District Office

15 Mountain Rd.

Ravena, NY 12143 518.756.5200

Alan R. McCartney,
Interim Superintendent

April 20, 2014

NEWS Headlines

Our Mission is to be an exemplary 21st–century learning community whose graduates are well prepared to excel in a complex, interconnected and changing world.

Check out development of the 2014-15
RCS budget here.

Student photoLearning Fair, Family Math Night and Art Show draws hundreds of families

Space on the walls and in the hallways was at a premium as hundreds of students and families turned out to check out student work and displays, get some exercise, challenge their minds and have a good time at the Learning Fair, Family Math Night and Art Show on April 10.

There were activities for children of all ages, including displays of amazing art work, shooting basketballs, bowling, math games and physical activities. [read more]

BOE adopts $42.345 million budget for 2014-15; taxes up by 1.88 percent

The Board of Education unanimously adopted a 2014-15 budget totaling $42,345,849 tonight - a spending plan that makes no programmatic or staff cuts while boosting spending for college-prep Advanced Placement, Family and Consumer Science, music, Career and Tech courses at BOCES, sports and building maintenance.
The proposed budget, which goes to the community for approval on Tuesday, May 20 (voting will be held 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the high school gym), would raise the tax levy by 1.88 percent - well below the district's maximum 3.9 percent state tax levy cap.
Because the budget stays below the cap, homeowners will also be eligible for a property tax rebate under a new program included in the 2014-15 state budget. [read more]

RCS flips the switch on solar powerAW Becker solar panels

Over the next 20 years, solar collectors sitting atop the four school buildings and bus garage are going to harness enough energy to clip at least $800,000 from RCS utility bills – all at no cost to taxpayers.

The collectors have been installed on the roofs at the high school, middle school, A.W. Becker, Pieter B. Coeymans and the bus garage.

Estimates from US Light Energy, the contractor working with RCS to develop the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the project, show that electric charges will drop by $807,076 (a 11.34 percent drop) over the next 20 years at a minimum. [read more]

Nominations open April 7 - 23 for the Challenge Math and Scholars elementary enrichment programs in 2014-15

Teachers are currently in the process of nominating students for the Challenge Math (current grades 2-4) and Scholars (current grades 3-4) programs at the A.W. Becker and Pieter B. Coeymans elementary schools.

AWB and PBC students may be nominated by a teacher, administrator, or parent/guardian. [read more]

Family Math Night to be held on Thursday, April 10 at PBCMath Night flyer

Head over the to the PBC gym this Thursday, April 10, for an evening of activities all focused around mathematics. The Family Math Night runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

With the stress and pressures of the upcoming NYS tests, this should be a chance to have some fun, burn off some much needed frustration, and learn a few things too!
Activities will range from basketball shooting, bowling, math games, physical activities and much more.

There are activities for ALL grade levels. Here's the flyer (PDF).

Freshman Emma Hughes elected as a NYS FCCLA officer; heading to national conference in July

Emma Hughes pictureRCS freshman Emma Hughes was selected as the First Vice President and Vice President of Alumni and Associates during the NYS Family, Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) convention in Syracuse from March 26 to 29.

From July 6 to 10, Emma, along with her fellow officers, will lead the NYS FCCLA delegation to the FCCLA National Conference in San Antonio, Texas. There will be more than 6,000 students at this conference sharing ideas on how to become better leaders, practicing public speaking, planning strategies on how to increase membership.
[read more]

Middle School FACS students become "blanketeers" and make a fleece quilt Quilt projectfor The Linus Project

The Middle School FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences) Club has made a fleece quilt to donate to the Linus Project.

The Linus Project donates thousands of homemade blankets to children in need of comfort and warmth each year.   [read more]


RCS, Coeymans Police working together on canine unit training

When students see dogs roaming the hallways, they shouldn't think it's Take Your Pet to School Day!

RCS is partnering with the Coeymans Police Department and Specialized K-9 Detection Services for some special on-site training. Throughout this spring, the detection canines will occasionally be in "student-free" areas of the high school, like unoccupied rooms and hallways. The exercises will help the animals hone their detection skills within our school.

Here's the letter sent home to parents this week (PDF).

More than 1,000 students - including 110 from RCS - will participate in the NYSSMA Solo and Ensemble Festival at RCS on April 4th & 5th

The Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District will host the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Zone 7 Solo and Ensemble Festival at RCS High School on Friday and Saturday, April 4th and 5th.

Music students from 31 Capital Region area schools will perform solos and small ensembles for certified NYSSMA adjudicators.

The 23 adjudicators, coming to RCS from all across New York State, will evaluate student performances in areas such as tone, intonation, style, rhythm and several musical aspects. [read more]

Let your state leaders know your feelings

(3/26/14) As state leaders begin to wrap up their discussions on the state budget, the New York State Council of School Superintendents has put forth an easy and quick way to send your representatives a message about the budget.

Here is the Education Speaks link to NYSCOSS - http://educationspeaks.org/2014/03/action-alert-tell-your-legislators-that-youve-had-enough/

2014-15 budget presentation being planned on April 1 at the high school

Interim Business Administrator Stephen Meier continued his review of the 2014-15 budget proposal tonight but said some things are still in flux but a planned presentation on Tuesday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the high school library should be clearer.


"We are really trying to keep our expenses flat from the 2013-14 school year into the 2014-15 school year," Meier told the Board of Education. "This is still a work in progress." [read more]

Student photoAWB Science and Wellness Celebration was fun and taught life lessons

This year’s recent A.W. Becker Science and Wellness Celebration featured displays, a book fair, budding scientists and food, but most importantly, it taught everybody important life lessons.

For example:

At the Science Fair, Drew Kozlowski’s experiment taught about not wasting money on fancy coffee since a blind taste test showed that drinkers prefer generic coffee over the “premium” Starbucks.”

For future Olympians out there, Mike Zeoli and Ryan Southworth showed the most effective height for a ski jump.

All of the projects were amazing, proving that AWB is a hot ground for future scientists. [read more]

RCS needs its community to oppose the diversion of state budget funding

As the state budget process draws to a close (the state budget is due to be adopted by April 1, according to the state constitution) in Albany, RCS Interim Superintendent Alan McCartney is urging parents, community members and staff to reach out to their representatives to prevent a huge shift in state resources to New York City and elsewhere.

"We are about to lose significant funds. Final budget negotiations are underway at the state Capitol and your help is needed NOW to protect education at RCS!," he wrote to staff this week. "If one-house bills, already approved by the Assembly and Senate are any indication, money that should be going to Capital Region public schools, including RCS, could be diverted for Pre-K programs in New York City and for charter schools that already siphon funding from school districts. CALL TODAY! Don't let state legislators shift Capital Region K-12 school aid."  [read more]

 AWB PTA is selling Power Cards for playing at Dave and Busters

The A.W. Becker PTA is having a fund-raiser, which runs until March 31, with Dave and Busters at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland. The fund-raiser is open to all parents and community members.

The fundraiser works like this:

a $10 Power Card is worth 45 chips that are used for activities.

a $20 Power Card is worth 100 chips that are used for activities.

Most games take at least five (5) chips to play. [read more]

Student photoLiteracy Night blends Common Core for a successful evening at AWB!

The AWB Literacy Night tonight focused on Human Rights, a module that focuses on the Common Core standards and that has been taught during the past 10 weeks in grade 5 classrooms.

The evening also highlighted how aspects of the same theme permeated other  grade 5 subjects, including art and physical education. [read more]

Schools releasing early on March 21 for conferences

Elementary and middle school students will be released early on Friday, March 21, for parent conferences:

Elementary schools will dismiss at 12:30 p.m.

Middle School will dismiss at 11:07 a.m.

High School releases at 2:07 p.m.

Because of last week's snow day, the MS/HS Music in Our Schools Month instrumental concert has been rescheduled to Tuesday, March 25 at 7 p.m. in the HS auditorium.

Two varsity RCS teams earn NYS Scholars team awards

During the winter season, two varsity RCS teams earned New York State Scholar Team Awards:

The Boys Indoor Track team needed at least 11 students to have a class average of at least 90%. The team's team's top achievers were seniors Craig Brozowski, 96% and Jacob Coluse; 95%; juniors Collin Adams, 96% and Andrew McHugh, 89%; and sophomores Matt Carter, 92%, Ken Mueller, 94%; and Okoyeo Davis, 93%.

The Girls Varsity Basketball team needed at least seven girls to have a class average of at least 90%. The team’s top achievers were sophomores Makayla Shear, 93%; Bailey Kross, 92%; and Kim Hughes, 91%.

PBC Kindergarten Parent Orientation scheduled for March 19

The Kindergarten Parent Orientation evening will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19 at Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary School. This date was inadvertently left off the district calendar.

RCS to NYS: return the $10 million+ lost to GEA since 2010; Board of Education continues review of 2014-15 budget

The Board of Education continued its review of the 2014-15 budget by examining these areas of the budget: General Support, Employee Benefits and Debt Service/Interfund Transfers.

The board also said that the state's Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), a one-year program begun in 2010 to help the state fill it's budget hole - has strangled RCS efforts to continue providing adequate funding for necessary programs. [read more]

RCS to host GCMEA Spring All-County Festival on March 19 and 21

More than 40 RCS students are participating in the festival

The RCS Music Department is proud to host this year’s Greene County Music Educators Association Spring All-County Music Festival on Wednesday, March 19th and Friday, March 21st.
Approximately 240 students from Cairo-Durham, Catskill, Coxsackie-Athens, Greenville, Hunter-Tannersville, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk and Windham-Ashland-Jewett will come together to rehearse on Wednesday, March 19, from 3 to 8 p.m.
Students will gather again on Friday for rehearsals, a dress rehearsal and an evening concert at 7:30 p.m. in the RCS High School Auditorium. Doors will open at 7 p.m.
[read more]

Get those sneakers tied up! It's time for the first RCS Wellness Marathon

SneakersAttention RCS students, faculty, families and friends! The first RCS Wellness Marathon will be run from March 20 and April 25.

Marathoners must run or walk at least 21 miles between those two dates.
You can run or walk a mile at a time or up to five miles on different days! Any combination of running or walking works as long as it adds up to 21 miles! The last 5.2 miles will be finished at the third annual Wellness Walk to be held on April 27th. 
[read about the marathon - PDF]   [read about the Community walk - PDF]

Student photoAWB Families pay tribute to Dr. Seuss on his birthday

45 Kindergarten students and their families attended a fun hands-on Dr. Seuss night Wednesday, March 4th at AWB.  Students and their families rotated through 11 different stations all inspired by popular Dr. Seuss titles.   Some of the activities included creating a crazy, wild creature in the computer lab, making and playing with gak, creating and eating a Cat in the Hat inspired treat and snuggling up and reading some Dr. Seuss books with families.  Ms. Verga was also in attendance and thrilled the families with her Cat in the Hat costume.

Student photoFACS Club helps out at Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY

The RCS Middle School FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences) Club traveled to the Regional Food Bank in Latham to sort food and prepare it to be distributed to the needy in our neighborhoods.

Sixteen students made the trip and helped out the Food Bank, which is located in Latham. [read more]

Board of Education begins review of the 2014-15 budget

The Board of Education began its overview of the 2014-15 school budget, a plan that not surprisingly shows large increases in instructional costs and employee benefits.

Interim School Business Administrator Stephen Meier presented the first overview of the developing 2014-15 school budget. At first glance, tax rates would climb by about 2 percent if everything in the current budget were continued into the 2014-15 school year. [read more]

Is this your time to give back to RCS?

What better way to give back to your Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk school community than by seeking a seat on the nine-member Board of Education?

Three, three-year seats – currently held by Mike Robbins, Jeffrey Lukens and Rodney Krzykowski – are up for election this year in the annual election on Tuesday, May 20. The terms begin on July 1.

