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June 9: HAS Principal's Message


Dear Harrison Avenue Families,

First, I want to thank you for your enduring partnership throughout the year.  Whether we were in school or learning from home, you were there to ask hard questions, to listen to honest and imperfect responses, and to support your child.  As a result, in concert with your child’s teacher, children learned, perhaps not in the manner we would have chosen, but they learned.  District leaders and teachers are now gathering resources to create opportunities for learning from home to continue this summer. 

Throughout difficult times this year, we supported each other and talked together. We’ve remained a strong community, but there is more to do.  The details of opening school in September are still unknown.  The comfort of how we will be spending our summer may still be unknown, and that is hard. What we have, despite all we are facing, is community.  And if we have community, we also have opportunity. 

We have the opportunity to continue learning about the families we educate and serve. Our goal is to make Harrison Avenue School a place of belonging for all students, and to look for signs we achieved that goal. There is more to do to ensure that every Harrison Avenue student continues to feel a sense of belonging. The quiet student, the new student, the struggling learner, the students from other countries and cities, the artist, the dancer and the scientist all have a place in Harrison. 

The closure of the school year provides time for reflection, and hope for the times to come.  I remain grateful to serve our community, and look forward to the challenges and opportunities that live in the work ahead. 


Valerie Hymes

Other Items to note:

Teachers across all grades and content areas are celebrating students’ hard work and growth throughout the school year. Our schools are finalizing plans to honor and celebrate fifth graders as they prepare to “move up” to middle school.  While our end-of-year celebrations and culminating activities will look and feel different this year, they will be an important part of our collective memory of this historic school year. Information regarding fifth grade ceremonies will be sent out in the near future. 

Summer Programs
We continue to redesign and expand our summer programs. Due to the governor’s order, these programs will be held virtually. Summer programs will be designed in a way that is flexible and accomodate a larger number of students than in prior years. There will be components of this program, as well as additional resources, that will be accessible to all elementary school students. 

Student Materials Pick-Up
Families will begin to pick up their child’s belongings on June 10th. Please follow the schedule and procedures that were sent to you last week. As a reminder, families should return items such as library books, textbooks, school-owned instruments, and other school materials. We will not be collecting technology on loan from the school district except for students leaving the District. 

Incoming Kindergarten Students
Our elementary schools have begun welcoming incoming kindergarten families by gathering important social, emotional, and academic information about our newest students from the people who know them best, their families!  This information is especially important this year as a traditional kindergarten screening will not take place.  Kindergarten registration and new student registration for the 2020/21 school year are ongoing. If you or someone you know has an incoming kindergartener who has not yet registered, please visit; click the “Parents” menu; and then “Student Registration,” to access our Online Registration system.  Email Michelle Marchese, District Registrar, with any questions:

Visit the District’s K-5 Family University on the Learning From Home page, which offers additional learning activities for your children and continues to be updated.

The District provides free breakfast and lunch for eligible students. If you are currently eligible but have not yet applied, please complete the request form.  If your circumstances have changed and you are in need of food assistance contact your principal. All inquiries are confidential.

If your child needs a device, if there is a problem with your equipment, or if your family does not have internet access, the District will provide a device and/or a mobile hotspot to deliver internet access. If you require technology support please complete this form. If you have questions contact Brian Seligman (914-630-3389) or (