PV Schools

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please attend and please donate:

PV Homecoming Football Game on October 7, 2017, and

at the potluck supper and concert on Tuesday, October 17, 2017

6:00 PM Community Supper

7:00 PM Community Concert

Click here for potluck donations


Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

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

French and Spanish Honor Societies