South Orangetown Central School District

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Dear South Orangetown Families, Staff, Students and Community,

This week, the District kicked off its first School Community Survey since 2017. Your feedback, in addition to the comprehensive review of our educational, financial, capital and safety plans, will be used to set District goals and plan for the future. Please make sure that your voice is heard.

In the meantime, we are looking closely at student performance data on state tests, Regents exams, AP exams, and local assessments. Students who are performing below grade level are eligible for a variety of supports, which include in Response to Intervention (RTI) services and after school learning opportunities. Students who meet this criteria will be notified to participate in after school learning academies and may also benefit from Response to Intervention services during the school day. We are working with school leaders and the staff at each school to develop after school learning opportunities to enhance what is happening during the school day. Individual schools will reach out with more information in the coming weeks.

At the start of this school year, our ELA Leadership Team embarked on a review of our District’s K-12 reading curriculum. We are not alone: School districts across the state–and across the nation–are involved in a similar process. Teachers from all four schools will be examining the literacy briefs at our next ELA Leadership meeting (K-12) and then will turnkey a discussion with their departments as they examine how the briefs align with their work at each grade level.
In the weeks ahead, the Team will delve into the literacy briefs recently released by the New York State Education Department and compare state standards with our current practices to identify strengths and gaps. Literacy expert Dr. Molly Ness will visit William O. Schaefer Elementary School and Cottage Lane Elementary School in February to meet with our faculty and examine our K-5 curriculum and instruction in action. These efforts will help our Team identify the next steps necessary to increase reading proficiency across the district.

Finally, we have shifted our budget development process to begin earlier this year. The course selection process for high school students has been moved up so that we can project class sizes and identify scheduling efficiencies. The retirement notification program, now in its second year, has enabled us to assess staffing levels with greater accuracy and, when necessary, post openings earlier to more effectively compete with other districts for qualified candidates. As we continue to face budgetary pressures, our leadership team is committed to delivering a fiscally responsible budget that meets the needs of all of our students and makes sense for our taxpayers. Dates for upcoming Board of Education budget presentations/workshops are posted at


Brian Culot, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools