• August 12, 2019


    Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:


    The final days of summer vacation are dwindling down and signs of the coming fall are emerging all around us. For me, September always carries an air of excitement filled with the promise of fresh starts and infinite possibilities.


    This school year in particular symbolizes new beginnings as we welcome three new principals to our leadership team. Each has a strong sense of purpose and is focused on ways to ensure that each and every student feels safe, welcome, supported, and challenged to achieve his or her potential. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Mario Fernandez at New Paltz High School, Ross Hogan at Duzine Elementary School, and Sean Inglee at Lenape Elementary School.


    We are also hiring a district-wide bilingual guidance counselor. In addition to working with students, this professional will work closely with our team of school psychologists to implement curriculum that not only focuses on academics, but also addresses what it looks like to be healthy in body and mind. This work includes helping all students develop appropriate social skills and feel safe physically and emotionally. A new Kindergarten through Grade 5 mental health curriculum that focuses on a continuum of wellbeing (emotional, mental, and physical health) will also be introduced.


    Ensuring our buildings and grounds are safe and secure is our highest priority. We recently hired a private security expert with extensive law enforcement experience to conduct a comprehensive threat assessment of our school sites. We have scheduled a community safety forum to report out on the findings and discuss our plan for moving forward. I hope you will join us for this important conversation on September 10 at 6:30 PM at the High School.


    Everyone is looking forward to the Middle School project completion at the end of December when our students and teachers will be able to make their permanent moves into their new, modern classrooms and start using them as they were designed. I would like to thank everyone for their patience throughout the construction and renovation process. Everyone worked together, was flexible, and was accommodating, which allowed extensive work to be completed with minimal disruption. The end result is truly magnificent and something our community can be proud of. I would once again like to thank our taxpayers for making this possible.


    Our faculty and staff are deeply committed to the children of our community. With our parental and community support, our district continues to excel academically. It is essential that we continue to nurture this strong school-home-community partnership. 


    On behalf of the entire faculty, staff, and administration, I welcome everyone to the new school year and wish you all the greatest success.


    Enclosed with this letter you will find a copy of the key components of the Educational Master Plan along with a packet of materials pertaining to the opening of school.  The approved Educational Master Plan may be found on the district’s website, www.NewPaltz.K12.NY.US and is what guides and directs us to ensure that we maintain our culture, focus, and standards.




    Maria C. Rice