BCSD Superintendent Updates

  • Superintendent Blog Post - July 10, 2020

    Posted by Victoria Jackson on 7/10/2020

    Superintendent Blog Post - July 10, 2020

    Dear Beacon Community:

    This will be kind of a quick blog post.  I just wanted to update the community on our reopening planning.  We received word that we will receive the NY State Reopening Guidelines on Monday, July 13 or shortly thereafter.  The state is expecting districts to submit their reopening plans on July 31.  Governor Cuomo stated that he would announce the reopening status of NY schools somewhere between August 1-7.  We have been working with different staff members on developing health and safety protocols.  Once we receive the guidelines, we will work on developing plans for all contingencies.  I expect to develop a parent/family survey based on what is in the state guidelines as well.

    I will be doing three different community planning and information sessions on Zoom about Reopening in July.  

    Tuesday, July 21 at 10:00

    Thursday, July 23 at 4:00

    Monday, July 27 at 7:00

    It is best for all members of our community to prepare for everything next year.  It will be a challenge and I am certain we will rise to it!  I promise to communicate consistently and transparently throughout this entire process.

    Work Opportunities for Teens

    Attached to this email is an attachment from Dutchess County Summer Youth Employment Program.  You can also apply here: https://www.dcwib.org/youth-services

    The folks at Gray Family Farm also reached out that they are seeking teens to help them work on their farm or assist with their horse camp.  They can be reached here: https://grayfamilyfarm.com/ 

    I am just passing that information along, I know a lot of our teens are looking for summer jobs this year.

    Thanks,

    Matt Landahl

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent Blog Post - July 2, 2020

    Posted by Victoria Jackson on 7/2/2020

    Superintendent Blog Post - July 2, 2020

     

    Dear Beacon City School District Community:

    I want to take a few moments to update the community on Reopening BCSD efforts and next steps.  Before I begin, I want to say that in our planning, the health and safety of our students and staff is our utmost concern.  

    The New York State Reopening Guidelines for schools are expected to be released around July 13.  To prepare for this release, we have been reading our neighboring state’s guidelines and other guiding documents about school reopening during a pandemic.  I always think it is best to mentally prepare people for all possibilities so I wanted to just share a quick summary of different options we might be facing for the next school year.  This is just a preview of what is out there right now, not an endorsement of any specific plan.  Even so, we are trying to plan for every possibility.  It also seems likely that the biggest factor in school decision-making will be our community, region, or state virus transmission rates and other COVID-19 data.

    Here are the different options we are seeing in other states:

    School Closure/Distance Learning-  This will occur if health officials deem it not possible to reopen schools.  We received around 1000 responses to our distance learning survey and we are using that to improve our distance learning capabilities if we need to use this option next year.

    “Hybrid Option”-  Some versions of this will be implemented if social distancing is required in schools and schools have to dramatically reduce the number of students in a school building at one time.  This could involve students going to school every other day, staggered days, half days, or some other countries have even focused on elementary students attending school while secondary students continue with remote learning. The New York Guidelines will help us focus in this area and we are preparing for every contingency.  

    Choice/Blended Model-  Several states are giving parents and families the option of continuing with distance learning at home or attending physical school.  I think this idea has some merits but the New York State Department of Education would have to play a large role in making this happen through policy and regulation change.

    Full In-Person Learning With some exceptions for vulnerable populations.  It is important to note that all of our neighboring states are calling for a full return to school in September.  

    What Happens Next:

    We have several working groups in the district focused on building and classroom safety, transportation safety, food services, and improving online learning. We are working with great focus on preparing for every contingency.

    After the NY State Reopening Guidelines come out around July 13, we will have planning and informational sessions with the community via Zoom.  The sessions will be held on:

    Tuesday, July 21 at 10:00 am

    Thursday, July 23 at 4:00 pm

    Monday, July 27 at 7:00 pm. 

    At each session, we will do a presentation on the current state of planning and answer questions.  We aim to do another round of community conversations in August.

    After the guidelines come out, we expect to be conducting some very specific surveys of parents and families to help guide us with our planning.  Please look for these later this month.

    Reopening BCSD will require a great collective effort and we are excited that New York virus numbers are moving in the right direction and reopening schools is a strong possibility.  Things will get much clearer as the summer goes on and we will communicate regularly with everyone.

    This Holiday Weekend and for the Rest of the Summer

    Please wear a mask and follow the current Dutchess County COVID-19 guidelines listed here: https://www.dutchessny.gov/County-Government/Restarting-Dutchess-Permissible-Activities-and-Guidance.htm.

    Your vigilance helps us return to school in September!

    Have a great Fourth of July Weekend!

    Matt Landahl

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent Blog Post - June 26, 2020

    Posted by Victoria Jackson on 6/29/2020

    Dear Beacon Community:

    I wanted to provide you with a quick update before the weekend begins.  

    Beacon High School Graduations

    I had not been to a drive-in movie theater since seeing Close Encounters of the Third Kind with my family when I was 7 years old.  While that is a classic movie, this was much better.  Yes, we had our high school graduation at the Hyde Park Drive-In and it was amazing!  It was really the final event of a number of events to honor and celebrate our seniors.  The film that was produced took three full days of filming each individual graduate walking across our stage with their families and some school staff present.  Everybody got to see the movie at the same time at the drive-in and it was wonderful to be together one last time as a group.  The ceremony got to be a little more personal and individualized than usual and we got to honk our car horns all night.  It was great! 

    Thanks to the following people for making things happen for our seniors:

    Mike Adamcek for filming every senior walk the stage for three straight days.

    Mike Gersh for putting the whole graduation movie together, an incredible process.

    Elisa Soto for standing out on our turf field for three days celebrating our graduates.

    Tom O’Neil for playing pomp and circumstance about 250 times for each of our graduates from the press box.

    The transportation department for delivering caps and gowns to all of our seniors.

    The security team for helping to supervise all of the graduation activities.

    Andrea Davis for being the senior class parent advisor and doing so many things to make everything special.

    To BHS PTSO Risa Ostrow, Donna Green,  Fran Vakirtzis for leadership and support.

    To parents Chastity Beato, Lynn Costello, Mary Antalak, and Patty Rinaldi for everything!

    I know I am missing people, so I apologize in advance, but also thanks to the community for helping make this such a memorable end of the school year!

    Reopening BCSD

    Just a quick update.  We are eagerly awaiting the NY state guidelines for reopening schools.   We will work to prepare for every contingency and I think it best for parents and families to prepare for every contingency as well.  These contingencies include full/regular school, hybrid social distanced school with students coming half of the time, to school closed/distance learning.  The reopening guidelines are expected to come out in 1-2 weeks.  We will do our best to prepare for everything that may come our way next year and we will communicate with the community frequently this summer to keep everyone updated!

    BCSD Summer Meals

    We will start up our summer meals program at BHS and South Avenue on Wednesday, July 8 from 10-10:30 for pick up.  We will do the meal pickups on Mondays and Wednesdays.  We will not be able to do delivery over the summer!  Let us know if you have any questions.

    BCSD Playgrounds are Open this Summer

    Feel free to use our playgrounds this summer, they are open as are the City of Beacon playgrounds as well. 

    A Few Meeting Dates

    Ways to connect to these meetings via Zoom will be shared the week before the meetings.

    District Diversity/Equity Committee Meeting, Wednesday, July 22 at 7:00.  We will meet as a whole group and then divide into smaller working groups via Zoom.  This was our committee working style before the pandemic school closure.  We have focused on the code of conduct implementation, hiring for a diverse workforce, supporting the inclusion of students with special needs, and supporting LGBTQ students.  We can add other focus areas as we work.  

    Reopening BCSD Planning/Information Sessions:

    We should have the NY state reopening schools guidelines soon.  We will host these sessions to discuss the current state of our reopening planning and answer questions and concerns.  These meetings will be via Zoom and we will share Zoom info the week beforehand.

    Tuesday, July 21 10:00am

    Thursday, July 23 4:00pm

    Monday, July 27 7:00 pm

    Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

    Matt Landahl

    Comments (-1)
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