April 12 2024

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Good afternoon,

Welcome back! We hope you had a great recess and that your first week back was a great one.

We will start with updates from The Board of Education meeting held Wednesday, April 10. At Wednesday's meeting, Mr. Gillooley presented a 2024-2025 Budget update. Since the New York State Budget has not been finalized yet and the deadline has been extended, there is no change to projected revenue. As things stand now, next year's budget will include all current programs and staffing levels and there will again be no increase to the tax levy. The presentation is online here. The board will review and consider adoption of the budget proposal at the April 24 meeting. A budget hearing is scheduled for May 8 and the Budget vote will take place on May 21. Budget presentations, documents, and updates will continue to be posted online here.

Thank you to the Schenectady High School Leadership Team who provided a thorough presentation on the Schenectady High School Redesign and Leadership Communities. There are exciting things happening with many opportunities for students. You can take a look at the presentation here.

It is also important for all in our school community to be aware of the updated student Chromebook policy, adopted by the Board of Education Wednesday. This policy, #8272, addresses student Chromebook use, damage, replacement and more. Please take a look at the policy here.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 p.m. in the Mont Pleasant Middle School Schenectady Room. The agenda will be posted on Boarddocs. The meeting will also be live-streamed.

SCSD Educational Foundation Gala
Last night Dr. Cotto had the great honor of speaking at the Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation gala held in the GE Theatre at Proctors. We are extremely grateful to the foundation for their ongoing support of teachers and students in our district. The SCSD Educational Foundation has provided grant funding for more than 350 educational projects and learning opportunities, totaling more than $67,000. The foundation has also provided funding and support in other ways such as donating to the Weekend Backpack Program and providing gift cards to teachers last year. The gala is a special event that is held each year to celebrate education and the achievements of Schenectady City School District students and teachers. A huge shout out and thank you to Laura Macey and the Steinmetz Career and Leadership Academy (SCLA) culinary students who catered the event.

Dr. Cotto speaking at the SCSD Education Foundation gala

Dr. Cotto speaking at the SCSD Educational Foundation gala

Dr. Cottos with the Culinary Students following the SCSD Education Foundation gala

Dr. Cotto with the SCLA culinary students

Congratulations to Brian Ledbetter, project director of My Brother Keeper (MBK) in Schenectady schools, and the MBK team who was awarded the Community Partner Award. Also congratulations to Colleen Keough, the SCSD 2024 Teacher of the Year, who was also recognized and celebrated.

Dr. Cottos with the MBK Team at the SCSD Educational Foundation gala

My Brothers Keeper (MBK) was presented with the
Community Partner award at the Educational Foundation gala.

Dr. Cotto, Colleen Keough, and Joe DiCaprio at the Educational Foundation gala

Dr. Cotto, Teacher of the Year Colleen Keough,
and Joe DiCaprio at the Educational Foundation gala.

This was a fantastic event and we are extremely grateful. You can learn more about the SCSD Educational Foundation here.

Last week, Dr. Cotto attended a few exciting events at SUNY Schenectady. He was honored to be invited as SUNY Schenectady President Dr. Steady Moono's honored guest for an exciting and fun-filled event that showcased the many talents of SUNY Schenectady students one of whom was Emely Davila, a 2023 graduate of Schenectady High School.

Dr. Cotto also attended an exciting event launching a new program that will be located in the former YMCA building downtown. In the fall, SUNY Schenectady will introduce a new ART concentration that will help students develop connections with local art and civic organizations. It's an exciting new concentration with a clear transfer path to a four-year degree for those who wish to pursue one.

Dr. Cotto continued his meetings with district and school leaders and central office departments. Over the recess, he met with Mr. O'Connor at Zoller Elementary School and Mr. Farina at Oneida Middle School. Throughout this week, Dr. Cotto held several more listening meetings with principals and central office departments. He met with the human resources team, the communications team, the clerks of the board of education, and school leaders Karmen McEvoy (Central Park Middle School) and Chad Sitts (Howe Elementary School). The purpose of these meetings is to hear how things are going and for Dr. Cotto to learn how he can support the departments and the schools to be the best they can be. These meetings will continue next week when Dr. Cotto heads to Paige to meet with Dr. Jean-Pierre and the business office, technology, and restorative practice teams.

Howe Girls on the Run
After his meeting with Principal Sitts at Howe, Dr. Cotto had a wonderful time meeting the members of "Girls on the Run."

Dr. Cotto with Girls on the Run at Howe

Photo from event at SUNY Schenectady

Dr. Cotto at the SUNY Schenectady Art Showcase

Photo of Dr. Cotto and Members of the Buildings and Grounds team

Dr. Cotto at a recent meeting with members of the building and grounds team

Thank you to everyone who helped make STEAM Camp a great experience for our students over the break. Dr. Cotto had a great time visiting the camp sites and chatting with students. Everyone was enjoying camp and loved posing with Dr Cotto for the camera.

Photo from STEAM Program

Photo from STEAM Program

Photo from STEAM program

Photo from STEAM Program

Great News shared by SUNY Schenectady: Congratulations to Parmesh Thakoordial, a 2023 Schenectady High School graduate, who was recognized yesterday with the 2024 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence. Parmesh is a member of the Smart Transfer Program SUNY Schenectady Early College High School. He graduated from SUNY Schenectady in August 2023 with an Associate degree in Science, while maintaining a 3.98 GPA. He was one of only 20 college students from across the country named to the All-USA Academic Team and was the only student from New York on the team. Parmesh is working to become a physician and scientist. He's on his way as a first-year honors student at the University at Albany, SUNY pursuing two bachelor's degrees.

Making Us Proud
Prior to the recess, News10 shared a story about Beck Dodd, a Schenectady High School student who saved the life of a choking senior citizen at the Niskayuna Senior Center. Beck was presented with a resolution honoring his heroic actions. We are proud of Beck. It's a great story. Click here for the News10 story.

Learn to Swim Wrap-Up
We are pleased to shared that the 3rd grade swim session for the school year have wrapped up. 621 third graders from all eleven elementary schools participated in "learn to swim" instruction as part of our physical education program. Thank you to faculty and staff, the office of teaching and learning, and a special thanks to Coach Brian Melanson and our high school swim team members who played an important role in supporting this effort. Swimming is a life skill and all students should have the opportunity to reach a level of proficiency and enjoyment. This initiative is aligned with our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policy.

Photo of Parmesh Thakoordial

Photo of Beck Dodd

Photo of Swimmers

Photo of swimmers

Photo from swimming

Looking for the 86 Men /Plaque Dedication
Thank you to Mr. Balogh, an 8th grade social studies teacher at Mont Pleasant Middle School, who initiated the effort to locate the 86 Mont Pleasant High School graduates who died while serving in World War II. Daily Gazette columnist Andrew Waite wrote about these efforts. He highlighted Mr. Balogh's passion and initiative and shared how this came to be. We are hoping to reach the community in an effort to locate relatives and friends of those who died. You can read Mr. Waite's piece, printed Thursday, here.

If you are a family member or know how we can contact family members, please contact Steve Balogh at baloghs@schenectadyschools.org.org.

The list of Mont Pleasant graduates who died in service is here.

The district is planning a plaque rededication in honor of these 86 men who lost their lives.

The original plaque once hung in the Mont Pleasant High School hallway. The plaque was removed from the wall and placed in storage during one of the district Capital Projects at Mont Pleasant.

A ceremony, and plaque rededication will take place on May 31, 2024.

We would very much like to invite family members of these men, and their guests, to attend the ceremony. Please look over the list of names and ask around, so that we can extend an invitation. We are also seeking photos of these in men in uniform to use for a display during the ceremony.

Photo of Plaque of MPHS grads who died serving in WW II

Thank you Paraprofessionals
In case you missed it, last week was paraprofessional appreciation day. Here is a video that was shared to express gratitude to our paras. Thank you for all that you do.


APRIL 16 AND 17: NYS ELA Testing Grades 5

APRIL 22: Third Quarter Ends

Parent Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Survey and Focus Groups
The DEI Survey and focus group schedule and password has been emailed to all parents. If you did not receive the email, please click here and we will make sure you get the link. More information about these assessments and the schedule and sign up for focus groups is available here.

Parents of 8th Graders
GEAR Up events

  • Virtual Workshop for 8th grade parents to support transition to high school.
    April 17, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

  • This summer we will be holding a Freshman Experience Summer Transitional Program for incoming freshmen. We will also be hosting a "Throwback" Family Kick-off event to welcome families. Please complete this information form which will help us plan for our freshmen event. It will only take a minutes or two to complete. Click here.

2024-2025 Pre-K
We are still accepting 2024-2025 Pre-K Lottery Applications for 3 and 4 Year Olds.
Deadline is April 26, 2024. More here.

Summer Enrichment Program Registration Closing
Today is the final day to register for the 2024 Summer Enrichment Program. More here.

Shades of Sisterhood
Girls in middle school and high school are invited to the the Shades of Sisterhood launch on April 27, 12 - 3 p.m. in the Schenectady High School Auditorium. Please RSVP to shadesofsisterhood24@gmail.com


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