• June 23: Looking Forward

    Hi folks,

    CV

    I hope you and your family are staying healthy. As a parent, I know that what we experienced at the end of this past school year was unprecedented and difficult. I am extremely proud of the work that staff and students did during remote learning this spring in a setting that was less than educationally ideal. 

    Taconic Hills staff is actively preparing for the 2020-2021 school year. We are committed to creating a teaching and learning plan that follows the guidance of the Governor’s and state education department’s upcoming recommendations. We have not received specific guidance about opening in the fall from NYSED yet, but we will follow recommendations from the CDC and NYS Department of Health (DOH) to inform our reopening plans. Currently we are reviewing guidance from other states education and health departments to give us an idea of what we might be able to accomplish in the Fall.

    Many medical experts and health organizations are predicting a possible second wave of COVID-19 for the fall that could vary in severity from region to region in our country.  It is highly likely that our plan will be required to provide flexibility to address the needs of our students and staff in an on and off campus setting. It is anticipated that the school day and student experience will look different this upcoming year. Please be assured that safety for students and staff in our learning community is our highest priority. 

    The logistics of redesigning the school experience for the fall to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff is complex - ranging from transportation and classroom design to meals and teaching pedagogy. We plan on reaching out to parents and students to gather additional information in an advisory task group that will inform our decision making. We expect that a formalized plan will be due to the state in late July.

    I am extremely concerned that we need a strong start to the new school year so that every day, every student can and will be successful. We will do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff while in our buildings and that students do not lose any instructional opportunities as a result of these uncertain times.

    There are three scenarios for this fall that we are taking into consideration:

    1. On campus
      The first scenario is a situation where all students are on campus, with increased safety precautions and restrictions on in-person gatherings or other limitations.

    2. Remote Learning
      In this scenario, we are in a fully remote learning environment. For next school year the expectations will be that new content will be taught, students will be accountable for participating in their classes and they will be assessed on their proficiency of their knowledge and understanding of the content. More structure will be established for each week and within each day. A set schedule would be followed.

    3. Hybrid
      In this scenario, schools would be open and we would follow the guidance of the New York State Education Department(NYSED), with our students potentially participating in a blended or hybrid type schedule with the possibility to have half or a quarter of the students physically in the building at a given time, potentially on certain days of a week, to ensure appropriate physical distancing and the implementation of enhanced safety protocols. 

    We must be adaptable for a seamless transition to fully remote learning in the event we are not allowed to have in-person instruction for September or at any point during the school year.

    Knowing that we may move between scenarios, we want to develop a plan that also in a consistent manner supports families and provide academic rigor and social-emotional support for students and staff. 

    Thank you for supporting your child’s learning and being a partner with us as we inspire all learners to achieve extraordinary success. 

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools
    Taconic Hills Central School District


     

    June 12: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills

    Next Week
    Next week is the last week of school! Thursday June 18, 2020 will be the last day of remote instruction for students. Building principals are working with families on closing out the year, collecting personal belongings from school, and returning school property. 

    We are NOT collecting computers from students at the end of the school year. The only computers that will be returned are for Graduating Seniors

    Meal Distribution and Childcare
    The last day for Food Service and Childcare will be June 26, 2020.

    Elementary Art Show
    Ms. Kipniss & Ms Dierkes put together an art show for the Elementary School
    View the Gallery

    Jr/Sr High School Art Gallery
    Ms. Dierkes and Ms. Smith put together a virtual art gallery for the Jr./Sr. High School.
    View the Gallery

    TH Wave Parade
    Faculty and Staff would like to keep with tradition and have an end of the school year wave goodbye to the students! Please come anytime between 1-3 pm on Thursday, June 18. Drive through the bus lane (entrance found by elementary side ) and through the student parking lot waving goodbye. Faculty and staff will be lined up by their cars looking forward to seeing all of your faces and wishing you a wonderful summer break as you drive by!
    View the Flyer

    Community Needs Survey
    This survey was developed by the Jr/Sr High School Academic Committee. Some questions were taken from a survey created by Panorama Education. Please help us better support you and other families by answering these questions. Your answers will be completely anonymous. If you prefer not to answer any question, you can skip it. As you answer these questions, please think about your family’s situation right now.
    Survey Link

    Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these unchartered waters. Please social distance and stay safe.


    May 29: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills

    Jr/Sr High School Honor Roll
    Congratulations to our Honor Roll recipients for the 3rd Quarter of the 2019/20 School Year! Great job! See the 3rd Quarter Honor Roll

    2020 Elementary Field Day
    The Elementary PE Department would like to present the 2020 Field Day. Please join the department and have some family fun. Mrs. Romero, Mrs. Hallenbeck, Mr. Davis and Mr. Russo, have put together a list of fun activities you can do during the month of June. We are sad that we won't be able to do them with you, but you can see a clip of us!  We have made you a message & a website to help you in your family field day fun.  Enjoy!

    Website link:  https://sites.google.com/taconichills.k12.ny.us/taconichillselementarype/home
    Video message:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1p1qcFLuDtI4M87Z9Wd5PgbwrSzHJklJ-
    Upload pictures and videos at the following link: https://goo.gl/KF5r51

    2020 - 2021 Budget Vote
    The Annual District Election is scheduled for June 9, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 virus, all applications for absentee ballots are waived. All qualified voters will be mailed an absentee ballot for the purposes of this election. Absentee ballots are to be returned to the District no later than 5:00PM on June 9, 2020, to be counted.

    Board of Education Vacancies 2020 - 2021 /  Meet the Candidates Zoom Meeting
    This year we have one (1) five year term commencing on July 1, 2020 and expiring on June 30, 2025. Candidates for Board of Education (Questionnaire Responses):

    Heidi Beneke (Beneke Main)
    Sheryl Boris-Schacter
    Lynn Brandt

    Meet the Candidates 
    Meet the Candidates will be held via a Zoom Meeting tonight at 6:30PM. https://us04web.zoom.us/j/71748312603?pwd=RVZMb0JtbGx3OTZMZllBTVo4RFhDUT09
    Meeting ID:  717 4831 2603
    Password:  8pGtli

    Community Needs Survey
    This survey was developed by the Jr/Sr High School Academic Committee. Some questions were taken from a survey created by Panorama Education. Please help us better support you and other families by answering these questions. Your answers will be completely anonymous. If you prefer not to answer any question, you can skip it. As you answer these questions, please think about your family’s situation right now.
    Survey Link

    Spring Athletic Video
    A video to honor our 2020 senior athletes that lost their last sports season due to COVID-19. Thank you athletes for your contributions and dedication to athletics at TH.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/Cy528MGK7vCz8VMN9
    - Sincerely,
    Angela Webster

    Titans Store
    Check out the Titan Strong shirts and sweathshirts in both youth and adult sizes. Order by June 1st. Orders will be mailed to your home.
    https://www.bsnteamsports.com/shop/btKjAcBAU2

    WiFi Map
    Follow this link for a map of currently known WiFi Hotspots in our district. If you know of any others, please submit it on the Google Form at the following link: shorturl.at/flsCJ or email rsemp@taconichills.k12.ny.us . Thanks to Robin Semp and John Dodds for putting this together.

    Childcare for Essential Emergency Workforce
    We are continuing to provide childcare for children of parents considered essential employees. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines or need childcare and are unsure if you qualify, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information.

    School Counseling Resources from Taconic Hills
    The Covid-19 crisis is having an enormous impact on our students and families, and this situation holds different meaning and implications for everyone. One of our biggest concerns is how this crisis is impacting the social/emotional wellbeing of our community. We would like to extend our support to help address these concerns by offering a list of resources that you can access from home and contact information for our Counseling Department. We will continue to be available to support to our families for the duration of this crisis. We wish the best for everyone in our Taconic Hills community and look forward to seeing our students again very soon! COVID-19 Support


    May 22: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills

    Memorial Day / Meal Delivery Schedule Change

    Memorial Day, Monday May 25th will be observed by the District as a holiday. There will be no scheduled home learning on that day. Meal distribution will go out on Tuesday (1 breakfast and 1 lunch). Wednesday and Friday will operate on a normal schedule. Enjoy the holiday!

    Virtual Science Research Symposium -  Next Tuesday & Thursday
    The Science Research students would like to invite you to this year's Science Research Symposium. We know that many of you have wanted to attend in the past, but find it hard to fit a weekday evening program into your busy schedules. However, this year, due to COVID-19, we are Virtual! There will be a Zoom Virtual Speaker Symposium at 6 pm on May 26th. And the posters will be available to view and ask questions at any time at our Virtual Poster Symposium. Then, from 6-7 pm on May 28th, the website will be live for students to write in answers as well as more questions to be asked. 

    The Taconic Hills Science Research Symposium website is: https://bit.ly/Symposium2020TH 

    We are excited to share our hard work with our community. Through our efforts and the support of our school, community, and advisors, the Taconic Hills Research Program has earned honors and awards each year we have been completing research. You can see a list of our awards on the website. This year we are pleased to announce that Jadyn Carruthers earned 4th place overall (out of 80+ students) for her research on PTSD and Military rank at the Greater Capital region Science Fair held at RPI each year. In addition, Hunter Gardner earned first place and silver medals in the FFA Agriscience Fair for his research into Tropical Cyclones in the Northeastern USA. Finally, Amy Smith of our art department, earned first place in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Brochure Cover Art competition. Her artwork was featured on their symposium brochure this year. Students are excited to share their work with you.

