BOE Meeting – June 21, 2022

SSCSD Board of Education Meeting Notes (SEEN)
June 21, 2022
Notes by Rebecca Lynch
View the meeting. Read the Meeting Agenda

Trustees Present: Anjie Emeka (President), Erika Borman, John Ellis, Dean Kolligian, Tony Krackeler (acting VP), Natalya Lakhtakia, Connie Woytowich. Absent: John Brueggemann.

7:03pm Pledge of Allegiance

7:04pm Motion to accept agenda – passes unanimously

7:05pm Public Comment Period #1

  • Christina Weiss: her son, Daniel, was a senior and passed away on November 11 from complications of heart transplant surgery. She is trying to get the district to award him a diploma and recognize him at the graduation ceremony and has been fighting for that since June 3, which has been very difficult. She was finally told this morning that they will announce his name. She wants to request that a policy be put in place so that other grieving parents don’t have to go through the same thing. 

7:09pm Board Committee Reports

  • Evaluation Committee (TK): most of the board self-evaluations are in, but they need them all to be submitted asap
  • Finance Committee (TK): provides the status of district audits, and other updates
  • Property Committee (DK): they haven’t met since the last meeting, but he received updates on the capital projects and the Great Outdoors Project.
  • Policy Committee (NL): they met last Monday and reviewed the Code of Conduct process and took a first look at the School Safety Plan, which will need to be adopted by Sept. 1. 

7:14pm Superintendent’s Comments

  • Thank you to everyone for a wonderful school year and they appreciate everyone’s tremendous efforts and support. 
  • There was a retirement recognition tonight. There were 40 retirees from this past school year. 
  • Provided summary of spring sports season.
  • Provided updates on logistics for the graduation ceremony on Fri 6/24. 
    • Response to public comment: the graduation committee spent some time figuring out the best way to posthumously recognize Daniel and another student and figured out a solution. The HS Graduation Committee will use this feedback from the parents to do better going forward. 
  • Next board meeting is July 1st. They need to know who will be there in person and who will be attending virtually, in order to get the required information to comply with open meeting laws.
  • Interviews for the new Geyser principal have started and it has been narrowed down to 2 finalists. Final interviews are tomorrow. The goal is to have the recommendation for the July 1 meeting. 

7:28pm Presentation: Counseling and Student Support Services Update

  • Lisa Cutting: This year has seen an unprecedented level of need both in breadth and depth.
  • Josh Muldner (MS Counselor): this year was the most challenging thus far. Good will has withered and people just kept getting angrier and angrier. It was hard to anticipate the depth of students’ and families’ pain. There are many stressors that have impacted our students. He shared some stories of students’ situations from the past year.
  • Cyndy Teplitzky (Elem SW): they have seen a 3x increase in suicide assessments in her elementary schools this year. Another of our elementary schools had 5 parent deaths. They are seeing decreased availability of outside services and families are turning to the schools and looking for support that the schools aren’t equipped to provide in an educational setting. 
  • Maura O’Connell (HS): More families are reaching out looking for the school to provide counseling to students in school. There has been a major increase in caseloads and demands. 
  • Jenn Kelly and Jenn Warner (Attendance Officers): they did almost 1400 home visits this year and encountered a high depth of need on those visits. 
  • Stacy Moulton: district is transitioning to BHSN on July 1, to be able to offer expanded services due to the increased needs. 
  • Lisa Cutting: Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
  • SCUTA (School Counselor Use of Time Analysis) Data Software Pilot – piloted by 3 MS and 5 HS counselors. Provides valuable information but it is a lot of work. They will continue with the pilot for an additional year. 
  • Counseling Data Tracking at the HS – improved referral process with the new tracking tool, to help with the increase in need. There was an uptick in students in “crisis mode” this year. The tool was implemented in April and is working well and helps them see the trends in mental health needs. 
  • Highlights and Accomplishments: increased back-to-school transition programs, increased communication and resources for families, increased mental health supports (K-12), increased professional learning opportunities for teachers
  • Looking ahead to the summer and next school year: trying to be more proactive rather than reactive, and using the data more to see how to better support our students
  • Questions/Comments: 
    • NL: Thank you, this is such essential work
    • CW: Outside of BHSN, what is your opinion on whether outside agencies in the area are adequate, and if they are not, what do we need? Stacy: the levels of support needed are hard to meet everywhere, but with the new provider, we don’t anticipate having waitlists anymore. Josh: there is always a need for more support for the counseling side within our buildings.
    • EB: how can the school community/parents get more involved in terms of helping and donating? Lisa: we can go to the buildings and have them do more outreach to the community to see what can be done. 
    • Amanda: You said that the Biesy assessments are done twice a year. Is the information from those communicated to parents? Cindy: this was a pilot year with that, and even the teachers don’t have access to the scores. However, if there were flags indicated from the assessment, there would be communication to families.
    • Anjie: Thank you for the presentation. 

