2012-13 BH-BL varsity teams achieve Scholar-Athlete
For the third year in a row, the Burnt
Hills-Ballston Lake High School students have shown that
they excel both on the sports fields and in the
BH-BL is again on track to be named a
state "School of Distinction" based on the fact that all
26 of its varsity interscholastic sports teams have been
named "Scholar-Athlete" teams for achieving grade point
averages above 90 percent.
READ MORE & VIEW GPAs
graders present "Birth of a Nation" Living Museum
year is 1775. There is unrest in the American colonies
over the unfair treatment of the colonists by England's
King George III and Parliament . . .
grade students at Stevens Elementary School enjoyed
playing the parts of Patriots and Loyalists as they
presented their annual "Birth of a Nation" Living Museum
on May 10.
READ MORE & VIEW PHOTOS
Election is May 21
Farmer, Longtin and Mertzlufft
running for 2 seats on BH-BL Board of Education
Incumbents William Farmer and
Lee-Ann Mertzlufft plus challenger Jennifer Longtin
are running for election to two seats on the BH-BL Board of Education
on May 21.
The Saratoga County League of Women
Voters will hold a Meet the
Candidates Night at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, May 7,
in the BH-BL High School Library. All are
invited to ask questions and hear the candidates express
NOTE: All three candidates
have also answered questions posed by the
Saratoga County League of Women
Voters. You can view their answers
Calling all BH-BL Alumni!
Details posted for upcoming Class Reunions Does your class have a reunion coming up?
The Class of 1963 is preparing for their 50th Reunion on
June 7 - 9, and the Class of 1953 is celebrating their
60th Reunion on July 14. You can read all the
information we have about these and any
other BH-BL reunions (or send us updated information for your class)
by clicking the "Alumni" button on the
directly to our Reunion Info page here. Also, check out and join the
BH-BL Alumni Database
and see who else has registered from your class.
Full day kindergarten approved
for September 2013
School board adopts budget of $59.0
Posted April 18, 2013: At their meeting on Tuesday, April
16, members of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Board
of Education voted to change to a full-day
kindergarten program and to put a budget of
$59,016,106 for the 2013-14 school year before district residents at the
upcoming annual school election on May 21.
This represents a
budget-to-budget increase of 3.7 percent or $2.1
million over the current year's budget of
$56,912,454. The proposed budget will cause a tax
levy increase of 2.47 percent in September.
state exams will reflect new Common Core Learning
As many parents know, students in
grades 3-8 are preparing to take the state English
Language Arts (ELA) and math exams starting April 16. These
tests mark a time of transition in our schools, since
this is the first year that the state tests will be based on
the new Common Core Learning Standards.
What does this
mean for our children? Please go to our
Understanding the Common Core page to learn more and
to read a letter from assistant superintendent Rick
Evans to parents. You will also find videos and many
helpful materials there.
April 11: You will also enjoy this
new two-minute video from the State Education Department
Final forum on April 9 will review
nearly complete 2013-14 budget of $59
At 7:30 pm on Tuesday, April 9,
BH-BL Board of Education members will hold the last
of three community forums on developing the new
school budget in the O'Rourke
Middle School. The forum
will focus on differences between the current year's
and next year's spending plans.
Those who cannot attend in person
can also participate online via a
The Board of Education is considering a budget of $59,016,106 for the 2013-14
school year. This would represent a budget-to-budget
increase of $2.1 million or 3.7 percent over the
current year's budget of $56,912,454 and would cause
a tax levy increase of 2.47 percent.
Jazz Showcase coming to high school on April 11
The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High
School Fine Arts Department will
a "Jazz Showcase" on Thursday, April 11th at 7:30 p.m.
in the High School auditorium.
artists will be singer
of New York Voices (right), and saxophonist
Dave Pietro (below),
who will perform
along with the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Jazz Ensemble
and the Select Jazz Choir.
and Pietro will be working with BH-BL students and
teachers for a two-day artist in residency program on
April 10 and 11 using Arts in Education funding from the
high school PTSA and the district budget.
There will be no charge for admission to the April 11
"Bringing two world-class musicians like this to the
high school is a fabulous opportunity for our student
musicians," says Fine Arts department head Mike Danis.
"I hope many people can come to the April 11 concert.
We've never done something quite like this before, and I
anticipate some great music and an exciting evening."
to materials on kindergarten options
task force recommends change to full-day kindergarten
March 29, 2013: The task force of 14 Burnt
Hills-Ballston Lake staff and parents charged with
studying the district's kindergarten program has
recommended switching to a full-day program starting in
The Board of Education is expected to make a decision on
this at their next regularly scheduled business meeting
on April 16.
READ MORE including answers to questions asked at the
schools to be sites for police training during the April
Posted March 28, 2013: Don't be alarmed or surprised if you
see a number of police cars or other emergency vehicles at
Pashley elementary school or the BH-BL high school next
week. Both schools will be the sites of police training
drills on specific days while the schools are closed for
the April break week.
for NEXT school year: 2013-14
For those of you who have asked about vacation days in the upcoming 2013-14
school year: The Board of Education
approved those dates at their March 26 meeting.
by NAMM Foundation
honored for outstanding commitment to music education
Press release of March 25, 2013
BURNT HILLS: The Burnt Hills-Ballston
Lake School District has been ranked among the "Best
Communities for Music Education" in the country by the
National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).
BH-BL is one of 307 school districts in the nation
recognized by the NAMM Foundation in 2013 for its
unwavering commitment to providing an excellent
music education program.
Snow Days and Musicals"
Ever wonder what the superintendent
goes through in deciding whether or not to call a
"snow day"? Especially
after the difficulties we
have had with the weather and this topic recently,
you will enjoy reading Mr. McGrath's latest
Spartan Thinking blog post called
Of Snow Days and Musicals.
State trooper to teach parents at March
Parents: Is your child's
online behavior safe?
Posted March 11, 2013: Parents
of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake students are invited to
attend a district-wide information meeting on Cyber
Safety on Wednesday, March 27th, from 7:00 to 9:00
pm in the O'Rourke Middle School cafetorium at 173
Two BH-BL Board of Education seats
up for election in May
Mertzlufft to run again
Posted March 12, 2013: Two
of the seven seats on the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake
Board of Education will be up for election on May 21
this year, and both incumbents —
Will Farmer and Lee-Ann Mertzlufft —
have announced that they intend to seek re-election.
Residents & staff
invited to share questions & concerns
Public forum will discuss draft 2013-14 school
budget on Tuesday, March 5
Posted March 1, 2013: On
March 5, Burnt Hills-Ballston
Lake Board of Education members will hold the first
of three evening community forums on developing the
new school budget.
READ MORE & GET LINK FOR ONLINE PARTICIPATION
question of full-day kindergarten
2013-14 budget talks get underway
Posted February 14, 2013:
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Board of Education members are
starting their budget deliberations in a more optimistic
place than has been true for several years. After three
years of cuts to district programs and staffing, early
projections for the district's 2013-14 revenues and
expenses are more positive. A recent analysis of
enrollment projections also uncovered the fact that,
should the Board of Education so choose, the district
may have the opportunity next fall to do what many
parents have been requesting -- offer full-day
kindergarten for all students.
child in our database?
Kindergarten registration is
The school district
has mailed forms and information
about its kindergarten program to the parents of all
BH-BL children known to be eligible to enter
kindergarten in September. Children must be BH-BL
residents and five years old on or before December 1,
2013, to enter kindergarten this fall.
New parents and anyone whose child is not already in the
district's database of preschool children is urged to
Jackie Martini at 399-9141, ext. 85002. Mrs. Martini
can add your child to our records so that you receive
the information and forms.
The annual information meeting for pre-K parents will
take place at 7:00 pm on Monday, March 4, at the
Pashley Elementary school on Pashley Road, Glenville. At
parents' request, actual kindergarten registration has
been moved to the evening this year. Registration will
take place at Stevens Elementary on the evenings of
March 11 and 12 and will involve only parents, not
sought on a better website
BH-BL working to redesign &
improve its website
release of Jan. 24, 2012: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake
residents and staff are invited to share their opinions
on redesign of the district’s website, which is taking
place over the next several months. “These days a
website is a vital tool for any school district," says
BH-BL superintendent Patrick McGrath. "It's our virtual
presence in the world and a tool for both learning and
communications. Parents, students, teachers, residents:
everyone relies on the website. So it's something that
needs to undergo a periodic overhaul and upgrade."
READ MORE & ANSWER SURVEY
Are you helping
to prevent the spread of flu?
need everyone's help to prevent the spread of flu and
Parents: Please read and
Seasonal Flu Guide for Parents - a factsheet
from the NYS Department of Health. For more information
of health topics, including when to keep a sick child
home from school, see our
Health & Safety webpages.
High school art "All Stars" on
exhibit in Saratoga
works of art by 11 Burnt
Hills-Ballston Lake high school students will be
featured in the annual Saratoga Arts Council High
School All Stars Exhibition from January 12 - 26.
The artists -- Morgan Almy, Vanesa
Chen, Nate Coffey, Rachel Dotterweich, Kaylee
Gillespie, Aubrey Kamppila, Kelly Lavoy, Katrina
Little, Sara Potter, Makenzie Riley, Madilyn
Sausville -- are students of teachers Regina
Capobianco, Wendy Corrigan and Christine Layden.
The show is on display at the
Saratoga Arts Center gallery, 320 Broadway, in
Saratoga from 9:00 - 5:00 weekdays and 11:00 - 5:00
Saturdays. The opening reception is Saturday, Jan.
12 from 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Go to the
FINE ARTS HOMEPAGE for
photos and attributions of all 12 BH-BL works.
Community input & committee members
needed to study BH-BL school renovations
release of Jan. 4, 2013
BURNT HILLS: Burnt Hills-Ballston
Lake school district residents and staff are needed
to help identify the district's most important
As it has done every five to six
years since 1978, the Board of Education has begun
work toward a possible renovations referendum in
October or November 2013.
Residents are needed to serve on a
study committee and to answer an opinion survey.
READ MORE & VIEW SURVEY
Students' coin drive raises $2,933 for Toys for Tots
December 2012: In only one week's time,
students at the O'Rourke Middle School managed to raise
$2,933.07 to purchase new toys for needy families.
The coin drive is an annual event to benefit Toys for
Tots and is sponsored by the middle school's chapter of
the National Junior Honor Society. The amount collected
this year is nearly three times last year's total, and
6th grade classes alone raised an amazing $1,649.74.
Society members counted all the money and rolled the
coins. With their advisor, teacher Monica Hills, they
also had the fun of visiting the local Target store to
purchase the new toys, before these were delivered to
Toys for Tots.
A great job, kids!
A special message from
Superintendent Patrick McGrath
Monday, December 17, 2012
District takes immediate safety steps
in response to shooting in Connecticut
BURNT HILLS: After a weekend spent in
communication with his administrative team, today in
a letter to district parents and staff
superintendent Patrick McGrath outlined several safety
improvements to be taken district schools.
The letter cites several changes he is instituting
immediately as well as "medium-term" and "long-term"
improvements that are being researched.
"There is a growing field of expertise on school
security and best practices that can be implemented to
increase the safety of our students and staff," he says.
READ MORE including tips on talking to children about
October 2013 vote
School district begins work to
prioritize facilities needs
Press release of December 11, 2012
BURNT HILLS: Burnt
Hills-Ballston Lake school district residents and
staff are invited to participate in the process of
identifying the district's most important
infrastructure needs over the coming year.
The process is expected to conclude
with a public renovations referendum in October
2013, and work has already begun on several fronts
to collect information related to this multi-faceted topic.
Presentations related to the renovations process are
taking place on Dec. 11 and 13, and a district-wide
renovations study committee will be formed in
Fall teams win two State & six Section 2
girls volleyball team celebrates winning the
Class A state championship on Nov. 18 in the
Glens Falls Civic Center. Photo by Daily
Gazette photographer Patrick Dodson.
BURNT HILLS: The final fall
interscholastic sports game has been played, and
there is no doubt that this was a great season to be
During Thanksgiving week, BH-BL won two
state championships -- in girls volleyball and football.
Earlier, the Spartans also won Section 2
championships in six different sports. And to top it
off, all 11 fall varsity teams were named
"Scholar-Athlete Teams" due to their achievement in
and treasure fill the high school stage as Drama Club
Island, Nov. 16 and 17
Bones, Old Blind Pew, Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver, and
all the other characters from Robert Louis Stevenson's
classic tale Treasure Island will fill the
stage in the BH-BL high school auditorium on Nov. 16 -
The High School Drama Club production
will start at 7:30 pm on Friday, Nov. 16 and at 12 Noon
on Saturday, Nov. 17
Please note that
there is NO Saturday evening performance -- that has
been moved up to a noon matinee in hopes that more
children can attend.
All tickets are $5
and can be purchased either at the door or
Veterans honored with breakfast & ceremony on
Area veterans from any branch of the military are
invited to attend the annual BH-BL Veteran's Day
Ceremony that will be held at Freedom Circle in
front of the BH-BL High School, 88 Lakehill Road, Burnt
Hills, starting at 9:15 AM on Thursday, November 8.
The ceremony will be followed by a free breakfast to
further honor our veterans in the school cafeteria. Both
events are sponsored by the high school Student
Veterans who plan to attend are asked to RSVP so that
adequate food can be prepared. Please contact SGO
co-advisor Renee Tolan at 399-9141, ext. 83236 or
email@example.com with your questions or to RSVP.
Chinese classes will offer 4 half-days of fun &
learning to elementary pupils
Deadline to register has
been extended to November 1
BH-BL students in grades 1 - 5 will
explore Chinese language and culture with BOCES
teachers at the Charlton Heights elementary school from 12:30
- 3:00 on the four November half days. (That is, on
the four afternoons that regular elementary classes are
suspended so that BH-BL teachers can hold parent
conferences.) These four half days are November 13,
14, 27 and 28.
Class size is limited, so parents
should click on the link below and submit their
student's application as soon as possible.
Stevens and Pashley students taking Project
Chinese will be transported by school bus to
Charlton Heights on the four half days. All parents should
plan to pick up their children at Charlton Heights
at 3:00 and transport them home after class on these
dates. The cost of the program is $75.
For more details and a copy of the
BH-BL registration form, go to
WSWHE BOCES Project Chinese.
Posted Oct. 11, 2012:
"Taste of Burnt Hills" is Monday,
Did you know .
that over the past 13 years, the BH-BL
Education Foundation has funded 125 grants to enrich
classrooms all over our school district. They have
donated more than $110,000 for specific equipment, books
or pilot programs that were requested by teachers and
administrators to provide a big or little extra boost to
make school programs more effective.
The Foundation's biggest annual
fundraiser is Monday evening, October 15, in the high
school cafeteria from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.
And if love of learning isn't enough
to make you want to participate, here's the best part.
It's called the "Taste of Burnt Hills" because it gives
you the chance to sample food from a dozen local
Yummy food, music, a silent auction,
lots of Burnt Hills folks, AND a chance to provide
extras for your favorite students -- all for $25.
Tickets are available at the door and
at Mail 'n More. See the
Education Foundation's website for a list of
Salary steps to continue at same levels as in 2010-11
BH-BL adopts new contract with
Posted Oct. 10, 2012: At
their business meeting on October 9, the Burnt
Hills-Ballston Lake Board of Education approved a new
three-year negotiated agreement with its Teachers
Association, concluding a bargaining process that began
two years ago.
Members of the Teachers Association
voted in late September to ratify the agreement, which
covers the period of July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2014. There
are approximately 280 members of the BH-BL teachers
The contract includes no salary
schedule changes for steps 1 to 19 in any of the three
years of the contract.
BH-BL student's book for sale on Amazon & elsewhere
Photo of BH-BL junior Erin Billings in the high
school library taken by Gazette photographer
There aren't many high school students who can say that
copies of their novel are available at local bookstores.
But BH-BL junior Erin Billings can.
Her novel Sincerely about a girl with
cerebral palsy was published this year by Open Door
Publishers in Malta. It is now for sale for $14.95 on
Amazon. Locally, the Open Door Bookstore at 128 Jay
Street, Schenectady, is a holding a book signing party
featuring Erin on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 1:00 - 2:30.
You can read all about Erin and her book in
this story by Daily Gazette reporter Michael Goot.
(The district thanks the Gazette for permission
to share this story.)
to learn automatically about school closings & school news?
If you would
like to receive an automatic email and an automatic cell
phone text message when school is
or delayed, please sign up for our "School News
Notifier" service by clicking on the "BH-BL SNN"
logo on the right.
You can also sign up
to receive emails with news from any or all of our five
The School News Notifier is
service that users control. Closing/delay announcements on SNN and on the
district website typically have more details than what
appears on local TV stations, whose space is very limited. You
more information here or click directly on the SNN
Average increase of
School tax bills mailed Aug. 30
BURNT HILLS: BH-BL Board of Education members have
approved a September 2012 total tax levy of $35,085,477.
This is the same amount as was projected last May, but
increased property assessments in all four of the
district's towns mean that tax rates will increase
slightly less than had been projected to generate the
same number of tax dollars. In fact, Ballston residents
will see a small tax rate decrease.
