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Message from Dr. Fran Wills, Superintendent

January 18, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

I would like to invite you to our next "Superintendent's Listening Hour" which will be held tomorrow night, Thursday, January 19. We will meet in our high school library at 6:00 pm, just prior to the Board of Education meeting which begins at 7:00 pm in our high school cafeteria. The agenda is open to allow for informal conversation and to provide an opportunity for you to get to know your schools.

Let's keep the conversations going!

I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow evening.

Best,

Dr. Fran Wills
Superintendent of Schools


January 13, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

As we prepare to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 16, 2017, I  would like to call your attention to some recent films that provide rich and remarkable background to help us understand the turning point in the history of civil rights that took place in 1963. Three films seem to capture the issues that moved Martin Luther King, Jr. as a Civil Rights leader.  August Wilson’s play, Fences, presents the plight of African-American workers in the fifties, and portrays themes of childhood disappointment, parenting, marital relationships and frustration with limited expectations that are common to all families. Moonlight is a poignant coming of age film that provides insights into the unique pain of young black men as they venture into the world.  These two films are not recommended for children. They explore adult topics and issues.

However, in a completely different way, and suitable for families to view, the movie, Hidden Figurestells a story that captures vividly the context of Martin Luther King’s struggle for Civil Rights. In this film, based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly, we learn about three women whose knowledge of mathematics was critical to John Glenn’s manned space flight in 1962, and the restoration of our pride in America’s role as the leader of scientific progress following the Soviet Union’s colossal “first in space” triumph in 1961. In this buried gem of our history, three African American women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, math prodigies, known as “human computers” for their ability to do complex calculations with incredible speed and accuracy, were called upon by NASA to calculate and plot the space launches and the return of astronauts to earth. Even with the invention of the first IBM computers, these women taught themselves to program and were relied upon to ensure the safe return of our men in space.

We haven’t heard about these women because their story was hidden; nor were their hardships in a segregated environment revealed. Even with all their knowledge and skill, because they were African American, they suffered indignities that shock us today.  They were required to walk a ½ mile to get to a segregated bathroom, and even denied the use of the coffee pot in the break-room.  Undaunted, they rise above the hardships; they are committed to their nation and the dream of space travel.  Finally, last year, their leader, Katherine Johnson, 98, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I hope that your family will be able to see this film.  You will find inspiration and much to admire and revere in the dignity and humanity of these three American heroes.  I believe they earn our deep respect for what Martin Luther King, Jr. called in his iconic “I have a dream” speech, the “content of their character.”

(Here is a link to the movie trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wfrDhgUMGI)

After Wednesday night’s high school chorus concert, I feel compelled to share a video-clip of our students who sang the song, “My Shot” from Hamilton against a backdrop also created by a student, sending the message of the dreams of our nation for unity of purpose within diversity of thought and experience, and the opportunity for each of our students to “rise” and make a difference. https://youtu.be/tLV_GcDbbA4

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools


January 11, 2017

Dear High School Parents/Guardians:

In order to respond to concerns and questions that parents may have about yesterday's incident regarding threats made on social media directed at the High School, the principal, Ms. Intrieri will hold a public forum for High School parents, from 6:30 -7:00 p.m., this evening in the High School library (prior to the choral concert). Today, Ms. Intrieri met with all students to respond to their concerns. Our Student Resource Officer, Deputy Pitt, also presented the dangers of abusing social media and the potential impact on the future of our students. You are welcome to attend tonight's meeting regarding this matter.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


January 10, 2017

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Earlier today we received by both a student and via our reporting system, Anonymous Alerts, information about an Instagram posting that indicated a serious threat by two students against our high school and referenced a future date. Law enforcement was immediately contacted and an investigation is ongoing. We are confident, after consulting with law enforcement, that there is no imminent danger to our students or staff.
As always, we will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

Thank you,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


December 23, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Putnam Valley CSD had determined that it is important to introduce a new communications tool called Anonymous Alerts®. Anonymous Alerts® allows students or parents to quickly, easily, and anonymously report urgent information to school officials across all of our school campuses. The system encourages students, parents and staff to confidentially report bullying, cyber-bullying, and other sensitive topics through private messages to our administration. Putnam Valley CSD does not support, encourage or tolerate any behavior that prevents any student from reaching their full potential.

