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Letter From Briarcliff Superintendent Neal Miller

Briarcliff Manor Superintendent of Schools Neal Miller released the following statement after layoff notices were given to 27 of 30 teacher's aides Friday.

To the Briarcliff Manor Community,

Change is difficult, but often worth the effort when the benefits of the change are great. When I met with community members at our Budget Open House earlier this school year, parents expressed to me that they would like me to create something bold and ground-breaking with our instructional program. This idea fit perfectly with my vision to make our instructional program the strongest it could be, looking for continuous improvement through innovative programs. Inherent in this vision is change.

Next school year, I plan to place two certified teachers in each classroom at Todd Elementary School. In addition to the classroom teacher, our district will hire teaching assistants with teacher certification to work alongside our teachers to enhance instruction. This unique model will give our classroom teachers more flexibility in planning lessons of small group instruction with two certificated instructors. This model allows opportunities to provide more focused learning experiences for our students, while staying within the guidelines of the CommissionerÂ’s Regulations.

Education law allows teaching assistants to provide direct instructional services to students under the general supervision of a licensed or certified teacher. Regular classroom teachers provide direction and guidance to teaching assistants concerning the instructional services they are providing students. In contrast, teacher aides may perform only non-instructional duties in accordance with Civil Service Law and certification is not required for teacher aides.

It is this change to teaching assistants from our current use of teacher aides, who have provided our students such wonderful service and support over the years, that makes this change so difficult. Our students have been fortunate to have been helped and guided by our teacher aides and will continue to be fortunate with the instruction from our teaching assistants. We will be working closely with our teachers in this transition to ensure the very best bold and dynamic education for our children.

Next Monday, February 13, at the Board of Education Meeting, beginning at 8:00 P.M., Dr. Serio-Vaughan and I will present to our Board of Education more information on this new instructional model, including the positive effects it will have on our special education program. This presentation will be posted on our website the following day.

Neal S. MillerSuperintendent of Schools

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