Community Updates and Information

Community Update
May 29, 2020
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We apologize for the delay in receiving absentee ballots, however, given the size of our district, we had to require the printer to mail them directly to homes. As you can imagine, the printers are frantically trying to meet the orders for numerous districts. The ballots will be going out today, May 29th, and the USPS should expedite election materials. They can be returned either in the mail or placed in the secure locked ballot box located outside the gymnasium at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School, where the school budget and trustee election is typically held.

Our Senior Car Parade will be held Saturday, June 6th, beginning at 1:00 pm. We are hoping that parents will ride in cars with their seniors to truly participate, as parents (other than approved volunteers) will not be allowed to gather at the Mall during the event. It would be a much safer event if seniors and their families can ride together. Volunteers are needed to help, and please contact your school principal if you would like to help out. The Middle School Moving Up Parades will still take place on June 18th.

Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in helping us with re-entry plans. We are awaiting planning templates from our safety consultants to help us establish a framework. Once we have that, we will start scheduling some preliminary planning meetings. Districts regionally are also planning joint task forces to help ensure a more comprehensive regional plan.

Thank you for all of your support in these difficult times, and have a great weekend!

Superintendent Dr. George Stone


masksThank You to Promise of Hope Foundation, RENU Contracting Restoration, and Millburn Flooring for their donation of  3000 masks to Lakeland Families.
May 21, 2020
The Promise of Hope Foundation, along with RENU Contracting Restoration and Milburn Flooring, launched the campaign  “Cover Our Kids.”  These organizations donate non-surgical masks that are FDA certified and CE-approved to local communities and school districts.

Lakeland received 3000 masks that were donated to families in need. This week, the masks were distributed to the families at their weekly Lakeland Food Service meal pick up. George Prine, Lakeland's Facilities Director, and his staff coordinated the distribution.


Posted May 27, 2020
Community Update - May 27, 2020
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C
loseout events for the school year are rapidly approaching.


June 6th, beginning at 1:00 pm, will be our Senior Parade that takes place at the Jefferson Valley Mall. Time slots have been arranged for seniors (and their families) in cars every half hour, beginning at 1:00 pm. Only school staff and administration will be allowed in the mall (also in cars). Parents who are not with their seniors should plan to watch from shopping center parking lots along Route 6 towards Locust Ave. This will be one single parade for both Lakeland and Walter Panas. The parents who are working with the District to help sponsor the event are still in need of donations for "swag bags" and decorations. If you would like to help, please email your high school principal. Currently, 296 seniors have registered for the event.

Elementary schools will say goodbye to fifth graders with individually planned "drive by" parades at each school.

June 8th will be the Van Cortlandtville Elementary 5th Grade Moving Up Drive By's, beginning at 9:00 am,
June 9th will be the Benjamin Franklin Elementary 5th Grade Moving Up Drive By's, beginning at 9:00 am,
June 11th will be the Lincoln Titus Elementary 5th Grade Moving Up Drive By's, beginning at 12 noon,
June 12th will be the Thomas Jefferson 5th Grade Moving Up Drive By's, beginning at 9:00 am and,
June 15th will be the George Washington 5th Grade Moving Up Drive By's, beginning at 10:00 am.

June 18th will be the 8th Grade Moving Up Parades at the JV Mall. The times are scheduled at 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 1:30 pm, and 3:00 pm.

It is still our plan to hold graduation ceremonies at both high schools on June 20th and 27th. To meet the gathering limit requirements, the arrival times will have to be very carefully scheduled and monitored.

Schools are also preparing virtual events such as award presentations and a National Junior Honor Society Induction.

Thursday evening, May 28th, the Board of Education will hold the Annual Budget Hearing beginning at 7:00 pm. Also on the agenda is a resolution to close Lakeland Schools on June 17th. If approved, this would be the last day of school for students and teachers. Again, until approved, this date is tentative.

Absentee ballots for the 2020-2021 Budget Vote must be received by 5:00 pm on June 9th.

It has come to our attention that students, parents, and community members continue to congregate at Lakeland High School. While we understand the desire to see friends and visit, school grounds are closed to gatherings as per the Executive Order of the Governor. We are requesting once again that the public voluntarily refrains from congregating on school grounds.

As we end this year in a very different way than we began, we have also started to plan for a very different start to the next school year. While we await further guidance from the State, we have started to look at potential schedules that will allow us to bring students back in a socially distanced environment without significantly raising the costs of transportation, food service, or health care. As we develop ideas into concrete plans, we will continue to work with our neighboring districts and continue to share our ideas with the Lakeland community. 

Posted May 19, 2020
Community Update - May 19, 2020
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On Thursday, May 14th, the Lakeland Board of Education approved the 2020-2021 budget. Understanding how difficult times currently are, the District will use reserve funds to balance the budget, and residents will have no increase in their local taxes. All six towns will see a decrease in tax rates, as the assessed value of property has gone up. All votes will be by absentee ballot, and the ballots must be received by June 9th, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. Three incumbent Board Members, Denise Kness, Rachelle Nardelli, and Donald Pinkowsky are all on the ballot running unopposed for three-year terms. We are also asking voters to consider a 4.2 million dollar bond to complete the middle school roof. A hearing on the budget will take place online, Thursday, May 28th beginning at 7:00 p.m. All questions about the budget should be submitted to the District Clerk prior to the hearing at districtclerk@lakelandschools.org.

The plans we have described for graduation have been submitted to the Westchester County Executive for consideration and hopefully, approval. So far, all plans from districts that have proposed gatherings of any kind have been denied permission. We have heard from parents and students and understand that the most important part of the ceremony is the opportunity for graduates to walk across the stage in their caps and gowns. We are attempting to design it in such a way that we hope will be allowed. In the meantime, our high schools will be sending the graduates a Google Slide template to fill out with pictures, and a quote that we can use in the final production of graduation, hopefully including the graduation walks.

We are also looking forward to the senior parade, which is scheduled for June 6th, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Cars with seniors will make their way through the Jefferson Valley Mall and out to Route 6. The cars with seniors are invited to drive down Route 6 as far as Locust Avenue, where a congratulations banner will end the route. Parents may share the car with their senior, or maybe in their car in a safe parking lot along Route 6. We, along with the Town of Yorktown and the Yorktown Police, the Town of Cortlandt and the County Police, need to strongly emphasize that parents, family members, and the public should not plan to attend or gather at the JV Mall either as pedestrians or in cars other than with their seniors. This is a celebration for the seniors during a time of social distancing and prohibited gatherings, and monitoring the parade will be the safety priority. Again, parents may park in shopping centers along Route 6 to wave at seniors as they go by, but please do not congregate in the JV Mall lots.

We are getting numerous questions about the fall and our plans for returning to school. Given the large number of issues involved, many of the decisions will need to be made regionally, as we have staff living in different districts. They will also be preparing arrangements for their own children and their teaching responsibilities. Many different suggestions are being made about scheduling, staffing, and providing instruction for both students at school and students at home should we be faced with those kinds of conditions. In order to best prepare, we are establishing the Lakeland Re-Entry Task Force, which will consist of four re-entry teams, to consider the options and work with surrounding districts. One will be the Academic Re-Entry Team, headed by Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Dr. Karen Gagliardi. A second will be the Special Services Re-Entry Team, headed by Dr. Steve Rappleyea, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services, to deal with all of the issues surrounding services for classified students and others with special needs. The third will be the Facilities Re-Entry Team, that will consider transportation, food service, facilities and cleaning, headed by George Prine, Director of Facilities, and the fourth will be the Technology Re-entry Team to establish all of the necessary communications and capacity for new programs, headed by Dwayne Hoffmann, Director of Technology. All teams will be working together under the coordination of the Superintendent. We will be seeking additional team members both from district staffing, the Board, and the community. If you feel you have expertise that could be of help, please email me for further information.

Here are some updates on projects throughout the District. At Lakeland High School, the tennis courts and sidewalks have been paved. Once all of the striping is completed, and fencing is up, the clean-up of the site will begin. The press box still needs to be installed, and everything should be finished by July 1st. At Van Cortlandtville Elementary, the playground paving is underway, and scheduling of the connecting corridor construction is being completed. At George Washington Elementary, a playground area adjacent to the paved area that will then be available for parking is being scheduled for paving this summer. With the additional playground area, parking will increase to comparable space numbers at Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln Titus. In addition, the outside lighting is currently being installed as well. We will also be re-caulking the swimming pool at the Middle School, which is long overdue and much less expensive with the pool currently drained. All buildings are currently removing personal belongings for pick up to begin the summer cleaning for the new year.

Interim reports for secondary students will be available to parents on May 29th. Also, at this time, we are setting up online registrations for kindergarten. We still do not have a lot of information to share about the official end date of school this year and are awaiting further guidance from legal counsel. 

We are also beginning installations related to the changes in health considerations. Plexiglass shields will be installed, starting with receptionists and security personnel who meet and greet the public directly. After that, we will look at other areas that may come in contact with the public.

I will continue to keep you updated as I receive more information.

Dr. George E. Stone
Lakeland Central School District
gstone@lakelandschools.org
@Drgeorgestone


Posted May 11, 2020
Community Update - May 11, 2020
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GRADUATION
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about numerous challenges for all of us here in Lakeland, including the tremendous impact on our graduating senior class. One of the biggest hurdles for our entire administrative team has been to find a balance between providing a memorable experience, protecting the health and safety of all our school stakeholders, and complying with state orders. We have been working exhaustively to identify the best way to honor the graduating class.

Since announcing our tentative plans for graduation, we have received a great deal of feedback from our community. We want you to know that we have been listening to everyone, and your voices have been heard. From all of the feedback, we completely understand that the most important aspect for our seniors and their families is to wear their caps and gowns, walk across the stage (hopefully in their own high school) and receive their diplomas.

With that in mind, our current plan is now to hold the ceremonies at the schools, in the auditorium at Lakeland and the PAC at Walter Panas with students and their parents coming in one at a time, receiving their diploma, having pictures taken and then exiting. Other activities may also be planned, but this will be the most important event. Keep in mind that there is still an order to keep gatherings very small, so there would be only a few distinguished guests allowed in for the ceremony. All of the students walking would be live-streamed so that relatives and friends can watch and also videotape. Then, along with various remarks, a final graduation video would also be produced. This would allow us to have students walk but in a safe and orderly way. The school community and parents could be involved in decorating the front of the schools and possibly the auditorium that would be used for the graduation walk.

While we will do everything in our power to provide this kind of venue, it will be necessary for all of us to proceed forward with tempered expectations. We don't know what new orders may come forward, so any final decision will have to be contingent upon permission to do so. With that in mind, we will be working closely with our safety and security consultants, our public safety agencies, as well as our medical and legal professionals, to make sure that what we do aligns as safely as possible with our community's wishes. Should we be directed from powers above that we cannot do this, we would look at a similar arrangement at an off-campus location.

Right now, we are still looking at the dates of Saturday, June 20th, and Saturday, June 27th, with both schools using both of those two days to accomplish this kind of ceremony. We still have some time to work out details, but for now, please know we will continue to try our best to provide the walk experience for our seniors.

MIDDLE SCHOOL
Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School is also working on end of year plans both for National Junior Honor Society and Moving Up ceremonies.

END OF SCHOOL 2020
We are still awaiting official guidance on whether the school year will end at 180 days or at the end of June. Lakeland reaches the 180 day total earlier in June, but there has been no official guidance on when the year can officially end. As soon as we have direction on this, we will let you know.

RE-ENTRY TASK FORCE
In the next few weeks, I will be assembling a "Re-Entry Task Force to begin the planning process for the coming year. We will be assembling leaders in areas of academics, facilities, food service, transportation, health services, pupil personnel services, safety and security, technology, arts, and athletics. And of course, finance, since there will be extensive costs involved in changing the structure of the school day. While we know it will be very important to plan for the year ahead, almost every directive received to date has come through Executive Orders, and not from the State Education Department or the Health Department. We do not want to spend time and energy designing plans that won't transpire, so for now, we will put a framework in place and then start seeking guidance on what the regulations will be. As has been our practice, as soon as we get information, we will share that with the community.

BUDGET
Thursday evening, the Board will be adopting the 2020-2021 District Budget. I continue to emphasize that even though we face serious financial hardships in the year ahead, we are still proposing a budget with no tax increase to help support the community that faces hardships just as the District does. A budget hearing will take place on May 28th, and a budget newsletter will also be sent to all homes to provide more information. The vote and trustee election will take place on June 9th.

Once again, thank you to the community and everyone who provided constructive feedback to help us better formulate a plan for graduation that provides as much of an experience as we possibly can. I will; provide additional updates at the end of the week.

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted May 8, 2020

GRADUATION UPDATE
It goes without saying that we have been exploring as many possibilities as we can to provide a meaningful graduation for the Class of 2020. Obviously (and understandably so), emotions are running very high around this issue. As far as other options go, we are still willing to listen. The decision we had made was based upon the best information we have available to us. The Governor has disallowed church groups to hold large gatherings, and all indications are the same applies to schools. Safety consultants have advised us that school fields are not an option for this year. The only other gathering option is one in cars, and students provided feedback that they did not want to hold their ceremony at the mall. Even car gatherings are now being questioned. North Salem has been advised that they may not be able to hold their ceremony at the drive-in theater. The only apparent gathering options would be in smaller groups, in cars. For a larger group gathering, we would have to postpone and wait to see if later in the summer or fall the rules might change. For now, we will put the decisions on hold and await further guidance from the state and further input from stakeholders. Regardless of what we finally decide to do, it has to be within the guidelines that are allowed and respecting the importance of safety and security. Let's all take a deep breath and see what transpires. For now, have a nice weekend.

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent
Lakeland Central School District
gstone@lakelandschools.org
@Drgeorgestone


Posted May 8, 2020
Community Update
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UPCOMING BUDGET VOTE
The Lakeland Central School District 2020-2021 Budget Vote will be counted beginning Tuesday, June 9th, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. The Board of Education and Administration in establishing a budget for the coming year, truly considered what the community is currently going through and the severe economic conditions. While Lakeland is facing the loss of significant state aid, the District is still proposing a budget with no districtwide increase in the tax rate. While the budget will be reduced, all academic and extra-curricular programs will remain in place. Thanks to careful financial planning over the years, Lakeland will use reserves to balance the budget, rather than asking the taxpayers to give more. This year, every eligible voter will be able to vote by absentee ballot. We hope that residents who do not have children in school understand the role that education plays in a community. Quality education enhances our quality of life, raises the value of property, and helps to ensure a new generation of citizenship and service. 

GRADUATION
As I have said over and over again, the safety and security of our students and staff are and always will be our number one priority. After consideration of many different options for graduation, we have decided that a large gathering of any kind is simply not acceptable at this time. With emotions running as high as they are, and the length of time since seniors and parents have seen their friends, we cannot take the chance of visitations during the gatherings, whether in cars or not. We have a responsibility to protect the health and welfare of everyone in our school community, and the chance that someone could be exposed is something we have to avoid at all costs. In addition, the large majority of students who have responded to us are not in favor of a ceremony at the Jefferson Valley Mall or other parking areas away from school.

The good news is we have come up with a great plan that we are extremely excited about. I won't share all of the details at this time as we want to surprise our seniors once we have finalized all of the arrangements. We will be honoring each graduate with a major entourage visiting that will be live-streamed so that all of their classmates can watch in real-time as it happens. There will be videographers recording at each stop, so we will also be able to provide a recorded production of the entire event for seniors to keep. We are tentatively looking at Saturday, June 13th, for Walter Panas High School, with a rain date of Sunday, June 14th, and Saturday, June 20th, for Lakeland High School with a rain date of Saturday, June 27th (Sunday, June 21st is Father's Day).

I know many of you will be disappointed, but many others will be relieved, as we have heard from all sides. If parents and students want to hold a graduation ceremony in the fall, that will be up to them. I do not think we will be back to "normal" in the fall, and I intend to help our schools celebrate our seniors before they leave. In addition, our two high school principals have been in contact with their peers across the region, and almost all are nervous about holding any gathering that includes large numbers. Again, I promise you an event that our seniors and their families will always remember as many many staff members want to honor them and make this a very special event.

FOOD DISTRIBUTION
Another very successful food drive took place Wednesday at the Jefferson Valley Mall. Over 300 cars came through with meals provided for everyone. Numerous volunteers once again assisted, and the food that was left was donated to the St. Mary's Food pantry. Thank you to everyone who helped with this.

OTHER ACTIVITIES
Thanks to all of our schools that have been providing special activities that are then posted on our websites. All of these various events help to lift our spirits in these tough times. I know principals are working with their staff and parent organizations, and the joint effort is greatly appreciated.

WELCOME DR. LYONS
I want to extend my sincere congratulations to Dr. Brendan Lyons, who will be taking over on July 1st. I don't envy the challenges he and his colleagues will face, but I do offer my assistance in any way I can.

Have a very relaxing weekend, and a HAPPY MOTHER"S DAY to all our district moms, oh, and of course, Happy Mother's Day to my Mom. My gift will be keeping her company for the coming month. LOL

Dr. George E. Stone
Lakeland Central School District
gstone@lakelandschools.org
@Drgeorgestone

Posted May 1, 2020
Community Update
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As I am sure everyone heard today, the Governor has now closed schools until "the remainder of the academic year." The specific date the academic year in Lakeland will end still needs to be determined. We have a Board approved calendar of 187 days and a requirement to be in session for 180 days. We had some closures due to weather, and some closures prior to the Governor's official closure due to COVID-19 cases, and we were open for many of the days during Spring break. We will need some time and further guidance to determine what the last day os school actually calculates to be. In addition, Spring Sports have now been officially canceled.


In the Governor's news briefing today,  there was no mention at all about school budgets and budget dates, or school board trustee elections, so we continue to wait on the adoption of the budget. It was indicated that the first state aid adjustments might be available on May 15th. This would be after our May Business Board of Education Meeting (May 14th), so we may have to adjust the meeting schedule as well. Tuesday evening (May 5th), at our Board Work Session, I will be giving a brief update of where we are at this point.

It was further noted that around May 30th we should get information regarding summer school. In addition to our ESY services, we had been considering whether to schedule a credit recovery program or a remediation program for identified students. Given the new date, we will wait to see whether summer school will be made mandatory for all or some students by the Governor. Child care and food distribution will also be part of that summer guidance.

The final focus of the Governor's school remarks involved the return to school next year. The list of conditions posted in his presentation indicated the possibility of staggered schedules, constant cleaning and sanitizing, distancing on abusing and in classrooms, and other considerations. Obviously, this will be a monumental and costly task, that will also require further guidance. Rest assured, however, it is specified, Lakeland will fare as well as any district thanks to our staff, administration, and financial planning.

We are moving ahead with many ceremonies and presentations and excited about the creative possibilities being offered for graduation. We will share more in the next few weeks. We are trying to schedule events based upon our District Calendar whenever and wherever we can; however we are looking at June 20th as a potential date for graduation ceremonies.

Needless to say, we are working as hard as we can, and hopefully, academic programs are continuing to be productive for all students. Whether it is in summer school or early fall, we know there will be catchup and review for many students.

For now, stay well and stay tuned.

Dr. George E. Stone
Lakeland Central School District
gstone@lakelandschools.org
@Drgeorgestone


Posted April 27, 2020
Community Update
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As we approach the end of the school year, I know everyone still has many unanswered questions. The Governor has stated this week we will learn some of the outcomes that involve our schools, and we anxiously await the information. As we plan, we have come to recognize that whether we return to schools this year (highly unlikely) or next year, we will need very detailed re-entry plans. That might include distancing, reading temperatures, constant sanitizing, and many other factors we haven't even considered. To imagine the challenges, take busing, for example. If we are required to keep students six feet apart, using every bench seat with one student would double the number of bus runs. Classrooms would have to be reduced in size, and lunch periods would obviously pose additional challenges. I know that all of you are concerned about the issues that you as families are dealing with, including instruction, end of year ceremonies, special services, and countless others; we will do our best. I want all of us to understand the scope of the situation.

Aside from our programs, the biggest looming issue for the District is when we will know our revenues for the coming year so we can prepare a budget. This seems to be taking a back seat at the moment, but it is critical to programming for next year. We have a budget prepared, but we keep delaying adoption based upon the changing figures we are getting related to our state aid. As it continues to decline, we must adjust everything else as well.  We are waiting as long as we can to finalize the numbers, which would start with the date for a budget and trustee election.  With the Democratic and Republican primaries now cancelled, it may be decided not to hold an election for schools, we just aren't sure at this point. There will however, still be primary elections for other offices, on that day.  What we do know is that we will survive financially thanks to our years of careful savings, and we will keep our tax rate change as low as we possibly can, recognizing how many families are struggling.

 

I know the end of year grading is a concern, and we are working with districts in our region to finalize the plans. As I am sure, you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to know what is going on in each individual household, and whether all students have access to equal education. If classes report participation rates are down, we need to know why. Is it a lack of effort, or is it a lack of available time and resources. These are key questions that limit "traditional" instruction and assessment, and it would not be fair to establish a system that does not consider these factors.

We are beginning the planning for extended school year services for identified students, and a possible credit recovery path if needed for students who may fail Regents courses. I have meetings regarding these programs later this week.

Let's talk about some positives! I can't say enough about how many volunteers have stepped up to the plate and how many donations have come in for local food pantries. Ours alone has distributed over 20,000 meals since the middle of March, so thank you to everyone who is helping with the effort. The fact that the number keeps growing every distribution shows how much more serious the economy has gotten as we stay shut down. We also want to thank our daycare providers who continue to offer services to essential workers.

The biggest question on the minds of seniors, of course, is graduation and the prom. I am happy to report I intend to hold a graduation ceremony within the guidelines of the health department. If we are not permitted to hold it in our stadiums, then we will find a suitable location for graduates and their parents to come in cars, and then conduct a ceremony. The rest of this week, I will be in touch with various groups who are willing to help us with these plans. One way or the other, we will make something very meaningful, maybe even entertaining happen for our graduates! As far as the prom and other ceremonies go, I am leaving that to the schools, supervised by our very competent and dedicated school principals. Working with student leadership, they will come up with some great ideas for ending the year in style.

We are approaching "Teacher Appreciation Week," (the first week in May), and I certainly thank all of them for everything they are doing. I was happy to see that Governor Cuomo identified educators as "essential employees," and rightfully so. Maybe, however, this should be Lakeland Appreciation Week, since so many, in so many roles are doing so, so much for the greater Lakeland Community. In our wildest dreams, we never imagined this, but somehow we rise to the occasion!

More to come at the end of the week.
George Stone, Superintendent

Dr. George E. Stone
Lakeland Central School District
gstone@lakelandschools.org
@Drgeorgestone


Posted April 27, 2020
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New Literacy Resource Staff Training
 
Please take note that all classroom TEACHERS in grades K-5, including CO-TEACHERS, will be involved in training on the dates and times below. Therefore, assignments will be posted and teachers will be available following the training hours.
 
Training Schedule
 
April 28 8-11 AM Grade K teachers
April 28 12-3 PM Grade 1 teachers
 
April 29 8-11 AM Grade 2 teachers
April 29 12-3 PM Grade 3 teachers
 
April 30 8-11 AM Grade 4 teachers
April 30 12-3 PM Grade 5 teachers
 
May 11 8-11 AM Grades K & 1 teachers
May 12 12-3 PM Grades 2 & 3 teachers
May 13 8-11 AM Grades 4 & 5 teachers
 
May 18 8-11 AM Grades K & 1 teachers
May 19 8-11 AM Grades 2 & 3 teachers
May 20 8 -11 AM Grades 4 & 5 teachers
 
Hope all of our families are practicing social distancing, staying healthy and keeping connected to our schools.
 
Best,
Dr. Karen Gagliardi

Posted April 21, 2020
Community Update
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I want to send a special "Thank You" to everyone donating or volunteering with our food distribution efforts as well as St. Mary's. Today, a special shout-out goes to the Lakeland Federation of Teachers, who will be making significant donations in the next few weeks. Just another way, Lakeland staff take it well beyond the classroom!

Our Pupil Personnel Services is working tirelessly to provide support services to families and students, here are a few highlights:

  • Student Assistance Counselors are now working shifts on our District emotional support Helpline. the number is 914-603-9089
  • The new Live Binder Resource is available and has been widely viewed. Go to http://www.livebinders.com/b/2643001
  • All Supervisors and CSE Chairs are now conducting CSE meetings, so we continue to identify and serve.
  • We are reviewing the means to improve online registration procedures.
  • SEPTA (our Special Education Parent Teacher Organization) has been working with the District to plan for virtual activities for parents with special needs students.
  • School psychologists are sharing online testing resources. 
  • All related services providers are conducting Teletherapy sessions starting this week. All identified families will be contacted.

Yesterday we received official word that all graduation events at Westchester County Center have been canceled. As I noted earlier, we will continue to plan for a number of alternatives. Our first choice would be to hold distanced graduations hopefully with immediate family if allowed, in our school stadiums or some larger parking areas. The tentative dates would be either Saturday, June 20th, or Saturday, June 27th. Regardless of whether the Governor restricts the use of schools or gatherings of any size, we will be looking at designing video productions so that there will be lasting memories and recorded ceremonies either way. Hopefully, we can do both a real ceremony and the production, but at the least, we will do something this year. Should we not be permitted to conduct a ceremony, then we could always use our stadiums next year for a formal ceremony. Columbus Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend are dates that have been suggested for times when students frequently return home.

All other activities such as award ceremonies, moving up ceremonies, honor society inductions, anything that we traditionally hold, we will be working to produce online. Should we be able to return, we could hold distanced moving up ceremonies as well. PTA's are also generating ideas and working with their school leaders.

Later this week, I will be meeting with my District Youth Council to hear what ideas, concerns, and reflections they have on the current conditions we face. I will report back next week following that meeting. After the first of May, I will convene a parent forum on the issues of May and June events.

The Walter Panas new field complex is deep into the design phase now that we have finally worked out arrangements with the New York Department of Environmental Protection (concerning the NY watershed below Panas). Plans and approvals will take months, but at least it is on track for next year's construction. If the numbers are good, it will also include a new parking lot, which is certainly needed. This project was already budgeted and funded, and will not be impacted by the current budget concerns, other than significant costs over budget.

As many of you have probably heard, this will be a very difficult year financially for districts such as Lakeland who depend heavily on State Aid. In our budget, we have estimated a decrease in aid of approximately 10% or almost 4 million dollars. Later comments from the Governor indicated it could be as high as 20%. At the end of this update is a message from NYSSBA (New York State School Boards) along with a link for citizens to contact the federal government about providing additional school aid to New York. If you would like to participate, the letter is already in place.

Finally, I know the longer these conditions go on, the more stressful it can be for many of you. While the bonding that families are sharing may help our students down the road when things return to normal, many families are struggling to balance work and their children's needs.  For families with young children who require much more constant guided attention, this can be exhausting. If those same families have adults working as first responders or in health care, I can only imagine how stressful it must be. We want to help and we are offering as much help as we possibly can. While schools and teachers are trying to adapt to the levels and needs of their students, we know there is just as great a need for social and emotional support so please feel free to reach out. For our employees and their families, remember the EAP, Employee Assistance Program, a great and free resource. For others please don't hesitate to use our hotline and other resources. 

 

April 21, 2020

NYSSBA's Governmental Relations team has been hard at work reaching out to State and Federal Representatives asking them for additional funding for K-12 Public Education.  We are asking you to join us in this effort.  We have created a Call to Action letter designed to be sent to your local Federal Representatives.  As they continue to negotiate an additional stimulus package, we must remind them to not leave out Education.  The link below will take you directly to the letter:

NYSSBA's Governmental Relations team will continue to report on these and other issues.  For more information, visit our Key Issues Page and be sure to keep up with NYSSBA on Facebook and Twitter.

Dr. George E. Stone
Lakeland Central School District
gstone@lakelandschools.org


Posted April 18, 2020
GRADUATION CLARIFICATION
In my updates on Friday (April 17), I noted that there might be a problem utilizing district funds for an event in the following year for students who have graduated. We are following up along with other districts and will make adjustments if necessary. Please know my preference remains a "distanced" ceremony at our schools if we are allowed to come back prior to June 30th. If we utilize our stadiums and limit the attendance to immediate families spaced apart, we could potentially have a meaningful ceremony. In addition, since we would not be locked into a single date with the County Center, we could schedule it earlier and have rain dates to follow. I want to hold a focus group with parents and students in May to discuss these and alternate plans if necessary. By that time, we should have direction from the Governor and NYSED as to whether we can return to hold such a ceremony or not. Until then, let's remain committed to making something good happen, and continue to hope for the best. I hope this helps to decrease anxiety. Together, we will come up with a solution.
George Stone, Superintendent

Posted April 17, 2020
Community Update
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As I'm sure everyone has heard, we are now closed through May 15th. While we would love to have a month or even a few weeks to see our students before the year officially ends, it is getting harder to remain optimistic. If we do return, there would be a number of conditions to be met, which more than likely would include distancing, masks, and taking temperatures. These concerns would be aside from debate among parents whether to send their children or not as well as staff concerns about their health. Again, while I am personally "climbing the walls" to get back as much as anyone, there will be no easy way to re-enter this year.

That leads to the questions surrounding senior celebrations and, in particular, graduation and the prom. While the response from students and parents has been overwhelmingly in favor of holding these celebrations in the summer or fall (assuming large gatherings are allowed and safe), my colleagues who have spoken with state auditors indicate there would be a problem for Districts that want to pay for any activities, celebrations, or events after the school year ends when seniors are no longer enrolled as students in our district. It would be considered a gift of public funds. If that is accurate, it would require events after June 30th to be sponsored by other groups, and the costs would be significant.

Last evening I was helping my second grade granddaughter with a social studies lesson about "the economy." It included a section about "wants and needs," and it got me thinking. We all WANT to hold these celebrations and feel it is very unfair that we can't, but what I believe we NEED is to find a way to bring closure and a way to acknowledge these milestones in our students' school careers. True, there may be no traditional prom, no traditional graduation, but there are also no sports, no concerts, art exhibits, no picnics, or other traditional activities. Everyone is forced to adjust, and we have to come to terms with the reality of a "new normal." I have heard from various parents and groups who are working on a number of small celebratory activities such as signs for cars, banners across the road, etc. and we appreciate any support parent groups can offer. With all that is on our plate now, we are working on completing the year and making plans for the traditional activities.

Somehow though, we have to make some tough but realistic decisions. I have already directed the principals to begin producing the senior awards and eighth grade awards as video productions. I have been in touch with a Lakeland graduate who is now an event planner, and is committed to helping us produce unique and inspiring celebrations should we conclude that we have no other choice. This doesn't mean we cannot hold gatherings once they are permitted, but it is still our goal to ensure we provide some culminating activities for our seniors before this year ends. In the next week or two, I will be holding conference calls with both the District Youth Council and the District Parents Council to get some final suggestions.

While I am personally focused on seniors and the end of their year, we are all working on the needs that all other returning students will have next year. There will be many varied skill levels even within each grade and class. Students may need a period of review at the beginning of the year for teachers to help get everyone on a similar level. We are anticipating a number of social and emotional issues adjusting to a school environment after being isolated for such a long time and the need for special services that may have been delayed. Rest assured, Lakeland will be ready.

In terms of the current instruction, teachers and coaches continue to provide new material and expanded opportunities as best as they can under the conditions. The overwhelming response has been positive and understanding, and we continue to try and solve the problems a few individuals or families are experiencing as quickly as we get them. We are in touch with local and statewide networks to ensure we have the most up to date academic information and strategies for success.

Our food distribution program has outgrown the George Washington Elementary site. Wednesday, almost 300 cars lined up or parked to receive donations, and we expect even more at the next one, scheduled for May 6th. Thanks to Matthew Slater, Yorktown Supervisor, Chief Noble, and the Jefferson Valley Mall management, we have graciously been allowed to move the event to the Jefferson Valley Mall parking lot. In the next week or two, we will provide all of the details regarding arrangements for the new site.

We are still awaiting news on our annual budget and trustee vote. As of now, we know it won't happen until June, but we continue to work on preparing financially for the coming year. Regardless of the date, this will be a very challenging year financially. State aid will be declining, and costs continue to increase. We are closely monitoring our staffing for next year to ensure efficiency while maintaining reasonable class sizes. To prepare the final budget presentation, we are awaiting our first state aid adjustment that will be provided at the end of April.

Last evening, the Board accepted the retirement resignations of Marlene Gracia, Assistant Principal at Walter Panas High School and Jo-Anne Ricapito, District Food Service Supervisor. We wish them well in their retirements and thank them for their years of dedicated service.

On a personal note, today is Friday, April 17th. As many of you know, I play drums in a band named "Unfunded Mandate." We have been playing for almost ten years, donating all of the proceeds from our shows to the Lakeland Education Foundation, and in turn, to the students and teachers of our district. Tonight was to be one of our final shows before I retired, and just another disappointment for all of us. For those who don't know, our band includes Chris Cummings, Lakeland High School Principal, Rick Russo, Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School Music teacher, Chris Ruggiero, Director of Mathematics, Charles Rhyner, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School Music teacher, Annette Vaccaro, former Music Teacher at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School, and Dr. Billy Farber Math teacher to many of our graduates and Mercy College teacher. I want to thank all of them for their service, along with everyone else who was part of the band over the years. We had so much fun while serving. Maybe next year!

My technical people are encouraging me to add a video to these updates, so next week, I might give that a try.

Have a very enjoyable weekend!
George Stone, Superintendent

Posted April 13, 2020
Community Update
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Today's power outage presents another issue affecting distance learning. Please know that if you have a power outage for an extended period of time, we do not expect your children to be responsible for assignments during that time, and our staff understands.

If you have a child in the District who you think needs emotional support, please call the Lakeland Central School District Emotional Support Helpline at 914-603-9089, and we will make necessary connections.

This leads to my next point. While we are working on developing appropriate exit plans for our seniors, we are also beginning the process of developing re-entry plans for students in grades K-11. This could be this year or next year, but there will be significant work to do. Aside from whatever health and distancing requirements are included, we will also need time to assess student progress, conduct reviews, and ensure that social/emotional needs are met. We will, of course, keep you informed as we make plans.

Some have been asking if spring athletics can take place in the summer and if school can be extended into the summer. Local school districts have no authority to make these decisions. The Governor will decide when we return to school and what will define the school year. State athletics determine when sports will take place, and there are regulations that do not allow for athletic competitions when school is not in session. The short answer probably not likely.

Driver's Ed is another issue for those who were hoping to finish the program this year. District Office is responding to the questions about the program and what the options would be moving forward. Apparently, there will be no more offerings this school year, so students will need to register for the Spring or Fall.

AP Exams will be held the first two weeks in May, and schools will be sending information to students. Home Access is now open to review course selections. All concerns should be routed to the school for consideration.

I have also been asked about kindergarten and new student registrations. We continue to register new students online, but we do not yet have dates for kindergarten screenings. Individual schools have been scheduling "virtual" orientations. To start a registration, please contact the school in your attendance zone.

One of the big unknowns is the status of senior events. It is clear from the feedback that most would like to hold the graduation over until large social gatherings are once again allowed, and our graduations could be "in-person." This would more than likely require alternate venues, as the County Center is booked throughout the year. It certainly may be possible to hold our own, but we do need back-up plans. If we find that our only option would be online graduation, then we would be working with a professional event planner and a professional production company to ensure it is the best it could possibly be. Again it is too early to make that decision, but we have to be prepared either way. We have also received many creative ideas for senior special events; parades, spirit weeks, live yearbooks, etc. All of your ideas have been forwarded to building principals who are meeting with their seniors to consider what would work best for each school. I am hoping by the beginning of May, we can have narrowed the choices and then can start in on the planning.

I will certainly provide more updates as I have them. Until then, stay well!

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent
Lakeland Central School District
gstone@lakelandschools.org
@Drgeorgestone


Posted April 10, 2020
Encore classes (Family and Consumer Science, Computers, Technology, Art, Health) at the Middle School level will follow the 4th Quarter schedule as stated on students' schedules. Students will begin their new Encore class on 4/20/20. Teachers will meet their new students, explain the course objectives, and facilitate instruction utilizing the Google platform. 

Las clases de Encore (Familia y Ciencia del Consumidor, Computadoras, Tecnología, Arte, Salud) en el nivel de la Escuela Intermedia seguirán el horario del cuarto trimestre como se indica en los horarios de los estudiantes. Los estudiantes comenzarán su nueva clase de Encore el 20/04/20. Los maestros conocerán a sus nuevos estudiantes, explicarán los objetivos del curso y facilitarán la instrucción utilizando la plataforma Google.

Posted April 9, 2020
Community Update from Superintendent Dr. Stone

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We are still working through a number of issues as the year starts to wind down. Crucial to our decision making is the calendar. As so many of you have commented, if we would simply know we were not going to reopen this year, we could make our final plans and move forward. Currently, we continue to explore ideas both ways; one path returning, and one path not returning.

The fourth quarter, third trimester, and final grading are obviously of concern to parents and students. Assuming we do not return, the final quarter or trimester grades will likely be more flexible, using a system such as "meets expectations, exceeds expectations or does not meet expectations." The final grade would reflect the major part of the work for the first three quarters or two trimesters, and then factor in the final work. While the Regents Exams have been waived, students must still pass the Regents courses they are enrolled in or complete the course in summer school.

Assuming we come back (probably not before May 15th or June 1st at the earliest), teachers would at least have some time to assess their students progress, their areas of strengths and weaknesses, and at least assess until the end of the year the effort put into the makeup of loss time and instruction. We would probably still utilize a more flexible final grading system, but at least some whole group time could really provide better data on progress.

The budget and school board trustee elections are now on hold until after June 1st. The actual adoption of the budget by the Board is being held after the first State adjustment period, which ends on April 30th. Following this time, our state aid could be reduced significantly, requiring us to make needed adjustments before adoption. Next week, I will be putting together my budget presentation that I would normally give in-person to all building staff and all schools P.T.A. It will be available online for the public to view and provide comments.

With schools closed, it is allowing us to get some of our construction projects underway. The Van Cortlandtville connecting corridor will be mobilizing shortly. With asphalt plants reopening, the new Van Cort playground can be paved, and the Lakeland High School field project can be completed. New boilers at Walter Panas will also be complete, and other small summer projects can probably get underway once we know the schedule.

Schools continue to look for new and innovative ways to provide instruction, and staff is getting much more comfortable with the new platform. When we return to regular instruction, hopefully, technology will play an expanded role.

Aside from the superintendency, we have a number of positions to fill for the coming year. In order to stay on schedule, we will be interviewing with committees online.

Award ceremonies, moving up ceremonies, graduations, proms, may all need a new format this year. As I meet with other districts, many different ideas are being floated from virtual ceremonies, to fall ceremonies, even some considering as late as October or November. I also recognize seniors are dealing with issues related to the start of post-secondary programs, and whether they will begin semesters on time. As far as high schools are concerned, I think it is important that we hear from the students with any creative ideas they may have for how we can sponsor these events. (Please see below)

ATTENTION SENIORS: We would like to hear your ideas for alternatives to our traditional events: SENIOR AWARDS, SENIOR PROMS, GRADUATIONS. Please send your ideas to me at gstone@lakelandschools.org for consideration.

Warm wishes for Passover, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. (Make sure you find all of the eggs that will now be hidden inside, we made that mistake when our kids were small!)

Stay well!
George Stone, Superintendent


Posted April 9, 2020
Click here for resources for students and staff who may not currently have the availability of internet access.

Continuidad de la instrucción - Recursos de acceso a Internet 2020
09 de abril de 2020
Haga clic aquí para obtener recursos para estudiantes y personal que actualmente no tienen la disponibilidad de acceso a Internet.

Posted April 6, 2020
Lakeland CoAI Technology SUPPORT Form, click here
If you are having trouble connecting, logging-in or accessing a required program, please fill out this form.

Publicado el 6 de abril de 2020
Formulario de APOYO a la tecnología LakeA CoAI, haga clic aquí
Si tiene problemas para conectarse, iniciar sesión o acceder a un programa requerido, complete este formulario.

Posted April 6, 2020
Community Update from Superintendent Dr. Stone

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Dear Lakeland Community:

Let me start by hoping everyone is continuing to stay safe and healthy as the days continue to go by. Today, we received some updates from Albany on the remainder of the year. The Governor today extended the closure until April 29th. That could mean returning April 29th or April 30th, depending on how the Executive Order is written. We also learned today that Regents exams will be canceled, and further guidance on graduation standards will be forthcoming. Teacher evaluations tied to Regents Exam results and State Assessment results that have already been canceled, will also be put on hold this year. Our State Aid budget allocations are also still unknown. New language appears to indicate that the Governor will be able to reduce State Aid based upon the loss of revenue for NY State. We will certainly continue to monitor the budget prior to finalizing ours.

The question we are most frequently asked is how students will be evaluated this year in terms of their school assignments, course credit, promotions, and retentions, etc. As I'm sure you can imagine, this has been made more complicated this year, and as we talk with other districts, it seems as if almost everyone is creating a different process and awaiting further guidance. After a lot of thoughtful discussions, we are able to provide the following information as of now:

Middle and High School Students Third Quarter Grading
For secondary level students, middle and high school, the third quarter began February 3rd. Essentially, normal school work was assigned, collected, and checked from February 3rd through March 10th. The basic third quarter grade, therefore, will be based upon the work completed during that time. From March 11th, until the end of the third quarter, April 17th, we have been operating under a very different set of circumstances. For this period, students will be "held harmless." What that means is no third quarter grade can be negatively affected after March 10th. All work assigned and evaluated from March 11th through April 17th can only help enhance a student's third quarter grade; it cannot hurt the grade. Students going above and beyond, even if they are still handing in assignments for work before March 11th, may be able to improve their final third quarter grade.

Middle and High School Fourth Quarter and Final Grading
At this time, we now know we will be home at least through all of April. We will continue assigning new work and evaluating it as it comes back. As far as how we will conclude the fourth quarter or the final average, we need first to learn whether we will be returning or not. If for some reason, we did return shortly after April 29th (highly unlikely), we would try and return to normal procedures as quickly as possible. However, the final grading is determined; it is our sincere desire not to harm our students for a situation beyond their control. More than likely (but not certain), we will establish a grading policy of "Meets Expectations, Exceeds Expectations or Does Not Meet Expectations" for the fourth quarter. How we determine a final grade still needs further discussion as well. I also want to make sure everyone understands that for the small number of students who may be having difficulty getting or turning in assignments, we have teachers reaching out, support professionals and administrators all making contacts to find out what the problems are and what they can do to help eliminate them and get the students on track. (We are all in this together.)

Elementary Grading
Elementary students finished their second trimester on March 20th, so the third trimester is now underway. While we won't finalize the final elementary plans until we know whether we are going back to school or not, a similar philosophy is in place. We do not want these extreme circumstances to affect their progress negatively, and we won't plan to evaluate in the same way we have assessed in the first two trimesters. I'm sure parents' biggest concerns are the issues of promotion and retention. If teachers were having concerns about promotion prior to this closure, then those are the same students, they will be having conversations with parents and administrators about placements for 2020-2021. Students in good standing prior to the closure will remain that way as we move forward.

Dr. Gagliardi and her staff will continue to provide updates on academic and instructional programs, Dr. Rappleyea and his staff will continue providing special services, and our other services of food distribution and child care will continue.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE:


ATTENTION STUDENT WRITERS AND ARTISTS:
Don't give up: HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL! So said 18th Century Poet Alexander Pope.
By definition " People will keep on hoping no matter what the odds."
Regardless of the setbacks, Spring has begun. Tell us what this Spring means to you, poems, pictures, songs, send them to 
rcarcova@lakelandschools.org so we can post them and share.

ATTENTION STUDENTS STILL CONGREGATING AT WALTER PANAS!!!
Reports I have received indicate large groups of students from both Panas and Lakeland congregating at Walter Panas on the tennis courts and fields. I'm really surprised to hear this, as whoever is there is jeopardizing the time frame for getting back prior to the June celebrations. If students in our district do not understand the significance of congregating in groups, then we will need to take further action. If any community would understand this, I thought for sure it would be Lakeland. As the one responsible for ensuring safety, I am going to say it one more time, stay off the fields. Starting today, Officer Hilliard will be patrolling the campus to ensure compliance. There is no choice in this matter; it has to stop.

I will be providing more updates as I get them. Please continue safe practices and stay well!

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent
Lakeland Central School District
gstone@lakelandschools.org
@Drgeorgestone


Posted April 3, 2020
New Information about 2020 AP Exams - PDF file
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Posted April 1, 2020
 
Hello,
 
Hoping all of you are doing as well as can be expected during this most difficult time. It is not our intention to add to the many responsibilities you have, but unfortunately, as the COVID19 situation and SED mandates evolve, so will our responses.
 
The CoAI Student/Family document has been updated, and you will see those updates in purple. Refer to the previously sent CoAI link. The most recent changes are in the 'Instructional Guideline" section. There you will find information, expectations, and the technology tool, Google Classroom, that is used to engage your child/ren.
 
Parents/ Guardians there will be a daily attendance check-in on your child's Google Classroom. You can find the attendance form through the "classwork" tab. At the elementary level, you may need to assist your child in completing. Secondary students should be able to complete independently. Ask your child's teacher and/or administrator should you have questions.
 
Stay healthy and stay tuned,
Karen

Posted March 31, 2020
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Message from Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Dr. Steve Rappleyea

Dear Families:                                                                                     

In an effort to aggressively slow the spread of COVID-19, New York State’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has ordered the closure of all schools in the state of New York first through April 1, 2020, and now through the 15th. In addition, there is an indication that schools may be ordered to remain closed for a longer period in an effort to continue social distancing and slow the rate at which this virus spreads. Just last month the Lakeland CSD Special Education Office hosted an open house for our SEPTA parents.  We discussed how it was our intention to schedule “open door Fridays” for parents to come in without an appointment and visit with me if they wished. It is amazing to me how much things have changed in so short a time. Now our doors are closed, and communication opportunities have drastically changed. 

