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Spring Valley Rotary, O&R donate over 700 dictionaries

PEARL RIVER (November 14) - For the fifth consecutive year, the Spring Valley Rotary Club and O&R have presented dictionaries to over 700 third graders from the East Ramapo School District.

O&R provided the Rotary Club with a $750 donation for dictionaries for third graders at the Margetts, Hempstead, Fleetwood, Grandview and, here, at Summit Park elementary schools. The presentation is part of the Rotary’s ongoing effort to support educational projects in the community.

“Every third grader in the elementary schools in the East Ramapo school district gets his or her own dictionary as part of the Spring Valley Rotary Club’s Literacy Project,” said the Club’s Dictionary Program Coordinator Ed Frank.

O&R’s Public Affairs Section Manager and past president of the Spring Valley Rotary Neil Winter, a current member of the Spring Valley Rotary as well, said, “Words are the keys to everyday life, knowledge and success. The looks on the students’ faces when they receive the books are priceless. You would think we had given them the world. In a way, we have.”        

Back row (L-R): Dr. Joel Klein, Superintendent East Ramapo School District; Rotarians Joyce Brown, Ed Frank and Ruth Wein;
Kim Hewlett, Principal, Summit Park; O&R’s Neil Winter and Dr. Andrea Coddett – Asst. Superintendent
East Ramapo School District


School comes together to send letters to terminally ill kids

MONTGOMERY (November 14) - Students at Montgomery Elementary School are learning a new method for communicating with their peers.  During the first few weeks of November they spent some class time writing letters to terminally ill children as part of their participation in the Letters Project, a New York-based organization.

Principal Marianne Serratore was enthusiastic about bringing a new perspective to her classrooms and believes that the students will learn a lot by writing to kids their age who may be in different circumstances than their own. After sharing the idea, twelve teachers jumped on board with having their classrooms participate.

The Letters Project is an organization that enables children to write letters of support to other children who are terminally ill.  The LP has been working closely with schools in New York, connecting teachers and their classrooms with terminally ill participants.

The Letters Project urges the Montgomery community to join Montgomery Elementary School and their students in such an admirable cause.


Mallory Orlando, Alyssa Mazzella, and Juan Rivera
are congratulated by BOCES Director of Educational
Resources, Bill Ball, and Work-based Learning
Coordinator Roger Risko

Students of the Month honored at Rotary Luncheon

POUGHKEEPSIE November 14) - Five Dutchess BOCES students were honored for their achievements at a luncheon held today at Christo’s Restaurant in Poughkeepsie.  Teachers had selected the students as the “Students of the Month” for September and October.

The Poughkeepsie-Arlington Rotary Club and TEG Federal Credit Union sponsor a luncheon and the awards each month during the school year to highlight notable student accomplishments. The winners for September and October were:

From Dutchess BOCES BETA Alternative High School:

  • Steven Genovese from the Hyde Park Central School District
  • Lindsey Baillergeon from Webutuck Central School District

From Dutchess BOCES district-based classes:

  • Alyssa Mazzella from the Millbrook Central School District (class held at Arlington High School)
  • Juan Rivera from the Beacon City School District (class held at Spackenkill High School)

From Dutchess BOCES Salt Point Center:

  • Mallory Orlando from the Arlington Central School District

Students were honored for their achievements ranging from involvement in community service through their school’s Interact Club to showing an exemplary work ethic in the Work-based Learning Program. All were highly recommended by the staff at their schools.

Juan Rivera, from Pam Nester’s class held at Spackenkill High School, said he was “so happy.” He said this award couldn’t have come at a better time for him. Why? “Because today is my birthday,” he explained.

The applause, congratulatory speeches, and compliments ensure this day will be a day none of the honorees will soon forget, said Roger Risko, coordinator of the Work-based Learning Program.


Middletown Superintendent Selected for National Connected Superintendents Summit Wednesday at White House

MIDDLETOWN - Dr. Kenneth Eastwood, superintendent of the Middletown City School District, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 100 top school leaders from across America to participate in the first-ever National Connected Superintendents Summit Wednesday, Nov. 19 at the White House.

Superintendent Eastwood is among exemplary local school chiefs who will be recognized for their leadership in helping transition their districts to digital learning.  This unique conference will bring together officials from throughout America to share with one other and the Education Department promising approaches to using technology in classes.

“School districts across the country are helping teachers harness the power of technology to create personal learning environments for all students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  “We want to make sure every child – whether he or she is in the inner-city, in a rural community or on a Native American reservation – has access to knowledge and the chance to learn 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The White House summit will be followed by a series of 12-15 regional summits that will focus on the digital progress both made and possible by local school districts.  The events will also include the unveiling of digital tools that facilitate incorporation of technology into short-term and long-range education planning.

To help spotlight the value of technology in schools, the Education Department is sponsoring a Future Ready Initiative aimed at showcasing outstanding school leadership and strategies.

“The Future Ready Initiative highlights the critical role of district leaders in setting a vision and creating the environment where educators and students access the tools, content, and expertise necessary for thriving in a connected world,” said Richard Culatta, director of the Department’s Office of Educational Technology.

Future Ready superintendents demonstrate effective use of technology in some of the following ways:

·      Fostering and leading a culture of collaboration and digital citizenship;

·      Transitioning schools and families to high-speed connectivity;

·      Empowering educators with professional learning opportunities;

·      Accelerating progress toward universal access to quality devices;

·      Providing access to quality digital content;

·      Creating access, equity, and excellence – particularly in rural, remote, and low-income districts;

·      Offering digital tools to students and families to help them prepare for success in college;

·      Sharing best practices and mentoring other districts in the transition to digital learning.


Vassar College awarded grants for significant computing infrastructure upgrades

POUGHKEEPSIE (October 29) - While Vassar is a small college, it boasts an ambitious and productive faculty research agenda. Just since 2007, Vassar faculty members have earned thirty National Science Foundation (NSF) grants totaling more than $9.5 million, in subject areas ranging from chemistry to cognitive science and economics to earth science.

The two newest NSF grants awarded to Vassar for a combined $624,000 will fund considerable expansion of the college’s computing capacity and security as part of a larger infrastructure initiative, enabling faculty to more effectively participate in large-scale data analysis and Internet-based research collaborations.  Among the key results of the larger initiative, Vassar will more than double its digital bandwidth and gain the capacity for its faculty to participate in the advanced Internet2 research network, the non-profit consortium whose members include major higher education research institutions, industry, and government.

The new NSF grants come from the agency’s Campus Cyberinfrastructure – Infrastructure, Innovation and Engineering program (CC*IIE). Among its priorities is helping professors at small institutions to more readily participate in virtual research organizations with peers at institutions of all sizes across the country and around the world.

"NSF’s investments in campus cyberinfrastructure recognize the increasingly key role campus networks play in scientific discovery and education,” said Irene Qualters, director of the advanced cyberinfrastructure division at the National Science Foundation. “These two awards recognize Vassar’s opportunity to address scientific challenges through state of the art technology advances in networking and security.”

Adds Vassar’s chief information officer Michael Cato who oversaw both of the college’s successful proposals, “Not only will we help our faculty join in virtual organizations with colleagues at other institutions, but our improved computing infrastructure will make possible more robust cross-disciplinary work here at the college. All of Vassar’s departments can benefit.”

An NSF grant for $324,000 will be used to build a next-generation research computing network for Vassar, which among other gains will dramatically reduce and remove barriers to the free flow of data, providing better support for the transfer of large data sets explains Cato. Recent examples of faculty research demonstrate show why these computing upgrades are so important.

The NSF grants come at an ideal time for Vassar, with the college slated to complete its Integrated Science Center project in the fall of 2016 ( A key result of the project’s ambitious facility renovations and new construction will be to bring the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology into close physical proximity on campus. In fact the Integrated Science Center will serve as the initial focal point for the dedicated science research network (the Science DMZ) that the larger NSF grant will make possible.


Saint Rose, SUNY Orange expand opportunities to earn degrees in business

MIDDLETOWN (October 23) - New transfer agreements between The College of Saint Rose and Orange County Community College (SUNY Orange) in Middletown and Newburgh will expand opportunities for Hudson Valley students who want to turn two-year business or accounting degrees into full bachelor’s degrees.

The “articulation agreements,” the first between Saint Rose and SUNY Orange, enable SUNY Orange students who earn associate degrees in accounting or business administration to transfer seamlessly to the bachelor of science programs at Saint Rose.  The agreements spell out the specific courses that students should complete at SUNY Orange and their equivalents at Saint Rose.  Students may transfer a maximum of 62 credits.  Graduates of the SUNY Orange accounting and business administration programs will enter Saint Rose with junior status.

In addition, Saint Rose offers guaranteed two-year academic scholarships to transfer students who have achieved superior grade-point averages for all previous college work.  Scholarships range up to $11,500 per year.  Transfer students who are current members of Phi Theta Kappa national honor society are eligible for an additional $3,000 each year.

The College of Saint Rose now has nearly 70 articulation agreements with community colleges and other institutions throughout the Hudson and Mohawk valleys, Capital Region and beyond, designed to help provide a clear path for students seeking to continue their education. 

Saint Rose and SUNY Orange continue to explore opportunities for agreements between additional programs of study.

For more information about these and other transfer agreements, visit


Dominican College launches two healthcare management programs

ORANGEBURG (October 23) - Dominican College kicked off its new MBA in Healthcare Management and Advanced Certificate in Healthcare Management programs with the inauguration of its first cohort class. The programs are designed for those with existing business skills who want to enter the healthcare industry or those already in healthcare administrative positions who want to improve their careers. The Advanced Certificate in Healthcare Management can be completed in 10 months, and the MBA in Healthcare Management can be completed in 24 months with convenient evening courses offered during eight-week accelerated sessions. Advanced Certificate Credits can move seamlessly to the MBA program.

The programs offer a quick way for those with existing business skills to enter the healthcare industry, or for those already in healthcare administrative positions to improve their careers. They were created to meet the growing demand for healthcare management executives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of medical and health services managers will grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.


LaManna, left, and Sickles

Highland Elementary School welcomes new Assistant Principal Kathleen Sickles

HIGHLAND (September 27) - Kathleen Sickles has been Assistant Principal at Highland Elementary School (HES) for only a few weeks, but she already feels like part of the fabric of the school community, thanks to a warm welcome from staff and students alike. She was hired over the summer to replace longtime Highland educator Rosann LaManna, who retired at the end of last school year.

“The kids are already greeting me with big smiles,” said Sickles. “It’s so great.”

Sickles comes to Highland with 12 years of experience in teaching and educational leadership. She most recently worked at St. Joseph School in Kingston for two years as Assistant Principal and, concurrently, a Grade 3 teacher. She began her job at HES on August 26 and “hit the ground running” on the first day of school just over a week later.

Despite the big change involved in coming from a school of about 250 students to one of more than 800 students, Sickles called her transition “pretty seamless.” Even moving from a parochial school to a public one hasn’t been a major change because, Sickles said, the same values of friendship, anti-bullying, and avoidance of conflict are taught every day at HES through the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) program.

Sickles says that the “vibrant” PBIS team at HES is just one of the aspects of her new job that she is eagerly anticipating. She also hopes to continue building a strong bond between the school and the community, with both sides sharing their many talents and skills.

Sickles has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Her desire to work in the world of education came about unexpectedly when her oldest child started preschool.

“That was my a-ha moment when I said, ‘I have to be part of this’,” she said.


Silva and Burruano

PVCSD National Merit Scholarship semifinalist

PUTNAM VALLEY (September 17) - Putnam Valley High School announces that Adrian Silva is a semifinalist in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program.  Adrian is in the top 1% of nearly 1.4 million seniors who entered the competition.  He will now have an opportunity to compete for one of the 7,600 National Merit Scholarships that will be offered next spring.  

“Adrian is an excellent student and an outstanding young man. We are very proud of Adrian and his accomplishments, and we wish him well as he continues in the competition,” said Putnam Valley High School Principal, Vincent Burruano.


Positions Open: Transformation Team Members Needed

POUGHKEEPSIE (September 6) - The Poughkeepsie City School District is looking for qualified candidates for the Poughkeepsie High School Transformation Team, Poughkeepsie Middle School Transformation Team, a Secondary Math Teacher and two coaching positions. To apply, please click on the appropriate link below. PHS Transformation Team PMS Transformation team Math Teacher – Secondary Coaching – Varsity Girls Volleyball Coach

The post Positions Open: Transformation Team Members Needed appeared first on Poughkeepsie City School District.


County workers pitch in to fill the backpacks

Operation backpack prepares 600 kids for school year

WHITE PLAINS (August 28) - The assembly line was bustling as volunteers stuffed backpacks full of everything from notebooks, binders and folders to highlighters, protractors and flash drives. In all, more than 600 students will hit the ground running this school year thanks to supplies from Operation Backpack, a partnership between The Sharing Shelf of Family Services of Westchester and Westchester County’s Department of Social Services.

“Today is the perfect example of why I started Sharing Shelf – it’s bringing the community that has together to help the community in need,” said Deborah Blatt, director of The Sharing Self, which collects and distributes clothing to people in need throughout the year. “Because of everyone here, 600 children will feel a lot better about themselves when they start school next week.”

Donations are being accepted until September 5, and the top requests are empty backpacks and calculators. A $25 donation will fill one backpack. Contact The Sharing Shelf at (914) 305-5950 or for more information.



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