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Pleasantville MS Recognized as 'School to Watch'

The local middle school has earned state and national recognition.

After a two-day visit from "a team of people" representing the New York State Department of Education and a "rigorous" application process, has earned the distinction of being named a National and State School to Watch.

"Great job everybody," Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter acknowledged at Tuesday's board of education meeting.

The honor, said Fox-Alter, was bestowed upon seven total schools in the state, with Pleasantville Middle School the only Westchester County recipient.

The Essential Elements: Schools-to-Watch program "recognizes schools that demonstrate continuous improvement and excel in the following four domains: academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity and organizational structure," according to a statement from the school district.

Fox-Alter said during the education department representatives "stayed in our middle school for two days from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and had free access to the entire building.

"They dropped in on classrooms, they interviewed students, they interviewed teachers, community members," she explained. "Then they officially wrote their report when they went back to Albany."

Mary Beth Casey, director of the statement's Essential Elements program, said in her letter to the district, "You have developed a model educational program that is consistent with the Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education, the Essential Elements of a Standards-Focused Middle-Level School and the National Forum’s Schools to Watch criteria."

Fox-Alter congratulated Pleasantville Middle School Principal Vivian Ossowski and her administrative team on the achievement. The school will also be formally recognized by the state and at the National Schools to Watch Conference from June 21-23 of this year in Washington, D.C.

"We're very, very proud of them," added School Board President Lois Winkler. "We're just really thrilled."

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