Wide range of topics discussed at VVS board of education meeting


VERONA — Vernon-Verona-Sherrill held its February board of education meeting on Monday, Feb. 28.

During the public session, Russell Henry from the Town of Verona asked if VVS is teaching Critical Race Theory. “It is not a part of the NYS Standards, and it is not a part of the course of study for our students,” said Martha Group, superintendent. 

The first presentation under the Superintendent’s Report was from the World Language Department, including teacher leader Julia Sullivan, and department teachers Michael Ashley, Karla Balarezo, and Rosa Viggiano. Their presentation highlighted diversity and cultural activities at VVS, social emotional learning in the World Language classroom, the Early Language Elementary Learning Program, and project-based learning opportunities. “We aim to make world languages as inclusive and accessible as we can,” said Sullivan, “so students can enjoy learning about the world’s customs, cultures and languages.”

VVS High School senior Tori Nelson also joined the department for the presentation, and talked about her experience taking four years of Spanish and three years of French. She is now assistant teaching a Spanish class as a part of her senior project, and looking forward to becoming a teacher. 

At the conclusion of the world language presentation, Sergeant Morgan and Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol presented a Certificate of Commendation from the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office for Ian Kraeger. “If it weren’t for the actions of Mr. Kraeger, we would be dealing with a much more tragic incident. His actions are to be commended, and we wanted to give Mr. Kraeger this Certificate of Commendation for his actions in preventing a student from being struck by a vehicle.” In addition to the commendation plaque, they awarded Kraeger a pin making him an honorary member of the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office. 

Next, Mark Wixson, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, introduced the support services team. The team consists of the VVS transportation, food service, and buildings and grounds departments. Each department shared their work over the past three years, including specific COVID-19 mitigation efforts and department successes. 

The transportation department, led by Mike Peck and Brad Boyson, shared their progress on the transition to gasoline buses, and talked about looking into cameras to catch vehicles passing the buses. The food service department, led by Hollie Ackerman, highlighted their partnership with the VVS FFA hydroponic program to bring VVS-grown salads to the lunches, and their focus on continuing to move toward eco-friendly items for packaging meals. The buildings and grounds department, led by Ron Gregory, outlined the ways that they have utilized the federal stimulus funds from the CARES Act to create a clean and safe building environment. They also showcased the Wettel capital outlay project to lay new flooring.

“One of the most frequent comments I hear is that the grounds look better today than they did in the past,” said VVS Board President Tom Moats. “We hear so many positive comments about how the community appreciates all that you did through the past two years. You are the glue that holds us together.”

“In education, we talk about how we have to take care of peoples’ basic needs so they are ready to learn, and you do that,” said Group. “You make sure there is someone pleasant to greet them on the bus, you feed many their first meal of the day, you keep a roof over their heads, and you keep their learning environment clean and welcoming. We appreciate everything that you do. Everytime we ask you to do anything, you are flexible and say, ‘Yes, we can make that work.’ You take care of our students, our families, us, and each other. Thank you.”  

Last, Group reviewed the Long-Range Strategic Planning process that the district is beginning on March 9. The Strategic Planning team will consist of over 100 individuals, including students, faculty, staff, administration, parents, business owners, faith leaders, government officials, representatives from higher education, law enforcement, community members and more.

“We wanted to make sure we had a broad representation of our community in regards to the demographics of our community,” said Group. “We want to ensure all different viewpoints and needs are considered in this process.” 


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