• 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

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  • 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)
  • May 1, 2020 Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 5/1/2020 5:00:00 PM

    May 1, 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

    This morning, Governor Cuomo officially announced that schools shall remain closed for the remainder of the school year.  While we are not surprised by this announcement, the realization that it is actually going to happen comes with a sense of sadness as so many of our students will be missing out on important milestones in their life, and celebrations that they have looked forward to for such a long time.  We are working with various teams in the District to come up with ways in which we can still celebrate these milestones, but we do realize we cannot truly replace these moments that are meant to celebrate with the gathering of friends and family.  

    In addition, the Governor mentioned that any and all decisions pertaining to summer school will wait until the end of May, so we will continue to closely monitor that situation.  

    We also learned this week that the New York State Education Department will not be administering the August Regents Exam.  We have not yet received the functional guidance on what this means for students intending to retake exams in August, but once we know the details we will share that with you.  We will continue to monitor the Governor’s COVID-19 website for further updates.

    High School Milestones (Seniors)

    Our building principals along with the Senior Class Advisors, designated PTA Council parents, and other designated members of our high school communities are working with the administration to come up with innovative ways to provide our Seniors and their families with alternative plans to a traditional graduation ceremony as well as other milestones.  Respectfully, WCSD’s focus is on graduation for the students of John Jay, Orchard View, and Roy C. Ketcham High Schools which is our first priority as our hearts go out to the Senior class.  This is a major milestone in our Seniors’ lives and it is the one true graduation that a grade 12 student excitingly awaits for.  We will continue working on an alternative to a traditional high school graduation and 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. 

    Spring Interscholastic Sports Season

    On Monday, April 27, New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced the cancellation of the 2020 Spring Championships.  As a result of New York State announcing that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year,  the spring interscholastic athletic season in Section I has been canceled.

    Continuity of Learning

    Over the past few weeks, there has been much discussion and many articles published regarding the various forms of learning students can receive while they learn from home.  One such article, published by Education Week on March 30, 2020,  discusses synchronous vs. asynchronous learning opportunities.  Click to access the article, Virtual Education Dilemma: Scheduled Classroom Instruction vs. Anytime Learning.  If you don't have access to the entire article, a summary of the article is available. 

    Grant to Pay For Essential Workers Child Care Tuition

    The Office of Children and Family Services and the Cuomo Administration have developed a plan to provide child care to essential workers at no cost to the worker. This allocation of funding comes to the state from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act"), which has provided our state with $163.6 million in emergency relief to the child care system.

    New York State is using a portion of this funding to provide child care for essential workers, at no cost to the worker. This program will support essential workers who are required to work outside of the home. Essential workers using a licensed or registered child care provider will receive a scholarship for the cost of care through May 15th, 2020. All licensed and regulated providers who are caring for the children of essential workers are able to participate in this new program. The CARES Child Care Scholarship will be available as long as the funds to support it are available.  To apply, please complete this online survey.

    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

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  • April 28th Update

    Posted by Amy Watkins on 4/28/2020 4:30:00 PM

    April 28, 2020 Update

    Good Evening WCSD Community:

    We are well aware, now more than ever, life as we knew it to be for education has changed dramatically in so many ways. 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

    As you are already aware Governor Cuomo has extended school closures through May 15th, 2020.  We continue to monitor the Governor’s COVID-19 website for further updates.

    Continuity of Learning

    In today’s learning environment, the learning that takes place is divided into two categories: synchronous and asynchronous. Both types of learning have their own merits.  Synchronous learning is online learning that takes place in real-time.  It can include online chats and video-conferencing. One benefit of synchronous learning is that it enables students to communicate with their teacher and classmates in real-time. However, synchronous learning is not flexible as students would have to set aside a specific time slot in order to attend a live teaching session in real-time. So it may not be ideal for every student and every family’s situation. Asynchronous learning occurs online without real-time interaction. A student is able to follow the curriculum/assignments at their own pace without having to worry about scheduling conflicts. Teachers are able to provide feedback to students, although feedback may not be  immediate,  through Google Classroom and email.  With asynchronous learning, students are able to communicate with their teacher and classmates through Google Classroom discussions and streams by posting comments and questions and replying to comments and questions posted by others in the class.  

    Grading Calculations for Marking Period 4

    The COVID-19 pandemic and school closures have shifted every aspect of teaching and learning. We realize that as schools continue to remain closed and New York State continues to remain on pause, students and families are concerned about how grades for Marking Period 4 will be recorded. We have modified our grading system to fairly reflect student effort and encourage continued student engagement, while being sensitive to the circumstances facing our families and communities. 

    At mid-point of the 4th quarter, students will receive their progress reports.  We completely understand that Continuity of Learning can’t take place in the physical classroom, however  student expectation remains the same in relation to trying their best, completing assignments, and working in a timely manner so that they do not fall behind with their classwork.  If you have concerns now regarding your child’s progress, do not hesitate to contact their teacher.  

    Students in Grades K-6 will continue with the grading system that is currently in place.  Standards-based Grading and the current Elementary Report Card allows for flexibility in content covered. 

    The grading rubric below was developed to  recognize the work of students in grades 7-12 and correlates to a numerical value for a grade.  In addition, this grading method provides motivation for students to continue to work hard, yet it favors our students with difficult circumstances. High school juniors and seniors will have transcripts that reflect their work when shared with colleges. The current ranking system will still be in effect. 

    The revised grading system will be used for the 4th marking period. For students in Grades 7-12 (Use this link to view the Grading Table).

    We cannot emphasize enough that although learning from home is not as effective as in-school instruction, teachers have been making every effort to provide quality content and meaningful assignments. Most students are working hard and completing their assignments. It is important that the students who are working responsibly should be rewarded appropriately. 

    NYSPHSAA Cancels Spring State Championships

    The New York State Public High School Athletics Association has announced the cancellation of the 2020 spring State championship events. The impacted events are boys and girls track & field, boys tennis, softball, baseball, golf, and both boys and girls lacrosse State championships scheduled to be held between June 4th – 13th.  

    With regards to spring sports in general, there has been no official announcement from Section 1 other than to say the spring sports season remains on ‘hold’, and that the NYSPHSAA continues to monitor the Governor’s communications with regard to school closures in our area.

    New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Community Discussions

    The NYSDOH is asking us to share their efforts to inform families of an opportunity to participate in discussions about how to best support families in New York State (NYS) who have a child or youth with Physical, Medical, Emotional or Learning (PMEL) needs.  The New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) recently established Regional Support Centers (RSCs) to improve the State’s existing program supporting children and youth with PMEL needs and their families. 

    To accomplish this goal, they will be holding discussions with parents and caregivers, as well as conducting needs assessments with local health departments (LHD). These activities will take place from April 2020 – June 2021. The project aims to learn about issues faced by families, identify services to improve family experiences and compile a regional resource directory and training materials that LHDs can use to support children and youth and their families in the future. If you are interested in learning more about these discussion opportunities, please click on the following link https://bit.ly/2S5sJ8p.


    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • April 23rd Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 4/23/2020 3:00:00 PM

    April 23, 2020 Update

    Good Evening WCSD Community:

    We are well aware, now more than ever, life as we knew it to be for education has changed dramatically in so many ways. 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

    As you are already aware Governor Cuomo has extended school closures through May 15th, 2020.  We continue to monitor the Governor’s COVID-19 website for further updates.

    Report Cards

    The District has updated our Parent Portal website to include a video on how to access report cards through Parent Portal.  Just a reminder, report cards for marking period 3 will be available for all grades, in the portal on Monday, April 27th. Please be patient if you are not able to access the report card on your first attempt, the system does tend to get overwhelmed, and this is the first time we will be inviting all grades to access the reports cards in this manner..

    Transportation Forms

    Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.15 explicitly extended the deadline for all public school districts to accept all parental requests for transportation to charter and nonpublic schools (including daycare forms) through May 9th, 2020.  

    While the deadline may be extended again, we are still and will continue to accept transportation requests through at least May 9, 2020.

    Continuity of Learning

    As the entire teaching and learning community adjusts to the Continuity of Learning while schools remain closed to students, the District appreciates the efforts of all those responsible for assisting and supporting students in their learning.  If any parent, guardian, or caregiver is in need of support or has questions regarding the Continuity of Learning, we ask that you reach out to your child’s teacher via email to schedule an appointment for when you can discuss the specific concerns.  We are aware that some families may be experiencing challenges for a variety of reasons during this time, speaking directly with the teacher regarding any instructional challenges will allow for adjustments and/or problem solving to occur. 

