Averill Park CSD families,
The 2021-22 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. 8.
This summer, much of our time has been dedicated to developing ways to safely open our school buildings for all of our students in grades K-12. While this has been a time-consuming task, many other things have been happening throughout the District since our students left at the end of June. Through July and August, staff members have been busy getting ready for the upcoming school year.
The July storm caused heavy damage at the Averill Park High School and Algonquin Middle School. Floors have been torn up, sheetrock has been cut, and furniture has been removed from affected areas. Work is ongoing to repair the damage, and it will continue into the beginning of the school year. We expect the work will be completed by the start of school and that there will be minimal impact on our students, faculty, and staff.
Trailers, which held classroom items during the COVID-19 pandemic, are being emptied. A guidance suite at Poestenkill Elementary School is taking shape, which will greatly improve how and where we can offer services to students in need.
Throughout the end of the school year, the District began re-working and scaling down the Capital Project. There will be a re-vote on the Capital Project, which now only includes health and safety related items. The vote will take place on October 12, 2021. More information will be provided soon.
The End of School Year (ESY), Summer Connections, and Summer Blast programs were a success throughout the District. Students were engaged and came away from each program ready to tackle whatever the 2021-22 school year has in store for them.
The Human Resources Department has been busy this summer ensuring that the District is fully staffed for a successful 2021-22 school year.
We are very excited to welcome support staff and new teachers, who will provide high-quality instruction to our students. Along with these new teachers, we are welcoming additions to the staff that will contribute to students’ social and emotional learning.
Keri Rosher was appointed the new principal at West Sand Lake Elementary School. Mrs. Rosher joins the District after serving as the Assistant Principal at Castleton Elementary School.
Carrie Nyc-Chevrier will join the District in November, taking over the role of Assistant Superintendent for Business as Mr. Michael Ouimet is set to retire. Mrs. Nyc-Chevrier currently works for the Niskayuna Central School District.
We have been busy this summer providing professional development to our instructional staff. Our Teacher Leaders, which includes a teacher from every grade level and department in the district, spent two days in their annual workshop learning more about how Professional Learning Communities can support the learning of all of their students. That workshop is the first step in what will be a stronger collaborative focus on student learning. We will be expanding this message to all teachers throughout the first semester.
Additionally, we’ve had a number of teachers participate in workshops on Social-Emotional Learning as the district has been working hard to provide a unified system of support for our students as they return to us in the fall from an unprecedented experience over the past 18 months. Our hope is that we will be better equipped to support the mental health needs of all of our students that bring to our schools a wide range of personal experiences.
STIMULUS FUNDS PLANNING
The District has been working on developing a plan for how to use the stimulus funds which were provided by the Federal Government during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds are part of the American Rescue Plan and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations. A large portion of these funds must be used for specific state-regulated purposes, such as for providing summer enrichment and afterschool programs, addressing learning loss, providing professional development, and more.
Specifically, our plan includes funding for our summer program which was held at all three levels this summer, funding for two Social-Emotional Learning coordinator positions to provide a more consistent approach across our district to supporting the mental health needs of our students, funding for the addition of intervention teacher positions in our elementary and middle schools as we take measures to address any learning gaps that may have occurred during the pandemic, and funding ongoing needs to allow us to provide an in-person experience for all of our students during the 2021-22 school year.
It certainly has been a busy summer and we look forward to welcoming our students back to school in a few weeks!