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Message from the Superintendent

October 2, 2020

Dear TUFSD Families and Staff:

This week our district faced some challenges as we were forced to shift Morse and Washington Irving Schools to three days of all remote learning. While not unexpected - all districts have been planning for potential temporary closures - it is a reminder that we must remain vigilant in our safety protocols. At the same time, I am very appreciative of our teachers, administrators, and families who quickly adapted to the situation and ensured that our students continued learning.

Also of note this week was that members of our Board of Education, administration, faculty, staff, and community participated in an Equity Team meeting to flesh out recommendations in the identified areas of focus which include: curriculum, professional development, hiring practices and the development of student equity leaders. This effort is a top priority for our district and the members of the team look forward to presenting its recommendations to the Board of Education at their meeting on October 22.

Following are updates for this week:

Schedule for Week of October 5: Hybrid in-person learning continues in all buildings next week with Cohort A in school on Monday and Tuesday and Cohort B in school on Thursday and Friday. All students participate in remote learning on Wednesday. Please refer to this updated instructional calendar as a reference for the next few weeks of school. The cohort and remote days can also be found in the 2020-2021 District Calendar.

Surveys on Remote and Hybrid Learning:  This week we surveyed faculty for their early feedback on what has been successful, where the district can improve and any unmet needs they may have. We are also eager to survey parents to obtain feedback on their experience to date with remote and hybrid learning. We encourage all parents to complete the survey, which can be accessed here, by Wednesday, October 7. 

Federal Funding for Public Schools: This week, I participated in a press conference with County Executive George Latimer, State Senator Pete Harckham and other local superintendents to urge Congress to pass the federal stimulus package known as the Heroes Act. In the TUFSD alone, we have incurred more than $600,000 in pandemic reentry costs while at the same time Governor Cuomo has repeatedly stated that without financial support from the federal government, this year’s budgeted State Aid to schools would need to be cut by as much as 20%. This would have a significant negative impact upon our students and programs. I urge you to have your voice heard on this critical issue.

Please contact our representatives in Congress to tell them that Washington must deliver more financial assistance to ensure that New York State can continue to support public education and numerous other essential services within our community.  One way to do this is by simply clicking on the link below to send an email using the Westchester/Putnam School Boards Association’s Voter Voice:  

https://www.wpsba.org/domain/57

In addition, you can also make a phone call to their offices at the numbers listed below:

Congresswoman Nita Lowey: (914) 428-1707

Senator Charles Schumer: (518) 431-4070

Senator Kristen Gillibrand (518) 431-0120

Ongoing Communications:  In response to the community’s interest that the district increase its frequency of communications, we will be introducing Horseman Happenings, our monthly online newsletter. This newsletter will be issued during the months when the quarterly printed newsletter is not produced. We are currently looking at ways to maximize distribution of the online newsletter to reach all members of the Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown communities. 

Meals Update: On Tuesdays and Fridays we will have meal distribution from 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM for hybrid students that are leaving campus and from 3:45 PM - 4:30 PM for students that are learning remotely. The pickup locations will be at WL Morse, Washington Irving and Sleepy Hollow Middle School. Any student can pick up meals at any of those locations regardless of which school they are enrolled in. On Tuesdays, students will receive 3 days worth of meals and on Fridays, students will get 2 days worth of meals. The USDA has provided funding so that all students 18 and younger are eligible for free breakfast and lunch. These meals will be provided at no cost to any family. Students however, must bring their meal card everyday to access the meal service.

Safety for Walkers and Bikers: To encourage more children to safely walk or bike to school, the district has developed this Safe Crossings graphic which highlights safe places for children to cross the street and provides some helpful tips and reminders to ensure their safety.  This is also available on our website and shared on our social media platforms. For those who have children riding the bus, we want to remind parents and caregivers to remain at the bus stops until children have had their temperatures taken. Students must have a bus pass to ride the bus.

Health and Safety:  Please remember to complete the daily attestation survey every day that your child attends school.  I have also included a link to the COVID-19 Daily Health and Safety Checklist for your reference. Please do your part to keep us all safe and healthy by following these daily procedures.  

Please remember to view our website and social media channels for additional information about district programs and student accomplishments. I wish all of you a healthy and restorative weekend.

Sincerely, 

Chris Borsari

Superintendent