Dr. Patrick Unveils Proposed 2023-24 School Calendar
- Category: On Our Minds
- Published: Wednesday, 01 February 2023 20:44
- Ann Klein
After much discussion about the inclusion of new holidays into the Scarsdale School calendar, Dr. Patrick unveiled the proposed 2023-24 school calendar at the Board of Education Meeting on January 31.
This proposed calendar, as Dr. Patrick noted, was the culmination of a new process for Scarsdale involving students, parents and the input of teachers. Dr. Patrick reminded everyone of the need to balance sometimes opposing needs, and the desire to be more inclusive of the diverse student body. He acknowledged that the calendar is not perfect for everyone.
The proposed calendar includes a pre-Labor Day start date of August 31, with the trade-off of a two week December break. The calendar includes celebrations of Diwali, Lunar New Year, and Eid al-Adha, with Eid al-Fitr observed as a Superintendent’s conference day. The elementary school conference days have been moved to be contiguous with weekends. Dr. Patrick also pointed out that the late end date of June 26th is set by the state. The date for graduation and rain date have not yet been decided.
There were two comments about the calendar:
Cecilia Schiera of Lockwood Lane spoke of the importance to her family of celebrating the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. For Ms. Schiera and her husband, the end of summer is an easier time to at work to take time off, and it has been their tradition to travel and see family at this time. She also noted that as a working parent, it is harder to schedule childcare for the two week December break.
Former Board Member Art Rublin of Donellan Road praised the process, agreeing with the board that it was well-managed. He gave his support to the inclusion of the new holidays, noting that around 25% of the student population of Asian heritage.
The draft calendar will be presented to the board to be voted on at the February 13th meeting.
Board members Jessica Resnick-Ault, Suzie Hahn Pascutti and Ron Schulhof all had questions and comments regarding the draft calendar. Schulhof noted that the two week December break could accommodate travelling and would also met with students request for time to decompress.
Dr. Patrick and others shared some of the goings-on about the district, including the Lunar New Year celebrations at the elementary schools.
Eric Rauschenbach, Assistant Supertindent for Special Education and Student Services reported on the lockdown system integration, which is expected to launch either after spring break or next fall.
Dr. Jigar Jadav has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of Mathematics and will be assigned to the high school, while three teachers announced their retirements. They are Janie Fitzgerald, Scarsdale Middle School teacher, who has served the district 32 years; Nancy Pavia, Elementary Math Coordinator, who has served the district 34 years; and Pamela Winders, Fox Meadow teacher, who has served the district over 36 years. All present wished them well.
Mr. Rauschenbach updated the board on two policy changes, one on the use of Timeout Rooms, Physical Restraints and Aversives (note: Scarsdale does not use aversives, which are defined as negative stimuli, as in punishments) and a policy update on homebound instruction.
Rauschenbach noted that New York state does not allow the use of aversives and they are never used in Scarsdale. He explained what a Timeout room is and how it could be used but said that Scarsdale does not currently have any students who require a Timeout Room. However this policy outlines how they are to be used if required in an I.E.P. He also explained how physical restraints are used in the event of an emergency where no other intervention can keep the student safe, and how parents are notified if this occurs.
Regarding the updates to the policy for homebound instruction, Rauschenbach noted that 15 hours of secondary and 10 hours of elementary homebound instruction have been the practice in Scarsdale since Covid. This is for students who need medical leave, say for surgery or a long illness. This is not the same as homeschooling. Both of these policies may be found on the Board website.
Dr. Edgar McIntosh, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment presented a proposal for four new textbooks. He noted that they are recent works, two published in 2022, which is a way to outsmart A.I. programs like chatGPT, since the artificial intelligence doesn’t have much to say about them. All four are for the ELA curriculums. Two middle school novels, both by Aisha Saeed are Amal Unbound and Omar Rising. Both books examine issues around class, equity and the agency students have for social justice reforms. The two high school books are Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran, a memoir proposed for 11th grade and Trust, for AT English by Hernan Diaz.
The meeting concluded, with the announcement of many School Budget meetings on the calendar.