- Syosset Central School Dist
- 2019-2020 School Year
District Bits and Briefs
District Bits and Briefs is an added way the Superintendent provides updates to community members on a pertinent areas of focus for the Board of Education and the District. Please see below for updates sent to the community.
December 20, 2019
Dear Syosset Community,
This time of year, there are many celebrations and performances taking place throughout the schools and one of the benefits of being superintendent is scoring invitations to attend. It always warms my heart. And listening to the performances by the Choral Pride and Adelettes acapella groups at the monthly Board of Education meeting on Monday evening certainly instilled the holiday spirit in me. If you did not have the opportunity to catch the performance live, you can view the video of the meeting by clicking here. As a reminder, all monthly Board meetings are live-streamed, and the videos are available online.
Before we close out the year, and the decade, I’d like to provide some updates from the District.
Math Curriculum Advancements - Dr. John Genova, joined by faculty, presented some exciting new initiatives in the Syosset math curriculum to the Board of Education on Monday evening. Syosset has embraced the shift from “procedural” math (which emphasizes mimicry of a problem-solving routine) to “conceptual” math (where students understand math concepts well enough to apply them as tools in unfamiliar situations). Consistent with the Board of Education vision of preparing for a future we can’t yet imagine, that strategic problem-solving approach will provide a foundation for whatever the future will bring. It emphasizes perseverance and multiple attempts while integrating real-world applications. Small group collaboration in engaging workspaces with flexible furniture promotes discussion and uses technology to illuminate concepts, hopefully contributing to a love of the subject. I encourage you to review the presentation, which can be found on the District website.
Online High School Curriculum Guide – As we begin the high school transition process for eighth grade students to prepare them for the breadth of opportunities that await at the high school, I’m happy to announce the High School Curriculum Guide is now online. Informational pages for each department, course descriptions and course selection information, and a search option are now provided in a mobile-responsive platform. The online Curriculum Guide contains a wealth of information and can be accessed via the following link: https://www.syossetschools.org/curriculumguide
Syosset mobile app – Would you like quick access to a school calendar customized for the schools your children attend? How about lunch menus, school news stories and pictures, and important notifications sent right to your mobile device? I am very pleased to announce the District now “has an app for that”. You can download the free Syosset CSD mobile app by visiting the iTunes App Store or Google Play from a smart-device.
Construction update – After a delay due to an unmarked sanitary septic vault that was discovered underground, work on the new security vestibule at the high school continues and is now projected to be completed at the end of February, but is still very sensitive to weather-related delays. Work is moving swiftly on the SHS Fitness Center, which remains on schedule to be completed by March 27.
2020-2021 Calendar – On Monday, the Board adopted the 2020-2021 calendar. It can be found on the District website here.
I would like to wish the entire Syosset community a joyous and peaceful holiday season, and I look forward to seeing everyone in the new year to kick off a new decade of elevating and amplifying the educational experience in Syosset schools!
Dr. Tom Rogers
November 26, 2019
Dear Syosset Community,
Before we pause for the Thanksgiving recess, I'd like to take a moment to provide you with some updates from the District.
Feeling Thankful – During this month of giving, I am so inspired by the activities of our students throughout all the buildings. Earlier in the month, the high school students hosted a fundraising breakfast to honor our veterans and raise funds for the local VFW Post 6394, where students mingled with veterans and heard first-hand accounts of their experiences serving our country. Throughout the month, I delighted in seeing overflowing food drive collection bins and World Kindness Day celebrations throughout all the buildings.
Code of Character, Conduct and Support – At the November monthly meeting, the Board adopted the Code of Character, Conduct and Support, which incorporates restorative practices to educate students on understanding the impact their mistakes may have on others in the learning community and thereby addresses discipline as an opportunity for social emotional growth. I would like to thank the students, teachers and parents who worked to write Plain Language Summaries of the Code to highlight sections most relevant to each group and clarify some of the language to be sure it is understood by all. The Plain Language Summaries, the full Code, as well as a video of students explaining their work with the Code and how they feel it will impact their lives in Syosset schools can be found on the District website: https://www.syossetschools.org/code
Say Something Anonymous Reporting Tool - Students at all three secondary schools have received training through the Sandy Hook Promise Say Something program, which educates students on how to identify concerning behavior among their peers and report it to a trusted adult. It also provides an anonymous tip line that is monitored 24/7 by crisis counselors, should students not feel comfortable speaking to an adult.
Construction Update – It has been so exciting to watch our soccer and football teams using the new turf field and tennis being played on the new courts as they completed their respective seasons. Inside the buildings, engaging classroom discussions are supported by new flexible furniture, the new high school science labs are being put to the test, and the South Grove main building and Annex are now connected by the new security vestibule endearingly named Unity Walkway. As you may have observed, work is moving quickly on the new security vestibule at the high school, which will become the new entrance to the school. Work on the new Athletic center is also progressing nicely. It will have a façade that echoes the front of the building. To the left of the new Athletic Center are doors to bathrooms that face our athletic fields to accommodate spectators without having to provide access to the interior of the high school. I’m happy to share these architectural renderings of the new exteriors to give you a sense of how the building will look once complete:
It has been quite a busy school year. I’d like to congratulate our fall athletic teams on their many successes, our impressive number of student-musicians named to NYSSMA All-State and NAfME All-National, and the extra-curricular clubs on their numerous activities and events they have so successfully engaged in.
I wish you all a Thanksgiving that is filled with opportunity to recharge, reconnect and share gratitude with family, friends and loved ones.
Dr. Tom Rogers,
October 16, 2019
Once again, it’s another busy and exciting school year here in Syosset. I’d like to share some updates with you on a few important topics that the Board and Administration have been focused on.
District Mission and Vision Statement: At the September Board of Education meeting, the Board presented its Mission Statement to the community, which is: To prepare students to thrive in both the future we imagine and one which may evolve in ways yet to be envisioned. The Mission Statement, together with the Vision Statement, outline what the District stands for and its long-term goals. To read the complete Statement, please click here.
Code of Character, Conduct and Support: The District has updated its Code of Conduct to incorporate restorative practices, which educate students on understanding the impact their mistakes may have on others in the learning community and thereby addresses discipline as an opportunity for social emotional growth. The Code has been renamed the Code of Character, Conduct and Support to more accurately reflect its intention. Please click here to read the updated Code, which will be voted on at the November Board of Education monthly meeting.
Stop-arm cameras: New legislation has been passed that authorizes the installation of stop-arm cameras on school buses; the purpose of which is to enforce the existing law prohibiting motorists from passing a school bus while it is stopped for the purpose of picking up or dropping off passengers. The Board and District Administration is in the process of researching the implications of this legislation determining if it should be pursued with the District transportation provider.
Lighted LED signs: The Board and Administration have been researching the use of lighted LED signs to display important messaging and inform the community of upcoming events. Topics of discussion have included the best location for the signs, the optimal way to power the signs, maintenance and the cost to purchase and install the signs. More information will be presented at the November monthly Board meeting.
Construction Update: After a very busy summer, it is so exciting to see our students taking full advantage of the updated learning spaces. Flexible furniture is providing engaging environments that are more responsive to students’ needs. At the high school, the renovated science labs better support student learning and the updated student lobby is a bright and popular place for students to collaborate. And improved parking and traffic flow at several school buildings has benefitted the community. Work continues on two of the larger-scale projects; the track and field and the security vestibule at the high school. As a reminder, the Homecoming football game will be taking place this Saturday at Cold Spring Harbor (82 Turkey Lane, Cold Spring Harbor).
I hope you'll have the chance to stop by the carnival at the high school this weekend for some family fun. It is taking place this Friday through Sunday and will be located at the end of the faculty lot behind the high school. Enjoy the rest of the week.
Dr. Tom Rogers
July 5, 2019
Dear Syosset Community,
Congratulations to the Class of 2019 celebrating their graduation. Graduates had an evening of perfect weather and wonderful support from the community. I want to extend my congratulations to all of our students who are moving up, whether to the middle school or high school, or between grades. Although the Class was somewhat small, its 465 students had some remarkable accomplishments:
- A 100% graduation rate, with 98% pursuing full time post-secondary education.
- 9 National Merit Semi-finalists
- 14 NYS Scholarships of Excellence
- 3 Regeneron Scholars and our first Regeneron Finalist in 12 years!
- $22.7 million in scholarships awarded.
And much more! Way to go graduates, you’ve made us proud!!
Our staff has been making us proud as well. Congratulations to Christine Payne who was named our new Coordinator of Instructional and Administrative Technology. She was recently honored by the Nassau Association of Technology Directors as a “rising star”. The District was also invited to attend the highly competitive “Teach to Lead” conference led by the national professional development organization for educators.
Some more updates of interest are below:
Summer School – Summer school starts Monday with 756 students enrolled in a wide range of enrichment and support opportunities. Visiting summer school classes (and watching Summer Stock rehearsals) is always a highlight of July for me. As a reminder, summer school is at HB Thomson Middle School this year because of the extensive construction underway at the High School.
Flexible Furniture – Last December we gave a presentation to the Board of Education on the flexible furniture pilot projects underway at several schools (the presentation can be found here). We’re excited by how the furniture changes the classroom community and the instructional approach. Based on what we learned from those pioneering classrooms, we have narrowed the range of furniture we think works best and over the summer, we will expand the flexible furniture to include more classrooms at every building. Ultimately, we hope to continue to refine our model and gradually increase the number of classrooms taking advantage of this new approach.
Phase 2 Capital Construction – Phase 2 construction projects are underway for the summer. Contractors have already started on the high school science rooms and the site work is already underway at several campuses. There are a couple of important updates:
- Air Conditioning Capital Project – The bids for the Air Conditioning project that we had hoped to start this summer were much higher than anticipated. We understand that there are a number of school districts also starting whole district air conditioning projects and this has saturated the market. Rather than overpay, we are working to redesign some aspects of the project to save costs, and looking at shifting the timelines to take advantage of evenings and breaks in the fall. Once those plans are finalized, we’ll inform the community of our new anticipated schedule.
- Bathroom Projects – Although not glamorous, they are important. In contrast to Air Conditioning, pricing for bathroom projects has been quite favorable. Accordingly, we are bidding out additional bathroom projects to take advantage of current market conditions.
As a reminder – The high school campus, track and tennis courts will be closed to the public during construction (the Athletics department will have access to unaffected fields). In addition, projects at other campuses may also limit access to playground equipment during construction for safety reasons. Thanks for your patience!
Religious Exemptions to Vaccination – As you may know, New York State Public Health Law, Section 2164, was recently amended to eliminate the religious exemption to vaccination. Although there are very few such exemptions in Syosset, we will be contacting affected families shortly. The law took effect on June 28, so students attending summer school will have to comply sooner than those returning to school in the fall. Any questions, please call the registrar’s office: 516-364-5669.
Security for Community Facility Use – This spring, the Board of Education approved a policy change that will provide for security staff coverage for any after-hours facility usage by community groups. There will be a small charge for any security required beyond our regularly scheduled staffing. Additional information can be found here.
District-wide Safety Plan – At the July Board of Education meeting, a hearing was held on the District-wide School Safety Plan. As required by law, the plan will be available on our website for public comment for 30 days before being adopted at the August BOE meeting. The Plan can be found here. Comments can be shared with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public WiFi – The District will be migrating to a new password-protected approach to public WiFi in all district buildings which will ensure that no unknown devices can be attached to our network. We understand this migration will include some growing pains and we appreciate your patience in the interest of good cyber security.
I wish everyone a wonderful, restful summer to recharge and spend time with loved ones. We’ll see you before you know it!
Dr. Tom Rogers,