• District
  • High School
  • Middle School
  • Elementary School
  • Athletics
  • The Arts
  • Pupil Personnel
Message from Dr. Fran Wills, Superintendent

May 23, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Learning about the attack at a Manchester, England, pop concert yesterday was particularly painful and terrible as innocent, happy young girls and their families were the targets and the victims. The impact of this terror is devastating to decent people everywhere, of every ethnicity and culture, intensifying a climate of fear. With that fear, emerge hurtful and hateful emotions that tend to blindly erase our humanity. Here in Putnam Valley, the clergy in our area of every denomination are sponsoring a special moment of unity at the Islamic Center, planting a tree of peace on Wednesday evening, seeking a singular unifying purpose in our quest for human dignity for all.

It is difficult to temper our emotional responses in the light of random violence, seeking to navigate a way to advocate for justice, without the ugly consequences of more violence and hate, yet that is what we hope to teach our children. In our schools, we teach the value of reason and mediated conflict, of self-control and effective redress of grievance.  Even in the arena of sports, when excitement is palpable, we are asked to examine our emotional responses to be sure we are setting an example. In this context of reflection on our own behavior, we look to our Memorial Day tribute to those who gave their lives on behalf of the freedom we so value, the peace we seek. For those who dedicated their lives so that our democracy can thrive, we can do our part to create a more peaceful, safe place for our children and our families.

Putnam Valley is a remarkable community, representing a broad diversity of thought and a fierce reverence for American values and beliefs. I know that together we can work through many differences while grounding our dialogue in the way of life we hold dear, the freedoms that have always drawn so many to us, and served to guide those who fought to preserve what we have created in this beloved land.   

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


May 17, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

As you know, Arch4Kids, a team of architects who teach and guide students in our region, has been working with different classes throughout our District.  As part of their work with our high school geometry classes, the students worked on another "real-world" challenge and designed a recreation facility for the town. Scaling the design from architectural blueprints, constructing it from recycled materials and developing a site plan layout, was as an authentic assessment that captivated the imagination and enthusiasm of every student involved. 

Please take a few minutes and compete the survey below so our students can continue their project by collating, analyzing and reporting the results to the Putnam Valley Parks and Recreation Department. Tomorrow, Thursday, May 18, a student exhibit will be available for viewing in the main hallway of the high school, just prior to the Board of Education meeting at 7:00 PM.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

The Town of Putnam Valley is proposing to build a Recreation Center in the Town Park. Students at Putnam Valley High School are conducting a survey to determine what activities and programs the residents would like to see offered.  Please give us your feedback and thank you in advance for your time and participation.  Your opinion is very much appreciated. Please complete a separate survey for each member of your household and respond by June 1, 2017.  Click here for SURVEY

SURVEY LINK


May 5, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Staff and Community Members: 

On Monday, when I visited the elementary school, first grade teacher Mrs. Hernandez, expressed her joy at receiving mural paint through a Putnam Valley Education Foundation grant. They plan to update and decorate the walls of the first grade wing with a nature theme. Each year, the PVEF provides opportunities to staff members to apply for grants to enrich their classrooms and schools. This year's grants were approved Tuesday evening at the Board of Education meeting and have already contributed to excitement in our schools. As an example, our recent fourth grade reenactment at the elementary school, now an annual occurrence, comes alive through Revolutionary War costumes and 18th century drums enhanced the music performed by our high school students. The history club at the high school traveled to Boston on a beautiful March day. STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) equipment will be purchased for the technology program at the elementary school, as well as alternative seating to increase student focus and participation. This year, almost $18,000 was provided to support these and other teacher initiatives. (Please see the full list attached below)

We are very grateful for the efforts of the PVEF to enhance our school programs and inspire our teachers. Thank you to all who support the Education Foundation. This is a wonderful way to give teachers an opportunity to do more for their students! 

Please mark your calendars for the Foundation's upcoming event on Friday, June 2. (pvefny.org)

Sincerely,   
Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools 

File attachments:

GrantsFunded2017.docx


April 30, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

I would like to invite you to our next "Superintendent's Listening Hour", which will be held Tuesday night, May 2. We will meet in our High School library at 6:00 pm, just prior to the Board of Education meeting, which begins at 7:00 pm. I look forward to introducing you to our new Director of Learning and Educational Opportunities, Dr. Jeremy Luft and to Ms. Nicole Mangiere, our new Middle School Assistant Principal, who are both looking forward to getting to know our families. They will be joining PVCSD effective July 1.  

While the agenda is open to allow for dialogue and input, we will focus our conversation on ELA. The goal of the Listening Houris to share diverse perspectives on school issues and to consider our opportunities and challenges.  I look forward to having conversations about this topic and others.  Please consider joining us. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools


April 28, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Last weekend there was a strong presence across the nation of science teachers and scientists to make the case for the critical role that science plays in our nation's progress, and our planet's present and future viability. Earth Day called attention to our environment and our responsibility as stewards for our children. What will be our legacy; what role do we play as educators in shaping the world our children inherit?

At Putnam Valley, science is alive and well, a vibrant and thriving component of our curriculum and way of thinking. The evidence was very striking at our inspiring National Honor Society Ceremony last week. We heard from our senior members of the NHS as they described their future plans. Many of those students claim science programs as their majors in the fine colleges they will be attending. Majors included environmental science, bio-medical studies, chemical engineering, and other related fields. Indeed, our science research students have been competing favorably in regional competitions and are proud of their research papers and studies that are establishing their credentials for the next step in their future. In a White Plains Science and Technology fair just this past weekend, Science Research students Walter Wacaser, Jasper Katzban, and Ryan Usai were recognized for their achievements. Let's also recognize the science fair at the elementary school and the Pollinator project and environmental initiatives at the middle school.

Clearly, our dedicated science teachers are inspiring student scientists. That means that they are teaching students to inquire using the scientific method that requires a hypothesis and evidenced based conclusions. Supporting the teachers at the high school is our Library-Media Specialist, Marifran DeMaine. National Library week was celebrated during our break; however, Ms. DeMaine is a constant in the students' lives at the high school, urging them on in their research, finding sites and articles and generating enthusiasm for their scholarship. (Most recently, Ms. DeMaine has displayed flags in the windows of the library with the names of colleges that our students will attend.) At our elementary school, library aide, Ms. Broas assists the students in the science fair, along with our high school students who mentor the fourth graders. Ms. Broas works with teachers in the maker space as well to support our enthusiastic students.

