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 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.
Jose L. Carrion
Superintendent of Schools