Hudson Valley Education


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News items



Teacher Heather Millman with students in the classroom at Port Jervis Head Start

RECAP Head Start preschools enrolling for fall

MIDDLETOWN (May 22) - Regional Economic Community Action Program (RECAP)’s Head Start schools are accepting applications for the fall school year. The schools, in Middletown, Scotchtown and Port Jervis, offer free federally-funded preschool for children ages 3 and 4 from families who meet income guidelines. Ten percent of enrollment is reserved for children with disabilities including severe disabilities. Prompt enrollment is recommended and families are encouraged to contact staff for assistance.

Head Start programs support the comprehensive development of children in the learning centers and in their own homes. Development-focused services include early learning through instruction, health education including meals and dental support, and family well-being as parents are encouraged to achieve their own goals, such as housing stability, continued education, and financial security.  Programs support and strengthen parent-child relationships and engage families around children’s learning and development.

RECAP’s programs include nutrition and advocacy, Head Start, addiction services, supportive housing, Fresh Start Café, and parole reentry. The agency was established in 1965 after President Lyndon Johnson’s State of the Union Address a year earlier encouraged Americans to eradicate poverty and build a “Great Society.” A model called the Community Action Program was created and agencies sprung up across the country.

RECAP celebrated 50 years of services in the Hudson Valley in 2015. Visit for information about programs, fundraisers and events.


Man’s best friend: therapy dogs give Mount students an end of semester boost

NEWBURGH (May 3) – Trained therapy dogs provided a break for students, faculty, and staff at Mount Saint Mary College on May 2 at the Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center.

The animals came to the Mount via Hudson Valley Paws for a Cause. The popular event has become a tradition at Mount Saint Mary College.

Research has indicated that watching, petting, or talking to an animal can lower blood pressure and heart rate. Interacting with animals can also reduce mental distress, and lower anxiety levels – for example, during finals for college students.

For more information, visit


NFA Varsity Crew scrimmages against O'Neill

NEWBURGH - The NFA Varsity Crew team hosted a scrimmage on Friday, April 28.  It would be the first time the NFA novice rowers participated in a competition.  As the novices carried there crew shells down to the docks, you wondered what was going through their minds - What if the boat tips?, What if I catch a crab?, What did Coach say about hand positions on the oar? or maybe they were feeling the exhilaration of their first race.  It takes courage to enter the Hudson as a novice rower.  The water is always in a different place every time the blade of your oar enters the water, but every rower put their training into play and gave it their all.

The team's varsity girls and boys 8+ boats came in first place and glided to victory as their pars hit the water simultaneously.  It was a graceful water dance that impressed several onlookers on the shore.  Tyler McCormack, a senior rower in the boys varsity 8+ summed up his race by saying, "Considering that the current was against us, the boat towed very well.  I could feel the power of all the rowers working together and I know that as the season progresses, we will only get stronger."

The NFA Varsity Crew team has a busy competition weekend ahead of them as does every other Hudson Valley Rowing League team. 


Dutchess School Bus Driver of the Year Award

POUGHKEEPSIE (April 26) - Wendy Travis, of the Wappingers Central School District, has been named the winner of the 16th annual Dutchess County School Bus Driver of the Year Award, recognizing of her exemplary service and safety record. The award is part of the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board’s efforts to promote school bus safety and is given in conjunction with the launch of the annual Operation Safe Stop Project supported by the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.   

Travis, center, with fellow drivers and district officials

 “The safety of our students is our paramount concern, and throughout Dutchess County, dedicated bus drivers in every school district share that responsibility, dutifully protecting our children on their way to and from school,” said Dutchess County Marcus Molinaro. “Today, we thank those drivers who safeguard our students daily, and we remind all drivers to please stop when they see the flashing red lights of a school bus. That extra moment can save the life of a child.”

Travis, who has been employed by the Wappingers Central School District for 29 years, was presented with a commemorative plaque and honored as the School Bus Driver of the Year at the Operation Safe Stop kickoff press conference at the Wappinger Central School District’s Fishkill Plains bus compound.

“Mrs. Travis is a model driver who understands and embraces what it is to be a school bus driver – not just what it takes to drive a school bus,” said Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board Administrator William Johnson.

The Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board’s School Bus Driver of the Year award seeks to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts. The annual award was initiated in 2002 to increase public awareness regarding school bus safety issues and to recognize school bus drivers who get children to and from school safely on a daily basis. 


L-R: Kathleen Houghtaling; L.A. Branch, Prevention Projects Coordinator, Catholic Charities;
Stephanie Canales; Martin Colavito, Director of Prevention Services, Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities of Orange and Sullivan presents awards for 23rd annual poster contest

MONTICELLO (April 24) - Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange and Sullivan hosted the awards ceremony for the 23rd Annual Alcohol, Tobacco, Gambling, and Drug Abuse Poster Contest at the Sullivan County Government Center last Friday. Luis Alvarez, Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature, provided the opening remarks welcoming students, parents, and teachers to the event. The annual contest, hosted in recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, celebrates the creative and artistic talent of Sullivan County students while promoting an important message of prevention.

The theme for this year’s poster contest was: “I’m the Best Me; When Choosing To Be: Alcohol, Tobacco, Gambling & Drug Free!” The grand prize winner for the Spanish language poster was Stephanie Canales, a 9th grader from Fallsburg Junior/Senior High School. Kathleen Houghtaling, a 10th grader also from Fallsburg, won the grand prize for the English language poster. The grand prize posters were professionally printed and are being distributed to school districts, businesses, and non-profit and government agencies throughout Sullivan County.

“It is thanks to the participating students, schools, art teachers, and businesses that the poster contest is a success each year,” said Martin Colavito, Catholic Charities Director of Prevention Services. “In creating their posters, the students take time to reflect on the theme and the issues of addiction and abuse. They present the message in a way that is meaningful to themselves and their peers. The contest continues to be a successful way to promote the benefits of prevention.”

In addition to the grand prizes, awards were presented for first, second, and third prize, as well as honorable mention. Award categories were grades 1-4, 5-8, and 9 – 12. Participating schools were Benjamin Cosor Elementary (Fallsburg), Fallsburg Jr./Sr. High School, George Ross MacKenzie Elementary School (Eldred), and Liberty High School.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, a strong supporter of addiction and recovery services, also attended the ceremony to view the posters and extend her congratulations to this year’s winners. Gunther serves as Chair of the NYS Assembly Committee on Mental Health. 

Catholic Charities Prevention Services has offices in both Orange and Sullivan Counties and maintains a presence in 37 schools. Last year, the program provided community outreach, education, and training to 26,000 individuals.





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