Tag Archives: PTO/PTA

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.

Ulster County Community Forum on the Opioid and Heroin Crisis

From the Kingston City School District website:

Parents and educators are encouraged to attend a countywide community event focused on the local opioid and heroin crisis. The event will be held at the Ulster BOCES Conference Center in New Paltz on Thursday, April 28 from 6-8 PM.

The event will introduce parents and educators to the realities of the local epidemic and provide tools necessary to help prevent abuse, recognize its signs, understand the consequences (from both the health and legal perspectives), get help, and find support to cope with an abuse problem or loss of a loved one.

Why Parents Need to Attend:
Deaths caused by opioid drugs, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and heroin, are on a rapid rise across the nation. Locally, the epidemic is hitting hard in Ulster County, leaving families and communities devastated by the loss of loved ones and questioning, “How can this happen here?”
It’s important to understand that most addictions begin in the home. Those sleeping pills and pain killers that were prescribed for legitimate reasons and those over-the-counter cold drugs that seem to be sitting harmlessly on medicine cabinet shelves often open the gates to a heroin addiction.
And the abuse can start early, at age 12 or 13 for some children, as reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, although locally the data suggests highest risk is between ages 18-23.
“The more parents know, the more they can protect their children,” advises Wallkill Central School District Superintendent Kevin Castle. “We want to be proactive and make parents aware of the dangers and signs now so they can discuss this with their children and equip them with the tools needed to make appropriate decisions as young adults.”
About the Event:
A panel of experts from across the county will share information and answer questions. Representatives from various community organizations and agencies will be set up at tables throughout the room with additional resources.
The event is being coordinated by the Ulster County Interagency Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention, which includes representatives from the Ulster County School Superintendents Council; the Ulster County Police Chiefs Association; the Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health; the Ulster County Prevention Council; the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office; and the Greater New Paltz Community Partnership.
Ulster BOCES is located at 175 Route 32 North, New Paltz, New York.


Note to members of the KHS PA:  the monthly meeting scheduled for Thursday April 28, 2016 is canceled so that parents may attend the Opioid and Heroin Crisis forum.

Meeting for KHS Parents

Hey Kingston High School parents!

If you can make yourselves available, stop by the Kingston High School auditorium between 6-8pm tonight.

KHS guidance counselors will be speaking about the college application process, financial aid, scholarship, NCAA, College Board Testing and the college search process from 6-7pm.

The KHS PA meeting will follow at 7pm with a brief presentation from Ulster BOCES regarding the many programs available to students through the Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Center and then move into discussion of discipline changes before the Jefferson Committee and any other issues of interest/concern to parents at the meeting.

Spackenkill Town Hall meeting with Commissioner John King – October 10, 2013

I wasn’t writing Jolyn’s Education Corner yet when the Spackenkill Town Hall meeting with New York State Commissioner of Education John King took place on October 10, 2013.  However I believe that information regarding this meeting is relevant now that John King is being considered for confirmation as the U.S. Secretary of Education.

I learned of the Town Hall Meeting on Common Core to be held at Spackenkill High School from a friend on facebook on October 3, 2013.  I readjusted my family’s schedule so I could attend because I was very concerned about Common Core and wanted to hear what Mr. King had to say and have the opportunity to ask a question or make a statement about my Common Core concerns.

I invited other local parents to attend and talked with friends about what questions to ask Mr. King in preparation for the meeting.  On October 10, I made the 45 minute drive to Spackenkill High School with another parent from the Kingston City School District arriving early in hopes of being able to sign up to speak at the end of the meeting.

The Town Hall meeting began and it quickly became apparent that it really was just a “ra ra” session to sell Common Core to the parents.

We got lots of “education” about Common Core and how wonderful it was and then questions that had been written on index cards when we arrived were addressed to Mr. King in groups but the answers were very generic and if the audience had any concerns or further questions about the “answers”, there was no opportunity to delve into the issues.

Here is the full video of the Town Hall Meeting as well as an edited version highlighting the frustration felt by the parents at the meeting.

