Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:
I am sure that you have all noticed that the stores begin the “back to school” sales earlier each year and I know that this brings dread to the hearts of each child and satisfaction to parents. Just as the stores have moved their summer goods in order to make room for the “back-to-school” items, we continue to prepare our schools in order to welcome you and your child(ren) for the new school year.
Our mission is clear and articulates an understanding of focusing on the whole child and the necessity to address both academic and social learning. We are dedicated to creating an environment that supports and respects all students—a culturally proficient environment. To this end, the New Paltz Central School District is embarking on a social justice initiative. Join the students and staff in learning more about our efforts and participating on the journey. More details about this initiative will be discussed at the September 27, 2017 and May 16, 2018 Board meetings, as well as at a February 27, 2018 Superintendent’s Dialogue and workshop.
Last year I mentioned that the Board of Education was exploring the benefits and challenges of implementing later start times for our secondary students. An abundance of research shows that the issue is biological, not behavioral. According to Brown University professor Mary Carskadon, the adolescent brain releases melatonin later at night, which makes it difficult to go to bed early and be alert in the morning. Based on this research, the Board will be reviewing the pros and cons of a proposal to increase forty-five minutes of “sleep” for secondary students at their meeting on October 4, 2017. A decision that will affect the 2018-2019 school year on whether or not to change the start of the school day for the middle and high school students will be made either at that Board meeting, or shortly thereafter.
You have likely noticed the increase in capital project activity this summer. The last bits of work at both Duzine and Lenape Elementary Schools will be finished by the end of August. At Duzine, this includes the construction of a new restroom, power upgrades, and the replacement of various exterior doors. At Lenape, final projects include the installation of snow guards on the roof and upgrades to the fire alarm system.
The addition at the High School will also be ready by the end of August. New Guidance Office and conference room space is on schedule to be completed by the end of October.
At the Middle School, extensive site work in the front parking lot is underway to construct the new parent drop-off area and new sidewalks, as well as install an enhanced storm-water drainage system. This work will be completed prior to the start of school. Construction of the addition has also begun and will continue throughout the school year. No work will take place in the present Middle School during the school year.
Enclosed with this letter you will find a copy of the key components of the Educational Master Plan along with a packet of materials pertaining to the opening of school. The approved Educational Master Plan may be found on the district’s website, www.NewPaltz.K12.NY.US and is what guides and directs us to ensure that we maintain our culture, focus, and standards.
Maria C. Rice