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Dr. Jere Hochman
Superintendent of Schools
                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

Thank you!  To the residents, businesses, civic and recreation partners, volunteers, and houses of faith in our district’s towns and village of Bedford, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, and Pound Ridge, “Thank you!”  It is with pride and high expectations that together we build on years of tradition and excellence as the Fox Lane graduating class of 2027 enters kindergarten this September.  Looking ahead, we expect continued accomplishments in student learning, “school the way it oughta’ be” for students, and yes, operational efficiency and fiscal prudence. 

Thank you! Because of you and your support we have been able to reduce the annual increases in tax levies significantly (six years in a row), to become more efficient in our operation, and to retain that which you have told us matters most in student experiences and opportunities. 

Thank you because it is working!  Whether or not you have children in our schools, as one unified school district learning community we all support and educate America’s future.  I hope you share our pride in all of our students’ effort and achievements.  I imagine the venerable academic John Dewey had districts and communities like ours in mind when he expressed, “What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon, it destroys our democracy.”

In Bedford Central, our “ideal for schools” is the academic success, participation, and sense of belonging of “every single student” from the first day of kindergarten and every day until the day every student receives his and her diploma.

Last spring, we learned that Fox Lane Senior Class of 2014 had received close to 1,000 acceptance letters to 294 different colleges and universities. In addition, some students will continue their learning and service in the military and trades. Complementing this are the representative accomplishments highlighted at graduation recently by Fox Lane principal Dr. Joel Adelberg and others:

During the last several weeks of school, 96 seniors participated in ASPIRE work internship experiences in the community. During the school year, several students traveled to Nicaragua to build homes and community centers, to both Western and Eastern Europe, and to China continuing our sister school connection.

Over 100 seniors were celebrated at our Senior Sports Banquet, hundreds had joined some of the more than 80 Fox Lane clubs, and dozens of seniors were recognized in each of our music programs and in art exhibits.  Twenty-one students were inducted into the National Art Honor Society and more than a third of our seniors graduated with Honors. 

Approximately two-thirds of the senior class took an Advanced Placement course with a large number taking multiple AP courses and we expect that one-third of this class will be named AP Scholars and AP Scholars with Distinction.  The Academic Challenge Team participated in national competition in Chicago and the Model Congress participated in some of the most prestigious competitions in the country. Thirteen members of this class completed the rigorous three-year Science Research program, with one student winning at the international level, and others winning awards at the regional, state, and tri-county levels.

The Class of 2014 includes 5 National Merit Scholarship Commended Students, 2 National Merit Scholarship winners, 16 students who graduated with tremendous success at our Hillside Alternative School, 6 who graduated from our OPT program, and 28 seniors who came to us not speaking a word of English yet achieved success in our ESOL program and district coursework.

Additionally, the College Board has listed Fox Lane High School as one of 477 schools nationally on its AP District Honor Roll which recognizes schools for simultaneously increasing access to Advanced Placement course work while increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams.

Fox Lane High School was honored as one of 79 high schools from around the country as a 2014 Top AFS (American Field Service) School.

The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) announced the Bedford Central School District as one of 376 schools across the country as a “Best Community for Music Education.”

Fox Lane High School was recognized by the Washington Post as one of the nation’s “Most Challenging High Schools.”

And, in all of our schools the list of awards, accolades, and activities includes our children in all grades who participate in spelling bees, science fairs, elementary school mock trials and historical debates, the BCSD Elementary BikeRun, the Brooklyn Nets AVID Fan Experience, the Westchester Autism Speaks Dinner, the 2014 School Library Summit, the Hudson Valley Writers Program, the BCSD Family U., events organized with the Bedford Historical Society and our public libraries, yearlong internships and leadership program participation at the Northern Westchester Hospital, volunteer efforts across the area, the Bedford Hills 5th Annual Run For the Hills and in numerous other authentic and relevant learning experiences.  

We continue to raise achievement and academic success with students overcoming obstacles to their learning.  And, while state test scores have become a moving target across the state, our students in all grades have achieved extremely well and competitively on national assessments with comparable students in the region. 

The 2014-2015 school year builds on this success as we continue the improvement and refinement of curriculum, accountability, and several district procedures and projects and we look to the future that will challenge and test us.  2014-2015 is truly a year of investment in the future.  The first phase of our capital projects is underway, our first step in the two-way dual language program begins, and work continues on an ever-increasing rigorous curriculum along with new ventures in technology.  We will act on recommendations from external reviews of our World Language curriculum, special education, and multi-year financial planning.  And, we will collaborate as an entire community to work better as one diverse district learning community. 

We hope you share our pride in our students’ success and our persistence for continuous development because it is because of you that we can strive for such ideals.  The accomplishments cited above and the hundreds of others behind the scenes are indicative of an extremely successful school district and the source of our ambition goes much deeper. 

Amidst the handshakes and hugs at the Fox Lane graduation, every student receives his and her diploma and a copy of the Constitution of the United States.  In the hands of every one of our students, citizens and aspiring citizens alike, our democracy will thrive as our students and all of us work vigorously to pursue and protect the American Dream with continued learning.  With your support, our entire community working together, the leadership of our Board of Education, and the remarkable work of our faculty and staff, I am confident we will have much of which to be proud and celebrate in the years ahead. 

Thank you.