Trade Us A Plastic Bag For An ALBB Tote Bag At Back To School Block Party


This Saturday is the 5th Annual Back To School Block Party and School Supply Drive from I Am Beacon, in partnership with Key Food at the South Avenue Park, just up the hill from the basketball courts and Beacon Dental. There will be games, food, music, and basketball!

A Little Beacon Blog will also be there, and wants to trade you one of our tote bags for a plastic bag! While supplies last (we have 19!), you can have a free tote bag when you bring one plastic bag. One tote bag per person. We’ll collect the plastic bags and stuff them into the plastic bag collection bin at Key Food.

Plastic bags don’t go into home recycling cans because they float around the recycling center and get into the machines, causing major problems. Start carrying a collection of totes, and skip the plastic bag - from anywhere! It’s a tricky habit to start when you’re in a restaurant or a store, and pulling out a tote bag isn’t commonplace. Or if you’re in Walmart with those rotating wheels of plastic bags. But give it a try!

Free tote bags for the first 19 plastic bag trades, and then we’ll have them on sale for $10 (normally $18 on this website).

See you soon!

Teacher Learning Days :: What Beacon Teachers Learn On Learning Days

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Editor’s Note: We’d planned for this article to come out in March, when the Professional Learning Day happened for Beacon City School teachers, but time got the best of us. With the recent passing of the Beacon City School budget, we’re publishing it now so that you can see how budget items relate to what teachers prepare for during the year.

When Teacher Learning Days happen in the winter, at first blush, they create extra long weekends - or weeks, if there are snow days abutting the Professional Learning Day. A parent hardly thinks about what the teachers are actually learning and why there is a day off. The day is just another day off, and another day to figure out what to do if you are a working parent who needs to juggle around a childcare schedule.

What happens inside the classrooms of Beacon schools on Professional Learning Days had mostly been a mystery to parents in the district. But then Beacon’s new-ish Superintendent, Dr. Matthew Landahl, started sending regular email updates, giving a glimpse of what teachers work on during those student days off.

Below is a breakdown of the main agenda items on a Professional Learning Day in March 2019, with clarification provided by Dr. Landahl or the actual agenda itself:

Responsive Classroom Training - What Is This?

On the learning day, 25 teachers participated in the Responsive Classroom training. But what is a “Responsive Classroom?” There is a website for it, and according to that website, it is defined as: “Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL). The Responsive Classroom approach empowers educators to create safe, joyful, and engaging learning communities where all students have a sense of belonging and feel significant.”

Sounds neat, so we asked Dr. Landahl what Responsive Classrooms mean for Beacon: “Responsive Classroom is a model that teachers can implement in their classrooms that focuses on the power of teacher language, interactive modeling, and Morning Meetings. When I was an elementary principal in Virginia of a very diverse school, we worked extensively with Responsive Classroom.”

Morning Meetings! My third-grader has persistently pestered me to be more on time - and earlier - to school drop-off so that she can get to her Morning Meeting. The last minute of drop-off is at 9:01 am, and the school doors of our building open at 8:40 am. During that time, Morning Meeting transpires, and the kids take it very seriously.

Dr. Landahl continued: “Teachers raved about the training and they were able to bring a deeper sense of community to the classroom and the entire school. Our hope is to have many of our teachers trained in the model in Beacon to find ways to increase social/emotional learning for all of our students, and to build communities in our schools.”

Restorative Practices for Middle School Teachers

Restorative Practice trains in how to respond to challenging behavior.

Coding in the Classroom

Teachers are implementing coding into their classrooms, with events such as a Coding Night held at South Avenue Elementary earlier this year by the school librarian, Mr. Aaron Burke. During this portion of Professional Learning Day, teachers from all grade levels got to look at various websites and resources that promote computational thinking and problem-solving, using computer coding strategies and skills. Robots were incorporated, including the Dash robot, Ozobots, and the Sphero Bolt. Teachers were able to brainstorm ideas for to how these resources could be used in the curriculum.

Using 3D Printers - Did Not Know Beacon Schools Had Them!

This is exciting news. According to the learning day agenda, every school in the Beacon City School District has a 3D printer. If you’re a parent in the district, you’ll know how much paper in different colors comes home as flyers, homework assignments, lunch menus, etc. These are run on a regular printer. But what can a 3D printer make? Teachers were able to find out during this training session, also led by South Avenue’s librarian, Mr. Burke, that included learning the basics of how 3D printers work. With Mr. Burke’s assistance, teachers could design a simple project using Tinkercad.

Using Google Docs and Google Classroom

Lots of collaboration going on with Google in our schools. In my day, this was with Apple, where Apple computers dominated the computer labs, and Word and Excel from Microsoft also tried to dominate as software. Now we have Google’s Chrome Books in the classrooms, and Google’s Drive platform, which is basically Word and Excel online where people can connect in the documents and share writing and creation experiences.

Teachers were trained in Google Classroom and other tools including Google Slides and Google Docs (both parts of Google Drive, functioning similarly to PowerPoint and Word) in the primary grades. According to the learning day agenda, teachers were trained in: “Google Slide tools for projects such as creating signs, ebooks, stop-animation videos, collaborative projects, interactive presentation, and choose-your-own adventure stories. Tips for helping students create more effective presentations will be included as well.”

I could use some tips from my 9-year-old on how to make better slide presentations, or an ebook!

Side Note Opinion: What does this classroom tech mean for privacy? This does mean that Google can now track a lot of our behavior and data. As can Apple with our phones, and every single app that we use, yet Apple has tried to brand itself as a protector of privacy. So far, Facebook is the main platform I avoid strongly, as they have proven time and again, and continue to prove with new editorial decisions every day, that they aren’t responsible with our information. So far, my hope and trust will remain with Apple and Google.

Collaborating with Dia: Beacon

Beacon students benefit from Dia: Beacon’s presence just down the road, overlooking the Hudson River near the Metro-North train station. An arts and education program between Dia: Beacon and BCSD has been in place for 18 years. Many opportunities exist, including the Teen Art Program we just wrote about. Additionally, Beacon’s second-graders take a field trip to the museum. (Parents are invited to attend, to help manage the kids.)

Teachers were able to explore the galleries and collaborate with Dia artist educators in preparation for spring programming. The arts education program provides K-12 students with an intimate setting to respond critically to the art and programs at Dia:Beacon through multisession workshops both at school and in the galleries. 

Elementary Science/STEM Curriculum Training

Curriculum trainers, along with TEQ, facilitated a walk-through of the science/STEM curriculum unit that was developed and revised during this school year. In addition, TEQ will provide professional development on the Engineering Design Practices of the new New York State Science Learning Standards.

Mindfulness for Educators: The What, Why, and How

This workshop was an opportunity for “teachers and other school staff to slow down, step back, and consider the fast-paced world of the classroom from a new perspective.” According to the learning day agenda, teachers face a variety of stresses, both in and out of school, which can impact their professional performance as well as their social and emotional well-being. “The growing body of research continues to suggest that teachers who participate in mindfulness training and practice regularly are more likely to feel personally and professionally fulfilled and more connected to their students - critical factors in creating a school-based culture of mindfulness.”

Data-Driven Conversations for High School Teachers

Data usually sounds dry and impersonal, but for those of us who do study it, it can be revealing about human behavior and how we can deliver what people want. Teachers were trained in this concept, and how to use the data to improve learning efforts.

So now we know - Professional Learning Days are intense! Meanwhile, parents are making pancakes and organizing play dates or other adventures for kids who are happy to have the day off.

Final Free Pop-Up Concert From Howland Chamber Music Circle Featuring Beacon High School Musicians


The Howland Chamber Music Circle is a collective of musicians who appear in the world’s greatest concert halls, and also right here in Beacon at the Howland Cultural Center for their regularly scheduled concerts. The HCMC’s Pop-Up Series offers four opportunities to enjoy the chamber music circle at different locations around town.

This Sunday, June 2, 2019 at 3 pm, the musicians will be performing their final pop-up concert for the season at St. Andrew & St. Luke Episcopal Church. This concert is part of their Vent Nouveau program, a partnership with Beacon High School to expose students to chamber music. The performance will feature several high school students.

About Vent Nouveau, Beacon High School, and Howland Chamber Music Circle

Vent Nouveau has been Artist-in-Residence at Beacon High School since 2017, and has worked closely with the school’s band program to enhance their music education and expose students to the wide world of chamber music. Vent Nouveau is dedicated to bringing attention to the wide variety of chamber repertoire for winds, brass, and percussion instruments.

Vent Nouveau is composed of musicians who have performed with some of the country’s leading symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and New World Symphony. These artists first collaborated with one another in the prestigious West Point Band, and now put their virtuosic talents toward exploring chamber music from the traditional to the obscure. Offering versatile concert programs that range from two- to twelve-member ensembles, it is the first group of its kind in the NYC-surrounding area. More information on Vent Nouveau and upcoming events can be found at

About The Howland Chamber Music Circle

The Howland Chamber Music Circle is recognized as a leading arts organization in the Hudson Valley, bringing world-class music to the Hudson Valley. Musicians who perform for the Circle regularly appear in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each season the Circle presents eight chamber music concerts, a four-concert Piano Festival, a very popular Classics For Kids concert series, and a free concert series, the Pop-Up Concerts, to the Beacon community.

In 2016 the Howland Chamber Music Circle was awarded the Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Organization Award through Arts Mid-Hudson for its exceptional music programming and community reach, and for enriching the lives of Hudson Valley residents through music. Through its educational outreach program, the Howland Chamber Music Circle brings enjoyment, knowledge, and skill in music to many young people in the area. In partnership with local school districts and community groups, the Circle has sponsored artist residencies throughout Dutchess County, most recently in the Arlington and Beacon High Schools.

Beacon 3rd Graders Receive Annual Dictionary Donation From Beacon Elks - For 15th Year

Third-graders in the Beacon City School District receive dictionaries donated by the Beacon Elks Lodge. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Third-graders in the Beacon City School District receive dictionaries donated by the Beacon Elks Lodge.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

If you’re a parent in the Beacon City School District, you may have seen this yellow dictionary come home this past winter in your child’s backpack (this article got backlogged a bit). Where did the dictionary come from, you may have wondered? The teachers, administrators and PTA/O parents are always finding ways to send kids home with free treats, so what’s the story on the yellow dictionary?

For the past 15 years, third-graders in the Beacon City School District have each received one donated dictionary from the Beacon Elks Lodge. Says Carl Oken to A Little Beacon Blog about the donation: “Studies have shown that the third grade is the identified grade for the best results in expanding the youths’ vocabulary. Nationwide, 1,900 Elks Lodges have been distributing dictionaries to third-graders across our country (approaching 2 million dictionaries distributed) to help students’ literacy. Here in Beacon, we have been donating dictionaries to our third-graders for over 15 years and we have now donated over 4,000 dictionaries. We look forward to expanding the dictionary project to Haldane, Garrison and Fishkill Elementary Schools.”

Beacon City School Budget Passes - The Highlight Reel of Budget Items - What Students Can Expect

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The email came in from Dr. Matthew Landahl, Superintendent of the Beacon City School District, at 10:24 pm, just hours after polling had closed and the votes were counted. He was announcing the passing of the BCSD budget and additional buses for kids in the district. We asked him for his highlights of the budget, in a Cliffs Notes fashion. You can read the 2019/2020 budget presentation in full here.

