Red Hook CSD News

Information for Our School Community - Fall 2022/Winter 2023

Message from the Superintendent

It is hard to believe that December is here already. We have had so many wonderful events and accomplishments in the first three months of this school year! Please enjoy this issue of our newsletter to learn more about them. Administrators, faculty, staff and students in each of our schools are focusing on what it means to be a Raider using the attributes embedded in our Raider Profile.

We are integrating those attributes in our classroom experiences, instruction and assessments. Our administrative team is focused on coherence in our grade Pre-K - 12 classrooms. Coherence is a collective understanding of the nature and purpose of our work. We have a focused direction while cultivating collaborative cultures to foster innovation. We continue to be a future focused district, and I could not be prouder of the evidence I see everywhere supporting that statement.

Janet Warden

Superintendent of Schools

Welcome New Staff for the 2022-23 School Year

The following individuals are recent additions/status changes to the RHCSD team for the 2022-23 school year. Welcome to our Raider Family!

Nicole Pastre, Mill Road Primary - Special Education Teacher

Ryan Bannen, Red Hook High School - Theater Consultant

Danielle Brescia, Red Hook High School - Theater Consultant

Bridget Millett, Mill Road Primary - Occupational Therapy Assistant

Mary Shannon, Red Hook High School - English Teacher

Christina DiNota, Linden Avenue Middle School - School Counselor

Skylar Galioto, Linden Avenue Middle School - Contract Sub English Teacher

James Cantatore, Red Hook High School - Special Education Teacher

Caroline Milles, Linden Avenue Middle School - Teaching Assistant

Nicole Smaldone, Linden Avenue Middle School - Teaching Assistant

Christine Sepesi, Mill Road Primary School - Teaching Assistant

Jennifer Gundel, Mill Road Intermediate School - Teaching Assistant

Megan Webster, Mill Road Primary School - Teaching Assistant

Trudy Cirrincione, Linden Avenue Middle School - Teaching Assistant

Leslie Quijada, Mill Road Primary School - School Psychologist

Veronica Freyvert, Mill Road Intermediate School - Grade 3 Teacher

Arianna Feliciano, Mill Road Intermediate School - Grade 5 Teacher

John La Bella, Linden Avenue Middle School - PE Teacher

Benjamin Bardenett, Red Hook High School - Instrumental Music Teacher

Julianna Loussedes, Linden Avenue Middle School - Math Teacher

Andrew Strawinski, Linden Avenue Middle School - Social Studies Teacher

Allison Budd, Mill Road Primary School - Music Teacher

Michael Amador, Linden Avenue Middle School - Science Teacher

Elizabeth Lowney, Linden Avenue Middle School - Spanish Teacher

Colleen Lynch, Red Hook High School, Assistant Principal

Amanda Cassata, Mill Road Primary School - Speech Language Pathologist

Kevin Cayea, Red Hook High School - English Teacher

Brendan Fix, Red Hook High School - English Teacher

Taylor Felicello, Linden Avenue Middle School - PE Teacher

Vincent Scaffidi, Transportation Department - Bus Driver

Diana Vida, Transportation Department - Bus Driver

Christopher Yearwood, Transportation Department - Bus Driver

Robert Belcher, Transportation Department - Bus Driver

Glenn Eighmey, Transportation Department - Head Auto Mechanic

Betty Jo Shook, Transportation Department - Bus Monitor

Robin Mallory, Transportation Department - Bus Monitor

Emma Rajczi, Mill Road Elementary - Food Services Department

Patricia Sackett, Mill Road Elementary - Food Services Department

Teresa Seymour, Red Hook High School - Food Services Department

Ryan McEnroe, Mill Road Elementary - Food Services Department

Jordan Ball, Mill Road Primary - Teacher Aide

Katherine McArthur, Red Hook High School - Teacher Aide

Kelli Perry, Red Hook High School - Teacher Aide

Amanda LaFratta, Mill Road Primary - Teacher Aide

Important District-Wide Events for December 2022/January 2023

Please refer to the newsletters/communications sent by your student's building principal for specific activities at each school!

