• To submit a question to 'Setting the Record Straight', please click here

     

     

    3/8/17
    My son recently brought home a brochure explaining the proposal to turn the Meagher building into a PreK center with administrative offices also located in the old school building. The literature explained the costs and benefits. It stated that the PreK center would have four classrooms for students. If this proposal is approved, does that mean that the privately contracted PreK providers will no longer be part of the universal PreK system? I am concerned because my younger child will be attending PreK next year and the location of Meagher isn't ideal for our family. If I am unable to bring him to Meagher, will I be left with paying for a private provider or will the contracted providers still be available? Thank you.

    If the Meagher proposal is approved by voters on May 16th 2017, the privately contracted prekindergarten providers would continue to receive funding from the Kingston City School District/New York State Education Department. The providers would still be available to KCSD residents. School Board members and KCSD administration plan to design a prekindergarten program to supplement – not replace – existing programming. At present, there is a lack of high-quality early childhood education opportunities for students that live in the Midtown area. The new prekindergarten would be targeted to income-qualifying, Midtown area students who are NOT already being served by an existing prekindergarten program. 


    9/12/16
    At Miller Middle School, there is an additional activity period after 19th period so that students waiting for the late bus will not be idle. Can students who do not take the bus opt to stay late and sign up for these activities also?

    Beginning February 8, 2016, the Kingston City School District is implementing a reorganization of the after-school activity period at both middle schools. The new schedule is designed to eliminate the time wasted when students are waiting for buses. 

    KCSD will now offer a 35-minute activity block for students who traditionally take the “late bus” after 19th period. This will provide a structured, supervised learning environment and a positive atmosphere for students under the guidance of adults. This change is being made in response to parent and administration concerns about students becoming restless during the pre-busing and busing period. 

    What does this change mean?
    • Regular dismissal remains the same at 2:24 p.m. If your child does not stay for 19th period, he/she will take the regular dismissal bus, or be picked up as usual.

    • Students who traditionally take the late bus after 19th period will be expected to sign up for an extended activity from 3:05-3:40 p.m.

    • For students who wish to stay only for 19th period and leave at 3:05 p.m., they may still get picked up by parents/guardians at this time. Busing will not be provided. 

    What time will my student arrive home by bus after activity period?

    While students’ exact arrival time will vary by location, this change is not expected to significantly change students’ return home. This is because the majority of the new activity period is utilizing time students previously spent waiting for buses to arrive.   

    What activities will be offered? 
    A myriad of activities will be offered. These include a public works art club, vocabulary workshops, reading activities, beginner jazz, fitness/running club, technology education, board games, theater acting techniques, math boot camp, U.S. history club, tech wizards, Battle of the Books, and more. Students will be able to sign up for the activities at school. 

    Will students be able to be picked up during the activity block? 
    Yes, if students need to leave during the activity block period, they can be picked up by parents/guardians. The procedure to sign out students will be the same as during the school day. 


    6/6/16
    What are the requirements for 5th and 6th grade honor roll? I see there are specific grade/subject requirements for 7th and 8th. I have contacted Miller Middle School and no one seems to be able to give me an answer, only that it is "standards based." Why aren't students in these grades given a numerical average like the other grades? I have asked teachers, guidance and administrators at the school and no one seems to be able to give a concrete answer on what the basis is. How is it determined who makes the honor roll in 5th and 6th grade?

    The honor rolls are based on the proficiency levels earned by a student. There are 7 levels of achievement, beginning at 1 and ending at 4. Students on the honor roll have earned an overall average between a 3.3 - 3.7. Students on the high honor roll have earned a 3.7 or above. 


    For example:

    Earning a “4” means the student has advanced understanding and exceeds grade- level expectations. A student receiving a “4” demonstrates academically superior skills in that specific area. This student shows initiative, challenges him or herself, and demonstrates this advanced knowledge at school. A “4” is difficult to obtain and indicates remarkably high achievement.

    Earning a “3” means that a student has proficient understanding and meets grade- level expectations. We want all of our students to reach this level. A student receiving a “3” is right on track with our high academic expectations. A “3” is something to be celebrated!

    Earning a “2” means the student has basic understanding and is making progress toward meeting grade-level expectations. A student receiving a “2” understands the basic concept or skill, but has not yet reached the proficient level. A “2” should indicate to parents that their child may need some extra help or extra time to practice/understand that concept or skill.


    About the Grade 5 Honor Roll Lists

    Fifth grade students should be proud if they earned a spot on the highly-selective Grade 5 Honor Roll Lists. Building transitions, which occur when students move from fourth-to-fifth grade and again in eighth-to-ninth grade, can be a period of academic adjustment for some students. Many students will need one or more marking periods to acclimate to the routines and expectations of a new school. Earning a spot on the fifth grade honor rolls, is truly a significant accomplishment.

    Not only did these fifth grade students exceed the standards for learning, they also are being rated at new and higher proficiency levels. The Kingston City School District is proud to be raising the bar for academic achievement, so that we can empower our students to reach local, national, and even global academic standards and ensure that they are well-prepared for the future.

    While some students may have achieved or exceeded proficiency in certain skills only those students whose overall scores exceeded a 3.3 are recognized on the honor rolls. 

    Please note that honor rolls are just one outlet to celebrate our student body. Each day, individual schools and teachers give special awards, including recognizing students of the week, students excelling in art, music, and sports, and just as importantly, recognizing those students who are putting forth tremendous effort to improve. Many efforts are made to give our students accolades and to spur them onto to even greater growth.


    5/18/16
    Is there any place on your site that provides statistics relative to student enrollment ? For example, how many students are currently enrolled in KCSD ? Yes. Our Annual Summary Report provides enrollment and demographic information. We publish this report each year. Our current student enrollment is 6,149 students as of May 18, 2016. 

    1/14/16
    Why were Rondout valley swimmers allowed to swim with our Kingston teams before but denied this year? Onteora football players were allowed to play on our football team this year.

    The Rondout-Kingston merger was subject to the approval of the athletic officials in charge of Section IX, which is comprised of schools in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties. Kingston High School administrators submitted the Rondout-Kingston swim merger for approval, but were denied the right to combine these two swim teams. 

    KCSD Superintendent Dr. Paul J. Padalino, along with Rondout Valley Central School District Superintendent Rosaria Agostaro, further appealed this ruling to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. NYSPHSAA denied this appeal, stating that such a merger would create a competitive advantage for swimmers on the new team. 

    However, Rondout students are allowed to practice with Kingston High School swimmers, and continue to participate in swim meets on an exhibition basis with the KHS team. 


    12/8/15
    Does the district have a policy about prayer and religious teachings in the context of our "partnership" with Bruderhof. I remember when my children were in elementary school and invited to lunch on a Bruderhof field trip they sat through prayers and songs before the meal was served. I'd like to know what the district's policy is on this partnership and the boundaries between religious teachings and public education. Thank you.


    Thank you for your timely submission to Setting the Record Straight! While we do not have policies that are specific to the Bruderhof, The Kingston City School District adheres to the United States Constitution when it comes to religion in our schools. Board members and school administrators are required to allow personal acts of religious faith but to simultaneously avoid that any particular religion enjoys special status.

    It’s true that some of our community partners, such as the YMCA and the Bruderhof, have roots in religious traditions. In addition, our classroom teachings often include studies of religion and religion’s influence on world geography, politics, and cultures. Even our elementary school winter concerts have songs with religious themes, and students regularly sing Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas songs as part of their musical education. 

    Visiting the Bruderhof gives our students the opportunity to experience another culture, where members of the community dress differently, have a different form of housing, share meals, and share a religious tradition and prayers. Just as Kingston High School students recently experienced another culture when they traveled to Barcelona and visited the stunning Gaudi Church Sagrada Familia, elementary school students were able to participate in another culture on a smaller and local level. If a KCSD teacher were to condone the Bruderhof or Catholicism as a preferred or special religious tradition, this would be contrary to the Constitution, and contrary to KCSD policies as we follow the law in our schools. 

    Sometimes, parents wish to opt their children out of classroom activities due to their religious beliefs. For example, some students in the KCSD are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and parents opt them out of classroom birthday celebrations.  This requires special communication with the child’s classroom teacher.

    If participating in songs and prayers – either as part of a holiday concert or a field trip – are in conflict with a parents religious beliefs, they are welcome to contact to their students’ teacher to opt their child out of these events and activities. 

    10/8/15
    What are the class size limits for each grade (Pre-K through 12th) and what are the required teacher/student ratios?

    Thank you for your submission to Setting the Record Straight. 

    The current guidelines for class sizes are outlined in the contract between the Kingston City School District and the Kingston Teachers’ Federation. Different grade levels and subject areas have different standards for class sizes. Overall, class sizes are much lower than the maximums outlined in the contract. 

    At present, the maximum class sizes for our younger grades are as follows:

    Kindergarten classes : 30 pupils
    Grades 1 – 2: 29 pupils
    Grades 3 – 4: 29 pupils
    Grade 5: 30 pupils 

    School media specialists, vocal music teachers, and art teachers are responsible for no more than 750 students per week. Physical education teachers are staffed at a level of one teacher per 240 -250 students per day. 

    At the middle and high school level, the maximum class sizes are as follows:

    Advanced/Accelerated Classes: 30
    Regents Classes: 30 
    Regents Integrated Classes: 25
    Regents Prep Classes: 25
    Skills Classes: 22
    Art Classes: 32
    Music Classes: 45 (There is an allowable exception for performing groups, which are sometimes larger than this.)

    Physical Education classes have a maximum of 60 students at the middle level, and 120 students at the high school level. 

    Actual Class Sizes Lower than Allowable Limits

    However, class sizes are actually much lower. The District average class sizes are as follows:

    Kindergarten: 20 
    First Grade: 20 
    Second Grade: 20
    Third Grade: 22
    Fourth Grade: 24 
    Fifth Grade Average of 22 – 24 


    In the middle schools and high school, it is more difficult to determine an average class size. A core subject area, English Language Arts, was used to calculate the following averages: 

    In Grades 6 – 8, the average class sizes are as low as 18 students, and as high as 25 students. In Grades 9 -11, students can have expect to have between 25 – 26 students in a classroom, and in Grade 12, about 20 students per classroom.


