We are into our second month of the 2015-2016 school year and everything is abuzz in our learning community. The early fall is a prime learning time because we shift from the upfront routines that make for an efficiently run classroom to the business of learning new content and concepts. It is always a joy to observe our talented faculty and staff doing what they are most passionate about. If you cut through the noise generated by education reform proponents and opponents, effective learning really does boil down to students interacting with high quality professional educators.
I had the good fortune recently to attend a speech delivered by our highest-ranking professional educator, MaryEllen Elia. She is the new Commissioner of Education, having returned to New York from leading one of the largest school districts in Florida. She faces the herculean challenge of repairing relationships strained by several years of education reform characterized by new standards and high stakes testing tied to teacher evaluations.
As I listened to Commissioner Elia speak on the challenges confronting public education in New York State, I had three distinct impressions. First, she projects an aura of balance that I did not sense with the former commissioner. Second, she displays a genuine willingness to listen to the practitioners in the field that I did not sense from Commissioner King. And finally, she exhibits an appreciation for the damage that fiery political rhetoric has unleashed on teacher morale across the state.
To her credit, Commissioner Elia is approaching one of the hottest issues from both sides. She is attempting to placate the “opt-out” supporters by shortening the length of testing, while at the same time encouraging school superintendents to take a more active role in extolling the virtues of well-designed and implemented assessments. The jury is still out on whether she will be able to salvage what has become a battle of extremists. I wish her well and hope that she can thread the eye of a very small needle.
Paul Finch, Superintendent of Schools
Policies for All Employees for 2015-16 School Year
In its continued commitment to reducing paper consumption and making resources available in electronic format, the district is making the following policies for employees available in PDF format. Staff are expected to review these documents before signing the required acknowledgement form and submitting it to their building's main office secretary. If you have any questions about the policies, please contact the District Clerk Elena Maskell at 845-758-2241 ext. 55010. To open the policy, click on its name.
If you enjoy working with students and helping them learn to their full potential, we need you.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....and what that may mean for school closings and delays.
If you are a parent and would like to be included in text message alerts, this article is for you!
School delays, cancellations and changes in dismissal times will be posted on the district website and its Twitter feed @rhcsd, recorded on the message center (845-758-2241) and shared with area television and radio stations. Parents are advised to keep emergency contact information current by notifying the main office of your child's school if phone numbers or email addresses change.