Roslyn Ed Board shares appreciation for retiring director of special education

Roslyn Ed Board shares appreciation for retiring director of special education
The Roslyn Board of Education approved a large security grant Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Roslyn Board of Education shared their love and appreciation for outgoing Director of Special Education Barbara Schwartz at its meeting Thursday night, formalizing her retirement with board members recognizing the impact she has had on the district and hundreds of families.

“It is very, very rare to have a leader in a role so well-suited to them that every single day at work they come with their heart on their sleeve, on their desk, in their chair, at every table and every meeting and that’s when Barbara’s served us in the district,” said President Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy, who jokingly asked to suspend her retirement so as not to lose her.

The board president shared a story about the day Schwartz handed in her letter requesting her retirement and the call informing her of it when she screamed: “Don’t take it.”

“But I have to say, I know it’s your time,” Waxman Ben-Levy said. “You’ve told us, I know, but boy are we going to miss you.”

Trustee Alison Gilbert, who is also a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in autism spectrum disorders and supporting parents of children with autism, extended her thanks to Schwartz in their journey together, saying they have been through so much and Schwartz has supported her and her family through the years.

“My family and I just could not have taken the steps that we did without you and without you seeing what we were going through and the level of understanding patience and empathy that you have and continue to have for our family,” Gilbert said. “It’s just priceless.”

Waxman Ben-Levy said there are hundreds of families who have that same appreciation for Schwartz. Multiple faculty members were also in attendance Thursday night to support her retirement acceptance.

Waxman Ben-Levy and Brown also shared their praise for the various student winter concerts from the elementary schools to the high school, applauding the administration, faculty and students for the productions.

“The leadership, the musicianship, the collaborations were heart-warming and they filled the halls of our schools with the joy of music and all of our children and I can’t remember the last year I was this proud,” Waxman Ben-Levy said.

Brown said the concerts were unbelievable not by chance but rather through the talented students and dedicated teachers.

The board also adopted a series of resolutions Thursday night, which they did through a consent agenda and adopted with one fall swoop vote. No comments were made by the board members or members of the public on any of the agenda items, except for the retirement of Schwartz.

Included in the adopted resolutions was a new policy on gender-neutral bathrooms which will designate all single-occupancy restrooms at schools that can be used by anyone of any gender. The new policy will go into effect immediately.

The board also adopted two amended contracts with local organizations and the school district to update the fees set in the contracts.

The amended contracts included The Nicholas Center for Autism’s contract for special education applied behavioral analysis and vocational training services during the school year and summer. The fees for these services increased from $21,210 to $66,210 due to an increase in the cost of services during the school year.

The other amended contract is with S.E.E.D.S. of the Willistons, Inc. for speech and occupational therapy, as well as parent training services for the school year and summer. The fees for the contracted services increased from $17,600 to $17,840 for increases in costs in summer services.

The Roslyn Board of Education will convene again on Jan. 25.

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