12/14/22 - Board of Education Committee Meetings, 6:15 pm. Board of Education Meeting 7 pm. Mill Road Primary PK-2 Cafeteria.

12/23/22 - Half-day for all schools.

12/26/22 - 1/2/23 - Winter Recess. Schools are closed.

1/3/23 - Classes resume!

1/10/23 - PTA State of the Schools presentation, 7 pm.

1/13/23 - Half day for Mill Road Elementary ONLY (Primary and Intermediate schools).

1/16/23 - Schools and offices closed in observance of Martin Luther King Day.

1/18/23 - Board of Education Committee Meetings, 6:15 pm. Board of Education Meeting 7 pm. Mill Road Primary PK-2 Cafeteria.

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NYSSMA Festival Hosted at RHHS Performing Arts Center

The Red Hook Central School District Music Department hosted the 2022 NYSSMA Zone 10 Area All-State at Red Hook High School on November 18 - 19. Close to 300 high achieving student musicians from 23 school districts located in Dutchess, Columbia, and Putnam counties were selected from a large pool of applicants to participate in one of four honors ensembles created for this annual event. Red Hook students accounted for 19 of the total participants selected based on NYSSMA solo evaluations and teacher recommendations.

Following months of preparation, students arrived on November 18 and participated in at least 10 hours of rehearsal over the course of two days under the direction of four distinguished conductors from around the Northeast. Students participating in the String Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Mixed Chorus, and Treble Chorus all enjoyed tackling challenging collegiate repertoire arrangements and the opportunity to socialize with peers from other school districts. Rehearsals culminated in two concerts on Saturday afternoon attended by more than 600 people who got to experience the high-caliber music making in the state-of-the-art performing arts facility located at the high school.

“This event is always cause for celebration. It’s absolutely one of the highlights of the academic year for us in the High School," said K-12 Music Department Coordinator and Area All-State General Chairperson Matt Funigiello. "This year was particularly meaningful for Red Hook as this was the first time we have hosted this important event. We were formerly unable to host Area-All State given our lack of a suitable performing arts space in our building."

“This was truly an incredible opportunity to share our wonderful facility with others from the Mid-Hudson Valley and there was undoubtably a considerable amount of excitement from people seeing the space for the first time. I think we can look forward to hosting many more performing arts events in the space in the not-so-distant future," he added.

For the second year in a row, the Red Hook Music Department is looking forward to hosting the Spring NYSSMA Zone 10 Solo Adjudication Festival on May 5 - 6, 2023 at the high school.

Thank you to all the participants and their guests, and especially to the faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication in making this event possible.

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News From Our Schools

Red Hook High School

As we begin the second quarter of the school year, teachers and students are truly starting to EMBRACE the new block schedule at the high school. The extended class time has inspired teachers to CREATE lesson plans that allow students the opportunity to COLLABORATE on multiple levels. Teachers have also found creative ways to utilize the new, modern classroom furniture to enhance learning outcomes.

Students can be found ENGAGED in small learning community discussions on the corner couches or gathered around a high-top table as they THINK critically to solve a problem as a team. Seniors can also be found working on their MacBooks in the senior lounge which is also equipped with new furniture. The lounge resembles common, working spaces on college campuses and students often opt to utilize that space during study hall.

Lastly, we are all working towards the district’s goal of weaving the Raider Profile into our daily practices. For example, we have a new positive referral form that reinforces the attributes of the profile and rewards students who exemplify any of the characteristics, such as EMPATHY. This is one way we can show students and families how much we CARE about the students we are so fortunate to work with daily.

Linden Avenue Middle School

We have made a number of exciting changes for the start of the 2022-2023 school year. We opened a new playground designed by students, targeted for ages 10-14. The outdoor equipment is a mixture of traditional playground elements and ninja warrior challenge pieces. Students have been enjoying the equipment daily. The outdoor classroom has been a worthwhile addition as well. Teachers can bring their classes outside for a change of pace while still accessing the school's wifi network. Clubs and afterschool activities have also made great use of the space.

