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Region One board approves new hires

FALLS VILLAGE — The Region One Board of Education, at its regular monthly meeting April 3 (on Zoom) announced the hiring of Jessica Bate for the position of Library Media Specialist at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, starting July 1. She will replace the Vance Cannon, who is retiring.

HVRHS will also be adding Justin Quader to its staff as a long term substitute teacher for Social Studies. Quader will begin May 17 and continue until the end of the school year. The high school is also close to selecting a candidate for its open PE/Health position and will likely have chosen one by the May meeting.

The board then approved several policies, including a policy on hate crimes and bias incidents in schools.

“Hate crimes and bias incidents are a direct attack upon the actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race or ethnicity, ethnic group identification, ancestry, nationality, national origin, religion, color, mental or physical disability, age, or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics and will not be tolerated by or within the school district,” the policy reads.

All district staff will be provided with training in discernment and conflict resolution, and a copy of the policy will be distributed to families yearly. “The policy should have the input of parents, students, teachers, community members, and school administrators. It should respect diverse viewpoints, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression,” the policy reads. A broad range of disciplinary action is in place depending on the severity of the breach of policy.

Superintendent Lisa Carter detailed in her report that search committees for the positions of Cornwall Consolidated School principal and Supervisor of Special Education are reaching their final candidates and hoping to fill the positions by late April or early May.

Sharon Center School, North Canaan Elementary School and HVRHS are looking into applying for a grant for school-based health centers. While the grant is competitive, if given they would be awarded in August.

In an effort to increase student attendance and engagement, Pupil Services has contracted with Ed Thorney to hold ten sessions of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, rock climbing, canoe/kayaking, nature walks, challenge courses, outdoor cooking and outdoor crafts with select students. Thorney is a certified outdoor guide and trained therapist. Several K-8 schools in the region are looking into working with him as well, and initial student reception has been positive.

The HVRHS graduation will be held on June 16 this year.

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