October is National Principals Month

October is National Principals Month – we want to take this opportunity to thank Principal Cornell for her tireless efforts to create an enriched and engaging educational experience for all students at Gardner-Dickinson School.

Fun fact: Mrs. Cornell is an avid bird enthusiast with seven bird feeders at home. Her favorites are cardinals and yellow finches.

Staff Training

Our entire faculty and staff including bus drivers and teacher’s aides met yesterday to discuss this year’s safety procedures and policies surrounding COVID-19, participate in safety trainings from Questar III BOCES and technology training on the new devices for students.

Today, we met to talk about teaching all students. We had a three-hour presentation on response to intervention services and special education from Jennifer Elliott, a special education training specialist at the Capital District Regional Partnership Center. We also received technology training on new IXL software for students in math, ELA and science. This software program can provide remediation and enrichment to all students Grades Pre-K through 8 at school and/or home.

Our teachers are coming back for one more day of training next week before our students arrive. Next week we will focus on social emotional learning and supports for students as well as more technology training and discussion about any updated COVID-19 protocols.


G-D Alumna Creates Wynantskill Community SEPTA COVID-19 Sensory Bags

Gardner-Dickinson alumna Brigid Mack is currently working on her Girl Scout Gold Award for the Wynantskill Community Special Education Parent-Teacher Association (SEPTA). 

The Gold Award, the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts, can be earned by Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. Those who earn the Gold Award take on matters that are close to the heart and drive lasting change in their communities.

For Mack’s Gold Award, she has implemented “COVID Sense.” The project focuses on helping special needs children with COVID-19 regulations. Mack created sensory bags that include social stories/visual aids about mask wearing and hand hygiene and sensory toys for calming when frustrated or upset. 

“Keeping a mask on in public and always staying six feet away from others can be difficult for anyone to always remember, and it’s even harder for children with disabilities who are used to a normal routine,” said Mack. “With the use of social stories, kids can be reminded of the rules they need to follow in a fun and useful way. If they are in a stressful situation, they have sensory toys they can rely on to cope with their surroundings.”

Mack noted the importance for children with anxiety or sensory needs to have their own set of sensory toys since toys cannot be shared in schools at this time due to the ongoing pandemic. 

For the project’s launch, Mack held a bag distribution event at a community playground, which she says was her favorite part of the project. She believes the bags brightened kids’ spirits.

It was a way for me to connect with (the kids), and I think I was able to reach them through kindness and concern for their wellbeing during this pandemic,” said Mack. “I think it was also inspiring to SEPTA because they now have a mission to continue this project after my part is done. They now see that the sensory bags are making children in the community happy, and hopefully more efforts like this will be made as people are being vaccinated and society may return to a degree of normalcy.”

If you or someone you know is interested in receiving a COVID Sense sensory bag, please email Brigid Mack. For more information on the Wynantskill Community SEPTA, please email Darcy Mack

More information on COVID Sense sensory bags.


Appreciation Week – Wednesday, One-Year Commemoration

Dear G-D Community,

One year ago today, the Gardner-Dickinson School closed due to COVID-19. On March 16, 2020, students and staff alike packed their belongings in the midst of uncertainty the then-new virus brought. Little did we know March 16 would be the last day our students and staff were in the building during the 2019-20 school year.

We quickly assembled Google Classroom, Google Meet, Seesaw and more to make remote learning a reality and worked to ensure each of our students had food to eat and children of essential workers were cared for during the shutdown last school year. 

During summer months, there was much trepidation. The unknowns of what lay ahead for the 2020-21 school year left our team wondering how we would possibly make this school year work. Though there were many questions, our staff buckled down and stepped up to the plate for our students, working together to create a plan. 

In partnership with our families, we were able to create a safe learning environment for students this school year when many districts could not. Our families played a pivotal role in our return to in-person schooling.

Today, one year later, we reflect on all that has occurred during this unparalleled year. Our hearts go out to each and every family across the globe that has dealt with hardships during the pandemic, whether that hardship was losing their job or the loss of a loved one. 

We must remember that Wynantskill is a strong community, and we can lean on one another in times of need. The one positive trait that stood out this year was our district’s unity. We have worked as a team with those we may not have worked with toward a common goal in the past. Collaborating with individuals within our school community whom we may not have known so well beforehand has in turn developed indestructible bonds. We have shared experiences and gotten through a difficult time together. Our already tight-knit school became even stronger than ever before.

We have all worked harder than ever before this year with very little relief. I acknowledge this hard work, and I thank you each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. 


Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent




Today, we appreciate all of our teachers, our nurse and our IT department.
Our teachers rapidly assembled remote instruction and learned to teach while miles away from students, which required quick thinking and innovation when lesson-planning. Teachers have had to adapt to teaching in-person and remote students simultaneously during the 2020-21 school year.
Our nurse Ms. Gibbs worked as our very own frontline worker. Ms. Gibbs stayed up-to-date with all CDC and NYSDOH protocols; assisted in contact tracing; and ensured all students in the building were healthy.
Our IT department, Mr. Vescio, worked to get a device in each student’s hands, set up internet hotspots for those who needed internet access during the shutdown and school year and help with any technical difficulties.
Because of our teachers, our nurse and our IT department, we are #OneYearStronger.


One Year Stronger

This week, we will reach the one year mark of our school’s shutdown due to COVID-19. In commemoration, Wynantskill UFSD will be appreciating each member of its school community this week. 

At the one-year mark, it is important we remember those who have struggled and are still struggling during the pandemic. Millions of people lost their jobs, are facing mental health issues, are grieving from the loss of a loved one or are one of the almost 2.65 million people worldwide who lost their life to this horrific disease. We ask our school community to take a moment and remember those affected and reflect on how fortunate we have been throughout the pandemic. 

Thank you to all for your support.

GD Spirit and Appreciation Week

Next week marks the one year anniversary of our school’s closure due to the pandemic.
We would like to honor those who have struggled and those who have supported us along the way this week.
We will celebrate our strong GD school community next week with the following spirit wear and will implement an appreciation week.

APHS Honors Course Application and Placement Information

***For families who have selected Averill Park High School for High School Choice***
The deadline for completed Honors English 9 applications is March 22. Students interested in Honors English 9 will need to get application packets from Mrs. Murphy.
Students interested in taking the AP Global 9 placement need to notify Mrs. Murphy as soon as possible so she can coordinate with the high school to sign the student up for placement.

Thank you, Mrs. Hanlon!

We’d like to thank school community member and parent Mrs. Hanlon for making these unique and creative mute buttons for our kindergarten students! Students love turning on their mute buttons while Ms. Glaz is teaching; what a fun way to immerse students in active listening! Thank you!

Yellow, Orange and Red Micro-Cluster Zones

New York State has implemented a micro-cluster strategy to designate areas with high COVID-19 infection rates as Yellow, Orange or Red Zones, based on positivity rates and daily new cases. If a zip code, census tract or region is placed in one of those Zones, there will be restrictions for schools.

Please review our communication regarding Yellow, Orange and Red Zones.

Travel Advisory Letter

With the holiday season quickly approaching and celebratory plans underway, Wynantskill UFSD strongly encourages its families to do everything they can to celebrate the holidays in a way that prevents further COVID-19 spread and allows to keep schools open. Keeping our students safe and providing the healthiest school environment possible is a team effort. Each community member plays a vital role in protecting our students’ education. 

Gov. Cuomo recently updated his travel guidance on October 31, and guidance went into effect on Nov. 4. Please review our travel advisory letter to better understand the new guidance and what it means for us at Gardner-Dickinson.