South Orangetown Central School District

District Profile

South Orangetown Central School District is a high-performing, public school district which serves the residents of Blauvelt, Grandview-on-Hudson, Orangeburg, Palisades, Piermont, Sparkill and Tappan, New York.

Our mission is to elevate, engage and inspire through personalized and exceptional experiences that ensure all students achieve to their fullest potential. The district will utilize and distribute resources and programming which promote integrity and fairness to ensure a district system of equity, access and opportunities for all.

Our values are:

  • To challenge our students with the highest quality education
  • To foster an inclusive school district community based upon respect, responsibility, equity and global citizenship, and
  • To provide a safe and nurturing environment which prepares every student for future success

The District operates four schools with a combined, district-wide enrollment of approximately 2,800 students:

Recent School/District Recognition

  • SOCSD ranked in the top 10% in the 2024 Niche Best Public School District Rankings of all public school districts statewide and 43rd among the Best School Districts to Teach in the state.
  • Tappan Zee High School ranked second in Rockland County in the 2024 Niche Best Public Schools rankings and among the top 5% of public high schools statewide. TZHS also ranked 51st for Best Public High School Teachers in New York State. In 2021, TZHS was awarded New York State Education Department awarded a Silver Seal of Biliteracy Badge for graduating students who have earned recognition based on high proficiency in English and at least one other world language for the past three years. TZHS was also a New York State High Achieving Reward School in 2019-20 and 2018-19.
  • South Orangetown Middle School was just 11 schools nationwide to be named an Association of Middle Level Education 2023 School of Distinction. In addition, SOMS was designated an Essential Elements Schools-to-Watch Recognition School in 2015 and re-designated in 2018 and 2021.
  • William O. Schaefer Elementary School and Cottage Lane Elementary School were selected for the Green Schools of Rockland Program in 2019-20; both elementary schools have active, student-led recycling and composting programs. In 2022, Cottage Lane Elementary School was the first school in Rockland County to implement a composting program in collaboration with Green Schools. WOS followed suit in Spring 2023, followed by SOMS in Fall 2023.

Recent Staff Accomplishments

  • Cottage Lane Elementary School Principal Karen Scarth received her Doctorate in Education in Educational Leadership from Manhattanville College in 2022
  • Tappan Zee High School teachers Karen Connell (Computer Science) and Steven Cohn, Ed.D. (Science) named New York State Master Teachers in 2019

Recent Student Achievement

  • Four 2024 National Merit Scholarship Commended Students
  • Ninety Tappan Zee High School students earned 2023 AP Scholar Awards
  • Forty TZHS seniors earned the New York State Seal of Biliteracy in 2023
  • Four students were named 2023 New York State School Music Association All-State eligible and 22 students were named NYSSMA Area All-State musicians
  • Two Youth and Government Club members serve on the Alliance of New York State YMCAs 2022-23 Youth and Government Model Cabinet
  • TZHS gymnast Carly Sardo was the New York State Gymnastics Floor Exercise Champion in 2022 and 2023
  • TZHS Boys Basketball was the 2023 New York State Class A Champion
  • The TZHS Girls Varsity Basketball team was the 2022 New York State Finalist
  • 2022-23 Section Champions (teams): Boys Basketball, Boys Fencing (Epee), Girls Varsity Lacrosse, Girls Varsity Softball and Girls Varsity Track & Field
  • 2022-23 Section Champions (individuals): Calum Tjon (Fencing – Foil); Pilar Fernandez (55 High Hurdles and Triple Jump); Carly Sardo (All-Around, Vault and Floor Exercise)
  • TZHS wrestler Daniela Parisi represented Section 1 in the first-ever New York State Girls Wrestling Championship in 2023
  • Tappan Zee High School was named a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete School of Distinction in 2023. TZHS consistently earned Scholar-Athlete School recognition over the past several years.

Program Highlights

  • Graduates are prepared to succeed: Ninety-eight percent of Tappan Zee High School seniors graduated in 2022. Ninety percent of 2022 graduates are continuing their education at post-secondary institutions, including: Brown University, Cornell University, Dominican University, Fashion Institute of Technology, George Washington University, Harvard University, Manhattan College, New York University, Northeastern University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Savannah College of Art and Design, Syracuse University, Virginia Tech, University of Amsterdam, University of California – San Diego, University of South Florida and more than a dozen CUNY and SUNY schools.
  • Innovative K-12 STEAM program promotes curiosity and creative problem-solving: Makerspaces in each school are just one feature of SOCSD’s cross-disciplinary K-12 STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) program, which encompasses: technology-infused classroom instruction; electives, such as the SOMS Challenge Lab and the Project Lead the Way engineering sequence at TZHS; extracurricular activities (Math Olympiad, Science Olympiad, robotics); an annual district-wide School Maker Faire; and, Summer STEAM Camp.
  • Opportunities for advanced coursework begin in middle school: SOMS offers Virtual High School courses and honors/acceleration opportunities for high-performing students. High school students seeking academic challenge have honors and nearly 20 Advanced Placement courses to choose from; those who are eligible may apply to the Early Admissions Program and attend Rockland Community College in lieu of their senior year at TZHS.
  • Breadth of curriculum and enrichment options appeal to diverse interests: Whether there is a passion for performing or visual arts, scientific research, poetry, engine mechanics or something completely different, SOCSD offers elementary and secondary students an array of opportunities to pursue their unique educational interests.
  • Strong home-school connections and research-based interventions help learners succeed: In each school, a strong team of professionals–including math and reading specialists, psychologists, school counselors, special education teachers, hearing impaired and speech teachers, nurses, occupational and physical therapists and school social workers–collaborate with general education faculty and families to deliver the comprehensive supports students need to succeed.
  • Athletes compete on more than 40 modified, junior varsity and varsity sports teams: SOCSD’s athletics program encompasses intramural sports at the middle school level and interscholastic teams for grades 7 through 12. Current interscholastic sports:
    • Fall: Cross Country, Cheerleading, Football, Boys and Girls Soccer, Girls Swimming & Diving, Girls Tennis and Girls Volleyball
    • Winter: Boys and Girls Basketball, Bowling, Cheerleading, Fencing, Ice Hockey, Indoor Track, Boys Swimming and Wrestling
    • Spring: Baseball, Boys and Girls Golf, Girls Flag Football, Boys and Girls Lacrosse, Softball, Coed Track & Field and Boys Tennis
  • Robust instrumental music program: Instrumental music instruction begins in Grade 3 and continues through high school. Student-musicians have the opportunity to participate in a number of ensembles, perform in concerts throughout the school year and, in high school, audition for the annual New York State School Music Association All-State Festival.
  • Students benefit from strong community support of public schools: From locally-funded scholarships to PTA-sponsored enrichment programs to community mentors, South Orangetown students benefit from our community’s enthusiastic support of our schools.