The Mount Vernon City School District will host “Bridges to Success: Welcome Back Curriculum Night” on Sept. 26 and 27. Parents are invited to come learn how to successfully navigate their child through their curriculum.
Representatives of the Graham Elementary School Alumni Association presented 50 backpacks filled with school supplies to school officials to hand out to first-graders on Sept. 12, marking the second year the group has done so. The association is looking to do this every year as a way of giving back to the community and acknowledging the school’s efforts to ensure a high quality education for children in kindergarten through the sixth-grade. Proceeds from the Graham Heights Community Barbecue --- where many members lived as children --- were used to purchase backpacks and school supplies for first-graders.
The Shamoya McKenzie Foundation will host its Inaugural Fundraising Gala to raise money to fulfill its mission of engaging the youth of different communities in physical and educational activities and workshops that aid in the awareness and prevention of gun violence. The gala is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Eastwood Manor, 3371 Eastchester Road, Bronx, and will include a cocktail hour, dinner, DJ music, dancing and open bar. The cost is $100.
Mount Vernon City School District’s Director of Student Services, Felicia Gaon, was nominated for Special Education Administrator of the year by the New York Council of Administrators of Special Education (NYCASE). She was honored in Saratoga recently at the organization’s Summer Institute. Gaon was nominated by Mount Vernon City School District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton She was among a select pool of highly qualified and highly regarded Special Education administrators from across New York State who were nominated for this prestigious career achievement award.
Children are back in classrooms with educators who are well equipped and ready to teach and motivate all students. Part of their preparation came from an extra special keynote speaker at this year’s Convocation Day last week who spoke about equity in schools. Dr. Pedro A. Noguera, a professor with the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California Los Angeles, has toured school districts in poverty areas across the country, learning from the successes of many of them to create his broad foundation for school improvement. His topic at Tuesday’s convocation at Mount Vernon High School was “Excellence Through Equity: Creating Conditions for Great Teaching and Learning.”
As the summer days begin to grow shorter, the nights a bit longer and the temperatures begin to drop, ever so slightly; we are reminded that September is right around the corner.
I hope that you have found this summer to be one rich in experiences and memories. I for one, was pleased to have spent an incredible two weeks overseas with my eldest son, Kenneth, Jr. , on an educational and spiritual journey through Africa. This trip, probably the most culturally significant trip of my life, took me through the birthplaces of civilization. It created awareness for me of how fortunate we are to be living today in the United States. I toured schools that you would hardly recognize as schools; Primitive classrooms with nothing more than desks and a chalkboard. A single classroom with some 50 children spanning from elementary school through high school. Most students, traveling miles each way, do so because they know for certain, that the only way out of their impoverished communities is through education. We then journeyed to Portugal where we visited the ancient city of Lisbon and hiked the mountainous paths to ancient Castles.
I share this with you to highlight how fortunate we are here in Mount Vernon. Our challenges though great, are not insurmountable. We can overcome the greatest adversity through our tenacity, cooperation and patience. By working together we can continue the transformation of our schools and community and finally raise our children to unprecedented heights. This is what the 20/20 Vision is all about; providing opportunities, raising standards and ensuring our students have access to the education necessary to graduate college and career ready.
To that end, work on the 20/20 Vision implementation has continued in earnest over the last few months. Work is underway throughout the district, preparing our buildings for universal full day Pre-K. Building plans are being developed and reviewed, state education approvals are happening weekly, contracts awarded, and construction commencing are all signs that we are well on our way.
Our Buildings & Grounds staff has worked diligently to ensure our buildings are clean and ready to accept students and staff come September.
Our teachers and administrators have been busy developing curriculum and laying the foundation to ensure an academically successful and enriching year for all of our students.
With just a few weeks left until opening day, I wish you a relaxing and fulfilling end to our summer break. I know how important these few months are to recharging our batteries in preparation for a new and exciting school year.
I look forward to welcoming back our staff and students in September. I know the 2017-2018 school year will be filled with momentous occasions and great success.
There is no better time to be a part of the Mount Vernon City School District, and I am excited to continue to lead our incredible staff and students through another academic year.
See you soon,
Yours for the sake of all children,
Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton
Superintendent of Schools