Friday, Jul 12th

STA Signs 4-Year Contract, Sharon Hill to Retire, Board Announces Leadership Plan for Next Year

BoardPortrait22 23From welcoming new employees to updates on the auditorium project, the Board of Education left no stone unturned as they wrapped up the 2023-24 school year in a lengthy meeting on Monday 6/10.

The meeting, which began with a special ceremony recognizing the district’s retirees was packed with information, including new contracts signed. Here are some of the highlights:

New Contracts

New employment agreements were signed for everyone from the Superintendent and administration to the teachers and civil servants. All salary negotiations are collective bargaining agreements conducted in executive session so the public is not in on the discussions. Meghan Troy, in the job of Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources for her first year, presumably led the negotiations and she appears to have navigated the process with finesse.

At the final Board of Education meeting of the 2023-24 school year, she announced the highlights of these contracts which can be viewed in Board Docs here.

Below are some of the salient points:

The Scarsdale Teachers Association signed a four year agreement that calls for salary increases of 1.75% per year for the next four years. School nurses and occupational therapists will receive 2.5% salary increases per year for the next four years. Under the new contract, the number of half days for parent teacher conferences has been reduced to two half days for elementary schools and calls for additional conferences to be conducted after school from 3:15 – 5:15 on one afternoon in the fall and another in the spring. This change was presumably made in response to parents’ complaints about the difficulty of half day programming for working parents

The Scarsdale Principals signed a similar 4-year agreement for 1.75% salary increases over the next four years. One year agreements were made with the Superintendent and the district administrators and you can view them here:

In other news, Greenacres Principal Sharon Hill will retire in January 2025 and will be eligible for post-retirement health insurance from January – June 2025 provided that she will be available for up to 80 hours to assist with the transition of a new principal.

Updates from Dr. Patrick

As it was the last meeting of the school year, Dr. Drew Patrick took time to express his gratitude for all the District’s essential partners including each of the BOE members, the entire administrative team, all faculty and staff members, the PTA and PTC, parents and caregivers and expressed that he sincerely appreciates everything they do. Dr. Patrick also congratulated Scarsdale’s students for their hard work and accomplishments this year, but gave special recognition to the 5th, 8th and 12th graders reflecting on these milestone achievements.

Dr. Patrick went on to discuss ParentSquare, the District’s new notification system. He made reference to an email sent out to all parents in the district which states:

“Our emergency notifications will be sent from ParentSquare. In the fall, we will use ParentSquare to share both emergency and non-emergency communications from the District. We will send instructions in September to help you use the ParentSquare app to view District communications, manage your notification preferences, and set up your preferred default language for District communications.”

New Hires

After honoring several retirees earlier in the meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Meghan Troy, had the pleasure of announcing quite a number of new hires for the 2024-25 school year. Perhaps one of the more significant announcements was the appointment of Cindy Parrot as the new Athletic Director. As was announced last week, because the athletic department has grown tremendously over the last several years, the District worked to reorganize this department and is having Ray Papallardi focus solely on PE and Health with Cindy Parrott joining the department as the Athletics Director. Troy described Parrot by saying:

“For over twenty years, Cindy has worked at SMS as a math teacher, math department chair, and Teacher in Charge of CHOICE. In addition, she has been the modified volleyball coach for over a decade in Scarsdale. Prior to Scarsdale, Cindy coached volleyball and softball at Westport High School. Cindy is a skilled leader with a high level of organization and communication. These are just a few of the many skills that will help Cindy lead the athletic program. Cindy holds an M.S. in Education, Administration and Supervision from Fordham University, an MS in Education, Secondary Education from the University of Bridgeport and Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting, from Pace University.”

Other new hires and new roles include:

Marci Rothman will be taking on the role of Middle School Assistant Principal. She has been serving as the interim Assistant Principal at SMS for the past year. For over twenty years, Marci has been a social studies teacher, social studies department chair and modified coach. She holds an M.S. in Leadership from LIU-CW Post (School of Education), an M.S. in Education from Dowling University, and a B.A. in Sociology from Dickinson College.

Laura Burns will be joining the Heathcote School as an ICT teacher. She is currently teaching at Bronxville Elementary School. Laura holds an M.Ed. in Childhood Special and General Education from Bank Street College, an M.A. in History of Art and the Art Market from Christie’s Education, and a B.A. in Art History from the College of the Holy Cross.

