In our Nyack Schools Report, we do our best to highlight the most important ideas, decisions and debates coming out of each monthly meeting of the Nyack School Board.
The key topics from the October Nyack School Board meeting were the district’s financial report, the profile for the superintendent search and a discussion of the proposed revision of the dress code policy.
First was a recognition of the National Merit Scholarship recipients: Klaus A. McGinnis, Talia Reiss, Janice Yohannan and Justin C. Zeltzer.
There were several citizen comments urging the district to ensure all private schools within the district are held accountable for meeting state standards. The comments were specifically concerned about lack of secular education in Hasidic boys yeshivas in violation of state law that requires private schools to deliver education meeting a standard of “substantial equivalency.” [Note: not raised in the meeting but relevant background: Recent news reports indicate that of 1000 students in yeshivas who were given state tests in 2019, none were able to pass.]
There were many board comments about the standing room only district showing of the film Pushout, based on the book by Monique Morris followed by a panel of experts discussing discipline and its impact specifically on Black girls.
The district’s annual independent financial audit report was very positive: obtaining the highest possible rating.
The superintendent search firm presented the profile they will use to identify and screen candidates for the superintendent position. The Board will conduct first round interviews in the beginning of December with the intention of holding a 2nd round very shortly after. The goal is to hire someone to start in January but at the latest in July.
The profile highlights the investment in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at the core of the district identity, that we are seeking the following characteristics in a superintendent: trust, relationship and culture building, continuation of DEI work, a strong manager and team builder.
Dress code policy discussion reviewed the 2 current policies (1, 2) and the fact that it was based on NY state school board association (NYSSBA) policy from 2011. Parent and board member observations that the language is overly focused on girl’s dress. Student rep Amber MacDonald reports that it is girls who tend to receive the majority of dress code violations. NYSSBA’s more recent recommendation is to include more gender neutral language. The superintendent will work with a group of staff to propose revisions to the policy and consult with the Board on next steps.
the only workshop item on the agenda is a STREAM program presentation.
What’s next? How can I learn more?
The Nyack school board generally meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at the administration building (13A Dickinson Avenue, Nyack, NY), although times and locations are subject to change (find upcoming dates here). The next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 15 — the only workshop item on the agenda is a STREAM program presentation. Click here to find out when and where you can attend upcoming meetings. To listen to a podcast of recent meetings, click here.