December 2014  
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Kudos Corner
Tom Crotty
District Wide
Submitted by:
Charles Tadduni

Fare Thee Well to a Good Man – You may have not known Tom Crotty, he was a soft spoken, unassuming man, though large in stature and strong as a bull. Tom was a maintenance worker with the district for over ten years. However, you would know if he wasn’t around because your heat might not have been working or your roof might have been leaking. Tom knew every in and out of every building in the district and was at the Middle School many a day fixing our heat, hours before any of us arrived at the building; cleaning the vents to keep our air clean, tackling hornet nests on the roof, rewiring the building over and over. Tom was the type of guy who would respond for one maintenance problem and fix a handful of others without having to be asked. Tom won the district’s Distinguished Service Award this year and boy did he deserve it. We wish Tom Crotty the best in his retirement. He will be missed around these parts.

BOE Meeting Dates
14-15 BOE Meeting Dates

Friday, December 19th, is a C day in the High School and in the Junior High School.


updateAs of this date we have reached 175 supporters endorsing the Fair Funding initiative but need many more individuals to complete the on-line petition.
Over the past 5 years, our district has lost $10.3 million to Gap Elimination Adjustment which was created as an “adjustment” to state aid for schools in order to “eliminate” the state’s budget gap. 
This current year, New York State does NOT have a budget gap or deficit. 
Schools and local taxpayers alike continue to suffer because of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) and our elected representatives are the ones that have the ability to end these destructive cuts. 
Please encourage our community to support the Fair Funding petition.  
Sincerely, Superintendent Agostaro
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Please help us continue the advocacy effort to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) which hurts New York's public schools. Be part of the action! Take a moment to sign a petition to be delivered to the Board of Regents, the New York State House, the New York State Senate, and Governor Andrew Cuomo telling our state leaders to provide fair and equitable funding for our schools.

Fair Funding Resource

Fair Funding Petition

New Farm to School Fund Will Bring Local Produce to Rondout Valley School Lunchrooms

ACCORD – Rondout Valley Central School District (RVCSD) Food Service Director Christopher Van Damm says that when it comes to the fruits and vegetables served in the District’s cafeterias, fresher is always better.

To help Van Damm fill kids’ lunch trays with more of that fresh, healthy local produce, and benefit regional farmers at the same time, the District has launched a Farm to School Fund. The fund, supported by donations from the community, will be used to purchase food from Rondout Valley farmers for use in District cafeterias. 

The idea for the fund came from Board of Education President Breanna Costello, the mother of three Rondout Valley students and a longtime supporter of the District’s school gardens. Costello, like many parents and school officials, wanted to see children enjoying local food in the lunchroom, but realized that obtaining it can sometimes be cost-prohibitive. School districts are required by law to competitively bid for the food they purchase, which can make buying from small local farms a challenge.

“We believe that with the school district, local distributors and farmers working together can overcome some of these challenges and bring local food into the school cafeteria,” said Deborah DeWan, Executive Director of the RVGA, non-profit comprised of local farmers, residents and businesses. 

Costello said that because of the mandated purchasing constraints put on districts, “finances have been our biggest roadblock” in terms of serving food grown in the Rondout Valley. So she spent some time “dreaming up different ways to unlock some doors,” and the Farm to School Fund was born. Since the food would be donated through the fund, the purchasing barriers are removed. 

“It’s an awesome idea,” said Rondout Valley Superintendent Rosario Agostaro. “I think it’s a win-win for both the District and Rondout Valley growers.” 

Van Damm, whose department serves approximately 1,000 lunches per day, said the fund would be a viable way for him to obtain fresh, locally grown items that the District uses in large quantity, like broccoli.

“I think it’s great. I’m open to buying local,” Van Damm said. “If we could buy local broccoli with the fund, I would use that in a heartbeat.”

Produce of various kinds is a popular menu item in the District, particularly since a salad bar opened at the High School last year. Carrots, tomatoes, red peppers, cucumbers, salad greens, and legumes are available every day, both à la carte and as one component of a complete lunch. Many of the items served on the salad bar, along with fruit, are available from farmers in the Rondout Valley, which has the highest concentration of active farmland in Ulster County. 

DeWan said the Farm to School Fund would not only bring more regionally grown food into District lunchrooms, but would also connect students to where their food is grown.

“There’s both a nutritional element and an educational element to it,” DeWan said. “It has the potential to be very powerful.” 

The fund is the latest collaboration in a strong ongoing relationship between the District and the RVGA. Farmers who are part of the RVGA are regular visitors in District classrooms and have assisted with greenhouses and other projects.

“We’re ready and the farmers are ready to make a start, to build on our relationship, and move forward with the community’s support,” DeWan said. 

The Farm to School Fund is managed by the Rondout Valley Education Foundation, which administers more than a dozen similar funds for a variety of District programs. All money donated to the Farm to School Fund will be used specifically for the purchase of locally grown food. Donations are tax-deductible. 

To make a donation, please visit the Rondout Valley Central School District website,, and click on the link for the Rondout Valley Education Foundation donation form.

Ag education a missed opportunity, area farmers say

Job Growth Education Requirements through 2020 (Georgetown University)

Information from NASA on the
International Mission to Land on a Comet

Hudson Valley Pathways Academy
through Ulster BOCES

New Guidance From NYSED Regarding Snacks and Fundraising in Our Schools

Kudos Corner: Sincere thanks never grow old. So consider writing a sentence or two to praise the efforts, contributions or accomplishments of a staff member.  We will establish a section on the main page of our website to acknowledge your submission of “Kudos”. 

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