District Updates

Joseph McGrath

The Carmel Central School District Board of Education has appointed Joseph McGrath as the Interim Superintendent of the district beginning July 1, 2023. The appointment was approved at the regular meeting of the Board of Education on June 6.  

He will serve as the Interim Superintendent until a permanent Superintendent is selected. 

McGrath joined Carmel Central School District in 2021 as the district’s Director of Instructional Technology and CIO and has proven himself as a transformative leader during his short time in the district. He was instrumental in transforming Carmel’s technology program toward a focus on instruction while inspiring necessary change in our technology infrastructure and systems. McGrath is a highly regarded leader in the field of technology that is passionate about making a difference in the school system with a focus on continuous improvement. 

In the previous two decades, he supported the children of the Mount Vernon school district in a similar instructional technology role. Prior to that, McGrath served as a special education teacher in the New York City school system for several years and became a pioneer in the use of instructional technology as a way to support his students. 

McGrath holds a master’s degree in Urban Multi-Cultural Education from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, and a master’s degree in School Supervision and Administration from Mercy College. He is a Consortium for School Network (CoSN) Nationally Certified Education Technology Leader and was recognized earlier this year with a Transforming Education through Leadership & Learning Award for the second time in his career. McGrath has several years of experience working as a member of the Board of Education in another community.

“We are confident he will lead us with the growth mindset, steadfast integrity and Carmel pride needed as we prepare to conduct an extensive search for our next Superintendent,” said the Board of Education in a statement after unanimously selecting McGrath as the Interim Superintendent.

“I am both grateful and humbled by the opportunity to serve the Carmel Central School District community,” said McGrath. “This district is an amazing place with incredible people. I look forward to working closely with the Board of Education, our staff and other stakeholders over the next few months to ensure all our students are supported and successful.”

The Board of Education expects the search for a new superintendent to take several months and it will be working closely with Westchester Putnam School Boards Association, New York State School Boards Association, PNW BOCES and the district’s legal team during the process.

The Board of Education will discuss and finalize a specific search timeline at a regular board meeting, immediately following its annual reorganization meeting on Tuesday, July 11, at 6:30 p.m., at Carmel High School. The Board is committed to keeping students, faculty, staff, administration, and the community at large as an integral part of the process. 

Safety & Security Bond, Proposition #2

  • Safety & Security Capital Project

    Proposition #2 Addresses Districtwide Safety and Security in Tax Neutral Bond

    Aside from voting on the school district budget for next year, on May 21 voters will also be asked to vote on a proposition to fund $11.8 million in safety and security projects throughout the district.

    Knowing that students can’t learn unless they feel safe, and in light of school safety concerns throughout the country in the past few years, a District Safety Team, made up of parents, community members, school administrators, and law enforcement and security experts has spent much time assessing the security in our schools. Additionally, the district recently hired Safety and Security consultants to conduct a safety audit, and a list of recommendations was developed.

    Much of the recommended work has been completed but larger projects cannot be covered by the annual operating budget, which the district is proposing to fund through a capital project.

    Work proposed in this project includes:

    • Swipe access - keyless – control on all internal doors throughout the district. Unlike keys, these cannot be duplicated and are easier to use in an emergency
    • The installation of intruder-resistant security film on all ground level windows and doors
    • Integrated building-wide lock down systems in all buildings
    • A visitor management system in each school for identification checks against databases
    • Integration of phone systems with our new voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology
    • Upgrades to existing security cameras and installation of new ones to address blind spots
    • Replacement of outdated safety equipment including windows, emergency lights, and occupancy sensors

    It is a sad testament to our times that these security measures have become necessary in schools throughout the country, but making these upgrades will help ensure that our staff and students are in a safe environment that is conducive to learning.

    The advantage to residents of funding this type of work through a Capital Project is that much of it is eligible for state aid. We anticipate that 60% of the cost - approximately $6.3 million – will be covered by New York State.


    Read More 



    Superintendent of Schools
  • No-Cost School Breakfast and Lunch for All

    Dear Carmel Community,

    It is not every day that we get to share news about something that is going to save families in the Carmel Central School District a lot of money. So, we are very excited to tell you that, starting December 1, 2023 school breakfast and lunch will be free for all students in all our schools.

    This program, which is funded by a New York State Education Department grant, will save families $1,130 per child per year. Families with two children will save $2,260 per year. Three-child families will save $3,390 per year, and so on. These savings are based on a grant that allows Carmel schools to provide students with a free breakfast and lunch every school day through June 2027.

    Additional meals may be purchased at the following prices: breakfast at the elementary schools, $1.50; breakfast at the middle and high schools, $2.00; lunch at the Elementary School, $3.35; lunch at the middle and high Schools, $3.65. There is still an additional cost to purchase à la carte items such as snacks, bottled water, extra portions and secondary beverages.

    It is important to note that the no-cost breakfast and lunch program is not retroactive. Any negative debt incurred prior to December 1, 2023, will remain on the student’s account until payment is received.

    Previously, only certain families qualified for free meals through New York State. I want to thank Director of School Food Services Patrick Rodia and his assistant, Christine Foltmer, for ensuring that every child who was previously eligible for free meals was enrolled. Their efforts made our entire school district qualify under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and receive the funding granted by the New York State Education Department. Now, what was once limited to a few students is available to all.

    Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below. If you have any questions, please contact the Food Services Department at: carmelfoodservices@carmelschools.org

    Joseph McGrath
    Interim Superintendent of Schools


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What is the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)?

    A: The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a funding option under the National School Lunch Act that allows eligible schools to provide free meals to all students.

    Q: Do I need to fill out an application for my child to receive meals at no cost?

    A: No, families do not need to fill out an application for their child to gain eligibility for breakfast and lunch at no cost.

    Q: What does CEP cover for my child?

    A: With the CEP designation, all Carmel Central School District (CCSD) enrolled students can receive one healthy breakfast and one nutritious lunch per school day.

    Q: I am new to the District and/or the Food Services program - what does a healthy lunch entail for my child? What about breakfast?

    A: A healthy lunch always consists of five components: a protein, grain, fruit, vegetable, and milk. To be considered a full meal, children must choose at least three of these components, including either a fruit or vegetable. A full breakfast consists of four components: two grains (main entree), one cup of fruit/juice or a vegetable, one cup of milk. Students must choose three of the four components offered with one of those components being a fruit/juice or vegetable.

    Q: Can my child still purchase snacks and à la carte items? What about a second breakfast or lunch?

    A: Yes, snacks and à la carte items (including milk) are available. However, students will need cash or funds in their prepaid accounts to make these purchases. Also, only the first breakfast and first lunch of the day are free. A student would need cash or funds in their prepaid accounts to pay for a second breakfast or lunch.

    Q: How can I add funds to my child’s account to make those types of purchases?

    A: You can add funds by sending a check or cash in with your child or virtually through MySchoolBucks, an online school meal payment system. To avoid the fee, students can always pay with cash for their purchase. In addition, parents may send in a check or cash to be added to the student’s prepaid account.

    Q: What if I already have money in my child's account for meals? Can I get it back?

    A: Parents can either request a refund from the Food Services Department or leave the funds in their student’s account for à la carte items or snacks. Please send an email to carmelfoodservices@carmelschools.org to request a refund. Please include the first name, last name, and ID # of the student. Also, include parent/guardian name and address where the reimbursement check should be mailed. Please note that depending on the volume of requests, refunds may take up to 45 days to process. If there is an automatic replenishment of funds set up on your student's MySchoolBucks account, please discontinue this feature before requesting meal account reimbursement.

    Q: What if there is negative debt left on my child’s account?

    A: Free breakfasts and lunches are not retroactive, and any negative debt incurred prior to December 1, 2023, will remain in the student’s account until payment is received.

    Q: What if my child brings their own lunch and just wants some milk or a piece of fruit?

    According to State guidelines, to access the free meal benefit, a child must take what counts as a full meal, which means choosing at least three of the five components (including a fruit or vegetable) that make up the meal. Food Services staff will guide your child in understanding what constitutes a full meal.

    Q: Does funding for school meals come out of my school taxes?

    A: No, meals and food at schools are not funded by your school tax dollars. Instead, the funding comes from Federal and State taxes.

    Superintendent of Schools
  • Carmel Cafe

    In response to the community's concerns, the Administration is working with the PTOs/PTAs to schedule a series of Carmel Cafe sessions. These sessions will provide additional structured opportunities for community members to give feedback on next year's budget. So far, we have scheduled two meetings: Thursday, March 14, 2024, at Kent Elementary School, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.; and Monday, March 18, 2024, at Matthew Paterson Elementary School, 6:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.  We hope to see you there. 

    Superintendent of Schools
  • Unity in the Community -- Strictly No Elephants!

    Dear Carmel Community, 

    Given the weather conditions, the Unity in the Community -- Strictly No Elephants event that had been scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 13, has been canceled. We will reschedule it and announce the date when arrangements are made. The theme of the event is based on the book "Strictly No Elephants" by Lisa Mantchev, a children's book about friendship and belonging that is in keeping with the spirit of the #Carmel6Cs. 



    Joseph McGrath, Interim Superintendent of Schools

    Superintendent of Schools
  • Happy Holiday!

    Can you believe how fast this school year has gone? It seems just yesterday I was greeting incoming kindergartners and helping to calm their first-bus-ride jitters, and now those little ones are already old-hands in the school routine.

    In the months that I have served as your Interim Superintendent of Schools, I have become so proud of the Carmel Central School District. All five of our schools are filled with teachers, administrators and staff that are talented, hardworking, and dedicated to helping our students succeed. Our students are eager to take advantage of the many opportunities Carmel has to offer. Our parents have shown what it means to be a community in so many ways. This includes supporting our students at everything from PTA/PTO/SEPTO events, to Parent Teacher Conferences to art shows to music events, to athletic events, to turning out for our Unity in the Community events and so much more. It's a wonderfully vibrant community.

    I am grateful to part of our school district community. I hope you all find some time to relax with your families during the holiday break.

    I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.


    Joseph McGrath
    Interim Superintendent of Schools

    Superintendent of Schools
  • A Thanksgiving Message

    November 21, 2023

    Dear Carmel Community,

    As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for all of you for being part of our amazing community.

    Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the many blessings we have in our lives, and to share our appreciation with those who matter most to us. Research has shown that gratitude can have many benefits for our well-being. It can enhance our happiness, health, relationships, and even our academic performance. Gratitude can also help us cope with stress, adversity, and uncertainty.

    I encourage you to help your children practice gratitude not only on Thanksgiving, but every day. When we talk about what we are thankful for, express our gratitude to our families, and engage in acts of kindness together, we are teaching the next generation a life-long lesson.

    I am personally grateful for the privilege of serving as your Superintendent of Schools, and for the trust and collaboration you have shown me. I am grateful for our dedicated staff, who work tirelessly to provide the best possible education for our students. I am grateful for our amazing students, who inspire me with their curiosity, creativity, and enthusiasm. And I am grateful for our supportive families, who partner with us to make our schools a safe and nurturing environment.

    I wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

    Joseph McGrath
    Interim Superintendent of Schools

    Superintendent of Schools
  • Unity in Our Community

    October 16, 2023 

    Dear Carmel Community,

    We are excited to announce two evening events for the staff and community called “Unity in our Community” Participants will have the opportunity to attend two sessions, exploring and building on shared experiences working toward a vision of unity for the community.  These events will be held at Carmel High School Gymnasium at 6:30 PM on October 25th and November 2, 2023. I hope that you will be able to join us as we stand together in our efforts to stand against hate. 


    October 25 Unity in our Community - led by Matt Latimer Lead Conciliation Specialist, U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service.  

    Carmel High School Gymnasium at 6:30 PM

    A follow up to the Dialog on Race  

    This interactive session will provide informational sessions on the district’s progress and offer attendees the ability to craft action steps to build on prior work. 


    November 2, 2023, Unity in our Community led by Steve Goldberg, Education Specialist, Holocaust and Human Rights Center.   

    Carmel High School Gymnasium at 6:30 PM

    Exploring the Symbols and Language of Hate 

    A symbol is a concept that expresses, represents, stands for or suggests an idea, quality, belief, action or material object.  Symbols can be neutral or positive.  But symbols can also become negative through association.  Are symbols — both verbal and nonverbal — protected by the First Amendment?  This interactive presentation will explore the language and symbols of hate, with specific emphasis on the swastika.  Strategies on how to work with students on this challenging topic will be discussed. 

    Please let us know if you are coming by completing this form: https://forms.office.com/r/U87aXTUk6u 

    Joseph McGrath
    Interim Superintendent of Schools

    Superintendent of Schools
  • Having Difficult Conversations

    November 2, 2023

    Dear Carmel Community,

    These days, school districts are facing difficult issues nationally. Students react to reports on the news and conversations at the dinner table and, before you know it, national and world events spill over into our hallways.  

    As you have seen from our previous communications, the Carmel Central School District has not been immune to the issues we see on the nightly news. We have notified you about a number of incidents of swastikas being drawn on school property. We send those notices because we do not want to normalize antisemitism or make hate speech of any form acceptable in our schools. We value the safety of every student in our schools, regardless of background, so we call out hate incidents in real time. Tonight, we will take an academic look at these symbols, their history and their meaning.  Food will be served.  

    Last week, we held the first Unity in Our Community event and looked at the progress our district has made in the past few months and what more we can do to create a school culture where everyone feels valued.  

    Tonight Thursday, November 2, our second Unity in Our Community event -- Exploring the Symbols and Language of Hate – will be held at Carmel High School gym at 6:30 p.m.  

    It will be led by Steve Goldberg, Director of Education at the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center in White Plains, who will address the question of whether symbols are protected by the First Amendment.  

    “The uptick in recent years in racism, antisemitism and homophobia have our attention,” Goldberg said. “This presentation will explore the language and symbols of hate, with specific emphasis on the power of words and the swastika and the noose.” 

    In addition to the meetings, we have also put together a list of resources to help families talk with their children about difficult subjects, including how to combat antisemitism, violence in the news, explaining the news to kids, and about being good a digital citizen in a diverse community. 

    I hope to see you at tonight’s event. 

    Sincerely,Joseph McGrathInterim Superintendent of Schools


    Superintendent of Schools
  • October 3, 2023

    Dear Carmel Parents and Community,

    It has come to my attention that there was a drawing of a swastika found on a table leg in a Carmel High School classroom today. We do not know how long this drawing was there. It is possible it is old but that, following last month's antisemitic vandalism on the CHS tennis court, students have a renewed sensitivity to such acts of discrimination. It is also possible that this swastika was only recently drawn. Either way, we applaud the students who brought this to their teacher's attention.

    We are investigating this incident. These acts have serious consequences involving law enforcement, as demonstrated a few weeks ago.

    We have reached out to the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center in White Plains and, in the next few weeks, we will be holding workshops at the secondary level to combat antisemitism. There is no room for hate speech or action anywhere in our district. We are committed to fostering a a safe and protective learning environment for all.

    I want to urge anyone with information about this offensive drawing to let school officials know. Students or parents who have concerns are invited to reach out to their building leadership or guidance counselors for assistance.

    Joseph McGrath
    Interim Superintendent of Schools

    Superintendent of Schools
  • September 5, 2023

    Dear Carmel Community,

    Welcome to the 2023-24 school year. It’s going to be great because with effort and enthusiasm, we will make it so. We are thrilled to welcome the students back to school for an exciting year of learning, growth and community spirit.

    Our teachers, staff and administrators have been hard at work finding new ways to inspire young minds. Their goal is to help all students feel supported, respected and motivated to reach their full potential. We know that kindness is contagious, and we will continue to spread it around showing every student how much we value them.

    This year we will be offering many new opportunities for students, including a new reading program based on the Science of Reading. It will emphasize skills that help children become proficient readers.

    Thank you for being the kind of community that works together to support the schools. I encourage you all to get involved and be actively engaged in the education of our students. A culture of unity is what makes our community.

    As part of our commitment to providing support to the community we also wanted to make sure you knew about this: the NYS Comptroller is returning lost money to New Yorkers. Check the Comptroller’s website to see if you are owed unclaimed money. It is a reasonably quick process that could end with you getting a check in the mail.

    I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the Carmel Central School District this fall and wish you all a remarkable and rewarding school year ahead.

    Best regards,

    Joe McGrath
    Interim Superintendent of Schools

    Superintendent of Schools
  • August 24, 2023

    Dear Carmel Community,

    I hope this letter finds you wrapped in the embrace of joy and anticipation as we prepare to embark on yet another remarkable chapter in our educational journey together. The summer sun may have been shining, but it pales in comparison to the radiance that each of your children bring back to our halls as we prepare to welcome the laughter, learning, and shared experiences once more.
    Our school has missed the cheerful hum of conversations, the echo of footsteps, and the sweet melodies of youthful enthusiasm! We are counting down the days to the heartwarming symphony that only our community can compose.

    This year we have the distinct pleasure of introducing not just one, not two, but three extraordinary individuals who have chosen to dance their way into our hearts as our new principals. Ms. Darling at MPES, Dr. Neufville and GFMS and Mr. Piazza at CHS are joining our existing amazing principal team with Mr. Brown at KPS and Mr. Setaro at KES. We also are pleased that Mr. Svarczkopf has joined our ranks as interim Director of Technology. Additionally, we are welcoming several new teachers and other staff members who are excited to support and nurture our wonderful students.

    Can you feel the excitement in the air? These remarkable educators come bearing not just wisdom and experience, but an abundance of warmth, compassion, and the promise of forging connections that will leave an indelible mark on our students' lives.

    School calendars will be sent out on Monday and should be arriving in your mailboxes any day. In additional to important dates, the calendar has lots of useful information including a referral chart and other information on how to have your concerns addressed if you have the need.

    You will be receiving more correspondence from our principals and our staff very shortly with information on the return to school, but I wanted to personally wish you a fantastic school year.

    With warm regards,
    Joe McGrath
    Interim Superintendent

    Superintendent of Schools
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