     
    12/3/14
    My daughter struggles with at least 2+ hours of homework daily. I thought I would let some time pass to see if it would get better, but it seems to be getting worse. I'm not sure if other children are having the same problem but I can't image she is the only child that is struggling with this. The hours of homework she has is not only over whelming for her but for the household. I was wondering if there is a homework policy and what it states for the amount of hours at 5th grader should have homework for?

    The KCSD Board of Education Policy on Homework 4730 can be found here.

    As stated, homework can be an extremely valuable extension of classroom instruction. Homework provides excellent opportunities for developing good study habits, including time management.

    However, large quantities of repetitive homework should not be given. (Practicing mistakes cements inappropriate procedures and makes them hard to overcome). The policy also states that every effort shall be made to assure that there is a balance with the number, frequency and degree of difficulty of homework assignments, particularly when students have more than one teacher.

    There are often opportunities for students to complete homework during the academic day. Depending on your student’s schedule, she may be able to use time during enrichment/mediation periods to complete assignments. The middle school activity period, which is optional for students, also provides time for students to spend completing homework with the assistance of their teachers. This supervised, structured time can be especially beneficial for struggling students.

    If you have not already done so, you may want to consider contacting your student’s teachers and/or guidance counselor to discuss strategies for helping her to succeed. If you feel your daughter’s homework assignments conflict with the stated Board of Education policy, please refer to our Guide for Addressing School Concerns.


    11/20/14
    I am curious to know why the 5th grade strings program at the Middle School was recently reduced by 2/3 and the children assigned mandatory study halls instead. If there had been some parental notification done explaining the change and why the change is a good thing for students, then I can assume parents would not be as frustrated and confused as they are now. Can you please "set the record straight"?

    M. Clifford Miller Middle School currently has 90 band student and 50 orchestra students in fifth grade, which represents a significant increase in participation over recent years. We are thrilled to see our music program expand in this way!

    However, at the request of the teachers who facilitate the music program, KCSD administration agreed to some temporary changes in order to accommodate the 30 first-year students in the program. These students are still beginning to learn the foundations of music. Students were originally scheduled for ensembles on alternating days, three days in a six day cycle, in addition to a small group lesson.

    The new schedule divides the larger group into three smaller groups to provide students with instruction and interventions that are more aligned to their individual skill levels.  While students are meeting less frequently, they are receiving more individualized instruction and one-on-one attention when they do meet.
    Students will also meet as the larger group at least twice during these 10 weeks with the intent to get back to the original three days per six days schedule by the start of second semester.

    Students are not assigned to study hall, but remain with their regular classroom teacher for enrichment or reteach when they are not meeting with the larger ensemble.

    Parents were informed of this change via a letter sent home, but we apologize that some parents received late notification of this schedule change.

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to “Set the Record Straight!”

    10/17/14
    If the district choses to get rid of "special permission", what does this mean for the Montessori program? If our children's home school is George Washington, will we still have an opportunity to "opt out" since the district currently views this as "special permission"? And furthermore, will those children that are not GW and wish to participate in Montessori have an opportunity to "opt in"?

     


    Current Board of Education policy states that attendance boundaries are based upon the factors of cost, equity and optimum educational programs for the greatest possible number of children, and that the Board delegates to the superintendent of schools and/or his/her designee the authority to transfer students from one attendance area to another within the school district.

    Any revisions to the attendance policy would likely stay true to the stated objective of “cost, equity and optimum educational programs for the greatest possible number of children.”

    The Policy Committee – comprised of Maureen Bowers, Kathleen Collins, James Childs Sr., and James Shaughnessy – is currently examining the issue of special permissions and the overall impact on education equity and delivery in the KCSD.

     


    KCSD is still in the preliminary discussion stages about the attendance policy, and no determination has been made at this time. 

    9/11/14

    Can you please help clarify the purpose for ACTIVITY PERIOD. I have gotten many mixed messages with my middle school aged children. Here's what I've heard: 1. Activity period is optional - a fun time for clubs 2. Activity period is important - a time to do homework and get extra support in subjects 3. Activity period is punishment - It is detention and certain children are required to stay (but I thought it was optional?). I am confused and concerned about activity period because the wait for the bus and the long bus ride isn't working for our family. We live on the southern tip of the district near New Paltz border. The activity period/late bus makes for a very long day and is not really a great way for my children to end their day due to the transportation issues. Thanks for helping me understand. Do I have the option to OPT OUT of activity period even if a teacher requests or demands that my child stays? THANKS again

     

    Activity period is considered to be part of our school day, and because it has many benefits for students we encourage them to participate. Depending on the student (and even the day) it can be everything you described; a fun time for clubs, a time for extra help, or a time assigned by a teacher to complete assignments due to behavioral issues during class time. There are many enriching clubs at both our middle schools that cater to student interests including drama, fashion, science, books, and more.