As this crisis has unfolded Dr. Stone has made sure to provide regular updates to parents with what we knew to be happening. Since the State and County executive orders have been issued, we now have clarity on our restrictions. We appreciate the concerns of parents and students, especially those who depend on the delivery of special education instruction, accommodations, supports and related services. This letter contains important information about our plan for implementing special education instruction, providing related services, Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE), and Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings during the extended closures. Administration and staff have been working diligently to develop plans to maintain consistency of special education services.  We are committed to doing our best to address your child's needs remotely, but it is possible that not all typical school-based instruction and special education supports can be feasibly implemented through a distance learning model during the present health crisis. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated as we work through the logistics of this challenging time together.

Leading up to this moment, the special education supervisors and myself have been meeting with staff and support staff to prepare as best as we can for this event; first in person, then as this pandemic unfolded, via videoconference.  Special education teachers have prepared resources in the same way that teachers of students without disabilities have. Related services providers have provided web resources for students with disabilities (Find a link here to the LiveBinder) which can also be located on the District Web page. Related services providers have also begun to implement a plan for the provision of web-based support to students at home. We have set up supports for students who need additional food, and we have begun to structure systems to support students in emotional crises.

Please reach out to us regarding any concerns you have relating to the implementation of your child’s special education services and/or accommodations in the weeks ahead. We are here to support you and your children during this challenging time. Thank you for your patience and understanding in working with us as our school community responds to COVID-19. 

I have included below a concise description of our service plan along with a link to the New York State Education Department Guidance for Special Education which was released Friday, and a link back to the District website. We miss you and your children and look forward to the day when we can all return safely to school. Please stay in touch, be well, and be safe.

Yours,
Dr. Steve Rappleyea

Lakeland Central School District COVID-19 Special Education Service Provision


Posted March 31, 2020
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Dear Lakeland Community:


We continue to analyze and make sense of the Governor's orders to schools. Our latest understanding is we are required to provide instruction for all days in our calendar that are currently snow emergency days or vacation days, or we will forfeit the State Aid we would receive for each of those days, and possibly all the days of the COVID-19 closures. This would be a devastating financial loss for our district, which I cannot support, so I am doing everything in my power to ensure we are in compliance with these orders.

Therefore, teachers will be working and providing assignments daily for all school days moving forward including April 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 13, as well as May 22 and May 26, unless another executive order after April 15 changes that.

My Assistants and I have been reading all of the Facebook and other social media comments, and recognize similar patterns we see in a "normal" school year. Namely, most are very happy with the work being provided, and some feel it is too little or too much. We wish there was a perfect formula to guarantee every teacher was providing every possible strategy that every individual student needs, but again, that is not even possible under normal conditions. One thing I would note, there are many regions of this state and all across the country where technology, access, assignments, and communications are not even close to what we are able to do in this region. It's far from perfect, but it could be considerably worse. Obviously, as teachers continue to share resources, websites, etc. the skill set will continue to grow as well. Finally, some students (mainly at the secondary level) are not responding to teacher requests to "check-in" regularly. If you could encourage your students to respond as requested, that would increase the flow of instruction and communication. Updates to our CoAI plans will be sent out on April 1, 2020. The updates are in purple and under the "Instructional Guidelines" section in both documents.

I know this is even harder for seniors (students). It is as if their senior year has been taken, and many who know where they are headed next year may have very little interest in what is left of this year. As we say every year, however, "academic gymnastics," namely keeping up with classes and assignments, will be a significant advantage when they are faced with hours and hours of intensive post-secondary work next Fall.

The Board will be meeting Thursday evening (from homes) to discuss the budget and to consider the required legal action on the calendar. Today in the news, it appears NY State may get additional education funds from the federal government, which may help with the coming year deficit. We remain committed to doing everything we can to keep revenues up, costs down, and the levy increase below the tax cap. The public will be able to view the public meeting at 7:00 p.m. Thursday. We will post a link prior to the meeting on our website.

Once again, Feeding Westchester will be at George Washington tomorrow, April 1, beginning at 3:30 p.m. We ask that you wait in cars, or if walking maintain appropriate distances at all times.

I hope these regular updates help to keep you informed, and hopefully, understanding we are trying our best to do our best. While my retirement looms out there somewhere, for now, this is my reality as well as all of you and will receive my full attention until this year has ended.

Most importantly, I offer my thoughts that those of you who are well and healthy stay that way, and those taking care of or have loved ones who are ill, are blessed with speedy and complete recoveries. Thanks again, health care workers and first responders.

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 30, 2020
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Dear Lakeland Community:

As if this cannot get any more complicated or confusing, the Governor has now issued an Executive Order indicating we must work through Spring Recess and all available days until the end of the year, or forfeit the State Aid we would receive for the number of days. Therefore, on Thursday evening, the Board of Education will be asked to approve a resolution returning all available vacation days to the school calendar. In practice, however, we are instructing our teachers to prepare a week's worth of assignments, websites, etc. and distribute to their students on Friday, April 3rd. This will provide students with daily work, but relieve teachers of the burden to provide instruction daily during the following week.

I certainly apologize for any confusion this is creating, but given the financial conditions we are currently experiencing and the concerning outlook for the coming year, we cannot afford to lose any State Aid we are entitled. I know our community has offered their support in anyway they can, and this is just another example of our need to work together.

In another order, the Governor has moved the date of school elections back to June 2nd. We are still awaiting clarification as to whether this includes the budget vote. We believe it does, but we do need legal guidance. For now, we will continue to keep the budget process moving forward.

I want to once again thank everyone involved in the food distribution and child care programs being conducted as well as our Facilities Department, who is continually cleaning. I also send my heart out to our health care workers and first responders. For parents of student athletes, today, Section One postponed all Spring Sports at least until April 15th.

Once again, I apologize for these ongoing changes, but so is the nature of this current crisis. Hopefully, we will bring closure to this before the end of year activities. Until then, be well.

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 27, 2020
Dear Lakeland Community:

Today the Governor announced that schools will remain closed through April 15th. Since this takes us through our scheduled Spring Recess, Lakeland Schools will observe our Spring Recess from April 6th through the 13th. The recess will be a time for our teachers and staff to take some time for their families, and will not be required to send assignments during those days. Many I am sure will be in touch, as with limited travel, they may be looking for activities to fill the days, but please understand this will be optional during the recess period.

We will continue our food distribution program, and the Children's Center program for health care workers and first responders will continue except for Thursday, April 9th, and Friday, April 10th, which are official school holidays. Also, Feeding Westchester will provide pre-packaged food for those who need it, Wednesday, April 1st starting at 3:00 p.m. at George Washington Elementary School. Patrons should stay in their cars, and food will be brought to you. If walking to the site, please maintain the social distancing of at least six feet.

As you may have heard, the Governor has serious concerns about budgets this year. We are working very hard as the Budget Adoption date approaches to find a way to balance our budget and still be able to complete needed work for next year, in particular, the Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School roof. The Van Cortlandtville corridor project, the playground, the Walter Panas Field Project, and mechanical work were already budgeted this year, so all of those projects are continuing. As always, we are working to make sure our tax levy for this year remains under the mandated cap, but we certainly have a lot of work to do.

As we continue onward, we are trying to keep our Lakeland family in touch. Keep your home photos coming, and the wonderful Walter Panas Gallery One Art Exhibit that was canceled the day before the opening will be presented to you online through our social media sites. I am remaining optimistic about proms and graduations, but regardless of what ultimately happens, we will find a way to celebrate our seniors, I promise you that!

Enjoy the weekend, wash your hands, keep distance, etc, and try to get some fresh air, we are having such nice weather.

George Stone, Superintendent

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources - Update March 26, 2020


CDC - Coronavirus/COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html 
NY Department of Health - What you need to know.
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home
NYS Department of Health - Protect Yourself and Your Family
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/protect-yourself-and-your-family-coronavirus-covid-19#symptoms
Westchester County - Coronavirus Update
https://health.westchestergov.com/2019-novel-coronavirus

Understanding the Difference Between COVID-19, Allergies & Flu (Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network)
https://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19_3-19.pdf
https://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-Final-Spanish.pdf

Information about Type 1 Diabetes and Coronavirus:  https://www.jdrf.org/coronavirus/

OMH Guidance for Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19
https://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/guidance/covid-19-managing-stress-anxiety.pdf


Posted March 25, 2020
Lakeland Community

I hope everyone is continuing to stay well. This morning we opened our Children's Center at Van Cortlandtville Elementary for health care providers and first responders. A great deal of THANKS to the staff involved in setting this up! If you know of families in our community serving in these roles, please have them contact the Children's Center at bohara@lakelandchildrens.com
or visit https://www.lakelandchildrens.com/emergency-child-care.

As a way of keeping our "Lakeland Family" in touch, we are establishing "Photo Boards" on our websites and social media. If you have photos of your children or the family "working from home," please email them to rcarcova@lakelandschools.org.
We will try to post as many as we can.

As far as the academic programs, we continue to learn more each day. Several educational videos are being posted, some of which can be very helpful such as the CollegeBoard online AP Classes and Review. Visit https://www.youtube.com/user/advancedplacement for the daily class schedule. Expect to see more postings as we explore how we can better communicate with you.

We also continue to disinfect and sanitize with new equipment that allows us to regularly clean the district facilities, classrooms, and buses thoroughly and quickly.

As far as school closure continuing, we expect to know something before March 31, and obviously for families and planning, the sooner, the better, but at this point, we there is no new information. As soon as we know, you will know.

All for now, stay well!
George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 24, 2020
Information for Families without the Internet, Wireless Access, and/or WiFi Challenges

If you are experiencing difficulty in accessing reliable connectivity to the internet here are some helpful contacts.
Free Service. During this time, some service providers are trying to help by providing limited free service. Although offers such as this change rapidly, to date, the following providers have publicized offers such as this:
Service Providers
Spectrum
1-855-243-8892
https://www.spectrum.net/…/coronavirus-covid-19-educational…
Comcast

1-855-846-8376 for English and
1-855-765-6995 for Spanish
https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19
Optimum

1-866-200-9522
Alticeadvantageinternet.com
Verizon 1-800-922-0204

https://www.verizon.com/…/update-verizon-serve-customers-co…

Non-technological options.

In addition, a local news agency, The Journal News, has gathered a list of resources to help families at this time. While some of the items found in this list require technology, others do not. It can be found at:
https://thejournal.com/…/Free-Resources-Ed-Tech-Companies-S…

Spanish Version

El siguiente texto fue traducido usando Google Translate. Pedimos disculpas por cualquier error.

Información para familias sin Internet, acceso inalámbrico y / o desafíos de WiFi

Si tiene dificultades para acceder a una conectividad confiable a Internet, aquí hay algunos contactos útiles.
Servicio gratuito Durante este tiempo, algunos proveedores de servicios están tratando de ayudar proporcionando un servicio gratuito limitado. Aunque las ofertas como esta cambian rápidamente, hasta la fecha, los siguientes proveedores han publicado ofertas como esta:

Proveedores de servicio
Espectro
1-855-243-8892
https://www.spectrum.net/…/coronavirus-covid-19-educational…
Comcast
1-855-846-8376 para inglés y
1-855-765-6995 para español
https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19
Óptimo
1-866-200-9522
Alticeadvantageinternet.com
Verizon 1-800-922-0204
https://www.verizon.com/…/update-verizon-serve-customers-co…

Opciones no tecnológicas.

    El Departamento de Educación del Estado de Nueva York (NYSED) se ha asociado con PBS para obtener ayuda en el área de apoyo televisivo.
    Se puede encontrar más información en: http://www.nysed.gov/edtech/pbs-live-broadcasting.
    Además, el NYSED ha identificado algunas actividades de aprendizaje temprano que no requieren tecnología. Estos se pueden encontrar en: http://www.nysed.gov/…/early-learning-non-technological-opt…

Además, una agencia de noticias local, The Journal News, ha reunido una lista de recursos para ayudar a las familias en este momento. Si bien algunos de los elementos que se encuentran en esta lista requieren tecnología, otros no. Se puede encontrar en:
https://thejournal.com/…/Free-Resources-Ed-Tech-Companies-S…


Posted March 23, 2020
Community Update from Superintendent Dr. Stone

Dear Lakeland Community:

Although I have few updates today, I will try and answer some of the more frequent questions I am receiving.

Question: "Can teachers please try and provide more lessons, video lessons, and additional assignments?
Response: Our teachers are working extremely hard to learn new methods and platforms many had never used before. Combined with all of the challenges they are facing in their own lives and establishing communication within some cases up to 150 students, the task could be overwhelming. Instead, however, we hear stories of successes and enthusiasm as we all try and work through this. Again, your students beyond their classroom teachers with internet capabilities have access to a wide world of educational opportunities. We are all partners in helping them expand their learning and educational opportunities.

Question: "Will the work be graded?"
Response: The guidance on accountability needs to come from the State of New York. We are opposed to trying to assess students on a playing field that is very far from level and believe that there will be waivers forthcoming regarding completion of coursework, requirements for graduation, as well as assessment. As soon as we know something, we will share that with you.

Question: "You had said we may need to convert Spring Recess and Memorial Day Weekend to instructional days. Is that still the case?"
Response: NO, The required two week closure has been subtracted from our 180 day requirement and therefore, we are still on track for required days. Spring Recess will now be an official school closing just as it would have been before this emergency. We won't know about the need for Memorial Day Weekend, as at this point, it looks like we may be in for an extended closure. As we receive information on this, we will immediately provide it to you.

Question: "Can't we come by the school and pick up additional items?"
Response: At this time, we are respecting the directives of the Governor and State Ed, restricting residents and students. We currently have only essential personnel on site, and that is only for essential functions. At such time as we are informed, we can provide materials or items we will establish protocols for pick up or delivery, but at this time, as our sign out front says, "Beat the Spread, Stay Home."

Question: Will events such as proms, graduations, moving up ceremonies, the budget vote, and board election all scheduled for later this Spring take place?
Response: There is simply no way of knowing at this point. What we do know is that the more people respect and adhere to the distancing requirements, the slower this will spread, and the sooner it can be extinguished. So if these activities are important, please do your parts.

Beyond this, I hope you continue to stay well, and we hope to have more definitive guidance from the Department of Education later this week.

Dr. George Stone


Posted March 22, 2020
Temporary Meal Service Announcement
Pickup meal service scheduled for tomorrow, March 23, 2020, will be postponed until Tuesday, March 24, 2020. If you are a family in need of meals for your children during the current school closing, please register for this service.  To register for meal service, please click on the following link; https://forms.gle/6zJc2zx8k3gXY9iF8 and complete the registration form. Temporary meal pick up service will be limited to one day per week every Tuesday beginning on March 31.  This week, meal service will continue this week on Tuesday, March 24, Wednesday, March 25, and Friday, March 27. Any questions or concerns should be emailed to temporarymealservice@lakelandschools.org. You can also call or text Janet Hernandez at 914-260-9383.


Posted March 21, 2020

College Board Parent Letter from Lakeland High School Principal Chris Cummings and
Walter Panas High School Principal Joseph Spero

Dear Lakeland High School and Walter Panas High School Families:

Throughout this school year, students have worked diligently in their Advanced Placement courses. As we navigate through the uncharted events regarding COVID-19, we are working to keep everyone updated with the latest information and status of culminating exams. On March 20th CollegeBoard shared information regarding the administration of these exams.

Please carefully read the key points below:

- Traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place.

- There will be two different testing dates for students to choose from.

- Those dates will be available near April 3rd.

- Tests will be 45 minutes in length and students will be able to take these streamlined exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.

- Material assessed will only consist of the material taught up until March of 2020.

- Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked this year to earn. For decades, colleges have accepted a shortened AP Exam for college credit when groups of students have experienced emergencies.

- Should a student want to cancel their exam, they can do so with no penalty.

- Test security is also a concern which the College Board is addressing.

- The exam questions are designed and administered in ways that prevent cheating; we use a range of digital security tools and techniques, including plagiarism detection software, to protect the integrity of the exams.

- Scoring at-home work for an AP Exam is not new to the AP Program. For years the AP Program has received and scored at-home student work as part of the exams for the AP Computer Science Principles and AP Capstone courses.

As we continue to receive information regarding these exams, we will support our students and families by providing the necessary information to assist in your decision making. As educational leaders will continuously provide the necessary information to guide making these academic decisions during this uncertain time.

To read the entire College Board memo, please visit:  https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/coronavirus-updates

Sincerely,                                                      Sincerely,
Chris Cummings                                           Joe Spero
Lakeland High School Principal                    Walter Panas High School Principal


Posted March 20, 2020
Community Update

Dear Lakeland Community,

As we close out the week, my first thoughts are with you and your families, hoping that all is well. If anything good can come out of this, I know from an educational standpoint, we are exploring and learning new ways to communicate and share information with our students that can help us long after this crisis is a distant memory. Our Lakeland Central School District instructional staff has done a truly remarkable job getting these new strategies started. Every day they are learning new and innovative ways to improve the continuity of academic instruction. We are also doing our best to continue providing support services for our special need students, as well as guidance services for our secondary students. Next week we will be exploring ways to help support the social and emotional needs that are arising from working our way through this.

Our Facilities Department continues to disinfect and sanitize, Food Service is providing approximately 200 breakfasts and 200 lunches daily. As we speak we are working on establishing child care services that our health care providers and first responders may need. We should have better information ready to go early next week.

Last evening, the Board passed resolutions to ensure our employees who typically are not paid during closures will continue to receive needed income. They will continue to provide services for us, as requested. The Board also fulfilled its legal obligations in terms of posting notices for the upcoming school budget and election and discussed at length how we can be fiscally responsible to the public while still accomplishing all of the goals we have set for the future. The Board expressed their concerns for how difficult a time this is for so many families. I should also add that the Board of Education insisted on setting a good example for the community, practicing appropriate social distancing, and respecting the recommendation for no more than ten at a gathering. Some Board members attended the meeting through videoconferencing and while the public was prohibited from attending, the meeting was live streamed for anyone to view.

As time goes on, we will try and give more and more support, looking for and sharing new ways to improve the communication and information between our schools and our homes. I know how difficult this is for all, as I hear from many of you each day, dealing with both unique and common challenges. I know you count on us to help get everyone through this, and I assure you we are doing our best. I have never seen so many so willing to pitch in and help in any way they can.

I'm not sure if we are in the eye of this storm yet, but depending on how vigilant we are in following the directives, we can hopefully shorten the total duration. While I don't know what the short term future looks like, I do know that the long term future for Lakeland is bright, prosperous, and filled with great promise. Keep the faith!

As I have said on many occasions, please feel free to contact me with your concerns, questions, thoughts, and ideas. So much of what I offer others comes from all of you.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 19, 2020
Message from Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Dr. Gagliardi

Dear Lakeland Families,

During the time that our schools are closed, LCSD is committed to providing continuity of learning for our students. Given the nature of the challenges our country is currently facing, we think it is important that our students maintain relationships with their teachers, their schools, with one another, and with their families. As always, we are committed to the academic, physical, and mental health of our students.

Our aspiration with continuity of academic instruction would be consistent with our high expectations for our learning community. Our commitment is that teachers will make every effort to provide students with activities that are relevant, authentic, and engaging. It is not our expectation, however, that the continuity of academic instruction can be the same as classroom learning. We ask all our families to understand that this model is new for us, there will be initial glitches, and our skills will grow with time. In light of our commitment to the social emotional wellness of our students, we do not believe in a model that has students in front of screens for the length of a regular school day. Teachers will be in touch with their students on a daily basis, providing learning activities, checking-in, and answering questions.

The continuity of instruction began on March 18 and will continue every school day for as long as our schools are closed. Depending on the length of the closure, it is likely that the models our teachers use will evolve. As we continue to think through how best to provide learning for our students in these most unusual times, some of the guidelines in this document may change, as well. Be assured that we will communicate with you if and when there are any such changes.

Please remember that nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our students, staff, and the broader community. With that in mind, I encourage all to find time for self and family. Do not let school work, or any single activity, become all-consuming. Seek the healthiest balance in life as we continue to deal with many unknowns.

We hope the information will be helpful to our students and our families. Please never hesitate to reach out to us with your questions.

With sincere regards,
Dr. Karen Gagliardi
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction



Posted March 19, 2020

Resources

NYC Dept. of Health: Coping with stress during an infectious disease outbreak

NYS: Protect yourself from COVID-19 and stop the spread of germs (English/Spanish info-graphic)

State Education Department Issues Updated Guidance to Schools Regarding Novel Coronavirus During Statewide School Closure http://www.nysed.gov/news/2020/state-education-department-issues-updated-guidance-schools-regarding-novel-coronavirus

CDC's Get your home ready
  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/get-your-household-ready-for-COVID-19.html

Talking to your Children
NASP Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource

CDC’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website at https://www.cdc.gov/nCoV


NYSDOH’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website ahttps://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/ 

NYSDOH directory of local health departments  https://www.health.ny.gov/contact/contact_information/

Facts About Coronavirus


Stop the Spread of Germs

Talking With Kids About COVID-19


Posted March 18, 2020
Lakeland Fields

While we understand how closed in people are feeling and that fresh air can be helpful, this cannot take place on school fields at this time. Schools have been closed by executive order, and that includes our fields as well. Please walk around your neighborhood, ride bikes but do not plan to congregate at the schools. Starting in the next day or two construction will start back up at Lakeland High School and this is another reason we must prohibit pedestrian traffic. The grounds will be posted as they are after hours. I regret deeply having to make these announcements as I know we all love being outside, and I know how much our students miss seeing with their friends. But the directives have been issued, and we all need to respect them. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

George Stone Superintendent


Posted March 18, 2020

Dear Families of Students with Disabilities,

Please be advised that all CSE meetings previously scheduled for the remaining days in March have been canceled. In the event that you received an invitation, please disregard as all meetings will be rescheduled for future dates. Invitations for rescheduled meetings will be sent as dates become available. We anticipate resuming meetings beginning March 31, 2020 via video/phone conferencing. We appreciate your patience and understanding while we navigate through these unprecedented times.

Be well,
Steve Rappleyea, Psy.D., C.A.S.
Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services
Lakeland Central School District

Posted March 18, 2020

Parent Guide to Google Classroom

During the closure of schools, your child's teachers are using Google Classroom to share assignments, homework, and much more with your child. This guide will help you understand the tool and be able to assist your child, if necessary.
 

Posted March 17, 2020
Lakeland Central School District Pupil Personnel Resources

A repository for resources for your child as we await schools' re-opening.
http://www.livebinders.com/b/2643001


Posted  March 16, 2020
LAKELAND’S FOOD SERVICE DEPARTMENT TO PROVIDE MEALS FOR NEEDY FAMILIES DURING SCHOOL CLOSURE:

The Lakeland CSD Food Service Department will begin serving meals to needy families tomorrow, March 17th through a pickup service at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School.

A cold breakfast and lunch will be available for the district’s children ages 18 or younger.  These families will be provided meals free of charge.  Breakfast will consist of a bagel, cereal, milk, juice, and fruit.  Lunch will consist of a deli sandwich, milk, juice, fruit, and vegetable. 

Meals will be distributed through a pickup service at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  We are asking that parents register for this meal pickup service so we can adequately supply the meals necessary to meet the needs of our community.  Additional sites/services may be offered following the evaluation of community need.  Go to the following link to register. https://forms.gle/5nCycKXnZZhRNfU78 The link will also be on the district website at www.lakelandschools.org.  If you don’t have access to the internet, you can call or text Janet Hernandez at 914-260-9383 to register by phone. 

BE SURE TO CALL 914-260-9383 BEFORE MEAL PICK UP TO NOTIFY US OF ANY FOOD ALLERGIES.

 If you have any questions, or need additional information, please email temporarymealservice@lakelandschools.org.  Thank you.


Posted March 16, 2020
School Schedule for Pick Up of Chromebooks and Musical Instruments

On Wednesday, March 18, 2002, students may pick up their Chromebook and/or musical instrument at their school. Please follow the schedule below:

Lakeland High School – 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Walter Panas High School – 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School
  Grade 6 – 11:00 AM to 12 noon
  Grade 7 – 12 noon to 1:00 PM
  Grade 8 – 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
*Parents with more than one child at the middle school can choose a time frame.

Benjamin Franklin Elementary School – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
George Washington Elementary School – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Lincoln-Titus Elementary School – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Thomas Jefferson Elementary School – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Van Cortlandtville Elementary School – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM


Posted March 16, 2020
COMMUNITY UPDATE

As many of you have probably heard by now, all New York State schools, including the Lakeland Central School District, will be closed at least through March 31, 2020. While this is by Executive Order, it appears that we must still utilize all remaining vacation days as part of the school calendar requirement for days in session regulations. As of now, although it is extremely unlikely, we will start back to school before the scheduled Spring Recess from April 6 through April 13. Should schools reopen, we will be in session through Spring Recess and Memorial Day weekend (excluding the scheduled holidays of Holy Thursday (April 9), Good Friday (April 10), and Memorial Day (May 25).

Tomorrow, we will begin our food distribution program to families in need across the District. Our Food Service Department has contacted needy families to make arrangements for obtaining meals.

We have received numerous requests from students and staff wanting to pick up materials, musical instruments, Chrome Books, etc. Principals under the direction of our Assistant Superintendent of Instruction have developed a schedule to allow this to take place on Wednesday, March 18, so that everyone can get what they need for this uncertain closure. These schedules will be posted on our website, communicated through social media, and e-blasted to all families.

We have also been requested to provide child care classroom space and staffing for first responders and health care providers in our District. We plan to establish these classrooms at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School, and shortly will have a posting with contact information. If you are a first responder or health care provider in need of this service, please contact our Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Dr. Tammy Cosgrove, at tcosgrove@lakelandschools.org The hours will be tentatively 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

As far as our Continuity of Academic Instruction Plan, teachers will begin communicating daily with their students starting Wednesday, March 18. For those with internet access, Chrome Books and other devices with Google can be used. For those who do not have internet access, teachers will be creating packets, and arrangements will be made for pick up. Grading, report cards, State Testing, Regents, and AP Exams are all on hold at this time, awaiting further guidance from the State. For now, we want to get students into the practice of working constructively and enriching the work they were doing prior to this closure.

The Board of Education will continue to hold scheduled meetings to ensure legal and procedural requirements are met. There will be no special presentations, only the regular business of the Board. The Board invites the public to email questions you would like to have answered to the District Clerk. Your email must include your name and address, just as a speaker must do when addressing the Board in Public Participation. We will do our best to either cover them in the public meeting or get back to you with a response.

I hope this information is helpful to you, and we will continue to provide you updates as we have them.

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 15, 2020

Lakeland Community:

While you begin making alternative plans from your normal routines, Lakeland Administration continues to make plans to find ways to better help you. Tomorrow (March 15) morning I will be meeting with my Cabinet, our Board Officers and our Principals to discuss where we are and where we intend to go. We also expect to hear from Westchester County Executive Lattimer who indicated on the radio Friday he will be extending the closure indefinitely. In addition, the Governor is taking similar action.

Information on the specific dates of closure will come tomorrow. We want to hear the official announcements first. Obviously this looks like an extended closing is possible.

There are a number of issues we are working on. While I wish I could give you health information, we are rapidly moving beyond that. As another superintendent has noted, the health departments seem to be assuming as one family member tests positive, the entire family may have it or will remain quarantined 14 days, so they are not even testing the rest of the family. The best I can recommend in this regard is if your family seems well, keep practicing good health practices, but also encourage your children (especially young adults) not to go out doing the things they normally do when they are not in school. Teens think they are invincible, but even if they don’t develop a serious case, they are also potential carriers.

We will be working very hard on academic plans. Other districts are starting to set up cloud based learning networks that we all may be able to plug into. Dr. Gagliardi is working with principals, curriculum directors and lead teachers to keep these programs moving forward. I know with kids looking for things to do “it can’t be fast enough!” but rest assured she is working on this 24/7.

We will also be discussing food distribution, continual cleaning and maintenance, the school calendars and vacations, ways we can help our working staff that normally lose wages during these conditions, how to help child care and nursery school centers, state testing and other upcoming major school events, how we continue school board business, and probably a million other topics, so stay tuned.

Once again, every day, I will tell you as much as I can, and try to solve as many problems as I can. Please, most of your school children have learned “Mindfulness” and other stress relieving activities, take part of the day to practice this with them. It will help keep all of you less stressed.

Stay Well!
George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 14, 2020

Rumors are continuing to spread about students testing positive for COVID-19. As of this posting Saturday, March 14, 2020, the Lakeland Central School District has no students or staff confirmed with a positive test for the COVID-19.

If we know of a confirmed case, we will let the community know as soon as possible. I understand everyone is worried. We would appreciate your assistance in helping minimize anxiety by waiting for official announcements.

Thank you for your continued support.
Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 13, 2020
Lakeland Community,

Over the past few days, I have provided you with as much information as I have regarding the emergency situation we face. In addition, I tried and will continue to answer your questions as I receive them. One question is, why we might need to eliminate Spring Recess since students may be working electronically from home. Our attempt to provide electronic communication between the schools and the homes is to help students keep working. However, there is no legal allowance to use these days as part of our required 180 days. That type of waiver can only come from legislation and the Governor. There is proposed legislation to excuse any closure days due to COVID-19. Today (March 13), the Governor indicated there would be some type of waiver and we have been advised to ensure that all remaining emergency closing and vacation days are available to meet the 180 day requirement. We have two emergency days left and one additional conference day that can also be converted to a school day. Please understand that while health and safety are our number one concerns, State Aid accounts for about twenty-five percent of our budget and is critical to our programs.

This morning, more than 50 superintendents and 20 others were on a video chat, with the Acting Commissioner of the New York State Education Department, and NY State Senate Head of the Education Committee, and the Chancellor of the Board of Regents, to discuss the COVID-19 and the impact on our schools. In all respective communities, there was a deep collective concern for the safety of our students, staff, and community. In light of these concerns, the Lakeland Central School District, along with all districts in our region, will be using two emergency closure days and again be closed on Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17. At this time, there are still many unanswered questions for school districts; as they relate to the potential spread of COVID-19 within our schools and the logistical and fiscal implications on schools. As I noted above, this will mean we are out of available emergency days, so again we hope the Governor and the Legislature will provide waivers on the 180 day requirement.

I hope we can obtain answers to our questions during this temporary closure and receive more concrete guidance from the Governor, the State Education Department, and the county and state health departments. However, if we cannot assure the health and safety of our students, staff, and community, we are prepared to extend the closure.

As I have previously noted, we completely understand the hardships that school closures place on our families. I know many will be upset, and many will understand the decision to close schools on March 16 and 17. This is not an easy situation for us, many staff members and students are considered part of the vulnerable population to COVID-19 or maybe positive with no symptoms; the only reasonable option is to protect our students and staff.

We have received the approval of our application to provide meals to families in our community. Early next week, we will be discussing a distribution plan, and hopefully, this can help our families in some small way. I hope all questions about the SAT exams have been answered, but if you still have remaining questions, please email the high school principals who are handling these matters.

Over the weekend, as I receive additional information, I will share it as quickly as possible. For now, once again, please be safe and stay well.

George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 12, 2020
Lakeland Central School District has been in contact with the College Board regarding the cancellation of the SAT test at Walter Panas High School on Saturday, March 14. The College Board will contact families about rescheduling or refunds.


Posted March 12, 2020
Update for Thursday, March 12, 2020

Lakeland Community:

We continue to work around the clock to get answers and needed testing from Westchester County and NY State Health Departments. While we are hopeful to open schools on Monday, March 16, that decision cannot be made at this time. I apologize to our families struggling with child care coverage, and financial concerns, my heart goes out to everyone, but health concerns are the current number one priority.

We understand that many of our families depend on the school breakfast and lunch given to their child, so our Food Service Supervisor has applied to the NY State to allow us to provide these meals. As soon as it is approved, we will make a plan for meal distribution as quickly as possible.

In a conference I attended today, I received information related to school matters. Most importantly, please note that the Health Department did not authorize the days we are currently closed. Still, our Chief Medical Officer strongly recommended it based upon facts and out of an abundance of caution. At this time, there is no State waiver or action on these days, and we are being advised to make sure we have snow make up days and vacation days available. Therefore, please do not make vacation plans for Spring Break. If we are required to close indefinitely, we may have to add these days to the school calendar.

We are still awaiting further direction on state assessment testing, which is scheduled to begin March 25, and on Regents testing and required seat time. I will, of course, keep you posted.

Also, out of an abundance of caution, we will be moving the location of our Board of Education Business meeting scheduled for next Thursday, March 19, 2020, at 7:30 to the District Office Board Room. The Board has pressing budget matters that must be approved by law based upon a specific timeline. The meeting will NOT be held at Lakeland High School as initially scheduled.

In the schools and administration building, We have been utilizing large sanitizing and disinfectant machines. We have cleaned the entire district, so if we are able to open schools, rest assured everything has been thoroughly disinfected and sanitized.

Once again, every day, I will be working around the clock to ensure we are doing everything we can for the community, and communicating as frequently as I have information. For now, stay well.

George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 11, 2020
Saturday March 14's SAT exam at Walter Panas High School has been canceled. We are discussing possible alternative dates


Posted March 11, 2020
A MESSAGE FROM SUPERINTENDENT DR. GEORGE STONE

Dear Lakeland Community:

As we await further testing of COVID-19 exposures, I need to inform you that again “out of an abundance of caution,” all Lakeland Schools will remain closed tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Friday, March 13, will remain a Superintendent’s Conference Day, however our teachers will be working from home, and all after school and other activities will be canceled at least through this weekend. We are also trying to identify an alternate location for Saturday (March 14) SAT Exams scheduled for Walter Panas, and will update you as we can.

To bring you up to speed on the COVID-19 health issues, we are diligently trying to get further testing completed for family members of an individual in the community who has tested positive. Our Chief Medical Officer advises that due to the time that has elapsed in identifying the positive result and the fact that we are still awaiting further testing, we need to take these precautionary measures.

As I have noted earlier, we are in communication with County and State Health Officials, the State Department of Education, and the Governor’s Office. Our Yorktown Supervisor Matthew Slater has been extremely helpful in making necessary emergency contacts as we seek immediate action.

