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New Chappaqua Superintendent Previews '11-'12 Year

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y.—Lyn McKay is taking on a new role at the Chappaqua Central School District this year and she says she plans to improve the district’s current lines of communication, as well as its commitment to students’ overall wellness.

“Certainly my role is much broader now,” said McKay, formerly deputy superintendent to last year’s interim superintendent. “I will continue to care deeply and work closely with curriculum and instruction and I will also look very carefully at our fiscal responsibilities. This will be an interesting and difficult budget year with the 2 percent tax cap. I’m particularly interested in looking at the overall wellness of students, which includes their social, emotional and physical wellness.”

McKay said she is working with local community groups and the Chappaqua PTA to tackle issues such as bullying and peer pressure, especially involving social media.

“I’m really enthusiastic about working with the community because they have some terrific ideas,” McKay said. “It is that kind of collaboration that is going to make a difference for our students.”

McKay also plans to step up the district’s level of communication a notch, keeping everyone involved and in the know.

“One of my goals is to push information out to all stakeholders and that means the community at large, certainly the parents and all staff,” McKay said. “One of the nice things about this job is I now have more opportunity to interact with all the employees and the good work they do and more of the community. I’m very enthusiastic about this.”

McKay praised Joe Gramando, director of buildings and grounds, and his crew for their preparations and response during tropical storm Irene. Ultimately, she said three district buildings lost power for a day and no major damage was sustained to any of the district’s six schools.

“The preparation for Hurricane Irene and the cleanup was extraordinary. That’s one of the reasons that we’re ready for school to open,” McKay said. “I walked through the buildings. I even checked for example where a roof had been leaking in the past and there was no water damage. Power outage was our problem. We did close for one day (Monday) because of power outages and flooded roads.”

In addition to receiving e-mail messages and text messages for weather-related events, parents will receive a phone call with a recorded message from McKay and she also plans to send out a monthly electronic newsletter. McKay would also like to develop a Chappaqua Central School District Facebook page to communicate more effectively with parents.

“I’m organizing an advisory committee called Chappaqua Education for the Future, that will help prioritize our work and the processes for our work and will address the question, what should Chappaqua look like in the next three to five years,” McKay said. “I’m also running coffees both during the day and the evenings at the various schools to give parents updates and to have conversation about what goes on in this district and what concerns they may have. I’m going to hold what are called knowledge cafés, those are large group meetings around a specific topic that are open to community and staff.”

These are some of the many ways in which Dr. Lyn McKay plans to increase communication and collaborating with the Chappaqua community in the upcoming school year.

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