    We hope to see you there!
    Linda Hopkins
    Science Research Course Instructor

    Community Partnership Mass Food Distribution
    Come receive food, fresh fruits, vegetables and other items. Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 10am until food is gone. Columbia County Fairgrounds located at 182 Hudson Avenue, Chatham, NY. Part of Catholic Charities Mobile Outreach Vehicle Extension (CCMOVE)

    Spring Athletic Video
    A video to honor our 2020 senior athletes that lost their last sports season due to COVID-19. Thank you athletes for your contributions and dedication to athletics at TH.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/Cy528MGK7vCz8VMN9
    - Sincerely,
    Angela Webster

    Titans Store
    Check out the Titan Strong shirts and sweathshirts in both youth and adult sizes. Order by June 1st. Orders will be mailed to your home.
    https://www.bsnteamsports.com/shop/btKjAcBAU2

    WiFi Map
    Follow this link for a map of currently known WiFi Hotspots in our district. If you know of any others, please submit it on the Google Form at the following link: shorturl.at/flsCJ or email rsemp@taconichills.k12.ny.us . Thanks to Robin Semp and John Dodds for putting this together.

    Childcare for Essential Emergency Workforce
    We are continuing to provide childcare for children of parents considered essential employees. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines or need childcare and are unsure if you qualify, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information.

    School Counseling Resources from Taconic Hills
    The Covid-19 crisis is having an enormous impact on our students and families, and this situation holds different meaning and implications for everyone. One of our biggest concerns is how this crisis is impacting the social/emotional wellbeing of our community. We would like to extend our support to help address these concerns by offering a list of resources that you can access from home and contact information for our Counseling Department. We will continue to be available to support to our families for the duration of this crisis. We wish the best for everyone in our Taconic Hills community and look forward to seeing our students again very soon! COVID-19 Support 

    May 15: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills 

    Blood Drive Raises Money and Awareness
    A huge virtual hug and thank you goes out to the members of the TH community for making our blood drive on 5/8 one of the most successful drives in the Columbia/Greene county region. Many TH employees, students and residents showed up to our 6 hour blood drive. Another big shout out to our BOE President, Bonnnie Torchia for sewing 50 + homemade masks for our donors. #gratefulgirl Mrs. Byrne 

    Census Poster Winners
    Congratulations to Amiya Howard, Hethar Scutt, Luke Olson & Amy Smith on their winning Census Posters in the Claverack Free Library and Philmont Public Library Poster Contest. Great Job! You don't need your slip of paper to fill out your 2020 Census.
    You can fill it out now and avoid a knock on your door the summer of 2020. The census impacts school lunches, plans for highways, support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day. 
    Check out the Posters on the Claverack Library Facebook Page

    DFS Hosts Awards Night
    Congratulations to all the Taconic Hills Dollars for Scholars winners this weekend. Great job with the ceremony! … Watch the Video

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month
    While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. One way to check in on yourself is to take a mental health screen at mhascreening.org. It’s a quick, free, and private way for someone to assess their mental health and recognize signs of mental health problems...  Screening Tools

    School-Related Professionals provide safety net for communities during pandemic
    The daily undertaking by members of the Taconic Hills Support Staff Association, some 40 miles south of Albany, is no less impressive. Though smaller and rural, the district is expansive. The daily bus runs cover 979 miles … Read the Story

    WiFi Map
    Follow this link for a map of currently known WiFi Hotspots in our district. If you know of any others, please submit it on the Google Form at the following link: shorturl.at/flsCJ or email rsemp@taconichills.k12.ny.us . Thanks to Robin Semp and John Dodds for putting this together.

    Childcare for Essential Emergency Workforce
    We are continuing to provide childcare for children of parents considered essential employees. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines or need childcare and are unsure if you qualify, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information.

    School Counseling Resources from Taconic Hills
    The Covid-19 crisis is having an enormous impact on our students and families, and this situation holds different meaning and implications for everyone. One of our biggest concerns is how this crisis is impacting the social/emotional wellbeing of our community. We would like to extend our support to help address these concerns by offering a list of resources that you can access from home and contact information for our Counseling Department. We will continue to be available to support to our families for the duration of this crisis. We wish the best for everyone in our Taconic Hills community and look forward to seeing our students again very soon!  COVID-19 Support


    May 8: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills

    Happy Mother’s Day
    Mother's Day is Sunday, and we're taking a moment to say thanks to the most important women of them all-- our mothers. Thank you for your love, sacrifice, strength and dedication. Have a great Mother’s Day!

    Graduation Plans/Senior Recognition (from Mr. Buhrmaster)
    Dear Taconic Hills Class of 2020 Students and Families:

    Good afternoon! I hope everyone is staying safe and optimistic about the future. These have been difficult times for many and it can be tough to recognize and celebrate the positives when we are in the midst of dealing with a changed world. In just 51 days our seniors will officially become graduates of Taconic Hills. We have worked with the senior class officers and advisors to come up with different ways to celebrate the class of 2020. Unfortunately, we will not be able to come together as a large group at this time but have planned a graduation and other events that will celebrate the great accomplishments of this class. We are also taking steps to have an in person celebration in the fall, if conditions permit. Please read on for more information about our graduation celebrations and other events

    This year we will produce a graduation video to be broadcast on Saturday June 27th at 11:00 for all to see. Each student will also get a DVD of the ceremony to share with their family and friends. We will need help from each of you in making this video special. Several days will be set aside before graduation for students and a small number of family members to come to campus to get their cap & gown and be filmed receiving their diploma on stage. We will practice social distancing and institute safety precautions for all participants. We will try to have professional photographers available to take pictures for you.

    The one hour video will include scenes from all of our Seniors walking the stage along with some of the things that make this a special moment for students and families. Our great singers and musicians will be part of the ceremony along with a few of our great student speakers. There will be few surprises and some moments that can make us all feel good about the class of 2020. The Senior Class is hoping to have a get together in the summer and we will all plan on getting together in the fall for a celebration of the Class of 2020 as part of our Homecoming Weekend.

    There are several other ways that our Seniors will be recognized this Spring. The senior class is purchasing shirts for the class. A ton of your favorite teachers and school employees will be dropping off yard signs for each senior very shortly. You will be informed when they are coming. The class officers are putting together a presentation for Senior Signing Day and will be asking you for pictures soon. Local radio station 98.5, The Cat, is announcing the names of all of our graduates. Each senior will soon have the opportunity to decorate/paint a designated parking spot that will remain until the fall.

    Other events are being planned to celebrate the accomplishments of all of our great students. You will not have a graduation like others have had before you but will now have a graduation and experience that creates bonds with each other that will hopefully last a lifetime.

    We wish you all the best and can’t wait to see each of you face to face on stage as a graduate!

    Mr. Buhrmaster

    Teacher Appreciation Week Video
    Hello TH families. We here at Taconic Hills just wanted to show you recognition and our deepest gratitude for your devotion and hard work during this pause. It is Teacher Appreciation Week and you all deserve this recognition this year ... Watch the Video
    Special thanks to Stephanie Rothvoss for putting together the video.

    Bentley Headed to Paul Smith College
    Congratulations to TH Senior Madison Bentley, who will be studying forestry and playing on the Golf Team at Paul Smith College in the Fall. Madison has competed at the Varsity level since 7th grade has led his team to two conference titles, and to the sectional tournament 4 times. Individually Bentley has earned the Patroon Conference MVP and was a 1st team all-conference golfer … Read the Story

    Smith Wins Research Science in the High School Art and Science competition
    SUNY Albany recently announced that Amy Smith won the Research Science in the High School Art and Science competition. Amy was commended for the excellent job of demonstrating a link between science and art. Amy was inspired by the research of Hunter Gardner, in Linda Hopkins’ Science Research class ... Read the Story

    School-Related Professionals provide safety net for communities during pandemic
    The daily undertaking by members of the Taconic Hills Support Staff Association, some 40 miles south of Albany, is no less impressive. Though smaller and rural, the district is expansive. The daily bus runs cover 979 miles … Read the Story

    WiFi Map
    Follow this link for a map of currently known WiFi Hotspots in our district. If you know of any others, please submit it on the Google Form at the following link: shorturl.at/flsCJ or email rsemp@taconichills.k12.ny.us . Thanks to Robin Semp and John Dodds for putting this together.

    Census 2020
    You don't need your slip of paper to fill out your 2020 Census. You can fill it out now and avoid a knock on your door the summer of 2020. The census impacts school lunches, plans for highways, support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day. https://my2020census.gov/login 

    Childcare for Essential Emergency Workforce
    We are continuing to provide childcare for children of parents considered essential employees. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines or need childcare and are unsure if you qualify, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information.

    School Counseling Resources from Taconic Hills
    The Covid-19 crisis is having an enormous impact on our students and families, and this situation holds different meaning and implications for everyone. One of our biggest concerns is how this crisis is impacting the social/emotional wellbeing of our community. We would like to extend our support to help address these concerns by offering a list of resources that you can access from home and contact information for our Counseling Department. We will continue to be available to support to our families for the duration of this crisis. We wish the best for everyone in our Taconic Hills community and look forward to seeing our students again very soon!  COVID-19 Support 


    May 1: Governor Announced Distance Learning Extended to End of School Year

    Today Governor Cuomo announced that distance learning will be extended through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. A decision on summer school is expected to be announced by the Governor at the end of May. We are disappointed for the students, but are hopeful that this action will keep people safe. 

    We would like to stress that teaching and learning will continue. We are very proud of the work that our faculty and staff members have been doing, and we are grateful to parents and guardians who are keeping students on track and engaged at home.

    We would like to thank our school community for your tremendous support as we have navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic. We know this news will bring new questions and we will continue to provide updates in the days and weeks to come.

    Taconic Hills will continue to provide food and childcare services, as well as remote learning, throughout the remainder of the school year. Please visit our COVID-19 webpage on our District website for more information and resources.