Proposition 1 - The Budget

Beacon City School District 2019 Vote Results:

Proposition 1 Budget
Yes- 749
Total- 942

Proposition 2 Buses

Yes 727
No- 243
Total- 970

Proposition 3- Capital Transfer

Yes- 740
No- 232
Total- 972

Board Election
Meredith Heuer-814
Michael Rutkoske- 786
Antony Tseng- 678

Highlights Include:

  • Additional Class Size Reduction: Teaching position at the elementary level. “We have added seven of these positions the previous two years,” says the superintendent.

  • Music: Continuation of the currently grant-funded fourth-grade instrumental music program with district funding of the band teacher position. A Little Beacon Blog wrote about that here when it started.

  • Business: Addition of Business teacher position at the high school to begin a Business education program for high school students.

  • Art + Computers: Addition of a half-time Art teacher position at the high school to begin some digital design programming.

  • Social Worker: Addition of a full-time Social Worker position at the high school to complement the social worker and psychologist already there. “We are hoping to hire someone with expertise in drug and alcohol counseling. The position would also work with middle-school students,” said the Superintendent.

  • Professional Development: Greatly expanded professional development for teachers.

  • 1:1 Chromebook Initiative at the high school for all students.

  • Interactive Whiteboards in all high school classes.

  • Farming and Food: Expanded partnership with Common Ground Farm and continued partnership with Hudson Valley Seed.

  • School Garden at Rombout Middle School.

  • Additional coursework at the high school which will not necessitate additional staff.

From the Budget Power Point, there will be additional high school programming in these areas:

  • Business Education Program - Planning year for internship model for 2020-2021

  • PLTW - Computer Science Program - Year 1 Computer Science Essentials

  • Italian Course

  • Art Coursework - Architecture Design, Interior Design, Sculpture

  • English Department

  • AP Language & Composition Course

  • Magic Realism in Literature

  • Media Literacy

  • Research Literacy

Proposition 2 - The Buses

What does a vote of Yes mean? It grants two buses that can seat 72 passengers each, and four buses that can seat 20 passengers.

Speaking of buses, the April deadline of getting in your request for your child to be bused has passed. But maybe there’s still hope? So you better get on it if you need busing. This is for kids who live in the designated busing areas, or are bused to childcare locations.

Proposition 3 - Capital Transfer

When A Little Beacon Blog inquired as to the details of the Capital Transfer, the superintendent explained: “The Capital Transfer allows us to move money from a Capital Reserve to our Capital Project, namely to fund lights at the new turf field behind the high school being built this summer. Lights will help us use the field more often and also will allow the community to use the field more as well.”

In his email to Beacon families, and on the Beacon City School District website, Dr. Landahl concluded: “I want to give a huge thanks to the community for supporting our budget this year. We can't wait to start the new programs in this year's budget to help our students!”

Beacon Career Fair A Success With Teens, Businesses and Organizations


There was great turnout at Beacon High School’s Career Fair today! Plenty of interested students asked questions... and foraged for free cookies. A Little Beacon Blog bribed passers-by with stickers, and for the writers and bloggers in the house (they are usually very shy and quiet when approaching the table), we gave writers our tote bag.

Each year we are happy to engage with teens to show them the resources they didn’t know about yet, like our recent article about the (free) Dia Teens Art Program, and the Open Sketch session at the Beacon Library. One student who visited the table is about to be published in the Poughkeepsie Journal for an article she wrote!

Salon Dae (the salon near Dutchess Airport) was in attendance with opportunities for hair stylists, and did braiding on the spot. Next to Salon Dae was Twins Barber Shop from Beacon’s Main Street, clipping away. The Twins always draw the largest crowd!

Across the way were the fire 🔥 fighters, who were giving demonstrations using a smoke machine. Antalek & Moore Insurance brought their corn hole game and had quite the competitions going on. For the rest of us, it was hard to compete with all that action!

Beacon career Fair 2019-Antalek-and-Moore.jpg

The EMS Education table was in a good spot to reach interested prospective first responders, who need the education first to even get into the field. Other first responders included the Beacon Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Beacon Police.

A Little Beacon Blog’s table was in between Wingate’s caregivers table, answering questions for men and women who might want to go into nursing and caregiving, which we learned provides job security as there has been a shortage of nurses, we were told. Dutchess County Tourism was on our other side - where we learned all sorts of things like how they are organizing workshops for businesses to help educate about best practices, like ADA compliance for websites. Good stuff, those busy bees are doing over there!

If you’re a business who wants to represent at the Beacon Career Fair next year and reach the students, email the organizer, school counselor Michele Polhamus at The notification about the Career Fair usually goes out in March-ish for this annual May event.

Yearly Form To Request School Bus Due For Students Who Ride School Buses

A message from the Beacon City School District:

If your child is going to a child care location for the 2019-2020 school year, and will need transportation to or from that site to their school, please submit a new transportation request form by April 1, 2019. By law, a new request is required each year by April 1st for the following year.

If your child will attend a non-public school for the 2019-2020 school year, and will need transportation, NYS law requires a written request each year. Please submit this request to the school district registrar's office before April 1st. Transportation to non-public schools may be provided by law for a distance of 15 miles.

Forms are available here on the district website or from the registrar's office at 10 Education Drive, Beacon, New York.

Beacon Players’ Beauty and the Beast Was Over The Top Good - Here Are Some Pictures


It is hard not to cover every performance from the Beacon Players, the Beacon High School Drama and Theater Arts organization that brings together students who share a passion for theater and performing arts. A Little Beacon Blog is a sponsor every year in their playbill, and every year we’re amazed with the quality of the production. Remember Peter Pan, when Peter and Wendy really did fly across the stage? Surely you saw the Chorus Line.

In case you didn’t get to see the most recent show over the weekend, we are bringing to a wider audience these photos from the Beacon Players’ Instagram, that give you a glimpse of what the show was like, and the range of what students get to experience while putting on the show.

beauty and the beast belle.jpeg
beauty and the beast.jpeg


Usually people think of the actors when they think of aligning with a theater group, but there are other creative parts of the crew that they can be a part of. Like the Costume Department, and the Pit Orchestra. Pictured here are five members of the orchestra, who make the music happen.

Beacon Players Are All Ages

beauty and the beast younger company.jpeg

One might assume that all of the participants are in high school, but really, all ages are involved. Pictured here is the “younger company,” who rehearse alongside the big kids for their parts in the show.

How To Get Involved

If you’re a business or an individual, you can sponsor a show. Email to be put on their list when they are reaching out for playbill ads. You can also sponsor a seat.

Watch this space for any summer camp or meetup opportunity the Beacon Players put on. Meanwhile, many summer opportunities are here in A Little Beacon Blog’s Summer Camp Guide.

2019 Career Fair at Beacon High School - Seeking Businesses To Participate


The Beacon High School Career Fair is Thursday, May 23, from 10 am to 1:30 pm, and once again, the school is seeking businesses to participate so that students can see the huge range of careers that exist in the Hudson Valley, or that exist at all.

Types of Participating Businesses

Past participants have included illustrators, writers, bloggers, podcasters, engineers, drone operators, insurance agents, document storage companies, first responders, public servants, T-shirt making companies, peace organizations, law firms, and many more.

Don’t be shy or think your business is too big or too small or too unusual to participate. This is your time to show kids what they can do, what they can become. This is your time to let them look up to you and your business, and figure out what they can dream about becoming.

I have participated three years in a row, representing A Little Beacon Blog (online newspaper) and Tin Shingle (teaches businesses how to get the word out). This year I’ll also probably have my couture branding agency, Katie James, Inc. represent. Businesses are grouped with like businesses, so I’m usually in the Media or Communications section.