     

    Teachers may also assign detention if a student has not followed class rules, such as being late to class. All teachers are told that they must contact a parent/guardian if they wish to have a student stay during activity period due to behavior issues or lack of homework/classwork completion.

     

    If a teacher requests that your student stay during an activity period for an optional science club because she/he feels your student will benefit from the enrichment activities, you may, of course, tell your student not to stay for the club if you feel the negative impact of the bus ride as outweighing the benefits of the activity period. If a teacher assigned detention to your student, it is our hope that we could work together on this behavioral intervention in order to support the student’s learning process. Student wellness and learning is increased when parents and the schools support each other.

     

    If you were to instruct your child to “opt-out” of a teacher-assigned activity detention, the consequences would align with the discipline policy at the school. If you have specific questions as to how this would be handled, please contact your building principal. You may also wish to consult our Guide for Addressing School Concerns.

     

    5/8/2014


    Is it against district policy to withhold recess for punishment?

    Withholding recess as a form punishment conflicts with the Board of Education approved policies of the Kingston City School District.

    Recess and playtime are an important part of a student's development and should be included in each school day. According to our District Wellness Policy No. 5045, students will have opportunities, support and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis. Recess is one of these opportunities.

    Parents place a great deal of trust in those responsible for the education and nurture of their children. The KCSD recently published a Guide for Addressing School Concerns. If you have a concern about the inappropriate handling of recess time, please refer to this document.

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to Set the Record Straight!

    4/8/2014

    Every year I hear my children talk about teachers and monitors who scream and yell at children. I have witnessed it myself, at times, while walking in the halls, visiting at lunch time and picking up my children from school. What is the district doing to promote respectful relationships between children and adults in the school setting. I have heard the district is moving towards a responsive classroom model but I have seen NO evidence of this. I certainly have met some wonderful caring responsive people in the district but it is not the consistent culture our children experience in KCSD. More often they encounter teaching techniques that follow the outdated assertive discipline model and in worse cases teacher use threats and resort to yelling and shaming children. I feel that to hope for Responsive Classroom would be too much. I just want kindness modeled in school. I just want teachers and monitors to stop yelling. What can we do about this? I have talked to principals about it several times. Nothing changes. There is even an assistant principal who is notorious for screaming at children. With this type of leadership I am not hopeful.

    Over the 2013-2014 school year, we have required multiple trainings for our faculty and staff. Many of our trainings focus on creating a peaceful, respectful atmosphere within our school buildings. Training topics have included: the Dignity for All Students Act; Effective Strategies for Dealing with Difficult and Disruptive Students; De-Escalation Techniques; Social Skill building; Dealing with High Risk Students and their Families; the Legal and Ethical Implication of Working with Minors, and many more. For a calendar of professional development opportunities offered this year, please visit
    http://www.kingstoncityschools.org/pd.

    We have over 1,200 employees, and the vast majority of these individuals are kind, caring, and respectful professionals who have a passion for the education and nurture of our students. We are grateful to know that you have met some of these wonderful people.

    However, we always have room to improve. If you, or your children, have firsthand experience of inappropriate conduct by staff members, we urge you to bring it to our attention. We recently created a Guide for Addressing School Concerns. This outlines the steps parents and caregivers can take if they are concerned about a school situation. Sometimes, it may be necessary to move up the administrative chain in order for a concern to be fully resolved. These procedures are part of our Board of Education policies, 1400 Public Complaints and 1420 Concerns about Curriculum.  The guide can be found at
    http://www.kingstoncityschools.org/schoolconcerns.

    3/20/14
    Does the KCSD make the students who opt out of state testing “sit and stare” while other children are taking exams?
     
    No, the KCSD does not have a practice of leaving students without exams to just sit and stare at their classroom wall. We believe in treating all students with respect and compassion.

    Students whose parents or guardians provide them with a written note to opt out of testing will engage in quiet reading time or other academic tasks under the supervision of school staff.

    Students who have a written note and are absent on testing days do not have to sit for makeup tests, they will remain in the classroom engaged in the regularly scheduled curriculum for that day. However, if students are absent on testing days without a note, it is expected they will sit for the makeup exam. If you wish to preclude your child from testing and also decide to keep them home from school, please provide a written note.
    If your child’s experience during test time does not follow the above outlined practice, please refer to our guide for addressing school concerns.

    9/5/13
    Why don’t you put up the building plan to a vote in November? Wouldn’t that be less expensive and make more sense? It seems like the District is trying to hide this plan from the voters.

    Thank you for your submission to “Setting the Record Straight.” The District decided upon a December vote date for several reasons.
     
    It would not be possible for the District to present the capital plan to voters through a general election, as opposed to a school referendum. In order for school district issues to be considered at the ballot box during a general election, election-district boundaries would have to be adjusted to match the boundary lines of the school district.
     
    Ulster County Board of Elections officials have explained that Ulster County school referendums follow different laws than general elections do, and that the boundary lines for Ulster County do not match those for the Kingston City School District (KCSD).
     
    For example, two families living in Hurley may have students who attend school in either the Rondout Valley Central School District or in KCSD. Similarly, a family with children attending Kingston schools may live across the street from one whose children attend school in the Saugerties Central School District.
     
