PV Schools

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

For those of us who were here in New York on September 11, 2001 the memories of that day begin with a perfect fall day of bright sun, blue, blue skies and a cool stillness. After that, our breathing begins to become heavy, and terrible images prevail along with emotions that are personal and profound. Sixteen years later we are seeing a different kind of devastation around us, incalculable losses of lives and livelihoods caused by the mystery of natural phenomena known only hypothetically to our humble scientific understanding of how and why. As we mourn the losses of 2001, of heroes and victims of deliberate terror, we now have a plan to find a way to serve on this day, to give back in some way, to share our heartfelt warmth and gratitude with those less fortunate. After seeing the moving play, Come From Away recently, a musical recounting the way that Gander, Newfoundland welcomed those stranded in planes on 9/11, it seems that the best way we can remember that day is in reaching out to help.

With that desire to assist others in some way, our PVHS Make a Difference Club will be leading a collection drive to help a public school that was battered by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. It seemed fitting that we, who were able to start the school year so happily, would help those who did not. By contacting the Houston Independent School District, we were paired with Kolter Elementary School, a multi-language magnet school devastated by the storm and compelled to move into a facility that had been closed. Much was lost, but looking at the video the principal sent, created by their Physical Education teacher, it is clear that their spirit is intact. Parents and staff are working to get the school going again as quickly as possible for their students. (Link to video)

We would appreciate help from our community and staff in providing funds to assist with much needed classroom supplies. Monetary collections (gift cards) will be forwarded to Houston so that basic classroom supplies can be quickly replaced.  We would like to arrange some way for our elementary classes to communicate with the students at Kolter so that the gifts have meaning and we can all feel the happiness of giving and generosity.

Donations can be sent in to school through your child.  Any amount is appreciated! The impact even $1.00 per family could make carries a message of unity and empathy that transcends the miles between New York and Texas.  Envelopes should be marked Make A Difference – Kolter Elementary School.  In addition, our Make A Difference Club will have a table at Putnam Valley Town Day, Saturday, September 23.  We hope to send whatever we collect in donations by the end of this week and again after Town Day.

From Kotler Elementary Principal, Julianne Dickinson:

Thank you so very much for reaching out to me!  I am incredibly grateful for any support you are able to give our school.

One of our PTO members wrote this up about what has happened to our school because of Hurricane Harvey, and I wanted to share that information with you.

On Saturday, August 26, category 4 Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas, and began an agonizingly slow climb towards Houston. Our area began to see the strong outer bands that night in the form of pounding rain and violent thunder and lightning.  By morning, half of the beautiful homes in our neighborhood were flooded and the water continued to rise higher. Ultimately, our beloved school took on approximately five feet of water in the cafeteria, three feet in each classroom, four feet in our temporary buildings and almost our entire neighborhood was flooded to some degree.

ABC-13’s Jeff Ehling shows some of the damage to our school during his on-air boat ride through Meyerland.

As so many of our families begin the long process of cleaning up and rebuilding, we have also been informed that we will be moved temporarily to an elementary school that has been sitting vacant for the past year.  We will be in this campus for a full school year, if not longer, and will do our very best to make this new school our home.  Teachers have lost everything that was in their classroom—years of lesson plans, collecting books and spending their own money on material was all lost in this flood.

Thank you again for reaching out, and showing us support. Seeing as we’re all starting over from scratch, we’re humbled by any donation.


Thank you Putnam Valley for your generosity.


Dr. Wills
Superintendent of Schools