The PRES Press

Principal's Monthly Newsletter, April 2020

A Message from Mrs. Fishkin

It is hard to believe that our PRES 80th birthday celebration was only five months ago, and yet it feels like a lifetime ago. We have already learned a tremendous amount that I believe will transform the landscape of education. As we cling to new routines and navigate this new world of “crisis schooling,” I want you to know this is not easy. This is especially difficult for students who struggle with learning, organization, anxiety, or a change in routine. However, no student is untouched by the challenges associated with this new way of doing school. They are experiencing the loss of socialization, the disappointment of events canceled, and the grief of losing their sense of community with classmates and teachers. These difficulties are exacerbated for a number of reasons:

  • New Skills Required: Students (and parents) are being asked to manage new technology tools and structures (such as Google Classroom) in ways they’ve never been asked to do before. Students are being asked to work independently, manage their time and materials, all on their own without the support of a teacher and classmates. Usually, in the school environment, teachers are there to prompt, provide visual supports, offer explicit instruction, model, demonstrate, and then provide immediate feedback. This way of teaching and learning is so far from what we are doing now. It is extremely hard for many of our students to cope, plan, and organize themselves for learning at such a young age.

  • Being Both Parent and Teacher: We are also asking parents to do a job for which they have not been trained. And, we are asking parents to do three things all at once. "Working, parenting, and teaching are three different jobs that cannot be done at the same time," said Emily W. King, Ph.D. And, even if the parent is a trained teacher, children don’t respond to their parents in the same way they respond to their teachers. I see it in my own children. Even though I was an elementary teacher for 10 years, and have been in education for 23 years, my own children have repeatedly said to me, “Mom, you are not my teacher.”

  • March is When We Hit our Stride: Lastly, the challenges you are feeling at home are real and complex. March is usually the time of year when teachers are really getting into a groove with their students and learning starts to really take off. It is especially challenging and disappointing, for all of us, that the momentum we built this year has now come to a screeching halt and we are all managing the loss of that reality.

Despite all these challenges, we are seeing our students produce incredible work and we are so grateful for your partnership. We are here to support you. Here are some articles I found helpful during this challenging time:

Here is a helpful resource from our regional partner, Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES: Five Family-Friendly Activities, which includes:
  1. Need Help Developing Routines at Home?
  2. Tired of the Rain and Staying Inside?
  3. Looking for Outdoor Ideas for Your Family?
  4. Read, Wonder, and Learn
  5. Need a Mindfulness Minute?

SECOND Virtual Parent-Principal Coffee

We'd like to offer a second virtual Parent-Principal Coffee on Tuesday, April 14 at 10:30 AM to check in with everyone, see how you are doing, share school updates and answer any questions you have. We will discuss what new learning will look like in the coming days. Please join us by clicking on the Google Meet link below:

Join Hangouts Meet

Join by phone:

‪+1 707-366-0552‬ PIN: ‪740 605 680‬#

Field Trips Canceled Through June

Unfortunately, we have been informed that all field trips through the end of the school year have been canceled. Based on the current status of this health pandemic, our Interim Superintendent, Dr. Joel Adelberg, did not feel that any field trips could be "saved" at this point. While we know this comes with much disappointment, safety remains our top priority for all. We look forward to the day when we can resume our normal activity and take our students on enriching field trips that enhance our curriculum. The following field trips have been canceled:
    • 5th grade trip to Broadway (5/27/2020)

    • Kindergarten trip to Norwalk Aquarium (5/28/2020)

    • 2nd grade trip to Teatown Reservation (5/29/2020)

    • NEW: 4th grade trip to Ellis Island (6/4/2020)

A New Phase of Distance Learning

As Per Governor Cuomo, all NY State Schools will remain closed through April 29th. With the extended closure, our teachers are gearing up for phase 2 of distance learning which will incorporate new instruction. While we cannot replicate the classroom environment virtually, we will do our best to recreate mini-lessons that include modeling and demonstration of new skills and strategies for students to practice independently at home. In the coming days, teachers will begin sharing new lessons in a variety of forms. Each day, students across BCSD elementary schools are expected to complete:
    • One assignment daily in reading, writing, and math.

    • One science activity weekly.

    • Social Studies will be integrated through reading and writing assignments.

    • Students should engage in at least one specials activity daily (Art, Music, PE). Specials activities are posted on our school/department websites.

New Learning in Music, PE and Art

Each week, the specials area teachers (Music, PE, and Art) will be posting new weekly assignments. Students should complete one specials activity each day. Students will be asked to submit photos or videos of their work, or complete a written response, to share their learning. Please visit our PRES Distance Learning website for the weekly specials assignments.

Here's what's been happening in Music, PE, and Art!

Music with Mrs. Donnavan:

Since we began Distance Learning, music students in the upper grades have had the opportunity to do some composing. Students created rhythmic compositions and then added some fun movements. They also continued to reinforce note naming skills, as well as explore different instrument websites. The younger students have been practicing familiar songs, listening to new orchestral selections and illustrating their favorites. Students have added movement.

Physical Education with Ms. Mazzilli:

The Elementary Physical Education Staff created a website for our Bedford Elementary students. The PE website contains many valuable resources to get you moving and grooving your body. Each day a new PE lesson is posted to engage our students to be active at home. A fitness calendar with physical fitness exercises is also available to challenge our students everyday. Ms. Mazzilli has also visited classrooms during their virtual Google Meet sessions to say, “Hello.” Ms. Mazzilli surprised one particular class, 3CD, with a “Masked Singer” performance!

