BCSD Superintendent Updates

  • Superintendent Blog Post - January 14, 2021

    Posted by Victoria Jackson on 1/14/2021

    Superintendent Update January 14, 2021

    Issues with Google Meet

    There have been connectivity issues with using Google Meet in our district, region and in some other areas of the country.  We are hoping that Google resolves this issue quickly and our teachers have done a great job working around it but it has been an issue that we wanted to let you know about. 

    BCSD Town Hall Summary 

    You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk7xLJxZzfw&feature=youtu.be

    Here are the slides: Town Hall Slides - January 13, 2021

    Here is the quick summary:

    Vaccinations:  Our staff is starting to get vaccinated as part of the 1b group but it will be slow going and could take until April for everyone to get vaccinated.

    Contact Tracing: Dutchess County made some small tweaks to our contact tracing guidelines.

    Reason a school may need to go remote:  We may need to go remote due to the need for more time for our staff to conduct contact tracing.  If a large number of students and/or staff is quarantining we may need to go remote.  We may receive guidance from the Dutchess County Health Department to go remote.  The state could close schools by region or state-wide although it does not appear to be likely at this point.  Governor Cuomo has emphasized a few times in recent weeks that he sees it as mostly a local decision.

    Please know that we monitor COVID-19 very closely in the district and that we take our operations very seriously.  We will do everything we can to maintain a safe environment but we also need to be prepared for any and all contingencies, like we have been all year!

    COVID-19 Surveillance Testing

    We see this as a way for us to add another layer of safety to our reopening plan this winter.  It is a completely voluntary program for students and staff.  We are designing a testing model that would support parents to be there with their children when they are testing.  Next week, we will share out an electronic consent form, a Frequently Asked Questions, and hopefully a video to help explain it to you.  Choosing to be part of the program helps give us information to help us with our reopening efforts.

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  • Superintendent Blog Post - December 10, 2020

    Posted by Victoria Jackson on 12/10/2020

    Dear Beacon Community:

    I hosted a virtual town hall last night where the focus was on changes to the state microcluster strategy and also our initial planning on potential COVID-19 testing in the Beacon City School District.  

    You can watch the presentation here:  https://youtu.be/QA_AzaC5btg

    Here is a quick summary: 

    Micro-Cluster Zones:

    Yellow, Orange, and Red zones are part of the state micro-cluster strategy and the state has made changes to how schools respond to this designation.  We would be notified 48 hours in advance of a zone designation.  The state makes this calculation.

    If we are a yellow zone, we would have to test 20% of our in-person students and staff within two weeks.  If results are lower than the zone’s current rate, testing is no longer required.

    If we are an orange zone, schools can stay open if 20% of in-person students and staff are tested over a one month period.

    If we are a red zone, we can remain open if 30% of in-person students and staff are tested over the one month period.  

    If random testing sampling generates 9 or more positive cases in any school, or if the positivity rate reaches 3% or higher, then the school will be required to close for a period of time.


    We are working on preparing for COVID-19 testing if we are in one of the zones and we are also preparing for testing because we would like to start it even if we are not in one of the zones as an extra layer of safety.

    The tests are rapid and involve a quick swab of both nostrils.  Our nursing staff would conduct the tests.  Parent consent forms will be sent out early next week to prepare for this possibility.  On testing days, we would most likely go remote for the day so our staff can focus on testing and parents can be with their children for the test.  To proceed with this we will be working with the state and county to get our plan approved and we will keep the community updated.

    Closures, Weather Related Closures, and Requests to Switch to In-Person

    I want to remind everyone that we still may need to close a school or schools due to the number of staff or students quarantining at any given time.  On weather days, schools can be closed and we will continue with remote learning and schools may be closed and we will have no remote learning.  We want to use the snow days we have in our calendar but not use so many days that we lose things like spring break.  Finally, Beacon High School and Rombout Middle School will review and accept requests for returning to in-person hybrid on a rolling basis space dependent.  Elementary schools will accept requests but not be able to honor them until mid-January.  Honoring these requests may involve a switch of teacher, cohort days, or even school space dependent.

    Let me know if you have any questions and I will be back in touch soon!


    Matt Landahl

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  • Superintendent Blog Post - December 3, 2020

    Posted by Victoria Jackson on 12/3/2020

    Superintendent Update December 3, 2020

    Reopening BCSD Updates

    We had a zoom town hall on November 23 to discuss our initial planning for the state yellow zone designations and what COVID-19 testing might look like in the BCSD.  The state is issuing some new guidance on COVID-19 testing in schools for yellow and orange zones later this week so some of this information might be changing but you can check out the video here:


    We will be hosting another reopening zoom townhall next week on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 7:00 where we will take a closer look at what the possible yellow, orange, and red designations might mean for our district and what testing will look like.  We will send a reminder about this townhall next week.

    Switching students back to the in-person hybrid model

    If parents want to switch students back to in-person hybrid from all remote, here is how to proceed:

    At Beacon High School and Rombout Middle School, if you want to make this request, you can do so on a rolling basis.   Please email the principal of the school and your child’s guidance counselor that you want to request this switch.  The schools will evaluate and approve if there is space in the classrooms.  Approvals will be done on a rolling basis as well.   Rolling admissions means we will start approving these requests now and continue as space is available.

    At our four elementary schools, if you want to make this request, you need to email the school principal.  At the elementary school, we would target the return to hybrid in-person for January 19, 2021 for families making the request.  We need time to evaluate each request.  Please note that the return to in-person hybrid at the elementary level could potentially mean a change in teacher, gold or blue cohort, or even school.  This is possibly necessary so we can continue to maintain social distancing requirements in our schools.

    We will discuss this process more at the Reopening Townhall on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 as well.  We will continue to work hard to accommodate folks with requests while maintaining our health and safety standards.  

    Diversity Committee Work Update

    At the last Diversity Committee, I discussed not holding the December meeting so we can get several smaller working groups moving forward and to focus on a Board of Education meeting on the 14th that will focus on culturally relevant curriculum development.  The working groups would be a little more informal and focused on aspects of the work.

    The working groups of the diversity committee are focused on:

    BCSD Culture of Care- code of conduct, restorative practices, student bill of rights- starting in December

    Culturally Relevant Curriculum- looking at the New York State Framework for Culturally Relevant-Sustaining Education and how to implement in Beacon- starting in January

    Inclusion- looking at strengthening inclusive practices in our district- starting in January

    If you are interested in joining one of these working groups, we foresee a monthly meeting over zoom.  Please email me at landahl.m@beaconk12.org  if you are interested in joining one of these working groups.  They are advisory and will inform district practices and strategic plan work.  We will cap them at 8-10 people so they can be more effective.

    At the December 14 Board of Education meeting, Dr. Jevon Hunter from Buffalo State University with Erik Wright will present on Culturally Relevant Curriculum and Teaching Practices.  Our plan is to work with Dr. Hunter on our curriculum development.  Check into the board meeting on the 14th to learn more.

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