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Message from Dr. Fran Wills, Superintendent

July 12, 2018

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

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

We are resending this information as a reminder that the High School start time, beginning in September, will be 7:50 am. 

The first day of school for students is Wednesday, September 5.

Students attending BOCES or JFK will be provided transportation to the High School for transportation scheduled to leave our campus at approximately 7:15 am.  

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.

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 if you would like a response


July 10, 2018

Help Wanted: PVCSD Transportation and Food Service Providers...

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

Would you consider participating with Putnam Valley School District transportation or food service providers? There are positions available for you to review!

Montauk Transportation is looking for bus drivers and they will provide training with a valid CDL permit. Please call Patty at:(914)428-1400 x1200 or email at: Platuheru@eastendbus.com for more information. Experienced CDL drivers are also encouraged to contact Patty. (Class C License with P and S endorsement and Class B License with P and S endorsement) AM hours, subject to change: 6:45 am to 9:15 am  PM hours, subject to change: 1:45 pm to 4:15 pm

Aramark Food Service is looking for a cook and food service workers. Part-time hours, Monday-Friday. Approximate hours...Cook: 7:00 am-12 pm. Deli: 8:30/9 am to 12:30 pm.  School calendar. Please contact Cara at (914)419-7774 or email at CDiMarsico@pvcsd.org.  

Please pass this information along to neighbors and friends. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frances Wills Superintendent of Schools


June 26, 2018

Summer Meal Information - No Kid Hungry

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Summer is the hungriest time of the year. No Kid Hungry can help. No Kid Hungry is a national campaign that provides a summer meals texting service. The service is free, and open to anyone. A parent, grandparent or caregiver can simply text the word "FOOD" to 877-877 and the system prompts them to provide their address or zip code, which is used to provide the location and service times of up to three nearby summer meals sites.

https://www.nokidhungry.org/what-we-do/summer-meals?

===========================================

No Kid Hungry ejecuta un servicio de mensajes de texto de comidas de verano. El servicio es gratuito y está abierto a cualquier persona. Un padre, abuelo o cuidador puede simplemente enviar un mensaje de texto con la palabra "COMIDA" al 877-877 y el sistema les pide que proporcionen su dirección o código postal, que se utiliza para proporcionar la ubicación y tiempos de servicio de hasta tres sitios de comidas de verano. Please share this information with friends and neighbors.

Thank you,
Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


June 22, 2018

End of Year Msg. from Dr. Wills

Dear Putnam Valley Community and Colleagues:

As we look forward to a sunny and safe summer vacation, we look back on a productive and meaningful year with a mixture of joy and sadness. For many reasons, this has been a very long and emotional school year. The weather was relentless and cruel, and we continue to mourn the loss of our lovely fifth grader, Carmelo Prince Singleton. The Middle School yearbook is dedicated to this sweet and kind young man, and we know that he will always live on in the memories and affections of his classmates. His loss reminded us that we must treasure each moment with our loved ones. With the vulnerability we all share, I try never to say goodbye in the morning without a hug and the words, "I love you." Finding something to be grateful for each day is also very good for our health and well-being.

For our staff and students, there was the disappointment of losing spring break and making up school days was imperative in order to meet state requirements. Teachers were seeking stability and continuity so that they could cover the academic material. I am grateful for the dedication of our staff as they recreated curriculum and practice opportunities. Many of our students were awarded recognition at the local and state level for their achievements. Our science research program, in particular, has demonstrated the capacity of our students to achieve at a world-class level. At recent Board meetings, we have had presentations by students who studied Mandarin Chinese this year and classes that worked with new technology, Flipgrid, to build public speaking and problem solving skills. A remarkable math challenge program at the Elementary School combined art and math to replicate the geometric abstract work of 20th century master, Piet Mondrian. Arts are active at every level, with exceptional performances. The Ruby Bridges Shadow Play at fourth grade tackled a sensitive subject to explore the courage of a child who integrated the Louisiana schools as the lone African American six year old child in an all-white segregated school setting. Most recently, the sparkling and hilarious duet, "Love is My Legs" from the PV High School musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels received a "Metro," the regional four county high school equivalent of the Broadway Tony award.

We have many long-range projects that we are continuing to develop, along with our wide-ranging academic and elective programs, clubs and extracurricular athletic opportunities. A list of some of these projects follows:

  • The International Baccalaureate (IB) program, science research program, full block schedule and unit lunch at the high school;
  • "Later start" design and implementation at the high school;
  • Block schedule at the middle school;
  • Co-teaching models that add value to student learning through collaborative planning and teaching strategies;
  • Engaging classroom instruction that challenge all students and develop student voice, choice, leadership and self-directed learning
  • Integrated sustainability instructional goals and energy performance savings;
  • Safety and security policy protocols, training and infrastructure;
  • Next-Gen K-8 curriculum standards in ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies;
  • Math and ELA challenge program at the Elementary School;
  • Mandarin Chinese 7-12;
  • K-8 Academic Intervention enhancement;
  • Social Emotional Learning projects, including RULER;
  • Negotiations with our administrators, teachers and CSEA Associations;
  • A substantial K-12 facilities project without an increasing tax impact; developed with a community planning committee
  • Safety and security policy protocols, training and infrastructure
  • Strategic and thoughtful response to future planned retirements;
  • Adherence to tax cap and appropriate budgetary restraints;
  • Engaging classroom instructional strategies that challenge all students and develop student voice, choice, leadership and self-directed learning.

In announcing that 2018-19 will be my final year as Superintendent of Schools in Putnam Valley, I will be continuing to work closely with our administrative team to ensure that leadership responsibilities are established and ongoing for continuing our important aspirations for excellence and student success. We have a remarkable leadership team in the district with dedicated and enthusiastic administrators at every level. Collaborating with our teachers and support staff, we are ready for the coming year and beyond. Watch for our second distribution of next year's bus schedules to accommodate the "Later Start" initiative and details on our K-12 Facilities Improvement Project!

There is one issue that as an educator, whose life is devoted to improving opportunities and well-being of children, I must weigh in on. I am voicing my hopes that the children who have been separated from their families will be returned to them with all due speed and that our beloved nation will never again consider taking young children from their parents causing unknowable life-long pain. Click here for the Board of Education resolution on this matter.

We wish you all a wonderful summer in every way!

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills Superintendent of Schools


June 21, 2018

PVES Water Test Results

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

We have just received the results from our monthly water test that indicate the presence of coliform at our Elementary School. (This is a routine test and last month's results were normal. ) E.coli was not present in any results.

It was recommended that drinking fountains be closed until the system is completely flushed. Water fountains were immediately closed and a technician will be on site tomorrow morning to check the system and attempt to identify the cause. This is typically an issue that can be easily remedied.  Water coolers and water bottles are available to students and staff in place of the water fountains that were closed.

The water is safe for washing of hands, cooking and other non-potable uses.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


June 8, 2018

Msg. from fourth grade teacher Mrs. Odell

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Today, we received the attached heartwarming letter of gratitude and appreciation from fourth grade teacher and colleague Katie Odell and her family. We have all been filled with concern and hope for Katie's recovery, and now we are hearing that she is home and getting well. We are so grateful for this good news and continue to offer our support and best wishes for her return to the Putnam Valley School District. She so loves her students and life in the classroom. Please join with me in sending good thoughts as we plan our welcome back cheers.

Sincerely,

Dr. Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools

Letter to PV Community


June 7, 2018

PVES - Outdoor Classroom

Dear Putnam Valley Elementary School Families:

With the effects of the recent storm, we did a great deal of tree work around our elementary school campus to remove trees that had fallen and to provide additional preventive maintenance.  Yesterday, without any cause that could be determined, another tree fell on the outdoor classroom. No one was outside at the time. The outdoor classroom will be closed until we have had a tree expert thoroughly examine tree conditions and prescribe further action.

Thank you for understanding our concern.

Sincerely,
Dr. Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools


June 6, 2018

Superintendent's Listening Hour-Tomorrow-6/7/18-5:45PM

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

I would like to invite you to our next "Superintendent's Listening Hour", tomorrow, Thursday, June 7. 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 as the year comes to an end and we look toward the 2018-2019 academic year. 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.  Board meetings are open to the public and are also live streamed via our website at pvcsd.org.

Presentations will include: 5th Grade Middle School Collaborative Project - Mrs.Dressen, Ms. Sommer, Mrs. Sousa) Mandarin Chinese Program: students with Mrs. Sharp Math Challenge - Mr. Coleman Dangers of Vaping - Mr. Turner PVMS Schedule - Mr. McCarty Sincerely, 

Dr. Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools


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

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