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Sixteen schools designated as Gold Star No Place for Hate

Sixteen schools designated as Gold Star No Place for Hate

For the second year, all 16 Mount Vernon City School District schools were presented with No Place for Hate (NPFH) banners at a ceremony on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at NYU Skirball Center in Manhattan. The district continues to be the largest and now is the first school district in Westchester County to have all of its schools designated as Gold Star No Place for Hate.  

The Mount Vernon City School District was one of the many school districts from New York to attend the NPFH Banner Ceremony. Presenters from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and special guest speaker, Chancellor David C. Banks, NYC Public Schools, gave testimonials about how NPFH has positively impacted school communities across the country and the progress that NPFH has made. Grammy Award Winning Violinist, Miri Ben-Ari was presented with ADL's Making a Difference Award.  Ben-Ari spoke to the students about bringing people together through music. 

Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Curriculum, Instruction & Administration Dr. Jamal Doggett first started the program during his time as principal at Rebecca Turner Elementary School. They received the NPFH designation for each of the six years after they implemented the program. When he became an assistant superintendent, he brought the program district wide. He established a leadership team and continues to ensure NPFH is implemented in each school and able to fulfill the NPFH requirements with fidelity now in its second year.

“I am extremely proud of the work accomplished by our schools to ensure the fight continues against all forms of hate, bias, bullying, and discrimination,” said Dr. Doggett. “We anticipate that No Place for Hate will assist with providing safe learning environments for our schools to ensure our academic programs and student outcomes thrive.”

Josephine Kirkland-Hudson, school social worker at Benjamin Turner Academy; Jennifer Goire-Peralta, school counselor at Rebecca Turner Academy; Melissa Sansotta, special education teacher at Benjamin Turner Academy; and Dr. Doggett led the initiative as NPFH coordinators. Last year, Ms. Kirkland-Hudson was presented with ADL's Gold Star Educator Award.  Ms. Kirkland-Hudson presented this year's Educator's award to Phyllis Beatus-Jacoby, a school social worker with the NYC Department of Education.

Two of our students, Hailee Norwood, a 7th grader from Nelson Mandela/Dr. Hosea Zollicoffer School and Raissa Santiago Pinto, a 7th grader from Mount Vernon Leadership Academy were nominated for the Cynthia Marks Legacy Award.  This award is presented annually by the ADL to recognize students who exhibit exemplary leadership in their school’s No Place for Hate program.   

Each school has gone over and beyond to complete several NPFH activities throughout the year to achieve their gold star designations. These activities focused on diversity, inclusion and acceptance.  On May 29, 2024, all schools will participate in the district's first No Place for Hate Day.  Families are encouraged to walk their child to school on this day where each school has planned NPFH activities.

Students participated in the pre-ceremony activities taking pictures with their banners, admiring artwork and learning more about combating bullying and defining allyship. 

Each school can display their banners prominently in their buildings to signal that it is No Place for Hate. Students will know when they come to school that they are entering an accepting environment that will help them succeed socially, emotionally and academically. Congratulations to all of our schools on a job well done!  

Students smiling for the camera.
Students posing for the camera.
Students and staff with no place for hate banner.


Lowes Moore Q+A

Lowes Moore, MVHS Class of 1976 graduate, is a former NBA basketball star and coach, and he served as Executive Director and Director of Development at the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon for 27 years. He now hosts a podcast and runs Lowes Moore Global Communications. 

View the Q+A with Lowes Moore here!

Students in a court room on steps.

Applications for the 15th annual Scales of Justice Academy (SJA) at Fordham University School of Law and The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University have been extended and are open until Saturday, June 15, 2024. The program will begin on Monday, July 22, at both locations. Legal courses will be taught by over 40 volunteer judges, lawyers, law professors, law students and elected officials.

Click here for the Fordham University SJA Application (July 22-31)

Click here for the Pace University SJA Application (July 22-26)

Students playing games.

On Wednesday, June 6, 2024, members of the Superintendent’s Advisory Council came to the Education Center from across the Mount Vernon City School District to convene their last meeting of the 2023-24 school year. The Superintendent’s Advisory Council is comprised of a group of student leaders selected from every school in the district.

President Kirwan, Dr. White and Dr. Smith.

Two Mount Vernon City School District administrators, Pennington Principal Dr. Melissa White and Director of Humanities Marybeth Rhodes, were honored at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith and Board of Education President Lorna Kirwan presented the awards. 

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Dr. K. Veronica Smith, Acting Superintendent of Schools: 

The Mount Vernon City School District is pleased to have reached two settlements of its dispute with the City of Mount Vernon regarding school taxes from the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years to the District.