• Messages from the Superintendent of Schools Janet Warden will be posted here, and updated as new information is distributed.


     

    August 17, 2020 Message

    Our reopening task force has been working tirelessly for weeks to create a plan that complies with all the New York State mandates. Following meetings today, we concluded that the most prudent course of action is to delay the opening of in-person instruction by five weeks until Tuesday, October 13. As educators, we are faced with the difficult job of guaranteeing the continuity of learning for all our students. A number of safety requirements cause significant barriers to reopen in-person.

    Our expectation is that school will begin on Monday, September 14 in remote-learning mode only for all students. Substantial work has gone into the Remote Learning Model which will provide a more valued educational experience. We have a series of parent meetings this week scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening. If you have not yet requested information for the parent meetings, please email the Superintendent’s Office at emaskell@rhcsd.org.

    We appreciate how challenging the delay of in-person reopening is for our students and families, and we thank you for your support and understanding as we continue our planning to reopen our buildings. Further details regarding remote-learning orientation sessions for students and their parents will be forthcoming.

    Regards,

    Janet Warden, Superintendent of Schools

     


    April 14, 2020 Message

    Dear Parents/Guardians:

    I hope this email finds you and your family healthy. I have a few updates to share. These are:

    Grading: I have met with the administrative team to discuss our approach to measuring student progress during the fourth marking period which begins on April 20, 2020. Please know that we understand the complexities of grading during this school closure. We are well aware of the differences in access, parental support, and student motivation. That being said, each building leader is currently refining a grading process to be shared with parents. The secondary (i.e., grades 6-12) plans will be shared no later than the end of this week. The elementary plans will be shared by next Friday (April 24, 2020). It is safe to tell your child that teachers will be using measures such as completion of work and quality of work completed. Again, all this will be tempered by an understanding of a student’s access, home support, and personal engagement.

    Budget: The 2020-2021 budget development process has continued. We are committed to remaining under the tax cap even with the prospect of significant state aid revenue shortfalls. Additionally, we postponed a vote on an infrastructure capital project to replace the heating system in the high school and smaller replacement projects at the middle school. Both the Red Hook Library and Tivoli Library withdrew their requests for additional funding.

    Budget Vote: The budget vote has been postponed until after June 1, 2020.  We do not know the exact date or process for voting yet.  We are also waiting for guidance on the election of new Board of Education trustees.

    Regards,

    Paul Finch, Superintendent of Schools


    March 31, 2020 Message

    Dear Parents/Guardians:

    Yesterday, Governor Cuomo clarified his expectations for "continuity of education" over previously scheduled school vacations (e.g., Spring Break). His Executive Order mandates that remote learning continue throughout the closure period regardless of these scheduled vacations. As such, I have alerted faculty that they should continue to provide schoolwork and support to your child until further notice.  

    It is understood that many families observe religious holidays during spring break week (e.g., Passover, Good Friday). There is no expectation that students complete work on these days if that is the case for your family. Otherwise, we are in business and expect to continue to refine the remote learning process.

    Regards,

    Paul Finch, Superintendent


    March 24, 2020 Message

    Dear Parents/Guardians & Community Members:

    I hope this email finds you well and settling into a new normal.

    I have the following updates for you:

    • Based on recent media reports and discussions with officials, I believe the school closure will be extended. I expect Governor Cuomo may make that announcement this week. I hope I am wrong. Stay tuned for updates.
    • In the event we are closed beyond the regularly scheduled Spring Break, I will ask faculty to “turn off” remote learning and we will observe the Spring Break.
    • On the topic of remote learning, I have asked grades 6-12 faculty to plan for a transition to Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom as the preferred platforms to provide assignments, video links, and communicate with students. Mrs. Hayes and Mr. Boyd are developing the approach to remote learning for grades preK-5. They will provide parents with updated information on the plan. Please note that the administrators have a base expectation that all faculty provide assignments, have some mechanism for communication with students or parents (e.g., email), and that we are encouraging the use of interactive video applications as soon as individual faculty members feel proficient in their use.
    • In terms of quantity of work, we believe that two hours of focused classwork per day is a reasonable base expectation. You know your child best. Please contact the teacher if you find the workload needs adjustment.
    • IMPORTANT – If you are a parent who works in an essential industry (e.g., medical) and you require daycare, please email Dr. Kitty Summers at ksummers@rhcsd.org.  We must determine the magnitude of the need before we attempt to establish a program or collaborate with a local provider.

    Sincerely, 

    Paul Finch, Superintendent of Schools

      

    March 18, 2020 Message

    Dear Parents/Guardians & Community Members:

    After today, I suspect that email updates from me will start to become less frequent (i.e., every few days). 

    Here are updates for today, March 18, 2020:

    • As of 3pm today, the school buildings will become inaccessible to parents and students. Staff access will also be severely curtailed.
    • If you require copying of teacher assignments (K-12), please email us at copies@rhcsd.org. We will coordinate copying and curbside pickup at Mill Road on certain days of the week. Please do not expect immediate turnaround of the copies. Plan ahead!
    • Next Wednesday's Board of Education meeting will take place on Zoom's virtual meeting platform. We are working hard to make sure the public will still have access to meetings. Stay tuned on this topic.
    • If you hear of specific needs for certain families, please feel free to contact the Building Principal or me via email.  The Red Hook Education Foundation informed us that the community has been generously donating to the Student in Need Fund.  
    • The Governor has indicated a desire to have school districts provide space for childcare for medical personnel and/or first responders. We have expressed a willingness to host this childcare (in a very limited and contained manner). The actual service will be provided by an outside agency. I have no additional information on this topic other than we have expressed a willingness to host. If you are a medical provider who requires childcare, please email me at pfinch@rhcsd.org.
    • Many parents are beginning to realize the challenges of homeschooling. The District strongly recommends that parents create a regular routine that mimics a school schedule to the greatest extent practicable. A quick Google search will provide you with many examples of schedules.

    As we transition into our "new normal" I will be working with the administrative team and faculty to refine the remote learning experience for students. There are complex technological, contractual, and professional development hurdles to be overcome. For now, I hope you are in a good place with student assignments for the next week or so.

    Sincerely,

    Paul Finch, Superintendent of Schools 

     

    March 17, 2020 Message

    Dear Parents/Guardians & Community Members:

    Here are a few reminders and updates for March 17, 2020:

    • Update:  Governor Cuomo announced all schools in NYS will be closed until April 1. All my sources are telling me that it will likely be longer. Let’s hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
    • Update:  If your son or daughter is involved in the Career Technical Institute (CTI) at BOCES and you haven’t received any information on remote learning, you may contact Principal Shron at mitchell.shron@DCBOCES.ORG.
    • Update:  Beginning tomorrow, a new webpage with school closure resources will posted to our website www.redhookcentralschools.org. This website will be a repository of information from grade-levels, individual teachers, and administration. 
    • We understand that at-home printing may present a problem for parents. I am going to be working this challenge with the administrative team (more to follow).  If you are unable to print material at home, we certainly understand.
    • Reminder:  A bagged breakfast and a bagged lunch will be available at Mill Road Elementary beginning tomorrow from 8:00am-10:30am (and continuing Monday through Friday until further notice). It is my understanding that community groups (e.g., Red Hook Harvest, the Ascienzo Foundation, etc.) that have been providing weekend food to families will be working to continue operations in concert with our food distribution.
    • Reminder: Only request meal delivery from Mr. Popp at jpopp@rhcsd.org if you absolutely are unable to pick up at Mill Road during the week. If you need an occasional delivery, we have faculty who have volunteered to deliver. Please contact Barbara Murray at bmurray@rhcsd.org or Chris Wood at cwood@rhcsd.org for the occasional delivery need. 
    • Reminder:  LAMS and RHHS will be accessible for instructional material pickup from 10am-1pm on Wednesday, March 18. There will be no additional access to buildings beyond tomorrow (until further notice).

    Sincerely, 

    Paul Finch, Superintendent of Schools