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Message from Dr. Fran Wills, Superintendent

May 27, 2018

Memorial Day Message from Dr. Wills

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

On a day for remembrance, we feel a comingling of grief and gratitude. There is a deep sadness for those heroes who sacrificed all for us and left families bereft. We seek photographs and memories for solace, and they are reminders of the loss of their presence in our families, their love and friendship. At the same time, our gratitude wells up in tears that come during the Memorial Day parades and those moments of mourning and realization --that what we share as Americans, our deeply held beliefs about "liberty and justice for all" -- have been sustained only because of the devotion of our Armed Forces supported by our collective will to prevail. It is this sentiment that is now preserved on our Putnam Valley High School campus through the effort of PVHS Journey's student, Wayne DeRosa who contributed a weeping cherry tree and a plaque commemorating those who serve and those who have fallen in that service. Thank you also to Pat Bellino and our dedicated custodial crew who support our educational and community goals every day. We will be reminded daily as we enter our high school how much we rely upon the constancy of service and sacrifice. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills Superintendent of Schools

Check the Photos icon in the PV app for pictures.


May 21, 2018

Our Sphere of Influence

Dear PV Colleagues and Community:

Yesterday, our high school principal, Ms. Intrieri, sent me a text asking what we should write, what message we should send about the shooting in Santa Fe, Texas that led to the loss of 10 lives of students and teachers. To be truthful, I said I didn't know what to say at this point. I felt so terribly sad and sorry for the students and families without knowing what I could add to what we have communicated in too many earlier messages that I was even thinking I should not write. Then, I thought of the Santa Fe student who said that she had the feeling that "It was happening everywhere and that "eventually it would happen here, too." I realized that we cannot let this event become one more unheard and continuous drumbeat that creates fear and resignation for our young people. I recently heard a presentation by Ray Sanchez, who was talking about his initiatives as a Superintendent in Ossining. He talked about the leader's efficacy in a "sphere of influence." I thought about how we have been thinking about ways to create safe spaces in our Putnam Valley Schools. That is the "sphere of influence" we are focused on serving by continuing to refine our practices that are evidence-based to address potential threats. While we have been involved in rehearsals of violent actions through drills and procedures, reviewing and refining our security measures, collaborating with our Sheriff's Department and our SRO and SPOs and training students and staff in rapid and strategic responses, we have recently partnered with Altaris, an organization of regional retired law enforcement agents who have been assessing our procedures and sitting down with our building teams to determine our next steps for training. At our next Superintendent's Conference Day, we will have a speaker who will discuss what we need to do to get better. We will never stop working together to get better at protecting our students.  However, it is the status of our students' mental health and social media lives that remain the greatest hurdle to our security and whether they have access to guns. There are areas that we cannot access in our students' lives, even with our caring and skilled clinicians. That is where we rely on our community to share its collective wisdom and knowledge of our students to help us identify something they have seen or heard that is worrisome. Advance knowing by others and reports through Anonymous Alerts are a way to use technology to help us improve our threat assessment process and prevent the unthinkable. You can access Anonymous Alerts via our website or our mobile app (Putnam Valley CSD). We follow up on every alert we receive through our relationships with the Sheriff's department and our staff. We count on our Putnam Valley community, our village, to alert us so that we can take necessary measures to ensure the safety of our schools. We must feel empowered within our "sphere of influence."

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools  


May 15, 2018

May 15-MS/HS Campus

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

Today, Tuesday, May 15, the Putnam County Personnel Department will be conducting agility testing for the Sheriff's Department on our high school track.  County personnel and candidates will be on our high school campus throughout the day.  The high school track will be the only area in use and traffic will be monitored and directed by our SRO, Deputy McMahon.  

Thank you, 

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


May 4, 2018

Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week-All teachers within or outside the classroom

Celebrating Our Educators

With the first week in May we are enjoying warm weather at last, and we look forward to celebrating Teacher and Staff Appreciation, creating our own good weather marked by recognition, generous feasts, and much goodwill from our PTA and PTSA and all members of our school community. The celebrations are welcome and appreciated; we know that educators play a critical role, not only in nurturing the well-being of all who participate in the Putnam Valley schools and community, but also in advancing the sustainability of our precious American democracy. All PVCSD staff members are teachers within or outside of classrooms, leading schools and classes or supporting the organization through their work in the maintaining of facilities, securing the hallways and cafeterias and driving the school buses. Every interaction is a lesson learned, part of the curriculum, intended or not.

Through their interactions with students, our teachers communicate the cultural and historical institutions and artifacts that weave together our uniquely American ideas and ideals. As they expose students to literature, the arts, history, science, and mathematical analysis of data and by encouraging curiosity and inquiry, teachers help us understand where we have been as a nation, the uncomfortable truths and valiant moments of our history and the remarkable vision and dream that America has represented since its inception. We want our students to have the tools they need to take their place and find their voice in the world they will inherit.  When there are disagreements and disturbances, there is an opportunity to learn how and why others perceive their experiences, how to solve problems peacefully and with the application of reason, justice, and compassion. Schools teach much more than academics; they teach respect for human dignity.

Public schools were created by our nation's founders because, notwithstanding their different views of how to achieve success, they were certain about one thing: an educated citizenry would be the critical factor in what America would become.  That is why historically around the world, schools have often become the targets of totalitarian and terrorist regimes and teachers have become vulnerable as bearers of the spirit of the social contract.

We are grateful for our exceptional teaching staff whose expressions of our common belief systems are creatively displayed in our hallways and our classroom walls, the products of student learning and understanding. At the middle school, students tell us who they are and want to be in their essays and provide identifying characteristics: responsible, kind, brave, risk-taker, intelligent, creative, respectful; at the elementary school, the "great expectations" of the character education program greet visitors and  symbols and descriptions of peace line the corridors; at the high school student art-work, the accomplishments of students who want to "make a difference," and the display of flags of all nations send a similar message about how we support all students in appreciating diversity and inclusive practices.

That is what teachers do; they help our students discover their best selves, identify their strengths, overcome barriers, build positive relationships, and explore their interests and passions on their way to adulthood. The words of Christa McAuliffe continue to resonate: "I touch the future; I teach."

Every educator in our schools accepts this responsibility for encouraging students to find the guide-posts for their future. We focus on their character and emotional growth as well as academic goals. We find the time to share joyful moments and pride in accomplishment, and see our students as individuals, with struggles and growing pains.

With the ubiquity of the cell-phone, it has become harder to find our students' eyes, but we seek to call them by name as individuals worthy of notice and find the connection. Teachers do this work of making connections, and that is why we salute them and all of our support staff as well. Each student needs an ally, that someone to trust, to forge a link, to make each day part of a chain of meaning and life-long resilience. Horace Mann, the iconic champion of public education, was succinct in extolling the value of educators and their profession: "Finally, education alone can conduct us to that enjoyment which is, at once, best in quality and infinite in quantity."

With gratitude,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


May 3, 2018

Ticks/information/prevention

Dear Parents, Caregivers, and Staff:

I recently received an email from an elementary school parent who found a tick on her daughter after school. The tick may have come from outdoor recess play, but there is no way of really ascertaining the exact location of contact. Ticks, primarily, are on the ground and climb up the legs from the shoes and socks. However, they can also be blown by the wind or be spread when we brush by a tree. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide complete protection from this increasingly prevalent insect. We do not spray for ticks, as we maintain a "green" approach to the environment that does not permit the use of toxic chemicals in order to maintain the health of our educational community.  We do care for our lawn so that we prevent long grass and debris that lessens the opportunity for tick contact. 

The attached flyer provides important information from the CDC and other qualified resources with regard to preventing tick contact and responding to ticks found on the body. If a tick is found on a child in school, the nurse will respond as required.

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/toolkit/factsheets/Hooks_Ticks-and-Lyme-Disease-508.pdf

Our nurses are available for your questions and concerns about ticks and other health issues that affect our students.

Sincerely, 
Dr. Frances Wills


April 23, 2018

Tomorrow, Tuesday 4/24-Tenure/Retirement-Msg. from Dr. Wills

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The Putnam Valley Board of Education will hold a special business meeting, tomorrow, Tuesday, April 24, beginning at 7PM in the High School cafeteria. The purpose of this meeting is to approve the BOCES 2018-2019 budget and to vote on the BOCES Board of Education candidates. 

The Board will also acknowledge the 2017-19 retirees of the district: Patrick Bellino, Laura Hirsch, Thomas Hirsch from his volunteer athletic videographer position and Diane Schurr-Gilmartin. In addition, it is anticipated that the Board will confer tenure on the following staff members: Brian Burrow, Abby Foor-Liso, Sandra Intrieri, Jenette Mistretta and Sarah Reilly.

