PV Schools

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

As the fond memories of summer days spent with family and friends fade away, our schools are moving full speed ahead.  Our hallways are once again filled with the smiling faces of staff and students. Classrooms are full of inquisitive minds eager to learn, and teachers are exploring new ways to cultivate student learning.  The creative minds of our students are once again being expressed in art rooms and on stage, while the athletic fields and gymnasiums are filled with the competition of sports.

We marched in our school year with the clapping of drums and the playing of horns courtesy of the Tappan Zee Bridgemen.  Our back to school celebration offered district-wide staff an opportunity to connect, reflect, and plan for the upcoming year.  Relationships were forged by way of a district-wide group activity and professional learning took place through the offering of teacher facilitated workshops. As a district, we had much to celebrate from the previous year while setting our sights on goals for the new year.

At a recent Board of Education meeting, the Board adopted our District goal for the year: “Promote Wellness and Personal Growth by Accepting Challenges.”  The acceptance of challenges is a theme we used throughout the summer and the opening of schools. The Navy Seals have a saying: “Be comfortable being uncomfortable and you’ll be able to handle any situation that comes your way.” I believe there is a lot of truth behind that statement.

During my opening remarks in August, I asked all staff to consider the greatest moments of their lives; whatever came to mind.  I then asked them to consider if any of those events happened without an aspect of challenge or disruption to their daily lives.  Personally, I could not think of any. Whether considering the birth of a child, death of a parent, purchasing a new home, changing jobs, etc., personally and professionally, each came with a degree of challenge.

This year, I hope that our goal will push teachers, students, parents, and administrators out of their comfort zone, to challenge themselves to be better and try something new.  The other part of our District goal is focused on wellness. It is imperative that we provide appropriate support to those willing to seek discomfort and take challenges. Everyone should have someone to help them along the way, catch them when they fall, and lend a hand when they are stuck.  Collectively we need to encourage individuals to challenge themselves while providing support along the way.

Here is a link to the 12 minute video I shared at Superintendent’s Conference Day.


Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools