The Jericho School District’s latest Board of Education meeting on April 23 featured honors for scholar athletes and teachers, board election news, robots and dogs—but sadly, no robot dogs.
Overlooking that disappointment, the board unanimously voted to approve a new contract for Superintendent Hank Grishman. The new contract keeps Grishman on board through July 2018 and includes no increase to salary or benefits.
“He cares about this job in a way I have hardly ever seen in business or otherwise,” said School Board president Bill Ferro. “He cares for the students and he treats others like family. We are very fortunate to have possibly the best superintendent in New York State.”
During the Superintendent’s report, Grishman thanked the community and staff for helping our families that were impacted and displaced by the fire at Westwood Village. Also, he announced that, after a conversation with the board, next year’s board meetings will start at 7:15 p.m. and this will be reflected in next year’s calendar.
In a middle school/high school auditorium update, Grishman shared that the seats have been removed from the auditorium and the general contractor requested that the asbestos tiles be removed from the floor over Memorial Day weekend. The area will be sealed and air quality testing done throughout the weekend to be sure the building is safe for staff and students on Tuesday, May 26. Staff from Jericho’s Building and Grounds department will be on hand throughout the weekend to oversee the progress. Completing this project will allow contractors an additional week during the summer to complete contracts in a timely manner.
When the school board election came to the floor, Shawn Gladstone announced that she will not be seeking re-election. Bill Ferro and Daborah Lee submitted successful petitions and will be on the ballot in May.
In other personnel news, Jericho’s Curriculum Associate for Science and Technology Education Brian Cummings received tenure at the meeting and Jericho’s treasurer Diane Castonguay’s resignation was accepted effective June 30 as she moves on to her new position of Assistant Superintendent for Business in Amityville School District.
Athletic director John Mankowich also spoke to the board about the district’s vacation policy for athletes. Currently, if an athlete misses practice over a vacation, he or she must sit out a game for each practice missed. This policy was enacted to deter athletes from going on vacation and missing practice. After reviewing the policy, Mankowich found that families are still traveling over the vacations and the programs are suffering. The athletics department is taking a year off from the policy and letting the coaches decide how to handle the students who are not there over the vacations and missing practice.
When the topic switched to robotics, Jericho’s Elementary principals Benny D’Aquila, Tony Sinanis and Ivy Sherman, presented the Robotics Program that was piloted this year with all fifth grade students. They spoke about the success of the program and said the program will be evaluated to see if it can run in future years. It is definitely their hope to continue and expand the program.
Earlier in the evening, high school students from the Kids Helping Pets club collected $6,000 through fundraising efforts and were able to purchase a dog for the Guide Dog Foundation and named him Jericho. The students presented Jericho and his trainer with an engraved nametag.
In other student news, the board honored athletes in basketball, boys’ bowling, fencing, girls’ bowling and wrestling.
The next meeting of the Board of Education is scheduled for May 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Middle School Library. The Budget Vote will be on Tuesday, May 19 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Sam Springer Gym. For information on the budget, go to www.jerichoschools.org.