Please join us to celebrate these staff members. 

Immediately following these recognitions, CHA Design/Construction Solutions will present the High School/Middle School campus traffic study. 

Board of Education meetings are open to the public and are also available LIVE via our www.pvcsd.org website. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


April 5, 2018

PV's Community Read-A Man Called Ove? First Discussion: April 8-11a-Tompkins Corner Cultural

Dear Community and Staff:

I want to remind you about Putnam Valley's Community Read.  I think you will agree that the book selection, A Man Called Ove is moving and accessible. Please consider joining us for any or all of our scheduled book discussions. The dates and times are attached.  You will laugh and cry and will not be able to put the book down. It will draw you into a community that is familiar and filled with the challenges we all face. The themes challenge us and lead us to "our better angels." The book speaks to all of us as it explores some foundational life dilemmas:
  • How we judge one another
  • How we care for our neighbors
  • How we develop the best version of ourselves

We will host one of the discussions in our high school library on Thursday, April 19th at 6:00 PM.  You are, of course, welcome to attend a discussion at another place in town to enjoy a conversation with more of your neighbors!

A Community Read is a great opportunity to get to know others in the community through sharing thoughts, feelings, and ideas that emerge from a shared experience. I hope you will consider participating.
 
Sincerely,
 
Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

March 27, 2018

Parents/Guardians Grades 3-8: NYS Testing April/May

Dear Parents and Guardians (Grades 3-8):

The New York State English Language Arts Test will take place on Thursday, April 12 and Friday, April 13.  These tests provide our teachers with valuable information about our students' growth and achievement and the effectiveness of our instructional practices. To further student learning, our teachers have employed new instructional strategies aligned to New York State Standards. The information gathered from these assessments help us make adjustments to our curriculum.

We want to share the changes that have taken place over the past few years indicating the responsiveness of the New York State Education Department to criticism and concerns about the tests. Many improvements have been made in the light of teacher and parent advocacy:

  • Tests are shorter, with fewer questions and administered over fewer days.

  • Tests are typically completed in 90-minute blocks (two days each for both ELA and Math, 90-minute block on each day)

  • Students can take as long as they wish to complete the tests although tests are scheduled in 90-minute blocks. Provisions are made for students to continue to work on the test for as long as they wish.

  • Tests are spread out. ELA is administered in early April and Math is in May.  

  • There are fewer questions, reading passages and writing prompts.

  • Putnam Valley teachers have joined others across the state in selecting texts and developing questions.

  • A variety of authentic reading passages at differentiated reading levels are used to assess comprehension.

  • Additional accommodations are allowed for students with IEPs.

  • Results are received by June so that student programs can be developed for the following year.

  • Questions and student responses are released to allow teachers to consider curriculum and instruction.

  • Parents can see their students' responses to the tests by making an appointment with the school.

  • Test scores are no longer used as part of teacher evaluations, which are now locally determined.

As always, please encourage your children to do their best.  We appreciate your partnership.

If you have any questions about the assessments, please contact your child's school for assistance.  

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT - Communication with Parents Regardihg Sudent Participation in Elementary and Intermediate-level State Assessments


March 28, 2018

Wishing all a wonderful holiday weekend with the hope that April will greet us with a smile of spring.

Dear Staff and Community:

As we say farewell to a month that has been filled with heartache, sorrow and struggle, March will always bring to mind the grief we shared and the storms that tested our resolve. We have also heard young voices advocate for safety and their desire to feel unafraid in their schools and neighborhoods. As adults who are committed to provide a secure place for children to grow and learn, we are seeking a balance between building fortresses and creating places that embrace attention, caring and support as essential qualities of the learning experience. We will always be engaged in this dialogue heard during the Listening Hour last Thursday night. Next week our administrative team will meet with a local safety consultant, Altaris, that will be assessing our current protocols and facilities to develop a needs assessment and recommendations that will further our efforts to create safe and caring schools.

With the heaviness of the last few weeks, it is important to note that the month of March has been designated for many years as Women's History Month, a time to reflect upon the role of women in our nation's evolution as a democracy. It is difficult to come to grips with the fact that women could not participate in our national conversation as voters until 1920, less than 100 years ago. After hearing the voices of many young women and men since the Florida tragedy, it is remarkable to comprehend how much we take for granted about the change in our Constitution that took place in order for these voices to be heard, not only in protest but at the ballot box.

As a way to demonstrate the way women's roles have been seen, even in the past 100 years, the New York Times recently provided a special section devoted to women who had contributed immeasurably to our national progress, but had been overlooked in the prestigious NYT obituaries. It was so moving to read about those who had done so much to make a difference, but had been invisible. In fact, as part of a community learning experience at the Middle School, all students and staff went to see the film, Hidden Figures, about the women who were brilliant mathematicians instrumental in America's first space expeditions, and who suffered discrimination and were never formally recognized for their remarkable gifts.

As a center of the national women's suffrage movement, New York State and our region became the headquarters of Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters. Their relentless efforts to gain the vote resulted in a victory that amended the Constitution and opened the door to women in ways we take for granted today. Certainly, there are many unsolved issues in the social and political realm that we continue to encounter, but the underlying understanding about who may participate was radically altered through moral courage. I learned this weekend that the New Castle Historical Society in Chappaqua has an exhibit that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Suffrage and holds a number of artifacts from the journey for the vote. This program would be a convenient and educational family trip and runs through May.

With our District focus on Sustainability this year, I would like to make special mention of a heroine of my generation who was able to popularize ecology as a scientific movement that created our current perspective on how our approach to nature can lead to unintended and dangerous consequences. Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, published in 1962 demonstrated how the widespread use of DDT was killing not just insects that affected agriculture, but through the food sources of birds and animals, and ultimately, humans, was leading to extinction of wildlife, beneficial insects and bees, and creating diseases in humans as well. Her focus on natural systems and ecology was a new concept that shattered some deeply held beliefs about how innovations were accepted without question.

Much has changed since Carson's bestseller influenced opinions. Her observations of nature became a marker in our current approach to the environment and the concept of a sustainable approach to energy and ecological systems. We are grateful for her work and heartened to see many of our students empowered to participate in new research that leads the way in creating a better world for all of us to enjoy.

Wishing all a wonderful holiday weekend with the hope that April will greet us with a smile of spring.

Sincerely,

Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools


March 20, 2018

Superintendent's Listening Hour-Join Dr. Wills-This Thursday-5:45-6:45 PM

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

I would like to invite you to our next "Superintendent's Listening Hour", this Thursday, March 22. We will meet in our High School Library from 5:45 pm to 6:45 pm.

Please consider joining me and sharing what's on your mind. (budget? curriculum? later start at the high school? assessments?) The goal of the Listening Hour is to share diverse perspectives on school issues and to consider our opportunities and challenges.

At 7:00 pm, our Board of Education meeting will begin in the cafeteria.  Jill Figarella, our District Treasurer will once again present the 2018-2019 budget.  I encourage everyone to attend this meeting or to please take advantage of the live stream which is available from the front page of the District website (pvcsd.org).  The community will be asked to vote on the budget on May 15, between the hours of 6:00 am and 9:00 pm.  The vote will be held at the elementary school.

Sincerely, 

Dr. Fran Wills Superintendent of Schools

Budget Timeline
2018-2019 Budget Info

BOE Meeting Videos


March 19, 2018

PV Community Re: Please join our Community Read

Dear Community and Staff:

For the last six months, I have been working with Putnam Valley community leaders to design a Community Read for Putnam Valley.  After reviewing numerous selections, we have selected A Man Called Ove, by the Swedish author Fredrik Backman. I think you will agree that the book is moving and accessible. You will laugh and cry and will not be able to put the book down. It will draw you into a community that is familiar and filled with the challenges we all face. The themes challenge us and lead us to "our better angels." The book speaks to all of us as it explores some foundational life dilemmas:
  • How we judge one another
  • How we care for our neighbors
  • How we develop the best version of ourselves

I have attached a flyer that includes times and dates of the book discussions throughout Putnam Valley.  There is one at our high school library on Thursday, April 19th at 7:00 PM The public library and the high school library have copies of the book. The book is available at a low price online as well. We look forward to seeing you at the PV High School library or you are welcome to attend a discussion at another place in town. Attend more than one to have a conversation with more of your neighbors!