Pictured above are the writer Sarah Crow, who at the time was a regular contributor to publications like GQ, Bridal Guide, and MTV. Currently she is a Senior Editor at Galvanized, where she does all sorts of things like manage freelance writers and run the social media account for the brand, as well as research for the Eat This, Not That! podcast. Also pictured here is Tom Cerchiara, founder of TEC Land Surveying.

Interacting With The Kids During The High School Career Fair

Each time, kids approach my table shyly (you have to gently encourage them to come up to your table - unless you’re Twins Barber Shop, who give haircuts at their table, or Antalek & Moore, who brought the giant Jenga game last year), and quietly tell me about their secret blogs. Correction. Their friends usually tell me about a kid’s secret fashion blogs while elbowing their blogger friend to go on and tell me about it.

One young man had a secret passion for sketching, and didn’t want to be that open about it at home. I told him about the Sketch Book Open Studio meeting at the Beacon Public Library every Wednesday (on my radar from its spot in A Little Beacon Blog’s Kids Classes Guide), and encouraged him to go check it out.

How To Participate

To participate, email the School Counselor, Michele R. Polhamus, at She would love to hear from you. Participating is really easy. Tables and chairs are set up for you, with access to power if you need it, though you need to coordinate with Michele in advance.

Deadline: Friday, May 3, 2019! But if you’re seeing this slightly after that deadline, go ahead and give it a try just in case.

Color-A-Thon Happening Saturday - Short Run Around Block Raises Money For South Avenue Elementary


Starts at 10 am
Bounce House: 10:30 am to 12 pm
Color-a-Thon: Starts at at 12pm.
We will have music, food for sale, and an awesome raffle. Enjoy South Avenue’s playground where we just added a new climbing wall and ten spin!

The moment South Avenue has been waiting for all year is here - The Color-A-Thon (also called the Color Run)! This is South Avenue Elementary School’s big fundraising event organized by the PTA, which helps them buy playground equipment for the school, fund field trips, purchase class supplies, establish a sustainable school link with an Ethiopian partner school, and more.

Color-A-Thon Open To All

The run is open to everyone in the community, not just South Avenue students, and you can register at the event for $15. Some teachers and students have sponsored “student spots” for those who don’t have the registration fee, including teachers like Mrs. Biersack and Mrs. Fabia. Other teachers, including Mrs. Nunez and Principal Cahill, will be at the run throwing color and participating in other ways.

Raffle Prizes

Raffle prizes include fun stuff from Alps Sweet Shop, Beacon Bath & Bubble LLC, Beacon D'Lites, Homespun Foods, Hudson Beach Glass, and Obercreek Farm. Other participating organizations include Wee Play Community Project, with a gift certificate to the Ree Play Sale (last weekend in April!), and Beacon Recreation for donating a 2019 Beacon Pool pass.

How The Color-A-Thon Works

So it’s pretty easy - you wear white and run around the block in the neighborhood next to South Avenue. The streets are blocked for the run, and you can run around as many times as you like. Often there are parents running or walking with the kids, so if you can’t run or walk, your child will most likely join up in a pack with others.

Then, there are color points at each turn, and bright colors are literally thrown onto you! You get covered head to toe in color, and it’s a lot of fun. The color powder is made from cornstarch, and the bright color in it is a mystery. :)

You can register at the event.

TIP: Walk, don’t drive to this event. Your car will get really messy with color when you get back in after the event. Shoes get really messy.

Color-A-Thon Made The “Morning News”

South Avenue Elementary’s librarian, Mr. Burke, produces a morning news show from his library in the basement. He goes throughout the school for different scenes and has recurring characters. Usually played by himself (kind of like how Tyler Perry often plays so many roles in one movie).

Here’s Mr. Burke exploring what would happen if the Color-A-Thon and the State ELA Tests were on the same day (they were the same week this year).

Bingo Night At Hudson Valley Brewery To Raise Money For Playground at JV Forrestal Elementary


It’s Bingo Night (adults only) at Hudson Valley Brewery on Thursday, May 2, from 7 to 10 pm, an event to raise money for playground improvements at JV Forrestal Elementary, hosted by that school’s PTSO. According to the poster, there will be raffles! and fun! If you’ve ever been to a school fundraiser at the brewery, you’ll remember that the raffle is no joke. It’s one you want to enter and buy more than one bingo card for.

Kids in all of Beacon’s elementary schools love their outdoor recess and playground time, and it is with the support of the community that these playgrounds grow to add new equipment, landscaping, outdoor teaching opportunities, and more. All are welcome to attend and participate 0 this is not limited to JV Forrestal Elementary families!

P.S.: This poster was designed by the talented Steven Blumenthal, who is a dad at JV Forrestal, and is the designer behind the new sign on our building (the Telephone Building), as well as the designer behind Beacon Made, illustrations at Club Draw, and other images you may recognize.

This event has been added to A Little Beacon Blog’s Beacon Public School’s Opportunities Guide. There are some opportunities that involve no money at all.

Ticket price: $10 in advance/$15 at the door
Ticket price includes one bingo card
Additional bingo cards available for purchase
Information >

C. Diff Confirmed At Beacon High School - Cleaned To Prevent Spread - What Is C. Diff?

On Tuesday, March 26, 2019, a case of C. diff (Clostridioides difficile) was confirmed at Beacon High School. C. diff can cause diarrhea or colitis. Said Beacon Schools’ Superintendent Matthew Landahl in a “robocall” message delivered by phone/email/text to parents on Tuesday: “We immediately consulted with the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health, who advised that we clean hard surfaces in the school this evening to help prevent the spread of this bacteria.”

Cleaning Process

The Beacon City School District contracted with ServPro to conduct the thorough cleaning. They used an EPA-approved cleaning agent specifically used to stop the spread of C. diff, according to Superintendent Landahl in his message to the community. “We are implementing this cleaning protocol out of an abundance of caution. Closing the high school for a day was our decision as a school district.”

What Is C. Diff?

You can learn more about C. diff here at the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) website. According to the CDC, “C. diff bacteria is commonly found in the environment, but most cases of C. diff occur while you’re taking antibiotics or not long after you’ve finished taking antibiotics. People on antibiotics are 7 to 10 times more likely to get C. diff while on the drugs and during the month after.” C. diff symptoms include “diarrhea, including loose, watery stools (poop) or frequent bowel movements for several days, fever, stomach tenderness or pain, loss of appetite, and nausea,” according to the CDC.

More C. diff risk factors presented by the CDC include:

  • age (more than 80% of C. diff deaths happen among those 65 and older)

  • complicated medical care and extended stays in healthcare settings, especially hospitals and nursing homes

  • certain antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones

  • a weakened immune system

  • previous infection with C. diff or known exposure to the germs

90 Books Is the Goal for Book Drive for Special Education English Classrooms at Beacon High School


With Get Caught Reading Month coming up in May, the writerly folks at Get Lit Beacon are sponsoring a book drive to bring “student libraries” to the Special Education English classrooms at Beacon High School. Says Flora Stadler, a writer and part of the team that runs Get Lit: "We wanted to give students easy access to books they would enjoy reading, and classroom student libraries seemed like a great option.”

Get Lit is working with Principal Soto and Assistant Principal Simms to start small libraries in the Special Education English classrooms. “The teachers put together a great list of books from diverse authors to get students excited and engaged with reading."

The goal is to provide 90 books to three classrooms. Author and Get Lit Beacon founder Julie Chibbaro will present the books to the school during Get Caught Reading Month in May.

3 Ways You Can Help Make This Happen:

  • Go to Binnacle Books in Beacon to choose books from the teacher wish list, and Binnacle will order them for you.

  • Donate money to the cause through, and Get Lit will buy the books for you. They'll also match total donations, up to $300.

  • You can also purchase books on your own and drop them off any time at Oak Vino Wine Bar in Beacon.

What Is Get Lit Beacon?

Get Lit Beacon is a literary salon founded by writer and teacher Julie Chibbaro. Get Lit Beacon is a way to invite writers out into the community where they can be seen and heard. The salon is a casual gathering where published and aspiring adult writers of any genre can hang out, have a drink and share their work. Usually, one or two professional writers are invited to join and discuss their work.

Get Lit Beacon meets on the Second Sunday of each month (mostly) at Oak Vino Wine Bar, 389 Main St., Beacon.

More Opportunities To Help Beacon Students

A Little Beacon Blog has dedicated a guide to ways you can help the kids and families in Beacon City Schools. This opportunity has been added to the Guide, under the Beacon High School section. Be sure to check that Guide periodically to learn of new opportunities to support BCSD, such as the Color-A-Thon happening for South Avenue Elementary.

Sponsorship is open for that Guide! So, if it’s important to your brand to contact people who care about our schools, please reach out to us if you are interested in sponsoring that Guide. We’ll include your logo and a shout-out!

Bright Star Touring Theatre Comes To Beacon To Celebrate Black History - Free Performances

Photo Credit: Screenshot of the  Bright Star Theatre’s website .

Photo Credit: Screenshot of the Bright Star Theatre’s website.

This just in from a flyer from the folders of Beacon’s elementary school kids:

The Bright Star Touring Theatre will be staging a free performance of “Black History Hall of Fame” on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 5:45 pm. This 45-minute production will take you on a fast-paced adventure through the Black History Hall of Fame, led by Dr. Daisy and Professor Paisley. Young audience volunteers and incredibly talented performers bring this show to life in every way. The Bright Star Theatre Group suggests this performance is best for kids in kindergarten to fifth grade.

After that performance, Bright Star will perform “Struggle For Freedom” at 7 pm. This 45-minute production seeks to honor the American Civil Rights Movement. With excerpts of famous speeches, Civil Rights-era songs and a variety of characters, this moving production has been hailed as one of “the finest touring shows available for a young audience.” The Bright Star Theatre Group suggests this performance for second graders through adults, but that is only a suggestion.

Both performances take place at Beacon High School, and are free of charge to the Beacon community!

Learn more about the Bright Star Theatre here. They are based in NC and tour all over the country.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from the  Bright Star Theatre

Photo Credit: Screenshot from the Bright Star Theatre

12 Hours Left! Parent and Community Input Wanted From Beacon City School District

The Beacon City School District has produced very fine students over several generations, and the district itself has seen the best of times and the worst of times. Its current administration has been hard at work to create a connection with the community, in order to easily get information to them, as well as get information from them.

With the start of the new year, Beacon Superintendent Matthew Landahl invited the Beacon education community (parents via the school newsletter, and readers of his school blog) to participate in a “thought exchange” about how to improve the school experience for the Beacon graduate.

Dr. Landahl wrote: “In November 2017, the Beacon Board of Education endorsed and launched a long-range planning process for the district that will result in a focused and aligned community vision of student success beyond school. Having engaged the community in the identification of the most critical attributes of success for a Beacon graduate, the district now seeks to improve the district’s ability to ensure that every child develops those same qualities.”

This is your chance to contribute any thoughts you’ve had over the course of ever: about what you wish the Beacon City School District provided, or about what you are thankful that they currently provide, and you want to voice your opinion that it should stay.

The ThoughtExchange survey takes 5 to 10 minutes and is very easy. You can put in a number of thoughts. There are word count limitations, so it keeps you brief. You can remain anonymous, and others can read the thoughts, and even rate them. You can skip the rating part if you wish, and just read others to expand your vision. Or you can just drop your thoughts and go!

You can start the survey here. You do not need to be a parent in the district, and can simply be a person living here. The district, teachers and administrators have been very open to suggestions, so use this opportunity to voice your ideas.