Story by Shelley R. Clapper
Warwick School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach reported at the school board meeting on Mon., Aug. 7, that he had met with High School Principal Dr. Washington and the Warwick Coalition to discuss drug awareness and prevention.
The District plans to take on a more assertive role in addressing drug awareness and prevention. Dr. Washington, starting in the spring, offered monthly surveys to students concerning drug issues and spoke with teachers to determine their interest. The Board representative to the Warwick Coalition, Robert Howe, reported that many seniors participated in the Coalition survey. He cited a recent article in USA Today that said that 750,000 prescriptions for opioids are written every day in the U.S., thus providing, “a lot of opportunities to abuse them.”
Dr. Leach said that the District needs to determine the best way to share the data with parents regarding students’ access to alcohol and prescription drugs. Dr. Leach suggested that drug awareness and prevention education begin in the middle school. He also suggested that it would be a good idea to introduce the topic at the Drivers’ Forum on Wed., Aug. 30. Dr. Washington said that the athletic director will address the problem with parents of students involved in fall sports.
Dr. Leach is excited about using existing support structures within the school for drug awareness and prevention and does not see the need to bring in outside people or structures. He suggested getting groups in the high school and middle school involved, such as the Interact Club, The National Honor Society, athletic teams and music groups. Dr. Leach believes that the key lies in getting students “energized and enthusiastic to get involved.”
Tolerance & Diversity
Dr. Leach reported that the District continues to communicate with the Jewish Federation and the Rockland Holocaust Museum regarding implementing tolerance and diversity education in the District.
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, James Yap, reported that the District was now identifying resources for implementing social diversity education. He recommended that this education begin as early as kindergarten. He said that the Jewish Federation will be working with teachers during the November superintendent days. Dr. Leach said that tolerance, diversity and civility will be infused into the curriculum.
Solar Project Update
Dr. Leach provided an update on the solar project at Sanfordville Elementary School. He reported that the work is on track and the grading should be completed by mid-August. When school starts construction will be suspended after school hours and on weekends. He said that modules and solar panels should be installed by Thurs., Oct. 6 and the mechanical components by mid to late October.
Dr. Leach announced that the District will sponsor a driver awareness forum on Wed., Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium. It is mandatory for all juniors and seniors who intend to drive to school and need to get parking permits to attend. It is strongly recommended that students come with a parent.
Dr. Leach reported that the very successful summer enrichment program had ended. Over 20 classes were offered, including in the arts and sciences.
Next Board Meeting
The next regular School Board meeting will be held on Mon., Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center, located at 225 West St. Ext. in Warwick.