By Shelley R. Clapper
The Warwick Valley Central School District Board of Education discussed safety and security in the Warwick schools at their meeting on Mon., May 7.
“There is more emphasis on safety and security this year,” said Superintendent Dr. David Leach.
Dr. Leach said that the District’s responsibility to keep students safe is taken very seriously and that the administration recognizes the need to implement additional short-term and long-term enhancements.
The District now has four full-time police officers (one in each school), as well as seven security guards. In addition, there will be two more evening security guards at the middle and high school, making a total of nine.
Security enhancements include a camera system throughout the District. There will be a security vestibule constructed at the high school, creating a single point of entry. This feature will be added in the new budget and will be completed by the start of the next school year.
“GPS equipment will be installed in all our vehicles so that we know where they are at all times,” said Dr. Leach.
New York State Testing
Dr. Leach also reported that the District had completed grades three to eight State testing. He said that the English Language Arts and Math testing were given over two test sessions rather than three. He explained that this change was made to lessen testing fatigue for students. The tests included fewer questions.
The District saw a sharp decline in student test refusals, with about 20 percent of students refusing to take the exams, compared to 30 percent from the previous year.
“The State testing results have been decoupled from teacher evaluation, and the exams are shorter in length. More students appear to be comfortable taking the tests,” said Dr. Leach.
The test results will not be used to make promotion or placement decisions regarding students or to evaluate teachers.
Greenwood Lake Contract
In other news, the School Board approved a new contract to continue the practice of accepting tuition-paying high school age students who reside in Greenwood Lake. Currently 160 of a total of 1,276 students at the high school reside in Greenwood Lake. The tuition for regular education students will be $11,000 per student.
The next Board meeting will be held on Mon., Jun. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center, located at 225 West St. in Warwick NY.