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Letters from our Superintendent

 

November 9, 2018


Dear Parents,


In light of the recent shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Thousand Oaks, California, we are reminded of how dangerous a world this can seem to a child. It is difficult enough for us to understand as adults. We feel deeply saddened for the victims and their families. As much as we try to shield our children from these tragedies, they unfortunately can be exposed to upsetting events like these through social media and peer discussions.
As teachers, administrators, and school employees, we strive to keep our connections strong to each and every one of our students. Please engage in conversations with your child to stay connected. If you feel your child may need to talk to someone, we have counseling support available in our buildings.
Here are some resources that may be of help to you:


http://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers


https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/16/07/coping-community-crisis


On another note, as we celebrate Veterans Day this Monday, November 12th, let us remember the men and women who are serving or who have served this country in our military. Many members of the Garden City community have served this nation. Their service has distinguished them as individuals who have made great sacrifices to protect us. They are the men and women who ensure that each and every one of us can enjoy the freedoms we do. We honor and thank our Veterans and their families.
Finally, as we approach the season of giving thanks, we encourage you to attend the various school events planned for the next few weeks to see your child(ren) in their schools and classrooms.
Enjoy the long weekend.


Sincerely,
Kusum


Kusum Sinha, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

_________________________________

 

November 1, 2018:

 

Dear Parents,

The Garden City Police Department has informed us of an incident that occurred Wednesday afternoon on Avalon Road in which a gold/beige 4-door sedan, driven by an unknown male, stopped and asked a child if he wanted some candy.  The child had just gotten off the school bus and was walking up the driveway.  The vehicle then slowly left the area south bound on Avalon.  There is no description of the driver.   

No one was harmed in the incident.  The Garden City Police Department is continuing its investigation.

We want to inform you of this incident as part of our continued efforts to ensure the safety of all students.  I encourage you to use this notification as an opportunity to review safety rules with your children and remind them to avoid circumstances that increase their vulnerability.  If ever you see anything suspicious you are encouraged to call the Garden City Police Department at 516-465-4100.  Please be assured that we will continue to keep you informed as warranted.

Sincerely,

Kusum

Kusum Sinha, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

_________________________________
October 30, 2018:
Dear Parents,

Mental health of our students is an important topic for us as a school community.  Today, we see noticeably an increase in the number of students with anxiety and depression in schools.  Just this year, New York State has identified Mental Health Education as a priority and a new mandate for schools. As we move forward to create a consistent K-12 approach to our students’ mental health, our goal is to educate our students about mental health where they will be able to effectively recognize signs and symptoms in themselves and others and will know where to turn for help.  In our schools, we address mental health through various programs, such as mindfulness, yoga, health classes, co-curricular programs, among others.  We want to create learning environments that decrease negative stigmas, and encourage students to communicate and to develop healthy, resilient behaviors.

To support this initiative, we are creating a web page as a resource for our school community. “Continuum of Well Being” will appear under “Recent News” on the District’s main page: www.gardencity.k12.ny.us. Information and links will be posted and included in upcoming District newsletters as we broaden our vision and knowledge.

We are grateful to our PTA for their support in bringing expert mental health speakers to our school community. Programs such as “Angst” remind us that our students need support to deal with the pressures of growing up in today’s society. The presentation has sparked meaningful conversations and increased awareness of the importance of helping our students to recognize and communicate when they are having difficulty coping with such stressors.     

Here are links to recent articles that focus on anxiety, social pressures, and achievement pressures of our youths that you might find helpful:

https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/17/11/resilience-anxious-students  

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/06/11/616900580/back-off-how-to-get-out-of-the-high-pressure-parenting-trap 

  

Kusum

Kusum Sinha, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

______________________________

 

September 4, 2018:

Dear Garden City Parents/Guardians, 

Opening Day is always very special as we welcome our students back!  Today, approximately 3,900 students arrived at our seven school buildings to begin the new school year.  Our students were greeted at school by their administrators, teachers, and staff.  This morning, I visited each of our schools and many classrooms where students were already happily engaged in learning, even with today’s high temperatures.  With the temperature being so elevated, please remind your children to stay hydrated and drink lots of water and know we are keeping the heat index in mind for all outside activities.  

As your children are back in school, I did want you to know our students’ safety, both physical and emotional, continues to be our top priority. We work very closely with our Police Department and had police presence at each of our buildings today.  In addition, every officer is assigned to monitor our schools on their post throughout the year. The District and the Police Department work hand in hand regarding security and traffic matters that impact our children.  We are grateful to Commissioner Jackson and his team for working so closely with us. 

