BCSD Superintendent Updates

  • Superintendent Blog Post - May 22, 2020

    Posted by Victoria Jackson on 5/22/2020

    Superintendent Blog - May 22, 2020

    Dear Beacon Community:

    I hope everyone is doing well and hanging in there!  This has been a very long haul and I am so appreciative of the support of the community during this time.  In this blog, I have updates on BHS graduation and other end of year celebrations, the end of the school year calendar, and some initial thoughts about our District Recovery/Reopening work.  And the Memorial Day holiday still exists so this is a three day weekend.  

    BHS Graduation and End of Year Celebrations

    This has been an incredibly hard time to be a high school senior and my heart goes out to all of our seniors.  The Beacon High School family has been working very hard to create some memorable ways for our seniors to celebrate the end of their academic journey with us.  With Dutchess County Stadium not available to us this summer,  the Dutchess superintendents have worked in conjunction with the Dutchess County Executive’s office to make sure our graduation and end of year plans are done safely and in compliance with the Governor’s executive order.  On the homepage of our website under District News is a letter from Dutchess County with a summary of graduation guidelines.  Here is a link to the newsletter from our high school principal, Elisa Soto, with more details about graduation: https://www.smore.com/xchb8

    For our seniors, we have the following planned:

    • Graduates will have their cap and gowns and a gift from the PTO personally delivered to their house next week.
    • Lawn signs with each of our graduates are going up in front of the high school next week.
    • Each senior will have an appointment to come to individually come to the back of the high school in their car to then step out and get their picture and video taken in their cap and gown.  These will then be used in our digital graduation video.  Social distancing will be practiced.
    • On June 24th the graduation film will be shown at the Hyde Park Drive-In movie theater.  This will be only open to families of graduates and it should be really fun.

     

    We are trying to make the best of this and I know this is what no one wanted but I am proud of the plans that we have come up with to honor and celebrate our seniors!

    End of Year Parades/Celebrations

    Individual schools will notify families about end of year celebrations.  If there is a drive through celebration at a school, there can only be 10 people outside of their cars, even if everyone is practicing social distancing, as part of the celebration.  Thanks for your help and support in implementing these guidelines.  

    End of the School Year

    Our students have been working on school work at home since March 16 and everyone has been working very hard.   The last day of school/distance learning for students will be Friday, June 12.  Students will be allowed to turn in late work on Monday and Tuesday June 15 and 16 if they need to.  Teachers will be working on grading and preparing their rooms for summer cleaning after June 12. Ending distance learning on June 12 meets state guidelines and requirements.  I am proud of all of the hard work of our students, parents, and teachers during this phase of distance learning.  I am also appreciative of the hundreds and hundreds of folks who filled out the distance learning survey.  We will use that information to help us if we need to implement this model again.

    Recovery/Reopening Committee

    We began our internal administrative committee on recovery and reopening last week.  We will begin to seek input and involvement of more stakeholders in the near future.  Governor Cuomo indicated that districts will receive guidelines on reopening in June and be asked to submit plans for reopening in July.  We will work to develop plans for every contingency imaginable.  

    Meals Program

    Our meals program has been a huge success.  We are quickly approaching 100,000 meals distributed (when that happens we will really celebrate it!)  This phase of our meals program will end on Wednesday, June 17 and we plan on restarting a summer meals program in early July.  We will notify everyone when we have that figured out. 

    Meals next week will be distributed on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the Memorial Day holiday!

    Have a great weekend!

    Matt Landahl

     

     

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  • Update on School Closures - May 1, 2020

    Posted by Victoria Jackson on 5/1/2020

     

    May 1, 2020

    Dear Beacon Families:

    I am guessing you have already heard the news but today Governor Cuomo closed schools in New York for the rest of the year.  While I know many of us expected this announcement, it does not take away how sad this is for our community.  I know as a dad how hard this is seeing my son physically away from his friends and his teachers.  We are living through history and I know I say this all the time but the gratifying part is seeing the Beacon community rally together as it has.  We will continue our meals program and distance learning through the end of the year and we will work on refining and improving as we go.

