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Picture of Superintendent of Schools

Dear Onteora Families, 

We are incredibly proud of the work that the staff in our buildings are doing in support of the Social Emotional Learning/Equity Initiative that we have embarked upon. It is widely recognized that students need to feel safe and be a part of the school community in order to focus on learning. They also need to be provided with the tools they need to deal with difficult situations and challenging emotions. This work is critical to the success of all students, and we are committed to continuing this initiative so that it becomes embedded within our school culture.

I want to thank the community for participating in our online survey and our community meetings with our educational consultant, Dr. Kevin Baughman. He was hired to conduct a building utilization and grade configuration study in support of the Board of Education’s goal relating to the development of a long-term plan. Dr. Baughman will present the results of his study to the Board at its December 17th meeting in the Middle School/High School auditorium.

We are also working to support the Board’s resolution concerning moving secondary start times to no earlier than 8 AM beginning in September of 2020. It has been clearly established and recognized that teenagers are more successful when they are able to sleep later in the morning. The Board has been discussing this issue for a number of years, and has reviewed many scientific studies that provide data in support of this national movement. Based on this scientific data, the Board decided to make this change to our secondary start times in support of our students.

We are hopeful that other districts in our area will follow suit and also adjust their schedules. As many people have recognized, there are many challenges related to this time shift that need to be addressed, and we have begun to analyze them at the Administrative level. We will be communicating with the staff, students, Board of Education, and all of our families as we make progress towards implementing this new schedule.

If you have a moment, please review the Board of Education’s goals for this year. They can be found on the Board page of our website at: https://www.onteora.k12.ny.us/board-of-education/about-the-board/goals. Our Board is comprised of seven elected officials who work to improve our District every day. These goals are the priorities set forth by the Board in order to improve Onteora for the benefit of all of our students.

Sincerely,
Victoria McLaren
Superintendent of Schools

Contact:
845-657-8851
vmclaren@onteora.k12.ny.us