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Board Shares District Climate Results

Plainview got high marks for overall safety and diversity climate in its schools.

The Plainview-Old Bethpage members discussed the results of the recently conducted district safety climate survey at Monday night's regular meeting.

Superintendent Gerard Dempsey shared the concluding summary with the board and meeting attendees, focusing on district results rather than individual buildings. Each building principal received a lengthy report on their own results to follow through on and an analysis and options to improve.

Surveys were given to students grades 4-12, faculty members and parents. Categories included physical safety, rules and norms, social-emotional safety and respect for diversity.

"The district had both positive results and neutral results," said Dempsey. "We had no questions or categories rated in the negative column, but we want everything to move in the positive."

The report's conclusion stated that overall ratings are high in Plainview-Old Bethpage, and the district has many areas of strengths to work off of. As a whole, the district rated highest in the rules and norms category.

"Rules and norms are consistently rated very high across all populations and all school levels," Dempsey read from the report. "The ability to develop well-communicated and well-understood rules and norms about physical violence, verbal abuse and harassment is a strength to be leveraged."

Also according to the survey, "respect for diversity" received a universal positive feedback across the district from staff, students and parents alike, stating that mutual respect is shared for individual differences.

"I think that squares with some of our experiences," said Dempsey of the "respect for diversity" category. "When I was a newcomer to the district, it was an apparent characteristic to me that I hadn't seen in other places I've worked."

Gary Bettan said that although certain buildings had areas of weakness, including topics like teasing and social-emotional safety, the district as a whole scored impressively and that should not be overlooked.

"I think this was an important thing we did," the board president said. "A bulk of the scores were more than positive. This is a good place to be a student, a good place to work and a good place to be a parent. I'm very proud of our district overall."

In other news, the Board of Education adopted its goals for the 2011-12 school year Monday night. The newly adopted goals include the continued evaluation of K-12 curriculum and the improving of state test scores, dignity for all students, and effective fiscal management strategies.

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