School Board Meeting Summary for July 14, 2017

Reorganizational Meeting

Jennifer Zhao, who was elected to a first term on the Board in May, and Rosemarie Perez Jaquith, who was re-elected, were sworn-in to office.

The Board re-elected Ms. Perez Jaquith as Board president and elected David Koes as Board vice president.

Student Representative

The Board welcomed new junior class student Jonathan Romano to his first meeting in the role.

Code of Conduct

The Board adopted the Niskayuna High School and Athletic codes of conduct. There were no substantial changes to the High School code. The most substantial updates to the Athletic code were in two areas: there will be a new mandatory code of conduct meeting with the coach for parents and student-athletes, and the list of infractions which may carry greater consequences upon a first offense was expanded to include conduct such as possession of tobacco and e-cigarettes, sexual harassment, hazing and bullying and cyberbullying. Previously only drug and alcohol offenses were subject to the possibility of more stringent discipline for a first offense.

No changes to the Elementary and Middle School codes of conduct are anticipated this year.

Professional Development Plan

The Board approved the Professional Development Plan for 2017-18. Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. credited Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lauren Gemmill and the team that worked on it for producing an outstanding plan that will advance teaching and learning in the district.

EquiVisible Contract – Diversity Initiative

The Board approved an agreement with a consultant, EquiVisible, to further the diversity work that was started in the district last year, including the diversity goals that were developed by the Environment and Culture Advisory Committee that Dr. Tangorra has convened. The process will start this summer with the consultant working with the Board of Education and Leadership Team to begin to examine policies and practices, review data related to student subgroups, and augment professional development. It was noted that the Niskayuna Community Action Program (N-CAP) has written the diversity initiative into its work for the year and will be providing support for it.

Board Policy Review

Over the last two years, the Board has been updating policies as it transitions to the Erie1 BOCES Policy Service manual. At this point, all required policies have been adopted. The next step is to look at all other existing policies to see if they need to be repealed or revised so that ultimately all policies are part of a single manual.

The following new policies were approved at the meeting: Policy 5660 School Food Services Program; Policy 7410 Extracurricular Activities; Policy 5520 Extraclassroom Activity Fund; and Policy 1336 Duties of the Extraclassroom Activity Fund Central Treasurer and Faculty Auditor. A first read was held for Policy 1510 Board Meetings and Rules (Quorum and Parliamentary Procedures).

Additional Meeting Highlights

  • The Board approved a continuation of the contract with Guercio & Guercio for legal services.
  • The consent agenda was approved.
  • Board member Jennifer Zhao reported that N-CAP is working to secure some grant funding to look at ways to make it safer for students to bike or walk to school.