Art with Ms. Goodrow:

PRES students have been encouraged to continue their creativity at home by engaging in a choice of art activities as part of our distance learning program. Students are invited to use materials they find at home, and engage in the studio habits of mind: envision, express, develop craft, engage & persist, stretch & explore, and observe. Students have done a wonderful job submitting their art work to Ms. Goodrow's Google classroom. Thank you, students and parents, for keeping art alive while doing "school" at home. If your child hasn't already joined Ms. Goodrow's Google Classroom (grades 3-5), please email Ms. Goodrow ( for support.

See some of the wonderful artwork our PRES students have already created:

PRES Artwork from Home

Attendance During Distance Learning

Virtual attendance at school is expected of all students and attendance will be taken on a daily basis. Teachers will take attendance through student participation, attendance in online meetings, or via communication with parent/s. Parents should notify the school if your child will be “absent” and unable to participate in distance learning for the day. Parents should either enter the absence into School Dismissal Manager (SDM) or email Mrs. Susan Reiner, school secretary, at by 10:00 AM if your child is ill and unable to participate on a particular day. Please include your child’s name, teacher, and the reason for the absence. We will notify parents of any changes to this practice if we receive different information from the New York State Department of Education.

Message from Nurse Jill

Dear PRES families,

I hope this newsletter finds you all healthy and well. I miss seeing all of your children everyday and I hope they are making the most of this unique time in our lives.

I am passing along some coronavirus-related tips, as well as some other resources to help you stay as mentally and physically healthy as possible while cooped up at home.

First and foremost, I’m sure you all know to stay home as much as possible and maintain social distancing (at least six feet away from anyone who does not live with you). If you must go out, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that everyone wears a mask now. Please keep your children away from stores, restaurants, and crowded parks. Really, just stay away from anywhere that has a considerable number of people.

Here is some information from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding masks, as well as other important advice and tips from this leading health organization:

How to make a mask at home from the CDC:

The CDC is also recommending frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces at home (i.e. phones, doorknobs, faucets, etc.).

My children and I have been trying to get outside as much as possible. I am attaching a great article about staying safe while playing outside. As mentioned above, the key is maintaining social distance and avoiding crowded places like playgrounds or parks. We’ve tried to create our own fun by building obstacle courses, organizing family races, rollerblading and riding our bikes. I thought this article was very informative and recommend reading it, or even listening to the podcast:

If your children haven’t tried Cosmic Kids yoga yet, I highly recommend for a rainy day or anytime they need a little break from school work:

We are in the process of uploading most of this information to the BCSD webpage so be sure to check there soon for updates. I hope you all stay safe and healthy, and I cannot wait to be back at PRES soon. Please email me if you have any questions.

Stay well,
Nurse Jill

Technology Support

Our technology department is available to assist you if you are having trouble with a Chromebook or accessing the internet from home:

Wellness Checks

We will continue to provide our PRES families with weekly check-ins to make sure you are managing okay. This will be a phone call from a teacher aide who works with your child’s class. The purpose of these “wellness checks” is to make sure our PRES families have food to eat, can access technology if needed, and address any questions you might have. This information will be shared with the classroom teacher and principal to help us support your child(ren).

Meals Available for BCSD Families

As a result of school closures, the Bedford Central School District will continue to provide meals to all K-12 students. Aramark food services will provide a grab and go brown bag breakfast and lunch.

The meal distribution will be Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 am -1:00 pm from two locations as follows:

  • For students who reside in the Town/Village of Mount Kisco - Pick up at MKES bus loop
  • For all other BCSD students - Pick up at BHES bus loop

On Mondays and Wednesdays, each student will receive two days of meals. On Fridays, each student will receive two meals: one breakfast and one lunch. Each student will need to provide his/her name and school of attendance for record keeping.

April is Earth Month!

During the month of April, for our CAREs program, we would have been celebrating Earth Day and the theme of perseverance. During this health crisis, our perseverance has certainly been tested as we manage to cope under these stressful and uncertain circumstances. Earth Day is April 22 every year. April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The Earth Day 2020 theme is climate action. To celebrate Earth Day, please consider joining the global movement and find an activity to do with your children that helps to remind us of the importance of protecting our Earth.

Consider these 10 ideas to celebrate Earth Day:

1. Listen to a read aloud of The Earth Book by Todd Parr.

2. Watch this Brain Pop video on Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

3. Visit Bash the Trash website to learn how to make a musical instrument from recycled materials.

4. "It's just one straw," said 8 billion people. Pledge to eliminate your use of plastic straws.

5. Reduce your use of single-use plastics. Take the Kids vs. Plastic Pledge.

6. Turn off lights and water when not using them.

7. Take the Earth Day Quiz on National Geographic for Kids and find out how green you are.

8. Check out the Save the Earth tips recommended by NatGeo for Kids.

9. Learn more about Climate Change, what does it really mean, and how can we help.

10. Join our Community Compost program in Pound Ridge and start composting food scraps at home. It's easy.

Health Reminder

It is hard to focus on anything but immediate needs with a global pandemic swirling around us. Our hearts go out to all those who have already had their health affected, and we know that the economic impact is significant. A huge thank you to our doctors, nurses, first responders, and healthcare workers who are tackling this virus and helping to keep us healthy and safe. As more positive cases are identified across the region, we know that anxiety and questions, like “should I get tested?” will continue to rise. Follow the advice of state health agencies: If you have been exposed to COVID‑19 and you develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.