    The District planned a December 10, 2013 vote date to allow sufficient time for District voters to learn about the proposed capital project, as well as sufficient time for the District to plan for the proposed spring 2015 groundbreaking.
     
    Although the proposed capital project was approved by the Board of Education in June, summer is a challenging time to communicate with parents and other community stakeholders. The idea of holding a vote in the fall of 2013 was considered by the District, but was discarded due to the fact that this timeline would not provide sufficient time to communicate about such a large-scale capital project. 

    5/17/13
    If the budget does not pass on May 21st in what areas will additional cuts have to be made? What services or activities will our students lose?

    If the budget does not pass, the Board of Education has three choices. 

    1) The Board can bring the exact same budget to voters for approval on June 18, 2013.
    2) The Board can bring a revised budget to voters for approval on June 18, 2013.
    3) The Board can immediately adopt a budget with a 0% increase, which would require roughly $3 million in reductions from the current proposed budget. 

    If the budget does not gain voter approval, more information on the direction of the budget planning will be disseminated as it becomes available. At this time, there are no planned cuts for student services or activities. 


    5/3/2013
    My comments or suggestions may not seem as serious as some of the previous posts appear to be but I would however like to bring up the lack of communication within the high school. My son is a junior at the high school, getting more information on events or programs, groups etc is like pulling a tooth. Its a well guarded secret. My son says there are announcements, but usually it is so noisy you can't hear them and miss important info. Recently for example, the Jr. Prom; I had to call numerous times to get the information that all parents should of had access to without having to call numerous times. A flyer, invitation or something should of been put together for the parents and students who will be attending. There was no information available via website except for on the calendar with the date and where. Parents still don't know anything about the pictures being taken at the event and their cost. Parents don't know what type of security and safety precautions are being taken for this offsite and outdoor event. This is just one example. Another is groups and clubs, trying to get info about them, you call around and no one seems to know who or where. There needs to be a better communication between the school and the parents. Maybe a newsletter or more info on the KHS section of the website. The news updates of what recently happened and congratulating achievements are great. Just asking for a little more info and communication, please.

    You are correct – the District needs to do more to improve communication at the building level. We will be re-examining our building level communication plans over the summer and devising new procedures and strategies to improve communication. In addition, District communications specialist Kate Heidecker will begin having regular onsite hours in the Kingston High School beginning in the fall of 2013. 

    11/29/12
    One of my concerns about the merging of schools next year is crowds and the amount of time children may need to wait in line with extra children in the buildings. What measures will be taken to ensure that children move efficiently through lunch lines and have enough time to eat and play? Is the district committed to ensuring that every child receives their full 20 minutes of recess? How will this be achieved with so many children? Already we hear of children having not enough time for lunch/recess. Can the district make a commitment to every child's right to a full 40-minute break (20 minutes to eat and 20 minutes to play) in a PLEASANT social environment which is so important for child wellness, health and social skill development? I have heard some schools implementing a "no talking" rule during lunch and this is not a developmentally appropriate child centered solution. Thank you.

    The Kingston City School District is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children’s health, well-being and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity.

    With the transition to a new model for education in the Kingston City School District, we are taking steps to ensure students will be able move quickly through the serving line so that they have sufficient time to eat and play. We are relying on the expertise of our food service department to plan for these changes, and are currently examining the possibility of adding additional serving lines to expedite the process. 

    Our schools do not have a “no talking” rule during lunch. However, due to the limited timeframe within which students must eat, at times, students are encouraged to save some of their conversations for after they have finished their meal to ensure they receive the proper nutrition they need. 

    It would be impossible and dishonest to assure parents that the merging of schools will occur with no details to be ironed out. We also can’t offer solutions to problems that have not yet occurred – and may not occur. However, we stand firm in our commitment to our students health, and continue to encourage parents to contact their student’s building principal if they are experiencing any issues with lunchtime or recess. 

    11/7/12
    Question: Bus Routes and Transportation, I feel this subject should be reviewed again. The eligibilty and distance is an issue. I was told under 1 1/2 miles are considered walkers but I feel it should taken into consideration the area the student has to walk through for example: sidewalks, speeding cars, safety of the area, time and how heavy the traffic is. Also, how is the mileage determined; I used my personal vehicle several websites and came up with 5 different mileage. Todays crime rates are increasng whether 16 yr old or 40 yrs old, safety should be first. Lets ask would most of those that make this decision walk over a mile through busy streets, with limited sidewalks, speeding cars and questionable neighborhoods? The answer is no, so why should we accept it for our kids. Not to mention, attendance wouldn't that possibly increase? I am not talking a couple of blocks but over a mile and the area/neighborhood should be reviewed. I pay school taxes on two parcels, want to know what am I paying for if not also for safe transportation for our kids. And conveniently after questioning this yesterday, bus routes file/document is now off the website. According to the document before removal I checked bus routes and my area was listed. I also checked with fellow neighbors/parents and confirmed bussing. Only to be advised there is no bussing and I should of checked first before I bought another home in Kingston School District. When and How do I propose a review and change?

