Policy changes were made, funds were approved for programming, and some questions asked for clarification before Kevin Salem, acting as Onteora District Board of Education President as Bobbi Schnell takes a temporary leave of absence, sent everyone home from the November 8 meeting to watch the general election results after a mere 43 minutes.
The board touched on the issue of later start times as it discussed an agenda item on assigning goals for the Health and Wellness committee.
“I would offer the suggestion that later start times be considered a matter of health and wellness, and the committee keep itself apprised of what is going on in the area,” said trustee Laurie Osmond. Other school districts such as New Paltz and Rondout are considering later start times for High School students, and Rhinebeck has instituted it. Salem also suggested that he would like to see Onteora join the Farm-to-Table school initiative also being introduced in other school districts.
Second amendment discussion in fifth grade
Trustee Bennet Ratcliff commended Bennett Elementary School grade-five teachers on an assignment regarding the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. He read a letter that was sent home to parents stating what was going on in the classroom. “As part of our current Social Studies unit on the U.S. Constitution, government, and the election, we took a hard look today at the 2nd Amendment: the right to bear arms.” The students were required to read age appropriate documents and prepare for a debate. “They should prepare for both sides of the argument with specific supporting evidence from the documents, even if they feel strongly about just one side; developing the ability to successfully argue an opposing opinion, actually serves to strengthen one’s own argument,” Ratcliff read.
“As part of civic engagement goes on around here, I think this is fantastic that this is happening,” he added.
New mascot contest
Alternate school representative Sophie Heckelman updated the board on the new mascot contest. Student Government received four submissions and from that three were chosen. Students will vote on the final three. “Hopefully by next board meeting we can bring some images to you,” she said.