I am pleased to announce that after an extensive interview process that began with over 125 applicants, we anticipate the appointment of Matthew Mello as the next Assistant Principal of Putnam Valley High School during our Board of Education Meeting on August 22. Mr. Mello will be assuming the position vacated by Christopher O’Connor who recently accepted the position of Middle School Principal in the Dover School District. We thank Mr. O’Connor for his dedicated service to the Putnam Valley School District and wish him the best in his new position.
Mr. Mello joins our administrative team after serving as a high school social studies teacher in Putnam Valley for the past 18 years. Mr. Mello is known to many of you as he is a life-long member of the Putnam Valley community and along with his wife and three children, has been actively involved in the community for many years.
The interview committee was impressed by Mr. Mello’s passion for education and his emphasis on the importance of building connections with students. For the past two years, Mr. Mello has served as the Coordinator of the International Baccalaureate Program and was instrumental in Putnam Valley High School’s authorization as an IB World School. The strong collaborative relationship between Mr. Mello and Dr. Intrieri will continue to serve the High School and our District very well.
We will immediately seek a replacement for Mr. Mello’s social studies classes. Please join me in congratulating and welcoming Mr. Mello into his new role as Assistant Principal at Putnam Valley High School.
Summer is the hungriest time of the year. No Kid Hungry can help.
No Kid Hungry is a national campaign that provides a summer meals texting service. The service is free, and open to anyone. A parent, grandparent or caregiver can simply text the word “FOOD” to 877-877 and the system prompts them to provide their address or zip code, which is used to provide the location and service times of up to three nearby summer meals sites.
=========================================================================== No Kid Hungry ejecuta un servicio de mensajes de texto de comidas de verano. El servicio es gratuito y está abierto a cualquier persona. Un padre, abuelo o cuidador puede simplemente enviar un mensaje de texto con la palabra “COMIDA” al 877-877 y el sistema les pide que proporcionen su dirección o código postal, que se utiliza para proporcionar la ubicación y tiempos de servicio de hasta tres sitios de comidas de verano.
Please share this information with friends and neighbors.
Por favor comparte esta información con amigos y vecinos.
Each year, around this time, we find ourselves reflecting on the school year that is ending while also taking time to plan for the next school year. As most of you know, Dr. Frances Wills is retiring at the end of this school year, and I am privileged to have been named the Superintendent of Schools effective July 1. As we begin this next phase of education in Putnam Valley, I am looking forward to continuing all of the great work that is already happening here in our schools. Dr. Wills’ legacy is certainly visible across all three buildings, and it has been a privilege to work and learn beside her since arriving back in Putnam Valley. As Superintendent of Schools, I hope to be able to expand the work that Dr. Wills has already started within the schools while cultivating the district’s relationship with the community, empowerment of our staff, and engagement of our students.
I grew up in Putnam Valley, and I still remember what it felt like to walk into Putnam Valley Elementary School as a Kindergartner on the first day of school; the feeling of excitement, nervousness, and wonder raced through my body. I remember entering Putnam Valley Middle School for the first time and feeling a little overwhelmed and lost, not sure how to transfer between classes in this new building. I remember the sadness of having to leave Putnam Valley to attend a high school at a neighboring district. I remember how envious I was walking into Putnam Valley High School for the first time as a professional. I remember the struggles of substitute teaching, the excitement of my first professional job as a technology assistant in the High School, and I will forever remember my emotions on 9/11/2001. That day, at Putnam Valley High School, I truly learned what it meant to be an educator, everyone putting aside their own emotions to support the students in front of them. I share this walk down memory lane as I believe it speaks to who I am as an educator and a learner and just a little bit about what this community has meant to me. I hope this also provides some insight into my core values as an educator and explains why I hope to spend many years serving this community as the Superintendent of Schools.
Seventeen years removed from the beginning of my educational career in Putnam Valley, I have served in many educational roles, including a physics teacher, technology director, and a director of curriculum and instruction. Each of these experiences has helped shape who I am as an educator and a leader. I am excited to offer what I have learned throughout my career while embracing all that Putnam Valley already has to offer.
A couple of years ago, we coined the phrase #PVRising and I truly believe that we are a school district on the rise. Putnam Valley has an amazing group of administrators, teachers, and professional staff that are dedicated to the success of all students. As Superintendent of Schools, it will be a priority of mine to ensure that all students are provided a safe and secure learning environment, are socially and emotionally well, have opportunities to be artistically and athletically enriched, and academically challenged.
During a recent Superintendent Conference Day, I challenged everyone in the room to reflect on why they became an educator, why they do what they do on behalf of students every day, and why is what we do in our schools and classrooms so important to the students, families, and the community we serve. Later in the day, our professional staff met in small workgroups to share their personal responses to those “why” questions and ultimately reach a consensus of their top five answers. Each group’s answers were displayed in the auditorium to be viewed by the other workgroups and eventually synthesized into the graphic representation below. The larger the word, the more often it was reported by our workshops.
The next phase of this work is to collect these same core values from our community and, where appropriate, from our students. Please take a moment to complete the survey (linked below) and let us know what you value within our educational institution.
We want to let the community know about an incident that occurred this afternoon during the dismissal from the middle/high school campus. As our students were boarding their buses, two adolescents (not from Putnam Valley), along with one of our high school students entered one of our buses and inappropriately interacted verbally with our students. The bus-driver intervened and the intruders were removed from the bus. Our SRO was instrumental in detaining these individuals. We are now working closely with the Putnam County Sheriff’s department to make sure that the matter will be properly handled and resolved. We want to reassure you that all of our students returned to their homes and that our staff acted decisively and effectively. Student safety is our main priority and our administration is addressing the situation.
On Friday, June 14, Putnam County and our school district lost a great friend and supporter of youth and education with the sudden death of Judge James Reitz. For many years, Judge Reitz addressed our families and our students on safety issues and the devastating consequence of drug and alcohol abuse. He had established a Drug Court that was a model for moving from a strictly punitive approach to drug related legal matters to an avenue for responsible rehabilitation. There is no question that Judge Reitz cared about the children and families of Putnam County and was willing to actively move from the bench to the public arena to persuade us that safety and health were priorities for the well-being of the community. We want to acknowledge and express sorrow at this loss of a community leader.
Services have been announced as follows:
Visitation will take place on Monday, June 17 from 2-8 PM at the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services, Old Route 6, Carmel. Mass will be held on Tuesday, June 18 at 10:30 AM at St. James the Apostle Church.
Our deepest condolences are shared with his family and friends throughout the County.
Dr. Frances G. Wills
Superintendent of Schools
There is a power outage at the high school/midddle school campus due to a one car accident that damaged a utility pole. NYSEG is expected shortly. Both schools are currently under a shelter in place protocol. Students will stay in current classrooms until we get additional information.
We are assessing the need to alter our dismissal schedule. Updates will be sent as soon as possible.
The elementary school is not affected by this outage.
Thank you for your patience.
Superintendent of Schools
UPDATE 1:19 PM
We are in the process of mobilizing an early dismissal. Due to the road closure right outside the entrance to the High School/Middle School campus, buses will be delayed arriving on campus. The plan is to dismiss as soon as possible. Until that point, and in an effort to manage dismissal safely and effectively we are continuing a shelter in place protocol and ask that parents be patient. We will let you know as soon as we are able to dismiss students. Everyone is safe and comfortable.
The early dismissal is not impacting the Elementary School.
Superintendent of Schools
UPDATE 1:55 PM
The Middle School and High School will dismiss at approximately 2:00 pm. Due to the traffic issues on Peekskill Hollow Road, if possible, please avoid picking up your child. Thank you for your patience.
All after school activities at the High School and Middle School are canceled.
PV Children’s Center is canceled today at the MS only due to the power outage. All students will be sent home on the bus.
