Updated Safety Message from the Superintendent
March 2, 2018
Dear Parents of the West Hempstead Community,
As a follow-up to my letter on Feb. 16, I want to provide you with an
overview of current security protocols within our schools and what steps
our district has taken to evaluate our current practices.
Currently, the district participates in practice drills in the event of
an evacuation, lockdown or lockout. Our protocols for allowing visitors
into our buildings have also been enhanced, requiring visitors to be
buzzed into each building and present valid photo ID. We have security
guards who regularly patrol the district and additional guards stationed
within our middle and high schools. Furthermore, our communication
protocol during times of crisis has also been reviewed and enhanced so
that parents are informed of the facts as quickly as possible.
While these steps have been added to our district over the past several
years, it is a priority for us to evaluate our current systems and make
adjustments as necessary. During this past week, I have been in touch
with each of our school principals to review this issue. At each of
their faculty meetings next week, the principals will review and discuss
safety plans with all teachers. Furthermore, we have met with all
security personnel at each of our schools to review and reinforce
At the middle school, plans are under way to build a security vestibule
at the main entrance of the building, so that all guests can be verified
before being granted access to the main part of the school. Security
vestibules are in place at other schools, although we are currently
investigating ways to better secure them. Additionally, in the near
future, we will be conducting a “safety day” at all schools, during
which students will review lockdown procedures in each of their classes.
During the coming weeks, the discussion on safety and security will
continue with our Board of Education, administration and staff. On
another note, we are aware that there are several nationwide school
walkouts planned in the near future to remember the victims of the
Parkland, Florida, tragedy. I am working with our school administrators
to determine how to best provide an outlet for those students who wish
to recognize the day, while at the same time ensuring their safety. I
will communicate our plans once they have been determined.
I thank you for your cooperation and look forward to working together to
ensure as safe an environment as possible for our students.
Superintendent of Schools
West Hempstead High School Principal To Retire At End Of February
After serving the West Hempstead community for nearly 18 years, West Hempstead High School Principal Alvaro Escobar has announced his retirement, effective Feb. 28, 2018.
“I will forever cherish my time collaborating with parents, Board of Education members and colleagues for the betterment our students,” he said. “Thank you to everyone in this community for making my experience in West Hempstead truly unforgettable.”
The longtime educator began his career 34 years ago as an adaptive physical education teacher for the New York State Education Department, a role in which he developed and implemented curriculum for elementary and junior high school students with disabilities. He advanced to coordinator of high school adaptive physical education, training educators and high school students about adaptive physical education, as well as developing and supervising innovative programs such as after-school academic and recreational centers. Later, he served as an assistant coordinator of adaptive physical education for K-8 students, managing 195 teachers across 32 districts serving 14,000 students.
The next stage of his career was in the Mount Vernon City School District, where he was the administrator for health, physical education, home and careers, and athletics. His responsibilities included developing curriculum for 15 schools impacting 10,000 students, conducting professional development for K-12 faculty, and implementing new course offerings inclusive of first aid/CPR and lifeguard training.
Mr. Escobar began his tenure at West Hempstead in 2000, starting as the district’s director of health, physical education and athletics. In this role, he was responsible for evaluating instructional delivery in the areas of health and physical education for grades K-12; managed an athletic program at the high school level; and organized Community Sports Day, Health Awareness Day, blood drives and the “Athletes Helping Athletes” initiative that promotes sportsmanship at the elementary level.
From this position, Mr. Escobar was promoted to assistant principal of West Hempstead High School, supervising the daily operations of campus with the school’s lead administrators. As assistant principal, he introduced and coordinated the ninth-grade orientation program for incoming students from West Hempstead and Island Park middle schools. He re-organized how both State and local exams were administered at the building level. He also assisted in the coordination of Parent University, as well as exploring new initatives such as the Twilight Program and the Advisory Program. Additionally, he served as interim principal during the 2008-2009 academic year, assuming responsibility of the entire campus.
In 2015, Mr. Escobar was appointed to his current role of West Hempstead High School principal, leading a building of 100 staff members, two assistant principals, six directors and 780 students. Along with observing teachers and class lessons, he has organized professional development opportunities and conducted meetings for faculty, and has served as a member of the district leadership team, meeting with the superintendent of schools to discuss academic achievement of students, community relations and budgetary issues.
As principal, Mr. Escobar established a collaborative environment working together with administrators, faculty and students to create a variety of programs, extracurricular opportunities and committees. Among these initiatives were the creation of the Curriculum fair, the ambassador program for English language learners, the development of an Advanced Placement Committee to oversee the AP program and he co-chaired the Academic Achievement Committee to raise academic standards of all students.
“On behalf of the West Hempstead School District, we thank Mr. Escobar for a remarkable career in the district and wish him continued success in retirement,” said Superintendent of Schools Patricia Sullivan-Kriss. “Admired by former and current students, staff and community members, Mr. Escobar was an educational leader who established an atmosphere of respect and kindness, and always had students’ and staff’s best interests at heart.”