We also believe that the best way to address problems that our students face in school is personal contact with a teacher, school administrator, psychologist or counselor and we strongly encourage and fully support that continued practice. However, we do know that sometimes there is a concern that a student or parent may want to communicate anonymously.

How do I place an incident report from Internet connected computers/tablets?

1)   Go to https://www.anonymousalerts.com/putnamvcsd/ from any Internet connected device

2)   Click on the web button called “Anonymous Alerts”. Fill out your incident report.

How do I place a report from an iPhone or Android phone?

1)   From the iPhone Store, download the free app by searching for “Anonymous Alerts”. If you have an Android phone, go to the Play Store, search for “Anonymous Alerts” and download.

2)   After downloading the app, click on it, enter setup/login putnamvcsd and enter putnamvcsd as your Password.

You will also find an Anonymous Alerts icon on our district webpage. 

The mobile apps and Web-based reporting system provides secure 1-way or 2-way encrypted messages, increasing the flow of important information to school officials. Message topics for submission may include bullying, cyber-bullying, family difficulties, self-harm/cutting, drug and alcohol abuse, student depression, sexual harassment, gang related issues or strange/abnormal student behavior.

All reports remain completely anonymous, although submitters have the option to reveal their identity if they prefer to have a person-to-person discussion. The program is monitored from 7:00 AM until 5:00 PM, and should only be used for serious and urgent matters. Indeed, if something disturbing or life threatening occurs at other times, it is imperative to call 911.

We feel that we have a responsibility to offer this tool to our community in order to protect the safety of our students, providing avenues for confidential disclosure when there is something serious that is troubling them.  At Putnam Valley CSD, our goal is to enhance the student’s learning experience and limit any roadblocks to a student’s success, giving everyone the opportunity to succeed. 

Representatives from Anonymous Alerts will be presenting this reporting system to our middle school and high school students on January 3 during grade level community meetings.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

Mobile app student training video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pZr5gQ7cuM


December 22, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

In this season when darkness comes swiftly and early, the lights of many holidays celebrated in December and representing the cultural diversity of our community, enliven our spirits and ignite our own inner fire.  We are rescued from the bleak early winter evenings by celebrations sharing decorative, glowing lights to bring us hope and inspire our own better angels. We feel warmer and better connected to our families and friends when the colorful lights in and on our homes spread good will and joy.  

There is a Danish word that has been trending as a way to describe that good feeling we enjoy, Hygge (In Danish, hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”) One site provides the definition:  “Though there are many ways to describe hygge, we see it simply as the Danish ritual of enjoying life's simple pleasures. Friends. Family. Graciousness.”

Light also symbolizes and proclaims our attainment of knowledge and understanding.  Putnam Valley schools reflect that light to our students, staff, parents and communities through the choral and music concerts, theater productions, art work, writing and acts of kindness and compassion that “make a difference.”  We are so fortunate to live and work in a caring community that aspires to build relationships of respect, acceptance, appreciation and friendship.  The holidays bring us together as we enjoy our students’ performances, the voices of children singing and their loving message.

As we move into our holiday celebrations, perhaps you join me in sense that I need to do more and feeling somehow that there is something else I need to do to make everyone around me feel content.  Recently, I read an essay that explored the connection between gratitude and the feeling of having “enough!”  Mary Halpin Carter, who is head of school at Derryfield School in New Hampshire referenced an article in the Harvard Medical School’s Healthbeat  that discusses the role of gratitude in happiness, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” (www.health.Harvard.edu).  Connected to the  notion of gratitude is that of feeling that one has enough.  “The happiest, most content, generous, and free people are those who feel they have enough and are thankful for it.  Enough is the unsung hero of human happiness.  Let’s take a moment to acknowledge, with gratitude, that we have enough.”

Wishing all a safe and joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools

PVHS Make A Difference Club visits the Putnam Valley Senior Center:

5th/6th Grade Chorus Concert:

1st Grade Concert:

PVHS Carolers visit PVES


December 7, 2016

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Seventy-five years have passed since the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, also known as the "the date that will live in Infamy." Indeed, on that day our nation was compelled to enter the conflagration, and to confront the genocide and destruction that had been roaring through Europe and Asia well before the attack on Poland in 1939. Reluctant to go to war after WWI, to be once again entangled in Europe's conflicts, our leaders prepared our military and quietly supported our allies, but President Roosevelt only made the official declaration of war after the attack. All Americans, especially our servicemen and women, responded with the spirit, courage and strength that we revere to preserve the freedoms we cherish. In a famous speech, President Roosevelt identified the "four freedoms" we needed to remember in our struggle: freedom of speech, freedom from want, freedom from fear and freedom of religion. With those freedoms in mind, our belief in the dignity of every individual, and the knowledge that our vulnerability as a democracy requires our vigilance, we remember Pearl Harbor as a violent and tragic assault on our homeland. We also remember Pearl Harbor as a call to unity of purpose, doing what was necessary to protect American principles and values that inspire us and so many around the world.

To make this day more meaningful, I would like to suggest planning a visit to Hyde Park. I have learned much about the decisions made at that time by visiting Hyde Park with my family. The museum is interactive and a wonderful place for children to be exposed to our history. Valkill, Eleanor Roosevelt's retreat, provides further insight into the dialogue between the President and his wife about difficult and controversial decisions that were made throughout his presidency.

In a reference attributed to George Santayana and then Winston Churchill, we are cautioned that "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Our Putnam Valley teachers are committed to ensuring that our students "learn from history." It is up to all of us to move toward a better future empowered by that knowledge.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


November 29, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community and Staff:

As you know, a committee representing all constituents has been studying the possibility of a later start at the high school based on research on the physical, mental and academic needs of adolescents. As a result of the committee study, we have determined that we would focus on the possibility of a two-tier bus system that transports the middle and high school at the same time, allowing high school students to arrive at least 1/2 hour later in the morning. The thinking and discussion about this topic are available on our website. The presentation outlines arguments on all sides of the issue from perspectives of parents, students, teachers and administrators. Please review this information and click the link below to let us know your thoughts. You can also share your feedback using the comments icon in the PV App or by clicking the comments section on the district webpage just below the presentation.

In addition, we have scheduled public forums on Thursday, December 8 and Thursday, December 15, both at 6:00 PM in the High School cafeteria. All are welcome to attend.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

Presentation - Click here
Comment link - Click here


November 21, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Colleagues and Community:

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches,  I want to extend my best wishes to all for a fulfilling and joyful day.  Time with family and friends is special; we relax in the comfort of our homes, sharing our offerings of food and good spirits. That warmth is cherished, and for many it is anticipated for weeks ahead. Others may feel the absence of someone who is missed at the table, and we bolster them with our presence and recollections of time past. 

In that spirit of caring,  Putnam Valley High School, has been dedicated this past month to Rachel's Challenge,  fulfilling the wish of a young woman who was the first to die at Columbine High School in 1999, and who left behind diaries and poetry that seemed to prefigure her role in history, creating a challenge to her peers to spread  goodwill, and to play a part in history by "dreaming big" and starting a chain reaction of kindness. Rachel's challenge has been taken up by high schools throughout the country. Our "Make a Difference Club" has been collecting food for the needy in our area,sending notes of appreciation to our entire staff and pledging to participate in the Kindness "crusade."  Wonderfully, with gratitude to their families, we notice in Putnam Valley Schools that the students are, with very few exceptions, good to one another. Our school leaders and staff are committed to creating an environment that makes our schools safe and comfortable places for all. For me, a guide to my own reflections on this holiday is expressed by Anne Frank, who, at thirteen while hiding with her family through the courage of a neighbor, maintained her ideals and belief in the essential goodness of people, reflecting in her diary, "how wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

If you can, join our music department at the Tompkins Cultural Center tonight at 7:00 pm for the second annual Gratitude Festival!

