Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What do YOU want to ask our Board of Education, Thursday July 11th @ 7:00pm?

The July 11 BOE meeting is going to be a crowded one, RIGHT? If you have never attended a BOE meeting; there are a few things you should know beforehand:
  1. SHOW UP! We need you there to show community support.  
  2. SIGN UP! If you want to speak, or even think you may want to speak, you must sign up before the beginning of the meeting.   
  3. SPEAK UP! For those of us who think public speaking is super scary, you can just read a prepared statement; something as simple as “I request the BOE ask for the resignation of Dr. Henkel”.  But maybe you’ll be inspired to say more or you can always pass when your name is called to speak.  Remember, if you don’t sign up before the meeting you will not be given an opportunity to speak.
Note: There a time limit. The BOE asks that speakers limit their comments to fewer than 3 minutes. We can expect them to be especially vigilant in attempting to adhere to that time limit on Thursday July 11 @ 7:00pm!

What if you can’t come? What if there is no way in hell you would ever speak in front of a crowd of people, but have something to say? Write it down: on paper, on an index card, on a cocktail napkin, or here on the blog and we will try to find someone to ask your questions for you.

NOW, see you on Thursday July 11th @ 7:00pm!


  1. Wynantskill should take a hint from Saratoga and "investigate" what is going on, rather than post a very short-sighted and premature statement on their website that places blame on the teachers. The "straight facts" huh Ms. Paone? I think not. You probably need to take the time to investigate and find out what the facts are before you make such a declaration.


  2. Can 28 of 29 teachers who were publically (Ch 6 news w/Paone) accused of being "liars" and "emotional" all be wrong? Henkel is a bully, the teachers know it, the parents know it and the students know it. If it were a student instead of the superintendant acting out in this manner, they would be expelled or arrested.

  3. I would like the BOE to explain what merited Dr. Henkel’s contract extension? It seems hard to fathom, given the climate in the school, that this was the appropriate time for awarding a contract extension.

    The turnaround time from the teachers presenting their declaration of "no confidence" and the BOE's return statement that the teachers sound “emotional rather than factual” was very short. Exactly what steps did the BOE take to determine whether or not Dr. Henkel had created a hostile work environment?

    What steps were taken by the BOE to explore the validity of the statement “Dr. Lisa Henkel has not upheld the law and regulations by failing to meet the requirements of students by not fully implementing their IEPs, remedial services and RTI”?

  4. We need to stand united as tax payers and parents in the community. We teach our children about bullies and then we have one at our school, bullying the teachers and not having a real interaction with the children like we should have for a school of about 300 children.

  5. The similarities between the situation in Saratoga and Wynantskill are amazing. Of course we know what the BOE is thinking based on how they have approached this from the beginning- it can’t be that bad because not all of our teachers are abandoning ship like they are in Saratoga. Well I challenge the Board of Education led by Mrs.Andrea Paone to think about these following points:

    1. The majority of teachers in Gardner Dickinson have school age children and have not left because they need their jobs.
    2. Duh- there is no other school to transfer to in Wynantskill so the teachers are stuck.
    3. The day in day out hostile, stressful, work environment has begun to take its toll not only mentally on the teachers, but physically and it is being noticed by the students, especially the older ones who go home and ask their parents what’s going on?
    4. The vote of no confidence which you continue to dance around with your spin master press releases to the public is not going away because it was NECESSARY, not EMOTIONAL nor was it FRIVOLOUS. These teachers are asking for your help in what they feel was the only way left for them to do.
    5. You KNOW these teachers. Most of them have taught your children and developed relationships with them. The students at Gardner Dickinson are a part of a small school- a family – AND TO SHRUG OFF THE RESOLUTION, TO IMPLY IT IS UNFOUNDED, AND NOT FACT BASED, THAT THE TEACHERS ARE “TRUTH STRETCHERS” shall we say, is not only unprofessional, and disrespectful but hurtful.

    How can you as a BOE that serves the parents of Wynantskill and the children, who are so important to the teachers that they put themselves out there on the firing line with this resolution with them in mind, be so unobjective as to dismiss the resolution and now to also dismiss the concerns of the parents?

    Right now you are a disappointment to the district and you need to step up AND REALLY LISTEN to all parties concerned so that the school year commencing in September is a positive one.

  6. FYI On the BOE District policies page in the Wynantskill union free home page I did a little research anfd found some interesting facts under Philosophies,Goals and ob jecives under Harassment,hazing and bullying there was no reference to hazing or bullying-only sexual harassment
    Under instructional policies
    The Board of Education recognizes that greater direct teacher contact with students have a positive influence in student educational development. To this end, the
    Board encourages district administrators to regulate the district’s student-teacher ratio by establishing an upper and lower limit for class size in each school.
    The Superintendent of Schools will make recommendations for such limits based upon the following:
    1. The type of student load that will help each teacher be most effective;
    2. The district’s financial resources and community support;
    3. The particular requirements of the subjects of certain classes (e.g., science labs may
    require smaller class size by virtue of equipment limitations;)
    4. The need for teacher preparation time;
    5. The presence of students with special needs in a particular class (in which case,
    the district will follow the guidelines established by the Regulations of the
    Commissioner of Education.)
    Elementary and Middle Level Class Size
    In general, the district’s elementary classes will range from eighteen (18) and twenty-two (22) students in kindergarten through grade 2, range from twenty (20) to
    twenty-four (24) in grades three through five and range from twenty-four (24) to twenty-eight (28) in grades 6-8. If class sizes exceed these numbers at any time after the beginning of the school year, the Superintendent will take all circumstances into account, including non-resident tuition students, and the above considerations and
    recommend a course of action to the Board.
    Adoption Date: December 20, 2001

    The Board of Education is committed to providing academic intervention services to
    students at risk of not meeting the state learning standards. Such services may include additional instruction supplementing the instruction provided in the general curriculum and/or student support services such as guidance, counseling, attendance and study skills needed to support improved academic performance. Eligibility for academic intervention services will be determined based on a student’s performance on state assessment exams and/or in accordance with the uniformly applied district developed
    district-adopted procedures. Eligible students will receive services consistent with law
    and regulations which shall commence no later than the beginning of the semester following a determination that a student is eligible for such services.
    Parental Notification and Involvement
    Notification on Commencement of Services. The Building Principal will notify the parents of a student determined to be in need of academic intervention services, in writing, upon the commencement of such services. Such notification will include:
    A summary of the academic intervention services to be provided;
    The reason the student needs such services; and
    Consequences of not achieving expected performance levels.


  7. Under notification on commencement services it says the Building principal-should it state superintendant or assistant principal?

  8. Gardner Dickinson School is a gem sitting high on the hill in Wynantskill. Unfortunately over the past decade, there has been some turmoil that our little district has worked through. We had a financially irresponsible superintendent who was replaced with a hard-nosed, business-minded woman. Through it all, the teachers and staff worked through these difficult times together with the Board of Education. Everyone understood what needed to be done and did so without question. We had each other's back.

    During these turbulent times, I ask:
    What has changed? - The teachers are the same highly educated individuals who are in the trenches each and every day advocating for our students.
    Who has our backs? - The BOE is made up of many of those same individuals who have worked through those turbulent times in the past and has valued input from the highly educated teaching staff.
    Where is the respect? - How can these same highly educated teachers ALL be wrong? How is it that the Vote of No Confidence can be reduced to a statement of "emotional issues"?

    My wish is for the Board of Education to realize who the experts are in the field of education--not law, accounting, office work, etc. Teachers are the experts here.

    It saddens me to think that after many years of cooperatively working together for the best interests of our children, that our respect and confidence in each other is shaken. There is only one solution to this problem. PLEASE show the continued faith in the highly qualified teachers YOU hired to do a job, and release the superintendent from her duties. It is imperative in order for us to continue to grow and achieve amazing heights. We can do it, without a doubt, under competant leadership. Please help us.

  9. The flyer that was distributed to the community was just given to the media. The media with the exception of the Scott Waldeman at the Times Union, the Troy Record and Channel 6 we haven't been heard. If anyone has a personal contact in the media please use it. Today. The best days for this to be picked up is Monday and Tuesday.

  10. I agree with a poster above "I would like the BOE to explain what merited Dr. Henkel’s contract extension? It seems hard to fathom, given the climate in the school, that this was the appropriate time for awarding a contract extension.", and to add to that, this sneaky little extension, which was not yet necessary so early in the first contract cycle (for a total of 5 years since hire) means now means she and her family get insurance FOR LIFE.

  11. I attended the Board of Education meeting tonight and was sooooo proud of the number of people who came out in support our children. Many people voiced their concerns for the first time at a board meeting, and I must say how proud I was they took that bold step. They were well-spoken, addressed major concerns, and asked very pointed questions, to which they were given no answers! Even so, the board has no option other than to listen to and act upon our concerns, right? I emplore you to please keep the pressure on and consider attending the August 15 meeting as well. Together, we can make a difference.