In order to run, potential candidates must collect signatures from 45 community members on these petitions (PDF). The petitions must be handed to District Clerk Sue Starr by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 21, 2014. Her office is located at the District Office, 15 Mountain Rd. Ravena, NY 12143. [read more]

83% of HS students treated to Bagel Day at PBIS Recognition BreakfastStudent photo

About 83 percent of the high school's student body - 495 students - chowed down on bagels and juice today during the PBIS Recognition Breakfast in the cafeteria.

Assistant Principal Tom DiAcetis said the event fosters good will and is a true recognition. "We are recognizing that our students are doing the right thing every day and that we appreciate that," he said, adding that students attending did not have a single referral during the second quarter of this year. [read more]

Need to clean out that closet? Garage? Room? House?

The class of 2015 - this year's juniors - would be happy to take that stuff off your hands. The class is holding a Garage Sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, at the high school from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can drop your items off from 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday, March 14. [check out the flyer - pdf]

RCS is working cooperatively with the village and LaFarge Ravena to resolve the dry hydrant issue at the high school/middle school campus

While reminding the community that students are safe, interim superintendent Alan McCartney says the district is working on a long-term resolution with village and Lafarge Ravena plant officials to the dry hydrants issue at the high school/middle school campus on Route 9W.

Engineers will be on the property on Friday (2/28/14) to assess the situation and determine how best to resupply the hydrants. They will conduct an assessment of the village water system to determine the exact size of the existing tank and determine if it is expandable. They will also assess the size of the water lines running to the school campus system, system pressure and volume that could be delivered to the school. [read more]

LogoRCS High School Drama Club presents Irving Berlin's, "Annie Get Your Gun," Feb. 28-March 2


Show dates: Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 2 at 2 p.m.

Where: Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School Auditorium, Ravena, NY.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children (ages 3-18)

Tickets may be purchased at the door. Seating is General Admission.


ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, originally performed on The Great White Way in 1946, scored a bulls-eye when it returned to Broadway in 1999.

And now the RCS High School Drama Club will present the Wild West show-within-a-show that frames the ageless "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" love story of sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. It also explores the romance between the younger sister of Frank's bothersome assistant Dolly and a boy who is (to Dolly's horror) part Native American. [read more]

Attention parents: Pre-Kindergarten lottery to be held on Feb. 28

Parents who wish to attend this event are welcomed. Student names will not be publicly read aloud. However, any parent who is in attendance and wants to inquire about their child’s position in the lottery drawing may do so. Interested parents should bring ID.

Letters will be sent to all Pre-K applicants during the first week in March to notify them of their child's enrollment status.

Spring 2014 Continuing Education flyer is in the mail

The Spring 2014 Continuing Education brochure has been mailed. You can also download it here (PDF).

In-person registration will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Aquatics Center at the high school.

Student photoFifth graders at PBC experience the outdoors on snowshoes and connect with nature

When fifth-grade students came to physical education class, they probably didn't image they'd be strolling through the outdoors in snowshoes and see deer beds, animal tracks or a trapped rabbit.

But that's exactly what happened when the students explored the outdoors in class with teacher Diane Conover.

"The focus is obviously on lifetime fitness and we also include a science lesson by having them look for tracks and identify them," said Conover. "We saw four deer beds (Deer beds are oval-shaped impressions left in the grass, leaves, or snow where deer have decided to lay down) and various tracks. We also saw a rabbit jump from its hole." [read more]

RCS Middle School Science Olympiad team headed to state competition April 4 and 5Science Olympiad

 Middle School students fought off tough competition to earn second place at the regional Science Olympiad competition on Saturday, propelling them to the state competition at Greece Arcadia High School April 4 and 5.

They competed in science events and categories and performed tasks and solved problems about entomology, heredity, the solar system, water quality and invasive species with students from other school districts in the Capital Region. [read more]

More than 1,000 gather to demand end of GEA, fair school funding

The Gap Elimination Adjustment has cost schools millions of dollars since it was implemented as a one-year fix in 2010 at the height of the state's fiscal problems.


That one-year fix continues to vex schools four years later - to the tune of $2.024 million in lost promised state aid to RCS in the upcoming 2014-15 school year and a cumulative $12.247 million since the program began four years ago.


