Dear Mount Vernon Parents and Staff,
Tonight, at our regularly scheduled meeting of May 4th, the Mount Vernon Board of Education will formally approve three resolutions to address a transition in district leadership, effective immediately.
Dr. Waveline Bennett-Conroy, the district’s current Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement, will be appointed Acting Superintendent through June 30, 2022. She will become the Superintendent of Schools on July 1, 2022, with a contract that is three years in length.
Dr. Kenneth Hamilton, the current Superintendent of Schools who is out on medical leave, will remain on leave through the remainder of the current school year. The Board thanks Dr. Hamilton for his service.
We have been grateful for the professionalism and positive influence of Dr. Bennett-Conroy during Dr. Hamilton’s absence. Having served the district for more than 21 years, she fully recognizes the district’s successes and its challenges, and is prepared to bring fresh perspectives, new ideas, and an urgency for meaningful change in our school community.
Dr. Bennett-Conroy is well-known to the broader Mount Vernon community, having spent the majority of her professional career here in Mount Vernon. For those who may not be aware: she arrived in Mount Vernon to teach Spanish in September 2001 after 11 years of doing the same at a private school in the Bronx, and the prior eight years teaching both Elementary Spanish and Science and other schools in the Bronx, Manhattan, and her native Jamaica, West Indies. She moved into the administrative ranks in 2004, when she became the Ninth Grade Academy Principal at Mount Vernon High School, and subsequently served for 14 months as the school’s Interim Principal. Following this, she was appointed as the Director of Pupil Personnel Services for the district, a position she held for 7 years before being named Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement in 2015. Dr. Bennett-Conroy also served as Interim Superintendent of Schools for eight months during the 2011-2012 school year.
Her work through the years has demonstrated an all-encompassing commitment to our students, families, and larger Mount Vernon community. Her ability to generate tens of millions of dollars in grant funding has had an extraordinary financial and programmatic effect on our schools. And a sharp focus on professional development and personnel recruitment has brought many strong educators to our district. She has earned their respect, and ours, for these critical efforts.
Dr. Bennett-Conroy’s education credentials are extraordinary and parallel the depth of her experience in Mount Vernon. Our new Superintendent holds two Bachelor of Science degrees (Computer Science and Microbiology), two Master of Arts degrees (Spanish and Sociology), a Master’s in Educational Administration and Supervision, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. She has been awarded tenure three times in Mount Vernon.
One of the first significant efforts of Dr. Bennett-Conroy’s leadership will be an audit and likely overhaul of the district’s school security operation. Presentations will be conducted at tonight’s meeting by outside consultants sought out by Dr. Bennett-Conroy to propose immediate attention to this critical issue.
In July, after we have put the current school year behind us, we anticipate planning a series of transition events (in-person meetings and dialogues) for Dr. Bennett-Conroy for September, along with development of a strong slate of measurable administrative and Board of Education goals for the 2022-23 school year.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Bennett-Conroy in her new leadership role!
The Mount Vernon Board of Education
Dear Mt. Vernon Parents, Staff, and Community Members,
Our hearts are heavy as we relay this message. We continue to grieve with – and for – the family and friends of Kayla Green over the senseless events of last Friday afternoon. How can a celebration of our student-athlete achievements turn into a tragedy? Why has a vibrant and promising young life been lost to this?
The Mt. Vernon Board of Education will not accept that this is our reality. We will not accept violence among our students, in our schools, or in our community. We reject the casual acceptance of aggression and violence in our national culture. And as community leaders, we must live up to our responsibility to act decisively, lest we stand guilty of not prioritizing the safety and well-being of students, staff, and all who are a part of the school community.
First, and most important: we want answers as to what happened last Friday night. A wide-ranging criminal investigation has been under way by law enforcement, and we are fully cooperating in this effort. This includes an examination of all past documentation of DASA (Dignity for All Students) incidents of intimidation, harassment, or related behaviors among students, along with other inquiries.
Anecdotal reporting from those who were on site last week suggests that students from all three high schools were involved in student-on-student violence during the event. Parents and students, know this: it is critical that you confidentially come forward to share what you may have seen. The police and the district cannot address what needs attention without the cooperation and support of our community. If you have any details regarding this matter, please contact the Mount Vernon Police Department at 914.665.2500. We would also ask that you provide any such details to the district as well by contacting Dr. Waveline Bennett- Conroy at 914-665-5227.
Furthermore, and of the most immediate importance, all Mount Vernon City Schools will operate remotely on Monday, April 18 and Tuesday, April 19 to provide our students and staff with the opportunity to process what has occurred and to ensure that our schools are prepared to appropriately respond to student and staff needs under the circumstances. In-person learning will resume on Wednesday, April 20th. Grief counselors will be available at every school building to speak with students and staff who are struggling to make sense of this tragedy. We will continue to implement our existing safety protocols in each of our buildings, which include the use of devices to detect whether students are in possession of any weapons in school. We will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure that there is a sufficient police presence in and around our schools.