Wishing all a wonderful holiday! 

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools 


November 9, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Dr. Wills sent the below message to the PVCSD staff this morning and asked that it be shared with the community.

Dear Colleagues:

Yesterday we voted; today we acknowledge the results of the democratic process that continues to prevail throughout America's 240 year history. Faith in the ideals expressed in our Constitution has sustained us over the centuries, and we will continue to ensure their preservation. In fact, on Friday, November 11th, we will recognize those who sacrificed everything for that purpose.

The freedoms, rights and responsibilities our soldiers valued and died to protect are ours to savor and express. As we await the inauguration of the new President of the United States, we will focus on ensuring that we continue to protect the dignity of every member of our school community and to nurture in our schools a discourse of respect for our students and staff with an appreciation of the differences they contribute to the tapestry of a diverse American culture.

While there may be uncertainty outside our walls, there is within the school environment assured purpose and support. We are charged with educating our students to become knowledgeable, literate and productive citizens, who are able to advocate with reason and courage for the values we share, and to use their freedoms wisely.

Fran

(Please remember that our Elementary School will be closed tomorrow for Parent/Teacher conferences and all schools will be closed Friday in honor of Veterans Day.)


November 4, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Tickets will be available at the door for this weekend's TheatreWorks production of Lend Me a Tenor.

At a time when we all need a good escape into entertainment and just plain fun, Lend Me a Tenor will fill the bill!

This production by our very own TheatreWorks cast and crew, directed by Dr. Gerry Micera, displays the wit, charm and slapstick humor that leads to some deep and healing laughter. Please take a night or afternoon off to join our community in support of our students, budding thespians and remarkable voices.

The performances take place on Friday and Saturday night at 7:00 pm and on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

https://pvcsd.ticketleap.com/


November 5, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Please click here for our District Newsletter - Fall 2016. Take a look at our District news and latest initiatives in each building.

The newsletter can also be found on our website under Notices.

If you have friends or neighbors who do not have children in our schools, but are interested in receiving periodic publications from the District, please ask them to email their contact information to Newsletter@pvcsd.org.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


November 1, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

At a time when we all need a good escape into entertainment and just plain fun, Lend Me a Tenor will fill the bill!

This production by our very own TheatreWorks cast and crew, directed by Dr. Gerry Micera, displays the wit, charm and slapstick humor that leads to some deep and healing laughter. Please take a night or afternoon off from nail-biting and join our community in support of our students, budding thespians and remarkable voices.

The performances take place on Friday and Saturday night at 7:00 pm and on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

https://pvcsd.ticketleap.com/


October 27, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Last week, we sent out a review of the lead testing process and the status of results. Results are also posted on our website. We now have complete results that I want to share with you. I am also attaching a link to the original letter so that you have the complete history of the testing process. We are now working with an approved consultant to develop our remediation plan.

We have received our final report from the lab regarding the lead levels in our school district water supply. As discussed in the prior letter, the established limit is 0.015%.

This is the breakdown by location:

HS-139 tests, 1 faliure
MS-55 tests, 10 failures
ES-81 tests, 13 failures
Concession stand-7 tests, 1 failure

None of the failures were from drinking fountains, but were from sinks that are not normally used for drinking (kitchen hand sinks, slop sinks, science room and bathroom sinks). In the Elementary School there are 3 combination sink/fountains above the standard. We have shut those locations down and have brought in water coolers until our contractor can repair the issue.

Our custodial staff has been instructed to post signs at the areas in question stating, “not for drinking” and “not for consumption.” Our principals will review this information with our staff and to instruct students.

