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Nyack Schools Report

New Super Update, Equity Workshops and Budget Talks (Notes from 1/10 Nyack School Board Meeting)

Superintendent and Board Report

  • New superintendent Susan Yom will start on March 1, although she is already meeting with key stakeholders in anticipation of the start of her new role. Current interim superintendent, Dr. Montesano will stay on until February 28.
  • An equity training for 10th graders at the high school was recently held and received good feedback. Student groups and student leaders were commended for their efforts. Participants were reminded that once-off workshops are not enough to advance equity, so the hope is that these types of engagements will happen more regularly, with more people, including teachers and parents, in addition to the students. 
  • Board members visited a few classes at the high school recently, where open ended, inquiry-based and rigorous education was on display. This demonstrates that there is expertise in the district for this kind of innovative teaching and the hope is that this can spread throughout the district. 
  • Required education for prevention of child exploitation and abuse for grades K to 8 will begin soon and a letter will be sent home, no opt out will be available as it is being implemented by law. The link includes curriculum summary, i.e. “Students will be able to understand that abuse, including exploitation, is never the student’s fault.”
  • It has been a year since racist slurs were hurled at the Nyack boys basketball team by Pearl River players and fans in more than one instance. This incident has led to the creation of DEI guidelines by the New York State Division 1 Athletic Division which Rockland County is a member of. Members of the Athletic Departments, Coaches and Superintendents from both school districts have also participated in a workshop recently at St. Thomas of Aquinas led by InsideOut Initiative. Some games will be happening at Nyack High School while boys basketball will be happening at Dominic College – they are limiting spectators and games will be live streamed. 

Family Resource Centers

  • Due to the loss of 3 out of 4 FRC coordinators, the district took the opportunity to reflect on the Family Resource Center program with staff and administrators, overall recommending to strengthen it with some key enhancements. For example, longer staff hours, a more centralized and cohesive approach, which would include a new oversight position under Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Lizzette Ruiz Giovinazzi, clearer job descriptions, and more equitable pay. There are also plans to reconstitute an FRC Advisory Board, with a broader set of constituents. It is likely that the new version of the FRC’s will be up and running by September of next year. The board will have the budget projection they need by March to make decisions about next steps. See full presentation here and some slides below.

Budget goals

  • The budgeting process is underway and Dr. Chan is heading it up. The budget (and BoE trustee) voting will happen on May 16. They are looking to re-allocate American Rescue funds to other line items to ensure that these monies are leveraged effectively.  Some likely expense include:
    • Traffic lights for the new high school parking lot (650,000)
    • Roof replacement for Professional Learning Center
    • High school field house renovations
    • High school auditorium
    • Upper Nyack Elementary School art room 
    • Marching Band uniforms
    • High School fitness center
  • In addition to these board members also asked about bringing back after school clubs at the elementary school. This would require late buses and there is a possibility of piloting this at all three elementary schools with each school gettin a late bus allocated for one day a week. 

Events

  • There will be a meet and greet with Susan Yom on January 25th at the high school Global Learning Corner/Center likely at 5:30 pm but stay tuned for a formal announcement. 
  • The schedule for upcoming Nyack team basketball games can be found here
  • Getting to the Root Antiracism trainings are held on a monthly basis – see schedule here. . 

Next meeting: Tuesday, January 24 — agenda can be found here on the Friday before the meeting.




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