    Answer: Thank you for your inquiry. Transportation routes are not archived on the District website in order to help ensure the privacy and safety of our students. Community members may call the Transportation Office at 845-943-3050 if they would like to receive route information about a current property, or one they are considering purchasing. 

    The Kingston City School District last updated its Transportation policy in January of 2007. According to this policy, the Board affirms its goal of providing a safe and economical transportation system for district students. 

    It is the intent of the Board of Education to comply with the letter and spirit of the New York State Education Law, the regulations of the Department of Motor Vehicles and of the Department of Transportation, and with the Commissioner of Education’s regulations and decisions pertinent to student transportation. 

    All eligible public elementary school students in grades K-5 residing one-half mile or more from the nearest school serving the attendance area, or such school as the board of education may designate, will be transported to/from that school. (Eligible students residing less than one-half mile from an established bus stop may be required to walk to/from the bus stop.) 

    All eligible public school students in grades 6-12 residing more than one and one-half miles from the nearest school serving the attendance area, or such school as the board of education may designate, will be transported to/from that school. (Eligible students residing less than one and one-half miles from an established bus stop may be required to walk to/from the bus stop.) 

    Measurement to establish transportation distance limitations is to be accomplished by measuring, with a district vehicle, from the nearest property line of the home to the nearest property line of the school over the most direct (shortest) public road which could be used by students.

    If you would like to propose a review of a particular transportation route, you may contact the Board of Education by emailing the District Clerk, Camille Ellsworth, at Cellsworth1@Kingstoncityschools.org or by sending a letter to 61 Crown Street, Kingston NY, 12401. Public comments is also welcomed at the beginning of each Board meeting, which take place on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Meeting times and locations are listed here: www.kingstoncityschools.org/calendar. 

     

    10/17/12
    Question: I have heard of several cases where adults in authority (teachers/administrators) at Kingston High School have used swearing/foul language while administering punishment to students be it for not attending a club meeting or skipping classes. I consider this to be a form of verbal abuse/bullying and it should not be allowed from our students let alone our staff. What recourse does a student/family have if they experience this situation particularly from someone who the student fears can 'get back at them' through their class work/grades? Saying nothing or ignoring the situation does not make it better.

    Answer: District employees are prohibited from using inappropriate language in a school setting. Even if a student’s behavior requires corrective action or an intervention, a school employee is never allowed to verbally abuse, bully, or otherwise use inappropriate language with students. 

    Students and/or their families should immediately contact the building principal if they encounter a situation as described above. If a situation like this were to occur and involve a building principal, please contact the Office of the Superintendent at 845-943-3003. If a District employee is found to have breached the District’s Code of Conduct, appropriate action will be taken. 

    Speaking out in a situation like this would certainly be difficult, and you are correct in your assessment that “ignoring the situation” does not make it better. Please have faith in the Kingston City School District and know that we want to do the right thing for our students and families. We can’t address issues like these if we don’t know about them. 


    9/18/12
    Question: Why are we adding administrative positions (See lead story on website re: Director of Math, Science, and Technology) and closing schools? Is this a newly created position?


    Answer: The director of Math, Science, and Technology is not a newly created position. Finding a highly qualified candidate for this position was a directive set by the Board of Education for the Kingston City School District. 

    The position was funded under the local budget from 1980-2010, and has remained unfilled since the retirement of Alvin Goren in 2010. 

    Currently, this position is funded under the federal government’s Race to the Top program. 

    Through Race to the Top States are asked to advance reforms around four specific areas:

    • Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;

    • Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;

    • Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and

    • Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.

    The director of Math, Science, and Technology will help the Kingston City School District to meet these goals. 

    9/6/12
    Question: 

    Answer: High school students (with the consent of their parents) are allowed the discretion of choosing to add as many courses within the school day as they deem appropriate. We are proud of the fact that Kingston High School offers the widest variety of enrichment and Advanced Placement courses in Ulster County. This helps our students to build competitive resumes for college. We regularly send our students to Ivy League institutions and other prestigious universities.

    If a parent does not wish to permit their child to schedule an academic course during their lunch period, they can discuss this with their student and communicate it to the student’s guidance counselor.

    Students are never required to skip lunch as part of a regular school day.

    9/4/12
    Question: Does GW, and the Montessori program, receive more money than other elementary schools in our district?


    Answer: The initial start-up costs for the Montessori program, including classroom materials and teacher-training, were more expensive than the other educational programs in our Elementary Schools. However, the District has decided that going forward, no extra funding will be directed towards the Montessori program and the budgetary costs associated with Montessori must remain in-line with what is spent in other Elementary Schools.

    9/4/12
    Question: Many parents in the Robert Graves school would like to know if their child is currently a 6th or 7th grader at Miller, will they be able to stay at Miller? With your recent decision to feed into Bailey, they are concerned these children will have to switch next year.

    Answer: Students will remain in the school that they currently attend. Sixth and seventh grade student from Robert Graves who attend Miller Middle School will finish eighth grade at Miller Middle School. Students who entered fifth grade in September of 2012 at Robert Graves will attend Bailey Middle School.

    8/17/12
    Question:
    Do the 5th grade graduates of Meagher elementary school know what middle school they will be going to this September 2012?

    Answer: Yes. The students who completed fifth grade at Meagher Elementary School in June of 2012 will attend J. Watson Bailey Middle School.  The Middle School was not changed for these students. This fact is public knowledge and was discussed prior to the Board of Education approving the redistricting of Meagher students in March of 2012.

    This question also begs the unasked question—where will students who attend the newly merged John F. Kennedy Elementary School attend? While the traditional Middle School for students who attend John F. Kennedy Elementary has historically been Miller Middle School, Middle School feeder patterns are continuing to be researched and evaluated. It is possible that the Recommended Redistricting Plan could change the designated Middle School for John F. Kennedy students. That being said, the District will work with parents and families to carefully address unique circumstances that may arise as part of redistricting. 

     

    8/14/12
    Question: When will the district or transportation rectify the busing issue so many students ride the wrong bus or go to a bus stop to be with their friend then the student that is supposed to be on that bus doesnt have a seat we are hoping this will not be this year or can the district reimburse the parent for gas and mileage.

    Answer: New York State education department regulations mandate the number of students that can ride on each bus, as well as the number of students per bus seat. According to SED, District busses can accommodate three students per seat, and the Kingston City School District is in full compliance with these regulations. 

    According to District Transportation director Judith Falcon, the District currently operates 185 buses on 265 routes, with a total of 5,161 students participating in the Transportation Program. There is an average of 50 students per full size bus, and each bus can accommodate up to 66 students, leaving flex space. 

    Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the transportation department is requiring all drivers to assign seats to the Elementary and Middle School students that ride their bus. As the driver’s first priority is the safe transport of students, assigned seats will help him or her to meet this goal by limiting distractions and enabling a greater focus on the road. The seat assignments will be shared with building principals and administration in the case of a bullying incident, so that the District can quickly and appropriately respond to any bullying cases. 

    Also new in the 2012-2013 school year is a requirement that bus drivers fill out a form for any students that ride their from another bus route. This will help the District respond to any potential overcrowding and help to ensure student safety. 

    The District will not reimburse parents who chose to drive their children to school for gas and mileage. 

    6/27/12
    Question: The redistricting survey results show over 75% of the respondents support redrawing the lines to even out class sizes in our elementary schools. Why did you not show this as one of the options in your redistricting plan? This could be a viable option allowing you to utilize some of your schools that are in better condition.

    Answer:  The options presented for redistricting were most thoroughly explored due to their potential to achieve all the goals of redistricting. These include:
    1)    Improve Delivery of Education
    2)    Improve Delivery of Services
    3)    Fiscal Security
    4)    Maximize Capacity
    5)    Address Facilities Planning
    6)    Improve Value

    Redrawing the boundary lines to even out sizes in our Elementary Schools would help to maximize capacity in some schools, but not others. It would also not achieve the goals of addressing facilities planning, nor would it improve the delivery of education and services through consolidation of resources. It would also not help us meet the goals of improving value and creating fiscal security, as it does not move away from the current model of education.

    We determined that if we could move buildings as a whole it would be best option to retain a sense of community and security for those students who will be transitioning to a new school building. We are striving to expand neighborhoods and communities, not break them up.  Our hope is to keep students/friends/neighbors/communities/teachers together through a new transition. The recommended model achieved the District’s goals and accomplished the aforementioned goal.

    6/6/12
    Question: We have been told that there will be no special permissions granted for anyone for the 2012-2013 school year even if they are associated with a licensed/legal day care. Is this true? And if so, when will the parents be notified? We will need to re-adjust our son to a new school (he will be in first grade), but will have to find adequate childcare between now and Sept to get him acclimated with that as well.


    Answer: In tandem with the redistricting plan that will balance the student population among our school buildings, Superintendent Padalino will recommend that the District discontinue the policy of granting any FUTURE permissions. Superintendent Padalino will also recommend that any student who currently attends a school under Board permission may continue to do so.

    5/17/12
    Question: If money is so tight, why do we always see teacher and teaching position cuts and NOT administrators. It seems the quickest way to save money would be to cut the larger salaries, and this would have less of an impact than removing the people who interact with our children on a daily basis. This is why so many people don't support what is being touted as a 'fair' budget.

    Answer: A 2011 Mid-Hudson School Study Council Report that detailed financial information comparing local school Districts showed that the Kingston City School District ranks 7 in spending out of 9 Ulster Districts. When viewed in a larger scope, Kingston’s spending is still conservative. Total general support for administration was ranked at 49 out of 59 Districts. 

    Cuts were made in all areas this year.  While there were 30 members of our teaching staff whose positions were eliminated, this represents 4.6 % of our staff. Comparatively, the two administrative positions that were eliminated (a Meagher principal due to redistricting and an assistant principal position at the High School) represent 7.6 % of the total administrators in the District, as we have a total of only 26 administrators. 

    We value our teachers, and appreciate the community’s support for the important role they play in our schools. It is natural that the public would have a better understanding of the role teachers play in education—nearly everyone can recall a great teacher who has impacted their life or the life of their child.
     
    However, administrators must perform many critical functions behind the scenes of day-to-day school operations. Ensuring that our schools are safe, orderly, and well managed is an administrative function. From coordinating hot lunches to bus runs, purchasing textbooks and supplies, training staff, maintaining and repairing school buildings, and much more, school district administrators play a role that is essential to the delivery of education. 

    In addition, there are numerous state and federal mandates that School Districts must comply with or they risk losing the funding that is the basis of the school budget. Given the number of State Reports and mandates, the new Annual Professional Performance Review legislation and the overwhelming responsibility for State testing and data submissions, administration is more heavily burdened and needed than ever. 

    It is untrue that administrators earn a salary that is higher than a teacher’s salary. In KCSD there are teachers who receive higher salaries than administrators while working a shorter year. 

    5/11/12
    Question: I am aware that the upcoming budget is very important to the district and I am worried that most people don't know what the ramifications would be if the budget were to fail; why hasn't the district been more active in letting the public know what would be the result of a failed budget?

    Answer: A legal notice was mailed to all District residents containing a statement of assumptions that illustrated the approximate number of cuts that would have to be made should the Proposed Budget fail to gain voter approval. If the budget is not approved, approximately $2 million will have to be cut, which equates to roughly 20 teaching positions. This would have a major impact on the programs and services that the District currently offers. In addition, supplies, equipment, and non-emergency repairs would be removed from the budget. 

    The District feels strongly this is a responsible and balanced budget, and we chose to focus on the positive aspects of the programs we were able to preserve throughout our budget communications. 

    5/11/12
    Question: when will the Sophie Finn parents know who the principal will be in the fall? Once again we will be going thru a change keeping us waiting is not fair to the students or parents at Finn

    Answer: It is our intent to notify the Sophie Finn community as soon as possible regarding who will be their school principal next year. There are a number of factors that prevent us from announcing who the principal will be at this time.  

    The outcome of the school budget vote will have an impact on which employee will be named principal, as union seniority rules will come into play. Additional, contractual restrictions that protect the privacy of school employees are a factor in making any announcements regarding projected staffing plans. 

    4/28/12
    Question: I am wondering why students are NOT able to buy water bottles any longer at lunch? There needs to be another option besides cow's milk Ex. soy milk for students who are allergic to dairy.

    Answer: The Kingston City School District school lunch program is regulated by mandates from the New York State Education Department as well as the federal government. According to Frances O’Donnell, coordinator of the Child Nutrition Program for New York State, “Students who do not want milk or who are allergic to milk can refuse to take the milk. Schools should not provide juice or another beverage in lieu of the milk except in cases where the student has a disability that prevents them from consuming milk and another beverage has been written into a diet prescription. The student must have provided the school with a prescription from a doctor that identifies a different beverage that is recommended due to the child’s nutritional needs.”

    According to food service director Ed Carelli, any student who provides the school with a doctor’s note will be provided with an alternate beverage.  

    Water is available at water fountains in all District schools, and is also for sale in vending machines at the District’s Middle Schools and the High School, in accordance with the District Wellness Policy. 

    4/16/12
    Question: If there are no cuts to Athletics next year, why are the coaches and intramural salaries decreasing by $32,000? Please do not mislead the public. If salaries are decreasing, some of our athletic programs must be getting cut!

    Answer: In a stringent examination of the budget, line items were closely analyzed to ensure that the historical budgeted amount and the actual expenditures matched. In the case of expenses for interscholastic activities, more money was budgeted in the past than was actually spent. The newly budgeted amount accurately reflects the real costs associated with our athletic program and depicts a realistic and transparent budget. It does not change the number of staff members or programs that we offer in athletics.

    3/29/12
    Question: Why did Dr. Padalino meet with the Meagher parent group to announce the plan to move Meagher to Kennedy before making the announcement of the plan at the board meeting but not the Kennedy parent group? Both communities will be significantly affected by this move and both communities should have known before it was announced at a board meeting or reported in the newspaper.

    Answer: I apologize for this oversight. In retrospect I realize that a joint meeting with both John F. Kennedy and Meagher families would have been the best course of action. 

    To move forward in a positive direction, I have planned a meeting with the John F. Kennedy Parent Teacher Association officers during Spring Break, and will request to be placed on the agenda for their next meeting to address questions and concerns.

    My primary focus began on the Meagher community as I considered all options for the redistricting of these students. In the beginning of the process, it was uncertain whether the best solution would be to move Meagher students into several other District schools or into a single school. Multiple configurations and scenarios were researched and considered. 

    In January, as I continued my research, I met with the Meagher Elementary School Parent Teacher Association and promised they would be the first to know when a solution was reached. At this point, the Meagher group of parents and students were the single largest group who would be impacted by a redistricting decision. After a decision was reached, I followed through and first met with the Meagher Parent Teacher Association prior to any formal announcement to the media. 

    As you pointed out, a joint meeting would have been the best option. Plans are currently underway for several special events that will introduce students from both schools. Successful redistricting projects need a high level of community engagement and energy, and I encourage parents, students, and community members to take an active role in the process.