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  7. Dr. Franchini’s Welcome Back...

The 2019-2020 school year is almost upon us and I hope that everyone had a fun, relaxing summer vacation! The first day of school is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Many things have been happening in the District since graduation. Through July and August, staff members have been busy getting ready for the upcoming school year.


Our newly created Human Resources Department recruited and hired new staff, filling vacancies throughout the District. Overall, 25 new employees were added to our faculty and staff in various roles. The vast majority of these employees filled positions that had been vacated since the end of the school year.

We are very excited to welcome new teachers at all levels who will provide high-quality instruction to our students. Our new nurse will ensure the health and well-being of our students and our new aides and monitors will make sure that our students are safe.

New maintenance, buildings and grounds staff members have been working with their colleagues this summer to get our facilities ready for our faculty, staff and students to return in September. New carpet has been added in Algonquin Middle School and Poestenkill Elementary School.

Our Technology department added a new team member to ensure that the District’s network and technology is running smoothly. This position will help us meet the ever-increasing use of technology by both students and faculty, which includes the rolling up of our 1:1 initiative to the ninth grade this year.

New staff in transportation will work to provide our students with a safe and reliable ride to and from school.

Our new High School Assistant Principal, Rebecca Leach, joins us from Cohoes CSD, where she worked as a Social Worker for the past 18 years. Mrs. Leach looks forward to building relationships with students and families at Averill Park.

Kara Herrington is transitioning from her role in the District as a Psychologist to our new Assistant Director of Special Education and Student Services. She will assist in ensuring that our students receive the support they need to be successful.

Colleen Wise joins us as Food Service Director from the New York State Child Nutrition Program. She is a trained chef and looks forward to providing students with excellent meal options.


Teachers, administrators and staff members have been busy with professional development throughout the summer, as well.

Some of these professional development opportunities included Mr. Hansen attending Picademy North America in Toronto to become a Raspberry Pi certified educator in working with digital making and computing. Mrs. Reese participated in the Questar III BOCE Summer STEM Research Program, working at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Principal Messia, Mrs. Hicks and Mrs. Wood traveled to Syracuse to learn more about the NYS Essential Elements: Schools to Watch Program.

Approximately half of the Algonquin faculty participated in a summer retreat on Social Emotional Learning to better understand how it can be integrated into their classroom instruction.

Fourth and fifth grade teachers worked throughout the summer to prepare for the transition from departmental classrooms to a self-contained classroom model.

District administrators participated in a workshop on building a culture of data in their environments as we continue to build capacity to support our District Goals.

Teacher leaders and administrators participated in a two-day workshop, taking part in activities centered around teacher leadership, professional learning communities, data inquiry and the development of SMART objectives and action steps that support our District Goals.

Administrators attended a retreat led by CASDA, which focused on leadership reflection, effecting change and our mission and goals.

The Board of Education and administration held a retreat that focused on updating the Board of what is happening in each school and department.


A District data dashboard has begun to be developed which will support the use of data to inform instruction throughout the District.
The department also added new Chromebooks to support the expansion of the 1:1 program.


We had four Extended School Year classes that ran for six weeks this summer at Miller Hill-Sand Lake Elementary, involving 34 full day students and an additional 13 that came in just for therapies.

High School teachers Mr. Miller and Mr. Duff worked with Vicarious Visions – a video game design company – and created a curriculum for a new course, video game development, which will be offered this year. The District’s participation in this program was coordinated by Questar III BOCES and was in partnership with our colleagues in Schodack and East Greenbush. Channel 10 did a story on this partnership, which can be viewed here [https://www.news10.com/news/program-aims-to-find-ways-to-get-kids-excited-about-stem/}.

It has been a busy, exciting summer here at Averill Park Central School District and we can’t wait to begin the new school year with all of you! Thank you to all of our staff members that have helped prepare for a successful launch to the 2019-2020 school year. Your commitment to our mission of meeting the needs of and creating opportunities for every student every day is exceptional.