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PHS staff greet the Class of 2026

New ninth graders and their parents/caregivers spent a little time at Poughkeepsie High School Wednesday, meeting some of the staff, learning about graduation requirements, rules and how things work at the school during two orientation sessions.

New ninth graders and their parents/caregivers spent a little time at Poughkeepsie High School Wednesday, meeting some of the“This is the start of a new adventure and I’m excited you came out today,” Principal Phee Simpson told attendees at the morning session.

Spanish speakers were asked to move to one side of the auditorium where a translator provided information in their native language.

There are 313 ninth graders in 2022-23, 10 are new to the district, Simpson said.

“The goal of Freshmen Orientation is to create a welcoming environment that begins to build a sense of community among the incoming class that connects them to faculty, staff and other students,” she said.

Simpson and counselor Jason Conrad told parents and students alike that in high school credits count and if a student doesn’t attend or pass a class, they have to make it up, they can’t just move on.

“We’re going to work together,” Simpson said, gesturing to Conrad, “and he’s the guru who will get them through.”

Simpson spoke about reducing class sizes at the school to help students.

She also stressed changes to improve safety.

“We have more security than we’ve ever had,” she said, explaining that all doors are monitored electronically, there are cameras throughout campus and a new position, Assistant Principal for Climate and Culture, was created and filled by Barrington Atkins to oversee these aspects.

Throughout the visit, scholars were given a framework for four years of success.

Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Charles Gallo spoke to the group about improvements being made to the facility, including upgrades to the restrooms, lighting, venting and the auditorium’s sound and lighting system.

“There are a lot of exciting things coming,” Gallo said, encouraging parents to stay in touch with their child’s counselor and monitor Parent Square and Infinite Campus. He also mentioned the additional social-emotional supports being offered.

“This is your school. This is your community. We want kids to have a great experience.”