Schools receive cash or free
equipment from Target, Price Chopper & Hannaford
New & ongoing corporate
promotions benefit BH-BL
HILLS: Anyone with a Facebook page can use a new
"Give with Target" program to make a donation to any
of the five Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake schools at no
cost to themselves.
For the details on this and other
promotions from Price Chopper and Hannaford,
School board hires new assistant superintendent
Christopher Abdoo, approves contract with
At their annual reorganization and
business meeting on July 10, members of the Burnt
Hills-Ballston Lake Board of Education:
||Elected new board
officers for the 2012-13 school
Christopher Abdoo to be the
district's next assistant
superintendent for support services,
||Approved a new
negotiated contract with the BH-BL
grants totaling $29,500, and
||Voted to rename
the high school library the "James
L. Schultz Library Media Center" to
honor former superintendent Jim
Schultz, who retired on June 30.
July 12 press release for details on all the
BH-BL shines again in ranking
of 85 regional school districts
For the third year in a row, Burnt
Hills-Ballston Lake has been ranked 5th
overall out of 85
Greater Capital Region public school districts in an
analysis of student achievement done by the
Business Review newspaper.
BH-BL students' scores ranked
3rd in the region on state Math tests and 4th
on state Science tests.
BH-BL was ranked as the highest
performing district in Saratoga County, and our
spending per pupil ranked 74th in the region,
creating a combination of high achievement with low
costs that is hard to beat.
Graduation held June 21,
2012 at SPAC
Once again on Thursday, June 21, the
auditorium of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center was filled with young adults in burgundy and white as
309 members of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Class
of 2012 received their diplomas.
Speakers at the ceremony included four students:
Class of 2012 president Morgan Seber, vice president
Craig Maughan, valedictorian Sarah Read, and
salutatorian Aquilla Chase.
Board of Education honors retirees & outstanding
As they do each June, at their meeting on June 5, 2012,
members of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Board of
Education honored outstanding students from each of the
district's five school as well as all staff retiring
during the 2011-12 school year.
BH-BL students shine at Honors Night on May 23
The high school auditorium was packed on the evening of
May 23, 2012, as an 8-page list of honors won by our
students was announced. Awards were made to all types of
students for their academic, civic and/or athletic
accomplishments. Announcements included more than $4
million worth of college scholarships for members of the
BH-BL Class of 2012, and many individual awards
sponsored by local businesses, families and
organizations. The evening is a microcosm of BH-BL
culture and values, including many inspiring stories of
people past and present associated with this school
district and community. See
the complete list of 2012 awards and this year's
program exemption sought
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district has again
applied for an exemption from the federal requirement
that its schools offer breakfast to pupils in grades K
through 6. The district has been granted this exemption
from the National School Breakfast Program every year
for the past 17 years.
Assistant Superintendent Jacqueline St.
Onge noted that, when surveyed, fewer than 10% of BH-BL
families indicate they would participate in a breakfast
program. "There is a strong likelihood we would lose
money on this if required to offer breakfast," she said,
"because so few children would participate."
Only 7% of BH-BL children qualify for free lunches (a
frequently used indicator of student poverty), compared
to 42% of public school pupils statewide.
11 new BH-BL Founders' Day
Award winners are honored
February 2, 2011 saw a celebration of BH-BL values and
culture at the annual PTA Founders' Day dinner.
To view a larger photo with names
and more details, go to
Founders' Day 2012.
BH-BL High School named a
"Grammy Signature School"
HILLS: The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School
has been named a "2012 Grammy Signature School
Semi-finalist" by the Grammy Foundation.
Only 125 public high schools in the
nation received this honor, including two schools in
the Greater Capital Region: BH-BL and Guilderland.
Finalists in the annual competition will be
announced in March.
Spartan "Iron Chefs" show off
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School Family and
Consumer Sciences (FACS) department held their 1st
Annual Spartan Iron Chefs competition on December 1,
2011. Three teams of students who had taken at least
one foods course participated.
student chefs submitted their lab plan and
vegetarian recipes beforehand. They were required to
use fresh ingredients and at least one locally grown
SEE STORY & MORE PHOTOS
"Policy Search" feature is live The Burnt
Hills-Ballston Lake Board of Education Policy Manual
has literally hundreds of policies that describe and
control how all aspects of our schools will operate. All
these policies are available on this website. We also
have a simple way to search through them
instantly using key words or phrases that interest you.
BH-BL Policy Manual, you can view both the list of
all policy titles and our policy search feature.