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Pocantico Hills Reaffirms Partner High Schools

POCANTICO HILLS, N.Y. – Parents expressed relief Tuesday night as the Pocantico Hills Board of Education reaffirmed its commitment to partner with high schools in Briarcliff Manor, Sleepy Hollow and Pleasantville.

“From my point of view, I would have nothing to lose because my son is already in high school and I don't have younger children, but I think if it's not broke, don't fix it,” parent Rachel Gumina said.

The Pocantico Hills school district offers instruction to students until eighth grade. Students can then choose to continue their education at three nearby “partner” high schools.

The district decided to reevaluate its partner schools after approving a five-year strategic plan in March. Issues had been raised with all three schools, Superintendent Valencia Douglas said, and the review was needed to help stabilize the program and offer recommendations.

A group of 25 parents, teachers and community members unanimously recommended that the district continue its relationships with Briarcliff High School, Sleepy Hollow High School and Pleasantville High School after a thorough review of several area schools, Douglas said.

“I feel that we are working with high schools that want to work with us, that understand our needs,” Douglas said.

School officials requested information from several other high schools in the area, such as Chappaqua, Irvington, Scarsdale and Edgemont, but decided not to recommend a change because they couldn't offer more than Briarcliff, Sleepy Hollow and Pleasantville. School officials said the high school committee would continue to work with partner high schools to address concerns and create a better transition for students.

“I think that in the end, the ability of the superintendents to respond to our needs was greatest, frankly, with our partner high schools,” Douglas said, noting that her relationships with all three superintendents would help the district address community concerns.

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