    Hope all is well with you and your families.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr
    Superintendent, Taconic Hills Central School District


    April 24: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills

    All school districts in New York State will remain closed through Friday May 15th as part of the Governor’s statewide PAUSE to help protect the public against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    Earth Day Ceremony

    Taconic Hills staff and a student attending childcare at school braved the winter-like weather and planted a tree on Earth Day in honor of the sacrifices of the COVID-19 Pandemic. A jar with notes written by community members, students and staff about the environment and the current pandemic was placed near the tree to be opened at a future date. Special thanks to Cantele Memorials for the stone to designate the tree.
    Watch the Video

    WiFi Map

    Follow this link for a map of currently known WiFi Hotspots in our district. If you know of any others, please submit it on the Google Form at the following link: shorturl.at/flsCJ or email rsemp@taconichills.k12.ny.us . Thanks to Robin Semp and John Dodds for putting this together.

    We Are The World
    The 518 came together for their own version of "We Are the World". It's performed by more than 50 people - most of whom have never even met! TH 4th Grader Danielle Molinski participated in the virtual event. She can be seen at 3:00, 4:12 (her close up) and 5:29. Great job Danielle!

    Watch the Video on Facebook

    Blood Drive

    Due to the severe blood shortage, we are continuing with plans for the Blood Drive on Friday, May 8th from 9AM-3PM. Appointments will be required and guests will be required to wear masks during their donation (ARC will provide masks if necessary). No walkins. Please consider donating during this critical time.https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=12521

    Census 2020

    You don't need your slip of paper to fill out your 2020 Census. You can fill it out now and avoid a knock on your door the summer of 2020. The census impacts school lunches, plans for highways, support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day. https://my2020census.gov/login 

    Childcare for Essential Emergency Workforce

    We are continuing to provide childcare for children of parents considered essential employees. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines or need childcare and are unsure if you qualify, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information.

    School Counseling Resources from Taconic Hills
    The Covid-19 crisis is having an enormous impact on our students and families, and this situation holds different meaning and implications for everyone. One of our biggest concerns is how this crisis is impacting the social/emotional wellbeing of our community. We would like to extend our support to help address these concerns by offering a list of resources that you can access from home and contact information for our Counseling Department. We will continue to be available to support to our families for the duration of this crisis. We wish the best for everyone in our Taconic Hills community and look forward to seeing our students again very soon!    COVID-19 Support


    April 17: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills

    This week Governor Cuomo announced that all school districts in New York State will remain closed through Friday May 15th as part of his extension of the statewide PAUSE to help protect the public against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    Blood Drive

    Due to the severe blood shortage, we are continuing with plans for the Blood Drive on Friday, May 8th from 9AM-3PM. Appointments will be required and guests will be required to wear masks during their donation (ARC will provide masks if necessary). No walkins. Please consider donating during this critical time.https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=12521

    Census 2020

    You don't need your slip of paper to fill out your 2020 Census. You can fill it out now and avoid a knock on your door the summer of 2020. The census impacts school lunches, plans for highways, support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day. https://my2020census.gov/login 

    Childcare for Essential Emergency Workforce

    We are continuing to provide childcare for children of parents considered essential employees. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines or need childcare and are unsure if you qualify, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information.

    School Counseling Resources from Taconic Hills
    The Covid-19 crisis is having an enormous impact on our students and families, and this situation holds different meaning and implications for everyone. One of our biggest concerns is how this crisis is impacting the social/emotional wellbeing of our community. We would like to extend our support to help address these concerns by offering a list of resources that you can access from home and contact information for our Counseling Department. We will continue to be available to support to our families for the duration of this crisis. We wish the best for everyone in our Taconic Hills community and look forward to seeing our students again very soon!    COVID-19 Support 

    Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support. 

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr
    Superintendent, Taconic Hills Central School District


    April 10: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills

    This week Governor Cuomo announced that all school districts in New York State will remain closed through at least April 29, as part of his extension of the statewide PAUSE to help protect the public against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. To clarify the Governor’s directive, this means that students are tentatively scheduled to return to school on Thursday, April 30.

    Testing
    June Regents were also cancelled this week. I know this brings forth many questions as to how this may affect the school year and graduation requirements for our high school students. We expect to receive further clarification and guidance from the NYS Education Department in the near future.

    We have received further guidance with regards to AP Testing. Click the link below to see Important changes to the AP tests this year due to COVID-19. 
    AP Update Letter

    Blood Drive
    Due to the severe blood shortage, we are continuing with plans for the Blood Drive on Friday, May 8th. We will be working with the American Red Cross to see what modifications we need to make due to COVID-19. 