    We have also established protocols and supports in place for families.  Starting with your child’s teacher and expressing your concerns first at this level may satisfactorily resolve the concern however, in the event you may need additional support and assistance with your concerns, there are protocols and processes for the teachers to follow. We want to be as efficient, timely, and productive as possible.  This is all so very new to us and your continued support means a lot to the entire WCSD learning community.

    Regents Exams Cancelled

    In our 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 would like to share a visual that may help address any questions or concerns you have about transcript credits pertaining to a Regents Diploma. In short, with the creation of the “Regents Examination Exemptions” our students will still receive full transcript credit for any Regents Exam that they were intending to take in June of 2020.  We have included three different visuals regarding the cancellation of June Regents exams (two specific visuals for all students taking a Regents exams and one visual specific to seniors).  For seniors concerned about the type of NYS diploma they will attain in June, it is important that they contact their school counselor.

    Kindergarten Screening

    Each year we get the honor to welcome in a new generation of learners into our Wappingers community.  Typically, we like to have an opportunity to meet all of our incoming Kindergarten students prior to the start of school so that way we may create Kindergarten classes with an awareness of our students' social and emotional needs as well as their prior “academic” experiences.  Unfortunately with COVID-19 and the current state of affairs, we do not believe we will be able to do that for our new group of incoming students.  These Kindergarten ‘screenings’ typically take place in June prior to the end of the current school year.  We would like you to know that we are working on a process to ensure we are still able to collect information that will help us build the strongest Kindergarten classes possible for the 2020-2021 school year.  We will share this information through our Central Registrar in the coming days.  For those family members who have children starting their K-12 career with us in September, we would like to say Welcome to the Community!  

     

    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

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  • April 17th Update

    Posted by Amy Watkins on 4/17/2020 11:20:00 AM

    April 17, 2020

    Dear WCSD Staff, Parents, Students and Families:

    We are well aware now more than ever that life, as we knew it to be for education, has changed dramatically in so many ways. Today completes five weeks where our administrators, teachers, support staff, students, and parents have had to redirect their lives to address the pandemic of COVID-19. During this global crisis, we as citizens are aware of local, state, and federal changes that impact the WCSD learning community and their families.  

    The Board of Education and Senior Staff Administration are incredibly appreciative of the dedication to the work that is being done during this pandemic. A very special thank you to our meals and Chromebook distributors. You are out there seeing the faces of families as they try to navigate the nutrition and learning for their children. We have started and will continue to build a new team of essential responders gathering learning materials for the few students who are not able to access their work at home digitally. Our building level principals and our teachers will continue to ensure that all student learning is taking place, and no child is left behind.

    Through social media and other means of communication, many of you (students and adults) have shared stories, activities that have occurred remotely, quotes, funny jokes, and anecdotes during this time. Just alone, our Principal of Vassar ES has shared a video of his primary students on YouTube, acting out the Continuity of Learning. As terribly traumatic as this matter is, we need to uplift one another as the strong WCSD community we are and find comfort in the fact that this too shall pass. Sharing and or creating funny quotes and memes during this crisis can be very helpful to our community. Social media is one way we can share these thoughts. These can help to uplift our spirits, get us through some stressful days, alleviate and reduce moments of anxiety, and, most importantly, maintain the unique WCSD ways that make us the family we are. To help community members connect to one another’s stories on social media we encourage you to use #WAPPINGERSSTRONG and/or #WCSDisHereForYou in your tweets. 

    In a very popular series titled, Downton Abbey, there was a scene where a young man discusses his new work and how he will have time to do things on weekends. In this scene, The Dowager Countess of Grantham replies to the young man, “What is a weekend?” I know many of us are feeling like the Countess these days, but you must take valuable time for yourself and your loved ones.

    While we still are not allowed to be together in our cafeterias, classrooms, courtyards, auditoriums, physical education, indoors or outdoors, or just connecting with peers, teachers, school counselors or building administrators, we have to find ways to remain the one strong community that we are and will always be. We are #WAPPINGERSSTRONG, and we will always be #WAPPINGERSSTRONG! 

     In just a few more hours, the weekend will be here. Whatever brings you joy, happiness, and relaxation, be sure to allow yourself time to recharge over the weekend.  

    Sincerely,

    John Lumia
    President of the Board of Education

    Jose  Carrion          
    Superintendent of Schools 

    Comments (-1)
  • April 15th Community Update

    Posted by Daren Lolkema on 4/15/2020 4:00:00 PM

    April 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.

     Report Cards

    The 3rd Quarter Report Cards for all students, Grades K-12, will be available to view on the Parent Portal on Monday, April 27.  The District has been using Parent Portal to share grade 7 through 12 report cards for years, but this will be the first time the District is planning to share elementary report cards exclusively via Parent Portal.  For more information on how to access Parent Portal please visit our Parent Portal webpage.  To access report cards once logged in please click on the grades tab and then click on the small 'printer' icon under the grades tab to view the entire report card.  We are aware that we will also have to send report cards to designated families by mail. (No report cards will be available to parents to be picked up in the school).

    Regents Exams Cancelled

    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. NYSED has developed guidance to ensure that students who were on track to graduate this year will have that opportunity.  We have spent an extensive amount of time reviewing the above guidance document provided by the State. We are preparing a parent friendly version of this guidance, and will share it with our community in the coming days.  

    In short, with the creation of the “Regents Examination Exemptions” our students will still receive full transcript credit for any Regents Exam that they were intending to take in June of 2020.  This means the District is still able to support students who were expecting to graduate with Advanced Regents Diplomas, Regents with Honors Designation, or any number of alternative pathways to a Regents Diploma just as if the exams had been administered.  If you have questions regarding graduation requirements specific to your child, reach out to your child’s School Counselor or Cohort Assistant Principal. 

    Chromebook Loaner Program Update
    The District has completed the initial distribution of Chromebooks to families who have asked to borrow a device.  We are aware that some households may require more than one device since there are multiple siblings attending school within the household.  We are now ready to take requests from those families who may need an additional device. We will have to review each request individually. Please note if you receive a phone call from administration, it is because we need additional information prior to providing a family with a second chromebook.  In order to request a second loaner device from the District, we ask that you complete our new Chromebook Loaner request form.

    College Board SAT Update

    College Board announced that they will not be able to administer the SAT® and SAT Subject Tests™ as planned on June 6, 2020.  As of now, College Board will provide weekend SAT administrations every month through the end of the calendar year, beginning in August. This includes a new administration in September and the previously scheduled tests on August 29, October 3, November 7, and December 5.

    Students will be able to register for these administrations beginning in May. College Board will communicate directly with students when the exact date is available. Eligible students will be able to take the exam with a fee waiver. Students who were registered for June and those in the high school class of 2021 who don't have SAT scores will have early access to registration for the August, September, and October administrations.

    As we continue through this very difficult period, we will continue to navigate and work through the guidance of our Government and State Education Department.  With that said, your patience, support, and understanding is very important. Each day, and it seems minute-by-minute at times, we are revising and making changes as per the direction we receive.  Lastly, we will be communicating every 24 to 72 hours to provide you with any updates that may arise as a result of this pandemic.  

    School Closures

    Although the Mayor of New York City has announced school closure until the end of the school year, the County Executive’s Office and/or the Governor have not made this same announcement for all schools in New York State.  You will notice that the Governor has indicated school closure continuation every two weeks. We believe that the two week period of school closure announcements will continue in that manner.


    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • Distribution of Breakfast & Lunch During School Closing

    Posted by Amy Watkins on 4/8/2020 2:00:00 PM
    UPDATED APRIL 8:
    Thank you to all of the families for your support and feedback as we continue to navigate through COVID-19. We know this is a stressful time and strive to help through the regular distribution of breakfast and lunch to our students.
     
    Please note there have been changes.
     
    Beginning Monday, 4/13/2020, based on the consistent level of meals being distributed, the meal distribution for students will be as follows.
     
    *Please note meals will ONLY be distributed on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  **Monday and Thursday pickups will each be for two days. Please note that any meal not eaten within an hour must be refrigerated.
     
    Breakfast & Lunch Pick-Up Locations Between 10:00 AM-12:00 PM 
    Roy C. Ketcham* (Also between 7:00-8:00 a.m.)
    John Jay High School
    Sheafe Road Elementary School
    Wappingers Junior High School
     
    To assist with the ease of pick-up for families please have the following information readily available to give to the foodservice staff when you arrive to get your meals.
    • Your Child's Student ID
    • First and Last Name
    • School they attend

    Meals are limited to one breakfast and one lunch per day, per WCSD student, for students 18 years old and younger.

    Thank you for your patience. We know this is an ever-changing process and appreciate your understanding. We will continue to communicate changes via email, text messages, push notification, telephone and on the WCSD Emergency website.
     
    Comments (-1)
  • April 6 Update

    Posted by Amy Watkins on 4/6/2020 4:00:00 PM

    April 6, 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.

    Schools Closed Extended

    Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today, Monday, April 6, 2020, that schools in New York will remain closed until April 29 to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus. 

    Continuity of Learning - Local Holidays

    As we continue with the District’s new Continuity of Learning plan this week, we wanted to reach out to parents and students regarding instruction for this week. We are required by the Governor’s Executive Orders to ensure that every day this week counts as instructional days.  April 10th was originally scheduled to be a locally recognized holiday. We recognize that there may be families who wish to observe Passover or Good Friday this week. We wanted to let you know that there will be no penalty if your child does not participate in online instruction on Friday, April 10 due to the observance of Passover or Good Friday.  

    12-Month Employees

    The District will be closed on Friday, April 10 for all WCSD employees with the exception of WCSD administrators and teachers who may remain available for the sole purpose of Continuity of Learning.  However, we do anticipate a very large number of administrators and teachers not being available due to religious observance.

    As per our Core Values, WCSD believes that:

    • Active and continuous learning is essential for individuals and communities to flourish.
    • Embracing diversity in all its forms enriches the human experience.
    • Everyone can realize their potential and when they do, both they and the community thrive.
    • The health and quality of a community are dependent on the responsible contributions of all its members.
    • The collaboration needed for meaningful change is built on honesty, trust and respect.

    Regents Exams Cancelled

    It is official that the June 2020 Regents Exams have been canceled.  As of today, we don’t have further details regarding the cancellation of the Regents Exams.  We anticipate continued guidance from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and what this will mean for our students.  We will keep you posted regarding this new update which will be officially announced tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7, 2020.  

    Continuity of Learning Guide for Parents

    Teachers and administrators have been working on the Continuity of Learning for your children which started with a review of material beginning on March 16 and officially began with providing students with new lessons on April 3.  The District has created the Continuity of Learning Guide for Parents which provides important information regarding learning opportunities for all students. The document contains information on how instruction will be delivered, appropriate uses of technology, services for students, and important contact information.

    Maintaining Confidentiality with Online Lessons and Services
    The District expects that neither parents nor students will intentionally breach the confidentiality of any service that is delivered online. For example, online lessons or Google Meet sessions conducted by teachers cannot be rebroadcast for any reason without the teacher’s knowledge and/or permission. This also applies to taking screenshots or making recordings of online conferences, meetings, or services. If a parent or student intentionally breaches confidentiality, this could be a basis for disciplinary action. We have a responsibility and obligation to respectfully share this with you since this has become the ‘new temporary normal’ for public education.  We would like to remind parents and students that the District Code of Conduct, Technology Acceptable Use Policy, and all other relevant District policies and procedures will still apply in this environment. 

    Chromebook Loaner Program Update
    The District has completed the initial distribution of Chromebooks to families who have asked to borrow a device.  We are aware that some households may require more than one device since there are multiple siblings attending school within the household.  We are now ready to take requests from those families who may need an additional device. In order to request a second loaner device from the District, we ask that you complete our new Chromebook Loaner request form.

    Elementary Student Workshops Provided by Dutchess Community College 

    The Service-Learning Department at Dutchess Community College is implementing a pilot program of a Live Stream Children’s Activities on Zoom.  Their goal is to reach out to as many people in the community to inform them of these free live children’s workshops.

    Information on how the pilot program will work:

    • The first workshop will take place on Thursday, April 9 at 12:00pm on Zoom. Currently, there are workshops scheduled through the first week of May. 
    • Live Service-Learning Workshops will be held on Thursdays from 12:00-4:00 pm (the last session starts at 3:30 pm) in 30-minute sessions (excluding 2:00-2:30). 
    • Most workshops will be led by DCC students with support from Parlene Puig from the Service-Learning Department who will facilitate the workshop and remain in the session with the students.
    • The target audience is Pre-K – 4th grade. When a parent signs up they may choose a session between Pre-K-1st grade and 2nd-4th grade. 
    • If interested,  click here to sign-up for Live Stream Children’s Activities.

    As we continue through this very difficult period, we will continue to navigate and work through the guidance of our Government and State Education Department.  With that said, your patience, support, and understanding is very important. Each day, and it seems minute-by-minute at times, we are revising and making changes as per the direction we receive.  Lastly, we will be communicating every 24 to 72 hours to provide you with any updates that may arise as a result of this pandemic.  

    Sincerely,

    Jose L. Carrion 

    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)