September 18, 2019
Dear Catskill CSD Community:
The beginning of the 2019-2020 school year has been seamless. Teachers are teaching and students are learning in schools that are safe, clean and welcoming. This is attributed to a collective effort from our administration, staff, parents and the Board of Education. We are all partners in this work. When things go well, it’s a team effort and when things go wrong it’s because of the Superintendent. I am happy to say that things are going well in the District.
The State Education Department recently released our Grades 3-8 Spring 2019 assessment data. Our students continue to improve in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Some grade levels have demonstrated double-digit growth in these subject areas. We applaud our students, teachers and parents for this remarkable achievement. I am also proud to note that our High School graduation rate reached 91.6%, which includes our August graduates. Again, this is a collective effort that deserves recognition from all District stakeholders.
Safety and security is our highest priority in the District. Last year, we hired Catskill Security LLC as consultants to provide armed security on both campuses. This year, we doubled down on security by implementing the Raptor Visitor Management System. The Raptor system will better allow us to screen visitors, contractors, and volunteers in our schools and provide us with a safer environment for our students and staff. Upon entering a District building, visitors will be asked to present an ID such as a Driver’s License, which can either be scanned or manually entered into the system. If a parent or guardian for any reason does not have a US government-issued ID, the school staff member can use any form of identification and manually enter the person’s name into the Raptor system. The Raptor system also checks the visitor’s name and date of birth for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders. The registered sex offender database is the only official database checked by the Raptor system. No other data from the ID is gathered or recorded and the information is not shared with any outside agency. Once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of his/her visit. A visitor’s badge will not be necessary for those who visit our schools simply to drop off an item in the office or pick up paperwork.
In closing, I look forward to working with you and I am excited about what the future holds for our students as we expand opportunities for them by improving teaching and learning in every classroom. Together, we will strive to exemplify excellence in all that we do and make a positive difference. Best wishes for an extremely rewarding and successful school year.
Dr. Ronel Cook
Superintendent of Schools