BOARD OF EDUCATION
MIDDLETOWN, NEW YORK
NOVEMBER 15, 2005
A special meeting of the Board of Education of the Enlarged City School District of Middletown, New York was held Tuesday, November 15, 2005, at the Board of Education Office, 223 Wisner Avenue, Board President Vincent Crescenzo, presiding.
Present: Mr. Estrada, Mr. Geiger, Mrs. Knapp, Ms. Perkins, Mr. Perrino, Mr. Crescenzo – 6.
Absent: Dr. Best, Ms. Tobiassen, Mrs. Botti – 3.
Others Present: Kenneth W. Eastwood, Superintendent of Schools
Richard DelMoro, Director for Secondary Education
Darlene McDonough, Director for Elementary Education
Selena Fischer, Director for Pupil Personnel & Special Services
Kenneth Haverlan, Director for Security, Health, Safety
Larry Ashley, Executive Principal, MHS
Michael Barone, MHS House Principal
Patricia Simmons, MHS House Principal
Tracey Sorrentino, MHS House Principal
Johh Szakmary, MHS House Principal
Lt. Paul Rickard, City of Middletown Police Department
Officer Charles Nyland, SRO
Deputy Chief Quinn, Town of Wallkill Police Department
Yvette Limerick, MHS PTO President
Mr. Crescenzo called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Mr. Crescenzo said that parents and students have expressed concerns about perceived construction hazards and physical safety in our schools. He said that staff, students and parents have indicated that there is a need to be heard and for more communication from the District. He said that this special meeting was called to determine how to provide a forum for parents and other community members to express their concerns outside of a regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting.
Dr. Eastwood said that this year the High School has faced multiple issues, including situations with scheduling, construction, building evacuations, and safety concerns. This had led to the frustration students and parents have expressed at Board of Education meetings.
Dr. Ashley said that the tone of the High School has been improving due to a concerted effort to communicate with students. He noted that many more students are becoming involved in school activities, including extra-curricular clubs and sports.
Police officials present agreed that statistics do not bear out what is being said about weapons in the High School. Very few weapons have been confiscated, and it was noted that students are the best source of information for weapons control.
Discussion also took place regarding the manner in which school events are reported in our local media. It was suggested that the District develop contacts with Hudson Valley News and with Tracy Baxter of Cable 6. It was also suggested that the District use Channel 20 to have administrators communicate to the community how various issues are being handled.
It was further suggested that Channel 20 be used as a bulletin board, that the District’s newsletter contain a regular column with updates on construction matters, and that the District consider having a hotline for parents to call with concerns.
Mr. Estrada noted that community members and students can email staff and suggested that the SRO’s be included on the District’s email contacts. He also noted that District staff has undergone gang activity training and is addressing a parent staging area to be used in emergency situations.
Some other suggestions to be considered include: Board members joining Dr. Ashley at his evening meetings at the High School; Board members meeting with members of the public on Saturday mornings; having MHS air quality and inspection information available prior to the Board meetings; providing office space for the SRO’s to speak with students in private; working with parent groups to dissemination information.
Mr. Crescenzo thanked all present for their input and will communicate this information to the appropriate staff.
At 8:05 p.m., Ms. Perkins made a motion, seconded by Mr. Perrino, to adjourn the meeting. Motion was unanimously approved.
Alicia E. Olsen
School District Clerk