We have also met with Mount Vernon City officials, Westchester County, and the State Department of Education to address our immediate needs. Additionally, our students, staff and families can avail themselves of the following:
School leaders have been charged to work with their staff to help students with their feelings and emotions during this challenging time. They will provide social-emotional support lessons during the school day and provide direction to individual counseling as needed.
Historically (and like most, if not all, school districts in NY), we have utilized important conflict resolution instruction and similar programming in our schools for many years. But more must be done. One of the challenges of district leadership in the near term will be to develop a much more robust and holistic approach to student safety, specifically at our three high schools. This approach would integrate conventional security measures, expanded mental health services, and more contemporary instructional approaches to conflict resolution that are specific to our needs. We anticipate this beginning with the next school year as an independent audit of our current approach, followed by the introduction of a new set of improved operating procedures and programming.
We must be driven– always– by respect, dignity, and care for one other. And we must have safety and peace to match the pride we have in our Mount Vernon community.
The Mount Vernon Board of Education
As we did with our winter break, we want to continue to ensure that our schools are a safe haven for children to learn. To that end, we will be conducting a PCR Saliva COVID test for all staff and students upon returning to school the week of April 18th, regardless of vaccination status. We have recently seen an uptick in new cases in Westchester County. This extra layer of mitigation will help us contain any possible spread of Covid that may occur while we were out of school over the break.
Students will receive their PCR test kit from their Pre K-6 Homeroom teacher or their Grade 7-12 4th period classroom teacher when we return from Spring Break. Students must have a consent form on file with the district. If you need to fill out a consent form, you can go to the main page of our website at www.mtvernoncsd.org. There are also videos and support on how to take the saliva test tube test.
Additionally, the following key points should be noted to this testing process:
1. Schools should distribute the test tube bags to students on Wednesday and there will be an additional pick-up at 12 p.m. on Friday.
2. In order to ensure that all parents have access to their child’s results, a link will be sent to all student email accounts, where parents can access their child’s results. This will occur as soon as the test results have been processed by C19 Safety First.
3. If a positive test result is found for Covid, your school nurse or administrator will reach out to you to ensure that you quarantine and that you are taking the necessary steps to getting any help or support that you may need.
Of course if you have any questions, please reach out to your building Principal.
Click on the link below for saliva test instructions:
Click on the link below for instructions on how to take the COVID-19 saliva test.
If you haven't already done so, please scan the QR code below (or click on the link below the QR code) to complete a consent form so your child may be screened for COVID-19. To better control the virus, all students should be tested. The non-intrusive saliva test is simple to take at home and then dropped off at school. Results are confidential.
CONSENT FORM FOR COVID-19 SCREENING
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To learn more, click on the link below to download this presentation from Mount Sinai:
MOUNT SINAI COVID PRESENTATION
Staff and consultants of the Mount Vernon City School District, please scan the QR code below (or click on the link below the QR code) to complete a consent form so you may be screened for COVID-19 with PCR saliva testing.
Cheers filled the Phylicia Rashad Auditorium at Denzel Washington School of the Arts as students celebrated their schoolmates' achievements in an honors ceremony. Many seniors wore shirts with the names of the colleges and universities they will attend next year.
Mount Vernon High School students explored careers in construction trades, the military, the culinary world and more in the annual Career and Technical Education Transitional Fair today.
Denzel Washington School of the Arts’ 2022 valedictorian Fatima Davila Sen and salutatorian Olivia Anderson have this in common: They worked hard and made the most of an education in a district where they found teachers who care.
Students in the Theater Department of Denzel Washington School of the Arts got a special treat this week when actor and activist Malik Yoba visited the school to meet with them. The Bronx-born actor, whose numerous appearances on television shows and in movies include roles on Empire, First Wives Club and New York Undercover, visited on Thursday, Feb. 17, as part of the school’s Black History Month celebrations.
At Mount Vernon High School, Black History Month is the perfect opportunity for students in classes such as African American Studies to share what they’re learning with their schoolmates.
The Benjamin Turner Middle School family heard an inspirational quote by actress, producer and writer Issa Rae and were encouraged to learn about pioneering NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson when seventh grader Alex Campbell made the daily Black History Month announcements.
It is the goal of the Mount Vernon City School District that the information on our website be accessible to individuals with visual, hearing or cognitive disabilities.
Good faith efforts have been made to ensure that our site complies with New York State standards on website accessibility (New York State OFT Policy, P04-002, Accessibility of State Agency Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications).
The majority of pages in our site are available in HTML format that can be deciphered by screen readers. Some documents are in Adobe PDF format, which require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. If you do not already have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can download it for free from the Adobe website.
Some features on this site may require the Adobe Flash Player to view. If you don’t have the Adobe Flash Player, please visit the Adobe website to download a copy.
If you are unable to access any page(s) in our site, please email our District Webmaster with detailed information on the location of the page or document you were attempting to access. Be sure to include your name, email address and phone number so that we may contact you to provide the information in another format.
Please note that some pages on the Mount Vernon City School District Website contain links to third party sites, which are not within our control and may not comply with accessibility standards. The district is not responsible for the content or accessibility of third party sites.