A Community Read is a great opportunity to get to know others in the community through sharing thoughts, feelings, and ideas that emerge from a shared experience.
 
Sincerely,
 

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

 


March 13, 2018

3/14/18 Supporting Students

Dear Putnam Valley Community and Staff:

In response to the murder of 17 students in Florida on February 14, young people throughout the country have determined to have a voice in the quest for safer schools. We do know that schools are statistically the safest place for our children, yet the history of gun violence has shaken our confidence. Our high school principal sent a letter to parents which I have attached to this letter, explaining that there will be no organized event tomorrow at the high school. The same is true at the middle school. Our principals have close relationships with our students and prior to the storms and tragedy in the community a "Day of Unity" was planned with students leading the way on this theme. However, after the emotional strain and terribly sad period we have experienced, the students' enthusiasm for this action has waned. Simply being with their friends and teachers is a comfort for our students.

I did want to be sure to let the community know that students who are inclined to make a statement by leaving the building for 17 minutes tomorrow to remember those who perished and ask for action and funding for safer schools will not be penalized for doing so. If you know that your child is intending to go out, it would be helpful to let the principals know, particularly at the middle school. Our School Resource Officer has made arrangements for safety on the campus, and we will close our driveway to the school for the 17 minute period. We are completely in support of the sentiments of students who want to take part in a dialogue on this issue and who are eager to be active citizens. We will not impede students from peacefully expressing their views. That goal is incorporated in the civics education that is part of the curriculum we teach. I also want to note that in our oft postponed Board Meeting that was streamed last evening and will be posted on our website, our Board of Education passed a resolution crafted by the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents that advocates for funding to better meet the needs of students needing mental health services and legislation that provides for more reasonable gun safety provisions, and security measures. (link to resolution)

It is noteworthy that our principals observe that our students seek common ground and unity, and reject divisive approaches to resolving differences. Our teachers provide opportunities to hear all perspectives and make decisions based on understanding of our biases and finding positive ways to appreciate different points of view.  For our administrators, however, the most serious concern is the area of our students' social-emotional health. We have a strong and committed clinical staff across the district. Their dedication was reflected during the crisis and grief counseling that took place last week. We also work in partnership with Putnam County's CoveCare in many ways with regular interaction through our Communities That Care Coalition (CTC) and the services of our Student Support Specialist at the high school.  The partnership with the Putnam County Sheriff's department provides our sensitive and skilled School Resource Officer, Ryan McMahon at the high school and middle school and our vigilant School Patrol Officer, George Turner at the elementary school. In addition, the District is seeking to provide after school services for families in our schools with the help of Putnam County. Certainly our relationship with the Putnam Valley Parks and Recreation program is a key to creating healthy and positive experiences for students outside of school, and the clubs we offer present opportunities for building connections with their peers and teachers.

Much more is needed, however, to acknowledge the suffering in some homes and families that affects  student learning and behavior. Essentially, it is trauma that is behind the violent acts of those who do harm. Our schools need all of the tools possible to identify, support, and find resources to heal and help youth who are alienated and isolated. We have many interventions and initiatives that bolster our efforts; however, we also need the support of legislative will to safeguard our treasured children. As a community we find common ground in the pledge to do all in our power to keep our students safe.

Sincerely,

Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools

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Putnam Valley High School 

March 9, 2018

Dear Parents and Guardians,

After a long stretch of snow days, everyone was in good spirits to return to school today!

Next week we have several events scheduled to make up from cancellations.

Tuesday, March 13th - Freshman Orientation Night 7pm - Performing Arts Center (PAC)

Wednesday, March 14th - Mu Alpha Theta Induction 7pm - PAC

Thursday, March 15th - College Admissions Night 7pm - Cafeteria

Due to the long stretch of snow days, our Unity Breakfast that we were planning for March 14 is being postponed to an April date. We feel it's important to support our students who want to recognize the National School Walkout; however, we also feel that it's vital for students to have a routine and return to some normalcy after a tumultuous week.

When the weather is warmer, we are planning for a meaningful celebration that highlights the importance of a connected community to create a safe environment for all students. At that time, the entire school will join together on the turf for student speeches; songs from our own acapella group, TempoMental, as well as a light breakfast for everyone to share in. Students who choose to walk out on March 14 for the National Walk Out will not be penalized. However, to assure every child's safety, we recommend that they make us aware when they leave the building.

I hope that everyone who has been without power is restored very soon. Putnam Valley is a resilient community and our thoughts are with those who have been struggling through these storms.

Sincerely,

Sandra Intrieri


March 9, 2018

Calendar Update - Makeup Days

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

As of yesterday, Thursday, March 8, we have used nine emergency closing/snow days for the year. 

In order to reach our mandated 180 days, school will be in session on the following days: 
Wednesday, April 4
Thursday, April 5
Friday, April 6

If school is closed for any additional emergency closings, the additional make-up days would be in the following order as indicated on our 2017-2018 calendar - Tuesday, April 3 and then Monday, April 2. 

(1 pg. 2017-2018 calendar)

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


UPDATE March 5, 2018

Schools Closed for Students/Staff reports at 10 Tomorrow Tues. 3/6

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

Due to new information from the Putnam County Emergency Operations Center, unfortunately, we are unable to fully open our schools tomorrow. Schools will be in session tomorrow for STAFF ONLY beginning at 10 AM. Staff members will report to their school.  We are being advised against having our buses on the roads while powerline repairs are still in the temporary stages of restoration.

We were looking forward to having students here and returning to a comfortable and safe school setting.

We apologize for the change in the schedule.  We are closely monitoring Wednesday's weather and we will provide updated information as soon as possible.

A separate email to staff will provide additional information and clarification. 

Thank you,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools 


EARLIER: March 5, 2018

PVCSD Schools Open Tuesday, March 6

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

It is anticipated that school will be open on Tuesday, March 6.

We understand that at this time there are still trees blocking certain roads in town. We are aware that road closures remain in the area of Oscawana Lake Road, north of Glenmar Gardens. The bus is prepared to pick up students at the intersection of Oscawana Lake Road where it is safe. If you believe that the bus cannot access your typical bus stop, please try to make it to the closest pick up location. Please call (845) 528-8900 after 6:30 am, if you have a specific question or concern. We will do our best to get the children to school. Safety must be the priority. If you feel access to a bus stop is unsafe, please use your best judgement and know that the absence will be excused and understood.

Buses may be late so your patience is appreciated.

Kindergarten registration has been postponed and appointments will be rescheduled.

We look forward to seeing our students and staff.

Thank you,
Dr. Wills
Superintendent of Schools


March 4, 2018

PV Schools Closed Tomorrow - Special Grief Sessions Planned

Dear Staff, Parents and Community: 

Due to dangerous road conditions and continued power outages, all schools will be closed for regular sessions tomorrow, Monday, March 5. However, we will be holding special grief sharing sessions for staff, parents and students. For any K-12 staff who are interested in gathering for support, the High School will open beginning at 9 am. From 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, parents and students, and staff are invited to the High School for support, connection and counseling. Children should be accompanied by an adult.  We will have snacks, coloring activities, therapy dogs and counselors for all seeking support. Anyone unable to attend this session is welcome to call (845)526-7847 x1300 between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. We will have counselors available during that time.   

Kindergarten registration will be rescheduled.

Thank you for your continued patience.  We will help each other through these challenges and mourn our tragic loss together. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools 

Our clinical staff has provided the following resources as we strive to support our PV family. 

Please click here


March 2, 2018

Dear Putnam Valley Staff, Parents, and Community:

Just a short while ago I received official communication from the Putnam County Sheriff's Department about the tragic accident that took the life of a fifth grader at our middle school. The name of the student has not been released to the public as yet. We are heartbroken to learn that due to the storm we are experiencing now, a tree fell on his home and caused his death. We want to share our grief with his family. This terrible event shakes our sense of well-being and reminds us of the precious lives of our children and our vulnerability to forces of nature that are unfathomable.  We will be convening our District crisis team as soon as it is safe to travel, and will let the community know when other arrangements have been made. On Monday,  Putnam Valley counselors will be joined by members of the Regional Crisis Team to support our students, staff, parents and community members. It is very difficult to accept that this awful event has taken the life of a beautiful, innocent little boy.

Sincerely,

Dr. Fran Wills 


February 16, 2018

Presidents Day Msg. from Dr. Wills

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

"Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages." These words of George Washington are also the epigraph of David McCullough's collection of essays, The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For. McCullough has been the biographer of Presidents, and is perhaps best known for 1776, a narrative describing the history of leadership at the start of the Revolutionary War and the evolution of the Declaration of Independence. As we celebrate Presidents' Day, we think a great deal about leadership and how Washington and Lincoln remain icons of our national vision and dream. They were transformational leaders without whom we could not have achieved our democracy and our deepest principles of human dignity that continue to expand and build in strength and purpose as we continue to struggle to define our national purpose and beliefs. The spirit of 1776 and the perseverance of our first leaders ignited a passion for freedom of thought that has evolved as our vision of respect for human rights and dignity has evolved to include all of humanity. That change in understanding and perception has been part of a struggle that we continue to encounter and address. We can celebrate our quest to be open to diversity of thought and to be welcoming of differences that we may not understand and seek to know. We can also seek to share kindness universally as the way forward to a more perfect union. Our daily Pledge of Allegiance to our nation imbues us with both the perseverance and spirit that Washington and Lincoln represented. Both experienced personal suffering and took on the burden of leadership that included responsibility for deaths of thousands so that our national dream could be fulfilled. We can take small steps as active and educated citizens to ensure that the American spirit of "liberty and justice for all" remains alive and that our democracy flourishes. Schools exist to ensure that all students have the knowledge and skills to take those steps throughout their lives. Their development as readers, speakers, writers and thinkers contribute to their ability to advocate, create, research and analyze in order to participate fully, and persevere with spirit in shaping the always evolving American story.  

Enjoy the long weekend. We look forward to seeing our students and staff back in our buildings on Wednesday, February 21. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools 


February 15, 2018

School Safety/Response to Florida Tragedy

Dear PVCSD Staff and Community:

We learned yesterday of yet another school shooting with fatalities and injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Parkland, Florida community and all others that have been affected by such violence.

There have been 18 school shootings in the United States since January 1, 2018. What is most worrisome is that these events have become so frequent as news stories that we may not be paying attention as we once did when thinking of the victims and our roles in prevention and intervention. I wanted to let you know how we have been addressing this concern and how seriously we take our responsibility to protect and care for our students.  As you know, we have had lockdown drills and emergency evacuation activities at all schools and have made significant security upgrades throughout our buildings over the years. In partnership with the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, School Resource Officer Deputy McMahon is stationed at our High School/Middle School campus and Special Patrol Officer George Turner is stationed at our Elementary School. In addition, a security guard is present on our high school/middle school campus every day after the regular school day ends.

At the high school, Deputy McMahon provided "active shooter" response training to staff and to every high school student in their physical education class.  Staff at our middle school and elementary school will receive the same training which includes age appropriate student communication and response strategies. Both Putnam County Sheriff Deputies and New York State Troopers are trained to move into the schools quickly, both agencies are familiar with our buildings, and have access to maps and blueprints of every school facility.  We are pleased with the increased presence of these departments on our campuses, in our buildings, and around our town.  Experts from across the country are pleading with educators, community members, students, and parents to bring anything that appears out of the ordinary to the attention of authorities. If you see something, say something. We encourage students and families to report any concerning behavior or activity; emergencies, of course, should be directed to 911.  We also encourage open communication with our administrators and remind our community of our Anonymous Alerts system. We follow up on every report.

All of our efforts are strengthened by our focus on students' emotional health, regular meetings with teachers and our support staff at schools to discuss ways to help students, continual communication with parents, and internal communication among administrators, monitors and support staff who know the students well and allow us to identify students who are having difficulties and to develop strategies to intervene. Thus, while we provide a rigorous academic program with high expectations for student achievement, we recognize that there are emotional and physical barriers, family matters and other situations that represent the context for a student's behavior.

Our schools are the center of student and family life, offering civic connections through parent organizations, our many student clubs, performing arts and athletic programs, along with a staff that serves as allies and caring partners to our students and their families. Our many school events and activities provide opportunities to see the bonds that build community and relationships. It is really the warmth of these ties that keep our children safe. Our job is to be vigilant and inclusive, ensuring that every student has an ally and sees that they are valued and loved. That is our challenge, and I know that our staff and school leaders are committed to this effort. We encourage our families and students to participate in the many opportunities we offer and to continue to partner with us to build relationships.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


January 28, 2018

HS Start Time-September 2018-MS/HS Parents Please Read

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

For the past year and a half, the District has been discussing the benefits of a later start time at the High School. Our focus has been on the mental and physical health and well-being of our students.  We have shared abundant research on this matter with our community, staff and students in a variety of forums, including a robust representative committee, public meetings, on-line resources and district-wide messages. The Board of Education determined at the end of last year that we would move ahead with the process and the High School start time will move to the current Middle School start time (7:50 am) beginning at the start of school in September 2018. The Elementary School start time will remain unchanged. We have attached the preliminary schedules (for High School/Middle School only) and also links to the resources on our website. As you will see, many of the bus trips will be considerably shorter. Please take a close look as many of the routes have changed and Middle and High School route numbers could be different than previous years and might not match up to Elementary School route numbers. 

We understand that there may be inconveniences in some cases but hope that you will agree that the benefits to our students are substantial.  We hope that high school students will take advantage of the opportunity to sleep as much as a full hour later. The later start time will also help during winter months when decisions need to be made about delayed openings by giving additional time for daylight to work to our advantage and limit the need for three-hour delays. 

We are also working with Parks and Recreation to assist parents with the impact of the change on morning schedules. 

As always, we are available to respond to questions and concerns. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

Later Start - Resources
Preliminary Bus Schedules for September 2018
Submit questions here - please be sure to leave your email address 


January 24, 2018

Info for Varsity Boys Basketball game-Friday 1/26/18

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

In an effort to best support our student-athletes, the boys varsity basketball games vs. Haldane, scheduled for Friday, January 26 as well as the February game, will be played at Brewster High School. The basketball coach will communicate details to team members and their families. Games will be played without middle or high school student spectators from either school. Administrators from both schools feel that, at this time, this is the best way to ensure a positive experience for our athletes.
 
We enjoy a positive relationship with the Haldane School District in many ways, including shared athletic practices, team mergers, and educational and professional partnerships.  A neutral site, absent of spectators, has been a successful approach used by other school districts. We hope that this effort will allow us to resume a typical athletic schedule.
 
As always, we appreciate your on-going support of our student-athletes.
 
Sincerely,
 
Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools
 
Brian Burrow
Director of Physical Education, Athletics and Health


January 22, 2018

Msg. From Dr. Wills-

Dear Putnam Valley Community Members:

On January 11, our district learned that a bus monitor in the employ of Montauk Bus Company was accused of threatening and striking one of our middle school students while he was on a Montauk bus. We immediately informed parents of the student and the bus company and referred the incident to our School Resource Officer, Deputy Ryan McMahon who thoroughly investigated the matter. The bus company immediately relieved the monitor of his duties and there was follow up by the County judicial system including an arrest.  We are fortunate to have a strong and effective partnership with our Sheriff's department.  Montauk Bus Company has also been cooperative throughout the investigation.

The Putnam Valley School District is committed to the safety of our students and staff.  To that end we have open communication with Putnam County and our contractors on behalf of our students. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools


January 17, 2018

Board of Education Mtg-Thursday 1/18/18-Start time 8PM

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

In order to support the High School band concert which has been postponed to tomorrow's snow date, the Board of Education meeting will now begin at 8:00 pm.  The meeting will take place in the High School cafeteria. Meetings are open to the public and all are welcome.  A live stream video is also available via our pvcsd.org website. The agenda will include a 2018-19 budget presentation for the Elementary School and Middle School. Click here for complete agenda.

ENL Potluck Dinner will begin at 5:30.
High School Band Concert - 7PM - PVHS PAC - All welcome!

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


January 12, 2018

The Putnam Valley School District affirms our dedication to ensure that we remain committed to our students who are learning English as a new language and all students, celebrating diversity, respecting the dignity of all, and creating a safe, welcoming educational environment.  

Sincerely,  

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools


January 11, 2018

Remembering Dr. King

April 4, 2018, will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  Dr. King was staying at the Lorraine Motel as he prepared to support the Sanitation Workers who were striking for working conditions and respect for their dignity. In 1968, there were few hotels for African Americans and numerous entertainers at the time were guests at the Lorraine, including Aretha Franklin, Nat King Cole and Count Basie. The motel has since been restored as a Civil Rights Museum and Dr. KIng's room remains as it was on the day of the assassination with his room intact.

I was able to visit the museum with the PV High School principal, Ms. Intrieri after an IB (International Baccalaureate)  training session in Memphis. We were both deeply moved by the exhibits that brought to life the context of the historical moment, when so much was at stake in the quest for dignity and equal rights at the voting booth, in schools, in the workplace, in the courts and in all public institutions.

We were especially affected when we stepped onto a replica of the bus that Rosa Parks entered when she refused to move to the back of the bus. An automated bus-driver tries to persuade Rosa Parks to move to the back, first in a kind and courteous way and then more forcefully. The visitor is on the bus and can experience the hurt and pain involved. A set of instructions posted on the wall of the exhibit explains to protesters how the non-violent action will operate.  "In all things observe ordinary rules of courtesy and good behavior. Remember that this is not a victory for Negroes alone, but for all Montgomery and the South...Be loving enough to absorb evil and understanding enough to turn an enemy into a friend."

The list of instructions is lengthy and requires courage, restraint, and willingness to accept injury without responding. We have so much to learn from Dr. King and so much to be grateful for as we contemplate the progress we are making in our understanding of what is required to sustain the principles of a just society.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." King lived his passion for a more "just" universe. He lived his belief that "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Education is the process by which we help our students perceive and revere the struggle and suffering Americans have endured to sustain the vision of equal rights inspired and envisioned by Dr. King.  

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

*Superintendent's Listening Hour - Tonight - PVHS - 5:45-6:45 PM*

*Board of Education Meeting - Tonight - 7:00 PM - PVHS - live streamed at pvcsd.org*

*Schools will be closed Monday, January 15*


January 10, 2018

Listening Hour-Please join me-Thursday 1/11 5:45 PM

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

I would like to invite you to our next "Superintendent's Listening Hour", which will be held tomorrow, Thursday, January 11. We will meet in our High School Library from 5:45 pm to 6:45 pm, just prior to the Board of Education meeting, which begins at 7:00 pm in the cafeteria. (This is a rescheduled date from last week, January 4.)

The goal of the Listening Hour is to share diverse perspectives on school issues and to consider our opportunities and challenges. Please consider joining us. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools


January 3, 2018

Communication of Official School Messages

Dear Parents and Community Members:
 
We have recently learned that a message on social media has provided false information about an early decision on a delayed opening. The post listed Putnam Valley and several neighboring school districts. Please know that the weather messages from our District originate only from the Putnam Valley Central School District Blackboard Connect email, a phone call, and our mobile app. We also post emergency messages on our website and submit information to WHUD (and other public media). Please note that decisions about delayed openings or closures that are weather-related are either made in the late evening or early morning around 5:00 AM and conveyed by the Superintendent of Schools.
Thank you for your patience during this challenging cold snap.

Best,

Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools 

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January 1, 2018

Wind Chill Advisory-Bus Pickup This Week

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Due to the forecast of wind chills near zero for the rest of the week, please keep your children inside your warm houses until immediately before their scheduled pickup time.  The drivers will be told to expect that children may not be outside and will wait an appropriate amount of time for your children to get to the pickup location from your house.  

Please remember that exposed skin is susceptible to frostbite after only 10 minutes.

Stay safe and stay warm.

Patrick D. Bellino
Director of Operations,Technology & Transportation

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


December 22, 2017

Holiday Message-May the New Year present the perfect time for gifts to be discovered

Dear PV Colleagues and Community:

As the winter holidays are upon us, and we savor time with family friends, we recognize Nature's gift of the solstice with the days slowly growing longer once again. Our students have been exuberant, and sometimes unruly, in these weeks before the break. Some are eager and expectant; others are anxious and, sometimes even fearful anticipating the lack of steadiness and safety they find in the school routine.

 We realize that the students we teach and families we serve have many different experiences and challenges; we also believe that we share much in common.  All seek to be noticed, recognized as individuals, and loved.   All have gifts to give of themselves and their spirit. In our schools, we are looking for the just the right way to open their gifts, so that our children are fulfilling their purpose and finding their fulfillment.   May the New Year present the perfect time for the gift to be discovered.

Sincerely,   

Dr. Frances Wills 
Superintendent of Schools   

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting---
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver, Wild Things


December 14, 2017

Sandy Hook Five Years Ago

Dear Putnam Valley Staff and Community:

Five years ago on December 14, 2012, the terrible tragedy of Sandy Hook broke our hearts and sent a wave of fear and horror throughout the world, as 20 primary school-age children and six educators died as a result of a senseless violent act.  Courageous educators who died that day included a principal, psychologist and teachers who were heroic in their efforts to save the children in their care. The terrible act in Newtown has led to rethinking of safety strategies and a new emphasis on security at schools that has completely transformed the image of schools as carefree places of learning.

In support of those who lost their children and family members on that day and will forever mourn their loss, I wanted to share a website that offers a profile of each of the victims so that their lives are always honored:   https://mysandyhookfamily.org/

Sincerely,

Fran Wills


December 14, 2017

Thank you Mr. Bellino, Director of Operations,Technology and Transportation

Dear Putnam Valley Staff and Community:

Just this morning, I received my customary 4:20 am call from Pat Bellino, our Director of Operations, Technology and Transportation, to let me know that the recommendation of our transportation/maintenance crew and the Putnam Valley Highway Department was to implement a two-hour delay. These early morning conversations culminate in a message to the community, and are always supportive and helpful in making the appropriate decision related to weather. Mr. Bellino has decided that he will be leaving the District at the end of the school year and that determination is reflected on tonight's Board of Education agenda. The role that Mr. Bellino has held in improving our facilities and operations in the District over the past five years has been instrumental in my own efforts on behalf of students, staff and community. His care for the students and community has been evident for many years. During that time, we have seen his love of the performing arts and his initiatives in continuing to advance the technology and the capacity of our music and arts programs. He has also been devoted to supporting educational initiatives recommended by principals and teachers as is evident in many changes at all of the schools, such as the outdoor classroom at the Elementary School, garden projects at each facility, the turf field at the Middle-High school campus, and the efficient move of the District office to create space for classrooms at the High School. Mr. Bellino has also helped champion and support the High School Later Start project. The District office space has proved to be an effective and efficient solution to the need that was expressed at the end of the last school year. Most recently, Mr. Bellino has facilitated the Board's desire for an Energy Performance Contract that would model a commitment to sustainability and energy conservation. We cannot overlook Mr. Bellino's pride in the Putnam Valley Schools and community demonstrated in his leadership of an exceptional team of custodians, technology specialists and transportation personnel, clearly dedicated to the high level of maintenance and cleanliness commonly noted by all visitors to our school campuses. Therefore, please join me in thanking Mr. Bellino for his service over many years, as he continues during this school year to ensure the well-run operation of our school district facilities, transportation and technology.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


December 13, 2017

PVCSD Newsletter-December 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

In the spirit of the holiday season, we are sending along our most recent wrap up of PVCSD news. Please take a look. 

You will learn a great deal about how everyone is working together to benefit and support our students and their learning. The newsletter is full of exciting initiatives and student activities that we want to share. Please click here to see the full newsletter. 

  • What is Sustainability?
  • New Schedules in the High School
  • Later start time for High School beginning September 2018
  • Facilities Planning Committee
  • LATI Classrooms
  • IB (International Baccalaureate) Program
  • Photos
  • Student Representatives to the Board of Education
  • Spring Musical

Wishing you a very happy and healthy celebration of the season and a very happy 2018!

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools 


December 1, 2017

What can we do?

Dear Putnam Valley Staff and Community:

Over the last several weeks, the flood of sexual harassment accusations has been a shock to our system, as so many icons have been undone. For those who lead school organizations, the issue translates into a series of questions: Why? And what can we do?  How can we effectively educate our students about the ethics and legal ramifications of unwanted sexual behavior so that they are never in the situation of losing their self-respect and livelihood because they have abused the trust of colleagues or peers?

All staff members are trained annually in the the essential components of sexual harassment including quid pro quo environments of unequal power, and how to identify and eliminate hostile environments. Sexual harassment training in schools was introduced with Title IX legislation in 1972. School districts have been required to provide training since that time, and have been charged with ensuring that all members of the school community feel respected regardless of gender and sexual orientation. There is a Title IX coordinator in every district and there is a prohibition against retaliation of any kind. Assistant Superintendent, Natalie Doherty, is our Title IX Coordinator.

Students are also informed about issues involving unwelcome sexual advances through formal health classes and discussions with guidance counselors. However, we are now facing the impact of the inappropriate use of cell phones which has increased the seriousness and pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the lives of students.  Cell phones have impeded further time for judgment and consideration of behavior while providing instant and lasting evidence of misdeeds.

Sexual harassment is defined as "unwelcome sexual conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive environment that is so severe or pervasive it prevents a student from fully participating in an educational program or activity." Harassment includes unwanted verbal or written sexual statements, graffiti, name-calling, and sexual advances in person or via cell phones or the Internet. Office of Civil Rights guidance stresses that there does not need to be intent to harm nor does the activity need to be directed at a specific person to be considered harassment. OCR states that "the more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical." Male and female students may be subject to sexual harassment. In addition, harassment based on gender stereotypes is sexual harassment. The same definitions of harassment apply to district staff with more emphasis on the role played by the inequality of power and exchange of favors when adults are involved.

Our children are at risk of ruining their futures if we do not find a way to communicate the jeopardy of behavior that is essentially disrespectful and unlawful.  There is an urgency to protect them from the thoughtlessness that is the natural condition of youth, as the electronic verification makes the risk untenable. Schools are for learning about how to behave toward others appropriately, kindly and with respect.  However, schools exist in a context that presents a challenge to our best intentions. Only with a community and family consensus on what is acceptable can we provide the support for students to do the right thing. We must help our students understand that everyone is entitled to dignity and that if we are clear about our values we will not have to feel ashamed of our behavior toward others.

We will do our part.  Our Title IX Coordinator, and our psychologists will be providing information and training to our entire high school population on the dangers of social media, sexting and sexual harassment as we begin the new year.  

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


November 20, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving-Msg. from Dr. Wills
Tonight Gratitude Festival-No School Wed. 11/22

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

As we look forward to our Thanksgiving holiday, I want to convey special appreciation to our high school musicians for conducting their third annual Gratitude Festival at the Tompkins Corners Cultural Center, tonight at 7:00 pm.  This event has become a highlight of the year for many, as the students are performing from the heart, choosing their own work and often creating compositions for the occasion.  For anyone who teaches or who works in any capacity for a school, the magnet and purpose of our calling exist in the students we serve and their natural exuberance and engagement in learning and expression.

The Gratitude Festival allows the community to experience the wonderful inner life that our youth shares with us during these student directed events. They are rare occasions granting us a window to delight in student energy and creativity, hear their voices and share their camaraderie. The supportive environment and collaboration reflected in the student productions inspire hope for the future, and a sense of optimism. I urge us all to pause for a moment and listen to our students, their songs, their voices, and their music as they seek to connect with each other and with the adults around them, elders who are so eager to hear good news, positive and happy choruses, and count their blessings.

It is instructive to recall that it was President Abraham Lincoln who conceived of a Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday even in the throes of the suffering in 1863 during the Civil War. He wanted the nation to focus on our exceptional gifts, our democracy, our rule of law, our resources, our humanity, all that we are grateful and willing to fight for. The Gratitude Festival provides a lens for joyfulness and contentment in the riches we share in our remarkable students and community.  Thank you to the teachers who make this program possible!

Happy Thanksgiving Wishes to All!

With gratitude,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


November 8, 2017

Veterans Day-Honoring our service men and women is part of Putnam Valley's tradition

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Honoring our service men and women is a part of Putnam Valley's tradition. In fact, this year our senior class dedicated its "color wars" assemblage in the lobby of the High School to the armed services with artistic and creative designs and sculptures, including a hand-made Jeep replica and a number of emblematic pieces related to service.  In particular, the honor wall of former students who have and do serve remains in place with an opportunity to write a letter to one of our students in uniform (see below for link to pictures). It is clear that our students and staff recognize the sacrifices that have been and are being made so that we can enjoy our lives and the continued protection of our Constitution. We have been reminded again and again that freedom has a price and that we must be willing to accept that responsibility. Perhaps it is important to remember that Veterans Day was once Armistice Day, and that November 11th was the 11th month of the 11th day on the 11th hour in 1918 that the peace agreement was signed ending the horror of  WWI, the war that was supposed to "end all wars."  As we know so well,  that is not the way things went, and we have been involved in many wars since. In fact, it may be that the decisions made at the end of WWI, after the Treaty of Versailles when new countries and boundaries were determined arbitrarily, have contributed to future conflicts that exist even today.   This is our reality, and perhaps most chilling, is the knowledge that the nuclear threat that once was the overarching fear when I was in elementary school practicing emergency drills by hiding under my desk, has returned after a period of seeming quiescence. In remembering our veterans, we can take the time to appreciate the precious gifts we have because we have been vigilant. That willingness to protect our values means that our youth continue to serve and die in places like Niger, on the frontiers of the terrorist threat. As educators, we strive together to inspire our students to live up to our shared American values, so that we can continue to preserve the way of life that is worth dying for, as we honor those who serve. "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

~PVES will dismiss at 12:00 tomorrow, Thursday, November 9 for Parent Teacher Conferences~
~All Schools will be closed Friday, November 10~

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

Find photos here or on the Putnam Valley CSD app


November 3, 2017

Facilities Planning Committee Update

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

In the past two weeks, we have held two meetings of our Facilities Planning Committee. As described in an earlier memorandum to the public, the District is conducting a facilities planning process to prepare, in a timely fashion, for capital projects that would be eligible for state aid and would not impact the budget or taxpayer expenditures. We are pleased that so many members of the community have joined the committee. At our last meeting, on Tuesday evening, October 24, more than 25 residents were present to hear a review of facilities projects that were completed in the last two years as well as a presentation from building administrators and our athletic director on initiatives that they believe would improve their facilities, K-12.  The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 9th at 7:00 PM in the High School Library.  The committee will meet again on December 6 and I will continue to share updates throughout this process.   

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

10/4/17 email: Facilities Planning Committee: http://pvcsd.org/superintendent/100417.php


November 2, 2017

High School Start Time Update

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

On Thursday evening, October 26, the High School Later Start Committee met to hear a report from District administrators on the solutions and procedures that will result in the change in the High School start time from 7:10 AM to 7:50 AM.  This start time will coordinate with the Middle School. When the Board provided the affirmation of the new start time last June, the administrators were charged with implementation as of September 2018. On Thursday evening, administrators addressed problems that were raised last year. Please click the link below to review the presentations. They address the following issues: 1) rationale for the change, focusing on the conclusive scientific evidence on the lifelong consequences of insufficient sleep; 2) strategies that will be implemented to ensure student access to athletics and to co-curricular clubs. While there will no longer be early morning clubs at the Middle School, clubs will be held after school in both our Middle and High School. In some instances, students will need to choose between participation in sports teams or clubs, but principals are looking at ways to incorporate club time in their school schedules. 

There will be a need for four additional buses to manage transportation. Runs are projected to be shorter due to the additional students bused at the same time in each neighborhood; for example, with the new routes, the Roaring Brook run could be cut in half. While grades 5-12 will be transported together, we have evidence that the older students have a moderating effect on the Middle School population, and that, due to the new neighborhood runs, the students will be familiar as older brothers and sisters and caregivers. 

As promised, we will have routes and schedules available by January so that parents will be able to become familiar with the new arrangements. We are also available, as always, for conversations and perspectives as we make our High School more conducive to student health needs and, ultimately, impact attendance and achievement. It should be noted that on days when faced with a delayed opening, the later start would provide more room for decision making. 

10/26/17 presentations:

Click here for Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Research 

Click here for Athletics Schedules

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


October 30, 2017

Important Update

In reference to the Hepatitis A message sent out by the Putnam Valley School District on Friday, October 27, 2017, we have been informed that the test results have indicated that the employee does not have Hepatitis A. Therefore, there is no reason for further concern regarding this issue. We always seek to give important information to the community on matters involving student and workforce safety when they are first presented to us. Above all, we continue to provide a safe and secure environment for our students and staff.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills


October 27, 2017

Important Information

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

We are sending this letter for informational purposes in order to keep our community advised of a situation that has come to our attention.  We have been informed by the Putnam County Department of Health, that an employee of the Putnam Valley Central School District, located at our elementary school, may have Hepatitis A. There has been no confirmation of this diagnosis at this time. Please be advised that the employee does not work for our food service provider.

We are awaiting results of testing which we should receive on Monday, October 30. As advised by the Putnam  County Department of Health, there is no action to be taken; however, we wanted to alert our community that we are working closely with the Department of Health and our school physician to ensure that all proper protocols and procedures are in place in the event a diagnosis of Hepatitis A is confirmed.

Upon learning of the possibility that one of our employees may have Hepatitis A, we immediately contacted our school physician and the Putnam County Department of Health.  We immediately took precautionary measures by sanitizing all areas of contact in the elementary school.  

