ECAC Meeting Minutes – Feb. 26, 2018

Update on Diversity video

  • Dr. Tangorra hoping to see a draft video from EquiVisible in the next few weeks.

First look at BOE policies in relation to the Diversity Goals

  • Began with the first 2 policies under the “Student” heading: Comprehensive Student Attendance and Education of Homeless Children and Youth
  • Conversation centered around the fact that while the policies appear to be in alignment with the Diversity Goals, it is the spirit in which the policies are enforced that may be questionable
  • Takeaways:
    • ​Finding the root cause of anxiety/stress will have an impact on positive attendance
    • Consider the need to be judicious about use of power vs. partnership
  • Upcoming events​: Niska-Day, Craig Cultural Night, Peace Week
  • Good news from around the district and community

Sub-Committee Reports

Diversity Sub-committee

  • The ECAC Diversity Subcommittee held a meeting on January 17.
  • We discussed the execution of the video portion of the EquiVisible project and generated several suggestions for reflection and future outreach to our families of color.
  • Additionally, members of the subcommittee have been working on a proposal for the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer position to be presented to the Superintendent and the Board of Education. The committee reviewed a draft of this position and gave feedback, which will be incorporated into the final paper.

Events Sub-committee

  • The main goals of our committee as of now are to develop an idea to present during Niska-Day, and to have a float representing our committee. We are currently working on a design for the float, we are likely going to have a table or a stall as well, or expand upon the one that was present last year.
  • Another idea that we will be focusing on is a cultural fair for the high school, which will hopefully take place in the 2018-2019 school year. As of now, our goal is to have a cultural fair take place during the day, and potentially have teachers bring their classes down to watch. We would like to have people from various cultures, religions, and ethnicities represented at the fair, with various stalls and performances.

Mental Health and Wellness Sub-committee

  • The Mental Health and Wellness committee continues to gather resources and learn more about the root causes of anxiety and other mental health issues, and develop plans for implementing short and long -term goals.
  • We are posting articles, resources and documents on our webpage and we have invited district personnel to present to the subcommittee.
  • Ms. Halusic described how existing health curriculum addresses stress and anxiety and Ms. Gemmill explained the process for the 2020 health curriculum review.
  • Mr. Gillooley and Mr. Vorgang discussed the ways that PE and Health classes have begun to include mindfulness practices and yoga, and the challenge of teacher training and curriculum revision.
  • We viewed “Breaking Points,” a movie tying academic stress to the misuse of medication, specifically Adderall.
  • Short term goals: posting positive messages on the internal and external signs in the high school (done), staffing the calm room; adding mindfulness sessions and information sessions about student stress to back to school nights; having high school students work with middle school students in small groups to discuss the transition to the high school and ways to handle stress; encourage teachers to incorporate relaxation exercises in class.
  • Long term goals: review the health curriculum to include more time on mental health related topics; professional development for faculty; add a satellite Mental Health Clinic in one of our buildings for students and families to access; change the Niskayuna culture to embrace Career and Tech Ed. opportunities and discourage the mindset that the only path for success is an Honors path; decrease the stigma of mental health problems.