    When faced with bad news, I try to absorb the news but I also try to make some plans.  It is what administrators and educators do I guess.  The planning part is hopeful, action-oriented, and helps me find a way through the hard times.  So, here is what we are working on planning:

    • Graduation for our Seniors.  We are working hard to make different plans for our Seniors that go beyond a “virtual/digital” graduation.  We will strictly follow the health guidelines but we do want our seniors, even if it is just in front of their families and everyone is safely social distancing, to walk across a stage.  If it takes 10 hours to do it safely and families come in shifts, so be it.  If we can do better than that with the guidelines of the moment, we will.  We also want to find more ways to celebrate our Seniors at graduation time as well.  We will keep the community updated as we plan!
    • Plans for next school year.  Governor Cuomo said out loud today what many of us have been thinking, school is most likely going to look different next year.  He asked in his press conference today for schools to develop plans for next year that enable us to monitor the spread of COVID-19, instill confidence and safety for everyone, plan for the reopening of extra-curricular activities, develop/change protocols for special education students, and look at an alternative academic calendar.   I think the best way to make these plans is to do it collaboratively so I will be gathering input from all community and school district stakeholders as we develop these plans.
    • Plan for some more fun.  Friday, May 8th is going to be district-wide field day sponsored by our Athletic and PE department.  We will send out more information next week and we will look for other ways to have fun as a community on this journey as well.
    • Budget work.  We are in the midst of a difficult budget season.  As we know more from Albany and Washington DC, we will update on the community on our proposed budget.

     

    We have a lot to do to make the most of this, and we will do our best.  Beacon, we got this!

     

    Matt Landahl  #Beaconstrong

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  • Superintendent Blog Post - April 29, 2020

    Posted by Victoria Jackson on 4/29/2020

    Superintendent Blog April 29, 2020

    #BeaconStrong

    One of our elementary students from Sargent, Trey, submitted a picture of BeaconStrong to me this week so I wanted to include it in the blog.  It has been a powerful experience for me to be a part of this community during this tremendously difficult time and Trey’s artwork was a great reminder for me.  Whether it is seeing our staff producing, handing out, and delivering thousands of meals a week, or our teachers and teaching assistants making connections with kids on a daily basis through Distance Learning,  our administrators pitching in with support all over the community, or our students accomplishing amazing things during this time,  I am reminded on a daily basis how a school district can best serve a community during an unprecedented time in history.  

    Trey - Beacon Strong

    I want to take a moment to thank every person in this community for your support of us during this time.  It means a lot.  I also want to say that if you need support with something during this time to reach out to your teachers, school principals, or me.  You can reach me at landahl.m@beaconk12.org.  

    Fourth Quarter Grading

    We convened a committee of teachers and administrators a few weeks ago to develop guidelines and parameters for fourth-quarter grades.  We wanted to create a system that was supportive of students and teachers during this challenging time.  At the elementary level, the fourth quarter grades or feedback will be mostly narrative comments with a very reduced report card.  

    At the secondary level, there will be no final exams, and students will be given flexibility for turning in assignments.  We felt strongly that we wanted to keep numeric grades at the secondary level to provide something familiar to students and to allow us to keep using PowerSchool for communication purposes with students and parents.  The “floor” or low grade for both Rombout and Beacon High School students who are participating in their classes is 70%.  We want students to see the importance of participating in distance learning and turning in assignments and see this as a chance to improve their overall grades.  For students struggling to participate, we will do anything in our power to assist with that whether it is helping with wifi in the home or regular check-ins from teachers and administrators to keep you on track.  

    School principals will communicate more specifics about grading plans by the end of this week.

    Waiting to Find out What’s Next

    Governor Cuomo says he is announcing more information about potential school closures later this week.  We will keep you posted.  

    Budget Update

    As many of you are aware, state revenues have decreased significantly and the Governor is planning on reducing state aid to schools significantly.  We should be finding out more about Governor Cuomo’s plan in the coming days and I will be communicating frequently with the community the month of May about our budget situation.  

    Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration

    Please click below to see instructions on how to register for Pre-K and Kindergarten.  Registration starts May 1.

    Pre-K Registration Flyer

    Thanks,

     

    Matt Landahl

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Beacon High School