You can find information about Hepatitis A on the CDC website at:

https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/pdfs/fiore_ha_transmitted_by_food.pdf

Once again, we want to emphasize that this letter is informational only, and we do not have confirmation at this time.

We will provide additional information as it becomes available.  

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


October 26, 2017

The District Office has moved. Find us at the Elementary School modular building

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The District Office has moved to the Elementary School campus! 

You can now find the entire District Office staff and the Pupil Personnel Office staff in the modular building at the back of the Elementary School parking lot. All of the phone extensions have stayed the same. As I shared previously, this move allows for additional classroom space at the High School.

Our daily schedule will continue to include visits to the high school and middle school to ensure continued interactions with students and staff at all schools. As has been our practice, our doors are always open to parents and community members.  

I am very grateful for the patience, adaptability, and professionalism of everyone involved in and impacted by this move.  We must extend a huge thank you to our buildings and grounds staff and our technology department for ensuring this tremendous endeavor was a success. I also want to convey appreciation to the District Office staff for their flexibility and positive spirit during the transition in close quarters. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools 


October 18, 2017

PV Reaffirmed its reputation as a community that cares!

Dear Putnam Valley Staff and Community Members:

Last night, our community reaffirmed its reputation as a community that cares!  With five hundred people attending and many others donating funds, our student clubs raised over $4,000 and numerous items for Puerto Rico and neighboring Caribbean islands. The funds will be sent to organizations endorsed by New York State, and the supplies will be transported to the distribution center at Camp Smith. We are so grateful for everyone who participated as guests and as organizers of the dinner and the performances. There are many who must be mentioned here for the energy, enthusiasm and effort they brought to this event that brought the community together on behalf of those who are suffering from the aftermath of natural disasters: disease and injury, lack of medical care, food, water, electricity and the elimination of their economic well-being dependent on a thriving tourist industry. Many of our community members have families in Puerto Rico and on the islands. We have made a statement of support and willingness to help.

We are grateful to everyone who helped, and to all who supported this event.  It is impossible to recognize everyone, but if you lent a hand in this effort, please know you made a difference and it is appreciated!

High School monitors and Make a Difference Club advisors: Dawn Cassone and Karen Cobb; Marissa Tarkington, advisor of the Interact Club; Alexis Thornton, advisor of the World Languages Club and French Honor Society; Brenda Singer and Ademar Nater, advisors of the Spanish Honor Society;  Lisa Penta, advisor of the National Honor Society; Jen Armbruster, Art Club advisor, and the student members of the clubs who organized, set-up and served, including the students who brought the empanadas out to those on the long food line.

Performers and music teachers K-12 including the director, Ryan Odell, who produced the line-up of performers, managed the event and without whom we could not have organized the awe-inspiring concert in the PAC, including Jeanmarie Craane, Maddy Calhoun, Ashley Bennett and Lauren Soprano who consistently offer their musical talents and knit our student groups together; Susi Cummings, who manages our tech and crew students; student performers and teachers from the Middle School and Elementary School, Mary McGowan, Maria Belfont, Katie Odell and Olivia Roth.  Appreciation to the Middle School and Elementary School student chorus, who provided the warmth and loveliness of children's joy.  Dear Hayley Craane's "Tomorrow" and the grace and charm of Madelyn Barti showered the crowd with sweetness.  Many thanks to Ralph Smith, Board of Education Trustee; Chris O'Connor, Assistant Principal of the High School; and Gina Noto, High School Psychologist, whose Bruce Springsteen piece rallied the crowd.  Special awe and admiration to PVHS acapella group, Tempomental and the High School mixed choir, conducted by Chloe Berger on behalf of Dr. Micera (who missed the concert due to the birth of his baby son!).  They inspired us all with "Somewhere" from West Side Story. We cannot forget the Ecuadorean band who brought the "real thing" to Putnam Valley.  Always contributing their musical skills to our schools, are the High School musicians: Casey Dath, Sophia George, Ethan Grosman, Jasper Katzban, Gavon Mitchell, Michael Munson and Aleks Pilmanis. Finally, the behind the scenes work of our hard-working and dedicated stage crew team.  The last minute organization of mics and stage set-up could not be done without them.

Special heartfelt gratitude to Alexis Thornton, a High School teacher of world languages and her family, who did monumental work in organizing the food collection and serving process. Ms. Cassone, Ms. Cobb and Mrs. Thornton anchored this project.

We would like to recognize all of the local businesses (Sansotta's, Nonna's, Izla's, Frankie&Augiez), our Food Service Director, Cara DiMarsico and cook Kathy Coakley of Aramark, and District parents, staff, and retirees who donated food.

Also thank you to Dylan Miyoshi, Hudson Valley Regional Representative, who attended and represented Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Empire State Initiative on behalf of Puerto Rico and the islands.

Lastly, volunteering his skills as MC, cheerleader and generator of heart, Gerry Carlin, shared his humor and PV spirit.

We can't do anything good alone!

Please view pictures here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B5RjhdGA01KVM3RqVzVMUmZvOGs?usp=sharing

Gratitude to all,

Fran Wills


October 4, 2017

Invite to join Facilities Planning Committee-First Meeting 10/12 6PM

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

We need your participation!

As you may be aware, the Putnam Valley School District has established an Educational Facilities Planning Committee to assist the Board of Education in reviewing our current academic and extracurricular spaces, the safety and security of our facilities, and all underlying infrastructure.  The committee will work to ensure that we are effectively supporting our educational and extracurricular initiatives while maintaining a safe and secure learning environment for our entire school community.  The committee will report its findings and potential recommendations to the Board of Education.

Proper planning and implementation result in high quality, high-performing, well designed and maintained school facilities and has a direct and indirect impact on the teaching and learning process. Effective facilities management can contribute to the success of every student.

Our schools represent the hub for the Putnam Valley Community and serve as a catalyst for its future.   From kindergarten through high school, we are investing in our children and community for both today and tomorrow.  This is an opportunity to define what our schools stand for and address the needs of our instructional and support spaces as they correspond to the District's curriculum goals and 21st century delivery of instruction.         

We are inviting community members, parents, teachers, district leaders, professional staff and students to participate in this committee.  We ask that all committee members commit to attending meetings on the following dates:  10/12, 10/24, 11/9, or 12/6.  Meetings will be held in the library of the high school.  First meeting: Thursday, October 12, 6:00-7:00 PM.

The committee will be asked to develop an independent assessment and analysis of short and long-term facility needs of the district.

THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMITTEE:        

  • Help to create and support schools as centers of community that offer school-based supports to children to eliminate barriers to success and serve the broader community.
  • Improve facilities management, including maintenance and capital improvement programs.
  • Secure adequate and equitable facilities funding.
  • Assist and advise the Board of Education on facility needs related to the educational program(s).
  • Assist and advise the Board of Education with reference to potential long-term Capital Project recommendations.   

If you are interested in joining the committee, please click here or email JDenike@pvcsd.org.  All members will be appointed to the committee by the Board of Education on October 12.

Thank you,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools                                

Initial Meeting Schedule:
Thursday, October 12 - Prior to BOE Meeting - 6:00-7:00 PM
Tuesday, October 24 - 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 9 - 7:00 PM
Wednesday, December 6 - 7:00 PM
Meeting Location: Putnam Valley High School Library


October 3, 2017

Empathy for Las Vegas

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The natural disasters that have affected millions of our countrymen in the last few months have been a terrifying reminder of Nature's wrath. Without human agency to blame, we bear up and move to do whatever we can to relieve the suffering that results. While we analyze and question decisions and planning that may have led to worsening outcomes, our spirit is focused on helping our neighbors and supporting those who are working to rebuild and find a way back home.

On the other hand, the terrible event that occurred yesterday in Las Vegas was man-made and unfathomable. We are rocked by the feeling that we or our family members can instantly be the victim of an unmoored being who has made a choice to wreck thousands of lives with his weapon of choice.  Thousands of lives are destroyed because those who are killed and injured have families and hopes and dreams that are shattered by this terrible act.

We begin to wonder whether we really know the people around us, those who appear quite normal and who can suddenly become monsters. That is our fear, and that is why in our schools we do whatever we can to provide a safe environment for our students.

In fact, this week we have our District's emergency response team training which we hold at the Firehouse. We coordinate with the Sheriff's Department, First Responders, Ambulance Corps, Fire Department and State Police.  Our SRO, Deputy Ryan McMahon is trained to respond to critical incidents that occur in schools. Our Director of Operations, Pat Bellino manages the video-cameras on site, organizes the safety protocols and establishes training and practice. We have lockdown and lock-out drills as we prepare and protect.  It was clear at the Las Vegas tragedy that the emergency personnel present at the concert, including First Responders, medical personnel and off-duty police acted immediately to attempt to save lives and protect. Our responders are well-trained and systems are in place to react to any and all emergency situations.

