Sullivan West passes budget, installs PRIDE

Z.A. KOHLOA
Posted 6/6/19

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — On May 23, the Sullivan West School Board of Education accepted the 2019-2020 annual district budget vote and the election results. With 369 “yes” votes and …

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Sullivan West passes budget, installs PRIDE

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LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — On May 23, the Sullivan West School Board of Education accepted the 2019-2020 annual district budget vote and the election results. With 369 “yes” votes and 111 opposing votes, the $38,398,347 budget for the 2019-2020 school year budget had been passed by voters two days earlier.

There were three unopposed seats for re-election on the Sullivan West school board. Juliete Gaebel, with 420 votes and Ken Cohen, with 373 votes kept their seats as general board members. Rose Joyce-Turner with 391 votes, remains the president of the Sullivan West Board of Education. Superintendent Stephan Walker’s appointment was extended by the board to June 30, 2023, and his contract was approved.

Dan Parisi, a current administrative intern and a social studies teacher at the high school, presented his project to revise or change the Academic Intervention Monitoring System (AIMS) at the school. AIMS is a student-based policy that was adopted officially in 2001 by the school. The goal of AIMS was to assist students experiencing academic struggles and maintain eligibility for extracurricular activities.

After Parisi formed a committee of students of all grade levels, teachers, coaches and parents, he learned that many students in the school thought of AIMS as a policy of punishment. Under the AIMS policy, if a student was failing two subjects he or she would not be able to participate in a sport for a week or attend any extracurricular activity. If the AIMS list wasn’t updated, and students had not been informed they were on the list, students would arrive at an extra- curricular activity only to be informed they weren’t eligible to participate. At times during homeroom, a blue slip would be delivered to the students in front of all of their classmates.

Parisi set out to change the AIMS system to a system of personal responsibility in delivering excellence (PRIDE). In the PRIDE system, if a student is failing any subject, help is to be provided right away. This would be accomplished through more immediate notice given to students that they were failing a subject, improved communication among parents, students and teachers and building greater collaboration between students with all of their teachers. The process of earning back eligibility for sports and extra-curricular activities happens more immediately and students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own academic excellence, Parisi said.

During the public comments JP Lang, a science teacher and coach at the high school, informed the board that something had to be done with the softball and baseball field on the Lake Huntington property.

“What is the purpose in having these fields if they aren’t going to be used?” he asked. “This year, there were no varsity or JV softball games played on the field due to the weather. I know it was a wet year, but we have to mitigate this some way or another… let’s go back to the drawing board and put them somewhere else, because they’re not playable here. In two years, there’s been two JV games and three modified games. During the modified, game balls are not hit to the outfield because it’s under water. If we could get that fixed, as a coach and taxpayer I’d appreciate it.”

Board member Ken Cohen shared Lang’s disappointment that the unused baseball fields are a serious investment going to waste.

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