A bevy of changes has come recently to Dutchess BOCES’ Alternative High School, including a reformed student council and a rebranding approved by the Board of Education Wednesday, Dec. 13.
The school’s rebrand, The Dutchess BOCES Resilience Academy, was chosen by students and staff during an in-school to give the school an identity and remove stigmas around alternative high schools.
During the meeting, a resolution to approve the rebranding passed unanimously. While the school is still called an alternative high school at the state level, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jodi DeLucia stressed the importance of supporting the students with their endeavor. Passing the resolution also allows a new symbol to be created and to change the school colors.
“We would like to rebrand and be respectful to the work the student government did,” DeLucia explained to the board. “They really are starting to form an identity.”
The school’s proposed new symbol would be the Phoenix, signifying a rebirth and a contest will be held in the near future for students to submit their own designs for the mascot.
“The name suits our values a lot,” senior Chloe Mort, council secretary, said. “Having resilience is really important, especially in a school like ours.”
Mort and junior Trevino Hiraldo, vice president, spoke before the Board of Education during its November meeting and shared some of the council’s accomplishments to date. These included hosting a Halloween party for Pegasus students and having occupied/vacant signs installed on restroom doors.
“Students were getting walked in on a lot; it was just really an issue that wasn’t being addressed,” Hiraldo said. “Student council brought up an idea to get proper occupied and vacant signs and that was delivered.”
The board will consider a resolution in support of the rebranding at Wednesday’s (Dec. 13) meeting.
Meanwhile, the council is working on future goals, including being able to provide funding for students that cannot afford to go on school field trips, having college recruiters visit BOCES and creating a more therapeutic environment by hiring a substance abuse counselor and implementing restorative justice practices so students avoid being suspended.
“If someone broke the microwave, rather than punishing them, have them raise money for a new microwave,” Mort explained. “When you suspend someone, they just go home and chill … they’re not learning.”
Hiraldo decided to get involved because he wanted to see changes in the school’s academic and social environments. He is happy with the progress made so far.
“The academic environment was really hard for kids, they just couldn’t get engaged,” Hiraldo said. “I just thought I needed to change something.”
While Mort was nervous at first about the presentation, she appreciated their openness to the proposals.
“It seemed like a very nice community, they all congratulated us,” Mort said. “I felt very accomplished.”
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jodi DeLucia complimented the students’ hard work leading to positive results.
“It’s been really exciting to walk around the building and really see evidence of student voice throughout the building,” DeLucia said. “We’re really proud of them.”