The recent New Milford School Board meeting convened with an extensive discussion about the educational journey of students to Japan. There were talks of the board’s multiple governance responsibilities, the state of the upcoming school year, and the pressing challenges related to harassment, intimidation, and bullying.
The meeting included a detailed presentation by Ms. Berenstein, who shared the enriching experiences of the students’ trip to Japan. The trip was full of cultural learning experiences, taking students from bustling Tokyo streets to serene heritage sites like the Meiji Shrine and the 500-year-old temple in Nara. Activities like shopping, dining, and visiting Droglyph Park, an indoor amusement park, further highlighted the immersive nature of the journey. Ms. Berenstein’s proposal for a future trip to Europe, particularly Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, was also discussed.
In the domain of school improvement, the board turned to preparations for the upcoming school year. The discussions included hiring new teachers, training in response to legislation, transitioning student information systems from PowerSchool to the more user-friendly Genesis, and updates to their website with Blackboard for better community engagement.
The meeting addressed the sensitive issue of harassment, intimidation, and bullying, revealing four in-school suspensions and one out-of-school suspension for theft at the middle school in June. Cases confirmed as bullying were forwarded for further investigation.
The board also discussed developments in food services, including the implementation of a new digital meal ordering system and potential diversification of meal options. A surplus in food services has allowed for the addition of a leased frozen yogurt machine at the high school. The importance of reapplying for free and reduced lunch applications was highlighted, as they can affect state aid and funding.
In terms of transportation, the challenges of hiring drivers were considered. The unique approach of having bus drivers double as custodians was proposed. The board also discussed cost-sharing with other districts to offset transportation costs.
The meeting concluded with the assistant superintendent for curriculum instruction wishing everyone a restful summer and the board emphasizing their governance responsibilities. The importance of board member evaluations, as well as scheduling board member evaluations by August 4th, was stressed.
In closing, a member recounted a personal story about the lasting impact a teacher had on her children, reminding everyone present of the critical role educators play in shaping the lives of students.