Superintendent Q&A: Dr. Raymond Sanchez, Ossining Union Free School District

What are some of the highlights of the past year? 

The Ossining School District had a year full of successes in academics, the arts, athletics and extracurricular activities: 

  • Ossining was named a Best Community for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation for the ninth consecutive year.  
  • Students in our Science Research Program excelled throughout the year. Examples include High School senior Giovanni Santucci receiving the Best in Category award for behavioral sciences at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and OHS receiving the Most Successful School Award at the recent GENIUS Olympiad.  
  • In athletics, the girls basketball team won the state championships; the boys swim team was undefeated and won the league championships; and the girls volleyball team won the section championships.  
  • In extracurricular activities, the High School was named Junior State of America Chapter of the Year for the Northeast region for the second year in a row. The Glorious Gamers team from Claremont School placed ninth in the world at the Destination Imagination Global Finals in May. In December, Ossining launched its My Brother’s Keeper initiative to connect boys with mentors and support networks, and to help them obtain the skills they will need for college and careers. 

Are you introducing new programs or curriculum next year? 

Ossining is introducing two new math instruction programs: Math in Focus: Singapore Math for kindergarten through fifth grade and enVisionmath for Anne M. Dorner Middle School. Both emphasize student exploration, problem-solving activities, critical-thinking skills and STEAM-related activities. Both programs have resources available in English and Spanish to support teachers, students and families.   

Are you planning any major renovations to your facilities over the summer? 

The district will be replacing the artificial field at the High School. In addition, it intends to build a four-classroom addition to Claremont School.  Finally, it is in the process of completing a new driveway at the high school.    

What are your goals and/or priorities for the next school year? 

This summer, we have prioritized initiatives to encourage children and families to read as much as possible. Being an active reader throughout July and August prevents “summer backslide.” The district will be giving away thousands of books and has plans for many literacy gatherings including: 

  • A bookmobile traveling to parks, camps and other summer programs. 
  • Staff members reading books in Nelson Park Wednesday afternoon. 
  • Four block parties that we’re organizing with the Ossining Police Department, and part of the focus will be on reading and literacy. 
  • Pop-up libraries at different locations throughout the summer. 
  • Volunteers will pair up with students for the Buddy Reading Program at the Ossining Public Library in August. 

My goals and priorities for the school year include: 

  • Continuing the district’s educational equity initiative to ensure that all children experience success in learning and see themselves reflected in the content of their curriculum and their teachers. Ossining’s districtwide and building-level committees have been working to make sure schools have a representative, responsive curriculum that takes into account students’ race, ethnicity, culture and language. 
  • Expanding Ossining’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative to support young men of color through mentoring, after-school programming, fellowships and leadership opportunities. 
  • Continuing to support the district’s 3-year plan.   

As technology continues to play a bigger role in students’ lives, are there initiatives the district has in place to address tech-related issues (cyber-bullying, sexting, over-use, etc.)? 

Each year, the Ossining School District and PTA invite the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office to speak with parents/guardians and staff members about internet safety and cyberbullying. 

Ossining has procedures and trainings in place to prevent and address any kind of bullying and harassment. The District’s Code of Conduct specifies that bullying, violence, harassment and other behaviors are unacceptable.

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