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Opening week activities and classes at high schools

Opening week activities and classes at high schools

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. 

The new principal of Mount Vernon High School, Dr. Pauline Pearce greeted 10th-grade students at orientation, giving words of encouragement and excitement and expressing her priorities for the upcoming year. She wants to build a sense of community, cultivate character, and inspire excellence. 11th and 12th graders had orientation on September 7, and ninth graders will have orientation September 9. 

"The new Mount Vernon High School means that we have expectations for you," said Dr. Pearce. "We need you to be role models to the children coming after you. Mount Vernon High School is the flagship school of the district, meaning we need to be pillars of the community. The high school will be a place where everyone feels welcome, where everyone is safe, and a school that is conducive to learning."   

Mount Vernon STEAM Academy held an orientation for 10th-grade students on September 8, and ninth grade students had their orientation on September 8. Acting Principal Lillian Serret-Morales laid out her expectations for the year and expressed supreme confidence in the scholars. Ms. Serret-Morales reminded the students that high school can be difficult, but they need to continue pushing themselves. She introduced all the teachers, and they each spoke for a few moments to welcome back the students.  

Ms. Serret-Morales put an emphasis on safety and said, “My message to the parents is to support us with our uniforms, and it will make it easier to keep their children safe. As always, we need to keep our focus on academics, behavior, and safety for all staff and students.” 

The orientation covered everything from curriculum to graduation requirements, as the principal urged students to make sure that they stay caught up with their classes.  
STEAM Academy administration highlighted the extracurriculars and the honor roll. They also highlighted the college preparation and academic support programs. These include academic power hour and Spring Saturday school. Additionally, the safety supervisor gave a short speech about entering the building and safety concerns with what students bring in their backpacks. Students were dismissed to their classes. Classroom instruction began and teachers happily welcomed back their scholars.

Denzel Washington School of the Arts held an orientation on Wednesday, September 7, and Thursday, September 8 was the first day of full classes.  
Principal Dr. Evelyn Collins met with the seniors to discuss her expectations for the year.  
“I want Denzel Washington School of the Arts to be one of the premiere arts schools in the country,” said Dr. Collins. “I push them to make the ordinary extraordinary. If they have that as their foundation, all they can do is go up.” 

Seniors were excited to begin their final year of school, but that also means that they will have plenty of work. Dr. Collins spoke with seniors from the dancing, theater, visual arts, band, and orchestra programs, and she gave them a summary of what to expect in their senior year.  

Visual Arts teacher Janet Rush introduced the AP Art and Design curriculum and course requirements to her students. She also recapped the Michael Escoffery art exhibition at White Plains Library from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7. Students from Denzel Washington School of the Arts brought their art to the exhibition, and some sold their art.  
Denzel Washington School of the Arts values its scholars' work, and Ms. Rush said that they are always looking to showcase their students at events like this. She is excited to see all her students work hard and see what opportunities are available to them. She also began class by asking about the students’ college plans so that she could help them achieve their goals. In the next room, theater students were working on monologues with scene partners that they will perform soon.  

Students and teachers posing with No Place for Hate bags and shirts

All 16 Mount Vernon City School District schools were presented with No Place for Hate (NPFH) Banners at the NPFH Banner Ceremony on Thursday, May 25, 2023. The district became the largest school district in Westchester County to have all of its schools designated as No Place for Hate. They are among the 239 NPFH schools in downstate New York.

MBK Fellows seated at table

Kevon Palmer and Levonn Latham, 11th-grade students at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy, were inducted as 2023-24 My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) fellows on Friday, May 19, 2023. The induction ceremony was held at the annual My Brother’s Keeper Symposium. They traveled to Albany, New York, where the symposium was held, with their mentors Brother Arthur Muhammad, youth development specialist, and Noel Campbell, director of career and technical education.

Josephine Kirkland-Hudson

Josephine Kirkland-Hudson has been a school social worker for close to 25 years.  She began her educational career in the Yonkers Public School system in 2000 and became the school social worker at Rebecca Turner Elementary School in 2005. Throughout her career, she has always searched for engaging and enriching programs for her students to participate in, including No Place for Hate.    

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The Mount Vernon City School District needed an extra day to determine the winners of the Board of Trustee race to fill four of the five seats being contested. Following the closing of the polls at 9 pm on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, electronic results were reported and absentee ballots were counted, but 23 affidavit ballots still needed to be verified by the Westchester County Board of Elections and ballots that met residency requirements were counted.