BC Parent E-News

From our desk to yours...

A Message from the Superintendent:

Dear Neighbor,

The end of the calendar year ushers in the season of joy and renewal as many of us celebrate the holidays with our loved ones and reflect on the year that has passed.

It is also a time where we anticipate the year to come. Here at BC, there is an important matter to our staff and students that I would like you to consider that could influence the coming year.

When I opened the school year this September, I made an important promise to staff and to district families that we would further reduce testing time for students by eliminating so-called field tests. I made this decision because I believe taking instructional time away from students to administer these tests — which serve to benefit big-money test makers like Pearson — is, quite simply, a misuse of valuable student learning time. I vowed I would use a “sword and shield” approach as your superintendent to limit testing where I could.

Now, a proposal by the Board of Regents threatens this promise. Last month, the Board of Regents put forth a proposal that would force school districts to participate in 40-minute stand-alone field testing, whether they believe it is in the best interests of students or not. I am asking you to join me to oppose this move. Together, we can defend education for students here in Bethlehem and across the state. The proposed amendment can be found here. Your voice is needed to keep field testing out of BC classrooms. READ HOW TO HELP.

Thank you for making a difference and joining me in this important call to action and for helping the faculty of Bethlehem Central give their best every day.

I am also happy to report that our students have been working hard to make a difference and give their best, not only in their studies, but in the spirit of giving this season. Acts of kindness and respect, especially when (students think) no one is watching are being rewarded on a regular basis at the middle school as part of the school's character education. On Friday, Hamagrael students packed up 215 holiday gifts to be delivered to underprivileged children and just yesterday middle school students totaled 79 boxes of food for their Holiday Food Drive. We will also have a number of graduates, home from college on break, who will come to the high school on January 7 to help high school students know what to expect in "Life After BC." It is heartening to see how this community is filled with those who understand that education takes place in classrooms and books, but also in collaboration and generosity.

Embrace that feeling this holiday season as you gather with family and friends. I wish you all a safe and joyous holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the new year!


Dr. Thomas J. Douglas
Superintendent of Schools

How we communicate weather-related closures

Winter in the Northeast is nothing if not unpredictable. Be prepared for school closures or delays by reviewing the various ways the district communicates this important information. READ MORE

BOE asks for public input on proposed tax exemptions

On Wednesday, December 17, the Bethlehem Central School District Board of Education will host back-to-back public hearings to receive comment from the community on proposed tax exemptions for some residents of the district. The first will focus on a proposed Conservation Easement for large-parcel landowners in the Town of Bethlehem. The second is an Alternative Veterans’ Tax Exemption that, if approved by the board, would offer partial school property tax exemptions for military veterans. READ MORE

Your voice needed on possible National Grid substation

The school district has been alerted to proposed construction by National Grid of an electric substation on Van Dyke Road across from the intersection with Route 32/Delmar Bypass. This land is adjacent to Eagle Elementary School and is across from the district’s bus garage and in close proximity to the high school. READ MORE

BOE Meeting, Dec. 3, 2014

Watch the latest board meeting on YouTube.

Visit our YouTube channel for an archive of all board meetings. New meetings will be posted here no later than a few days after they've occurred.


Dec. 16, 2014

  • BCMS Grade 7 Concert, 7 p.m., BCMS Auditorium

Dec. 17, 2014

  • Public Hearing, Conservation Easement, 6:30 p.m., BCHS Cafeteria
  • Public Hearing, Veteran's Tax Exemption, 7 p.m., BCHS Cafeteria
  • BOE Meeting, Public Session, 7:30 p.m., BCHS Cafeteria

Dec. 18, 2014

  • BCMS Grade 8 Concert, 7 p.m., BCMS

Dec. 19, 2014

  • BCMS & BCHS Report Cards Posted to Aspen

Dec. 24-Jan. 2

  • Winter Break (school resumes Jan. 5)

Questions & Comments:

This newsletter is produced by the Bethlehem Central Communications Office. If you have a story idea for us, a correction or comment please contact us at BCSDCommunications@bcsd.neric.org.