South Orangetown Central School District

This update was sent via SchoolMessenger e-blast to families at 4PM on August 23, 2019


Headshot of Kleo Girandola

Girandola Named Director of Financial Services
At Monday night’s meeting, the Board of Education appointed Kleo Girandola as Director of Financial Services, effective September 19, 2019. Girandola will oversee the daily operation of the Finance Office, including payroll, accounts payable, accounting, and banking, and be responsible for developing financial analyses, maintaining accounting records, and preparing federal and state reports. In addition, she will assist Executive Director for Finance and Management Services Alicia Koster with budget development and audit preparation, staff development and evaluation, and will serve as the District Treasurer.

Girandola possesses extensive experience in both public education and finance. Since 2016, she has served as Supervisor of Mathematics and Data-Driven Instruction at Rockland BOCES, where she worked with local school districts on curriculum and professional development, assessments, and the use of data to inform instruction. Girandola’s previous posts include Adjunct Professor at Rockland Community College (2007-present), Math Specialist at Upper Nyack Elementary School (2011-2016), and Grade 7 Math Teacher at James A. Farley Middle School (2004-2011). Prior to entering the education field, she was the Financial Controller (1994-1997) and Deputy Finance Director (1997-2003) for Spafax Airline Network.

Girandola holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from St. Thomas Aquinas College and a Master of Science degree in Adolescence Education, Grade 7-12 Mathematics, from Mercy College. She possesses both certifications for School District Leader and teaching, and is currently enrolled in the School Business and Human Resource Administration Advanced Certificate Program at the University of Buffalo.

“Kleo has an impressive reputation for professionalism, work ethic and collaboration. Her focus on teaching and learning will inform our ongoing efforts to ensure that our long range financial plan is tied to student success,” said Koster. “And her background in education, combined with her business acumen, will be a great fit for the Finance Office and make her a valuable member of our administrative team.”

Longtime Director of Financial Services and District Treasurer Laura Zarcone will retire at the end of August.

From left, Bilingual Literacy Specialist Rosario Urena and Family Engagement Center Coordinator AJ Walker

ParentChild+ Offers Families Early Childhood Literacy Support
SOCSD is proud to partner with Rockland 21C to offer ParentChild+, a research-based, early childhood literacy and parent support program, starting this fall. “We’re excited to introduce the ParentChild+ program in South Orangetown,” said Executive Director of Pupil Personnel Services Dr. Karen Tesik. “This is a nationally recognized program based on extensive research documenting the powerful impact of early childhood education on children’s cognitive and social development, with benefits that extend into adulthood. Partnering with Rockland 21C is one way for us to expand access to early childhood literacy, school readiness and parenting support for our families in need.”

Designed for families who may not have access to preschool or face other challenges, ParentChild+ features twice-weekly, 30-minute home visits with bilingual early learning specialist Rosario Urena over a two-year period. There is no cost to participate and ParentChild+ families receive free books and educational toys each week as part of the program. View brochure: English | EspañolEnrollment is now open for families with children born between September 2017 and March 2018. To apply, contact Family Engagement Center Coordinator AJ Walker at or (845) 274-2370.

Above, from left: ParentChild+ Bilingual Early Learning Specialist Rosario Urena and Family Engagement Center Coordinator AJ Walker at a recent Rockland 21C meeting.

With Focus on Quality, SOCSD Upgrades Food Service
The South Orangetown Central School District welcomes Whitsons as its new food service contractor! “Providing healthy meals and snacks is an important component of our district’s whole-child approach and helps to ensure that our students have the nutrition they need to grow and learn,” says Executive Director for Finance and Management Services Alicia Koster. “Whitsons has an excellent national reputation for delivering high-quality school meals prepared with fresh and locally-sourced ingredients.”

Whitsons offers appealing, age-appropriate menu items with increasingly more options for middle and high school, as students mature and learn to make healthier choices. Locally-sourced produce comes from New York State farm partners, which include Hudson River Fruit (Milton), Goodness Gardens (New Hampton), Martin Sidor Farms (Cutchogue), O&R Produce Farm (Goshen), Pavero Fruit (Milton), Satur Farms (Cutchogue) and Yonder Farms (Valatie).

What’s new:

  • Breakfast muffins will be available at both the elementary and secondary levels;
  • Grab and go entree salads will be offered daily at all schools;
  • Yogurt-based fruit smoothies will be served once a week at all schools;
  • Larger slices of pizza will be served at SOMS and TZHS at no additional cost;
  • Meat-free menu choices available each week as part of Meatless Monday, a science-based initiative associated with Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • In addition to the school-specific menu Google Calendars, downloadable menus will be posted on the Food Service page in both English and Spanish;
  • …and at TZHS, there will be extended snack service in the cafeteria between 2:00-3:30PM daily!

And while the vendor has changed, the meal payment process remains the same: Families will still be able to pay for and monitor their children’s food purchases through MyPaymentsPlus.

Also unchanged are the friendly faces behind the counter; Whitsons has hired all the hard-working food service workers who were employed by the district’s previous vendor–and added a position at William O. Schaefer Elementary School. View the September menus online | View nutrition information on the Whitsons’ website


Apply for Free and Reduced Meals: Breakfast and lunch are served in our buildings every full day of school If you believe that your child may be eligible for reduced-price or free school meals, please click here to go to the Food Service webpage for 2019-20 free and reduced-price meal information and application. NOTE: New York State has increased its reimbursement rates and, as a result, students approved for reduced-price meals will receive breakfast and lunch meals at no charge.

Back to School Information: Click on the Back to School button on our school homepages for dates, forms and summer reading/assignments:

Need Back to School Help? SOCSD understands that getting ready for a new school year may be particularly stressful for families who are struggling financially. If your family needs help with securing back-to-school necessities for your children, please contact Executive Director of Pupil Personnel Services Dr. Karen Tesik at or (845) 680-1025.

Email Delays: The LHRIC experienced intermittent issues with its email filtering platform this week which resulted in some users experiencing delivery delays to email addresses. The issues have been resolved.

Print Calendar Check: Please check your 2019-20 print calendars carefully. Roughly 30 households have let us know that they’ve received misprinted copies that contain missing or duplicate pages. If you’ve received a misprinted copy, please email Jen Citrolo at to arrange for pickup or mailing of a replacement.

2019-20 School Physical Requirements: New York State law requires a health examination for all students entering the school district for the first time AND when entering pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th grades.

  • The examination must be completed by a NY/NJ state licensed physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner and on the approved NYSED Student Health Examination Form or one from your physician.
  • A dental certificate which indicates your child has been seen by a dentist or dental hygienist is requested at the same time.
  • A copy of the NYSED Student Health Examination Form must be provided to the school within 30 days from when your child first starts school and when your child starts kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th grades. If a copy is not given to the school within 30 days, the school will contact you.
  • If your child has an appointment for an exam during the school year that is after the first 30 days of school, please notify the School Nurse’s Office of the exam date.
  • Links to the NYSED Student Health Examination Form and dental certificate are posted on the For Parents page at, under Forms.

Tdap Immunization Requirement: Students 11 years or older entering grades 6 through 12 are required to have one dose of Tdap. A dose received at 7 years or older will meet this requirement. Students who are 10 years old in Grade 6 and who have not yet received a Tdap vaccine are in compliance until they turn 11 years old.

Meningococcal Immunization Requirement (Grades 7 & 12): As of September 1, 2016, all public and private school students entering grades 7 and 12 in New York State must be fully vaccinated against meningococcal disease in order to attend school. The meningococcal vaccine, which is administered as a shot, protects against serious and sometimes deadly diseases, such as meningitis and sepsis. Before school starts in September:

  • One dose of meningococcal vaccine is required before 7th grade. If your child had the first dose as a sixth-grader, then another dose is not required until 12th grade.
  • A total of two doses will be required before 12th grade. Most students entering 12th grade got their first dose when they were younger and are now due for their second dose, or booster. This booster is needed because protection from the vaccine decreases over time.
  • The only teens who will not need a second dose before 12th grade are those who got their first dose on or after their 16th birthday.
  • A small number of students who received two doses before their 16th birthday may need a third dose on or after their 16th birthday in order to enter 12th grade.

It’s best to check with your doctor to see whether or not your child needs the vaccine. Students who are not up-to-date will not be allowed to attend school until they are vaccinated.

Virtual High School: Registration is now open for 2019-2020 Virtual High School courses. South Orangetown Middle School and Tappan Zee High School students interested in pursuing an academic course of study not available in their buildings may do so online through VHS at no cost to their families. The web-based courses are rigorous and deadline-driven, with homework assignments on a weekly or more frequent basis. High school level classes are listed on student transcripts and grades are included in grade point average calculations.

  • View the VHS course list here. (Additional courses may be available to SOMS students; see the “Virtual High School” link in first line, above.)
  • Full-year courses begin September 5, 2019 and end May 8, 2020. Fall semester courses begin September 5, 2019 and end December 18, 2019.
  • To register or for more information, TZHS students should email Ms. Jacobs ( and SOMS students should email Mr. Yassky (

Register Now for Fall Driver’s Ed, ACT and SAT Review and Other Continuing Education: Registration is now open for our Fall 2019 Continuing Education programs! In addition to ACT/SAT prep and Driver’s Education, SOCSD offers a variety of courses which promote lifelong learning and personal enrichment for community members of all ages. View the catalog online here.

Upcoming Dates

  • Monday, August 26: SOMS Locker Day for Sixth-Graders. All incoming sixth-graders and their parents are cordially invited to come set up their lockers, meet the school counselors and say hello to Principal Dr. Chad Corey and Assistant Principal Mr. Joseph Onativia. Students are encouraged to bring their school-issued locks and practice using it. Locks may also be purchased for $5.00 by checks payable to SOCSD only. The inside of lockers may be decorated/organized at this time. SOMS PTA representatives will be on-site selling locker organizers, accepting orders for Spirit Clothing and registering new members.The first letter of the student’s last name will determine what time his/her session begins. Please arrive on time and park in the Erie Street parking lot. Last name beginning with:
    • 9:00-9:30am: A through H
    • 9:45-10:15am: I through P
    • 10:30-11:00am: Q through Z
  • Monday, August 26: TZHS Grade 9 Schedules released in the Powerschool Portal
  • Monday, August 26: Fall high school sports registration ends
  • Tuesday, August 27: TZHS Grades 10-12 Schedules released in the Powerschool Portal
  • Wednesday, August 28: WOS Meet & Greet and Ice Cream Social for Kindergarten and Mrs. Durcan’s bridge class times are as follows:
    • 10:00AM: Coughlin, Sheehy, Gallagher & Estevez
    • 11:00AM: Rega/Ferzola, Grillo & Rispoli
    • 12:00PM: Widmayer/Ehardt, Kolesar & Savarese
    • 1:00PM Durcan
  • Wednesday, September 4: First Day of School
  • Thursday, September 5: Fall Modified Sports Begin
  • Thursday, September 19: Community Blood Drive, 8:30AM-8:30PM in the TZHS Gym