District-Wide Safety Plan - A Message to the Community
Annually school districts are required to develop a District-Wide Safety Plan in accordance with the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act. This document represents our commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.
A Letter to Our Community from the Superintendent Regarding Recent Events
Dear Pocantico Hills Community Members,
Like many Americans, I have been deeply troubled by the tragedy that has unfolded over the last several days in Charlottesville, Virginia. As a parent and an educator who cares deeply for students in our community and across our state and nation, I am reminded how critically important it is that we all unite in denouncing hateful rhetoric and violence, and reaffirm our commitment to building an equitable and inclusive future for our children.
Adults and children alike struggle to process and understand what has transpired, evoking a range of emotions, including fear, anger, confusion, and frustration. As parents and educators, we have a responsibility to respond to questions that young people are asking, helping them to understand what they are seeing and hearing in a manner that makes them feel safe and hopeful. By empowering our children through education to be informed and knowledgeable they will be ready to embrace the role they have in making the world a better place.
If you are looking for guidance in having these important conversations at home, the following links might be helpful…
We are a community that embraces diversity and honors the rich racial, cultural, religious histories and identities of all our students, families, and staff members. While we may not have all the answers for understanding and addressing injustices in the world, we as a school community have the resolve to do everything in our power to provide our children a positive climate that attends to race, culture, language, class, (dis)ability, gender, gender identity, sexuality, and religion of staff, families, and students. Our children deserve a world where love is stronger than hate, I look forward to our working closely together to make this our legacy.
Carol L. Conklin-Spillane Superintendent of Schools
On behalf of our faculty and staff, I welcome you to the 2017-2018 school year. We are looking forward to a busy and productive year as we launch several new and exciting initiatives. Pocantico Hills School District has a rich history, natural beauty and charm that makes it a uniquely wonderful place for families to thrive and children to grow socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. Our goal is to personalize the learning experience for all children, building upon their interests and abilities to prepare them to be life-long learners, skilled communicators, able problem solvers and strong citizens. We are proud of all we do well and are committed to a culture of continuous improvement. I look forward to working with all residents to provide an exceptional educational experience for our children as they move through our system from their first day of pre-kindergarten to high school graduation. We want our school to remain the hub of the community for everyone who lives here, with residents and families enjoying our beautiful grounds and pool throughout the years.
With direction from our Board of Education, we have established priorities for the coming year that support the District’s vision for the future:
Implementing an organizational structure that provides clarity in roles and responsibilities, distributes leadership, and promotes collaboration through a team structure.
Developing a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum aligned with standards of excellence, providing expert consultants to develop curricula and build the capacity of our professional staff in reading, writing, mathematics, science, world languages, technology, physical education and social/emotional learning.
Reinventing our world language program in grades K-8 to connect with grade level content immersion in French and Spanish to make language learning a tangible, problem-solving experience that prepares our students to be global citizens.
Personalizing learning for every child, shifting from a deficit model of support to one of universal support for all students.
Strengthening communication with all District constituents.
Maintaining a safe, consistent, and developmentally appropriate learning environment.
This calendar is filled with important information and highlights of all that lies ahead for the children of this community; we invite you to join us in making 2017-18 a great year and count on you to share your feedback and suggestions. If you have questions or concerns at any time, please give us a call or send us an email.
Carol L. Conklin-Spillane Superintendent of Schools
An Important Message from the Superintendent
A lot of attention is being paid to the new Netflix series called "13 Reasons Why" which was based on a novel about teen suicide. Many teens have been watching this or may want to watch it as it has become very popular. The series highlights many of the current issues that our children struggle with such as gossip, rumors, social media and sexual assault. Teens and pre-teens are bombarded with subtle and overt messages on these and related issues from many sources, which can result in confusion, worry and fear. It is worth talking about these stressors at home so you can reassure your child and help them navigate their world with confidence. This series may or may not be appropriate or of interest to you and your family; but the advice holds true for any such resource. It is recommended that you watch it first or with your children so you know how to have discussions about it. You can reach out to our school counselor for additional information on how best to discuss difficult topics with your children.
Here is a link to an article highlighting some concerns with this series that can be incorporated into discussions with your teens if they are watching it.
A New Way to Pay for Student Meals and Services Online
We are excited to offer Pocantico Hills Families the opportunity to use MySchoolBucks®, an online payment service that provides a quick and easy way to add money to your children’s meal account using a credit/debit card or electronic check. The system is up and running and available for immediate use in the cafeteria and for After Care Program payments. We plan to use this for Camp payments as well. You will be able to view recent purchases, check balances, and set-up low balance alerts at no extra cost. Listed here is a summary of what the program offers and how to enroll. We hope you find this new service helpful.
Convenience - Available 24/7 on the web or through our mobile app for your smartphone
Efficiency - Make payments for all your students, even if they attend different schools within the district. Eliminate the need for your students to take money to school.
Control - Set low balance alerts, view account activity, recurring/automatic payments & more!
Flexibility - Make payments using credit/debit cards and electronic checks.
Security – MySchoolBucks adheres to the highest security standards, including PCI and CISP.
The New York State Education Department is requiring that school districts develop an AIS policy for the 2016/2017 school year. This policy must include a second measure and must be uniformly applied to all grade levels. Please see attached for more details.