Watertown school board covers a lot of ground in 1st meeting since school started

Watertown school board meeting

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Diversity training, the first days of school, and the fate of fall sports.

Those were the topics at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Watertown City School District board of education.

After a mock slave auction at North Elementary School in May 2019, the state told the district it needed to hire a diversity consultant.

Tuesday night, she made a promise to the board.

“I can make this promise to you,” said Gwen Webber-McLeod, who’s president and CEO of Gwen, Inc., “that my company will do our very best to work with these very bright, talented leaders you have here, to create something that truly allows you to continually graduate diverse students that go out into the world and are successful.”

Superintendent Patti LaBarr gave an overview on how the first few days of school went and talked about what she calls one of the biggest struggles the district has been faced with.

“I think that’s been one of the most frustrating things for parents with kids coming back to school,” she said, “when they’ve had sniffles and a runny nose. In a normal environment, the old world if you will, but in this new place that we’re at, when you take a look at some of those symptoms that kids have had before, we do have to look at that differently.”

And with fall sports, LaBarr discussed some of the confusion that came with decisions from Section 3 and from the state.

“We were really thinking that we would’ve had a January start, but when the guidance came and it suggested starting sports now, it was just another curve ball thrown our way,” LaBarr said.

Athletic Director George Emrich says Frontier League superintendents and athletic directors will hold separate meetings later this week.

The next Watertown City School Board meeting is October 6.

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