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RCSD Community Update: 4/30/21

 

April 30, 2021

Dear RCSD Community,

To use a Derby metaphor, we are in the final stretch of the school year. Less than two months are remaining, but those will be busy days indeed.  I am hoping they are happy and healthy days for you and your families.

Case Update/Health and Safety Reminders

The last thing we want to do is call you about a mandatory quarantine, but the Westchester County Department of Health has not relaxed its regulations. In the past week, the District has had to quarantine 108 students due to exposure to positive individuals. Several of these cases appeared at first to be seasonal allergies. While the cases are not a result of in-school spread, we have to continue our rigorous health and safety protocols to make sure it stays that way. Please also remind your students to keep wearing their masks, social distance, and wash their hands frequently when not in school. As per the Department of Health, if you are waiting for the results of a COVID test performed on your child, he/she cannot come to school until those results are in.  I know we are all feeling COVID fatigue, but the virus is still with us. Since my last community update on April 23, the District has had six new cases: four at Rye High School, two at RMS, and one at Osborn School. Five of the cases resulted in school-related quarantines.

Partnership with Haskins Lab

Last spring the District formed a partnership with the Haskins Lab at Yale University. Haskins is one of the premier research facilities for language-based learning disabilities in the world. Rye is the first public school district in the area to form a partnership with Haskins. Locally, Haskins works with the Windward School and other private schools and was eager to begin working with our faculty and staff as well.  The focus of the work in this first year has been on improving our elementary intervention services for children struggling with literacy. The success of the partnership has led us to expand the scope of the work for the coming school year. Haskins will be working with elementary classroom teachers in an effort to refine and improve our classroom-based practices and interventions in supporting our students. 

Student Survey on Equity and Inclusion 

As part of the work of the Race, Inclusivity and Community Task Force, the District will be administering an Equity and Inclusion Survey to students in grades 6-12 asking about their experiences during their time in the RCSD. The survey was created by a professional survey group called Panorama and has been used extensively across the country to help schools develop a greater understanding of student perceptions about equity and inclusion. The survey will be administered on May 12 and 13 in English classes. A copy of the survey and a detailed guide to the survey are posted on the District website for parents/guardians to review by clicking here. According to Panorama, the survey should take approximately ten minutes to complete. As is always the case with District-administered surveys, you may choose to opt your student(s) out of the survey. Further information and survey details will be coming directly from the Middle and High School prior to the administration dates. 

Board of Education Candidates

On May 18, the community will vote on the school district’s annual budget for the 2021-22 school year. They will also vote to elect Board of Education members. Three seats are up for election. Current Board members Callie Erickson and Chris Repetto have announced they will seek reelection; Kelly Smith-Powers will not. This year, we have eight candidates on the ballot. I invite you to learn more about the candidates by visiting the BOE Candidate Page on the District website to view biographies, quotes, and pictures of the candidates.  They will all be participating in a candidates forum moderated by the League of Women Voters next Thursday, May 6, at 7:00 p.m. This is the one and only such forum for the election, and a terrific opportunity to learn more about the candidates and what they are passionate about.  The Zoom meeting link is:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88002418734

To submit questions in advance of the forum, email: lwvryerbpc@gmail.com. The forum will be recorded and the video posted if you have other plans on Thursday night. I will share the link to the video next week.

NYS Testing

New York State Math testing for grades 3-8 will take place this coming Monday, May 4. The tests are opt-in this year; approximately 23% of our families in grades 3-8 have opted in to have their students take the state tests.  AP exams for high school students also begin on Monday and will be administered throughout the month. Consult the District calendar for a complete listing of AP exams.  Regents exams take place in the last two weeks of June. The calendar for those tests is posted here.

Have a terrific weekend.

Sincerely,

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools