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Home Letter_09/08/23

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Mr. Darling, Principal

  • Principal's Welcome:

    Dear Ralph R. Smith Families,
    It is with great pride that I write this letter to inform you that I was approved by the Board of Education to be the Principal of Ralph R. Smith Elementary, effective September 6th.
     I am truly honored to have the opportunity to lead a school with such a rich history. As I prepare to start in Hyde Park, I will work closely with Mrs. Lawson and the district office
    to ensure that there is a smooth transition of building leadership.
    Over the last three school years, I have served as the Assistant Principal and Principal of Highland Elementary School, in Ulster County. Prior to that, I had the opportunity to teach
    at the elementary level in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District.
    As we enter a new school year together, my goal is to provide students with the support they need to be successful. Specifically, I plan on prioritizing effective communication,
    supporting students’ academic achievement, and continuing to build upon a positive school environment.
    I am so thankful for the confidence that the stakeholders of the school and district have found in me to appoint me to such a dignified position. I want to assure you that I will work
    tirelessly to serve the district and the community to the best of my ability.
    Matthew Darling  


    School Profile: 

    Ralph R.Smith Elementary School

    16 Smith Court, Hyde Park, NY 12538

    (845) 229 - 4060

    Fax (845) 229 - 2828


    Grades K-5

    390 students, 85 staff members 

    Our school was built in 1953 and is named for prominent Hyde Park resident Ralph R. Smith, who served as the first school board president.. Each year, Mr.. Smith's grandchildren give an award in his honor to a graduating fifth grader..

    The school's mission: Together with our families we teach our children to become independent thinkers and creative problem solvers who feel safe to be themselves in our ever changing world.

    The school's vision: Respect + Responsibility + Safety + Effort = Success

    The school's motto: We are all OWLS: Outstanding, Wonderful, Learners! 


    Points of Pride:


    • "One School, One Book” program has the entire building including- students, staff and families reading the same book at the same time.
    • Students and staff collaborate on special initiatives including a kindness challenge, and special “passion projects" such as using recycled bottle caps to help the environment by producing beautiful mosaic art pieces for the school. 
    • Offers a before school Games Club
    • Holds quarterly Principal's Challenges, which has featured students designing and building catapults for an exciting competition. 
    • Holds quarterly awards ceremonies to recognize a student in each class who is a bucket filler and an OWL star
    • Built an outdoor classroom for students to learn in


    At Ralph R. Smith, we take pride in our traditions, including our Building Leadership Team, comprised of teachers, staff and parents, which meets monthly to identify school goals to promote a love of life-long learning. We enjoy the enthusiastic support of our families for many educational and rewarding events such as our science fair, concerts, ceremonies and evening PTA events.