If you are not able to watch the entire video, I have noted times for different segments:

0:0 Introductions by New York State PTA President Lana Ajemian
5:27 Welcome by Regent Lester Young
7:00 Commissioner King presents on Common Core
18:50 “Teaching is the CORE” promotional video about Common Core in the classroom
26:30 New York State 2013 Teacher of the Year Greg Ahlquist speaks
32:35 Question & Answers begin with PTA members reading pre-written questions for Commissioner King to answer
1:22:50 (the video notes that approximately 10 minutes of Q&A lost due to battery failure)
1:23:16 Audience statements  (I spoke at 1:43:04 and was the final speaker of the night)

Thirty minutes were supposed to be allocated for statements from the audience at the end of the meeting.  Fifteen (15) people should have been able to make statements (2 minutes each) but Commissioner King responded to several statements and time was not used efficiently so only seven (7) attendees ended up being able to speak.  If you listen to the end of the full-length video you will hear the frustration from the many parents who wanted to speak and did not get the opportunity.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the NYS PTA announced the next day that the remaining four Town Hall meetings were canceled.  I posted the following on facebook on October 12, 2013 in response to this announcement:

I am very sad that the New York PTA decided to cancel the remaining 4 Common Core Town Hall meetings based on Commissioner King’s conclusion that the ‘outcome was not constructive for those taking the time to attend’.

I was in attendance at the Spackenkill Town Hall meeting and came to a very different conclusion regarding the meeting. I wrote the following comments yesterday morning before the PTA decided to cancel the forum but had not posted them. I found it very constructive to learn that there were so many parents and teachers who are VERY concerned about different aspects of Common Core and am sad and concerned that many parents at Spackenkill and those around the state who were planning to attend the other forums will not have the opportunity to voice those concerns.


I appreciate that the New York State PTA recognized the many concerned parents and teachers with regards to Common Core and is hosting these Town Hall meetings. However I was disappointed with how the meeting last night, October 10, turned out and I have a couple suggestions that I hope you will consider for the remaining Town Hall meetings.

It very much felt like Commissioner King was a politician trying to ‘sell’ the audience on Common Core and not there to truly answer the questions being asked. Hopefully at the next forum, the questions can be answered directly as I am sure there were specific reasons why each decision has been made and each action taken with regards to the implementation and roll out of the Common Core Standards and supporting programs/materials. Also since the state department of education has now had the opportunity to present their ‘case for Common Core’ and answer a number of questions, perhaps the initial presentation time and question time can be shortened at the next forum (assuming the video from the Spackenkill forum is available for all to review) allowing more time for the audience statements.

Please consider asking all who are signed up to make statements to line up at the beginning of the statement time and then just approach the mic as their name is called so that time is not taken waiting for each speaker to struggle out of their seat after their name is called. Also please only allow the number of speakers who will actually be able to give statements to sign up and if something does occur to take time away from statements that is not the fault of the audience, like Commissioner King stopped the speakers to rebut the comment regarding the Montessori program, please extend the statement time so that the speakers do get the allotted time to make statements.

I have included the text of an article from the Poughkeepsie Journal about the Town Hall meeting below as well as various responses to cancellation of the Common Core forums for your reference.

The story didn’t end for me with the cancellation of the remaining four Town Hall Meetings however.  Commissioner King announced that the reason he would not continue with the meetings was because the forums were “co-opted by special interests whose stated goal is to ‘dominate’ the questions and manipulate the forum“.  Those of us who spoke at the Town Hall meeting did not appreciate being spoken of in such a way, particularly since it wasn’t true.  We managed to find each other, thanks to the wonders of social media, and put out a statement clarifying that we were NOT a ‘special interest group’ and our only possible special interest was our kids who were being harmed by Common Core.

Unfortunately communication with Commissioner King never got any better as you can read from the reactions when his resignation was announced in December 2014.


Responses to cancellation of the remaining Town Hall Meetings:

Poughkeepsie Journal report on the Spackenkill Town Hall meeting (no longer available online)

Commissioner King addresses big, critical crowd on Common Core

Oct. 10, 2013 10:56 PM

Written by Craig Wolf Poughkeepsie Journal

State Education Commissioner John King faced a critical and often loud crowd Thursday evening as he defended the state’s Common Core curriculum initiative that all students, educators and parents are coping with and that has become increasingly controversial.

King was sponsored by the state PTA, which has been collaborating with King to spread the word statewide and answer questions.

The Spackenkill High School auditorium filled with a capacity crowd.

King said, “The Common Core is about college and career readiness.” He said a quarter of students entering high school don’t finish.

“The Common Core is not about assessment, although assessment must be a part of the work that we do,” King said.

The session was at Spackenkill High School in the Town of Poughkeepsie.

Participants filed questions in advance. At times, the audience grew loud and boisterous as parents and teachers complained about the new system.

Common Core is a set of standards adopted by many states to raise the education level in all grades. A key goal is to help students learn to think and reason more. The standards were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The standards come with a tougher set of tests.

One question that brought loud applause was, how can I protect my children’s data from vendors?

King said there is encryption and there are rules protecting such data.

Another prefiled question was, how can I help my children with homework when I don’t understand it? That was greeted with laughter and applause. King said there are portals on the Internet for the state Education Department that can help.

Some attendees held signs saying, “Students are more than a test score.”

Another prefiled question was, how will we know the Common Core is working overall?

King said we will need to ask, in five years, “Are employers still saying, we can’t find the workforce that we need?” If not, they will say, “We will take the work to other states or move overseas.”

One questioner asked how New York will attract good teachers when the career has been made less attractive by Common Core.

King cited progress made in Massachusetts when they raised standards beginning 20 years ago,”t took time to do that,” King said.

On the tougher tests, King said, “Let’s be clear: We don’t use student performance as the sole measure of student performance,” or of teacher or administrator performance.

Another theme from the audience was a feeling that so much emphasis is being placed on math and English that “other subjects like math and science have gone by the wayside.”

King said the other subjects are important, too, noting that research has found that students do better on English when they have a rich background of knowledge. “They have to build a rich background of knowledge,” he said.

The crowd grew boisterous after several public statements critical of Common Core.
One man pointed out that King’s children go to private Montessori schools.
King said those schools also have Common Core standards. He also said his kids are not fair game.


Announcement for KHS parents/guardians

Kingston Alderwoman Nina Dawson, Ward 4, is hosting a Community meeting with County Executive Mike Hein tonight Thursday January 28, 2016 6pm at Riverview Baptist Church.

County Executive Mike Hein will present his vision to continue the goal of an “inclusive community” in Kingston.  He will discuss the Ulster County Midtown Linear Park project.

Community meeting with Mike Hein

 The KHS Parents Association encourages KHS parents/guardians to attend the community meeting with County Executive Mike Hein in lieu of the KHS PA meeting previously scheduled for Thursday January 28, 2016.

KHS members – Submit any KHS PA agenda items to KHS PA President Jolyn Safron in preparation for the next KHS PA monthly meeting on February 25, 2016.

All KHS parents/guardians – Please respond to Jolyn Safron if you are interested in attending a KHS PA meeting on any of the following topics:

  • School avoidance/School refusal
  • Course offerings available to KHS students at BOCES and/or SUNY Ulster
  • Presentation for parents regarding student driver safety
  • How to live with your teen without losing your mind
  • Signs and symptoms of depression

Presentations will be scheduled as part of upcoming KHS PA monthly meetings if there is sufficient interest in a topic.

Keeping youth out of the Juvinile Justice System – December 3, 2015

The Kingston High School Parents Association (KHS PA) invites KHS parents, Kingston Middle School parents and community members to attend a workshop titled “STSJP and One80 programs: Keeping youth out of the Juvenile Justice System by engaging in pro-social activities

Date:  Thursday December 3, 2015  6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Location:  Kingston Library Community Room (second floor)

Presenter:  Ms. Dana Katz, Family of Woodstock

The workshop will be followed by a short KHS PA meeting from 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm.

If your student has ever done something wrong and been excessively punished or just been in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’, this workshop is for you. If you are concerned about an excessively punitive culture and would like to see more restorative justice, this workshop is for you. If you are concerned that your student might make a bad choice in the future and be faced with some scary consequences, this workshop is for you. If you care about the kids here in Kingston, this workshop is for you.

KHS PA Dec 3 flyer

Hope to see you at the workshop on December 3, 2015.

HOPE 2015 on November 14, 2015 canceled



Helping Others Protect Everyone

Ways to resolve conflicts and improve relationships in our homes and communities

November 14, 2015 9am – Noon

CANCELED due to unexpected circumstances

The HOPE conference will not be rescheduled.

The KHS PA knows that bullying and the broader scope of conflict are pervasive problems in our society that not only impact the education of our students but their entire lives. Since the HOPE workshops were providing information intended to help parents and students deal with conflict more successfully as well as help each person feel more empowered to help others and protect themselves, the KHS PA is making arrangements to offer the workshops as part of upcoming KHS Parents Association meetings.

Mark your calendar to attend the KHS PA meetings now and watch the KHS PA webpage for meeting topics.

The next meeting is December 3, 2015 at 6:30pm

How to live with your teen without losing your mind

Adoring and adorable children can become adolescents who say and do things that result in hurt, anger, conflict, and fears for their safety. In plain language, learn about exciting new research that sheds light on “why did you do that?” and “what were you thinking?!”. Practical tools for retaining your sanity will be shared.

Love Shouldn’t Hurt

Teen Dating Violence 101: Recognizing and Responding to Physical and Emotional Violence in Teen Romantic Relationships. A workshop for parents and teens in middle school and high school.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Are you or someone you know or love suffering from depression? How do you tell? What can you do? Come and learn some of the signs of depression and how you can help.

While you are waiting for the next KHS PA meeting, check out this video posted as part of the monthly Matters Helping All Parents program from MHA in Ulster County.  “Practical Tips to Reduce Conflicts with Parents and Children”

HOPE 2015 – November 14, 2015

HOPE 2015 CANCELED as of 11/10/15 – details here

The Kingston High School Parents Association (KHS PA) is excited to present HOPE 2015 on Saturday November 14, 2015.

Bullying and the broader scope of conflict are pervasive problems in our society that not only impact the education of our students but their entire lives.

It is our desire with HOPE that students, parents and our community as a whole will learn information that will help each person to deal with conflict more successfully whether it is in their own life or in the life of a friend or loved one. We want each person leaving HOPE to feel more empowered to help others and protect themselves.

HOPE 2015 flyer

HOPE 2015 Flyer


HOPE 2015 – Helping Others Protect Everyone

HOPE 2015 CANCELED as of 11/10/15 – details here

Save the date!

 HOPE 2015

Helping Others Protect Everyone

Ways to resolve conflict and improve relationships in our homes and communities

Saturday November 14, 2015  9am-Noon

Kingston High School

 Workshops will address the different ways conflict, including bullying, manifest itself in family relationships, friend relationships and dating relationships.  A variety of workshops will be available for elementary, middle school and high school students as well as for parents and community members.

HOPE 2015 Save the date flyer 6 8 15

Volunteers needed for Juvenile Community Accountability Board

Volunteers are needed for the Juvenile Community Accountability Board (JCAB).


Are you interested in juvenile justice reform?
Do you want to help end the school to prison pipeline?
Then become a volunteer today!

Family of Woodstock is currently looking for volunteers living or working in Ulster County to take part in our Juvenile Community Accountability Board (JCAB). The JCAB is a part of the One80 program, a diversion program working to keep juveniles out of family court and the juvenile justice system. Volunteers for the JCAB meet with the youth and their parent/guardian in order to help the youth understand the impact of their action. The board uses RESTORATIVE JUSTICE techniques to develop an agreement with the youth that requires them to complete activities that repair the harm caused by their actions.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED: contact Dana Katz at 845-514-0239 or dkatz@fowinc.org for the application.

* Volunteers will be required to attend a one day training. The next training will be held Thursday September 24th from 10am – 4pm at the OLD Business Resource Center location, 1 Development Court (off Ulster Ave), Kingston, NY 12401

Announcement from Family of Woodstock events