The Board of Education accepted the resignation of Superintendent Paul Fried on December 12 with deep regret and the sincere hope that he will continue to make gains as he battles a serious illness. The District’s attention will now turn to recruiting a highly qualified successor who will be well prepared to take the reins on July 1. Meanwhile, the School Board, administration, and staff are busy making sure that our students will continue to benefit throughout the remainder of the current school year from the good work that had begun under Dr. Fried’s leadership.
Jessica O’Donovan, our departing Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, has mapped out a course of action for the ongoing work that will be needed to ensure that no momentum will be lost with regard to the implementation of our current instructional programs and initiatives. She leaves with our gratitude for a job well done and a commitment to assist with a smooth transition to her successor. We are pleased that the resulting position vacancy has attracted a large field of notably skilled and experienced professionals in the realm of curriculum and instruction. We look forward to being able to make an appointment at our January 9 school board meeting.
Planning continues for the successful expansion of our Dual Language program to Church Street School, beginning with incoming kindergarten students for the 2017-18 school year. This will increase the District’s capacity to provide state-mandated bilingual education program services to all of the English Language Learners who are in need of such services. An expansion planning committee is being established to address all of the issues that should be attended to in order to ensure a smooth start-up at Church Street School.
The Kindergarten registration process has been launched with the annual letter to prospective parents announcing the January school tour schedule. Retiring Family Information Center Coordinator, Lorraine Weatherhogg, is preparing for a smooth transition to her successor at the end of December. She will be missed! Our new Coordinator is Michelle Gordon, a proud graduate of the White Plains Public Schools who went on to earn a Masters Degree in Education. She will be overseeing some refinements of our Controlled Parents’ Choice program that will require collection of additional information during registration regarding socio-economic factors in order to assist the District with our goal of achieving a diverse mix of students in each of our elementary schools.
Ann Vaccaro-Teich, our Assistant Superintendent for Business, is busy gathering data for use in drafting a proposed budget for the coming school year. She is also initiating a long range planning approach to budget development that will assist District administrators in projecting future budget implications of educational programs that are being phased in over time. The month of January will be devoted to seeking input from staff and community members regarding needs that should be addressed and any potential efficiencies that might be achieved.
Finally, we are evaluating various central office systems and procedures and providing training as needed in order to make sure we are as responsive to all of our “customers” as possible. We may be in transition, but we continue to move forward!
Howard Smith, PhD