Nyack Schools Connection - June '23
Dear Members and Friends of the Nyack Public School District,
As this school year comes to an end, I want to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for everyone’s hard work and dedication throughout the year.
Thank you to our teachers, administrators, staff, Board of Education and school community for your commitment to our students, which has not gone unnoticed. Your tireless efforts to educate, support, and help our students grow have made a lasting impact on their lives.
Students, I am proud of each and every one of you for your achievements in the classroom and beyond. The growth and development you have shown this year were outstanding.
Graduates, I wish you continued success. You graduate at the right time, because the world faces daunting challenges, and this world needs you. As a Nyack High School graduate, you are well-equipped with the skills, talents, and knowledge to succeed in a future that is still being created. The next stage of your life will be brimming with limitless possibilities and opportunities. And as you transition, there will be many decisions that you will have to make about your future. I want to encourage you to be open minded and open hearted and be inspired by the words of Morgan Harper Nichols.
For our school community - as we enter into the summer months, I encourage you to continue to practice the seven C's by:
Critically thinking with Creativity to solve the world's problems.
Collaborating and Connecting with others with openness.
Integrating multiple perspectives with Cultural Awareness in your actions.
Committing to your own learning with deeper Content Mastery.
Identifying ways to Communicate your brilliance.
And continuing to exercise Compassion and empathy, seeking first to understand.
Finally, I want to say thank you again to everyone who has made this year a success. I look forward to seeing you all again in the fall, refreshed and revitalized for another great year.
Enjoy your summer!
Superintendent of Schools
P.S. It’s not too late to fill out your thoughts to share with me. https://tejoin.com/scroll/539520715
What's Happening in the #NyackSchools?
Nyack High School
Thirty Nyack High School seniors were awarded the New York State Seal of Biliteracy in a special ceremony held June 5. The Seal of Biliteracy was adopted to promote a way for students to show their academic competencies in at least two languages. Students who receive the Seal must demonstrate their proficiency in English and a world language. Students were mentored through the process by teachers and met regularly throughout the school year to develop a thesis, research their topics, write a final research paper and create a multi-media presentation to share their findings.
Nyack Middle School
Rising sixth graders from across the District came together for the annual "Bridges" event on May 31. Students were greeted with applause and cheers by seventh grade ambassadors who provided tours of the building and answered questions about their experience at the school. The group also had a chance to meet Principal Johnson, engage in friendly competition on the athletic field and showcase their musical talents for one another.
Liberty Elementary School
Staff and teachers have been meeting with members of the Class of 2036 this spring. These incoming kindergarten students are demonstrating their language, cognitive, fine and gross motor skills during screening sessions. Kindergarten registration is ongoing for children turning five by December 1, 2023. Please note our registrar will be temporarily located at Nyack Middle School during the summer months.
Upper Nyack Elementary School
Families, community members, and school district and local government leaders filled the gym at Upper Nyack Elementary School on June 8, for the final fifth grade DARE graduation of the year. Thank you to our community partners, Clarkstown PD and our parents for their continued commitment to this program.
Valley Cottage Elementary School
Fourth grade students spent the day "Learning in the Park" with our community partners the Outdoor Science Alliance. Children traveled to Nyack Beach State Park and Hook Mountain to explore the natural landscape, navigate trails and conduct research at both the river front and plateau. The trip was a followup to the school yard program held this past November.
Celebrating Our Graduates
Congratulations to the Class of 2023! From our kindergarten students to our graduating seniors, we celebrate you and your accomplishments! Be sure to check out stories about our Kindergarten, Grade 5, and Grade 8 moving up ceremonies and Nyack High School graduation on Facebook and Instagram.
Points of Pride
Congratulations to Nyack High School junior Matt Schutzbank, the 2023 New York State Champion in the 1600m! Matt ran a personal-best (4:12.09) to win the boys Division 1 (large school) and was second overall in the Federation. This time ties the Nyack High School record and puts him in eighth place All-Time Rockland County!
