Pine Bush board discusses safety, dress code

By Brendan Coyne
Posted 8/29/23


The Pine Bush school board discussed the district’s safety plan and dress code among other topics at its regular meeting on August 15.


Board member Matthew Watkins …

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Pine Bush board discusses safety, dress code

The Pine Bush school board discussed the district’s safety plan and dress code among other topics at its regular meeting on August 15.
Board member Matthew Watkins presided over the meeting, during which administrators focused on community outreach. Board president Gretchen Meier and vice president Cara Robertson were unable to attend.
Joseph Lenz, Assistant Superintendent for Business, started the meeting with an overview of language changes to the district’s safety plan. 
Lenz covered a number of aspects of the safety plan, including the standardized threat assessment plan, which aims to determine whether or not a threat is real. He mentioned other elements of the safety plan, touching on the district’s reunification and family information centers. Lenz also addressed the plan’s messaging services, how the district communicates with parents and staff in the event of a threat. 
Amy Frock, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, discussed how the district is targeting problems in the district. She said that the district will be improving its data collection system, taking an inventory of the district’s data and finding ways to better use the data. The district will address chronic absenteeism – a nationwide problem, she noted – with home visits. The district will offer more support and make students feel more welcome. The district will also work to increase the rate of parent and family engagement.
In his report, Brian Dunn, Superintendent of Schools, talked about connections.
He said the “community outreach” part of the district’s plans “really inspires” him. 
He said the district is already doing more outreach, attending events such as Crawford Night. He said the district has started a list of places to visit, including apartment complexes such as Kensington Manor Apartments.
He then discussed the district’s Code of Conduct, focusing on the Dress Code and its importance in developing a strong student culture.
“The better the student culture, the better the academic outputs,” Dunn said.
He said that New York State standards had become more specific: From the armpits to the mid-thighs, no skin or undergarments can be visible. He said the district will engage the community and enforce the requirement with great sensitivity. 
Dunn briefly discussed revisions to two other concerns. 
The district Code of Conduct will ban the videotaping of fights. “Videos are damaging,” he said. Students must walk away from fights. He then addressed the misuse of school property, focusing on Chromebooks. Students who intentionally break school property will face discipline.
Board members then congratulated new employees, inviting them up to the dais and shaking hands. 
The board also held a brief special meeting on August 23. Board president Grechen Meier asked Lenz to discuss the single item on the agenda. Lenz explained that one of the towns in the district has received an $18,000 increase in its assessment. Thus, the board passed a revised tax warrant, lowering residents’ bill by a few pennies.
The board will next meet on September 12, at which time Dunn said he hoped the board would give a name to the back field at the high school: Alumni Field.