VC Digital Newsletter

March 2021

Spring Break

 

Return to 5-Day In-Person Instruction

Survey Results

Results for 4,003 students (VCSD Total Enrollment: 4,060 )

HYBRID: 1,984 hybrid students would come back 5 days a week.
                        333 hybrid students will switch to 100% online learning.
ONLINE:    786 100%-online students would come back 5 days a week.
                       900 100%-online students would stay with 100%-online learning.

 

Question: If your child is currently a hybrid student and VC is able to bring back students 5 days per week for in-person instruction, which instructional model would you choose? 
Result:  85.6% chose In-Person Instruction
                 14.4% switch to Online Instruction
2,317 Respondents

Question: If your child is currently 100% ONLINE  and VC is able to bring back students 5 days per week for in-person instruction, which instructional model would you choose? 
Result:  53.4% chose Online Instruction
                 46.6% switch to In-Person Instruction
1,686 Respondents

Letter to the Community from the Superintendent

We have worked together to overcome many obstacles and we should be proud of all we have achieved. The Valley Central community has shown itself to be resilient, flexible and determined. Our community has been forced to make considerable sacrifices due to COVID-19 and we are grateful for your continued support and encouragement. 

It is said that difficult times produce endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.  We have missed our students and we know that they are also missing out on a great deal by not being in the classrooms regularly. We believe our plan can bring more students back in a safe and effective manner. 

Since opening in September, the goal of the Valley Central School District has been to provide the greatest amount of in-person learning as possible. Many of our students have been in school 5 days a week since September and we have added to that number each month. Valley Central is one of the only local districts that does not have an asynchronous day, where students have no contact with teachers. We have worked closely with the Orange County Department of Health, our School Medical Director and our District Nurse Coordinator to follow all health and safety guidelines. We are confident that under the current circumstances we can safely and effectively make significant changes to our instructional plan that will greatly benefit our students and our community. 

We believe that now is the time to move forward based on the following information:

~Vaccinations are more readily available and many of our teachers have begun or finished the vaccination process.
~The infection rate in our region continues to decline.
~The New York State Department of Health’s guidelines allow for the use of trifold polycarbonate desk partitions in order to provide an extra barrier of protection. We have ordered enough barriers for all buildings.
~Valley Central will continue to offer 100% online instruction to those students whose parents request this for the remainder of the year. This reduces the amount of students in the buildings, as approximately 30% of our students have opted for 100% online learning.

The warm weather allows for the bus and classroom windows to remain open at all times, which assists greatly with ventilation. As the spring approaches we will be able to use our outdoor learning spaces more frequently.

In order to make this work, we all must work together and remain vigilant. We must continue wearing masks, washing hands, using sanitizer and be mindful of our distance from each other.  Your cooperation and patience will be necessary throughout the remainder of the school year. As we have said numerous times, the landscape changes quickly in relation to COVID 19. If there are any new guidelines that would change our plan, we will be sure to notify you immediately. We are excited and confident that we can make the remainder of this school year a success and we look forward to working closely with you to make that happen. 

5-Day In-Person Instruction

Asynchronous Days

April 6th for all Elementary Students
April 7th for all Secondary Students

Elementary Team 1 reports  in- person on  Wednesday, April 7th

April 12th: All Kindergarten through 6th graders and 9th graders return who have selected 5-day a week in-person model . There will no longer be a hybrid model for K-5,6 or 9th grade.
Secondary Team 2 reports in-person on Wednesday, April 14th

April 19th: All 7th and 10th graders return who have selected 5-day a week in-person model . There will no longer be a hybrid model for 7th or 10th  grade.
Secondary Team 1 reports in-person on Wednesday, April 21st

April 26th: All 8th,  11th , and 12th graders return who have selected 5-day a week in-person model . There will no longer be a hybrid model for any students.

100% Online who have chosen that model will continue with online synchronous/asynchronous instruction five days a week.

Schedule contingent on barriers arriving

Important Facts to Remember About these Changes

If you choose 100% online instruction, you will need to remain on this instructional method for the remainder of the 20-21 school year. 

If a student in the 5 day a week in-person instructional model is quarantined, they will be able to login to online instruction until the quarantine is over.

If a student is enrolled in 5 day a week in-person instruction and they are absent, they will not be able to login to online instruction.  They will be marked absent and provided with the work in the same manner as pre-COVID 19.

 


 

Conversation with the Community

The Challenges of Education Amidst the Pandemic and Looking Forward

March 10th  6:30 pm

This will be a Live Streamed Zoom Presentation. Up to 975 seats will be available in the meeting. 

Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://zoom.us/j/93144750508

The community will have an opportunity to make comments or ask questions via this Google Form: https://forms.gle/P8sATqqCRycVbD9b6

Questions and Comments will be addressed during the discussion.Meeting Participants will be able to participate through a “chat” feature

The meeting will be Livestreamed on our Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88W3G_-wX5U

Did You Know?

~Three A Capella groups will be competing virtually in the ICHSA Northeast competition! 
~ Winter Fest 2021 Celebrated the Class of 2021!
~We have celebrated the 100th Day of School. 
~ Two VCMS Students were named to the NYS Band Directors Honor Band.
~We celebrated Read Across America Week. 
~ We completed the Winter Sports season and have begun the Fall-2 Season!
~ Second Quarter Honor Roll was Posted! 
~ Junior, Elise Montenora has been accepted to the Youth Orchestra of the LA Philharmonic National Institute. 
~ The VCHS Cultural Diversity Club participated in the SPOMA Wreath Laying Ceremony. 
~ Students across the District participated in Project Valentine (sponsored by Sen. Skoufis) and Valentines for Vets (sponsored by Rep. Maloney)
~ Senior Maddox Schaper is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.

The Return of Sports

Sports returned to Valley Central with the Winter season beginning January 19th and ending February 27th,  

Boys’ Swimming and Indoor Track and Field led the way with their seasons January 19th and High Risk Sports like Basketball, Wrestling and Competitive Cheer began again on February 1st.  All of the teams had events celebrating their Seniors. 

Weather and quarantine challenged the winter season which had 45 contests scheduled and completed 43. One team had to quarantine, but there was no spread amongst the team. The procedures in place were effective.

The District technology department worked diligently to livestream the home contests bringing the contests into the living rooms of our families. 

Home contests were photographed with albums uploaded to our Facebook page. 

The Fall-2 season began on March 1st  and continues to April 18th. Girls’ Swimming, Volleyball, Soccer, Girls’ Tennis, Football and Cross-Country have returned to the fields and the courts.  Contests begin on March 10th. 

Weather and quarantine will likely continue to challenge, but Interim Athletic Director, Rich Steger is confident that the fall season will be a success. Some contests will be livestreamed and all home contests will be photographed and uploaded to Facebook. 

“The athletes and coaches are happy to be back-each game brings us one step closer to normal,” stated Steger. 

The Spring season begins on April 19th and will include Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse, Softball, Baseball, Boys and Girls Track and Field, Boys and Girls Golf and Boys Tennis.

Budget Calendar

January 19      
Budget Snapshot:
https://youtu.be/92pwSubdRDU

February 8        
Superintendent’s Initiatives/BOE Initiatives
https://youtu.be/r629wbMl-Rg

March 8           
Capital Project:
https://vib.by/v/Q14jYJcp5
Budget Areas:
https://vib.by/v/Xkmlle9Tc

March 22           Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

April 12              
Budget Meeting (if needed)

April 19               
Nominating Petitions Due to District Clerk

April 19               
Adoption of 2021-2022 Budget

May 10               
Budget Hearing

May 18               
BUDGET VOTE


December 2020

VCSD Takes A Proactive Approach to Education Post-Pandemic

The Coronavirus Pandemic has shaken all aspects of our lives to the core forcing a global restructuring of education. It has magnified the importance of connections and social-emotional learning. Just as VCSD worked hard to facilitate the reopening of schools in September, we are hard at work not only providing education during the pandemic- but looking ahead to how we can best serve our students’ educational needs as we eventually return to schools as we knew them with the lessons learned through the pandemic experience. 

Before the Pandemic, Valley Central was delving into Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and its importance in fully equipping our students for success. The Pandemic has magnified how very important SEL is.  Connectivity applies beyond internet access.  Students need to feel connected to the adults in their schools.  

The “House” concept of schools is effective for building a sense of community, camaraderie, and identity.

The Alternative Learning Center at Maybrook is like a House of the High School and Middle School.  Since its inception, it has been very successful in creating community and camaraderie for our students.  To apply this concept on a larger scale, VCSD has decided to embark on restructuring the High School to a collaborative co-principal model. 

Valley Central High School will consist of two Houses: a grade 9/10 House and grade 11/12 House.  Each House will have a Principal and Assistant Principal.  The 9/10 House will focus on Social Emotional Learning to make sure students are acclimated and prepared for success in the upper grades of high school.  The 11/12 House will be focused on college and career readiness, being sure that students are prepared for success on the paths they will take post-high school. 

The District began considering the House approach prior to the Pandemic and then decided to implement it quickly as it became apparent that students will need more support than ever as we continue to deal with the Pandemic’s effects on now and well beyond the end of the Pandemic. 

Superintendent John Xanthis sees a mid-year restructuring to the new system as a perfect opportunity to have the House system firmly in place for the upcoming year.  Decisions for an upcoming school year are made starting in January of the prior year, so this transition will allow the co-principals to be fully in charge of those decisions. It is hoped to have the co-principals in place as early as the beginning of the second semester of this school year.

Snow Days at VC

Most students know who Ben Noll (VC Class of 2009) is although he graduated awhile ago and lives half a world away in New Zealand!   Who could imagine a world without Ben Noll’s Snow Day predictions? Not VC. 

Snow days are not something that VC is ready to let go of yet. For now, VC plans to use our snow days and then if needed go remote. 

VC has a total of seven snow days.  Three can be used without having to make them up.  The next four are “banked” in the VC school calendar and are made up in this order: 

4th Day: May 27th is a school day
5th Day: March 26 and May 27
6th Day: March 26, April 5 and May 27
7th Day: March 26, April 5, May 27 and May 28

The District had its first snow day on December 17, 2020.

January Dates

January 4: School Resumes- Remote Learning Only

January 11- BOE meeting Livestreamed on our Youtube Channel.

January 18- MLK,Jr. Day

January 19: Hybrid Learning Resumes: Team 2 reports to school

January 21: UPK Info Night

January Regents Cancelled

January Concerts and Drama Productions Postponed


Education Amidst a Pandemic

~ John P. Xanthis, Superintendent

One of the goals of the Board of Education is to be one of the top 5 school districts in Orange County.  VC was the largest district in Orange County to offer in-person learning to all our students for the longest period.  I believe in the midst of this pandemic that was quite a success. From the first days of the pandemic through today we have worked hard to provide an opportunity to return students to the classroom while at the same time providing families the choice of 100% Online Learning.  

I am proud of the efforts that have been made by all of our staff to keep our schools open from September through November and to keep our students learning virtually during the Pause.  It has been an all-around team effort and the efforts have been outstanding.  

School Meals Available During PAUSE

Free school meals are available to all VC students, age 2-18, during the Pause of In-Person instruction. 

During the Pause, pickup days will be on Mondays and Wednesdays only. Orders must be placed from the VCSD website. Order forms are available on the Food Services page as well as all the school homepages.

Meal pickup on Mondays:
~Pickup on Monday will be for Monday and Tuesday meals
~Order from Friday at 2:00 PM until 9:30 AM on Monday
~Pickup is between 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM on Monday

Meal pickup on Wednesdays: ~Pickup on Wednesday will be for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday meals
~Order from Tuesday at 2:00 PM until 9:30 AM on Wednesday
~Pickup is between 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM on Wednesday

Meals will not be available during the Winter Recess from Dec. 23rd through Jan. 4th.

Bus Service Will Continue Under First Student

In its lawsuit against VCSD, Orange County Transit claims it is owed for transportation services it did not actually provide during the State ordered shutdown of schools from March to June 30, 2020. The lawsuit also alleges that Orange County Transit is entitled to be paid for its costs of cleaning its own buses to CDC standards during the present school year. 

Through Bankruptcy proceedings, Orange County Transit has ceased operations for Valley Central effective December 1st. The District has assigned a short-term emergency contract to First Student and will immediately begin the process of hiring a new transportation contractor.

Orange County Transit is an outside contractor for VCSD.  The company has alleged publicly in the Wallkill Valley Times that the District has a surplus of CARES Act funds from which they believe they should be given as a stimulus for services that were not rendered during the school closures. The District has no such surplus and furthermore the Valley Central School District is not in the legal or practical position to subsidize such businesses with scarce taxpayer monies needed to educate children. 

The remedy for such businesses as Orange County Transit is the federal Payroll Protection Program. It is our understanding that Orange County Transit received $1,762,030 from that program. They are NOT entitled to any more from our taxpayers.

Where is the MONEY?

Here are the FACTS:

VCSD lost State Aid through a “Pandemic Adjustment”
(-$560,835) 

CARES Act Funds address State Aid shortfalls through grants to invest in items such as technology, bandwidth, and connectivity.

VC has not yet received any money from the CARES Act.

VCSD has:
~Provided childcare for essential workers
~distributed 1000’s of meals
~Purchased PPE, sanitizer, and signage
~Purchased technology to support remote learning
~ Maintained staff


November 2020

Becoming Culturally Responsive

Valley Central has implemented:

  • A strong Social and Emotional Learning Initiative
  • Hired a Consultant on Culturally Inclusive Education, Dr. Gess LeBlanc who has worked with staff and students in the Middle and High Schools
  • Cultural Diversity Club at the High School
  • Creation of A Race, Identity and Justice Course at High School
  • Professional Development for Faculty
  • Procurement of Racially Inclusive Literature for all Elementary Schools
  • Created an ad hoc Racial Equity in Education Committee
  • Modified the Dress Code (part of VC Code of Conduct) to be culturally responsive
  • Appointing a (p/t) District Equity Coach- Zelig Kurland, VCHS Teacher

Applicants Needed for Racial and Social Equity Committee

The Board of Education has created a Racial and Social Equity Committee.  The goal of the committee is to drive accountability for the fair and inclusive treatment of all students. 

The initial charge of the committee is to: 

  • review District Curriculum so that it reflects diversity and provides the ability to thrive in a multicultural society
  • focus on staff diversity and inclusion
  • promote cultural literacy among all staff members
  • assure fair and equal treatment of all students 
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the District effort regarding equity 

Accepting Applications through November 30, 2020

The Racial and Social Equity Composition

1 BOE Member, and alternate

6 Parent and Community members, May include recent grads

4 Students, Current HS/8th grade students

4 Faculty, 1 HS, 1 MS, 2 Elem.

2 Non-Instruct. Staff, 1 Secondary/1 Elem.

3 Administrators, 1 HS, 1 MS, 1 Elem.

1 CO Administrator and the Superintendent, Ex-Officio

Statement from the Board Of Education

( from October 13, 2020 BOE Meeting)
“The District has been criticized and questioned by some for its failure to address, prevent and remedy incidents alleging racial injustice, particularly regarding some involving students.

We have very clear expectations about student behavior. As our policies require, we encourage the reporting of any misconduct regardless of severity.

The District promptly and thoroughly investigates these allegations.  While some investigations can be quick, others require more time.  In either case, we will not rush an investigation or rush to judgment.

If an investigation determines that disciplinary action should be taken, that is a private matter between the District, and the family. The District is obligated under the law to follow the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Accordingly, the District is not permitted to share information on the outcome of any student discipline with the public. 

The District has done a lot to ensure that students have a safe and healthy environment to learn and will continue to do so.  

We have a good community and a great student body.  Creating a culture of diversity and tolerance, a safe and healthy learning environment should be something that unites us.

We will continue to encourage open honest respectful conversation on ways to improve our District and community.”