Tatum Hopkins (senior), won the 2023 Metro Award for Outstanding Performance in a Leading Female-Identified role for Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors."
Retirees, Years of Service and Volunteers
On June 20 the Board of Education recognized 72 volunteers for their contributions to the school community. They also celebrated the following individuals for their years of service to the District:
George Mrsich, Virginia Nardi, Charlene Weaver
Veloura Parker, Donaldson Hains, Anita Perillo
Brigitte Broadly-Feldman, Camille Brickman, Mitchell Crowne, Vincent Gabriele, Patricia Kopac, Edgar Lambert, Colleen Mannion, Robin Maslanek, Victor Myers, Susan Niksa, Sheila O'Brien, Linda Pappalardo, Monika Schwarz
Congratulations to our retirees. We wish you the best!
Victoria Breshin, Mitchell Crowne, Lisa Demarest, Teriann DiCarlo, Vincent Gabriele, Patrick Gavigan, Donaldson Hains, Denise Hogg, Veloura Parker, Thomas Perry, Beth Phillips, Jeanie Pintaudi, Diana Wright
Congratulations Dr. Lizzette Ruiz-Giovinazzi
We are proud to announce that Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction Lizzette Ruiz-Giovinazzi, Ed.D. recently completed her doctoral degree from Fordham University.
The topic of her dissertation entitled “Cultivating Resilience for District Administrators of Color as Equity Leaders in Predominantly White Districts” examined the experiences of equity Leaders of Color (LOC) in New York State, grounded in Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training. Her mixed methods study used surveys and semi-structured interviews and identified four key findings. First, there was tremendous value for equity LOC in being part of a supportive group of peer LOC. Second, having a network of peers provides safe space to navigate the role of equity LOC. Third, these groups foster showing up as one’s authentic self. Fourth, there is power in acknowledging the existence of White structures in leadership, systemic and institutional racism, and power held by the dominant culture.
"When these leaders saw themselves through their own lens, not that of dominant White culture, they could acknowledge their strengths and own their power. These equity LOC could see, feel, and stand in their own brilliance."
Based on her work, Dr. Ruiz-Giovinazzi was selected to be a presenter at the 10th Annual Regional Leadership Institute "Developing Future Focused Schools," hosted by Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES and the School Administrators Association of New York State, this summer.
Julio Cedeño Named Assistant Principal of Nyack High School
We are pleased to announce that Julio Cedeño has been appointed as the next Assistant Principal of Nyack High School, effective July 1, 2023. Mr. Cedeño will step into the position after serving eight years in Nyack Public Schools as the Mathematics Department Chairperson for Nyack High School and Nyack Middle School, grades 6-12. Mr. Cedeño holds degrees from Lehman College, CUNY and the Center for Integrated Teacher Education (CITE). He is a proven curriculum leader with an extensive career in education.
“Mr. Cedeño has proven to be student-centered, passionate about working with students, and knowledgeable about content and effective instructional strategies. He is an advocate for all students,” says NHS Principal Nicole Saieva. “As Department Chair, Mr. Cedeño has led the math department in developing a curriculum that is culturally responsive and reflective of our students' diverse strengths and challenges. He has empowered master teachers to take risks while supporting teachers new to the profession by providing ongoing mentoring and support.”
Teaching and Learning
#DEARRedHawks Summer Reading Campaign
This summer, Drop Everything And Read with our community-wide #DEARRedHawks Summer Reading Campaign. As students spread out to various places over the summer months, they can experience what educators refer to as a “summer slide” - losing some of the achievement gains made during the previous school year. This potential loss can be stemmed with care, community partnership and DEAR time.
In the spirit of this year’s summer reading theme at our local libraries, "All Together Now," we invite students, families and community members alike to add some #DEARRedHawks time to your summer days. We hope this initiative will encourage scholars of all ages to develop a love of reading, use critical thinking skills and spark curiosity all summer long. Here’s how to engage in the campaign:
Follow our Nyack RedHawks mascot “Hook, with a Book” adventures on our social media
Drop Everything And Read - Make time for DEAR time each Wednesday
Get Caught Reading - post, tag and share photos of friends and family reading anywhere/everywhere
Check out the abundance of tips, resources and recommended authors from our Summer Reading Program here:
Note: students entering AP or RCC level courses must read the required texts/assignments.
Summer reading programs at our local libraries are a great way to encourage a love of reading and track progress! Check out Nyack Library and Valley Cottage Library for details of this year’s “All Together Now” summer reading program!
Kids Eat Free this Summer
Did you know kids eat FREE this summer?! Free breakfast and lunch are served weekdays to anyone under 18 years old - no ID, no residency, no registration, nor documentation needed. This program is run by the Village of Nyack operating through NYSED with USDA No Child Hungry, just like school meals. Pickup is available at the following locations.
July 5 thru September 1
Waldron Terrace (15 Highview Court, Nyack, NY)
Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Lunch: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Nyack Center (58 Depew Avenue, Nyack, NY)
Breakfast: 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Lunch: 12:00 p.m. - 1:05 p.m.
Equity In Action
NYSED Framework for Safe, Supportive, and Affirming School Environments for Transgender and Gender Expansive Students
Earlier this month, the New York State Education Department released a framework and legal update to support schools in fostering an educational environment that is safe, supportive and affirming for transgender and gender expansive (TGE) students. The framework provides legal updates and best practices to facilitate compliance with state and federal laws concerning bullying, harassment, discrimination and student privacy. The update also reflects outreach to include the voices and experiences of transgender and gender expansive students in New York schools. Read the full press release.
The Board of Education created and adopted Policy 5020.4 in September 2022 to support our transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students. Each school has designated a staff member to serve as a point person within the building to support our scholars. During the school year, the Rockland County Pride Center led training sessions for teachers across the district to provide them with practical strategies to support and affirm our LGBTQIA+ students. Additionally, the training for building designees provided an in-depth training on terminology, definitions, proactively addressing bullying and supporting our LGBTQIA+ scholars and families.
Getting to the Root
Seven years ago, thirteen staff attended Undoing Racism© together. The experience would alter the trajectory of our district’s work going forward, leading us to pursue a systemic approach of addressing racial disparities that persists in educational institutions. Since then, over 230 staff have participated in either Undoing Racism or Getting to the Root. Both workshops follow the framework originally developed by community organizers, educators and founders of The People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond (PISAB). The sessions help participants understand the foundations of race and racism and how they continually function as a barrier to community self-determination, self-sufficiency, and interdependency.
This opportunity is open to all. For more information on the two-day training hosted by the Center for Safety and Change, or to register, visit: https://www.centerforsafetyandchange.org/theroot/
Professional Learning Center
In May of 2021, the District began a renovation project to develop a professional learning center at the Hilltop Administration Building. The space will be used for meeting space as well as professional development. Construction is underway with completion anticipated Summer 2023.
District Offices Moving for Summer
Please note that due to renovations at our District Administration Building, several offices will be operating in alternative locations:
Nyack Middle School
Nyack High School
Curriculum and Instruction
Special Education/Pupil Personnel Services
Office of the Superintendent
Finance and Operations
For questions, call 845-353-7000.
From capital improvement projects to kindergarten readiness and enrichment programming, there's a lot going on this summer. Don't forget - you can hear about #NyackSchools news all month long by following us on your favorite social media!
Our RedHawks may be taking a pause for the summer, but our fall season will be here before you know it!
Fall Start Dates
HS Football: August 19, 2023
All Other HS Sports: August 21, 2023
MS Athletics Start Date: September 6, 2023
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Produced in collaboration with the Rockland BOCES Communication Service.