This Friday, October 4, 2019, our three schools will hold their Early Dismissal Evacuation Drill as required by the New York State Education Department. Each school will dismiss 15 minutes earlier than their regular dismissal time.
Please help us with some “Back To School” record-keeping and please mark your calendars with upcoming dates. Below you will find links to our media release form, our KI (Potassium Iodide) release form (as recommended by the NY State Education Department and NY State Department of Health) and communications regarding our school meal program.
Please read through this information and complete anything pertinent to your family. Elementary School families: if you have completed a hard copy of Media or KI forms, please complete these forms again. This will help our transition to an electronic file and we thank you for your patience and cooperation.
Next Friday, October 4, our three schools will hold their Early Dismissal Evacuation Drill as required by the New York State Education Department. Each school will dismiss 15 minutes earlier than their regular dismissal time (approximately 2:25 pm at the HS/MS and 3:05 pm at the Elementary School). Please make arrangements to accommodate for the early arrival of your children.
I am also including a list of ways that can help you stay informed and connected throughout the year. Please consider joining me for a “Listening Hour” on Thursday, October 10, in our High School library beginning at 5:45 pm. This meeting will be held just prior to our regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting.
As the fond memories of summer days spent with family and friends fade away, our schools are moving full speed ahead. Our hallways are once again filled with the smiling faces of staff and students. Classrooms are full of inquisitive minds eager to learn, and teachers are exploring new ways to cultivate student learning. The creative minds of our students are once again being expressed in art rooms and on stage, while the athletic fields and gymnasiums are filled with the competition of sports.
We marched in our school year with the clapping of drums and the playing of horns courtesy of the Tappan Zee Bridgemen. Our back to school celebration offered district-wide staff an opportunity to connect, reflect, and plan for the upcoming year. Relationships were forged by way of a district-wide group activity and professional learning took place through the offering of teacher facilitated workshops. As a district, we had much to celebrate from the previous year while setting our sights on goals for the new year.
At a recent Board of Education meeting, the Board adopted our District goal for the year: “Promote Wellness and Personal Growth by Accepting Challenges.” The acceptance of challenges is a theme we used throughout the summer and the opening of schools. The Navy Seals have a saying: “Be comfortable being uncomfortable and you’ll be able to handle any situation that comes your way.” I believe there is a lot of truth behind that statement.
During my opening remarks in August, I asked all staff to consider the greatest moments of their lives; whatever came to mind. I then asked them to consider if any of those events happened without an aspect of challenge or disruption to their daily lives. Personally, I could not think of any. Whether considering the birth of a child, death of a parent, purchasing a new home, changing jobs, etc., personally and professionally, each came with a degree of challenge.
This year, I hope that our goal will push teachers, students, parents, and administrators out of their comfort zone, to challenge themselves to be better and try something new. The other part of our District goal is focused on wellness. It is imperative that we provide appropriate support to those willing to seek discomfort and take challenges. Everyone should have someone to help them along the way, catch them when they fall, and lend a hand when they are stuck. Collectively we need to encourage individuals to challenge themselves while providing support along the way.
Here is a link to the 12 minute video I shared at Superintendent’s Conference Day.
As the end of summer draws near, our schools are busy preparing for the opening of schools. When students and staff return in a few short days, they will see buildings in pristine condition, enjoy exciting enhancements to our grounds, and experience infrastructure upgrades that will enhance our safety and security practices. Some highlights of this work include new windows at Putnam Valley Elementary School, and the creation of an outdoor learning space and wellness trail at the Putnam Valley Middle School and High School campus. When students return to their classes, they will experience the meaningful work completed by their teachers this summer; revised lesson plans, new units of study, and new opportunities for student engagement and empowerment within the learning process. Our High School students, for the first time in Putnam Valley, will experience the globally recognized International Baccalaureate curriculum.
I want to commend the hard work of our buildings and grounds, technology, and office staff as well as the many teachers who participated in our summer workshops and curriculum writing initiatives. It has certainly been a busy summer here at Putnam Valley Central School District.
Looking forward, this is already shaping up to be an amazing year. A year that will empower our students within student-centered learning environments. The International Baccalaureate will provide both Juniors and Seniors with the opportunity to challenge themselves within a globally-minded curriculum. A new outdoor learning space and wellness trail will provide opportunities for Middle School and High School classes to embrace the outdoors. Finally, we are on schedule to begin our capital project this spring. The project includes much needed facility upgrades to both the Middle School and Elementary School along with the construction of a new health and wellness center that we believe will quickly become the academic and athletic hub of the District. Our architects will present the final renderings of the project at both the September 12 and October 10 Board of Education meetings. Board of Education meetings are open to the public and are also streamed live at pvcsd.org. For information on the facilities project, including recent presentations, please visit our website http://pvcsd.org/index.php/district/district-info/facilities-project/.
A theme for this upcoming school year will be accepting and overcoming challenges and understanding that by doing so we can realize meaningful change. We want to challenge ourselves to be better and more creative educators, challenge our students to assume greater ownership over their learning and to develop the essential skills they will need to be successful later in life. We want to encourage our parents to work alongside the school district to support our students socially, emotionally, and academically. All meaningful change comes with a level of discomfort. It is what we do during these times of discomfort that defines who we are and who we want to be. We all can be better and do better. Our challenge for the upcoming year is to ensure that everyone is provided the opportunity to improve themselves.
I am looking forward to another year of PVRising!
Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools
Tonight, Monday 8/26 Kindergarten Back To School Night for parents – 7 pm
Tuesday, 8/27 5th Grade Orientation 11 am
Wednesday, 8/28 and 8/29 Superintendent’s Conference Days
Tuesday, 9/3 School Opens for Students Monthly Event Calendar pvcsd.org
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