Neil Epstein will continue in his role at Scarsdale Middle School as a social studies teacher. During his time, Neil has established strong connections with his colleagues over the past year and has fully immersed himself in the Scarsdale school community. He holds an M.Ed. in Secondary Social Studies Education from Queens College and a B.S. in Finance from the University of Delaware.

Kathleen Grieve joins the district as a special education teacher at Scarsdale Middle School. She currently teaches at Eastchester High School, but looks forward to engaging with our middle school students in their formative years. Kathleen holds an M.A. in Educational Technology, an M.A. in Special Education, and a B.A. in Secondary Education from Pace University.

Emilia Hogg will be join the Physics Department at SHS. She is currently teaching Physics at DreamYard Preparatory School, Bronx, NY. Ms. Hogg brings a warmth and energy that will support our Scarsdale students during their learning of physics. Emilia holds an M.A. in Science Education: Steam Teaching and Learning from Adelphi University, and a B.A. in Physics from Binghamton University.

Claire Hollocou will serve as a technology teacher at Fox Meadow. Ms. Hollocou is currently teaching at Bronxville Elementary School. She brings a wealth of experience and ideas to the position and is a lifelong learner. Claire holds an M.S. in General and Special Education from Hunter College and a B.S. in Cognitive and Brain Science from Tufts University.

The math department welcomes Daniela Maddaloni as a math teacher at Scarsdale High School. Ms. Maddaloni is currently teaching at Archbishop Stepinac High School. Daniela holds an M.A. in Pure Mathematics from CUNY Lehman College, an M.A. in Secondary Education, and a B.A. in Mathematics from Quinnipiac University.

Jared Torres will be joining the middle school as a technology teacher. He is currently a computer science teacher at Fox Lane High School.. Jared holds an M.A. in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

Former Scarsdale grad, Lilly Savastano, will join the high school as a math leave replacement. She is currently teaching at Ossining High School. Ms. Savastano earned an MA in Mathematics Education from Teachers College Columbia and a BA from Iona College.

Aimee Baez will be joining Fox Meadow as a school psychologist. She is currently serving as a leave replacement at Scarsdale Middle School. She holds a PhD in Psychology from St. John’s University, a M.S. in General and Special Education from Bank Street College, and a B.A. in Psychology from Bard College.

Emily Preston will be a choral teacher at Scarsdale Middle School. Ms. Preston is currently teaching at Boynton Middle School, Ithaca NY. She holds an M.M. in Choral Conducting from Ithaca College, an M.M. in Music Education from Queens College, and a B.M. from Oberlin College Conservatory.

Edgewood teacher, Kim O’Connor, will be taking on a new role as the Reading Teacher at the Edgewood School. Kim has worked in the District for 7 years and is excited to take on the position vacated by Sarah Tucker.

Madolyn Accola will bea choral teacher at the Heathcote School. Madolyn holds an M.A. in Music Education from Hunter College and a B.M. in Music Education from Steinhardt School of Education. She is currently teaching at Friends Seminary, Lower School, New York, NY.

Brandon Shea will continue as a leave replacement science teacher at SMS. He has made strong connections with his colleagues and students and looks forward to the continuation of his role. He is the science teacher on the Cooper 7 team.

Nadia Kemp will continue as a leave replacement school psychologist at Scarsdale High School. Dr. Kemp will be assigned to Scarsdale High School and is replacing Peter Faustino who will be out on a one year leave. During her time in Scarsdale, Dr. Kemp has embraced her new role and expanded to it as a softball coach.

Daniel Kaye will be joining Scarsdale as a high school math teacher. He is currently teaching at Honeoye Falls-Lima School. Daniel holds a B.S. in Adolescence Education from SUNY Cortland.

Auditorium Project

Assistant Superintendent for Business, Andrew Lennon introduced Ken Schupner from BBS Architects who gave an update on the SHS auditorium project. Though the District had hoped to accept bids on April 25th of 2024, they have not yet received permit approval from the state. Schupper reported that the SED (who grants the permits) has been incredibly backed up. However, Schuper is hopeful that the district will have the permit soon and will still be able to begin work this summer. If work isn’t able to begin this summer, the team will introduce a contingency plan such as working in the evening hours and over school breaks.

Chartwell

Lennon also announced that the Food Service Committee and the administration has made the recommendation to extend the Contract with Chartwells (our food service providers) citing the “quality program that we have seen them put forward.”

Cenergistic

Representatives from Cenergistic, the company the district has partnered with in order to reduce our energy use and costs, were on hand to discuss what we were able to accomplish this first year of working together. See the presentation here.

Though the district was able to accomplish a decrease in energy use, some of the savings initiatives they hoped to have originally obtained during the first year, weren't fully reached. Lennon referred to some of the challenges (such as the age of the buildings and some of scarsdale’s infrastructure) as reasons they were not able to obtain all of the savings. In light of the first year performance, Cynesrgistics has offered a contract reduction for year two.

Annual Gift Giving Report

During the discussion about the Annual Gift Report, board members discussed the idea of trying to make sure that gift giving by the PTAs is equitable amongst all of our schools, and especially across the five elementary schools. Amber Yusef thanked all the donors for their contributions but also expressed concern about some of the large gifts received over the past few years. Going forward, she wants the board to consider ensuring parity across the elementary schools.

Colleen Brown agreed with Amber and added her concern about the lack of equity at each of the schools noting a stark difference in donation amounts. She would like all of the elementary schools to have the same amount of opportunities to create learning opportunities despite what their PTAs can donate.

Ron Schulhof acknowledged that each of our schools are different and perhaps more information from each school about their needs for gifts or their plans to save up for bigger projects might be helpful.

Susie Hahn agreed with all and added, “Each school is distinct, they are their own organization, they have their own priorities, they have their own specific layouts and buildings and grounds challenges. Having said that, it is a board's responsibility to ensure some comfort that there is equity in terms of gifting.”

First recognizing a need for thoughtfulness around gift giving, Dr. Patrick also reminded the board that there is a policy for gift giving in place and perhaps the policy needs clarification or updating. He also assured the board that the cabinet gives a great deal of careful consideration to the gifts they recommend to the board. The Gift Giving Policy can be found here.

Later in the meeting the board accepted the proposals for two gifts. The first was a gift of $19,580.40 for the 2023-24 school year to support the purchase of (8) round cafeteria tables for a lunch space at Fox Meadow. This gift was donated to the school by the Fox Meadow PTA.

The second gift proposal to be approved was a gift of $500.00 to the Middle School to purchase materials to construct a weather-proof whiteboard display in the Middle School Outdoor Classroom. This gift was donated by the Middle School PTA Executive Committee.

For a look at all of the gifts from the 2023/2024 school year, please click here.

Public Hearing for the Safety and Emergency Plan

Following a 30 day public comment period where members of the community were invited to give their feedback regarding the Safety and Emergency Plan, the BOE began the evening by holding a Public Hearing about the plan. Eric Raushchenbach explained that the Safety and Emergency plan, which is created and mandated by state requirements, only saw two new items added this year, an annex for elopement and safety procedures in case of an earthquake. Raushchenbach made clear that the plan being discussed and voted on described protocols at the District level and that each building also has their own specific safety and emergency plan. During “Action Items”, later in the meeting, the plan was approved by the Board.

Audit Committee

Dimitris Batileskas from Nawrocki, Smith LLP presented to the Board a review of their initial risk assessment. In his presentation, Batileska commended the district for having a positive risk profile. After describing that his firm did an extensive analysis of 92 areas of business processes where they rated each with a low, medium, or high rating, Batileska explained that 65 out of the 92 areas were given a low risk rating and none (0) were deemed high risk. He also expressed his confidence that with their plan, areas that were rated as a moderate risk would quickly dip to low risk. What’s more, Batileska explained that comparatively, Scarsdale fares better than surrounding districts and applauds the district’s openness and willingness to work with the auditors.

Board Leadership Succession

BOE President Ron Schulhof announced that current Vice President Susie Hahn expressed interest in taking on the role of president next year and that Jim Dugan is interested in the role of vice president. Formal nominations about the 2024/2025 leadership roles will be made at the Board of Education meeting on July 2nd 2024.

End of Year Tributes

While gratitude and appreciation was expressed for the entire BOE and especially for this year’s president Ron Schulhof, there was special recognition given to Jessica Resnick-Ault as she exits the board this year. Schulhof started by commending Resnick-Ault for always keeping students at the core of her board work and for the positive impact she leaves on the Scarsdale community.

Each of the other board members also took a turn expressing their gratitude for the dedication, hard work, and thoughtfulness that Resnick-Ault brought to the board. Robert Klein conveyed that Resnick-Ault’s perspective added tremendously to the board and that he has no doubt she will go on to make Scarsdale and the world a better place.

Again, these are only a few of the highlights from a meeting chock full of information. For a deeper look at highlights and to hear details about the treasurer’s report, a board self-evaluation, and much more, you can watch the meeting in its entirety here: