April 19 2024

District Update Banner

Good morning,

To kick off Earth Week, which is coming up next week, New York Urban Orchards (NYUO) partnered with our district as part of the Farm to School Program to plant nine apple trees at Schenectady High School Friday morning. Dr. Cotto, High School Principal Dennis Green, Mayor McCarthy, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, City Council President Marion Porterfield, and several students joined Jake Samascott, NYUO Board President, for an exciting morning planting an apple orchard at the Schenectady High School library courtyard. Students will continue to learn about urban orchards and the importance of local agriculture as part of our food system.

We are grateful to Urban Orchards and all of our partners who joined us yesterday morning for this exciting event. NYUO will help to maintain the apple orchard and are providing educational signage on site about the historical, cultural and environmental significance that apple trees play in Schenectady and across New York State. There are a variety of planting and Earth Day events taking place across our district. We appreciate all of our community partners who help make this happen.

Photo:  Tree Planing event at Schenectady High School

Photo:  Apple Planting event at Schenectady High School

Tree Planting at SHS

Photo:  Tree planting at SHS

Photo:  Tree Planting at SHS

Photo:  Tree planting at SHS

Photo:  Tree planting at SHS

Photo:  Tree planting at SHS

Photo:  Tree planting at SHS

Congratulations to the Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation which was awarded the "Good News Award" by the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon this week. Dr. Cotto and others from the district were in attendance to celebrate with the foundation. We appreciate everything the SCSD Educational Foundation does to support our students and teachers. This is a well-deserved award.

Photo:  Chamber Award

Photo:  Chamber Award

Dr. Cotto's Meetings
In addition to the many events that Dr. Cotto attended this week, as you will see below, he continued his meetings with school leaders and central office departments. He met with Dr. Jean-Pierre at Paige Elementary School on Tuesday and the teams in the business office and innovation and technology on Thursday. Next week he has several meetings scheduled including with the principals at Pleasant Valley, Mont Pleasant, King, Keane, Lincoln, Woodlawn, City as Our Campus, and Schenectady High School. He is also scheduled to meet with staff members from operations and maintenance and has a meeting scheduled with custodians. Again, Dr. Cotto is holding these meetings to listen and learn what is going well, where we need to improve, and how he can best support each school and area. He continues meeting with our community partners as well. Dr. Cotto will also be meeting with Dr. Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady, mid-week.

Golf Course Open
Last week Dr. Cotto had the pleasure of joining Mayor McCarthy and members of the Schenectady City Council for the seasonal opening of the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. He was joined by Brian Ledbetter and a Schenectady High School student golfer.

Photo:  Muni golf opening

SHS Prom Shop and Runway Show
Last Saturday students were looking sharp at the "Prom Shop and Runway Show" presented by the Schenectady High School Parent Empowerment Center.

Photo:  Runway Show aat SHS

Photo:  Runway Show at SHS

Photo:  Runway Show at SHS

Photo:  Runway Show at SHS

Photo:  Runway Show at SHS

Photo:  Runway Show at SHS

MBK at Conference
Dr. Cotto stopped into the Community Schools Workshop which was part of the 2024 Empower Youth Success Conference held in Troy this week. The purpose of this event is to help strengthen community school practice, to network with others, and to increase the visibility of community schools. Members of our district's "My Brother's Keeper (MBK)" were in attendance at this youth conference.

Photo:  Empower Youth Success Conference

Photo:  Empower Youth Success Conference

SeaPerch Competition
Three teams from the 21st Century Program at Mont Pleasant Middle School competed in the Seaperch Competition last Saturday at Union College. Dr. Cotto was there to cheer them on. SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program that involves a remotely operated vehicle. It introduces students to engineering, design, and science concepts. It's a fun, hands-on project that promotes inquiry-based learning and real-world applications. Mont Pleasant students worked with Union College mentors to build their underwater robots which they have been working on for several months in preparation for the contest. The contest includes various challenges and an obstacle course.

Photo:  SeaPerch Competition

Photo:  SeaPerch Competition

Photo:  SeaPerch Competition

Photo:  SeaPerch Competition

Business Leadership Community Visits MetLife
On Tuesday, April 16, the Schenectady High School's Business Leadership Community visited Metlife Stadium. Thirty-three Schenectady High School students participated in the Jets Sports Business Day in New Jersey. The students had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn about the business of sports off the field.

Photo:  High School student field trip

Photo:  High school student field trip

Photo:  High School Student Field Trip

Photo:  High School Student Field Trip

Student Voice Leads to New School Lunch Food Choices
We have exciting news regarding school lunch food choices. Two cultural menu items suggested by students will be added to the May menu. On May 17 and 24, look for new items Chicken Shawarma Wrap and Curry Apple Chicken. Students spoke and we listened. Every student at King Elementary School was asked what foods they enjoy at home and would like to be able to have in school. The results were shared with food services who in turn asked that families share their recipes. We now have new menu items.

Letter to Seniors and Their Parents from Governor Hochul
The New York State Education Department recently passed along a letter from Governor Hochul and requested that we pass it along to high school seniors and their parents. The letter encourages high school seniors to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive financial assistance as they consider options for college. You need to complete the FAFSA form to apply for federal student aid such as federal grants, work-study funds, and loans. Completing and submitting the FAFSA form is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to federal student aid—the largest source of aid— to help you pay for college or career/trade school.You can find the letter, with translated options here.

Board of Education Meeting/Budget
The next Board of Education meeting is Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 p.m. in the Mont Pleasant Middle School Schenectady Room. The meeting will also be live-streamed. Mr. Gillooley will present a final draft of the budget for the board to consider for adoption. The budget hearing is scheduled for May 8.

Parent DEI Survey and Focus Groups
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Survey is open through May 1. The link was emailed to parents, guardians, and caregivers. Please click here to let us know, if you are a district parent and did not receive the email.

Focus groups will begin in May. The schedule and sign-up information is here. The password has also been emailed to parents.

You can learn more and get answers to frequently asked questions here.

Schenectady Promise
On May 1, 2024, SUNY Schenectady, in collaboration with Schenectady High School, Ellis Medicine, and Schenectady Connects will be hosting the "Schenectady Promise" event. We will be hosting a special event for seniors in the afternoon at school and an event for parents and family members in the evening at 6 p.m.

As part of of the "Schenectady Promise," SUNY Schenectady is offering all graduating Class of 2024 Seniors automatic acceptance to SUNY Schenectady Community College. This ensures that all our students have a clear pathway to higher education.

During these events on May 1, SUNY Schenectady advisors will be available to assist students and their family members with the journey forward. Financial aid representatives will be on hand to guide you through the college financial assistance process. Ellis Medicine and Schenectady Connects will be on hand to offer support with resume writing, interviewing skills and other essential tools for employment readiness.

What is even more exciting is that there are college and career opportunities and possibilities, not only for our graduating seniors but also for you - parents and family members. Whether you are interested in attending college, looking to enhance your resume, or looking for a job, the tools, resources and services are here and available to you. Please stop by on May 1 at 6 p.m.

Schenectady Promise Flyer

Schenectady Promise


My Brothers Keeper (MBK) Community Symposium
April 20, 9:15 a.m.
Schenectady High School

Third Quarter Marking Period Ends
April 22

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.

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

Summer Enrichment Program
Registration for the 2024 Summer Enrichment Program is closed. If you would like to add your child to the waitlist, please click here.

Parents of 8th Graders
GEAR Up events

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.

IB Art Exhibit

College Fair

The Prom Shop

Sketch Comedy


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