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RCSD Community Update: 3/31/23

Dear RCSD Community,

We have had a very busy month of March and now we will have the chance to exhale and take a deep breath. Next week is our spring break. Schools are closed all week, offices are open Monday-Wednesday 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and closed next Thursday and Friday. As a reminder, we also do not have school on Monday, April 10, as this is one of our unused snow/emergency days that we are giving back. I hope everyone has a wonderful, restorative week+ off. 

Safety and Security

Monday morning brought news of yet another horrific school shooting. I am deeply sorry for all those in the Covenant School community for their loss and for having to experience such a terrible tragedy. Since January of 2023, there have been 13 school shootings in the U.S.  I dream of a day when these kinds of tragedies cease to be a regular occurrence.

It’s important for our community to know that we are deeply committed to the safety and well-being of everyone in our schools and that we work tirelessly to implement effective safety and security measures and practices. We produced a video on safety and security in the RCSD last year after our October Parent University about our efforts to keep our schools safe. It’s a bit longer than some of our other videos, but it has a lot of good information. Watch it on YouTube by clicking here

Swat Calls

There have been a spate of swat calls in the wake of Monday’s school shooting. What is a swat call? It’s when a hoax call is made to law enforcement to intentionally cause a large response from emergency personnel. Calls can be targeted at a specific individual or something specific, like a business or school.  Swatters sometimes use technology to create robocalls to send multiple calls simultaneously. They are usually untraceable.

In this latest batch, the calls allege there was an active shooter or other threat on school campuses, causing many schools to go into lockdown mode while police responded. On Tuesday, over two dozen schools in Massachusetts were targeted. On Wednesday, Pennsylvania and New Jersey schools received calls.  On Thursday, schools in Chappaqua, Yonkers, and Pleasantville were hit with swat calls. Another group of schools in the Albany area were targeted on the same day. It's reasonable to think that we will be on the receiving end of one of these calls sooner rather than later. Be assured, we are working closely with the Rye Police Department to be prepared.

April Recognition Days

While we are off on break, we are missing some important recognitions:

World Autism Day and Month

Sunday, April 2 is World Autism Day, which seeks to raise public awareness of developmental disorders and neurodivergence. Please consider wearing blue to show your support of understanding and acceptance for people with autism. Fifty-three years have passed since the Autism Society held the first National Autism Awareness month in April of 1970. Since then, autism has become the fastest-growing diagnosis in the world, with the diagnosis rate of children with autism increasing from 1 in every 2000 children in the 1970s and 1980s to 1 in every 36 children today.

National Librarian Month/Week/Day

National School Librarian Day is April 4. And April 3-9 is National Library Week. Since we will be out on break, perhaps you’d prefer to mark the occasion on National Librarian Day (April 16). Whatever Day you choose please don’t forget to celebrate our librarians! A big thank you to our four school librarians and library clerks for keeping books in students’ hands and so much more!

Rye High/Middle School
Dann Kenefick and Simone Campbell

Midland School
Amy Andrews

Milton School
Barbara Mehlman

Osborn School
Cara Lipari

Midland & Osborn Schools
Betty Reeves

National Assistant Principals Week

April 3-7 also marks National Assistant Principals Week. I hope our Assistant Principals enjoy some well-deserved R&R next week.  Please join me in thanking them  for their leadership and the contributions they make to student success every day of the year (even vacation days):

Midland School
Bianca McHale

Milton School
Christina Brussich

Osborn School
Laura Cappiello

Rye Middle School
Kristie Orlando

Rye High School
Christina Cannon
Dr. Bill Meyer

I look forward to seeing everyone back and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Tuesday, April 11. Have a terrific break.

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools