PV Schools

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.


Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools