• July 31 Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 7/31/2020 3:00:00 PM

    Hello Wappingers CSD Community, 

    At Wappingers CSD our primary commitment is to the students and families we serve. In response to the NYS Governor's Orders, the District has completed our NYS Assurance Certified School Re-Opening Plan.  This plan aligns with the requirements assigned to us by the State of New York.  In the coming days we will further define clear guidance for the reopening of our 15 schools, and for the attendance of our 11,300+ students.  This document aligns with the regulations developed in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and guidance established by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). 

     More information will follow in the days and weeks ahead as we plan for the Re-Opening of school for the fall.

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  • July 24, 2020

    Posted by Amy Watkins on 7/24/2020 5:00:00 PM

    Good Evening Wappingers CSD Community

    The message below is from our District Superintendent, Mr. Jose Carrion:

    As we continue to move forward with submitting our reopening plan to New York State, we want to first thank everyone who was a part of our WCSD learning community and volunteered their time to work on our Reopening Task Force. Now that we have gathered information and input related to the submission of our plans, we are asking for your input as one of our culminating activities.

    We strongly encourage you to complete the survey and submit no later than Monday, July 27, 2020, by 3:00 PM. As we indicated in the last Education Update, the Governor will provide us with a decision regarding the opening of school during the first week in August. Although we don't know what the decision will be, it is important to note that a strong possibility exists where parents may be able to keep their child(ren) home and participate in virtual/remote learning.

    Please fill out a form one time For Each Child that you have in your household attending the WCSD. Due to the fact that we are asking to fill out a form for each child in your household, this information will remain confidential.

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  • July 9 2020

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 7/9/2020 11:00:00 AM

    July 9, 2020 Update

    Good Morning WCSD Community:

    Congratulations Class of 2020

    On Friday, June 26 and on Monday, June 29, 2020, our WCSD Seniors from John Jay HS, Orchard View HS, and Roy C. Ketcham HS had their commencement ceremonies and successfully graduated. The District conducted eight in-person ceremonies under the guidance of the Governor’s Executive Order.  We would like to share our appreciation to all of our Valedictorians, Salutatorians, Senior Class Presidents, Student Government Council, and  Senior and Junior Class Officers who committed their time to be present for each ceremony and provide their actual speeches and/or presentations live for their Senior classmates.  It is beyond words just how much commitment, respect, and appreciation was demonstrated for their class. Overall the District has heard many great commentaries and words of appreciation for providing our Senior class with in-person ceremonies.  Once again, congratulations to the Class of 2020.

    Reopening of Schools

    In the June 12, 2020 Update, you received the following information:

    • September 2020 Re-Entry Plan:  For the next Update, we will provide you with an opportunity to help serve in one of our sub-committees that we are putting together to help develop a plan that we have to submit to the New York State Education Department for entering back to school in September 2020.  Preliminary work has begun.  For example, each Senior Staff Administrator, will serve as the Sub-committee chair and provide guidance to the work they are responsible to complete.  We have to ensure that we address areas of Health and Safety, Transportation, Facilities, Nutrition, Teaching, Learning, Virtual Learning, Budget/Fiscal, Social Emotional Learning, Special Education, English Language Learners, Staffing and Human Resources.  The following link provides access to a document that has been made available to Districts to use as discussion points when planning for the reopening of  schools.

     

    Although we have done preliminary groundwork to prepare for September 2020, we have yet to receive official and formal guidance from New York State on what the guidelines will be for reopening of schools.  Yesterday, we received an official timeline from the Governor's Office indicating how school districts will proceed and work on reopening plans for the Continuity of Learning. Please see the following timeline outlined below:

     

    • Governor is releasing his plan on Monday, July 13
    • District plans are to be submitted to the New York State Education Department (SED)  by July 31
    • Governor will make the final decision about schools reopening between August  1-7.

    We can guarantee that all plans submitted will have to include three models.  The three models consist of Continuity of Learning (Remote Learning as if schools are not going to reopen), Hybrid Model (a combination of Remote Learning and In-Person Learning), and In-Person Learning (all students returning physically back to school).  

    We would like to take this opportunity and thank all of our WCSD community members and staff who filled out the survey and committed to volunteering their time to participate as an integral member of our local task force.  You will receive a letter confirming your participation on the WCSD Task Force for Reopening Schools, along with the sub-committee you will be serving on.  

    Our goal is to comply with the Governor’s and SED’s guidelines and regulations on reopening. We can assure you that if the District does not comply with these guidelines and submits a plan that does not meet the established guidance, it will be kicked back to the District for revisions.

    Once we receive the guidelines from SED, we will send out our next update and post all necessary information to keep you informed of what WCSD is doing and how the process is coming along.  Our goal is not to waste anyone’s time or energy. To the contrary, our process is set and we will be ready to roll up our sleeves with our locally established timeline to ensure that we have submitted viable plans, as per the State’s guidance and regulations.

    Continuity of Learning

    Our high school students who are required to attend summer school will continue to do so through the Continuity of Learning.  In addition to our high school students, designated Students with Disabilities (SWD) have also commenced their extended school year program through the Continuity of Learning.  We wish all of our students great success during this period.  We are thankful for our teachers who have committed to providing our students with Continuity of Learning instruction during this period.

    Summer Break Resources 

    During the summer, we will continue to provide families with activities, readings, and other instructional learning opportunities that students can do independently from the Continuity of Learning.  No one expected to have our schools closed and we want to ensure that we continue to support WCSD families in different ways. 

    News and Notes from the New York State Education Department

    The New York State Education Department (NYSED) releases a monthly newsletter informing the New York learning community of updates and happenings related to teaching and learning in the State.  The Staying Connected: Your Stories - July 3, 2020 contains information which you may find useful.  Click on the link to access the document or visit the NYSED website for more information. 

    Home Schooling

    The term Homeschooling is technically referred to when students receive their education at home by their parents.  Although there are different variations to what this can look like, it does mean that the home is solely responsible to provide the instruction to their child and submit quarterly reports and other required documentation to the District for approval.  

     

    With that being said, we have received an increase in the number of parents/guardians requesting to homeschool their child(ren) for the 2020-2021 school year.   In the event that the Governor’s order remains for Continuity of Learning for an extensive period of time at the start of school (September 2020), families, if they choose, can cancel/rescind their homeschooling request and re-enroll their child  in school.

    WCSD Website - www.wappingersschools.org

    Since the start of the pandemic, WCSD created an entire section to the website to keep our learning community informed of all Federal, State, County and local updates.  Please continue to view WCSD Emergency Response Website / Homepage.  There is viable information for you to review.  

     

    Thank you and stay well.  

     

    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

     

    AP DONE



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  • June 19 Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 6/19/2020 3:00:00 PM

    June 19, 2020 Update

    Good Evening WCSD Community:

    Voting Results

    We would like to thank the WCSD Community for passing our 2020-21 school budget.  Each school district in Dutchess County had a successful vote.  We would like to also congratulate our present Board of Education President, John Lumia, Vice-President Keith Odums and Trustee Peggy Kelland for their reelection on the Board of Education. We received close to 13,000 votes from the WCSD Community.  It is very important to always exercise your right to vote in school district, local, State and Federal elections.  Please visit our website for a tally of our voting results.

    Report Cards

    Our end of year academic Report Cards for grades K - 12 will be available to view on Parent Portal beginning Saturday June 27, 2020.  We would like to thank our entire Learning Community for their collaborative work in helping us bring this school year to a close.  For Elementary Report Cards, teacher assignments for next year will not be identified on the report card.  Instead, students will be notified of their new class assignments in August. 

    Continuity of Learning

    The last day of new learning for students will be Friday, June 19, 2020.  From June 22-25, students will have the opportunity, if necessary, to submit work owed, participate in small group instruction to continue to build upon student skills, and/or to complete projects currently in progress.   Should you have any questions regarding the work your student is expected to do, reach out to your child’s teacher for guidance. We acknowledge that the past few months have been difficult for many of you as we transitioned from in-person teaching to Continuity of Learning while students remained home.  Your patience, dedication, and support throughout this process has been invaluable. We will continue to keep you informed as we learn more about what teaching and learning, as well as, interscholastic sports will look like in the fall.

    High School Graduation

    We have continued to work together in order to create Graduation Ceremonies for our Senior Class of 2020.  You will recall that throughout this entire pandemic experience, the Governor’s orders have changed and/or been modified related to education.  Under the recent Governor’s new order, we will be holding up to four separate ceremonies of up to 125 - 140 students at  John Jay and Roy C. Ketcham High Schools and one ceremony for Orchard View High School.

    A review of survey results, phone calls, and emails from the WCSD community have helped us shape this celebration in a format that is student-centered so seniors may celebrate with members of their class and walk across an outdoor stage in front of their family.  Our WCSD Seniors will experience a true graduation commencement experience with the exceptions of not graduating together with the entire class and or being held at the Civic Center.  And will be maintaining compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order. 

    Our high school principals, designated teachers and support staff along with our Parent Teacher Organizations are to be commended for their continued work to provide the best viable option for our students.  In the next days to come you will continue to receive direction and guidance from your building principals.   

    Although Dutchess County has done an exemplary job at bringing the cases of COVID-19 down, we are still in the middle of a pandemic and must take precautions. Masks must be worn by every individual outside of her/his vehicle at all times. Unless you live in the same household, social distancing of at least 6 feet must take place at all times. Graduates and/or family members will not be permitted at the ceremony if she/he (1) displays symptoms consistent with COVID-19, (2) has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, or (3) within the last 14 days was a close or proximate contact of an individual who had symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19.  While I understand that graduation is an important milestone and should be celebrated, the health of our WCSD Families is paramount and will take priority.

    I would like to thank our entire WCSD Learning Community for their patience and understanding as we work to make this happen.  Congratulations to all of our Graduates!

    Virtual Secondary Summer School

    On our website, we have provided you with information regarding Regents exams exemptions.  Please review again, if necessary.  If you have any uncertainties whether your high school student requires attending summer school through the Continuity of Learning, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school counselor or their designated Assistant Principal.

    Summer Break Resources 

    During the summer, we will continue to provide families with activities, readings, and other instructional learning opportunities that students can do independently from the Continuity of Learning.  No one expected to have our schools closed and we want to ensure that we continue to support WCSD families in different ways. 

    September 2020 Re Entry Plan

    In March 17th, 2020 all Dutchess County Public Schools were closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools consider the possibility of re-opening, school districts across the state are charged with the task of creating reentry plans with action steps, planning considerations and communications guidance that will allow us to plan for September.   

    We will be creating sub-committees to help us create our re-entry plans.  If you are interested in serving on one of these committees we ask that you please complete our Re-Entry Planning Survey Form.  We have to ensure that we address areas of Health and Safety, Transportation, Facilities, Nutrition, Teaching, Learning, Virtual Learning, Budget/Fiscal, Social Emotional Learning, Special Education, English Language Learners, Staffing and Human Resources.  

    The following link provides access to a document that has been made available to Districts to use as discussion points when planning for the reopening of  schools.

    Thank you and stay well.  

     

    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools



    Comments (-1)
  • June 12 Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 6/12/2020 4:00:00 PM

    June 12, 2020 Update

    Good Evening WCSD Community:

    Continuity of Learning

    The last day of new learning for students will be Friday, June 19, 2020.  From June 22-25, students will have the opportunity, if necessary, to submit work owed, participate in small group instruction to continue to build upon student skills, and/or to complete projects currently in progress.   Should you have any questions regarding the work your student is expected to do, reach out to your child’s teacher for guidance. We acknowledge that the past few months have been difficult for many of you as we transitioned from in-person teaching to Continuity of Learning while students remained home.  Your patience, dedication, and support throughout this process has been invaluable. We will continue to keep you informed as we learn more about what teaching and learning, as well as, interscholastic sports will look like in the fall.

    Virtual Secondary Summer School

    On our website, we have provided you with information regarding Regents exams exemptions.  Please review again, if necessary.  If you have any uncertainties whether your high school student requires attending summer school through the Continuity of Learning, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school counselor or their designated Assistant Principal.

    Summer Break Resources 

    During the summer, we will continue to provide families with activities, readings, and other instructional learning opportunities that students can do independently from the Continuity of Learning.  No one expected to have our schools closed and we want to ensure that we continue to support WCSD families in different ways. 

    September 2020 Re Entry Plan

    For the next Update, we will provide you with an opportunity to help serve in one of our sub-committees that we are putting together to help develop a plan that we have to submit to the New York State Education Department for entering back to school in September 2020.  Preliminary work has begun.  For example, each Senior Staff Administrator, will serve as the Sub-committee chair and provide guidance to the work they are responsible to complete.  We have to ensure that we address areas of Health and Safety, Transportation, Facilities, Nutrition, Teaching, Learning, Virtual Learning, Budget/Fiscal, Social Emotional Learning, Special Education, English Language Learners, Staffing and Human Resources.  The following link provides access to a document that has been made available to Districts to use as discussion points when planning for the reopening of  schools.

    https://www.wappingersschools.org/cms/lib/NY01001463/Centricity/Domain/2765/Reopening%20Schools.pdf

    High School Graduation

    On June 7th, the NYS Governor announced that socially distanced in-person ceremonies of up to 150 people would be allowed beginning June 26, 2020.  While his latest decision may initially appear to give us flexibility for us to create a more formal graduation experience for our students it really puts us in a bind with our community.  We have over 400 Graduates at Roy C Ketcham, and over 500 Graduates at John Jay.  Holding a ceremony with up to 150 participants would really mean having between up to 13 mini ceremonies at our largest high school, JJHS,  and up to 12 ceremonies at RCKHS, and 1 ceremony for OVAHS.   

    Both large high schools  want to give our students a memorable graduation experience, and with strong consideration of their sizes and safety precautions, it is necessary and appropriate to continue working with the plans already set forth by them and with potential modifications made if permissible. If for some reason the Governor decides to change this criteria again in the coming days we will review the situation once more.  But as the dates for Graduation quickly approach we really need to lock in the details of our current plan so that we may execute them in the best manner possible.

    Please fill out the form that you received from your High School principal.  We hope that all Seniors participate in the two days of events.  By answering promptly to their forms, it will help to speed up the planning process and make necessary modifications that can potentially enhance what is in store for WCSD Seniors. 

    Absentee Ballots

    Please note that the Governor’s Executive Order has extended the time to mail absentee ballots to be accepted only by USPS prior to 5:00 PM on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.  If you have not already done so, it is important that you exercise your right to vote.  We cannot guarantee at this time that your ballot will be received on time, but don’t hesitate to make an attempt.

    News and Notes from the New York State Education Department

    The New York State Education Department (NYSED) releases a monthly newsletter informing the New York learning community of updates and happenings related to teaching and learning in the State.  The June newsletter contains information which you may find useful.  Click on the link to access the document or visit the NYSED website for more information. 

    Thank you and stay well.  

    Sincerely,

     

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

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  • June 4 Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 6/4/2020 5:00:00 PM

    June 4, 2020 Update

    Good Evening WCSD Community:

    Core Value:  Diversity

    THIS IS WHO WE ARE:

     Who We Are

    One of our Core Values in the WCSD is, “We believe embracing diversity in all of its forms enriches the human experience” and during these trying times that we are facing in our country, it is very important to know that we support ALL of our students. Discriminatory acts towards anyone that forms a part of the WCSD learning community will not be tolerated.  We have a great district where students of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientation and gender identity, and/or gender expression, can be their authentic selves and are to feel safe and know that we stand together against killings,  hatred, violence , and bigotry.

    Graduation Ceremonies

    The District has been made aware that there may be some confusion in our community about the Graduation dates for both of our high schools.  In our May 27th Community Update we shared that the District is planning to adhere to the Governor’s Orders by creating a ‘drive-thru’ celebration.  We also shared that the dates for these celebrations would be as follows:

    • John Jay High School -Thursday and Friday, June 25 and, 26, 2020
    • Roy C. Ketcham High School - Saturday and Sunday,  June 27 and 28, 2020

    We have heard from our Seniors and their families that our plan to hold Graduation Ceremonies in the evening across multiple evenings would not be their preference and less intimate.  For one, it was shared that having the classes be split up between two nights is not aligned with what our students are hoping for as they prefer to graduate together, and with their friends.   As the largest District in the county, along with having two large high schools,  it would have been difficult logistically for us to provide a "walk the stage" photo opportunity as part of our parade on a single night (it would take too long), which is why we were originally considering two nights.

    Now that we have received the approval and the go ahead with our plans, both of our high schools will celebrate this milestone with a two part event.  There will be an evening parade celebration the night before we hand out the diplomas.  Both high schools will provide for a memorable and fun experience that will celebrate our seniors as they (and their families) drive through the campus.  

    Part two will take place on the originally scheduled day for our high school graduations.  Starting in the morning, we will be inviting seniors to our campus to receive their diploma, "walk the stage", and have a photo opportunity while wearing their caps and gowns.   Our High School Administrative Teams will be providing sign up sheets for students to choose their preferred times to pick up their diplomas on the designated day.  Although we cannot fully guarantee for all students who want to be scheduled close in time, this will help both high schools to do what they can in order to make it happen.

    The dates for these events are as follows:

    • John Jay Senior High School Parade:  Thursday June 25th,  2020 starting at dusk.  Details and invitations for showing up at the staging area will be provided prior to the 25th.
    • John Jay Senior High School Conferring of Diplomas:  Friday June 26th, 2020 starting at 9am.  Details and sign up sheets will be provided prior to the 26th.  (Rain date: Sunday June 28th)
    • Roy C Ketcham High School Parade:   Friday June 26th,  2020 starting at dusk.  Details and invitations to show up at the staging area will be provided prior to the 26th.
    • Roy C Ketcham High School Conferring of Diplomas:  Saturday June 27th, 2020 starting at 9am.  Details and sign up sheets will be provided prior to the 27th.  (Rain date:  Monday June 29th)

    Once again, scheduled graduation dates will remain as indicated in the calendar and we want for our Seniors to feel the excitement of their Graduation Commencement while maintaining compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders.  If there are any changes to the Governor’s Order, which we doubt may happen in such a short time, we will be sure to share it and make any necessary modifications for our Seniors to have the experience they deserve.

    Regents Exams Cancelled

    In a previous update we shared that the New York State Education Department (NYSED) announced the cancellation of the June 2020 administration of Regents Exams and released guidance on modifications to requirements for students to graduate and earn their high school diplomas, credentials, and endorsements.  

    We also received notification that the August Regents Exams were cancelled as well.  The impact to our students appears to be exactly the same as our June Regents takers.  Details of how this change affects our students is noted in this New York State Education Department guidance document.  All students who fail a Regents course in the 2019-2020 school year are eligible for a Regents Exam exemption in August of 2020 so long as the student successfully passes the failed Regents course in Summer School.  If a student fails to take the Regents course in Summer School, the Regents Exam Exemption will NOT carry over to the 2020-2021 school year.  The best way for WCSD secondary students to avoid this altogether is to ensure their school work is completed as we have the month of June left to complete all assignments necessary.

    Please feel free to review or view for the first time the charts we created that also explains the narrative written above.

    Parents Right to Decline Examination Waiver

    In a memo issued to Superintendents on May 27, 2020, parents have a right to decline the Regents Examination waivers.  If a parent or person in parental relation decides they do not want the Regents Examination waiver to count towards their child's graduation requirements they must complete the Exemption Declination request form found at the bottom of the NYSED issued memo.  If a parent or person in parental relation declines the exam exemptions for a student who requires the exam to graduate and is scheduled to graduate in June or August 2020, then a diploma will not be conferred on the student at this time.

    If you are going to accept the Exemption Declination, please make sure to fill out the form and resubmit back to the assigned school.  And, if a student is not sure of their status, without hesitation they or parent should be contacting their school counselor or assigned Assistant Principal.  In addition, please view our website for summer school and requirement to maintain being exempt from any New York State Regents Exams. 

    NYS Attendance 

    As of today, we have yet to hear from the Governor and the status of the last day of school.  If the attendance requirements remain the same, we will conduct school as scheduled on our calendar.  We will also provide you with a schedule of how the last part of the school year will conclude.

    Wappingers Rewind

    Prior to March 16, each week WCSD looked forward to highlighting all of the good work happening in our buildings using the Rewind. As a result of the pandemic, it has been difficult to capture how our students and teachers are doing as they navigate our new normal of learning from home. 

    With just a month of school left, we would like to focus our attention on a different theme each week designed to encourage everyone to look for the positive things happening in our world and share it with others. In an effort to share the “good news” happening in our world, actor John Krasinski started Some Good News from his home. Each episode showcases things that make people feel good and smile. WCSD would like to capture what our students, staff and parents are doing to feel good and smile. We have identified themes that can help inspire you.

    Each week a different theme will be emailed to our students, staff, and parents inviting you to celebrate the theme. Suggestions appropriate for a range of ages will be provided, but everyone is encouraged to let their creativity shine through. Each week will also include a “Weekly Coping Strategy” that may be helpful in addition to videos and inspirational quotes all designed to help bring out your smile and inspire you. 

    Those interested in sharing what they are doing to feel good and smile can use this link to upload a photo of what was created or share a video. The hope will be that WCSD Some Good News will showcase how our students, staff, and parents are taking time for their own well-being. A bonus would be receiving glimpses of your work and sharing them with the WCSD community to keep the Good News momentum going.

    Thank you and stay well.  

     

    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

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  • May 27 Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 5/27/2020 5:00:00 PM

    May 27, 2020 Update

    Good Evening WCSD Community:

    Updates From the NYS Governor’s Office

    As per the Governor’s Order, the District has not received any modification to the ten-day waiver.  As indicated in the previous update, please be aware that the school calendar may still be subject to change.  

    Meal distribution will continue and we will keep you informed of a tentative continued schedule for breakfast/lunch distribution during the summer, since we will now be required to continue with the Continuity of Learning plan for summer school programs.

    Schedule for June Entering Buildings

    Our Deputy Superintendent, along with building principals, have worked on a schedule that would allow for everyone needing to enter into their building to either pick up personal belongings or clear out classrooms and offices.  The schedule will be shared with you by the building principal.  We have worked on a plan that will ensure all necessary precautions are in place. Masks are required.  If you are not wearing a mask when scheduled to enter the building, the designated administrator will have to reschedule your appointment.  Having to enter back into the school building is solely for those students who are required to pick up their belongings. 

    High School Graduation Planning

    We have over 925 seniors who are ready to graduate in June of 2020 and our work continues to create a memorable event for our Graduates that is commensurate to the significance that a traditional Graduation Day holds for our Seniors and their families.  Please do not mistake for one moment that WCSD has not been planning diligently for this event.  We are working within what is allowed by the State of New York, and we are keeping a close watch on any modifications that our Governor may make.  We are aware that the State of New Jersey is now permitting outdoor ceremonies to be held for High School Graduations starting July 6th.  With that said, we are hoping to hear more from our Governor’s Office in response to what has been shared by New Jersey.  If any modifications are to be made pertaining to graduation ceremonies, we are ready to include them and provide a ceremony that would align to those modifications. 

    As of right now, the District is planning to adhere to the Governor’s Orders by creating a ‘drive-thru’ celebration. Our plan is to create an interactive experience that is filled with memories and excitement throughout the procession.  We have submitted our draft proposal to the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response outlining our concept for this experience.  Once approved, we will work accordingly to plan or make modifications where indicated in collaboration with our Building Administrators, Class Advisors, PTA Representatives, Students, Faculty, and Staff to finalize all of the details surrounding this exciting event. 

    We know students want an opportunity to walk a stage, we have included a concept surrounding this in our plan.  We would also like to afford students the opportunity to have a picture taken at some point in the procession.  We first need to receive approval from the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response to see if we can allow for this to happen.  We are also planning for our Building and District Administrators to hand a diploma sleeve to our graduates at some point during the ceremony.  

    As of now, the following graduation dates will be utilized to carry out these ceremonies.  Depending on traffic plans and approvals by our County Offices, we may have to create more than one evening of ceremonies for John Jay and Roy C. Ketcham High Schools.  The scheduled dates, along with the additional dates are as followed (rain dates to follow):

    John Jay High School - June 25 and 26, 2020

    Roy C. Ketcham High School - June 27 and 28, 2020

    Orchard View Alternative High School - June 26, 2020 (as scheduled)

    Once again, it is important that the series of events comes from each school in order to ensure that it is more personal for our Seniors. What I can share with you is that each school will start their series of daily events and remote activities during the month of June and the theme is Cap and Gown, GRADUATION, CountDown. Our High School Principals are eager to share out additional activities for our seniors leading up to Graduation, and will do so by the end of this week.  

    As indicated in the last update, WCSD is still committed to provide our Class of 2020 with a traditional ceremony, held in our outdoor athletic fields, later this summer should the Governor’s Order change.   Tentative dates have purposely not yet been set since we need to monitor the four phases of reopening New York State.  

    Absentee Ballots

    The June 9 School District Budget Vote and Board Member Election will take place by absentee ballot. There will be no poll sites open that day.  Approximately 50,000 absentee ballots have been mailed to registered voters.  Ballots should be arriving soon. Registered voters were automatically mailed absentee ballots without the need to request one.  Only eligible voters who are not registered, need to request a ballot from the District Clerk.  The deadline for an eligible voter to request a ballot is June 2.  Absentee Ballots must be received by the District Clerk by 5 p.m. on June 9.  So, send your ballots back quickly to ensure your vote is counted.

    Budget Hearing

    On June 1, 2020, the Board of Education is scheduled to conduct a Public Hearing on the School District Budget scheduled for 6:00 PM.  The purpose of a Budget Hearing, which is mandated by the NYS Education Law, occurs after the budget is approved by the Board of Education.  It provides an opportunity for community members to learn about the budget in order to make a sound decision when voting.  Because in-person attendance is not permitted, the Public Hearing will be live streamed on the District’s YouTube channel.  There will also be a form for questions on the budget which will be made available before the start of the meeting.  Responses will be provided during the meeting, however additional time may be needed to answer some questions.  Responses that can not be provided during the Hearing, will be provided via email and posted on the Q&A section of the budget webpage so that everyone can benefit from the information. See the District Calendar for the link to the YouTube live stream and the form for the submission of budget questions and comments.

    Thank you and stay well.

    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

     

    Comments (-1)
  • May 22 Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 5/22/2020 4:00:00 PM

    May 22, 2020 Update

    Good Afternoon WCSD Community:

    Summer School

    Governor Cuomo indicated on May 21, that summer school is not going to open statewide for in-class teaching. Instead, summer school offerings would be through distance learning as we have been doing with the Continuity of Learning.  The District has started the process of planning for a virtual summer school for our Extended School Year (ESY) summer programs, for designated students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and a secondary (Grades 9-12) high school program.  Students and families will be informed of the District’s expectations for virtual summer programs within the next ten days.  Of particular note, summer school programs are scheduled to begin July 6, 2020.  

     We are still waiting on the written Executive Order from the Governor’s Office or further guidance from NYSED, which we are anticipating may contain additional details regarding instructional or programmatic expectations for students and for summer school.

    High School Graduation Planning

    Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.10 which stated “All Non-Essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. worship services, parties, celebrations, or other social events) are canceled or postponed.”  Under the Governor's Order, the State makes all determinations.  Local governments, including County governments, are prohibited from any actions that conflict with the Executive Order.  The Dutchess County Executive’s Office will be posting guidelines and information related to graduations either today or in the very near future; https://www.dutchessny.gov.  Since large gatherings are prohibited, places that host large gatherings such as Dutchess Stadium will not be available for graduation activities.

    Even though schools will have the ability to implement some alternatives to a traditional graduation ceremony, it is important to note that we will have to review all of our GREAT and EXCITING plans with the Dutchess County Emergency Response Team.  This is to ensure, and rightfully so, the safety of our students, families, community, and county residents.  Additionally, WCSD is the largest school district in Dutchess County as well as the only district to have two large high schools and one alternative high school. With that said, careful consideration has to be given to what is permissible such as “drive-thru” graduation parades without outside spectators, or ceremonies hosted at a drive-in or campus parking lot. In both scenarios, at no point would anyone be allowed to get out of their vehicles as part of these types of group gathering ceremonies and celebrations.

    We have reviewed the results of our parent and student graduation surveys and would like to offer the following observations.  The first choice option for both students and parents was to have a limited access socially distant graduation event on our football fields at each high school.  We have been told this definitively cannot happen as per the Governor’s Executive Order. 


    The students heavily favored the idea of postponing graduation ceremonies until later in the summer so that we could offer a more traditional ceremony at that time.  Our County officials have told us such large gatherings are highly unlikely to occur within the timeframe.  In the event that these timelines and orders are lifted, a traditional ceremony on our football fields practicing social distancing is not off the table.  However, it is important to note that it is highly unlikely!  They also clarified (as indicated above) that venues such as Dutchess Stadium are not allowed to be used for any gatherings for the foreseeable future. 

    Another very popular idea by both parents and students was to use one of our local drive-in theatres.  At this point in time, we do not believe a drive-in hosted ceremony will offer an experience commiserate to this important milestone in our student’s lives.  To elaborate on this, we offer the following reasons:

    1. No one is allowed to exit their vehicles as part of the ceremony;
    2. We must wait until it is dark enough to begin the ceremony so we can view the video, which will make moot the point of having our students ‘see’ each other during the ceremony; and
    3. The logistics of providing clean restroom facilities and other obstacles make hosting at a drive-in very difficult.

    However, this does not preclude the utilization of drive-in theatres to conduct a gathering where previously recorded videos of speeches along with slideshows and/or locally made movies can be presented. This has yet to be solidified but dates are reserved.

    Our High School Principals have been working proactively with committees for a good amount of time. Now that the expectation and guidelines have been further articulated and detailed as to what would be permissible under the Governor’s Executive Order, you will be receiving more information as to what is to come from each of your building high school principals.  We will do everything we can to honor our students and celebrate their achievements, within the Executive Order and guidelines!  Once again, you will be receiving an announcement from our building principals in the coming week.


    TO EVERYONE - HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

     

    Thank you and stay well.

     

    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • May 21 Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 5/21/2020 2:00:00 PM

    May 21, 2020 Update

    Good Evening WCSD Community:

    This communication is to keep you updated on important matters regarding COVID-19 and the impact on our WCSD learning community.

    Updates From the NYS Governor’s Office

    New York State has released a “Regional Monitoring Dashboard” which includes the current status for our Region against the CDC recommended metrics required to reopen businesses in our area.  This is a very informative dashboard, one that helps us understand what is still required for us to achieve as a community before we can move our Region from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of the States “Re-Opening Plan”.   

    Our goal is to ensure that all students are doing the required class assignments for a very positive outcome.  These unique circumstances call for unique teaching and learning (Continuity of Learning), student engagement, and grading processes. The Board of Education, the entire administration, teachers and support staff are cheering for our WCSD families while ensuring that students are doing what is expected of them.  We will continue to monitor the Governor’s COVID-19 website for further updates.

    Summer School

    We are still waiting for further guidance on summer school, to which the Governor indicated such guidance will not be available until the end of May. All WCSD summer school programs include Extended School Year (ESY), Secondary High School, as well as, Federally Funded program (ENL and/or Title I).  Once we receive the guidance from the Governor, WCSD will inform you and begin to execute a plan for our students.

    Wappingers CSD Budget Update

    Please tune into the Board of Education meeting tonight where the final presentation to the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget will be presented. 

    Wappingers CSD School Calendar

    We have updated our 2019-2020 school calendar to reflect Friday May 22nd as an instructional day, staff and students will be continuing our Continuity of Learning.  

    We will be closed on Monday May 25th in observance of the Memorial Day Holiday.  To view our calendar online please use this link.  

    We know that there are several school districts in our area that are discussing the concept of ‘ending the school year early’ or have sent notification about a new date to end school.  We have combed over guidance documents from the State of New York, and consulted with our legal team.  While the guidance documents can seem somewhat confusing we are still legally responsible to follow the calendar.  Once again, please feel free to view it by using the link above.

    Only, if the Governor provides an executive order that can impact the rest of the school year’s calendar for WCSD, we will be sure to update it and share that information with you immediately. Once again, WCSD will continue to follow the calendar as is on our website.

    Tutoring Available for K-12 Students

    Dutchess-Orange Tutoring (DOT) is a network of local undergrads and high school students in the Orange/Dutchess NY area providing free virtual academic assistance to K-12 students in public districts in these counties while school is closed. DOT particularly seeks to help students with parents who do not have the time to supplement their children’s new form of online learning, do not speak English as a first language, or do not otherwise have the ability to help their kids with their coursework. DOT also seeks to help students who typically rely on getting extra help from teachers outside of normal classroom help. Students and parents can sign up for this service here: https://dotutoring.wixsite.com/dotutoring

    Wappingers CSD Senior Graduation

    We have received new information this week from our Dutchess County Executive with regards to Graduation Planning for our June Grads.  We are waiting for his office’s official guidance document to be released which will help us further plan a memorable event for our students.  But early indications from the information we received suggest we will be even more constrained in terms of what we are allowed to do than we previously thought.  Dutchess County Executive Molinaro would like our community to know that his office is providing guidance to us prescribed by Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders and that he is not authorized to allow for a more lenient interpretation of the Governor’s Orders.  As soon as we receive additional written guidance from the County Executive’s Office we will share with you a more thorough analysis of our Graduation Planning options.

    Dutchess County Contact Tracing

    We have received the following communication from the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health asking us to help spread the word on their need to recruit volunteers to help with their contact tracing efforts.  Here is the message they would like us to share:  

    “During the current COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of residents have signed up to volunteer to help their neighbors – either through the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) of Dutchess County or through our Dutchess Responds relief effort. We thank you for your dedication to service and for answering the call to assist your community.

    In order for Dutchess County and the Mid-Hudson Region to begin re-opening in phases and importantly to contain COVID-19 and prevent further spread, we are in vital need of individuals to serve as contact tracers, who can work remotely and telephone residents who may have been exposed to COVID-positive individuals.

    New York State will not allow our county or our region to begin Phase One of reopening until we can prove we have sufficient residents willing to serve as contract tracers.    If you would be willing to take a 4-hour training to fill this critical gap and help our community take the next step in the re-opening process, please send your name, email address, and cell phone number to dcpersonnel@dutchessny.gov.”

    US Government Census

    Our County Officials are asking School Districts to remind our families about the importance of completing the US Census.  The final numbers will determine how federal funding gets divided across the country. Congressional and legislative districts will be redrawn based on the figures as well. Invitations to respond to the census have been going out through the mail.  The invitation provides instructions (including giving you a census ID code) to complete the form. But you can fill out the form without the code by going to My2020Census.gov and using the "If you do not have a Census ID” link and following the prompts. 

    It only takes a few minutes to complete the online form, your personal information is kept confidential, and you can complete it over the phone or via mail if you like. Census assistance numbers are: 844-330-2020 for English; 844-468-2020 para Espanol.


    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools



    Comments (-1)
  • May 15th Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 5/15/2020 5:00:00 PM

    May 15, 2020 Update

                                        

    Good Evening WCSD Community:

    This communication is to keep you updated on important matters regarding COVID-19 and the impact on our WCSD learning community.

    Updates From the NYS Governor’s Office

    At this time there is no new information beyond what was provided in our May 1st update with regards to NYS ReOpening and NYS schools.  We are waiting for further guidance on summer school, to which the Governor indicated such guidance will not be available until the end of May. Our goal is to ensure that all students are doing the required class assignments for a very positive outcome.  These unique circumstances call for unique teaching and learning (Continuity of Learning), student engagement, and grading processes. The Board of Education, the entire administration, teachers and support staff are cheering for our WCSD families while ensuring that students are doing what is expected of them.  We will continue to monitor the Governor’s COVID-19 website for further updates.

    WCSD Budget Update

    We continue to revise our school budget.  We have reduced the proposed Superintendent’s Recommended Budget significantly from its original presentation.  The Budget vote, Bus Proposition, and Board Member election will be done, as per the Governor’s Order, by absentee ballot. It is important that eligible voters exercise their right to vote. At the next Superintendent’s presentation to the Board of Education at the May 21 Board meeting, the budget will reflect approximately an additional $120,000 in reductions.  A very popular request from our WCSD community is that any savings we have since students are not in school be utilized to reduce the budget for 2020-2021.  Unfortunately, it is not permissible to do so and if there are significant savings, it will be reflected in the District’s Fund Balance (i.e. the District’s savings account). These savings will have a potential impact in the 2021-2022 school year budget.  As a District we hope that you can understand and support us since it is not a rule independently created by WCSD, but rather it is the law on how to create a budget and how the money is to be handled and utilized.  

    Wappingers CSD Senior Graduation

    WCSD is not unique to working on alternative plans for our Seniors’ graduation ceremonies.  We continue working on an alternative to a traditional high school graduation and will provide you with updates as the Senior Class and other designated staff continue to explore how they can make this experience memorable through this pandemic crisis. Orchard View AHS has a smaller Senior class and the work and process for an alternative graduation ceremony may differ significantly. Since both of our other two high schools have a significantly large Senior class, John Jay High School & Roy C Ketcham High Schools are working together to come up with ideas to share with the District.  These ideas will be used to create the graduating experience for our 2020 senior cohort.   In addition, a survey was shared with families of seniors to collect ideas and suggestions about how they feel we can best honor our graduates during this difficult time.  Your voice is very important to us.  Please note that the survey was also created in lieu of sending form letters to the schools and the administration.  The options selected will be gathered and the outcome will be shared.  Our goal is to comply with the Governor’s Order and ensure that we have the support necessary from the County Executive’s Office to conduct the next best thing to a traditional graduation ceremony.

    Graduate Together Saturday Night TV Special

    The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is partnering with XQ Institute on Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, a one-hour primetime show paying joyful tribute to high school seniors, their extraordinary teachers, and their families. XQ is partnering with The LeBron James Family Foundation, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, and a broad coalition of education, philanthropic, and corporate partners to develop this commercial-free special, airing on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC on Saturday, May 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. CT/MT. The show will also be available through partners such as Complex Networks, Facebook, Instagram, PEOPLE, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube. #GraduateTogether also offers a robust website and multiple opportunities for students, educators, and families to engage digitally.

    During the show, high school seniors and other viewers will be invited to visit the Graduate Together website and click on their state to see specialized content for their graduating class. There are opportunities for graduating seniors, their family members, and educators to submit items to be included in the event. Click on the link above to get information on how you can participate in this event. 

    Supporting Students and Families Disconnected from School 

    During this pandemic there are many family stressors that increase the risk factors for children, including increased risks for domestic violence and child abuse. It is therefore essential that schools and districts proactively engage with, and provide support to, families in need.

    The following resource can help to support the engagement of students and families who are disconnected from their learning communities:

    New York State Parent Portal

    New York State has worked with the New York State Council on Children and Families, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and other State agencies to develop resources specifically for families. The Parent Portal includes tips for staying safe and healthy as well as ways to have fun during self-isolation. Other resources include parenting in a pandemic, activities to do inside and outside, such as participating in daily video chats with families, recording yourself reading a favorite book or message, and more.

    Please be safe and practice social distancing.  We miss our students and look forward to the day where they are back in our classrooms engaging in meaningful, relevant and fun learning. 

    Thank you and stay well.

     

    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

     

    Comments (-1)