    Scholarships in Memory of Mr. Hamm
    A scholarship has been set up in memory of Mr. Hamm. Contributions to a scholarship in his name may be sent to:

    Taconic Hills Faculty Association
    Attn: Jenny Jeffrey
    Taconic Hills Jr. Sr High School
    73 County Rte 11A
    Craryville, NY 12521

    School Counseling Resources from Taconic Hills
    The Covid-19 crisis is having an enormous impact on our students and families, and this situation holds different meaning and implications for everyone. One of our biggest concerns is how this crisis is impacting the social/emotional wellbeing of our community. We would like to extend our support to help address these concerns by offering a list of resources that you can access from home and contact information for our Counseling Department. We will continue to be available to support to our families for the duration of this crisis. We wish the best for everyone in our Taconic Hills community and look forward to seeing our students again very soon!    COVID-19 Support

    Field Hockey Cinnabon Fundraiser
    The Cinnabon delivery originally scheduled for April 7th has been postponed due to COVID-19. Once the bakery is re-opened, we will reschedule the delivery date. The Field Hockey team thanks you or your support and understanding. Hope everyone is healthy and safe - Angela Webster

    Childcare for Essential Workers
    We are continuing to provide childcare for children of parents employed as Emergency Service Personnel and Healthcare Workers. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information. 

    Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support. 

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr
    Superintendent, Taconic Hills Central School District


    April 3: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills

    We understand there has been uncertainty among some parents and staff members as to whether students and employees will be required to learn and work through the scheduled spring vacation, including Good Friday. The answer from the governor’s office is “YES.” Taconic Hills will continue home learning activities, meal delivery, and childcare Friday, April 10, through April recess.

    Childcare

    We are continuing to provide childcare for children of parents employed as Emergency Service Personnel and Healthcare Workers. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information. 

    Mr. Hamm

    It is with great sadness that we pass along news of Mr. Hamm's passing. Mr. Hamm grew up in the district, attended school at Taconic Hills, and was a music teacher for more than 30 years. Lyle was also a great family man, lifeguard, instructor, civic icon, and volunteer who went on to substitute at the school he loved for 16 years after his retirement. He loved Taconic Hills and all of its students. He was a wonderful caring man with a great sense of humor and passion to teach students.

    Mr. Hamm left an indelible mark on countless students during his life. Many have fond remembrances of their experiences with "Hammie".

    There are plans to set up a scholarship in his name and honor his legacy in the coming months. The family will hold a private burial and will be hosting a public memorial service at a later date. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this time. 

    https://www.batesanderson.com/obituaries/Lyle-Hamm/

    Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support during this unprecedented time..

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr
    Superintendent, Taconic Hills Central School District


    Instruction, food service and childcare support to continue through spring break

    April 1, 2020

    Dear Taconic Hills Community,

    On March 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order closing schools across New York state until at least April 15. This period includes scheduled days off during our Spring Recess (April 13-17). The mandate left school districts questioning whether the mandate included originally scheduled days off. 

    Based on guidance from the Governor's Office:

    “Districts must continue to provide remote instruction for students, meals for students, and child care for essential workers every weekday between April 1, 2020, and April 14, 2020, even if the district is scheduled to be on spring break during that time.”

    Therefore, we will continue to provide instruction, meals to families and childcare for essential workers during the April break. The state will reassess whether to extend the statewide school closure past April 15th. 

    I, like you, am disappointed that we are unable to provide a much-needed and well-earned break for students, teachers, and families. Understandably, your children (and many parents) will be disappointed by this news. Please remind them that we are dealing in unprecedented times and these setbacks are short-term, and your family and our district are here to help. Making them aware of the many supports in place if they experience anxiety. As always, we are eternally grateful for your partnership.

    We recognize that this is a stressful and challenging situation and we know that you are managing many personal and professional responsibilities. Let’s stay in this together. Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr
    Superintendent, Taconic Hills Central School District


    March 27: Weekend Update - Classes Cancelled until April 15th

    Good afternoon everyone. We are learning more information about the spread of the Coronavirus every day. While this has been a challenging period for everyone, we really appreciate the support of our community, teachers, staff, parents and students during this time. Classes are cancelled until April 15th.  As you know this is the middle of spring recess and will be working to determine what that means for the students of Taconic Hills CSD. We continue to monitor information from Columbia County, the Governor of NY, NYSED and several other local, state and federal agencies.   

    This week we modified our meal distribution to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We will continue with that plan ongoing. We have also been working with teachers and parents to send information back and forth between school and home. 

    On Wednesday of this week we began providing childcare to children of parents employed as Emergency Service Personnel and Healthcare Workers. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information. 

    Please continue to check the COVID-19 page on the District website for the latest updates. This page also has links to request help with instructional plans, tech support and meal distribution. This pandemic is evolving and changing daily, so we want to make sure we are providing you with the resources and support that each family needs. 

    Be well and stay healthy.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr
    Superintendent, Taconic Hills Central School District


    March 19: Update from Taconic Hills Regarding Coronavirus [COVID-19]

    Today Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order mandating that businesses (including schools) require in-office personnel to decrease in-office workforce by 75 Percent. 

    As a result of this Executive Order, going forward, we ask that parents use email as the preferred method of communication with school staff. We will still have access to phone systems, but some personnel will be working from home during this period. 

    We will also be consolidating our meal deliveries to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Each child will receive 2 Breakfast and 2 Lunches on both Monday and Wednesday and 1 on Friday. Teachers, parents, and students should take advantage of these delivery times to send work between school and home.

    If you would like to pick up your child’s medication or equipment from the School Nurse, please come to the entrance to your child’s school from 10:00AM-Noon on Friday March 19th. School nurses will be available to help during this timeframe. If you are not available during this time please email Kathy Keyser (Elementary) or Cory Leggett (Jr/Sr HS) to arrange pick up.

    While thankfully there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Columbia County, we are taking this precaution to help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus consistent with the guidance of local and state officials. We appreciate the support of the Taconic Hills community during this time and will continue to keep you informed as any situation arises.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools


    March 16: Update from Taconic Hills Regarding Coronavirus [COVID-19]

    Update: Classes Canceled Wednesday, March 18 Through Wednesday, April 1

    At this time, we are moving the Superintendent's Conference Day previously scheduled for Friday, 3/20/20 to tomorrow, Tuesday, 3/17/20. We will use the day to continue long-term planning. No students will be in attendance tomorrow, Tuesday, 3/17/20. 

    The District will continue to provide nutritious meals to our students when there are no classes. Families wishing to receive breakfast and lunch when there is no school should complete the following Google Form.
    If you do not have access to a computer, please contact Pam Strompf, Food Services Coordinator at (518) 325-2885. Leave your name, student name(s), bus name, phone number, and address including street, town/village and zip code.
    During this week, meals will be delivered to your child’s morning bus stop approximately 3 hours later than normal time (e.g. - 7:28AM stop would arrive at 10:28AM).


    Sincerely,
    Dr. Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools
    Taconic Hills Central School District


    March 15: Update from Taconic Hills Regarding Coronavirus [COVID-19]

    UPDATED at 4:00pm on March 15, 2020

    Dear Taconic Hills Families and Community, 

    In anticipation of a State of Emergency being declared by Columbia County tomorrow, Monday, March 15th, the Taconic Hills Central School District will have the authority to cancel classes on an extended basis from Wednesday (3/18) through Friday (3/27). 

    While classes are cancelled, we plan to provide meals for all students and are working to set this up as soon as possible. We will notify families in the coming days about how this will take place. 

    On Monday and Tuesday (3/16 & 3/17) students and staff will be in session. We encourage parents to please send children to school on these days so we can supply them with needed materials for the remainder of the week. Friday (3/20) is a planned Superintendent's Conference Day for staff that will still be held.

    At a meeting with local superintendents in the Questar region this afternoon, we learned there continues to be no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Columbia County. However, the situation continues to evolve rapidly and we will be communicating with you as developments impact our planning. 

    We will continue to follow guidance from our local government, health and state education departments and provide additional information as soon as possible. Please continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations – including thorough handwashing – to stay safe and healthy. If you are sick, please consult with a physician. Columbia Memorial Hospital has a COVID-19 hotline (518-329-5902) with testing available for anyone who has the symptoms of the Coronavirus.

    Sincerely,

    Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools
    Taconic Hills Central School District


    March 15: Update from Taconic Hills Regarding Coronavirus [COVID-19]

    Dear Parents/Guardians & Community Members,

    While the Taconic Hills Central School District does not currently have any confirmed cases of novel coronavirus [COVID-19] within our school community, we are continuing to prepare for the potential for school to be shut down. 

    Students in Grades 6-12 are asked to bring their laptops and chargers and textbooks home with them each day. Students in the Elementary are being sent home with lessons based on the possibility of closure. These lessons are only to be used in the event of school closure.

    We are taking further precautionary measures based on the most recent guidance from the New York State Department of Health, Columbia County Department of Health and other agencies to help reduce potential exposure to COVID-19. 

    Events Postponed - All after-school events have been postponed or canceled until further notice. Success Fest & Dodgeball have been canceled for this weekend with a new date set for the beginning of the next school year. Grades 3-4 Concert scheduled for next week is postponed.

    Closings - The Pool and Fitness center will be closed to the public until further notice (effective today 3/13). All outside events (use of PAC, gymnasiums, outside fields, etc) on campus have been canceled.

    Athletics - Spring sports will continue with practices. All scrimmages, games and meets are postponed at this time.

    Before & After School Program will continue to operate as scheduled at this time.

    Board meetings and workshops will continue along as planned. 

    These closures and postponements will minimize the risk of contagions and allow for our Buildings and Grounds staff to continue to clean and maintain a healthy campus.

    We are receiving continuous updates from local, state and federal agencies and are taking these measures out of an abundance of caution. We appreciate the support of the Taconic Hills community during this time and will continue to keep you informed as any situation arises.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools


    March 13: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills Regarding Coronavirus [COVID-19]

    Dear Parents/Guardians & Community Members,

    While the Taconic Hills Central School District does not currently have any confirmed cases of novel coronavirus [COVID-19] within our school community, we are continuing to prepare for the potential for school to be shut down. 

    Students in Grades 6-12 are asked to bring their laptops and chargers and textbooks home with them each day. Students in the Elementary are being sent home with lessons based on the possibility of closure. These lessons are only to be used in the event of school closure.

    We are taking further precautionary measures based on the most recent guidance from the New York State Department of Health, Columbia County Department of Health and other agencies to help reduce potential exposure to COVID-19. 

    Events Postponed - All after-school events have been postponed or canceled until further notice. Success Fest & Dodgeball have been canceled for this weekend with a new date set for the beginning of the next school year. Grades 3-4 Concert scheduled for next week is postponed.

    Closings - The Pool and Fitness center will be closed to the public until further notice (effective today 3/13). All outside events (use of PAC, gymnasiums, outside fields, etc) on campus have been canceled.

    Athletics - Spring sports will continue with practices. All scrimmages, games and meets are postponed at this time.

    Before & After School Program will continue to operate as scheduled at this time.

    Board meetings and workshops will continue along as planned. 

    These closures and postponements will minimize the risk of contagions and allow for our Buildings and Grounds staff to continue to clean and maintain a healthy campus.

    We are receiving continuous updates from local, state and federal agencies and are taking these measures out of an abundance of caution. We appreciate the support of the Taconic Hills community during this time and will continue to keep you informed as any situation arises.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools

    Attached Letter from Columbia County School Superintendents


    March 10: Coronavirus Update from Taconic Hills

    Dear Parents/Guardians & Community Members,

    While the Taconic Hills Central School District does not have a confirmed case of novel coronavirus [COVID-19] within our school community, we are monitoring information from local, state and federal officials about new cases. If the district becomes aware that one of our students or staff members is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will notify our community via email and on our website. 

    Preventative Measures
    For now, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your children is to follow the standard preventive practices for influenza. There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the New York State Department of Health:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    More information about COVID-19 is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state Department of Health also has information available on its website, including a Coronavirus hotline.

    Campus Cleaning Procedures
    Our custodial staff members clean our buildings thoroughly every evening and we are taking special precautions to wipe down “high-touch surfaces” with cleaners that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and effective against coronavirus. We are also routinely deep cleaning buses.

    School Events
    Taconic Hills is taking precautions to ensure that our community is practicing good hygiene for community events (concerts, Success Fest, Dodgeball). Hand washing stations are always available during events and visitors are encouraged to take preventative measures to avoid spreading any germs. As always, please do not come to school if you are sick. Any student or attendee who demonstrates signs of illness may be asked to leave the event as a preventative safety measure.

    Field Trips/Conferences
    We continue to monitor any travel by staff and students and make decisions on a case-by-case basis. We have scaled back some of our out of District events as a precautionary measure. We continue to monitor the situation and how it may affect upcoming travel and share information with any affected groups as it becomes available.

    We appreciate your support of our district and will share more information as it becomes available via email and on our district website at https://www.taconichills.k12.ny.us/

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools 


    March 3: Letter to Taconic Hills Parents, Staff & Community Regarding Coronavirus

    Dear Parents, Staff and Community

    I want to reach out regarding the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV). At this time, there are no positive cases in our area and two documented cases in New York State (New York City and Westchester County). However, given the media attention and the importance of your child's health and safety, we want to share some basic information about the coronavirus and ways to stay healthy.

    The district is monitoring the situation and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NYS Departments of Health and Education and the Columbia County Department of Health. The district has infectious disease protocols in place and has been focused on cleaning and disinfecting all school areas including classrooms, cafeterias and school buses to help minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses.

    At this time, there is no need to cancel school or social events. With that said, our administrative team is taking proactive measures and discussing plans in the event that schools were to be closed, or if there were a high level of student absences. We are considering various scenarios and will work with the NYS Education Department to prepare in the event the need arises. 

    Prevention

    There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. Like with all viruses and illnesses, there’s a tremendous reliance on individual precautions. The NYS Department of Health recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-2019:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick, especially if you have a fever or cough.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.
    • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    More Information

    If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.

    Local health departments will contact schools if a suspected or known COVID-19 case emerges. The district is prepared to work with any affected families.

    For more information, consider consulting these additional resources:

    1. Novel Coronavirus (NYS Department of Health)
    2. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CDC)
    3. Information for Travel (CDC)
    4. FAQ for Travelers (CDC)
    5. Prevention & Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    6. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Frequently Asked Questions – Prevention

    In addition, New York has established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline, which can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms. The district will continue to share information as it becomes available.

    Please know that, as always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority.

    Sincerely,
    Neil Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools