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Coronavirus Update May 28

Update from the Superintendent of Schools

Update: May 28 2020

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot

Dear Harrison Learning Community,

During Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, I announced the school year will end on June 16, but nothing about the ending of this school year seems familiar.  Amidst all of this change and turmoil...We shall not cease from exploration, to find a new, and yet familiar home.

Over the last seven days, I met with the Board of Education, PT Council, administrators, teachers, and senior class officers. Each of them were seeking solutions to ambiguous, frustrating problems, and, like so many of us, confounded by these vastly changed circumstances. I think differently; circumstances did not change our community or us. Perhaps we have learned even more about our community and ourselves and now… Know the place for the first time.

Like everything else, our graduations and high school commencement will be different – but we will not. We have made significant progress on preparations for commencement, middle school Moving Up, and fifth-grade graduations. Our planning anticipates two options, a socially distanced on-site graduation in which students participate in the ceremony, the second, a modified on-site/virtual graduation where graduates view the ceremony. It would be far easier for the seniors to give up and make a final decision now, but that precludes an on-site commencement with their entire class, so they persist. I remain inspired by our seniors, who... At the end of all their exploring, dream to... arrive where they started ...together on graduation day.

After my last update, many wrote with questions about our summer programs. Some parents were excited about these opportunities, others concerned that students need a break. Summer programs are being developed considering both of those perspectives, and will look like nothing you have ever seen or experienced before. They are not mandatory, will be flexibly scheduled, and accommodate more students than ever. Sadly, they will be virtual, as mandated by the governor’s Executive Order. Teachers and administrators are passionate about finding creative ways to make the summer experiences educational and fun!

Finally, we are collecting the best research from across the world on how to safely reopen our schools, and make the school experience personal and rewarding for your children. We will reopen our schools in ways that are inspirational, but inspiration is alive this very moment. Separated by space and time changes our circumstance, not our purpose. Be inspired by Deb Toteda and her dance ensemble as they use isolation to create collaborative dance…amazing!       

T.S. Eliot reminds me that while circumstances have changed, the place that we call home has not. If we are to make things right for our students, your children, we must look again at our home …And know the place for the first time.


Louis N. Wool Ed.D.

Our Amazing Students and Faculty

Katie Cole received 3rd Place and Mburucuya Gomez received a Certificate of Courage from “Lifting Up Westchester” for their submissions in the “Why Hope Is Important” 2020 essay contest. 

Congratulations to Emma Giacomelli, a Platinum winner in the 2020 National French Contest for earning the top score in the Nation in her division from Le Grand Concours.

Original artwork Christine Byrd, Faith Ildefonso, Lais Siqueira and Gianna Allegretti was selected from among 825 submissions in the iCreate Exhibit at the Bruce Museum, which plans to open an exhibit in July.

Harrison High School Virtual Science Symposium will be posted on the District website and aired on Optimum channel 74 and Fios channel 1961 at 7PM on Monday, June1st. 

Harrison High School Class of 2020 Varsity Football players posted treasured HHS memories on Twitter.  Senior Arti Qosaj shared how Ms. Griffo and Mr. Mastrota impacted his high school experience. HHS Dance Students choreographed a dance to reflect a word related to the pandemic. Dance teacher Debbie Toteda’s choreography assignment provided a way for dancers to connect and celebrate their work virtually. HHS students proudly share work in the 6th edition of the HHS Literary Magazine Imagine which explores the theme of inclusivity in various forms of art and writing.

LMK Middle School math teacher Brittany O’Donnell conducts a virtual math lesson and a 6th grade cellist Efraim Burgos plays “Long Long Ago.”

Harrison Avenue School Service Club and Faculty share acts of kindness and extraordinary deeds, just like “Ordinary Mary.”

Preston School third grade students share artwork created while learning from home.

Parsons School 2nd Graders prepare to write a persuasive essay and the Parsons Lego Club continues to gather virtually.

Purchase School third grade teachers hold a virtual meeting.