All posts by jolyn

Hudson Valley Pathways Academy

P-tech is just one of the interesting educational options for students in Ulster County. If you have a student in the middle school in the Kingston City School District, be sure to check out the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy. 12 students from Kingston are enrolled in the freshman class each year.

The mission of the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy (HVPA), a small publicly funded secondary school on Mary’s Avenue in Kingston, is to graduate students with both technical knowledge and real-world skills. In a world as rapidly changing as ours, that’s no small ambition.

KHS Regents Exams

The KHS Parents Association will sponsor an informational session for both parents and students to access and trade review materials for  upcoming Regents exams tomorrow Saturday May 6, 2017 from 9am to Noon in the Carnegie building.

The session allow students to swap used study tools for new, needed material and learn about helpful websites, review books or teacher review materials to help prepare for June exams.

Regents exams begin on June 13, 2017 and KHS students will not attend school from June 13 – June 23 unless they have a Regents exam scheduled.  Click here to see which Regents exams are scheduled on the various dates.

Remember that, unlike the NYS Standardized Tests in grades 3-8, the Regents exams must be passed in order for students to graduate from high school.

Vote on May 16, 2017

Polls will be open from 7am to 9pm on May 16, 2017 for the Kingston City School District Board of Education and School Budget Election.  Voting takes place in the local elementary schools.  If you can not remember where you vote for the school elections, click here.

Read details about the proposed school budget for 2017-2018 and the proposition to use capital reserve funds to renovate Meagher here.

Five candidates are running for three seats on the KCSD Board of Education.  Hear from each candidate and pose your questions to them at Meet the Candidates Night on Tuesday May 9, 2017 6:30pm at Kingston High School.

Your voice matters

New York State Tests Fail to Measure College Readiness

According to a report released by The Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz, the New York State tests for grades 3-8 do NOT measure likely readiness for college so why did many of our kids just sit for six days of testing?

“This carefully researched analysis adds a serious dimension to the current debate in New York state on the value of testing in our elementary and middle schools,” said Benjamin Center Director Gerald Benjamin. “The center looks forward to reactions to this work, and consideration by policy makers of its implications.”

A fundamental purpose of the state’s testing programs in grades 3-8, following the adoption of Common Core State Standards, is measuring college readiness, with the goal of creating opportunities to intervene when necessary.

However, the Benjamin Center report finds that estimates of college readiness derived from the NYS Grades 3-8 ELA and math assessments do not align with actual measures of college readiness, such as college remediation rates. O’Donnell argues that this misalignment is a disservice to our students, our teachers and our education system more broadly.

“Measurement is dependent on tools that give a useful result,” O’Donnell writes. “A sprinter has no use for a broken stopwatch; a tailor needs a tape measure that is not torn. If the current NYS Grades 3-8 assessments cannot accurately measure college-readiness − their stated intention − we must ask: what’s the point?”

- The Benjamin Center press release, May 2, 2017

Even if you can not read the full 16 page Benjamin Center report, please read the following portion from the Implications section of the report.  Problems still abound related to the state testing, however if you have a student in the class of 2022 or beyond (currently in grade 7 or below), you should be significantly worried.

To be clear, we certainly must address the fact that approximately 50 percent of all New York students do not graduate or graduate without being fully prepared for postsecondary education. This percentage is far too high. But the current NYS Grades 3–8 tests, as demonstrably poor indicators of their stated purpose, will not help us get to where we need to be.

Further, despite the recent moratorium on using NYS Grades 3–8 ELA and math assessment scores to evaluate students or teachers, there are still significant implications that stem from their misalignment with actual college-readiness metrics. First, these assessments are used to characterize the condition of education in NYS and are utilized as a decisive factor in determining which schools are “failing” and, thus, subject to receivership. Second, state- and local-decision makers are encouraged to use the assessment results on an advisory basis in the evaluation of teachers and principals, so the scores will still be calculated, retained, and made public.xxxii This keeps open the possibility that educators will be assessed retroactively when the moratorium is lifted. Finally, New York’s public school students will continue to be subjected to lengthy examinations that are likely to incorrectly label them as off-track for college readiness and provide little-to-no useful feedback to educators.

As we move forward, the stakes get even higher for students. The Class of 2022 will be required to pass CCSS-aligned Regents examinations at the “aspirational” level in order to graduate. The 2015 results on these new exams foretell a coming graduation crisis: 57 percent scored at the aspirational level on the ELA exam, 23 percent on Algebra I, and 24 percent on Geometry.xxxiii If those rates hold, two-thirds or more of the Class of 2022 will not graduate from high school (compare to the Class of 2015 graduation rate of 78 percent). In terms of magnitude, this will mean an overnight loss of more than 90,000 high school graduates, of which 35,000 are fully prepared for college success, using the actual college-readiness metric of non-remediation.

KCSD students win NASA HUNCH Challenge

Two juniors from the Kingston City School District won the national NASA HUNCH Culinary Challenge last week.

Lauren Hoetger and Sara Freer, students in the Culinary Arts program at Ulster BOCES, competed against nine other teams from around the country last week in Houston Texas.  Their winning dessert Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp will now be served to the astronauts on the International Space Station.  Way to go Lauren and Sara!  Also congratulations to Lauren and Sara’s third team member junior Angelina Violente from the Wallkill Central School District.

For the NASA HUNCH Culinary Challenge,  part of the NASA HUNCH program, the Ulster BOCES team researched what can and can’t be used in food to be eaten in space.  Did you know that bread can not be eaten in space because bread dries out in a vacuum and the crumbs can get everywhere plus it burns easily?  Also all water in space is hot (water boils in a vacuum) unless it is refrigerated.  Nutritional requirements are also different for astronauts in space.  It was truly a challenge for the culinary teams to develop a recipe that works in space.  Now a recipe created by students from the Kingston City School District will be eaten by astronauts from around the world.

Culinary Students Win NASA Hunch Challenge


Understanding your child’s IEP

The Kingston Special Education Parent Group will host a forum geared toward new parents/caregivers in the Special Education system or anyone needing a refresher regarding the IEP on Tuesday December 13, 2016.


A second forum on January 10, 2017 will be a very informative lesson on how to read and interpret the test and assessment results. Learn what all those numbers mean so you can make informed decisions and make the data work for your child!

These forums are open to all Ulster County parents and caregivers.

Cybersafety Presentation – December 1, 2016

Check out this presentation at UCCC tomorrow evening.

The Ulster County Safe Harbour program will host “Internet Awareness: Tools for Keeping Youth Safe in Cyberspace”  on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at UCCC’s  Quimby Auditorium from 6-8:30pm .  

According to a study titled, “2014 Teens and the Screen study: Exploring Online Privacy, Social Networking and Cyberbullying,” 87% of youth have witnessed cyberbullying versus 2013 when 27% of youth witnessed cruel behavior online. Additionally, an increase in cases of suicide have been attributed to sexts gone viral.  

While 79% of youth have never used the Internet or social media to reinvent themselves, one in three youth feel more accepted on social media than they do in real life.  Traffickers utilize social media sites such as Facebook to groom and lure youth into trafficking situations via tactics such as fraud (promises of a romantic relationships or lucrative employment offers) and coercion (threats to the life of the survivor and their family).  Thorn, an agency that studies technology’s role in sex trafficking, found that 70 percent of their surveyed child sex trafficking survivors were, at some point, sold online.


Contact Jackie Arsenuk at (845) 340-3927 or with any questions.

Oppose Ulster County Local Law 17

The Ulster County legislature is considering Proposed Local Law 17 Prohibiting Cyber-Bullying.  This legislation is slated for public hearing on Tuesday December 13, 2016 at 6:10pm and is expected to be voted on by the legislature after the hearing.

While Cyber-Bullying is a problem that we all want to address, there are a number of concerns with Proposed Local Law 17 (see policy-education-sheet) even after considerable changes made to the law from what was presented initially in January 2016.

  • inadequately addresses any restorative/educational component
  • brings kids as young as 10 in front of Juvenile Delinquency proceedings in Family Court
  • invests police officers the right to arrest your child
  • provides the first placement after arrest as JUVENILE DETENTION CENTERS where children may stay up to 72 hours before initial hearing
  • is entirely opposed as-is by one member of the 5-person Legislative Programs,  Education and Community Services committee
  • is concerning to 3 of the other 5 committee members
  • was written by the Public Defender’s Office without adequate input from community members, parents, or citizens

Please contact your Ulster County legislator and tell them:  I do not support Proposed Local Law 17 and I am asking you to vote NO. This law is inadequate and our children deserve better.


Understanding Students with Autism Workshop

The Understanding Students with Autism Workshop on Tuesday January 10, 2017 is open to parents who are interested in learning more about autism.  Registration is required and the workshop costs $55.00.

Understanding Students with
Autism Spectrum Disorders
New York State Education Department approved coursework training in autism
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
4:00 – 7:00 ~ Registration: $55.00

Center for Spectrum Services
70 Kukuk Lane
Kingston, NY 12401
(845) 647-6464
presented by Cheryl N. Engel
This course will provide an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders and effective treatment practices. A review of diagnostic categories, etiology, and current research will establish the foundation for this course. Key factors that impact individuals within an educational setting will be discussed (e.g. communication, social skills, executive functioning, sensory, and behavioral characteristics) and support strategies and evidence based teaching methodologies will be presented.  Participants will be introduced to functional behavior assessments and how they are used to develop positive behavioral support plans.

This Training is appropriate for:
*  Certified administrators newly assigned to special education position
*  Those applying for special education certification through the individual transcript
*  Those applying for a special education certificate through the SED TEACH system
* Parents, professionals or anyone else interested in
learning more about autism

Click Here For More Information and Register Online


To print and mail in or fax your registration, please click here.
Questions about registration, please contact:
Michelle Thomas at (845) 336-2616 ext. 110