Test results are posted on our website, and I am available to respond to your questions.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


October 26, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

The State of New York has designated October 24-28 as School Board Recognition Week in order to honor the volunteers who serve their communities to ensure that the educational needs of all children are addressed. The Putnam Valley Board of Education strongly supports programs and opportunities that provide our students with the foundation for a successful future in a changing and challenging world. Their dedication is demonstrated by their commitment to strengthening our schools and our accountability to Putnam Valley residents.

Please join me in thanking our Board members for their devoted service to the Putnam Valley community.

There is a regularly scheduled BOE meeting tonight, October 27, at 7:00 PM. Board meetings are open to the public and streamed live via our website at pvcsd.org. (agenda)

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

Governor Cuomo's Proclamation


October 25, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Tomorrow night, our PTA has arranged to have a well-known local mother come to speak to parents about her journey as a parent. Susan Salomone lost her son Justin at 29 years old to a drug overdose, but the family traces the start of his struggles back to when he was 16 years old. Mr. Turner, our Middle School health teacher, is passionate about the health and safety of our young people, and he will join this important conversation.

All parents and guardians are encouraged to come together to learn as a community and to support one another, as a community. The community spirit and support in Putnam Valley is what makes this such a special place.

Please take advantage of this opportunity.

Wednesday, October 26
7:00 PM
Putnam Valley Middle School

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools


October 17, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

On September 6, Governor Cuomo signed a law requiring lead testing in schools (beginning with elementary schools) to take place every five years.  If you recall, Putnam Valley was proactive in testing for lead in late spring; however, the new law expands the parameters of lead testing. Previously, we tested all faucets and fountains that are used for drinking water and posted the results on our website. The requirement now is that ALL outlets must be tested. New York State is the first state requiring lead testing and established a threshold of .015 (15ppb, or parts per billion, per 250-milliliter water sample.)  Elementary schools were required to complete sampling by September 30 and middle and high schools were to be tested by October 31.  The original District testing of potable water outlets during the spring utilized the EPA standard of 15ppb per 250-milliliter water sample. The new law also requires testing of all faucets, including bathroom sinks.  Our original notice to the community indicated some areas that would be shut down prior to remediation.

Test results and lab reports are attached to this notification letter. A future update will be forthcoming once we receive the test results for our Middle School and High School.

With the new testing protocol completed at the Elementary School, the following results were reported for 81 outlets:

  • Report date 10/3/16, Sample IDs: BV29565-BV29597, BV29631 
    • 34 samples - 5 have results .015 or higher
  • Report date 10/5/16, Sample IDs: BV29518-BV29564
    • 47 samples - 8 have results .015 or higher

Of the five outlets out of compliance on the October 3, 2016 test, one was a drinking fountain, which tested at .0016. The standard is .0015. We have turned off this fountain and have brought in a water cooler to provide drinking water until the contracted plumbers can address this. Another area that has been supplied with a water cooler is the nurse’s office. This sink tested at .021. Previously, cups of water were filled from this sink for consumption. We have posted a sign here stating “not for consumption” and added a water cooler to this location as well. One unit is a sink/fountain in a classroom and has also been replaced with a water cooler and signed not for consumption. The other two (2) locations were sinks that are only used for hand washing/kitchen prep.

Of the eight out of compliance on the 10/5/16 test, only one was a sink/fountain. A sign stating “not for consumption” was placed and a water cooler has been brought in for this location. Of the seven remaining outlets, two were tested at .0015, but we want to have these addressed by our plumber also.

All locations have been signed “not for consumption” and staff has been notified to address this with the students.

If you have any questions about this information, please contact either Mr. Pat Bellino at (845) 526-7847 ext. 1323 or Dr. Frances Wills at (845) 528-8143 ext. 1388.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

See attachments below.

pves_10-3-16_lead_test_report

pves_10-5-16_lead_test_report


October 7, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

This is an unusual letter, but I feel that it is hard to ignore the social media postings and news activity around clown costumes and fear associated with clown sightings in the media and in our surrounding area. I am writing because the threatening aspect of these posts may have become a source of concern for parents and children.  Although there have not been any specific threats regarding our schools, neighboring districts have been dealing with disciplinary issues related to the clown images.

We are asking for your help in reassuring your children.  Monitoring exposure to social media is always prudent and we are also encouraging you to talk with your children about the impact of sharing posts and news stories that incite fear. Yesterday, an incident in Dutchess County resulted in a teen being arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat. We do not want to see our students make this mistake.

We are in close contact with our School Resource Officer, Deputy Pitt and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department to address any concerns. If you do see something suspicious, please report the issue to law enforcement.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools


October 6, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community and Staff:

October 14 is the last day in New York State to register to vote for November's presidential election. We are hoping to urge all eligible voters to register and to vote, including our eighteen-year-old students. It is my hope that we demonstrate to our students the privilege we have as citizens of the United States of America to participate in our exceptional democracy.

Most recently, at our Color War extravaganza at PVHS, the entire school stood as usual as a student from each grade led the Star Spangled Banner. However, unlike other years, all of our students sang along as a community with differences in perspectives, but with a wholehearted love of the country we share. We acknowledge our flaws and are willing to grow and improve, and we recognize our uniqueness as a democracy that has welcomed so many from the beginning to join in a commitment to a freedom and diversity of thought. We have a model of what we can be in our students' full-throated voices. (see video link below)

A few days ago our neighbor in Ossining came to see us after a business trip to Italy where she had attended a conference on Cultural Resilience. She shared some of her experiences with representatives of many countries that are striving for a semblance of the freedom we enjoy. They are willing to risk their lives for that cause, and suffer imprisonment or worse. My neighbor, who has a doctorate in American Studies, noted something else that stayed with me. She mentioned that she tunes in to C-Span daily, reminding herself that only America has a camera focused on government itself, as objectively as possible, always looking in on those we have elected to sustain our remarkable enterprise. When we examine the statistics for participation in the voting process in the United States, 58% in the last election, we realize that one of our roles as educators of youth is to encourage them to register and to vote. (see link below)

Thus, I write to the community and urge us to set an example for our students in helping to contribute our vote, our voice in the electoral process. Let's share Alexander Hamilton's cry in the wonderful production by Lin Manuel Miranda, "I'm not throwing away my shot!"

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools

School Spirit Week at PVHS ends with students sing the Star Spangled Banner

Registration form - must be mailed by 10/14/16


September 28, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community: 

Thank you to parents, students, community members and staff who attended last evening’s screening of Most Likely to Succeed. While the setting of the movie was primarily High Tech High in San Diego, the focus on the student experience was a powerful reminder of how our schools vary in how they deliver education and how much independence they offer to students as part of the learning process.

The film portrays the historical context for the organization of schools and the traditional patterns and structures of courses and pedagogy that continue to prevail, even as the context has changed. With the technology and employment opportunities radically and rapidly changing, we continue to see schools wrestling with the best ways to prepare students  for their future. In Putnam Valley, we are not seeking to abandon the educational foundations and content that deepens our knowledge and ability to read, think critically, reason, articulate ideas in writing or speech, and to communicate our ideas effectively. We are, however, looking at strategies that engage students more authentically in their learning process and, therefore, in applying what we know to collaborate with others,  solve problems, create and make decisions that matter.

We can bring purpose to school as a community where we feel a sense of belonging and where we find meaning in our work, individually and with teams.  We value the visual and performing arts and athletics as models for student exhibits and agency. It is that aspect of agency, of students’ opportunity to make decisions, believe in their ability to produce, create, and make something important happen that we seek to expand. We also value empathy and caring for others, demonstrated in service and in our respectful daily interactions where we embrace the differences and uniqueness of each student as an individual to be recognized and “realized.”  

The last scene of the movie moves all who watch as the young man, who after working tirelessly on a project that he has envisioned, does not complete it in time for the public exhibition. He feels disappointment that he has let his team down, as the complex and almost breathtaking machine that they have created to display the rise and fall of civilizations lacks his contribution. 

However, with the support and guidance of his teacher, he continues to work on his project throughout the summer, and finally, he completes it and, amazingly, places his creation with gears moving inexorably and synchronously with the enormous structure built by the class that was waiting to be finished. There were tears of joy and of lasting confidence that indeed, “I can,” through persistence and resilience fulfill my vision. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills 

Superintendent of Schools


September 26, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Parents/Guardians, Staff and High School students:

John Dewey writes: “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”

On Tuesday evening, September 27 at 7:00 PM, the Putnam Valley School District will screen Most Likely to Succeed, a film that explores a vision for high schools for the 21st century.  The movie focuses on the key skills that students will require to be successful in a global and technology driven economy. The film presents a powerful look at what our students will need to know and be able to do to navigate the post-high school landscape of accelerated change and required resilience and flexibility.  At Putnam Valley, we are seeking to increase opportunities for students to find their passion and a path for the future that will further their “pursuit of happiness.”

Please join us for this film and a panel discussion at the conclusion of the film as we consider these questions: 

  • What does John Dewey’s statement mean to you? What relevance does it have to how we educate our students today?
  • What skills do you think are essential for our students’ futures?
  • When you think back on your school experiences, what had the biggest impact on you? What stands out for you as an outstanding learning experience?
  • How do students in our school learn to make decisions? What are some examples of how our students experience leadership?
  • How much autonomy do our students have in creating and defining projects or big initiatives for themselves?
  • What are the benefits or challenges of reflection and assessment of this kind for students, parents and teachers?

I hope to see many of you at 7:00 PM tomorrow night in our Performing Arts Center at the High School.  If you’d be interested in joining Ms. Intrieri and I on the panel, please email me. 

Click here for the movie trailer.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools
FWills@pvcsd.org


September 15, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community:

Please save the date!

On  Tuesday evening, September 27 at 7:00 PM, the Putnam Valley School District will screen Most Likely to Succeed a film that explores a vision for high schools for the 21st century.  The movie focuses on the key skills that students will require to be successful in a global and technology driven economy.  With an emphasis on critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication and designed to provide an active learning experience for all students, the high school discussed in the film exists at the cutting-edge of what we know now about how we learn best. The film presents a powerful look at what our students will need to know and be able to do to navigate the post-high school landscape of accelerated change and required resilience and flexibility.  At Putnam Valley, we are seeking to increase opportunities for students to find their passion and a path for the future that will further their “pursuit of happiness” as they wrestle with the challenges of uncertainty and the demand for continual renewal throughout their lives.

Please join us for this film and a discussion of the District’s approach to supporting student success.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills

Superintendent of Schools

Movie Trailer

Linda Darling-Hammond Professor of Education - https://vimeo.com/116810306


September 14, 2016

Dear Putnam Valley Community Member: 

In response to substantial research establishing that increased sleep and later school start times impact adolescent student learning and performance, Putnam Valley CSD will undertake a study to provide information that would result in a decision by the Board of Education regarding feasibility and options available to implement a later start at Putnam Valley High School. Currently, the high school schedule begins at 7:10 AM.  In order to deliberate on this matter, a committee will be appointed by the Board on September 22, 2016 at their regularly scheduled Board meeting.  We are seeking to elicit interest from the community to serve on the committee which will begin its work on September 29 at 5:00 PM in the Library conference room.

If you would like to serve on this committee, please email a letter of interest addressed to FWills@pvcsd.org. The committee will meet as a whole until December, with subcommittees studying the impact of the change in schedules on all aspects of District operations and delivery of educational services.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

 

 
Putnam Valley Central School District, 146 Peekskill Hollow Road, Putnam Valley, NY 10579
Phone (845) 528-8143, Fax (845) 528-0274