Statement from the Scarsdale Board of Education: “We Are United by our Goal to Provide the Finest Learning Experience Possible for our Children.”

BoardofEd2019This statement was written by Scarsdale Board of Education President Scott E. Silberfein and Vice President Pamela Fuehrer:

The summer months in the life of the Scarsdale School District offer time to consider past accomplishments and challenges, while at the same time provide space and opportunity to prepare for the upcoming school year, and set goals for the future.

With that in mind, please allow us to first reflect on the 2018-19 school year. The year was filled with significant accomplishments for the Board of Education (Board), chief among them that the community overwhelmingly supported the District’s proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year. The budget is the culmination of a year-long collaborative process, guided by the recently completed Transition Plan and the development of the forthcoming Strategic Plan, and by invaluable input from stakeholders including administrators, teachers and union leadership, students, parents, and community groups.

The budget maintains the Scarsdale educational program that our community values, including favorable class sizes; the house structure at Scarsdale Middle School; a wide array of Scarsdale High School course offerings (including additional STEAM instruction and science research at the High School to meet rising student demand), and advances initiatives in critical and creative thinking, interdependence, and research and technology, guided by the goals set forth in the “Scarsdale Education for Tomorrow” (SET 2.0). It also sustains the District’s Special Education services, provides funding in support of the second phase of a three-phase plan for classroom cooling, including air conditioning for the Fox Meadow and Quaker Ridge Elementary School libraries, and earmarks funds for much needed capital improvements.

The budget provides funding in support of a multi-pronged approach to safety, security, and emergency management, including increased mental health and social-emotional support for our students, and the addition of safety monitors in all buildings to assist with visitor management and overall building safety. Our new Director of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management worked with District Administration, building safety teams, and community agencies, including the Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service and the Village Police and Fire Departments, to prepare for and debrief on major and minor issues, reviewed procedures and behaviors, conducted emergency drills and training, and identified improvements which would mitigate risks to students and staff. The Board also began a comprehensive review of all District policies for the first time since the 1990s.

As with the ending of any school year, we offered our best wishes to retiring administrators, teachers, and other staff members with combined years of experience in the hundreds, impacting thousands of students. We also bid adieu to and thanked two past Board presidents, Lee Maude and Bill Natbony, for their steadfast leadership throughout their six years on the Board, and Nina Cannon, for her service over the past three years.

The 2019-20 school year offers an infusion of new and talented personnel. Scarsdale welcomes Tashia Brown as Edgewood Elementary School Principal, Melissa Feinberg as Fox Meadow Elementary School Principal, Chris Coughlin as Scarsdale Middle School Assistant Principal, and many new teachers and employees. Additionally, Trish Iasiello has left her position in the classroom at Quaker Ridge Elementary School to become the Fox Meadow Elementary School Assistant Principal. We also welcome three new Board members, Karen Ceske, Carl Finger and Ron Schulhof.

In addition to new faces, the 2019-20 school year offers many exciting opportunities. First, thanks to community support of the 2018 Bond and this year’s budget, security vestibules and cameras will be installed at all five elementary schools; construction has begun on the new addition at Greenacres Elementary School; Heathcote Elementary School will have a new roof; Scarsdale High School and Scarsdale Middle School will have new boilers; Butler Track will have new asphalt; the Fox Meadow Elementary School field access stairs will be replaced; there will be air conditioning in the Fox Meadow and Quaker Ridge Elementary School libraries, and students and staff will benefit from improvements made to the Scarsdale Middle School orchestra and band rooms. We eagerly await the unveiling this fall of Superintendent Hagerman’s Strategic Plan, which has been in its development phase throughout this past year, involving guidance from administrators, teachers, parents, and students, and will focus much of our work over the next three years. In addition, the Board will negotiate three expiring collective bargaining agreements with the Scarsdale Teachers Association, the Scarsdale Principals Association, and the Managers and District Services Association.

The Board has begun discussion of its goals for the 2019-20 school year, which will include supporting the forthcoming Strategic Plan. The Board will also model District initiatives such as wellness and sustainability; further discuss issues surrounding security and safety; continue to explore facilities improvement and sustainability efforts; pursue legislative advocacy; continue our comprehensive review and revision of District policies, and lead the District’s efforts in longer-range planning, public engagement and communication, benchmarking, and assessment.
Please stay informed and connected to the Board and the District. We welcome you to contact us in writing at 2 Brewster Road, Scarsdale, N.Y. 10583, or via email at . Emails to this address are received by each Board member, the Superintendent, and the District Clerk. We invite you to attend our public meetings where there are opportunities for members of the community to address the Board and Administration.

The calendar of Board meetings can be found at . Board meetings are streamed live, are available on demand, and shown regularly on television (Verizon FiOS channel 27 and Cablevision (Altice) Optimum channel 77) . We encourage you to visit our District website, , and the Board homepage, , for a wide variety of background and up-to-the-minute information. If you have not already done so, please visit our homepage and click on the link to “Join Our Community Email List.” This will ensure that you receive the Board’s and District’s emails to the community, including summaries of each Board meeting and issues of the informative ‘ Dale Disptach.

As the opening of the school year approaches, we are reminded that we are fortunate to live in a dynamic community that is deeply committed to public education generally, and to the education of our own children. Scarsdale is a place in which people willingly share and respect diverse opinions, ideas, and experiences on almost every issue facing our District. We are united by our goal to provide the finest learning experience possible for our children in the finest learning community possible. These ideals help make Scarsdale a great place to live, raise a family, and stay for decades.