More than 1,000 students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members flocked to Colonie Central High School Thursday night (1/30/14) for the "New York schools STILL in fiscal peril" advocacy forum.


Interim Superintendent Alan McCartney led a contingent of 12 RCS parents, staff and community members at the event. [read more]

Out of district transportation requests due by April 1

The deadline for requests for bus service to non-public schools and other special requests is April 1 of each school year or within 30 days of moving into the school district. Download the 2014-15 request form [pdf]

RCS can't afford new state initiatives; may need to cut programs in 2014-15

Interim Superintendent Alan McCartney didn't mince many words in his plea to state legislators as they begin planning the upcoming 2014-15 state budget: new initiatives with big price tags from the governor are nice but RCS may not be able to maintain the program it currently has in place for its 2,100 students.


"Gains that might come from funding new initiatives for prekindergarten, after-school programs, and technology upgrades will most likely not materialize for us due to the fact that our district may not be able to maintain our current program next year," he wrote in a letter to Assemblyman Peter Lopez, who spoke at the RCS Board of Education last night. [read more]

"What is the GEA" videos updated for the 2014-15 school year

Just days before the regional advocacy forum at Colonie Central High School on Thursday, Jan. 30, two versions of the popular "What is the the GEA" video have been updated to reflect another year of lost funding through the GEA.


The GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment) was begun by the state leaders in 2010 as a way of dealing with its fiscal shortfalls because of the poor economy.


Since the 2010-11 school year, RCS has lost $12.247 million to the GEA. That includes an estimated $2.024 million GEA "give back" in the coming 2014-15 school year as announced two weeks ago by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.


Here is a video about the GEA developed by the Superintendent's Joint Legislative Committee from the Capital Region BOCES and QUESTAR III BOCES that is specific to the 47 school districts in the Capital Region (posted on YouTube).


Here is a similar version of the video that details statewide losses under the GEA (posted on YouTube).

Join the RCS stakeholder group at the Jan. 30 regional advocacy forum

Advocacy banner

Your voices will be heard at the Jan. 30 regional advocacy forum, “New York schools STILL in fiscal peril: Our kids can’t wait another year,” as RCS joins 47 other school districts and hundreds of educators, parents and others to demand that state officials properly fund schools and let them get back to educating students to be career and college ready when they graduate.

The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30, at Colonie Central High School, 1 Raider Boulevard, Colonie. The snow date is Feb. 3.

Any RCS community member who would like to attend and be part of RCS's stakeholder group, please contact Interim Superintendent Alan McCartney at  756-5200 extension 6003 or by email at amccartney@rcscsd.org.

Schools are still strapped and capped every budget cycle - a process that has caught our children's futures in the middle.

The time to speak out is NOW. [read more]

Alan McCartneyCommunity Budget Forum attendees hear about choices that may need to be made

"What are we doing, as a learning community at large, that we should STOP doing?'

"What aren't we doing, as a learning community, that we should START doing?

"What resources do we have at our disposal?"


Those three questions kicked off the Community Budget Forum at the high school tonight. Few community members braved the cold weather to attend the session, but those who were there learned a lot about the upcoming budget season. [read more]



Check here for older stories in the News Archive.



April 14-18

Spring recess - NO SCHOOL

April 21

Deadline for BOE petitions, 4 p.m., District Clerk's office

April 22

NYSSMA Instrumental Majors Festival, Ballston Spa HS

NYSSMA Choral Majors Festival, Bethlehem HS

Board of Education meeting, 7 p.m., HS

April 23

Elementary Professional Development - 10 a.m. start of school

NYSSMA Instrumental Majors Festival, Ballston Spa HS

NYSSMA Choral Majors Festival, Bethlehem HS

April 24

NYSSMA Instrumental Majors Festival, Shaker HS

NYSSMA Choral Majors Festival, Bethlehem HS

April 25

NYSSMA Instrumental Majors Festival, Shaker HS

PBC Daughters/Someone Special Dance, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

April 30, May 1 and 2

NYS Math assessment, Gr. 3-8

May 5

AP Exams, HS

May 6

AP Exams, HS

2014-15 Budget Hearing/Board of Education meeting, 7 p.m., HS

May 7

AP Exams, HS

May 8

AP Exams, HS

MS/HS Spring Select Ensembles Concert, 7 p.m., HS

May 9

AP Exams, HS

PBC Son/Someone Special Dance, 6:30-8:30 p.m., PBC

May 10

Junior Prom, 6-11 p.m., Birch Hill

May 12

AP Exams, HS

May 13

AP Exams, HS

MS Evening of the Arts, 6:30 p.m.

6th Grade Orientation for Parents, 6:45 p.m., MS library

May 14

AP Exams, HS

PBC PTO meting, 6:30 p.m.

AWB PTA meeting, 6:45 p.m.

May 15

PBC Habitat Day

Grades 6-8 MS Spring Concert,
7 p.m., HS

May 16

End of Five week interim period, MS/HS

NYSSMA Solo/Ensemble Festival #2, Glens Falls HS

May 17

NYSSMA Solo/Ensemble Festival #2, Glens Falls HS

May 19

RCS Track Invitational, 3 p.m.

AWB Art Show and Summer Recreational Expo, 6:30-8 p.m.

May 20

Gr. 8 Science Performance Test

2014-15 Budget and Board of Education vote, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., HS

May 21

Gr. 8 Science Performance Test

HS Spring Concert, 7:30 p.m.

May 22

AWB Gr. 4 Science Performance Test

PBC Habitat Day (raindate)

May 23

Contingent School Day - NO SCHOOL - if one emergency/snow day remains

May 26

Memorial Day - NO SCHOOL

May 27

Board of Education meeting, 7 p.m., HS - if necessary

May 28

PBC Gr. 4 Science Performance Test

May 30 and 31

NYSSMA Solo/Ensemble Festival #3, Cohoes HS

June 1

PBC PTO Bottle/Can Drive, 12-2 p.m., PBC

June 2

Gr. 4 and 8 Science Written Test

Senior Awards Night, 6:30 p.m., HS

June 3

Regents Common Core state testing, English Language Arts and Math, HS

PBC Gr. 5 Band/Chorus Spring Concert, 7 p.m., PBC

June 4

AWB Gr. 5 Band/Chorus Spring Concert, 7 p.m., AWB

June 5

Gr. 3-5 MS/HS Assembly for AWB/PBC, 9:45 a.m., HS

June 7

SAT exam, 8 a.m., HS

June 9

Athletic Awards Banquet, 5:30 p.m., HS auditorium

June 10

Board of Education meeting, 7 p.m., HS

June 11

PBC PTO meeting, 6:30 p.m.

AWB PTA meeting, 6:45 p.m.

AWB Gr. 1 and 3 Spring Concert,
7 p.m., HS

June 12

PBC Gr. 1 and 3 Spring Concert,
7 p.m., HS

June 17-25

Regents exams - No student attendance, grades 9-12, except to take exams

June 20

AWB Field Day

PBC Field Day

June 21

Summer begins

June 24

Board of Education meeting, 7 p.m., HS

June 25

Middle School dismisses at 11 a.m. and elementary schools dismiss at 12:30 p.m.

AWB Kindergarten Moving Up

PBC Gr. 5 Moving Up, 10 a.m.

Gr. 8 Moving Up Ceremony,
6:30 p.m., HS

June 26


Regents Rating Day

Elementary Early Dismissal,
12:30 p.m.

AWB Gr. 5 Moving Up, 10 a.m.

Elementary Report Cards

End of 4th marking period

June 28

Class of 2014 graduation ceremony, 9 a.m., Empire State Plaza State Convention Center

July 4

Offices closed

July 8

Tentative 2013-14 Re-Organizational Meeting, Board of Education, 7 p.m., HS

August 12

Tentative Board of Education meeting, 7 p.m., HS

August 21

Gr. 9 Orientation, 6 p.m., HS auditorium

August 26

Gr. 6 Orientation, 10-11:30 a.m., MS

Gr. 7-8 schedule pick-up, 12-1 p.m., MS


Complete 2013-14 Calendar