8:30pm Modifications to the Consent Agenda – minor changes to some items

8:32pm Discussion regarding Consent Agenda 

  • EB: in the Code of Conduct, for the Consequences section, it says “other extenuating circumstances”, but there aren’t any extenuating circumstances listed, so what does the “other” entail? Can we remove the word “other”, and have it read “extenuating circumstances”? Dave: It does list some common factors. NL: Can we change it to “other factors” instead? EB: Yes, that’s okay. 
  • DK: He hadn’t paid attention until EB brought up her point, but he wants to know why there is both red text and blue test. Dave explains that it depends on where the changes were initiated (district or NYSSBA). DK: why are we eliminating “guardian” from “parent/guardian”? NL: that is what was recommended by NYSSBA, and the definition of parent is “including guardians”. 
  • Amanda: In the definitions, why is punitive not defined but restorative is? It would be more complete if punitive was defined also. NL: I can call NYSSBA to get a definition. Amanda: Yes, it would be more complete with that. Anjie: When does this need to be passed by? Dave: We need it passed tonight, due to subsequent actions that need to be performed once it is passed. Anjie: Can we approve it with incorporating the changes we have already agreed upon? Tim: Yes. Anjie: Can we agree to ask about parent/guardian and punitive for next year, so that we can approve it tonight? Amanda: She will not vote to approve it if a definition of punitive is not added. NL: Could we adopt it as is tonight, and then add the definition as an amendment? Dave: we could, but this also needs to be printed and then there would be discrepancies if it is amended after the printing. 
  • Anjie: motion to pull the Code of Conduct from the consent agenda and vote on it separately – passes unanimously

8:52pm Motion to approve Consent Agenda – passes unanimously

8:53pm Discussion on Code of Conduct

  • Motion to approve change to “other factors” – passes unanimously
  • Motion to pass the Code of Conduct as is, with further discussion on these items for next year’s revisions, or to hold it for now and pass it at the next meeting, with the potential ramifications associated with that
    • TK: What if NYSSBA does not have a definition for punitive? What do we do then? Dave: Will work on getting a definition, but his main concern is that we need this approved and finalized asap so that it can be printed in the student handbooks. TK: Amanda, is there a definition of punitive that would cause you to *not* approve the policy? Amanda: Hadn’t thought that far ahead, it just struck her that the definition wasn’t included. 
    • Decision: to see how far we can get with a definition before July 1st, with the goal of passing the Code of Conduct at the July 1 meeting. 
    • NL: If we approve on July 1, is that enough time for Dave? Dave: will make it work. 
  • Motion to table the Code of Conduct until the July 1 meeting – passes unanimously

9:02pm Public Comment Period #2 – no comments

9:02pm Agenda Planning

  • Patton: We will schedule the board workshop with DERT for 5:30-6:45 on July 28, prior to the regular meeting. Are there specific items that the board would like them to discuss?
    • DK: his intention for asking for this was in light of Texas. He wants to hear about what has been implemented over the last couple of years, what the SROs are seeing, and what additional supports might be needed. In his talks with SSPD, there is a new LT in charge of the SROs, and he is looking to get more people involved. 
  • CW: She had asked for a report on consultant services to be on the agenda in June, and it hasn’t happened yet. Can it be added for July? MP: They’ve been gathering the info and will add it for the July 28 meeting and will share the information ahead of time. 
  • CW: In the board election campaign packet, there is a Code of Fair Campaign Practices included, but it isn’t dated and there is no indication of who wrote it. It appears to add qualifications to being a board member. She doesn’t understand what it means and would like it to be changed (notetaker’s comment: she would have had to have signed it before running for election last year. Did she sign and agree to something that she didn’t understand?). 
    • Amanda: would second that motion
    • Tim: would be happy to get the Attorney involved to look at this document.
    • NL: would want more information before agreeing to change it.
    • Motion to review the document – passes unanimously
  • CW: requests policy review of graduation procedures regarding the posthumous awarding of diplomas – motion to send to policy committee passes unanimously
  • EB: Are there board by-laws? Anjie: yes, and there are also board guidelines and ground rules for meetings. EB: Can we look at those to make sure we’re following them? NL: Do you want that reviewed at the governance retreat, or somewhere else? EB: wherever is most convenient. – passes unanimously
  • Anjie: Change name of Superintendent Evaluation Committee to Superintendent Evaluation and Board Self-Evaluation Committee – passes unanimously
  • Anjie: Wants to be transparent in thinking about board leadership for next year. She and JB will not be re-running for leadership positions. 
    • TK: will put himself forward for President
    • NL: will put herself forward for VP
    • CW: will also put herself forward for VP and wants to run a teambuilding exercise

9:21pm Board Member Comments

  • NL: thank you to the district for honoring the students posthumously at graduation
  • TK: thanks to Anjie and JB for leading us, and looking forward to the continuity with board members for the coming year
  • CW: thanks to Anjie for always being there and answering her questions and for being compassionate
  • Anjie: thanks to JB for being a great leadership partner, thanks to Mike and the team for their leadership this year, and thanks to everyone at the district who keeps showing up every day. 

9:25pm Motion to enter executive session – passes unanimously

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