We appreciate the cooperation and support of our community as we try and work through this. Should the new tests come back negative, we could reopen shortly. Should the new tests be positive, we may be looking at an extended closing. These decisions will ultimately be made with direction from Westchester County and State Health Departments.

Regardless, keep washing your hands and face, avoid others with flu-like symptoms, and if you are experiencing symptoms please seek medical assistance.

We will continue to keep you updated as new information arises.

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 10, 2020
Out of an abundance of caution, all Lakeland Schools will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. While we do not have a confirmed case in our district (student or staff), we have been advised to close because of a direct connection. While we are closed tomorrow, we will be scrubbing and sanitizing all buildings and all buses. Hopefully, we will be able to reopen shortly. I will provide more details as I have them tomorrow.
George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 10, 2020
From the Superintendent:  COVID-19 Lakeland Updates

In a meeting yesterday with the County Executive, we learned that the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and NY State Department of Education (NYSED) would issue guidelines for school districts. The County Health Department would assist and make recommendations, but official guidance would come from the State. Later in the day, we learned the following:

If we have a confirmed case of COVID-19, the school will be required to close for an initial 24 hour period, to begin an investigation to determine the contacts that person may have had in the school. The investigation will determine any further closing or quarantines recommended by the local health department. During that initial 24 hour period, the school will clean and disinfect the building. Again the closure is required one day but maybe longer if the County recommends, and the State agrees.

Currently, we have members of the school community who have been tested, but as of this morning, we still have no confirmed cases. If and when we do have a confirmed case, that school community will be notified through all means necessary, including an all-call to inform of the initial closure.

We understand that emergency closures are a major disruption to working families, but we want you to know these closures will be required by the State, and we will, of course, comply, clean and disinfect.

I have been asked about the cleaning of buses. We have been scrubbing buses a number of times each week. With the new disinfecting machines arriving, we will be able to disinfect the entire fleet every day in a matter of a few hours.

If a student or staff member comes to school and is exhibiting flu-like symptoms or becomes ill during the school day, they will be isolated and sent home as soon as a contact person arrives. The County and State Health Departments will be notified for follow up and testing.

We appreciate the cooperation of our school community and how members have contacted us for voluntary quarantine and management of their condition. I also want to give a major deal of gratitude to our District Physician, Head Nurse, and nurses in all buildings for their hard work, professionalism, and commitment to our health and safety. We are blessed to have such amazing people, and they have been in contact around the clock every day.

I now have daily morning briefings from the County, and I will continue to keep you updated as I receive additional information. Thank you, and have a great day.

Dr. George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 9, 2020
Please disregard any rumors you are hearing or reading regarding the COVID-19/ coronavirus at Walter Panas High School this morning (March 9). They are false. Any updates will come directly from the school or district. Thank you.


Posted March 9, 2020
Superintendent Dr. Stone: Update COVID-19 

Lakeland Community:
 
I know everyone is hoping for a perfect answer to the growing concerns about the , and unfortunately, there is not. With all situations we face and decisions that need to be made, we continue to place the health and safety of everyone as our number one priority, balanced with a common sense approach that won’t force us to act or react out of fear of the unknown. While COVID-19 is a serious public health threat, I listened to a panel of virus experts most of the day Sunday that indicated this may affect our public in very much the same way as other strains of influenza, and we should do our best to remain calm.
 
I am in constant communication daily with our Head Nurse, our District Physician, our Director of Facilities, our regional superintendents, the local and state health departments, State Education and the Governor’s representatives. Friday, I had two conferences, yesterday another conference was held, and this morning I am attending another conference with county and state officials.

Decisions to be made regarding the testing or quarantine of students and their family members continues to be guided by the county and state health departments. Should positive test cases arise and we are advised to close, the health departments will assess the risks and determine whether we should close just an individual school site or the entire district. All of these recommendations are based upon their guidelines for the spread of this infection, and the proximity between exposures.
 
I have been asked about cleaning and sanitizing. Our facilities staff have been directed to clean and sanitize all areas daily and on weekends. As you can imagine, cleaning supplies are being ordered repeatedly to help ensure supply, and we have purchased large sanitizing machines that can do all areas of the schools very quickly using the best, most state of the art cleaning products available. With all of that being implemented, it won’t stop direct close contact between individuals, and as we have seen in other areas, the need to close may still arise. Whether we are to remain closed for an extended quarantine period, or only a few days for cleaning and sanitizing, those decisions again, will be guided by the health departments and our District Physician.
 
Should we be forced to close, our curriculum, instruction, and technology departments have been working with teachers to establish communication between the home and school. While we will not be able to provide daily lesson plans for every class, teachers will be able to provide general objectives or assignments, challenge problems, and direct students to practice and enrichment websites. I know parents of students with special needs are particularly concerned, and here again, staff will be in communication as well.
 
As you have seen we are selectively postponing large group events. The reason we have not postponed all events is to allow small groups such as teams practicing, or clubs that may want to meet to continue for the time being. Spending some time with friends or a small group may help reduce the anxiety, stress or fear that our young people are most likely experiencing. Hopefully, we can help them to understand that this is another influenza that one day shall pass and we will all return to normalcy.
 
Please know we are monitoring questions, concerns, and situations continually every day. As we get new information, you will get new information. Once again, I urge everyone to try and remain calm. These complicated matters require all of us to work collectively, and as I have come to learn over the years, the Lakeland community will pull together in tough times, offer help in any way necessary, and get through this together.
 
George Stone, Superintendent
 

Posted March 8, 2020
Tomorrow, Monday, March 9, 2020, we will provide the school community with updated information on COVID-19/Coronavirus. We clean and sanitize our schools daily. We have no confirmed cases and will be open tomorrow. Our updates will be informational in nature.


Posted March 6, 2020
Rumors are circulating about a Coronavirus case in Lakeland Central School District. These are false. There is no confirmed cases in our District and no students have been quarantined.

George Stone, Superintendent


Posted March 2, 2020
Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Guidance and Resources 
A new coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus had not been found in humans before. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and new cases being diagnosed in a number of countries including the United States. 

What do we know? 
Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so that we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. Based on current information the CDC recommends avoiding travel to China. Updated travel information related to 2019-nCoV can be found at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china 

How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread? 
Health experts believe the virus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person to person. It’s not clear yet how easily the virus spreads from person-to-person. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) is not currently a concern for the general public and is not actively circulating among New Yorkers at this time. Therefore, there is no need to cancel school or social events, and there is no need for students or school staff to wear surgical masks at school. 

Prevention 
There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • CDC recommends that travelers avoid all travel to China.
Symptoms 
Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. 

Are visitors from China being screened? 
Yes, as of February 2nd new screening protocols are conducted for individuals entering the US from China at designated airports. PreK-12 schools may have students who attend school and have traveled to various areas in Asia, including China. Students should not be excluded from school or any school activities based on race, country of origin, or recent travel (or a family member’s recent travel), including to any part of China. Schools may only exclude a student if a local health department informs the school that a student must comply with a quarantine order or the student is symptomatic of a communicable or infectious disease pursuant to Education Law §906. 

Important Health Information for Those Who Have Recently Traveled to Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and Experience Symptoms 

If you recently traveled to Wuhan, China and feel sick with fever, cough or trouble breathing; OR you develop symptoms within 14 days of traveling there, you should: 

  • Seek medical care right away. Call ahead and tell them about your travel and symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Stay home, except for seeking medical care.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Contact your local health department.
This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation. For questions please contact your local department of health or the NYS DOH Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065. 

We encourage you to keep up to date about 2019-nCoV, its treatment and prevention by visiting the following websites: 

Additional Resources

NASP Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource

CDC’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website at https://www.cdc.gov/nCoV

NYSDOH’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/ 

NYSDOH directory of local health departments  https://www.health.ny.gov/contact/contact_information/

Posted February 28, 2020
Lakeland Schools COVID-19 Virus Update

We are all trying to learn as much as we can about the Covit 19/ Corona virus outbreak and its potential impact on our school and family lives.
 
We will be providing weekly updates on what we are learning from the Department of Health, Department of Mental Health, the CDC and other authorities.
 
Yesterday we participated in a webinar sponsored by the Department of Health for a formal briefing. The Department of Health describes the current status of the Covit 19/ Corona virus outbreak as in a person to person transmission status where the focus is on containment. This focus means health officials are working to detect, track, and isolate cases.
 
The webinar also focused on the impact of the outbreak on the healthcare system and its capacity to address the crisis should the spread of the disease change from a person to person transmission to a community wide transmission. The experts on the webinar emphasized that this is a dynamic situation with the CDC issuing updates multiple times a day.
 
As with SARS, MRSA and H1N1 outbreaks, all decisions regarding public health will be made by the Department of Health, guided by the CDC. The clear advice from health officials is a firm recommendation that if you feel sick, stay home.
 
These links below are recommended for the latest updates.
 
CDC
 
NY Department of Health
All of us are being bombarded in our various news feeds with stories, advice and commentary on the seriousness of this Covit 19/ Corona virus outbreak. I found the following advice issued by NPR a few days ago to be a very helpful, plain language set of recommendations for people and their families as we enter the next couple of weeks.
 
Area School Districts
Yesterday at a meeting of area school superintendents the potential impacts of this outbreak on our schools and programs were discussed. School field trips, large group gatherings and the delivery of instruction may possibly be impacted in the future. Those decisions will be guided by the Department of Health.
 
Our Buildings
A month ago we aggressively stepped up our cleaning procedures in an attempt to contain the spread of the flu. These efforts obviously will continue. We are also grateful for the great work our nurses are doing with children and their families during this challenging time.
 
Our next update will be next week.
 
Dr. George Stone,
Superintendent

Posted February 27, 2020
Concerns Over Viral Illnesses Circulating Throughout the World

We know there are concerns over the many viral illnesses circulating throughout the world. While influenza continues to be the most prevalent viral illness locally, the fears of the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are certainly understandable.  

At this time, there are no confirmed cases in the region. However, the district has communication with our District’s Medical Director, the Westchester and Putnam County Departments of Health, and the New York State Department of Health to ensure that we have the latest information and guidance on illnesses that could potentially affect our schools. We strictly follow the guidance that each entity provides to us so that we may create the safest and healthiest environment possible for our students.     

As a school district, we have taken some of the most proactive and thorough measures to combat the flu and other viral illnesses. These measures are proactively enacted each year around the beginning of the influenza season in our district to minimize the impact of the flu and other viral illnesses on our school community. 

Recently, the district purchased high-tech disinfecting machines to helps us disinfect in all areas of the school buildings.

  • All of our classrooms, offices, large-group spaces, the nurse’s office, and bathrooms of our schools are disinfected nightly. We will continue to do this.
  • Student daily attendance is being monitored, by homeroom and school, to determine if additional disinfection resources need to be deployed.

After a rise in absences in early February, across all of our schools, our attendance data have returned to more modest and normal levels.   

We are pleased to be able to provide this most stringent disinfection schedule to our students and staff in a safe and cost-effective manner; however, the effectiveness of our efforts is maximized when we have full cooperation from our parent community. 

We ask that if your child is ill with a fever and/or cough, the child stays out of school. The child should remain home until fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.  

We want to remind our school community about the importance of thorough hand washing with soap and water.  They universally agreed that thorough hand washing was the most effective step to curtail the spread of viral illnesses. 

Always know that the health and safety of our students and staff is and will always be our highest priority. We will continue to provide the most comprehensive cleaning and disinfection schedule, and we will promptly communicate any additional relevant information that we learn.

Resources
NYS Department of Health-https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/ 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Lakeland Central School District Website - Health Updates and Notices  (Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Guidance and Resources)-http://www.lakelandschools.org/district/health_and_safety/health_updates_and_notices.php