Principal's Corner

PRINCIPAL’s CORNER

Written  - August 16, 2018

For - September 2018

 

OPENING THOUGHTS

                September is a very exciting time for all of us.    Even those of us who no longer attend school often get those back to school jitters the first day of school each September.   A new school year makes all of us hopeful for a new beginning and excited for new possibilities.   At the same time, the beginning of a school year can produce anxiety for students at all levels.

 

A DEDICATED STAFF, AN ENGAGED PARENT GROUP

 I wanted to assure parents and students alike that the staff at the Rondout Valley Intermediate School is well aware of these mixed emotions and are working hard to make our school welcoming, warm, and safe for everyone.  Just yesterday, Ms. Marinucci, Ms. Delamater, Ms. Bennett, and Ms. Iannizzotto weeded and cleaned up our basketball court and then painted on the surface many new games that will ensure that recess is more exciting and inclusive than ever before. Over the summer, staff has been in and out working together to create new programs and improve on those we have already. In addition, parents from our PTSA along with teachers are busy preparing our second annual Fall Fun Festival to be held on Thursday, October 4. You can refer to our website to find out more about this event and how you can support it and get involved. 

 

COMMUNICATION

 Open communication is essential for a school community to truly be a community and to that end, I want all parents to know that I welcome your phone calls, visits, and involvement throughout the year.  We all have the best interests of your child in mind as we make decisions and work together to create a school year marked by growth and joy.   You can reach me at lcutler@rondout.k12.ny.us or by phone at 845-687-2400 (Extension 4601).

 

NEW APPROACH TO DISCIPLINE

In June of this year, the school district updated its Code of Conduct to better reflect a changing discipline philosophy.   It is important that all parents are aware of this code as it will explain better than anything I can say a philosophy that is mired in restorative practices.   In this new code, discipline is seen as an educational experience and a way to better connect students to their school community.  I encourage parents to go the actual Code of Conduct, which is posted on the District webpage under the “Parents and Students” tab.   In a nutshell, restorative practices are based on respect, responsibility, relationship-building and relationship-repairing.   Wherever possible, a restorative approach focuses on mediation and agreement rather than punishment.    Holding all members of our community accountable for their actions and how these actions impact others is a major part of this philosophy and approach. 

 

FOUNDATIONS OF DISCIPLINE CODE

The five basic foundational principles of the Rondout Valley Code of Conduct (Page 3) are as follows:

  1. My words, actions, and attitudes demonstrate respect for myself and others at all times.

  2. I seek to correct harm that I have caused to others in the school community

  3. I demonstrate pride in myself, in my future, and in my school by arriving on time, dressed appropriately, and prepared to focus on my studies.

  4. I always seek the most peaceful means of resolving conflict and obtain the assistance of my peers, teachers, administrator, or school staff when I am unable to resolve conflicts on my own.

  5. I look out for my fellow classmates and speak out when I see injustice, unfairness, or bullying.

 

WHAT WE BELIEVE

As you can see, these principles give us as adults a real opportunity to teach our students as they grow how to take more responsibility for their actions.   These principles also give us the framework to develop programs that encourage students to do more than just “behave.”   I am proud to say that our approach will be to grow individuals who learn how to truly show respect for themselves and others and at the same time how to look out for others who may need their support.

 

HOW TO STAY CONNECTED

This will be a very exciting year and I would ask parents to regularly check out our website as we will be using it to provide the most up to date communication in a school year that goes very fast!


Wishing each of you a relaxing rest of summer.

 

Lee Cutler