End-of-the-Year Letter from Dr. Yodis

Dear Families,

Together, our Wynantskill community made it to June. Today, we celebrate the milestone of our school’s doors being open five days a week, every week for both in-person and remote instruction for 10 months. As a school community, we became stronger with each passing month of the school year. Though the year was not without setbacks, it did not stop us. We were lucky to have never shut down for any period of time, and we never gave up no matter the obstacle. We gave a new meaning to “GD Strong.”

Despite the spikes in COVID-19 cases across the state and in our region over the last year, our district’s number of positive cases remained low. To date, we have had a total of 16 COVID-19 cases in our district with seven requiring quarantines. Since the beginning of the school year, there have been 194 students and 22 staff members placed under mandatory quarantine at some point. Even with more than 200 students and staff members exposed to a positive, there was no spread of the virus in our school. I am extremely proud of our community’s efforts to keep the virus out of our school. Thank you!

We have begun planning for the 2021-22 school year to ensure we are continuing to keep our students safe. We are committing to small class sizes to ensure we have six feet of physical distancing should that be a requirement. Final class lists will be mailed this summer as we continue to watch infection rates, regulations and our enrollment.

Getting through this difficult and unprecedented time would not have been possible if it were not for our dedicated school community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made this school year possible.

Thank you to our Board of Education members.
Since last summer, our Board of Education has been committed to bringing our students back to school and providing them with intensive support in all areas. They supported purchases for school supplies, new technology and ensured that we were equipped with the proper PPE to safely open our school and remain open. Our Board is incredibly active and has been exceedingly supportive and dedicated to making this year such a success. Thank you!

Thank you to our administration, faculty and staff.
Our faculty and staff transitioned back to school after being out for six months with a great deal of fear and trepidation, many of them leaving their own children home as their schools were not open. They focused both on the students in front of them and those on the screen, providing individualized instruction for all students no matter where they were physically, academically, socially or emotionally. They made sure each student had what they needed. 

Our support staff ensured our building was always sanitized; food was served safely; children were supervised at all times; temperatures were taken; hands were clean; children were guided during parent drop off and pick up; technology was working; and communications were frequently posted. 

Our transportation department was incredible. Every driver followed all safety precautions, which enabled them to provide busing for the full 10 months. 

Thank you to Mrs. Cornell for jumping into GD mid-year and working like you have been here for years. Your immediate dedication and commitment to all of us was unlike anything I could have asked for.

Every single employee pushed themselves to the limit, and I am eternally grateful. 

Thank you to our families.
Without you, we could not have made this such a successful year. For those of you who are supporting your students remotely or did so intermittently when there was a quarantine, thank you for switching gears and becoming a teacher. Your support enabled the remote learning option.

Thank you to our students.
Thank you for following each of the new, difficult and unfamiliar rules that were put in place this year even when you didn’t want to. Our students worked hard to always wear masks; keep themselves socially distanced, not touching one another or one another’s belongings; stay in pods; and much more. The list goes on. You are amazing kids. I love each and every one of you, and I am so proud of the hard work you put into this school year. 

From the bottom of my heart, I thank each member of our school community for making this year what I see as a success. Yes, it was difficult and vastly different than anything we have seen before, but it was still a success. Children learned and grew academically, socially and emotionally. I hope you have a wonderful summer, and I look forward to seeing you in September for a more traditional school year. We did it!


Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent

Annual Wax Museum Show

Each year, students at Gardner-Dickinson research famous New Yorkers and transform into them. Since we were unable to hold the annual show onsite for students and parents, this slideshow was created.

Positive COVID-19 Case in Wynantskill UFSD

June 17, 2021

Dear Families,

The Wynantskill UFSD learned today that an elementary student has tested positive for COVID-19.

We have been in close communication with the Rensselaer County Department of Health (RCDOH) to determine any necessary follow-up. The district is assisting the RCDOH with contact tracing efforts using attendance records.

We encourage you to offer your full cooperation if you are contacted by a representative of the RCDOH or the district. If you are not contacted by a representative of the RCDOH or the district, there is no further action needed on your part and you may continue your usual schedule. If at any point you or someone in your family is directed to quarantine, please respect what you are being asked to do in the interest of public health. People in quarantine need to stay home, separate themselves from others in the home, monitor their health and follow directions from the local health department.

Due to privacy laws, we cannot divulge any further information about the positive individual, and we ask that our families respect the positive individual’s privacy.

We ask that all families continue to follow all safety guidelines outside of school hours including proper use of face coverings, social distancing and proper hand hygiene.

Please monitor your child(ren) for any symptoms of COVID-19 and report any absences and positive COVID-19 test results to your child’s school.

Thank you all for your continued support and ongoing efforts to keep Wynantskill UFSD safe and healthy. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly with any questions or concerns.


Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent

June 21 BOE Meeting Agenda

WYNANTSKILL UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT Regular Meeting of the Board of Education
June 10, 2021 @ 7:00 PM Gardner-Dickinson School Media Center
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 996 1441 4226 Passcode: 791207
One tap mobile +16465588656,,99614414226#,,,,,,0#,,791207#

1.0 Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
1.1 1.2 1.3
Record of Attendance
Review of Agenda/Additions to Agenda Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting
a. May 20, 2021 Acceptance of Financial Reports
a. Internal Claims Auditor’s Report May 2021
b. Monthly Treasurer’s Report with Budget Transfers

Visitors and Communication
a. Communications to the Board of Education
Dowd Scholarship Update
Update on Virtual Meetings
b. Opportunity for the Public to be Heard
2.0 Reports to the Board of Education
2.1 Board of Education Reports & Updates
2.2 District / Superintendent Program Report
2.3 Principal’s Report
2.4 PTA / SEPTA Update
3.0 Appointments and Authorizations
3.1 BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Education of the Wynantskill Union Free School District hereby reduces one (1) position in the physical education tenure area from a 1.0 FTE to a 0.60 FTE, effective June 30, 2021. The Superintendent is directed to notify
the affected staff member of this action.
3.2 BE IT RESOLVED, the Board of Education hereby approves the request for FMLA for Sarah Sepp, commencing on September 1, 2021 and ending October, 29 2021, followed by an unpaid child rearing leave of absence through the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year.
3.3 BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Education of the Wynantskill Union Free School District hereby approves the Memorandum of Agreement by and between the Wynantskill Teachers Association and the District, WHEREAS, for the 2021-2022 school year only, the District would like to amend the arrival and dismissal times for WTA bargaining members so to allow the District to comply with all federal, state and local COVID-19 requirements; as per attached MOA.

3.4 Approve CSE/CPSE Recommendations as per attached.
3.5 Approve Funding of District Reserves using excess fund balance.
3.6 Motion to abolish the Pre-K agreement with CEO.
3.7 Approve 3% salary increases for 10 and 12 month employees, and school principal for the 2021-2022 school year.
3.8 Appoint Eric Audi as a Food Service Worker at a rate of 16.33/hr., 4 hours /day for the 2021-2022 school year.
3.9 Appoint Tina Albert Cafeteria Worker at a rate of $17.74/hr for the 2021-2022 school year.
3.10 Appoint Robert Hurd as a Recess Aide at a rate of $17.74/hr. for 2 hrs./day for the 2021-2022 school year.
3.11 Appoint Heidi Hallock as part-time Superintendent’s Secretary at a rate of $20.60/hr., 4 hours/day for the 2021-2022 school year.
3.12 Appoint Brenda Vermilya as Part Time FTE (.6) School Nurse @ St. Jude beginning 9/1/2021- 6/30/22 @ Step 12 prorated.
3.13 Appoint Jean Marie Steffek Summer School Teacher for 30 days, 4 hours/day at a rate of $49.00 hour not to exceed $6,200.00.
3.14 Appoint Alicia Travis Teachers Aide for Summer School program for 30 days, 4 hours/day at a rate of 16.33/hr.
3.15 Approve Kate Lansing for Summer Speech and Language Services at a rate of $49.00/hour as needed/requested by the District.
3.16 Approve Amy Murphy (School Counselor) for up to ten days of summer work at a daily rate of $ 414.20 as needed/requested by the Superintendent.
3.17 Appoint Robert Cushing, 19-A Examiner and a NYS School Bus Driver Instructor, as driver trainer at a rate of $25.00/hr.
3.18 Appoint Marianne Lenseth, 19-A Examiner and SBDI School Bus Driver Trainer, at a rate of $40.00 /hr.
3.19 Appoint Karen Keagan Permanent School Bus Driver, effective 2/2/21.
3.20 Appoint Michael Goyer as a Transportation Consultant at a rate of $50.00/hour as needed for
the 2021-2022 school year.
3.21 Adjust base School Bus Driver rate to $20/hr., and the Substitute Bus Driver rate to $18/hr. for the 2021-2022 school year.
3.22 Appoint Bus Driver Trainees at the substitute bus driver/driver training rate of $18.00 per hour. a. Bob Rowe b. Patricia Rowe c. Nicole Manzer d. Brenda Alderman

3.23 Appoint Summer School Bus Drivers for July 6 thru August 16, for 4 hours/day as needed by their assigned bus runs. See attached assignments.
a. Nancy Ruffinen b. Ralph Roberts c. Bob Cushing d. Debbie Hayes $20.25/hr $20.35/hr $20.25/hr $20.35/hr
3.24 Approve Joyce Lanesey Summer Bus Aide for July 6 thru August 16, 2021, 4 hours/day at a rate of $16.33/hr.
3.25 Approve Joyce Lanesey Bus Aide at a rate of $16.33/hr. for the 2021-2022 school year.
4.1 Organizational/Regular Meeting of the Board of Education July 6, 2021 @ 7 pm
4.2 Graduation Thursday June 24, 2021 @ 7pm
4.3 Opportunity for the Public to be Heard
Recommended Action: That the Board of Education adjourns into Executive Session, if needed, for the
purpose of discussing one or more of the following subjects:
1. _______ Matters that will imperil the public safety if disclosed.
2. _______ Any matter that may disclose the identity of a law enforcement agent or informer.
3. _______ Information relating to current or future investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense that would
imperil effective law enforcement if disclosed.
4. _______ Discussion involving proposed, pending, or current litigation.
5. _______ Collective negotiations pursuant to article 14 of the Civil Service Law.
6. _______ The medical, financial, credit, or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters
leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal,
or removal of a particular person or corporation. 7. _______ The preparation, grading, or administration of exams.
8. _______ The proposed acquisition, sale, or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition, sale, or exchange of securities, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value of these things (Pub. Off. Law § 105(a-h)).
6.0 Return to Open Session 7.0 Adjournment
The mission of our community-based school is to create a safe, compassionate, progressive learning environment that recognizes individual needs and encourages all students to strive for personal and educational excellence.
As a small, suburban school district, rich with pride, we believe that by working together we can: create a dynamic program based on character, tolerance and diversity; provide opportunities for all to reach their fullest potential; empower all to
achieve personal excellence and encourage a life-long love of learning.

District Calendar Clarification

We are writing to clarify our website’s district calendar. 

There has been some confusion surrounding an entry on our website’s district calendar. The calendar previously read that our last day of school (June 24) would be an early dismissal day. That entry has since been removed; June 24 will be a full day of school for all grades.

While it was originally planned to be an early dismissal day, the district used this time to push back the start of the 2020-21 school year in September and therefore must make up for this time. 

We apologize for any confusion.


Revised Mask Guidance Effective June 8

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo indicated that the state would relax its mask mandate for schools when students are outside for recess or physical education.
Effective today, Wynantskill UFSD will implement this policy change for outdoor activities, including sports. Masks will still be required indoors and on buses for all students and staff for the rest of this school year along with other COVID-19 mitigation protocols including social distancing. Updated guidance, released late last evening, indicates that no student, teacher, staff member, or visitor may be prevented from voluntarily wearing a mask outside on school grounds. We will communicate any changes to protocols impacting summer school and the start of school this fall when this guidance is available from the state.