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Convocation kicks off school year with new energy and positive attitude

The Mount Vernon City School District kicked off its new school year with a convocation that brought new energy and a positive attitude with the commitment to Renew Partnerships, Recommit to Excellence, Redesign the Curriculum, and Reimagine Impossible Opportunities for Scholars and the District. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Waveline Bennett-Conroy welcomed back teachers and staff both from the high schools during an in-person ceremony at the Mount Vernon High School auditorium and from the neighborhood schools virtually in a live stream on Thursday, September 1.   

Community leaders have spoken recently about bringing the community together after a difficult year that included many hardships. At the convocation, speakers from the community encouraged Mount Vernon educators to work collectively to achieve the goals Dr. Bennett-Conroy has been laying out this summer.   

“Dr. Bennett-Conroy has been a movement in education for over 40 years and represents everything that Mount Vernon is,” said Dr. Gayle White-Wallace, director of Pre-K, Gifted & Talented and Special Projects. “She migrated here from Jamaica, made her American dream come true and has been ensuring student success in Mount Vernon for over 21 years as a teacher, coach, director, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and at last a superintendent.”  

Dr. Bennett-Conroy discussed the priority of safety and security throughout the schools, the social and emotional wellness of the city’s students, helping to create healthy families, the importance of community engagement and attracting and retaining knowledgeable and dedicated staff members.   

The Mount Vernon City School District’s vision statement envisions a rigorous and diverse educational learning experience for all scholars; creating contributors to a global culture of collaboration through innovation, and engagement grounded in recognition and appreciation for all people.   

The district’s mission is to recommit to educational excellence through a redesigned curriculum, to reimagine impossible opportunities for our scholars.   

“A vision statement focuses on tomorrow and what an organization ultimately wants to become, and a mission statement focuses on what will be done today,” said Dr. Bennett-Conroy. “When I speak about my vision and my mission for the district, I use the analogy of our scholars being the core of a tree with the limbs reaching towards the sky. As educators, you are the light in the forest allowing the trees to grow.”  

She then asked the staff to reflect on these three questions: What do we do? Who do we do it for? How do we do it? She believes her educators will bring the fire and passion for teaching and learning.   

“Think about your own experience as a student,” Dr. Bennett-Conroy said. “Who do you remember and why did they impact your life as a student?”  

Keynote speaker Dr. Karren Dunkley, a Jamaican born social justice activist, an internationally recognized educator, a speaker and a leadership coach, emphasized the power of one’s mindset. She suggested putting positives before negatives and always knowing that students are watching and hearing everything their educators say. She emphasized the power that one teacher can have on a student’s life. She emphasized the power of being there for the students, day in and day out, and not just going through the motions.   

She reflected on her own experiences as a teacher and principal. She refused to give up on children that everyone else said were “no good.” From there, students began to trust her and before you knew it, they were graduating and becoming successful adults like she knew they could be.   

“If you speak it, they will believe it,” said Dr. Dunkley. “We are ambassadors of the school district. We need to build relationships with these students, so they respect us.”   

Students of the district joined the conversation as well.   

“Remember why you chose education as your career,” said Rayanu Adam, a senior at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy and student trustee on the district’s Board of Trustees. “You have the opportunity to make an impact on a child’s life. The road will not be easy, but it will be worth it.”   

“I can assure you that this year will be nothing short of a great adventure,” said Dr. Bennett-Conroy. “What we will accomplish together in support of our young scholars, will prove to be a trendsetting year for many years to follow.”   

Security guard helping students cross

Mount Vernon City School District takes the safety and security of all its scholars very seriously, and as a result, the district has provided temporary security coverage at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy to keep students safe as they arrive and depart from school grounds. The district is currently investigating the situation and looking for a permanent solution. 

George Latimer cutting the Memorial Field Ribbon with others.

Westchester County, City of Mount Vernon and Mount Vernon City School District officials were accompanied by local elected officials and other dignitaries in a ceremony on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, to officially open the new Memorial Field.  On Saturday, September 24, the Mount Vernon Knights football team will play their first game at Memorial Field since 2007. The team will face the Yonkers Force.   

Superintendent Dr. Bennett-Conroy and Parent Resource Center Coordinator cut ribbon to officially open Parent Resource Center

The Parent Resource Center officially opened on Monday, September 12, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a presentation where district administrators explained why the center is important to Mount Vernon’s parents. Located at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy, the Parent Resource Center is now open to parents and families seeking assistance. Parents, administrators, parent liaisons, and more gathered in the STEAM Academy auditorium, excited for the opening of this monumental new asset for the community of Mount Vernon.

MVCSD PNG Logo

Mount Vernon City School District has introduced Online Registration to families for the 2022 - 2023 school year, for efficiency, effectiveness and 24-hour access for all new registration.

Student looking at his curriculum in the auditorium. Surrounded by other students.

While the pre-Kindergarten to eighth-grade Mount Vernon City School District students started school on September 7, high schoolers are on a little different schedule with orientations Wednesday, September 7, and Thursday, September 8.