We are embracing the Raider Profile in all we do at LAMS, including instructional design and student assessment. Our monthly student advisory, positive student referrals, and student of the month programs are based on the character traits of the Raider Profile. We feel it's important to recognize both student academic achievement as well as essential life skills and character development.

Our new block schedule offers time and a half in core subject areas and hour blocks for all creative arts and physical education classes. With this extra time, teachers can delve deeper into content and incorporate project-based learning opportunities. Students must be prepared for the future by connecting what they are learning in school to real life. Also, with the new schedule, all students have a structured study hall supervised by a core subject teacher at a time when all teachers are available for makeup work, reteaching, and catching up on assignments.

We made some major classroom moves this summer to maximize learning spaces. The library and media center is now on the first floor and at the center of the building's hub. The location provides easier access to library resources, before and after school and at lunchtime, for students.

Mill Road Intermediate School

Mill Road Elementary 3-5 have been involved in a variety of highly engaging learning experiences. Students participating in the Young Scholars Program learned about components of catapults and built their own "Pumpkin Chuckin" catapults which were then tested with Dr. Boyd launching candy corn pumpkins over a castle wall created in the library. This is just one example of the many activities and learning experiences focused on Raider Profile attributes of problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. Mill Road 3-5 just launched a new space to match this work in 3-5 STEAM Innovation Center (pictured below).

Mrs. Burud's third grade listed their own set of ways on how they meet the Raider Profile attributes. From classroom votes that focus on civic engagement to garden classes that identify new meaningful ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle, students have embraced the Raider Profile and how to be better school community citizens.

Classes are also learning about story arcs and students are writing their own personal narratives in ELA classes, working on bar models and fact fluency in mathematics and 4th graders engaged in Shakespeare Workshops. Creative opportunities in the arts have helped Mill Road students share their creative ideas and explore new ways to showcase talents on stage.

Each of our classes rehearsed patriotic songs for the building's Veterans Day celebration on November 9th. Classes researched the five branches of the government, made thank you cards, and created artwork to decorate the cafeteria for our local veterans. Vets were invited to a special celebration in the cafetorium where the students demonstrated appreciation for their service and celebrated the veterans by sharing refreshments, their artwork and projects, and singing patriotic songs. This year's event captured many of the profile attributes through the recognition of veterans and their civic engagement, research and celebration with music and artwork. Way to Go, Young Raiders!!!

Mill Road Primary School

Mill Road Primary students are learning about and embracing the Raider Profile attributes. This year, three classes are chosen each month to celebrate the Care, Empathy, Critical Thinking, Engagement, Create, Collaborate, and Embrace characteristics. Classes will define, investigate, and apply each attribute and their work will be displayed in the main lobby for all to see. We are excited to continue our work on future focused learning and fostering the qualities we possess as Red Hook Raiders!

At Mill Road Primary, we understand that all children learn differently and at different rates. We have reimagined our report card system to focus on our students’ growth and development over the course of their school year.

Instead of grades, our learners earn badges to recognize and celebrate their successes of learning new skills and concepts. Students earn badges at their own pace, based on their individual strengths, needs, and developmental levels. The Badge Book will provide parents (and students) with detailed descriptions of each badge skill, the criteria students must meet to earn the badge, and resources and activities you can use to help your child practice.

These Badge Books will be in lieu of our previous report card system. We are excited to implement this new assessment and grading system and hope that it will create more transparency with what students are expected to learn at every grade level and more opportunities for parents to partner with us as we support your child(ren)’s educational journey.

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1:1 MacBook Initiative for Grade 6 - 12 Students

At the start of the school year, the district's Technology Department provided every student in grades 6 through 12 with a MacBook Air laptop. The nearly 950 devices were purchased with funds provided to the school district by New York State through the Smart Schools Bond Act.

This ambitious project was months in the planning and preparation to insure a streamlined rollout! Beginning in the second week of September, laptops were issued to the senior class first followed by juniors, sophomore and freshmen in the following two weeks. Laptops were then issued to 8th, 7th and 6th graders in the first two weeks of October. Students will hold onto the laptop assigned to them until they move from 8th to 9th grade, graduate as seniors or leave the district. More than one student asked incredulously, "I get to keep this until then!?" when members of the Technology Department visited classes to manage the deployments.

Students are expected to make use of the MacBooks to support classroom instructional during the school day, to complete homework assignments, and to support club and after school activities. Faculty at both schools were excited to finally see all their students have access to the same device and software tools, and are eager to explore new ways to infuse the use of the devices into their instructional practices.

Safe Arrival for RHCSD Parents - A Streamlined Tool for Reporting Student Absences

SafeArrival is an online portal for parents to PRE-REPORT student absences. SafeArrival replaces having to submit handwritten notes or contact your child's school attendance clerk after an absence occurs. It is a one-stop method for you to report multiple day absences for your student(s) and report multiple students absent regardless of the building(s) they attend.

What do you need to access the system?

Parents/guardians who are identified as such in our student management system will need to create login credentials using the EMAIL address we have on file for them AND/OR the phone number we have listed for them. If you attempt to access the system using an email or phone number we do not have on file for you, the system will not allow you to proceed. In this case, you will need to contact us at 845-758-2241 ext 59501 and request that your contact information be updated.

What is the best way to access the SafeArrival system?

We recommend the use of the SchoolMessenger App (available as a free download for iOS phones from the Apple Apps store and for Android phones in the Google Play store) AND/OR the web portal for SchoolMessenger found at Look for the "Attendance" option in the menu bar when logged into either the app or the web portal. The system also works using the Toll Free number assigned to our district.

For more information about Safe Arrival, please visit our website at:

Music, Drama, More Music!

Please join us in the Performing Arts Center at Red Hook High School to enjoy our talented student musicians and actors at any one of these upcoming winter season events! (Look for additional details on our website and social media channels for the drama which requires a ticket purchase.)

December 8, 7 pm - RHHS Winter Concert

December 15, 7 pm - LAMS Winter Concert

January 13 & 14, 7 pm - RHHS drama 'The Mouse Trap'

January 26, 7 pm - MRIS Winter Concert

School Resource Officers at Work

The school district has a long standing partnership with the Red Hook Police Department's School Resource Officer program. This program places local law enforcement personnel in our school buildings during the school day to foster connections between officers, staff and students. The benefits to the school community are many: officers assist with safety and security measures, help district personnel access community support services for our students and their families, and address questions and concerns from families.

The SROs have daily interactions with our students through classroom discussions, greetings in hallways, visits to the playground during recess, and check ins during lunch periods in the cafeterias. The SROs also assist with overseeing traffic safety during morning arrivals and afternoon dismissals. These daily interactions help to foster trusting relationships in support of our learning environment.

“The Red Hook Police Department takes great pride in working in our school district. Our students and staff members are always our first priority,” said Sgt. Pat Hildenbrand who coordinates the school district's program.

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RHEF Dinner & Movie Event

Congratulations to the Red Hook Education Foundation on its first annual Dinner & Movie Night at the Performing Arts Center! The funds raised at this event will support students in our district in a variety of ways - field trips, school supplies, classroom equipment and more! Over 20 area restaurants donated 10% of participating patrons' checks to the RHEF to support our students while another 100+ people paid a modest ticket fee to enjoy a screening of the 1977 classic film 'Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope' in the PAC. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Working for the Red Hook Central School District

The district has job openings for the following substitute positions: certified and uncertified teachers, bus drivers, custodial workers, teacher aides, food services staff, and school security monitors. For more information, please visit:
Red Hook Central School District Website

Please visit our website for news about our district, our schools, our students and more!