End of School Year Updates from the Superintendent
Dear Clarkstown School Community Members:
I hope this communication finds you and your family members in good health and spirits.
I want to express my continued thanks to all employees in our District as well as our parents and students for partnering with each other to address all aspects of this challenging health crisis. As we continue to persevere together, there are many topics we will continue to navigate to best serve our students, and I am writing today to provide you as much information as possible to date as listed below:
Last Day of School - The last day of school will be Tuesday, June 16. This date allows the District to meet the 180 day requirement set forth by the State Education Department, the Governor’s Executive Order, and our contractual labor agreements. Distance Learning will continue to proceed as scheduled through June 16. I thank everyone - teachers, staff, administrators, parents, students and Board of Education members - for their flexibility and ability to learn new ways to learn throughout this health crisis, and for making adjustments to a change in our school calendar.
Graduation - District administrators and I have been in communication with our Principals at Birchwood School, North High School, and South High School during the health crisis regarding Graduation plans. Our Principals - Mr. Slaybaugh (Birchwood School), Dr. Leonardatos (North High School), and Ms. Tarantino (South High School) - have worked with their parents and students, exchanging ideas and engaging in dialogue. I appreciate the creative ideas that have been shared with me as we work together to make graduation as meaningful as possible for our students while balancing NYSED regulations and health and safety concerns.
Superintendents in Rockland County received updated instructions from NYSED on Tuesday, May 19 with regard to high school graduation. This new guidance eases restrictions to allow for in person gatherings of up to 10 people with appropriate social distancing and PPE for the purposes of high school graduation. Our high school principals are finalizing plans based on this new information and will update their respective school communities very soon. I look forward to celebrating the achievements of our students and wish them great success going forward.
Moving Up Ceremonies - Principals at Felix Festa Middle School and our elementary schools have also been working on plans for Moving Up ceremonies and will be sharing insight with their respective school communities in a letter very soon.
Retrieval of Students’ Belongings - Throughout the health crisis, the District has purposely held off on the retrieval of staff and students’ belongings in our schools for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of everyone who would be involved. During the past two weeks, a committee has met to create a very specific plan for the 13 schools in our District which takes into consideration health and safety concerns while allowing for the retrieval of students’ belongings. Principals will communicate under separate cover to their parents and staff as it pertains to this process which will start very soon.
Re-Opening Process - Several administrators and I were invited to join a county-wide Re-Opening planning meeting this week, resulting in more than 115 individuals from all eight districts in Rockland County as well as the Rockland BOCES coming together to begin the planning process for Re-Opening schools. In short, the members of the meeting will break up into sub-committees to plan for the various categories needed to be covered for re-opening schools: transportation, facilities, instruction, communication, technology, to name just a few. In addition, all Districts in the county will create a District School Re-Opening Task Force composed of representation among Teachers, Staff, Administrators, Parents, Students, and Board of Education members. I will provide insight and next steps at the May 28 Board of Education meeting.
In closing, I wish all of you the best for a relaxing Memorial Day weekend as we honor members of the Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the freedom of our great nation.
Stay Strong! Stay Healthy!
Martin D. Cox, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools