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                                      is an equitable learning community cultivating health, knowledge, skills, and values for productive global citizenship.


Updated Child Care Information
Town of Shandaken Food Pick-Up and Delivery

Do you need food or supplies during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation? If you are elderly or at high risk, the Town of Shandaken invites you to call Town Hall (845-688-5004) today (Monday, March 23) to place an order for Tuesday or Thursday delivery. This is a free service provided by the Phoenicia Food Pantry and Town Volunteers.
Also, If you are able to leave the house and are not at risk, you can pick up food at the Food Pantry at the Phoenicia Methodist Church on Thursdays from 10 AM to noon. If you are at high risk or self-quarantining, please make a list of basic supplies you may need for the next week so they can bring them to your door. You can also email the town clerk at

Project Resilience for Meals

Ulster County has announced Project Resilience, a community fund and local food distribution effort to support residents impacted by COVID-19.

Residents in need can apply online to receive meals and other support from participating local restaurants and community groups. UCAT (Ulster County Area Transit) will be partially repurposed to work with municipalities and community organizations to deliver meals to residents in need. For more information, please visit

All Ulster County Schools are Closed

We have received a directive from Ulster County Executive, Pat Ryan, that all Ulster County Schools are required to be closed for two weeks starting Monday, March 16, 2020, to help control the current COVID-19 situation in our county.  Read more...


Este mensaje es para asesorarle que hemos recibido una directiva del Ejecutivo del condado de Ulster, Pat Ryan, que todas las escuelas del condado de Ulster deben estar cerradas por dos semanas a partir del lunes 16 de marzo de 2020, para ayudar a controlar la situación actual de COVID-19 en nuestro condado. Todavía no hay casos confirmados dentro de nuestro Distrito, pero apoyo de todo corazón la acción que está tomando nuestro Condado para minimizar el impacto en nuestra comunidad. Lee mas

Onteora High School Students Learn About Election Process, Register to Vote

Voter registration was the subject of the day at Onteora High School on March 3 and 4, when representatives of the Ulster County Board of Elections visited Grade 11 and Grade 12 students enrolled in Civics, AP Government, AP U.S. History, and U.S. History courses.

In addition to leading conversations that ranged from gerrymandering to ballot security measures to the selection of polling places, the visitors handed out paperwork that allowed the students to register, or pre-register, to vote.

Appropriately enough, the visits took place on and just after “Super Tuesday,” a day when 14 U.S. states held presidential primaries and American Samoa held its caucus.

The representatives—John P. Quigley (the Republican Deputy Commissioner of the Ulster County Board of Elections) and Ashley Dittus (the Democratic Commissioner of the Ulster County Board of Elections)—explained how the voter registration process works in New York, where a new law allows 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote. Those aged 16 and 17 who have pre-registered to vote will be automatically registered to vote when they reach the age of 18.

Speaking of his Civics class, teacher Steve Knoche said, “We’ve been following the Democratic primary process. We’re trying to get students to register to vote. Voter registration forms are always in the classroom.”

A recent assignment, Knoche noted, asked students to answer the following question: “Do any political parties represent me?” The students were tasked with investigating and evaluating the positions of a political party of their choice. “We follow local elections as well,” he said.

The visit was in keeping with the Onteora Board of Education’s goal to “Increase K-12 student knowledge and engagement in civics, social studies, and social issues” by supporting a number of actions, including secondary school voter education and registration.

Onteora Student's Mentorship Culminates in Solo Show at Kingston Gallery

Art lovers are cordially invited to the opening reception for “Senior Thesis,” a solo show featuring the photography of Onteora High School student Megan Davis.

The opening reception will take place at The Lockwood Gallery, 747 Route 28, Kingston, on Saturday, February 29, from 5 - 7 PM. The exhibition will run through March 6.

            “Senior Thesis” is the culmination of Megan’s project for Onteora High School’s Gifted and Talented Community Mentor Program. This year, Megan has been working on her photography with guidance from her mentor, local portrait photographer Juliet Lofaro.

            Megan, who grew up in Shokan, specializes in both darkroom and digital photography. At Onteora High School, she developed her craft through classes in studio art, photography, digital art, drawing and design, and independent study. Outside of school, she is an enthusiastic volunteer at the Center for Photography at Woodstock.

Megan’s work has been exhibited in shows throughout Ulster County, including “Future Voices” at the Muroff-Kotler Visual Arts Gallery at SUNY Ulster, “A Light in the Dark” (featuring film photography of students from four local high schools), and the “Onteora Student Art Show” at the Olive Free Library. 

            Megan recently started her own business, Ivy Photography, which specializes in portraiture and album cover photographs. 

Since opening in January 2019, The Lockwood Gallery has become one of the premier venues for contemporary art in the Hudson Valley. Owned by architect Michael Lockwood and curated by Alan Goolman, the gallery showcases well-established, mid-career, and emerging artists from the Hudson Valley, New York City, and beyond. The gallery is open Thursdays through Mondays from 11 AM to 5 PM and by appointment. 



Onteora High School Hosts Peace-Seeking Students from Galilee

Onteora High School students recently hosted some very special guests—fellow teenagers who traveled from the Israeli region of Galilee to dispel misconceptions, combat biases, and promote their dreams of inclusion, tolerance, and peace.

The eight visiting students—four who identify as Jewish and four who identify as Arabs—were participating in the Galilee Dreamers, a program developed by the Oranim International School in Israel.

On January 31, the Dreamers dropped in on a number of Onteora classes, including ones focusing on global studies, European history, human rights, government, and human geography. The resulting conversations ranged from the peace process to New Year’s parties, segregation to snowmobiles, religion to right-on-red driving habits.

The visitors talked about how at home in Galilee, Arab and Jewish youth typically live segregated lives. They go to different schools, practice different religions, socialize separately, and speak different languages at home.

The Galilee Dreamers program, they suggested, was an opportunity to break through that separation. “I’m definitely making friends,” said 16-year-old Gali Mordechay. In the essay she wrote when applying to the program, she said, “I would really like to get to know the Arabs who live close to me, because I don’t know a lot about their customs and culture. They are so close to us, and yet I know almost nothing about them.”

Fellow Dreamer Adan Khalaila, 16, expressed a similar sentiment. “We are living five minutes from each other, but we don’t know each other.”

Mohammed Aborya, 16, mentioned his hopes for an end to the conflict in his homeland. “Our purpose is to show people we want to live in peace,” he said.

Onteora teachers found the visit to be extremely educational. Global Studies teacher Alicia Curlew said, “I thought it was a great opportunity for our students to learn about another place through the eyes of teenagers,” she said.

            “It’s such an amazing opportunity,” said Global Studies teacher Brian Connolly, who explained that the idea for the visit was brought to him by Grade 11 Onteora student Sophia Roberts, who put him in touch with Rabbi Jonathan Kligler of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation. Rabbi Kligler’s sister-in-law, Dr. Roberta Bell-Kligler, is Director of the Oranim College International School.

            “The goal of the program,” Mr. Connolly said, “is to make connections and to build a peaceful future in Israel and Palestine and the world.” The Dreamers program has extended an invitation to the Onteora High School government to visit Galilee, he added.

Sophia, whose family hosted two of the Galilee Dreamers, said she learned a lot from the students’ visit. “I didn’t realize there could be a part of Israel where Arabs and Jews were living peacefully,” she said.         

Onteora’s Boiceville campus was just one stop in the Dreamers’ 10-day itinerary, which also includes stays in Philadelphia, Woodstock, and New York City.

Time to Tap at Woodstock Elementary School

Since daytime temperatures have been above freezing, it was the perfect time for students at Woodstock Elementary School to participate in a popular pre-spring ritual—tapping a maple tree and collecting its syrup.

