August 15, 2014

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students:

Socrates was known to have said, “Wonder is the beginning of all wisdom.”  And wondrous things continue to happen here at Bishop Dunn Memorial School.  We just concluded an absolutely wonderful Summer FUNdamentals program, and we are looking forward to welcoming our students back to a new school year of wonder, inspiration, imagination and rigorous, but engaging, learning activities to cultivate their individual passion for life-long learning.

Welcome back to a new school year!  We are excited to greet our Bishop Dunn families in September, and we are so proud to inform you that over the summer our 2013-2014 4th graders published their very own non-fiction picture book.  Teach Me Truth – The History of Mount Saint Mary College and Bishop Dunn Memorial School will warm your hearts and teach you much about the origins of our school and this lovely college.  We can’t wait to share it with you.  Mrs. Benfer collaborated with the Director of the College Library, Mrs. Barbara Petruzzelli, on a formal book release event which will take place on Monday, September 22, at 3:00pm in the Dominican Center Library.  So mark your calendars.  More details will be forthcoming upon our return to school in September.

The following information is important for you to review before the first day of school:

The 2014-15 School Calendar is posted on-line and also included in this mailing.  You will notice some key dates for the beginning of school:

–     Wednesday, September 3 – Pre-K and Kindergarten Parent Open House at 6:30pm in the BDM Library.

–     Thursday, September 4 – First day of school for grades 1-8 and Pre-K Orientation and Kindergarten Visiting Day from 8:30-11:00am.

–     Friday, September 5 – First Friday (full day of school) with Mass at 9:00am at St. Mary’s Church. Pre-K Orientation and Kindergarten Visiting Day from 8:30-11:00am.

–     Monday, September 8 – Open House for Parents of students in grades 1-8 at 7:00pm in the gymnasium and 7:30pm in the classrooms.  First day for Pre-K and K students.

–     Saturday, October 4 – Back to School Fall Harvest Festival in the BDM gym.

–     The School Lunch Program with Mount Saint Mary College begins on Monday, September 8th – the third day of school.  September’s menu and lunch order form are enclosed for your reference.   School lunch is available to all of our students – Pre-K through Grade 8.  Please remember to send your child to school with lunch on Thursday and Friday, September 4 and 5.

–     As always, there are a number of forms included in this packet that need to be completed and returned to us as soon as possible.

·     The 2014-15 Parent-Student Handbook will be available on-line by August 22nd.  Please review this with your child(ren) and return a signed “rules acceptance form” along with a signed Technology/Usage Agreement with your child(ren) on the first day of school.

–     The Uniform Exchange will be available in the breezeway beginning next week through the first week in September.  After that parents can access these gently-used uniforms in the “uniform” closet in the gymnasium throughout the school year.

·     Physicals are required for students in grades 2, 4 and 7.  You may contact the Health Office at 569-3304 to obtain a physical form to be completed by your physician.

–     Visitor Parking Passes – two passes are included in this mailing.  Our Pre-K and Kindergarten parents are asked to park in the lot directly across from the main entrance to bring their children into school.  Those who are planning to spend time in the school should park in the lower lot across from the main entrance to Bishop Dunn and display the parking pass in the car window.

–     PM Extension begins on September 8 – the third day of school.

–     BDM Pick-Up Procedures – all parents picking up their children are requested to use the Gidney Avenue Entrance and Exit.

–     Pre-K through Grade 1 student pick-ups begin at 2:15pm in the same location – front of school by the library entrance.  Parents should exit through the Gidney Avenue gate.

–     Grade 2-8 student pick-ups will be at 2:25pm at the Middle School door once again by the basketball courts.  Cars will be directed to move straight through the driveway behind the school to exit at the Gidney Avenue gate.  School personnel will be available to direct traffic as needed.

–     Students should not report to the lobby during dismissal as this disrupts the dismissal process.  Lobby pick-ups will begin at 2:45pm.
Please take some time to read through the information contained in this mailing and contact the office at 569-3494 if you have any questions.

It has been a very busy summer in terms of preparations for the new school year due to some special requests of faculty members.  In order to accommodate their personal needs while keeping the very best interests of our students at the center of all personnel decisions, you will notice some staffing changes.  New to our Pre-Kindergarten program is Mary Birnbryer as lead teacher.  She will be working with Mrs. Powles who will serve as Teaching Assistant which was a personal request of Mrs. Powles to accommodate her impending medical needs.  Please keep Mrs. Powles in your prayers, as she will be undergoing surgery later in the school year.

Mrs. McLoughlin will be moving up to “loop” with her students in Kindergarten.  She will be working as Co-Teacher/Teaching Assistant with Mrs. Middlemiss as lead teacher in the Kindergarten classroom this year.  I know that both Mrs. Middlemiss and Mrs. McLoughlin are excited to be working together to benefit our delightful kindergartners.  Sadly, we are saying goodbye to Miss Newsome who is moving on to a teaching position in one of the schools in Connecticut.  We wish her well in her new role.

Our first grade team, with Mrs. LoPresti and Ms. Porcelli will continue for this school year.  However, Ms. Porcelli will be returning in early October when she returns from maternity leave.  We are proud to report that she gave birth to little Gabriella Grace who weighed in at  8 lbs. 6 oz.on July 11th.  We wish mom, dad and ‘lil Gabriella Grace well as a new family!  Mrs. Giraudin will be filling in for Ms. Porcelli while she is out and will continue to work with us throughout the year as a teaching assistant in support of struggling learners at the elementary level.

New to second grade is Ms. Samantha Pozzulo who will be working with teaching assistant, Mrs. Broe.  Ms. Pozzulo is certified in literacy and special education and has experience as a Catechist teaching CCD classes at St. Columba.  She also student taught with us last year and worked as a substitute teacher.  Ms. Pozzulo is a graduate of Mount Saint Mary College.  I know that both Ms. Pozzulo and Mrs. Broe are excited to be partnering together for the benefit of our 2nd graders particularly as they prepare for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.

We are also very pleased to announce that Ms. Kim Lynch has been promoted to Grade 3 Instructor for the 2014-15 school year.  She, too, is very excited about this opportunity to work with our eager third graders.  And I am happy to report that Mrs. Albano will continue in 3rd grade working closely with Ms. Lynch but in a Teaching Assistant capacity.  Please know that this was a personal request of Mrs. Albano to accommodate the multiple needs of her growing children, and I know that Ms. Lynch and Mrs. Albano will be a great partnership.

Mrs. Benfer will continue as lead teacher in fourth grade, but due to Ms. Lynch’s promotion, she will have a new partner this school year.  We welcome Mr. Brian Morgan to 4th grade as Co-Teacher working closely with Mrs. Benfer.  Together they will ensure that our fourth graders have authentic learning opportunities as readers and writers and mathematicians!  They are excited to be co-teaching together this school year.

We are also pleased to have Mrs. Casazza and Mrs. Vasilakos working together again in Fifth Grade.  They are looking forward to welcoming our fifth graders and have wonderful experiences planned in the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop along with further honing the math curriculum to prepare students for middle school.

Our middle school teachers will continue as last year with Mrs. Purdy as Math Instructor and 6th Grade Homeroom Teacher; Mrs. Trieste as reading, math and religion teacher and homeroom teacher for half of our 7th graders with Mrs. Perk as social studies teacher and homeroom teacher to the other half of 7th grade; Mrs. Foster-Faith continues as Science Teacher; Ms. Singler continues as Technology Specialist; and Ms. Killelea continues as English Teacher and 8th Grade homeroom teacher.  New to the Middle School is Kristin Mulroe who will serve as a Special Education Teaching Assistant.  A new general education Teaching Assistant dedicated to the middle school will be announced shortly.

We are happy to welcome back our special area teachers:  Mr. Corrado as PE Instructor and Athletic Director; Mrs. DelConte as Library and Art Teacher; Mr. Konno as Music Teacher and Ms. Singler as Technology Teacher.  It is my understanding that special services teachers from the Newburgh Enlarged City School District:  Mrs. Pamela Girard as Speech Pathologist and Mrs. Kim Garcia as Resource Room Teacher will continue with us in 2014-15.    We are also happy to welcome back our school nurse, Mrs. Kaknis, who is a Newburgh employee as well.

I know you join me in welcoming our new staff members to the Bishop Dunn Memorial School family and welcoming back our returning staff.  We are all very excited to begin a new year of rich learning experiences for every student in our school.  Please know that we fully appreciate that the education of your children is a partnership that we share with our families, and we look forward to cultivating a warm and encouraging relationship with each of you.

The results of the 2014 New York State Assessments have been released to the Lower Hudson Information Reporting Center and will be available in more detail shortly.  On first blush at the preliminary data, it seems that our students performed admirably in light of the increased expectations established by the Common Core Learning Standards.  More information about test scores will be available at an upcoming Parent Coffee meeting in late September.  Parent reports will be available in a few weeks.

As always, our teachers will continue to work diligently to align the curriculum to the Common Core and develop differentiated instructional practices to ensure that all students are learning at high levels. As in the past, we are working closely with the professors of CELL (Collaborative for Equity in Literacy Learning) at the Mount to provide a literacy coach to work with teachers to enhance their practice in the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop model.  To this end I am pleased to announce that Ms. Nicole Allen will be serving as literacy coach/intern for ten hours per week here at Bishop Dunn.  Ms. Allen is a graduate student from MSMC who comes highly recommended by Dr. Bixler, Chair of the Education Department.  She will push into classrooms to work with teachers and students each week and will support teachers in providing best practices in ELA instruction.  As always, I continue to collaborate with other professors to ensure that meaningful fieldwork opportunities are in place to meet the learning needs of our own students as well as the college students in math and other content areas.

As you know my strong belief is that genuine collaboration fosters ownership of our school culture.  As instructors and parents, I believe that supporting our children to do well at school, and in their lives, is the center of our work together.  I look forward to another great year of learning and growing here at BDMS.


Karen Kellogg

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