Today, as we memorialize the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944, I want to thank the Putnam Valley History Club and advisor Vin DeGregorio for making sure that Putnam Valley schools demonstrate reverence and gratitude on this very special day for America and the world. I was fortunate last summer to visit Normandy Beach with my sister to see the place of great devastation and remarkable valor. I heard a narration of liberation from the French guide and saw the tank and artillery emplacements still in place. Normandy is a sacred place where thousands of young sons and fathers perished, and I walked the beach in awe and appreciation of so many lives lost to ensure our freedom and safety.
There are photos attached to this message from the high school display and my trip last summer. More recently, I met a very special survivor of World War II. His name is Ed Malberg and he lives in Ossining. Recently he celebrated his 100th birthday at a retrospective art show. Ed is a wonderful gentleman, humorous and a great conversationalist. He was well known as an illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post, and he served in WWII as a cartographer. Ed drew the maps for the battlefields and the movements of troops associated with D-Day and throughout the invasion of Europe. He worked closely with General Eisenhower, drawing in a large tent that was regularly under bombardment. Today he reminds us that the survivors of that war have much to teach us about how to live wisely and well.
This morning at our Elementary School, a bear cub was spotted near one of the garbage dumpsters. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation have been notified and we are all monitoring the area very closely. Sheriff Deputies are currently on site. The Elementary School will remain in Lock Out for the remainder of the day. Lock Out means that normal activities continue indoors and all outdoor activities are canceled.
The perimeter of the property will be monitored throughout the day and we will have extra staff and members of the Sheriff’s Department on site for dismissal.
Last week, 50 of our eighth-grade students visited Washington DC. The trip had been a tradition in Putnam Valley but had not been undertaken since the terror attacks in 2001. Everyone involved agreed that the trip was a memorable learning experience that needed to be repeated and become a tradition again. The principal, Mr. McCarty, recounted a particular incident at the Vietnam Memorial in the evening. He and another student assisted an eighth grader as she looked for her uncle’s name on the wall. When the name was found, all were moved by the discovery and the appreciation of what it meant to connect with one who had indeed given his life for his country. This experience made the trip particularly meaningful.
As we remember those who have given their lives so that we can continue to enjoy the gifts of living as Americans, we can reflect on what it means to live up to the ideals that our servicemen and women died to protect. In reading General Colin Powell’s autobiography, My American Journey, I have found myself attracted to his candid and balanced approach to his life and career in the military and in government. Powell was a four-star general, National Security Advisor in the Reagan administration, and Secretary of State from 2001-2005. His background was very relatable to many of us; Powell was raised by a very strong and loving family in the Bronx and attended Morris High School. His neighborhood was very diverse and he had friends from many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Powell acknowledged that he was an average student without great ambitions until he entered City College when he was attracted to ROTC where he found a community that nurtured his leadership skills and a desire to succeed and excel. His experience in Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War deepened his understanding of leadership and human frailty and his sensitivity to the consequences of poorly conceived decisions that sometimes led to the death of his troops. Powell was revered for his authenticity, compassion and support for the soldiers he commanded. He continues to live according to principles that have guided his life of service to his country. But Powell also acknowledges his mistakes and missteps. Powell’s thoughtful reflection on loyalty to our country and his compassionate description of the loss of soldiers in his battalion seem to embody the respectful expression of Memorial Day. We are reminded that we are indebted to those who sacrificed to preserve our Democracy and the freedoms we often take for granted; we are also uplifted by the character of leaders like Colin Powell who never left decency and dignity behind.
On behalf of the Putnam Valley Board of Education, we want to express our thanks for your support of our budget and your participation in the school board election. We appreciate your trust in the Putnam Valley Central School District to provide a challenging and supportive education for all students.
Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Jeremy Luft
The PVCSD, in partnership with our families and community, will ensure that all students are engaged in a challenging, student-focused educational program, understand and assume their responsibility for life-long learning, work to achieve their personal best and become productive citizens in a diverse global society.