On February 4, children in Kindergarten through Grade 3 gathered on the school playground with Physical Education teachers Sonja Rothe and Patrick Burkhardt for a hands-on lesson on maple sugaring. For the past 10 years, Burkhardt has been sharing his extensive knowledge on the subject with students at all three of Onteora’s Elementary Schools—Woodstock, Phoenicia, and Bennett.

“With abundant maple trees, many locals have been making syrup for generations in all three communities,” Burkhardt said. “I like to think I am helping pass on this local tradition to the children so that when they see the blue sap lines in the woods, they know what they are.”

Burkhardt’s lessons covered a range of topics, including the history of maple sugaring in our area, the tools used, and the identification of maple trees.

Eager to get tapping, the young learners demonstrated their knowledge about a tree's circulatory system and how it utilizes sap. When Burkhardt pointed to a pine tree, they were quick to note that pine is not a good tree for syrup. “It's not sweet!” they shouted in unison.

Students were engaged, busy looking for the largest root on the selected maple tree to tap, using a tool called a “refractometer” to test the sugar content of the tree, and a “spile” or tap to extract the sap inside. Almost immediately after Burkhardt drilled a small hole into the tree and set the tap, the liquid began to drip. Students could also see how much sap had already gathered in a container from previous classes, and even get a taste.

Burkhardt first began making syrup as a hobby with very little equipment, literally boiling the sap down on an outside fire. He decided to share his experiences with students in the school he taught at, and from there, his lessons expanded to include all three elementary schools. Over the years, he was able to purchase more sophisticated equipment and give samples for each class to enjoy.

In the coming weeks, Burkhardt will return to Woodstock with an evaporator to show students how to boil the sap down, giving them a chance to see how it is transformed into the kind of syrup they might see on their breakfast table.

Another part of their learning involves nutrition. Burkhardt and Rothe emphasize to the students that pure maple syrup has natural sugars and is healthier, unlike the syrups we see at most pancake restaurants, which have a lot of added sugars. Over the years, both have noticed that more students recognize the natural kind and are using it at home.

“When we first started doing these lessons, some students didn't even recognize the ‘real’ stuff!” Burkhardt said.

They also are more familiar with the tradition of tapping. “I know people are getting sap from the maple trees when I see the buckets!” exclaimed Grade 3 student Byron Reznick. Seth Monroe, a Grade 1 student, said he was excited that the weather had gotten warmer because he and his family would be tapping maple trees this weekend right in his backyard.

Burkhardt hopes the lessons will continue to have a positive impact on the students and encourage them to support local maple syrup makers and see the value in all natural products.

Congratulations to Accepted All-County Band and Orchestra

Congratulations to the Bennett Elementary instrumental students who have been accepted into the All-County Band and Orchestra festivals. The students, who auditioned in Kingston on January 11, were accepted based on their performance of three scales, a solo, and a short sight-reading excerpt. The Band festival takes place on March 14 at SUNY Ulster. The Orchestra Festival takes place on March 21 at Miller Middle School.
This year, 14 students were accepted into the Elementary Band, and 10 students were chosen for the Orchestra. Congrats to the following musicians:
Flute: Jade Belfiore, Aleena Bonesteel.
Clarinet: Shelby Buryk, Annika Terner.
Alto Saxophone: Connor Gierloff.
Trumpet: Sadie Konjas, Luc Millenson-Wilens.
Euphonium: Anton Melendez.
Percussion: Nico Stackpole.
Trombone: Foster Knoche (1st Chair), Abigail Elliott, Christian Castro, Lily Spada, Roy Stellavato.
Violin 1: Oskar Baron (1st chair), Jeremy Huber.
Violin 2: Cimarron Waldo, Amelia Swasey, Charlie Denton.
Viola: Fiona Green (1st Chair), Liliana Smith, Jennifer Albright, Presley Palin Gray.
Cello: Rebecca Simco.


Congratulations to Our Scholar-Athletes!

Onteora High School is pleased to announce that many of our Varsity teams have been named Scholar-Athlete Team Award recipients for the Fall 2019 season. In order to meet this designation, given by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), 75 percent of team members had to achieve a combined grade point average of 90 percent or higher during the marking period. Congratulations to the following teams: Girls and Boys Cross Country, Girls Tennis, Girls and Boys Soccer, and Field Hockey. Keep up the great work!

Future of Onteora

The future of Onteora’s schools was the focus of a well-attended presentation held at the High School/Middle School on January 21. The District’s Educational Consultant, Dr. Kevin Baughman, presented the results of a building utilization and grade configuration study to the Board of Education and members of the Onteora community.
Missed the presentation? Click on this link to see a video of the meeting, Dr. Baughman’s PowerPoint presentation, and his final report.
Dr. Baughman was hired to conduct the study in support of the Board’s goal relating to the development of a long-term plan that strategically addresses educational goals, declining enrollment, facilities, community impact, budget concerns, and cost-saving measures.

History Came Alive

History recently came alive at Bennett Elementary School, during a visit by Kit’s Interactive Theatre. Students and faculty members took to the stage during educational skits featuring ancient Egypt (Grade 6), the Women’s Rights Movement (Grade 5), and the American Revolution (Grade 4). The fun-filled assemblies combined history, dance, music, improvisation, and a great deal of humor!

New Club

Rock on! There’s a new club at Onteora—the Onteora Rocket Club! It’s currently open to students in Grades 7-12. If you’re interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math, now’s your chance to join our rocket team, the Screaming Eagles, and be part of the National American Rocketry Challenge. 

Congratulations to MS/HS Orchestra Students


Congratulations to the following Onteora Middle and High School Orchestra students, who were selected for the 2020 All-County Orchestra:
Violin I: Ruby Gallin, Jett Conti, Hudson Turba, Ariahni Boyd, Abigail Zeh, Kai Caswell.
Violin II: Sophia Odato, Abilene Adelman, Aiyana Blue, Nick Denton, Bryan Mazariego.
Viola: Maeve Turck (section leader), Abigail Taylor, Lily Brosnan.
Cello: Kelly Wen (section leader), Anabel Sorbellini, Noah Kowalsky, Milo Turba, Meri Grant.
Bass: Charlotte Barry (section leader), Waylon Brown.
Auditions for this ensemble took place on January 11 at Miller Middle School in Kingston. The All-County Orchestra Festival will be held on March 20 and 21 at Miller.

Save The Date

Save the date! Forum about Later Start Times will take place on February 18 at the Middle School/High School. Come voice your concerns, questions, and/or support.

Student Art Show

Artwork in a variety of mediums by Onteora High School students will be on display at the Olive Free Library from January 25 through March 14. The Opening Reception will take place on Saturday, January 25, from 2 P.M. - 4 P.M.

I have a dream

Woodstock ES students share dreams, pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Thanks to monitor Kari Becker for organizing the bulletin board!

New Instagram page at Onteora

Now there's another way to keep track of what's going on in our school district! Our new Instagram page (@OnteoraCSD) is posting photos of student achievements, sports, clubs, special events, and much more.

Visit to Museum of Jewish Heritage

Shortly before Winter Break, 25 students from David Nelsen-Epstein's AP European Class took a field Trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City to vire an exhibit entitled "Auschwitz: Not Long Ago, Not far away" (

Onteora Cafeterias "Going Green," Featuring More Plant-Based Options

This year, Onteora students are seeing more vegetarian options on the cafeteria menu, according to School Lunch Manager Christine Downs. In addition to staging "Featured Meatless Mondays," the cafeteria is also showcasing vegetarian options during regular "Try It Tuesdays."

During a recent Superintendent's Conference Day, cafeteria staff received training on preparing plant-based foods from a food and nutrition specialist with the Humane Society of the United States. 

The plant-based dishes are not only delicious and healthy; they are also more environmentally friendly than meat-based ones, Mrs. Downs explains. The cafeterias are also offering paper straws upon request, and compostable trays in addition to washable ones. They are also phasing out the use of plastic silverware.