School safety plan
Next month, Saugerties school officials will meet to discuss the 2019-20 Districtwide Safety Plan, but the finer points of the plan will not be public. The topic was briefly discussed during a meeting of the school board on August 27, New members on the safety team include school superintendent Kirk Reinhardt.
Not every change to the safety plan will be discussed publicly, specifically those regarding individual schools. “The building ones go directly to state, and they’re private because we don’t want people to know evacuation drills and stuff like that,” explained Reinhardt, most recently the principal at Kingston High School.
In Kingston, Reinhardt had to deal with a much larger single campus than in Saugerties. “We had 47 doors [at Kingston High],” he said.
Reinhardt has already discussions with principal Don Diekmann at Grant D. Morse Elementary. “I’m really looking forward to working with the staff, teachers and the parents to talk about what their concerns are,” said the new Saugerties superintendent. “We definitely live in a world where we don’t take it for granted any more.”
His experience in the military taught him the value of preparedness, he said. He served in the United States Army for three years and was a non-commissioned officer in the New York Army National Guard for 17 years. He served in Iraq, where he received the Bronze Star, awarded for heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
“Being a military person, I take safety really seriously,” he said. Fostering a safe environment is an important piece of the academic pie. “If kids feel safe and parents feel safe, kids are going to be more successful in school.”
In addition to covering what to do in the event of a violent incident on school grounds, the Districtwide Safety Plan also covers severe weather issues and other emergencies, along with prevention and intervention strategies for everything from bullying to the use of illegal drugs.
School officials meet periodically to discuss the plan. To review the Districtwide Safety Plan in its current incarnation, visit: https://www.saugerties.k12.ny.us/Domain/885
A deal with Ellenville
The Saugerties school board last week approved an inter-municipal agreement with the Ellenville school district for the transportation of homeless students from one district who might temporarily be living in shelters in the other district. According to Saugerties superintendent Kirk Reinhardt, the agreement is in place if the issue arises during the 2019-20 school year. It is not geared toward current students.
“It’s in case we had a student that the only place for a homeless shelter was Ellenville, that the transportation would be ready to go, so it’d be no delay,” said Reinhardt. He called the agreement precautionary, available if needed.
With shelters in Kingston and Highland, there could be similar arrangements with other districts. Under the deal, the cost of transporting students would be divided between Saugerties and Ellenville. Or if the costs are lower they could be billed to the district originating the route.