Doing our part to improve our environment, the Putnam Valley School District will enter into an Energy Performance Contract to reduce our carbon footprint, bringing solar installations to our high school/middle school campus, transforming all lighting to LED, and expanding the geo-thermal project to our elementary school. Currently, the high school and middle school use no oil due to the extensive geo-thermal initiative at the campus. In addition, a curriculum is planned to involve students K-12 in the science of the new energy projects. The monetary savings are significant as well, $384,000 per year district-wide, with an additional $600,000 over 25 years if the community approves the incentive during the budget vote.

Commitment to science has a positive economic, social, and human health impact. Our students are well prepared to participate in the community of science.

Enjoy this beautiful weekend.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


April 28, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The movie, Screenagers was thought provoking and vividly displayed the impact of "screen addictions" on teen learning and behavior. The young people in the documentary shared their own concerns about "screen addictions" and were genuinely grateful for the limits their parents set on screen time. It is clear that many children, and even adults, are struggling to find the right balance in a digital world.

Please see the attached information to assist with ongoing conversations. We need to continue to work together to provide the support and structure that will help our children with these challenges.

We can learn together and encourage each other in this quest. Thank you to our PTA, PTSA and clinical staff for bringing this movie to our students and families.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

File attachments:
Screenagers Parent Guide
Parenting Apps


April 28, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

I would like to invite you to our next "Superintendent's Listening Hour", which will be held Tuesday night, May 2. We will meet in our High School library at 6:00 pm, just prior to the Board of Education meeting, which begins at 7:00 pm. I look forward to introducing you to our new Director of Learning and Educational Opportunities, Dr. Jeremy Luft and to Ms. Nicole Mangiere, our new Middle School Assistant Principal, who are both looking forward to getting to know our families. They will be joining PVCSD effective July 1.  

While the agenda is open to allow for dialogue and input, we will focus our conversation on ELA. The goal of the Listening Hour is to share diverse perspectives on school issues and to consider our opportunities and challenges.  I look forward to having conversations about this topic and others.  Please consider joining us. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools


April 24, 2017

Dear Parents, Staff and Community Members:

Please mark your calendar this week for Screenagers-Growing Up In The Digital Age! On Wednesday evening at 6:30 PM in our High School Performing Arts Center, with the sponsorship of the PTA and PTSA, we will be showing a movie that vividly displays the impact of "screen addictions" on teen learning and behavior. In fact, there is great concern that unchecked screen use can seriously affect cognitive executive functioning and emotional well being of young people. In our schools, we have daily encounters with students who are misusing social media or have been hurt by words and memes produced by others. How do we provide the kind of support and structure that will help our children with this challenge and reality of today's world? How can we develop productive and civil digital citizens? We can learn together and encourage each other in this quest.

The movie is recommended for adults and children 10 and over. Some of our high school students will have the opportunity to see the movie on Tuesday morning and our middle school students will see the movie on Wednesday morning. Please do come to this event. Children are welcome to attend the evening screening. A conversation following the movie will be facilitated by Travis McCarty, Assistant Principal of the Middle School, and Chris O'Connor, Assistant Principal of the High School.

screenagersmovie.com
movie trailer: https://vimeo.com/145826333

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


April 21, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

Yesterday,  I attended our regional superintendents' meeting and learned about a Netflix series, "13 Reasons Why," that has caused great consternation and concern among mental  health professionals and educators due to its approach to the topic of teen suicide, its graphic imagery and emotional sensationalism. The series has become a "phenomenon" for middle school students who are watching without parental guidance or knowledge. These young people are particularly susceptible to the displays that are found in the series. Trailers can be found on Youtube, but more important, I think, is the information provided by the National Association of School Psychologists and save.org attached to this email. If your child is watching this series, I hope that these materials will support you with helpful conversations about what the film portrays. There is a fine line between communication and exploitation. Whether that line is crossed with this production is unclear; what is certain is that as parents we want to be sure that our children's exposure to this material will not have irrevocable consequences. We know that there have been several teen suicides recently in our region; we want to  do everything in our power to prevent and intervene. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

NASP - National Association of School Psychologists: Guidance for Families and Educators

Save.orgTalking Points

Community resources: http://pvcsd.org/community/index.php


April 19, 2017

Dear K-12 Staff and Community Members:

Earlier this year, we addressed concerns revealed in a social media posting by high school students that referenced April 20 and April 21, and I wanted to share an update. As indicated in a recent letter by the high school principal, Ms.Intrieri, the District has arranged for additional security on the middle/high school campus for both of these dates.  We have also requested additional presence by the State Police at our elementary school campus. The District has developed a staff protocol for all schools to address any written symbols, including swastikas that may be discovered by anyone in the school. That protocol involves preserving, photographing and School Resource Officer reporting, prior to removal and the start of an investigation by administration. We are noting that our protocol has been effective as late yesterday a small pencil drawing of a swastika on a bathroom paper dispenser in a high school stall was reported by a staff member for the appropriate implementation of our protocol by administration and proper redress of student violation of our code of conduct.

Next week, on April 24, United States Holocaust Remembrance Day is marked with renewed commitment to remember the 6 million Jews who were killed and to take heed of any signs that diminish the dignity of every person in our community. No student should have to view a hate symbol that denies his or her humanity. That experience interferes with the educational opportunity and the emotional well being of students. 

We intend to be explicit about our goals for student health and safety. Our administrators and staff are committed to this principle.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


April 18, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The Putnam Valley Board of Education will hold a special business meeting, tonight, Tuesday, April 18, beginning at 7PM in the High School cafeteria. The purpose of this meeting is to approve the BOCES 2016-2017 budget and to vote on the BOCES Board of Education candidates. 

The Board will also acknowledge the 2016-17 retirees of the district - 16 staff members: Richard Blatz, Sharon Blatz, Billy Bracken, Bruce Brothers, Karen Brothers, LInda Cefaloni, Larry Gibbs, Judy Grogan, Edward Hallisey, Marilyn Higgins, Rose Johnson, Debbie Lindert, Linda Rappaport, Evelyn Reyes, Joan Szilva, Kathleen Tanner.  In addition, it is anticipated that the Board will confer tenure on the following staff members: Gina Noto and Katie Odell

Please join us to celebrate these staff members. 

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 8, 2017

Dear Staff and Community Members:

Last evening many of us were inspired by our student bridge projects at the middle school. Our seventh graders displayed their remarkably diverse and aesthetically interesting solutions to the Pudding Street/Taconic State Parkway overpass design. Guided by a team of professional architects and their teachers, Ms. Conlin and Ms. Van Develde, students learned to design and build to scale and to work in teams on this real-world problem. They expressed their excitement about what they had learned about application of mathematics and the value of teams. It was also exciting to have representatives of the Department of Transportation, the Town Supervisor, Mr. Oliverio and Highway Superintendent, Larry Cobb viewing our student projects. Thanks to the initiative of our teachers working together to make this happen for our students, they were able to experience the meaning of civic engagement as well as academic accomplishment.  

With hopes that spring will be in full bloom during the coming break, I wish all a lovely respite. For all who celebrate holidays this coming week, may they be joyful and bring peace to your lives.

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools  


April 7, 2017

Dear Community Members:

After screening 10 candidates and asking 6 candidates to come back for a second round of interviews, the interview committee has recommended Nicole Mangiere as the next Putnam Valley Middle School Assistant Principal. It is expected that the Board of Education will appoint Ms. Mangiere as Assistant Principal at their next meeting, Tuesday, April 18.

Ms. Mangiere comes to us from the KIPP Academy in New York City and has experience teaching grades 5, 6 and 8. In addition, she has served as a Curriculum Specialist and School Director at a Teach for America summer school site. She also taught third and fourth grade at PS110X. As the Director of Leadership Development at KIPP, Ms. Mangiere has coordinated school initiatives and ensured that grade level leaders collaborate to provide a continuum of programming that is developmentally appropriate for students. She has coordinated guided reading professional development and collaborated with consultants to coach guided reading teachers. Ms. Mangiere is a strategic and visionary leader with rich knowledge of curriculum, assessment, instruction, and scheduling.

A graduate of Cornell University, Ms. Mangiere earned a degree in Communications with a minor in Education. While at Cornell, she was inspired to become a teacher and joined Teach for America. She earned her masters in Educational Leadership from Bank Street College of Education. Those that work closely with Ms. Mangiere describe her as extremely organized, energetic, supportive, and ambitious. She brings a systematic approach and perspective when planning and is always looking for ways to improve educational opportunities for children. Ms. Mangiere will be a wonderful addition to our community and will help to oversee programs while working collaboratively with administration, teachers and community members.

We look forward to welcoming Ms. Mangiere to the PVCSD community effective, July 1, 2017.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


April 4, 2017

Dear Community Members:

Following an in-depth hiring process, including the diligence of an 18 member interview committee representing all stakeholders, I want to inform the community that I am recommending that Dr. Jeremy Luft be appointed by the Board of Education to the position of Director of Learning and Innovative Educational Opportunities on Thursday, April 6. The committee screened 13 candidates and conducted lengthy interviews of 3 finalists. The process ended with an interview with the Board of Education.

Dr. Luft's background includes teaching of high school physics for four years in North Rockland, Director of Technology at the Ossining School District for seven years, and most recently, Director of Instruction at the Hastings School District. At Hastings he was collaborating with staff to build an ELA curriculum beginning at the elementary school, observed and supervised teachers, and supported K-12 staff. Dr. Luft has his B.S. in Physics from SUNY Albany and did semiconductor research on thin film technology and microchips. He has his Masters from Pace, and most recently, his Ed.D. from Manhattanville. He has been the recipient of a number of awards, including New York State Outstanding Technology Leader and Pioneer Award for Outstanding District Technology. In addition, Dr. Luft has presented at numerous conferences and is both a Google Certified Administrator and an INTEL Master Trainer. Attributes that were used to describe Dr. Luft's strengths include how well he connects and builds positive relationships with staff, parents and students, solves problems and innovates, follows-up, champions and completes initiatives, listens and supports accountability, asks about what is needed and coaches to improve and grow. From an administrator: "When he is passionate about something, he makes a point to move it forward." From an elementary principal, "He is always available. Exceptional as technology director and much more. Jeremy will strive to understand the issues, and bring people together to solve them." From a Superintendent of Schools, "He has the respect of the entire staff." He "connects easily with everyone." With the dual strengths in technology and curriculum, Dr. Luft completes a circle for Putnam Valley in building on our foundation of technology advancement as well as our quest for academic excellence and student success.

We look forward to Dr. Luft joining the Putnam Valley School District community officially on July 1. Dr. Luft will be joining me for our upcoming “Superintendent’s Listening Hour” on May 2, (6PM-PVHS Library) where we will focus our conversation on ELA. Please join us.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


April 3, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

Even if you did not see the Putnam Valley High School musical this year, you must have felt the exuberance from our Performing Arts Center this weekend. Billy Elliot was a brilliant star that illuminated hearts and minds with the joy of youth expressing its inner vibrancy of spirit. "All we have to do is shine," is a message that we hope our students take with them on their journey; their inner light, once free, makes the world a better place for all of us. We are grateful to all who participated in this amazing PVHS TheatreWorks production, over 80 students (cast,crew,orchestra), with special appreciation to our exceptional Director, Dr. Micera and the staff that supports this effort with love every year. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools

Find pictures on the PVCSD App - under the Photos icon (no social media needed) or on the Putnam Valley Central School District Facebook page.  


March 30, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

 The Board of Education recently approved the District’s proposed energy performance contract (EPC) to promote energy savings and reduced reliance on fossil fuels. As you know, Putnam Valley High School and Putnam Valley Middle School are both served by geothermal systems which eliminate the use of oil in those schools. We use no oil on the High School-Middle School campus. Our Board has always been strongly in favor of sustainability models and reduced energy consumption. The current EPC would provide a large solar array at our Middle and High School, smaller solar arrays in the area of the Elementary School and transportation facility, partial geo-thermal at our Elementary School (including air conditioning in our Elementary School cafeteria), New LED lighting throughout the district, and significant window replacement. There is no cost to the taxpayer for this contract. In fact, each year we will save $384,000. Thus in 10 years, the savings will be well over $3 million.

The District has the opportunity to save another 10%, or $52,000 per year, an additional $600,000 over the 15 years of the project, if the proposition for the contract is put before the voters. The vote would not require any expenditure of funds, but would provide affirmation of the support of the District for this proposal.

In addition, as part of this process, the Board has proposed that the District develop a curriculum to accompany the project. Thus, we are interested in providing K-12 opportunities and access for students to use the sustainability measures as part of problem-based and hands on-learning for students. This process also connects with the Nextgen science standards and, more important, allows the students to be more aware of their school environment and the way technology and alternative energy models actually influence their lives.

This information has been presented in a public forum in a variety of ways:

  • Presentation by ConEdison Solutions here: video link.  
  • Presentation by our District Treasurer, Jill Figarella here: video
  • Interview with the Director of Buildings and Grounds, Pat Bellino and Eric Gross: Inside Putnam Valley

The EPC will be put before the voters as a separate proposition on the School Budget Vote on Tuesday, May 16. The vote will be held at Putnam Valley Elementary School and the polls will be open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


March 28, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

I  want to urge our community and staff to attend Billy Elliot, this year's musical!  Opening this weekend in Putnam Valley, you will be moved and inspired by this remarkable and meaningful play. Beyond entertainment, Billy Elliot conveys the joy of self-fulfillment and the love expressed by a community that grows to support the differences that comprise the beauty of the human family!

Many thanks to all involved in giving this gift to all who will be privileged to enjoy the spirit of Putnam Valley's theater program.

Sincerely,

Dr. Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools 

Tickets available at the box office everyday 2PM-4PM
Show times: Friday, March 31 - 7PM
Saturday, April 1 - 7PM

Sunday, April 2 - 2PM
Click here to purchase tickets online

Cast: Ryan Beckel, Chloe Berger, Frank Bubbico, James Caposito, Matthew Carravone, Kaitlyn Carroll,Vincent Columna, Casey Dath, Lucas deMey, James Deronda, Lauren DeRubeis, Jacey Ferraro, Sonya Garcia, Jasmine Gelfer, Lawrence Gisser, Christina Huynh, Rebeka Kashkin, Emily Mazzella, Ciara McGinty, Katherine McNamara, Kaitlin Millicker, Gavon Mitchell, Alexandria Moore, Jessica O’Hare, Eric Rein, Lauren Rein, Olivia Roman,Chris Sauber, Olivia Schmidt, Mariana Silva, Michael Tompkins, Chris Turner, Vanessa Ungarino, Ryan Usai, Robbie Velichko, Gabby Zubradt

Orchestra: Sophia George, Rebecca Mosny, Michael Munson, Peter Leo, Ghaith Annabi, Paige Lee, Cassandra Kutruff 

Production Crew: Leeza Tarrant, Ella Torregrosa, Erin Pedersen, Lauren Pateman, Shannon Dinizo, Eliana Dropkin, Emma Mignano, Dakota Pinon, Julie Frey, Joanna Johnson, Gianna Patino, John Henry Weise, Shannon Crotty, Bethany Dolan, Jillian Hartnett, Sam Jaffe, Leif Mangan, Erika Seidman, Kelly Simon, Chelsi Vogt, Carlos Zhinin, Lizzy Liscia, Chloe Lamere, Matt Jenkins, Allie Santora, Matt Simpson, Aleks Pilmanis, Jasper Katzban, Liz Moise, Alyssa Anderson, Hailee Bagnato, Brittany Gona, Jenni Hernandez, Isabelle Mauro, Yunak Park,  Ashley Stockinger, Victoria VanCuran, Patrick Hartnett, Gianna SanLucas, Caitlin Vasquez, Josh Velasco


March 23, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Parents/Guardians:

Once again, I am writing to you to ask that you support our teachers and administrators in providing the instructional foundation and environment that supports student learning and achievement as creative and critical thinkers, readers and writers.

We are hoping that all students participate in the State Assessment process this year.

We understand that there continue to be questions about the direction of New York’s educational initiatives. However, much has changed, and we need to be sure that our students are meeting the standards that measure their progress and the District’s efforts to provide a meaningful and engaging educational program.

As educational leaders and as a community, we have to consider the negative impact on the District’s accountability rating because we had a refusal rate above 5%. In fact, our refusal rate was over 40%, which may result in penalties that are not related to student performance, but to student participation. We are looking at the consequences of not meeting the Acceptable Yearly Progress (AYP), not due to student achievement, but due to lack of participation in the testing process. If we are named a “School in Need of Improvement,” we have damaged our reputation and the community’s standing, and created the need for extensive paperwork and reporting that will compel our use of limited resources for this purpose.

Parents are now able to review most of their child’s tests and responses, not just the results, but the actual math and ELA tests so that they are aware of what students are expected to know and do in their grade level. In order to review the tests, parents can call the principal's office and make an appointment to meet with the administrator or teachers to examine their child’s tests. We encourage you to do this.

As we have indicated in prior letters, we continue to look towards strengthening our instructional strategies and targeting our approaches to student needs. To that end, our staff has analyzed the New York State 3-8 assessment results to provide information that we have used to examine student progress and performance.  We feel that the students have been well prepared and should have the confidence and resources to participate in this assessment.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools 

Dr. Edward Hallisey
Middle School Principal    

 Ms. Margaret Podesta
Elementary School Principal


March 21, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Last night, fourth grade student scientists displayed their knowledge and passion for science through their unique experiments. A special aspect of this program is the participation of the Putnam Valley High School Science Honor Society who assist the young ones with their projects. It is wonderful to see the imaginative and creative approaches to all types of questions related to all areas of science. In addition, students from all grades displayed their Maker Club and Maker Space projects with great pride.  Explaining what they have achieved gives the students a sense of confidence and accomplishment that builds a resource for their future endeavors. Special thanks to Ms. Podesta, Ms. Mistretta and Mrs. Broas who organized, supported and coordinated the remarkable efforts of so many students.  I look forward to our sixth grade Invention Convention and the seventh grade Pollinator Project that will take place later this spring.

Another side of student engagement and excitement about learning and performing was expressed in the very special elementary musical, Seussical Kids, directed by Mrs. Phillips with musical direction from Mrs. Calhoun and musical accompaniment by Mrs. Bennett. Putnam Valley High School students also provide their technical expertise and stage management in the production, again reminding us of the community spirit that makes Putnam Valley a special place to live, learn and work.

(for more pictures - please check out the Putnam Valley Central School District Facebook page OR the photos icon on the Putnam Valley CSD app. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools


March 16, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Due to the extreme weather and the loss of regular school days (three and a half over the last five), I have determined that the early dismissal staff development day scheduled for tomorrow must be cancelled. In the best interest of students, we must have a full day of school.

All Putnam Valley schools will have a regular day of school tomorrow, Friday, March 17, 2017.

Thank you,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


March 13, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

As we all prepare for what is predicted to be the largest snowstorm of the season, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about whether to postpone our early dismissal scheduled for this Friday, March 17.  Given the presenters scheduled, the preparation, participation, timeliness and importance of these professional development workshops, as well as the arrangements with the Children’s Center, I feel the need to move forward with the schedule. 

Thank you for your continued partnership and support as we work together to continue our focus on empowering all students in a respectful environment that nurtures a student-focused educational program. 

If parents or community members are able to join us on Friday, from 12:30-2:00PM, please send an email to JDenike@pvcsd.org.  Your participation is welcomed and appreciated.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools 

(Letter to community-2/23/17 and 3/7/17)


March 9, 2017

Dear Staff, Parents and Community Members:

Invitation to Participate In Important Hiring Process

During the week of March 20, we will begin our interview process for two important leadership positions in the District: Assistant Principal of the Middle School and Director of Learning and Innovative Educational Opportunities.  The positions have been posted and advertised widely for several weeks.   Both of these positions will be critical to shaping our District’s future on behalf of our students.

In order to provide an opportunity for participation in the hiring process, we are asking for volunteers to serve on committees that will screen and interview candidates.

Screening interviews for the Director of Learning hiring committee will be conducted on Tuesday, March 21 beginning at 4:00 PM. Screening interviews for the Assistant Principal position will take place on Wednesday, March 22 starting at 3:00 PM.   I am attaching to this email the descriptions of each of these positions and The New York Times advertisement.  

Finalist interviews will be held the following week, on Tuesday, March 28, for the Director of Learning position and Wednesday, March 29, for the Assistant Principal position.

If you are interested in serving on one or both of these committees, please complete the following form: 
https://goo.gl/forms/gQIUVXRJP0qWWGRY2.  We will get back to you with more details once the committees have been established. If you have any difficulty with the google form, please email your committee request to DLopez@pvcsd.org directly.

Thank you for your involvement in this significant District process.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


March 7, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

There's an app for that...

Just over a year ago, we launched our very own PV app. As more and more people seek information on their mobile devices we wanted to provide direct access to the district’s most sought after information in the most convenient format. Recognizing trends in social technology and the unprecedented use of smartphones, the app allows us to better connect and collaborate with our school community.

Please download our free app – Putnam Valley CSD - from iTunes or Google Play. Take a look around the app to see the information available at your fingertips. Be sure to go to Settings to personalize what information you receive and check out our News Stream for all of our top stories. Please feel free to provide feedback by clicking the Comments box. Tell us what you like and what you would like to be able to find in the app. With your feedback the app will continue to evolve and improve.

Being able to reach out to our community, notify you of emergencies, and keep you informed and involved in our schools is critical. Downloading the app will ensure that emergency messages are immediately delivered to your cell phone. No matter what personalized settings you choose, emergency notifications will be delivered. Please also remember to update and verify your demographic information in PowerSchool.

Please take a minute and download the Putnam Valley CSD app.
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=1044763282&mt=8

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


March 7, 2017

REMINDER

Dear Putnam Valley Staff and Community Members: 

On Friday March 17, 2017, our schools will follow an early dismissal schedule to provide an opportunity for professional development.  The School District also invites community members to join us from 12:30-2:00 PM as we explore ways to sustain a community of respect and support for our students. The High School will dismiss at 10:15 AM, Middle School at 11:00 AM and the Elementary School at 11:45 AM.  For families who currently use the Putnam Valley Children’s Center, the program will be in session. 

We thank you in advance for your support, knowing that there may be inconveniences in our plan to dismiss early on March 17.  We believe that at this time, your partnership is instrumental as we work to ensure safe and respectful school spaces. 

Several circles of learning and sharing will take place simultaneously in order to provide information and dialogue on several ways to continue our efforts to empower all students in a safe environment that respects and appreciates different   voices and perspectives.

Staff members are asked to identify three choices for the K-12 program, using the Google form.  Click here

Parents and community members are asked to send an email to Jeannie Denike with their preferences. (jdenike@pvcsd.org). 

We will try to accommodate choices but may need to re-assign based on the program structure and capacity.

Circles of Learning and Sharing:

  1. Community Circle and dialogue on furthering our efforts to promote respectful, civil discourse and civic engagement: What are our schools doing now? What can and should be done? ~Facilitators: Ms. Intrieri and Dr. Wills
  1. Digital Citizenship-How can we help our students use electronic devices and social media respectfully and determine the veracity and credibility of websites and links? ~Facilitator: Ms. DeMaine
  1. Operation Respect:  Introducing a program to teach younger students how to speak and act respectfully, appreciate differences and deter bullying behavior.  ~Facilitator: Mr. Weiss
  1. Teaching English Language Learners (English as a New Language): A basic primer and strategies for general education teachers. 
    ~Facilitators: Ms. Coleman and Ms. Methans
  1. The Instructional Strategies of Physics Professor Ed Mazur: Promoting students as problem solvers and active, collaborative learners.
    ~Facilitator:  Mr. Kuczma
  1. DASA (Dignity for all Students Act) : Principles, Process, and Perspective: ~Facilitator: Ms. Doherty
  1. Facing History and Ourselves:  Applying complex historical issues to current concerns related to prejudice, ethical decision-making, civic engagement and civil discourse.  ~Facilitator: Mr. O’Connor

We invite your participation in this important opportunity to share, listen and learn from each other.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools 


February 28, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Staff and Community:

Once again, the Putnam Valley High School music department will showcase band and choral students in a Great Performance! Tomorrow evening at 7:00 PM, there will be a production of Carmina Burana, a thrilling cantata based on medieval poetry and sung primarily in Latin that celebrates the capacity of the human spirit to transcend the bonds of mortality and fate. There is a joyfulness in the songs and reveling in the pleasures of spring and love, while warning of excess in expression.

For me, the magic of this piece is the excitement of the rhythm and collective voices of the chorus with opportunity for a myriad of percussion and wind instruments.

I urge the community to come out to enjoy the spirit of our musicians and their teachers, and be prepared to be awakened and surprised!

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

Click here for more information


February 27, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

Please click here for our District Newsletter - Winter 2017 and take a look at our District news and latest initiatives. 

The newsletter can also be found on our website under Notices

If you have friends or neighbors who do not have children in our schools, but are interested in receiving periodic publications from the District, please ask them to provide their contact information by clicking here

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools

Fall 2016 Newsletter


February 23, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Staff and Community Members:

On Friday March 17, 2017, our schools will follow an early dismissal schedule to provide an opportunity for professional development. The School District also invites community members to join us from 12:30-2:00 PM as we explore ways to sustain a community of respect and support for our students. The High School will dismiss at 10:15 AM, Middle School at 11:00 AM and the Elementary School at 11:45 AM. For families who currently use the Putnam Valley Children’s Center, the program will be in session.

We thank you in advance for your support, knowing that there may be inconveniences in our plan to dismiss early on March 17. We believe that at this time, your partnership is instrumental as we work to ensure safe and respectful school spaces.

Several circles of learning and sharing will take place simultaneously in order to provide information and dialogue on several ways to continue our efforts to empower all students in a safe environment that respects and appreciates different voices and perspectives.

Staff members are asked to identify three choices for the K-12 program, using the Google form. Click here

Parents and community members are asked to send an email to Jeannie Denike with their preferences. (jdenike@pvcsd.org).

We will try to accommodate choices but may need to re-assign based on the program structure and capacity.

Circles of Learning and Sharing:

  1. Community Circle and dialogue on furthering our efforts to promote respectful, civil discourse and civic engagement: What are our schools doing now? What can and should be done? ~Facilitators: Ms. Intrieri and Dr. Wills

  2. Digital Citizenship-How can we help our students use electronic devices and social media respectfully and determine the veracity and credibility of websites and links? ~Facilitator: Ms. DeMaine

  3. Operation Respect: Introducing a program to teach younger students how to speak and act respectfully, appreciate differences and deter bullying behavior. ~Facilitator: Mr. Weiss
  4. Teaching English Language Learners (English as a New Language): A basic primer and strategies for general education teachers. ~Facilitators: Ms. Coleman and Ms. Methans

  5. The Instructional Strategies of Physics Professor Ed Mazur: Promoting students as problem solvers and active, collaborative learners. ~Facilitator: Mr. Kuczma

  6. DASA (Dignity for all Students Act) : Principles, Process, and Perspective: ~Facilitator: Ms. Doherty

  7. Facing History and Ourselves: Applying complex historical issues to current concerns related to prejudice, ethical decision-making, civic engagement and civil discourse. ~Facilitator: Mr. O’Connor

We invite your participation in this important opportunity to share, listen and learn from each other.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


February 17, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

In the past week, I was able to observe some extraordinary student activities that are particularly meaningful as prepare to celebrate Presidents’ Day on Monday. Visiting fourth grade classrooms last Friday, I observed students proudly presenting their research on colonial history and lives of early citizens. Using Google presentations or oral and hands-on demonstrations, our young students joyfully demonstrated their understanding of a way of life that incorporated physical labor, interdependence, and sharing of skills, common needs and resources. There were blacksmiths whose tasks were critical to the survival of the communities, farmers, silversmiths, housewives and children who maintained households, and one-room school houses, where older children taught the younger ones and somehow, learned to read and write. Survival required all hands at the ready. There was a simplicity that we might envy, but we also know that the work was physically exhausting and many died early from disease and environmental dangers.  The fourth grade children presented their work to younger grades and to supportive parents and teachers.

In a very different setting at the High School, I watched the Black History Month assembly presentation, a dramatization using documentary footage of the civil rights movement with a narrative of an actor who told the story of life in the South for African-American boys and girls in the fifties and sixties through the violence, lynchings and assassinations that accompanied voter registration drives, the integration of schools, sit-ins, freedom-rides and the Selma March. Our eighth grade and high school students heard a first person account of the struggle that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For our students, history came alive in this way and many looked at their companions differently. As I left the PAC, I heard one young man turn to his black friend and say, with some awkwardness, and heartfelt, but with a smile,  “Now I understand.”

Within the context of these engaging history lessons in our schools, I was inspired to remark upon the celebration of Presidents' Day this year, and I thought it would be meaningful to honor the day by turning to the messages of Washington and Lincoln in their first inaugural addresses.  Washington actually created the custom of the inaugural speech. There was no requirement for the first President to address the citizens. Rather there was a duty to recommend “such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”   Rather than specific policies, Washington used the opportunity to express the importance of an “equal eye” to oversee the community, “order and right,” “private morality,” and “preservation of the sacred fire of liberty” and “destiny of the republican model of government,” and what he called the “experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” 

Lincoln spoke 72 years later in his first Inaugural Address and grappled with the struggle to keep the union together, divided over the awful root of slavery that threatened its existence. He attempted to persuade his countrymen that secession was impossible without “anarchy.” Yet he expressed his faith in the Constitution and the courts and asserted his belief that the nation would survive. While Washington had the unquestioned confidence of the founders, Lincoln was elected by a majority of the Electoral College and only 40% of the popular vote. His inaugural was a plea for unification. He couldn’t know the extent of the horror that Civil War would bring.  His final words remain relevant and powerful today:

"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

For me it is instructive and helpful to read both of these great Inaugurals.  They shed light on our continued quest to create “a more perfect union.” The speeches can be found at:

teachingamericanhistory.org › Newsletter. Another powerful website for research on documents that have shaped our history is https://ourdocuments.gov/content.php?page=milestone

Wishing all a few days of respite before we meet again on Wednesday, February 22, Washington’s Birthday!

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


February 16, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Every other year, our school district works with Putnam County's Putnam Communities That Care (CTC) Coalition to conduct a highly respected and validated Prevention Needs Assessment Survey of students in grades 8 through 12. Student responses to survey questions permit the measurement of factors that place our students at risk for problem behaviors and the factors that protect students from problem behaviors. Results are compiled for individual districts and Putnam County.

To further their efforts, this fall our local CTC held a "Key Leaders Breakfast" and invited community leaders to come together to discuss the most pressing concerns facing the young people of Putnam Valley. Community leaders from scouts, sports, law enforcement, our fire and ambulance departments, Parks and Recreation, our schools, and many others provided feedback and suggestions and a community-wide survey was designed and is attached for your input.

The next meeting of our Putnam Valley CTC is scheduled for March 14 at 2:30 pm. Anyone interested in joining the group is welcome to join us in the High School Library classroom. (email: web@pvcsd.org)

Please take a few minutes to take the attached survey. Your input is valued and appreciated.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
on behalf of the Putnam Valley CTC

Putnam Valley CTC Survey - Click Here


February 15, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Parents/Guardians:

Once again, I am writing to you to ask that you support our teachers and administrators in providing the instructional foundation and environment that supports student learning and achievement as creative and critical thinkers, readers and writers. As we have indicated in prior letters, we continue to look towards strengthening our instructional strategies and targeting our approaches to student needs. To that end, our staff has analyzed the New York State 3-8 assessment results to provide information that we have used to examine student progress and performance.  Because we do not have results from all students in grades 3-8, we attempt to supplement the state assessment with a variety of other types of  assessments so that we can work effectively to ensure student success.  This year, our teachers worked together to create a chart that provides clear and immediate information on how the tests have changed over the past two years to address concerns that parents have had.

Parents are now able to review most of their child’s tests and responses, not just the results, but the actual math and ELA tests so that they are aware of what students are expected to know and do in their grade level. In order to review the tests, parents can call the principal’s office and make an appointment to meet with the administrator or teachers to examine their child’s tests.

Other changes are outlined in the attached chart so that parents can quickly see just how different the testing process has been. Some of the important issues that have been addressed:

  • Tests are shorter with fewer reading passages and math problems. A portion of three days is used for test administration.
  • Tests are spread out, so that ELA is at the end of March and Math is at the end of May.
  • The new test developer, Questar, uses different measures and provides for a variety of reading levels with passages chosen by teachers from all over New York State. PV teachers have participated in test development.
  • ALL student writing responses in grades 3-8 were released to schools. We have had professional development for our staff so that teachers view the tests and plan lessons to support students.
  • Teachers are involved in test creation, item writing and passage selection.
  • The tests are untimed. Suggested time varies from 50-90 minutes per session. Students can take their time to finish and check. There is no pressure of a time limit.
  • More IEP accommodations are now allowed on the state tests. You can learn about these from our Office of Pupil Personnel or your child’s teachers.
  • The test results are now returned by the end of May so that teachers can meet over the summer to use the information for planning. Individual reports were mailed home before school started.
  • Parents can see their child’s test. Make an appointment to see your child’s 2016 test.
  • The new APPR law removes the 3-8 scores from calculation of the teacher’s reported evaluation score.

We are asking that all students participate in the State Assessment process this year. There is already a negative impact on the District’s accountability rating because we had a refusal rate above 5%. Our refusal rate was over 40%, which may result in penalties that are not related to student performance, but to student participation. We are looking at the consequences of not meeting the Acceptable Yearly Progress, not due to student achievement, but due to lack of participation in the testing process. If we are named a “School in Need of Improvement,” we have damaged our reputation and the community’s standing, and created the need for extensive paperwork and reporting that will compel our use of limited resources for this purpose.

We understand that there continue to be questions about the direction of New York’s educational initiatives. However, much has changed, and we need to be sure that our students are meeting the standards that measure their progress and the District’s efforts to provide a meaningful and engaging educational program.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


February 14, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

You may have heard about an initiative at our high school called Rachel's Challenge sponsored by the student's Make A Difference Club.  Rachel Scott was one of the first students killed at Columbine High School in 1999.  Her parents found in her room a diary that reflected her vision of kindness and "compassion," which she believed "is the greatest form of love humans have to offer."  High school students throughout our nation have had an opportunity to learn about Rachel Scott and have pledged to honor her memory and legacy by performing acts of kindness in their own schools and communities.  This week, our Putnam Valley students, who are advised by teacher Linda Cefaloni, sent individually composed and handwritten messages of kindness and appreciation to every member of our staff. Each one of us was moved deeply on Valentine's Day to read these personal messages. The message below was included with the handwritten note:

Dear Employee of the Putnam Valley School District,

Believe it or not, every day you touch the lives of children in the district. Whether you greet and drive us each day, keep our schools clean and safe, feed our hungry appetites, pick us up when we are down, help us overcome challenges, teach us to think and solve problems, encourage us when we fail or are hurting, protect us so that we stay healthy in mind and body, provide assistance to callers and visitors, pay district expenses and employees, fix our laptops, or do something else to keep our school running smoothly, we thank you. Everything you do for us may not be visible, but it matters, and it is greatly appreciated. 

This year we thought it important to say thank you personally. We know it takes everyone working together to educate us. Whatever you do, wherever you work, your words and actions affect us in a positive way. Rachel Scott had a theory that if one person were to go out of their way to show some form of kindness, it would start a chain reaction. We wanted to share Rachel’s message and challenge you to share it with another. 

Enclosed please find a Kindness Note and Rachel's essay. Compassion, she believed, is the greatest form of love humans have to offer. We don't have much to show or give you, but please except our words as a thank you for all you do each day for us, the children of the PVCSD. 

The Students of the PVHS Make a Difference Club
“Someday, these hands will touch millions of people’s hearts” ~ Rachel Scott

We are inspired to share this kindness and the generous spirit of our students with our community. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools 


February 6, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Based on my recommendation to the Board of Education, it is anticipated that Travis McCarty will be appointed to the position of Putnam Valley Middle School Principal on February 9, 2017.  This appointment will be effective July 1, 2017.  As you know, Mr. Hallisey, will be retiring after 36 years with the Putnam Valley School District, effective June 30, 2017. 

After an extensive and thorough hiring process, which began with 100 applicants, screening interviews of seven candidates and then thorough interviews of three finalists with a committee representing staff, parents, and members of the Board of Education, I had more than sufficient evidence to support my recommendation of Mr. McCarty for this critical position. 

As a teacher, administrative intern, and assistant principal, Mr. McCarty has demonstrated the characteristics needed to succeed as a principal who will lead our District effectively as we work toward developing students with the capacity to fully engage in meeting twenty-first century challenges in college or career.

Mr. McCarty has strong beliefs about respecting all students and diversity of thought and culture. He focuses on student and staff voices and needs. During the interview process, staff provided evidence of his adherence to these principles by recounting the time he spends listening to staff and talking and interacting with students in informal and formal ways throughout the day.

It is clear that Mr. McCarty has his own vision for school success and is eager to obtain feedback that will help the school to improve its responsiveness to student needs. During the interview, Mr. McCarty referred with enthusiasm to the “Schools to Watch” evaluation process and the staff and community involvement in this rigorous review of the school.  He is eagerly awaiting the report of the evaluation so that the information gleaned from the feedback will generate a template for improvement that he and his staff can utilize to inform a vision and strategy for change.

Mr. McCarty is a reflective, curious and caring leader, who sees each student and staff member as a valued individual to be supported in the quest to “get better.” During his participation in the Bank Street Future School Leaders Academy, he engaged with twenty-three cohort members who served in districts throughout Westchester and Putnam County. He has made site visits to several middle schools of distinction, and this spring, to inform his vision and planning for our district, he will visit other middle schools that have been recognized for their outstanding educational programs.

I feel strongly that Mr. McCarty has earned this recommendation through his commitment to students, staff, community and his continued passion for learning to facilitate success for all.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools


January 27, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The United Nations has designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz and Birkenau by Allied troops near the end of World War II. Reflections of American soldiers from that experience catalog the horrors they viewed. They witnessed the complete degradation of humanity in the starving survivors and in the remainders of the gas chambers and incinerators. Their stories revealed to the world what had been reported but not fully understood due to the unthinkable nature of the genocide that included 6 million Jewish citizens of countries throughout Eastern Europe. However, the journey to the death camps began with words, caricatures, messages that dehumanized Jews, Roma, children and adults with disabilities of all kinds, gay men and women and others who were defined by the German government as less than human. The process of degrading others began with legal segregation and the elimination of rights to education and professional opportunities. Thus, remembering the Holocaust is about remembering that the privilege of democracy is earned through vigilance and civic engagement. I am including a link to a YouTube video that reminds us that there have been a number of other genocides since the holocaust, and that remembering requires our commitment to defend the dignity of all.

https://youtu.be/WVqmUtWBy8E

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


January 21, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Staff and Community:

With the Inauguration of our 45th President of the United States, we remind ourselves of the privilege of democracy, with the embrace of diversity of thought as its strength. We also are mindful of our respect for differences, and appreciation of our common belief in each individual's right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." In our schools we pledge to defend the dignity of every child without fear of hateful speech or physical harm. While there is turbulence without, we will strive for peace within. Recognizing that opinions and perspectives differ, we seek to value disagreements as a path to learning, while adhering to a common understanding of decency and fairness. Education requires exploration of all sides of a question to seek truth. Together we continue our quest for "a more perfect union."

Sincerely,
Fran Wills


January 18, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

I would like to invite you to our next "Superintendent's Listening Hour" which will be held tomorrow night, Thursday, January 19. We will meet in our high school library at 6:00 pm, just prior to the Board of Education meeting which begins at 7:00 pm in our high school cafeteria. The agenda is open to allow for informal conversation and to provide an opportunity for you to get to know your schools.

Let's keep the conversations going!

I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow evening.

Best,

Dr. Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools


January 13, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

As we prepare to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 16, 2017, I  would like to call your attention to some recent films that provide rich and remarkable background to help us understand the turning point in the history of civil rights that took place in 1963. Three films seem to capture the issues that moved Martin Luther King, Jr. as a Civil Rights leader.  August Wilson’s play, Fences, presents the plight of African-American workers in the fifties, and portrays themes of childhood disappointment, parenting, marital relationships and frustration with limited expectations that are common to all families. Moonlight is a poignant coming of age film that provides insights into the unique pain of young black men as they venture into the world.  These two films are not recommended for children. They explore adult topics and issues.

However, in a completely different way, and suitable for families to view, the movie, Hidden Figurestells a story that captures vividly the context of Martin Luther King’s struggle for Civil Rights. In this film, based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly, we learn about three women whose knowledge of mathematics was critical to John Glenn’s manned space flight in 1962, and the restoration of our pride in America’s role as the leader of scientific progress following the Soviet Union’s colossal “first in space” triumph in 1961. In this buried gem of our history, three African American women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, math prodigies, known as “human computers” for their ability to do complex calculations with incredible speed and accuracy, were called upon by NASA to calculate and plot the space launches and the return of astronauts to earth. Even with the invention of the first IBM computers, these women taught themselves to program and were relied upon to ensure the safe return of our men in space.

We haven’t heard about these women because their story was hidden; nor were their hardships in a segregated environment revealed. Even with all their knowledge and skill, because they were African American, they suffered indignities that shock us today.  They were required to walk a ½ mile to get to a segregated bathroom, and even denied the use of the coffee pot in the break-room.  Undaunted, they rise above the hardships; they are committed to their nation and the dream of space travel.  Finally, last year, their leader, Katherine Johnson, 98, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I hope that your family will be able to see this film.  You will find inspiration and much to admire and revere in the dignity and humanity of these three American heroes.  I believe they earn our deep respect for what Martin Luther King, Jr. called in his iconic “I have a dream” speech, the “content of their character.”

(Here is a link to the movie trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wfrDhgUMGI)

After Wednesday night’s high school chorus concert, I feel compelled to share a video-clip of our students who sang the song, “My Shot” from Hamilton against a backdrop also created by a student, sending the message of the dreams of our nation for unity of purpose within diversity of thought and experience, and the opportunity for each of our students to “rise” and make a difference. https://youtu.be/tLV_GcDbbA4

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools


January 11, 2017

Dear High School Parents/Guardians:

In order to respond to concerns and questions that parents may have about yesterday's incident regarding threats made on social media directed at the High School, the principal, Ms. Intrieri will hold a public forum for High School parents, from 6:30 -7:00 p.m., this evening in the High School library (prior to the choral concert). Today, Ms. Intrieri met with all students to respond to their concerns. Our Student Resource Officer, Deputy Pitt, also presented the dangers of abusing social media and the potential impact on the future of our students. You are welcome to attend tonight's meeting regarding this matter.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


January 10, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Earlier today we received by both a student and via our reporting system, Anonymous Alerts, information about an Instagram posting that indicated a serious threat by two students against our high school and referenced a future date. Law enforcement was immediately contacted and an investigation is ongoing. We are confident, after consulting with law enforcement, that there is no imminent danger to our students or staff.
As always, we will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

Thank you,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


December 23, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Putnam Valley CSD had determined that it is important to introduce a new communications tool called Anonymous Alerts®. Anonymous Alerts® allows students or parents to quickly, easily, and anonymously report urgent information to school officials across all of our school campuses. The system encourages students, parents and staff to confidentially report bullying, cyber-bullying, and other sensitive topics through private messages to our administration. Putnam Valley CSD does not support, encourage or tolerate any behavior that prevents any student from reaching their full potential.

We also believe that the best way to address problems that our students face in school is personal contact with a teacher, school administrator, psychologist or counselor and we strongly encourage and fully support that continued practice. However, we do know that sometimes there is a concern that a student or parent may want to communicate anonymously.

How do I place an incident report from Internet connected computers/tablets?

1)   Go to https://www.anonymousalerts.com/putnamvcsd/ from any Internet connected device

2)   Click on the web button called “Anonymous Alerts”. Fill out your incident report.

How do I place a report from an iPhone or Android phone?

1)   From the iPhone Store, download the free app by searching for “Anonymous Alerts”. If you have an Android phone, go to the Play Store, search for “Anonymous Alerts” and download.

2)   After downloading the app, click on it, enter setup/login putnamvcsd and enter putnamvcsd as your Password.

You will also find an Anonymous Alerts icon on our district webpage. 

The mobile apps and Web-based reporting system provides secure 1-way or 2-way encrypted messages, increasing the flow of important information to school officials. Message topics for submission may include bullying, cyber-bullying, family difficulties, self-harm/cutting, drug and alcohol abuse, student depression, sexual harassment, gang related issues or strange/abnormal student behavior.

All reports remain completely anonymous, although submitters have the option to reveal their identity if they prefer to have a person-to-person discussion. The program is monitored from 7:00 AM until 5:00 PM, and should only be used for serious and urgent matters. Indeed, if something disturbing or life threatening occurs at other times, it is imperative to call 911.

We feel that we have a responsibility to offer this tool to our community in order to protect the safety of our students, providing avenues for confidential disclosure when there is something serious that is troubling them.  At Putnam Valley CSD, our goal is to enhance the student’s learning experience and limit any roadblocks to a student’s success, giving everyone the opportunity to succeed. 

Representatives from Anonymous Alerts will be presenting this reporting system to our middle school and high school students on January 3 during grade level community meetings.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

Mobile app student training video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pZr5gQ7cuM

 

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