I have also tried to make sure that every moment is treated as a precious gift, an opportunity for gratitude. For me, that means saying goodbye to my husband each day with eye contact and a hug if possible. We are getting too used to hearing about these horrible events, and we have to find a way to search our hearts and minds to find out why this behavior seems to occur more frequently and with more destruction than in the past.

We are working hard in schools to try to create a caring environment, to build relationships and help students to understand and manage their emotions so that violence is averted. For example, we have a mediation program at our high school with students who are trained to talk to their peers and help them solve their interpersonal conflicts. We have a strong clinical staff who support our students and review student needs regularly to make sure we are not overlooking a student who needs our help. The Yale RULER program we have introduced this year will focus on helping students identify their emotions and learn to manage and regulate them so that they are successful in school and outside in the wider world.

Finally, I think we all need to pay attention to each other, to those around us, to notice the small things, to celebrate our gifts, to value our interactions so that our colleagues, friends, neighbors, people we meet in our daily commerce, feel respected and cared about.  Everyone needs to feel valued, respected and loved.  Kindness and smiles are contagious. We can never know how one act of connection, of noticing,  can make a difference for multitudes, rippling out to possibly prevent one more unthinkable event.

Coming together as a community to make a difference is a way to demonstrate our empathy and caring for others. Please join our School District relief effort on behalf of Puerto Rico and neighboring Caribbean Islands sponsored by our high school clubs.

Please attend and please donate:

PV Homecoming Football Game on October 7, 2017, and
at the potluck supper and concert on Tuesday, October 17, 2017
6:00 PM Community Supper
7:00 PM Community Concert
Click here for potluck donations

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

From The Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort:
The following items will be accepted for donation: batteries, flashlights, portable lanterns, diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, cases of water, feminine hygiene products, AM/FM portable radios. All items must be unopened and in their original packaging. 

~InteractClub~TempoMental~MakeADifferenceClub~WorldLanguageClub
~ArtClub~PVCSDMusicDepartment~
French and Spanish Honor Societies


October 2, 2017

PVCSD Benefit Concert for Puerto Rico-October 17-Please join us

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Our students and staff are eager to begin their next service project.   Putnam Valley Central School District will join New York State in the Empire State Relief and Recovery for Puerto Rico. We have begun planning a benefit concert and potluck dinner for Tuesday, October 17, at our high school to collect donations for our friends, relatives and neighbors in devastated Puerto Rico and other affected islands.  Please visit: https://www.ny.gov/empire-state-relief-and-recovery-effort-puerto-rico/empire-state-relief-and-recovery-effort-puerto# and PLEASE JOIN US on:

Tuesday, October 17
Putnam Valley High School
6:00 PM – Pot Luck Dinner
7:00 PM – Concert

Donations will be accepted at the door.  Please see the list below. Monetary donations will also be accepted.  If you can participate by bringing a potluck dish, please click here.  Together, we can make a difference!

Thank you Putnam Valley!

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

From The Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort:
The following items will be accepted for donation: batteries, flashlights, portable lanterns, diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, cases of water, feminine hygiene products, AM/FM portable radios. All items must be unopened and in their original packaging. 

~InteractClub ~MakeADifferenceClub ~WorldLanguageClub ~ArtClub ~PVCSDMusicDepartment


September 29, 2017

PVCSD Benefit Concert for Puerto Rico-October 17 - Please join us

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Putnam Valley Central School District's successful fundraising efforts to assist Kolter Elementary School in Houston, Texas have allowed our Make A Difference Club to send $1,050 in gift cards and school supplies.  Ten large boxes of books have also been sent from our Elementary School. 

Our students and staff are eager to begin their next service project.   Our school district will join New York State in the Empire State Relief and Recovery for Puerto Rico. We have begun planning a benefit concert and potluck dinner for Tuesday, October 17, at our high school to collect donations for our friends, relatives and neighbors in devastated Puerto Rico and other affected islands.  Please visit: https://www.ny.gov/empire-state-relief-and-recovery-effort-puerto-rico/empire-state-relief-and-recovery-effort-puerto# and PLEASE JOIN US on:

Tuesday, October 17
Putnam Valley High School
6:00 PM – Pot Luck Dinner
7:00 PM – Concert

Donations will be accepted at the door.  Please see list below. Monetary donations will also be accepted.  If you can participate by bringing a potluck dish, please click here.  Together, we can make a difference!

Thank you Putnam Valley!

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

From The Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort:
The following items will be accepted for donation: batteries, flashlights, portable lanterns, diapers, baby wipes, cases of water and feminine hygiene products. All items must be unopened and in their original packaging. 


September 11, 2017

September 11 Remembrance/Help for Houston

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

For those of us who were here in New York on September 11, 2001 the memories of that day begin with a perfect fall day of bright sun, blue, blue skies and a cool stillness. After that, our breathing begins to become heavy, and terrible images prevail along with emotions that are personal and profound. Sixteen years later we are seeing a different kind of devastation around us, incalculable losses of lives and livelihoods caused by the mystery of natural phenomena known only hypothetically to our humble scientific understanding of how and why. As we mourn the losses of 2001, of heroes and victims of deliberate terror, we now have a plan to find a way to serve on this day, to give back in some way, to share our heartfelt warmth and gratitude with those less fortunate. After seeing the moving play, Come From Away recently, a musical recounting the way that Gander, Newfoundland welcomed those stranded in planes on 9/11, it seems that the best way we can remember that day is in reaching out to help.

With that desire to assist others in some way, our PVHS Make a Difference Club will be leading a collection drive to help a public school that was battered by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. It seemed fitting that we, who were able to start the school year so happily, would help those who did not. By contacting the Houston Independent School District, we were paired with Kolter Elementary School, a multi-language magnet school devastated by the storm and compelled to move into a facility that had been closed. Much was lost, but looking at the video the principal sent, created by their Physical Education teacher, it is clear that their spirit is intact. Parents and staff are working to get the school going again as quickly as possible for their students. (Link to video)

We would appreciate help from our community and staff in providing funds to assist with much needed classroom supplies. Monetary collections (gift cards) will be forwarded to Houston so that basic classroom supplies can be quickly replaced.  We would like to arrange some way for our elementary classes to communicate with the students at Kolter so that the gifts have meaning and we can all feel the happiness of giving and generosity.

Donations can be sent in to school through your child.  Any amount is appreciated! The impact even $1.00 per family could make carries a message of unity and empathy that transcends the miles between New York and Texas.  Envelopes should be marked Make A Difference – Kolter Elementary School.  In addition, our Make A Difference Club will have a table at Putnam Valley Town Day, Saturday, September 23.  We hope to send whatever we collect in donations by the end of this week and again after Town Day.  

From Kotler Elementary Principal, Julianne Dickinson:

Thank you so very much for reaching out to me!  I am incredibly grateful for any support you are able to give our school.

One of our PTO members wrote this up about what has happened to our school because of Hurricane Harvey, and I wanted to share that information with you. 

On Saturday, August 26, category 4 Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas, and began an agonizingly slow climb towards Houston. Our area began to see the strong outer bands that night in the form of pounding rain and violent thunder and lightning.  By morning, half of the beautiful homes in our neighborhood were flooded and the water continued to rise higher. Ultimately, our beloved school took on approximately five feet of water in the cafeteria, three feet in each classroom, four feet in our temporary buildings and almost our entire neighborhood was flooded to some degree.

ABC-13's Jeff Ehling shows some of the damage to our school during his on-air boat ride through Meyerland.

As so many of our families begin the long process of cleaning up and rebuilding, we have also been informed that we will be moved temporarily to an elementary school that has been sitting vacant for the past year.  We will be in this campus for a full school year, if not longer, and will do our very best to make this new school our home.  Teachers have lost everything that was in their classroom—years of lesson plans, collecting books and spending their own money on material was all lost in this flood.

Thank you again for reaching out, and showing us support. Seeing as we're all starting over from scratch, we're humbled by any donation.

http://www.houstonisd.org/kolter

Thank you Putnam Valley for your generosity.

Sincerely,

Dr. Wills
Superintendent of Schools

 
Putnam Valley Central School District, 146 Peekskill Hollow Road, Putnam Valley, NY 10579
Phone (845) 528-8143, Fax (845) 528-8386