Letter from the Superintendent
December 6, 2017
Dear Parents and Guardians,
On behalf of the Nanuet Board of Education, I would like to express our sincere congratulations to Mr. Michael Mahoney, Mrs. Lily DeGraw and Mrs. Jacqueline Laurenzano.
At last night’s Board of Education meeting, Mr. Mahoney was officially appointed Principal of the Nanuet Senior High School, Mrs. DeGraw was officially appointed Assistant Principal of the Nanuet Senior High School, and Mrs. Laurenzano was officially appointed Director of Guidance in the Nanuet School District.
Each one has given the District years of exemplary service and we wish them well in their respective new leadership positions.
Mark S. McNeill
After 29 years serving as a member of the Nanuet Board of Education, Mrs. Karen Franchino announced on Tuesday, October 24th that she is stepping aside on December 31st of this year.
During Mrs. Franchino’s tenure, she received numerous awards:
- The EDDY Award from the Rockland County School Boards Association, which is presented to an outstanding community-minded Rockland County school board member who goes above and beyond in the advocacy for children’s education
- The Award for Excellence in school board service from the Mid-Hudson School Study Council
- The PTA Lifetime Award
Mrs. Franchino and her husband Donald have always been very active in community organizations. She has lived in Nanuet for over forty four years and is a graduate of the Nanuet schools, as are her four children.
Below is a link to the letter that Mrs. Franchino submitted, which was read by Board President Ron Hansen at the October 24th Board meeting.
Mark S. McNeill
Dear Parents and Residents,
I would like to share with you that after 35 years in the District, with the past 25 years as Superintendent, at last night’s Board of Education meeting I announced my intention to retire at the end of this school year. In the spring I will provide the Board with a formal letter of resignation, effective June 30, 2018. The purpose of my announcement last night was to allow the Board as much time as possible to focus on a Superintendent succession plan which will begin next year.
Among the most important decisions a Board of Education can make is the appointment of the Superintendent. During the 2018-19 school year, I will serve as Interim Superintendent while the Board of Education undertakes a search process. Additionally, last night Dr. Meredith Fox was appointed Deputy Superintendent effective immediately. She has indicated it is her professional aspiration to remain in this pivotal leadership position, which she greatly enjoys, rather than seek a position as Superintendent.
The Board values professional growth and leadership development of its employees. To that end, at last night’s Board Meeting, Dr. Kevin McCahill was appointed Assistant Superintendent / Director of Teaching and Innovation, 9-12. Over the next two years, Dr. McCahill will continue to serve full time as Director of Teaching and Innovation. By giving him the additional title of Assistant Superintendent, Dr. McCahill will have the opportunity to acquire knowledge of Central Administration that will serve him well as an applicant for a Superintendent position in the future.
It is the Board’s aim to provide the stability and leadership needed during this time of transition to advance the mission and goals of the District.
Mark S. McNeill
It is a pleasure to share the following information from the September 26th Board of Education meeting:
- The Board accepted the annual report and recommendations for the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year from our independent auditors, R.S. Abrams & Co., LLP. The District received an Unmodified Opinion, commonly referred to as a Clean Opinion, which is the highest given.
- Congratulations to the following three National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalists, who are among the top 1% of approximately 1.6 million entrants in more than 22,000 high schools: Benjamin Chun, Rohit Giridharan, and Brendan Klayman. Congratulations to Daniel Cavazzi and Eugene Om who were named National Merit Commended Scholars.
- Congratulations to the following two Nanuet student musicians who have been accepted to perform at the 2017 NYSSMA All-State Music Festival: Jonathan Eng will be playing viola in the Symphony Orchestra and junior Nicola Ferro will be singing in the Treble Chorus.
- Congratulations to the Nanuet High School Chorus, who were commended by Supervisor George Hoehmann for putting the “perfect patriotic touch” to the Town of Clarkstown’s annual September 11th Remembrance Ceremony.
Mark S. McNeill
UPDATE OF TAX RATES
Due to the New York State Board of Real Property Tax Services meeting that was held this afternoon, the Board of Education will hold a Special Board Meeting at 6:00 pm on August 23, 2017 in the High School Media Center to approve the adjusted tax rates based on the final equalization rates. The new rates are as follows:
District Library Total School District Increase
Clarkstown Homestead 67.762647 3.609986 71.372633 2.97%
Non Homestead 99.569599 5.304469 104.874068 2.68%
Orangetown Homestead 46.861872 2.496519 49.358391 8.15%
Non-Homestead 69.143020 3.683524 72.826544 7.91%
Dear Parents and Guardians,
On behalf of the Nanuet Board of Education, I would like to express our sincere congratulations to Mrs. Barbara Auriemma and Mrs. Nancy Bonner.
Barbara Auriemma is retiring following the 2016-2017 school year, after eight very successful years as Principal of Highview Elementary School.
On May 2, 2017, Nancy Bonner was appointed by the Board of Education to succeed Mrs. Auriemma as Highview's new principal.
We are fortunate to have a smooth transition in leadership and wish them both our congratulations!
Mark S. McNeill
Beginning next school year students will experience 55 minutes or more in each core subject area across grades K-12. Our elementary schools have benefited from longer learning periods and we are pleased to implement longer periods for Grades 7-12 as well. The tenets of our Mission Statement underscore the importance of allowing teachers and students to engage and explore the curriculum for longer periods of time each day.
As with all changes, there will be multiple opportunities to answer questions and clarify the nuances of next year’s High School schedule. Below is a comprehensive FAQ list to help explain the change.
Nanuet Senior High School
New Schedule FAQ’s
Q1: What are the significant differences in the new schedule?
A: The significant differences in the new schedule are:
- Longer learning periods
- Rotating schedule
- Common school lunch
_________________LONGER LEARNING PERIODS ________________________
Q2: How long will classes be?
A: Class periods will be 55 minutes in length, including lunch.
Q3: Why increase the instructional minutes of each class?
A: The extended time in class will provide further opportunities to increase the use of various student-centered instructional styles (e.g., cooperative and small group learning, hands-on projects, project-based learning, and experiential performances). Longer periods will also offer a platform for deeper understanding of concepts and will provide more opportunities for critical thinking and problem solving. Assessing creativity, collaboration, effective communication, and innovation are the primary beliefs of our district mission. We are confident we will be more successful in enriching growth in these areas when afforded longer time with our students.
Q4: What are the advantages to longer learning periods:
A: The Present schedule is 41 minute periods x 180 days = 7,380 instructional minutes.
The New Schedule is 55 minute periods x 135 days = 7,425 instructional minutes.
The advantages to the increase in time to 55 minute periods are:
- More time for research, reports, debriefings, closure, and other active learning strategies and performance
- Assessments with time for practice and application
- More time for content depth and higher level learning activities
- Increased time for staff to design authentic assessment (PLC)
- Less fragmentation of instruction and more time on task
- 55 minutes aligns with our Nanuet K-8 classroom experience
Q5: Have students experienced longer periods while attending The Nanuet Union Free School District?
A: Yes, students experience long learning periods (55-90 min) throughout elementary and middle levels. The Nanuet Senior High School is now aligning with this instructional environment.
Q6: What will the daily rotation of periods look like?
A: Each day, 6 academic periods (3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, surrounding a “Common Lunch”) are scheduled. One AM class and one PM class does not meet daily.
Q7: Will we maintain the same number of instructional minutes per class over the course of an instructional year?
A: Yes, all classes will meet over the same instructional minutes as our present schedule.
The Present schedule is 41 minute periods x 180 = 7,380 instructional minutes.
The New Schedule is 55 minute periods x 135 = 7,425 instructional minutes.
Q8: Will there be parent information sessions to explain the new schedule?
A: Yes, we will announce multiple community information workshops.
Q9: Will my child lose continuity of instruction if their class doesn’t meet everyday?
A: Through longer periods our teachers have more time to review previous concepts, check for understandings, and assess practice. Students and teachers use collaborative digital software to communicate and hand in assignments. We believe this will improve continuity of curriculum in the long run and will help students adapt to the changing educational environment.
Q10: What are the advantages of rotation with drop of classes?
A: The advantages of rotation with drop of classes are:
- Time of day impacts learning (For example Day 1 - Math is 1st period, Day 2 Math is 2nd period, Day 3 Math is 3rd period and Day 1 – Science is 5th period, Day 2- Science is 6th period, Day 3 – Science is 7th period.)
- Instructional process has fewer disruptions – fewer passing times:
2 in the AM and 2 in the PM
- Day is less frenetic for students and staff
- Rotation of classes for a more interesting day (less routine)
- Less stress for students – not all subjects each day
- Mirrors a collegiate experience
_________________COMMON LUNCH ________________________
Q11: What is Common Lunch?
A: Common Lunch is when the entire school eats lunch at the same time. Both students and staff will share their lunchtime during 4th period, which evenly splits the morning and afternoon classes.
Q12: Why Common Lunch?
A: Common lunch is a 55 minute period in which all students will eat at the same time. Students are responsible for cleaning up after themselves. They will have the opportunity to eat, relax, exercise, and connect with friends. We have explored other local schools (Pascack Valley, Nyack, and Suffern) that have implemented common lunch and received positive feedback from their administration, students, and staff.
Q13: What are the advantages of Common Lunch:
A: The advantages of Common Lunch are:
- Builds a sense of community
- Students can use lunch time for library usage
- Provides peer counseling opportunities
- Students have more access to guidance programs
- Students can use time to get extra help
- Students with after school responsibilities can become more involved in clubs/activities
- More small group support opportunities
Q14: Will there be enough serving lines and seating for everyone during the Common Lunch?
A: Yes – Students will be able to purchase lunch at multiple stations in the cafeteria as well as new kiosks located in the building. Additionally, we are adding new tables to accommodate student seating. Students will be able to sit in all common areas on the first and second floors.
Q15: Will Common Lunch be monitored by staff?
A: Yes – Similar to our current format, teachers will still monitor and support students during lunch time. Additionally, Common Lunch gives teachers the ability to eat with students, run clubs, provide “learning lunches”, or just connect with students throughout the building. School administration will walk the school during this period as well.
Q16: When will clubs meet? What time will sports practices start?
A: Club meetings will take place during Common Lunch. Sports practices will begin at the same time as our current schedule.
Q17: Will students be permitted to leave during the Common Lunch period?
A: As with our present schedule, only seniors have the privilege of utilizing the local stores and restaurants during lunch. All other students must remain on campus during the Common Lunch.
Q18: Will the start time and end time of the school day change?
A: No, all schools will continue with their current schedules.
Q19: What happens if school is closed due to inclement weather?
A: If school is closed due to inclement weather, we will resume the schedule with the next scheduled day of the rotation that was planned. For example, if Tuesday is scheduled to be a “Day 2” and we are closed due to inclement weather, Wednesday would then become a “Day 3”.
Q20: What are some of the benefits of the new schedule over the current traditional schedule?
A: The new schedule offers the following benefits:
- Greater flexibility
- The new schedule allows for more varied use of time in order to meet the requirements of the curriculum
- The new schedule allows for an improved process to monitor each student’s learning on an ongoing basis and a systematic plan of intervention that provides a struggling student with additional time and support for learning
- In the new schedule embedded support opportunities will be made available for remediation (RTI) and enrichment support (AP class labs, Language labs, ESL labs)
Q21: How is the new schedule similar to the current schedule?
- In the current schedule all students take, on average, 7 courses and 1 lunch each day.
- In the NEW schedule all students take, on average, 7 courses and 1 lunch each day.
Dr. Mark S. Mcneill
Dr. McNeill has been serving as Superintendent of Schools since January, 1993. His career in Nanuet started in 1983 serving under Superintendent Dr. Laura Fliegner, as Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, with the primary responsibility for overseeing the District's special education programs. In 1986, he was appointed Assistant Superintendent, serving under Superintendent Dr. David Rightmyer, who retired toward the end of 1992. Dr. McNeill came to Nanuet following a number of years teaching in the field of special education. He received a BA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a Masters in Education from American International College, and a Masters and Doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University.