services.

With regards to Apthorpe’s contract extension, Paul Abbott, board president, said it was something both parties wanted. Apthorpe now will be under contract as the superintendent of schools through 2023, two years longer than previously agreed. The extension had some relation to the plans Apthorpe has helped manage within the district.

“We’ve been happy with the direction the district has been taking with the leadership that Bret (Apthorpe) has provided,” Abbott said.

“It was just a mutual agreement. Bret’s happy here. We’re happy with the work he’s doing and we’re excited about the plans he has in place. One of the ways to ensure that we continue to go in the right direction is to lock up our superintendent.”

In other news, the board approved the hire of a medical examiner, Dr. Stuart Dorfman. Dorfman will serve as the district medical inspector. His job will include preparing medical examinations under Education Law 913 that reviews an employee’s capacity to perform his or her duties.

“Whenever somebody’s mental health comes into question for their ability to perform their job in a public school, the school has the right with action by the board to have a professional psychiatrist do such sort of reviews,” Apthorpe said.

Apthorpe said these hires typically relate to personnel issues.