Additionally, last year we underwent an extensive school security audit from hardware and software to protocols and drills; every aspect of school safety was examined. Over the summer and during the upcoming months, we are implementing many of the recommendations we received, which include a visitor management system, additional security cameras, strobes, a one button lock-down system in each of our schools, and training for our school personnel.  We will continue to keep you informed with our progress.

We want every child to feel they are an integral part of our school community – to know that our schools are safe places where they can learn, grow, and thrive.  We want each student not only to like coming to school, but to love attending school.

I look forward to meeting you in the coming months.  Until then, best wishes for a wonderful school year.

Sincerely,

Kusum                                                                                                                      

Kusum Sinha, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools                                

_______________________________________ 
August 27, 2018:
Dear Garden City Parents/Guardians,

Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year!
Since I started on July 1st, I have met with many of the dedicated faculty and staff who work for our outstanding school district, and have learned a great deal about Garden City. Together, our school district and the Village of Garden City comprise a unique and very special place; a community with a rich history, and a long tradition of family values and communal spirit. I am honored to be part of our shared vision and assure you that I will work diligently and collaboratively to advance the mission of the school district – inspiring minds, empowering achievement, building community - and uphold the values and traditions of excellence that make Garden City Public Schools great.
As we begin the school year together, I would like to share a few of the many new and exciting initiatives planned for our K-12 students in the upcoming school year. These include:
 At the primary level, we will introduce Fundations, a program designed to strengthen young learners' phonemic awareness, phonics and word study.
 At the elementary level, we are excited to welcome back Dancing Classrooms, a physical education program that focuses on students’ social-emotional growth using movement and dance.
 At the middle school, a revised and revamped study skills program will be offered to our sixth graders, and a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) Club will be introduced.
 At the high school, our award-winning college Project Lead the Way (PLTW) sequence will include civil engineering and architecture for our fourth-year engineering students.
 Several middle school teachers participated in a rigorous program on project-based learning at Harvard University, which they will incorporate in their classroom practice.
 We will also have additional classrooms with flexible furniture at Stratford and Locust that will enhance instructional practice.
In the area of Technology, the District continues with its 1:1 initiative, adding five new Chromebook carts – two at the middle school and three at the high school. Fifth-grade students will receive Chromebooks and second and third graders will receive iPads.

Over the past two months, many significant building projects have taken place in all of our school buildings. In the high school, a new air conditioning system for the auditorium has been installed; the lobby bathrooms are being upgraded with anticipated completion this fall; the art lab has been completely renovated with re-cabling for 30 new 21.5” iMac computers, plus new furniture, and flooring; the auxiliary gym floor has been refinished, and it has been fitted with new wall and floor mats. In addition, new blinds have been installed in the science and social studies wings, and the safety netting system on the turf field has been replaced, completing the field replacement project. Also, the bus circle on Rockaway has been widened with new curbing, sidewalks and asphalt; the Middle School’s auditorium stage floor was sanded and repainted, and several classrooms in Stewart received drop ceilings with LED lighting.
We hired two administrators over the summer. Eleni Chronas is our new Assistant Director of Pupil Personnel Services. She comes to us with extensive special education background as a teacher, psychologist and administrator. Keri Hand is our Interim Assistant Principal at Stewart School. She has been a teacher at Stewart School for the past 14 years. We welcome them along with many new faculty and staff to the District.
Garden City School District is a very active place, so please remember to check our website -
www.gardencity.k12.ny.us - for updates and additional information. You can also follow me on Twitter, @GCPSSupt, and also the district, @GCUFSD.
I, along with our administrators, faculty, and staff, are looking forward to welcoming your children on September 4th. Best wishes for a fulfilling school year!
Sincerely,
Kusum
Kusum Sinha, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
__________________________________
 August 17, 2018:
Dear Garden City School Community,
It is an honor and privilege to serve as Superintendent for the Garden City Schools. I look forward to working with members of the Board of Education, administrative team, faculty, staff, students, and parents.
 
Here in Garden City, we are guided by our mission statement - Inspiring Minds, Empowering Achievement, Building Community- with our goal of cultivating and instilling enthusiasm for learning to help our students reach their personal best and succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. This mission is stewarded by our dedicated faculty and staff who guide and encourage our students to reach their full potential. 
 
I am confident that by working collaboratively with the Garden City school community, we will continue to build upon Garden City’s tradition of excellence from its rich educational programs and opportunities for students to its extensive arts, athletics, and co-curricular programs. 
 
The community’s high level of investment in our school is evident from my visits to each school and through attending school events. Our schools are stronger because they are embedded in a community that takes pride in the success of its students. I am very much looking forward to being part of this school community, and look forward to meeting you and your children throughout the year!
 
Warmest Regards,
 
Kusum
 
Kusum Sinha, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Garden City Public Schools