|Basement wall, barn wall, and side of the house.|
|My first house in 1996 the day AFTER the flood. Notice the high water mark on the basement wall.|
If you have a flooded basement, I feel for you. In the times I have owned homes, I have had six feet, three feet, a foot, and three inches in basements of the homes I have owned. I am going to tell you that the cleanup is nearly the same for three inches as it is for six feet if you have a finished basement.
No Power: Earlier in the day, my office, Stonehedge Elementary, and West Genesee Middle School spent the day without power. National Grid was super responsive. When we are without power in that area, it usually means that a squirrel BBQ'd itself on the transformer. Not this time. This time it took hours upon hours of trouble shooting to identify the problem and then overnight to fix it.
West Genesee Middle School has a backup generator (we will hopefully place generators at the elementary schools during our next project), it was warm out, everyone had running water, and there was enough light, so we decided to make the day as normal as possible.
Food service cooked lunches for Stonehedge at West Genesee Middle School and shipped them over; teachers and students carried on; and our custodians and mechanics ran around to provide extra battery operated lights for bathrooms and hallways. HUGE thanks goes out to the staff in each building, the students, our custodians and maintenance workers, and the National Grid crews for going above and beyond for us.
Talk with the Superintendent: On Wednesday of last week, we held the annual "Dialogue with the Superintendent" which was very well attended. I received a lot of great questions written anonymously on index cards, and I had the chance to unveil the Thought Exchange results for the first time, as well as a brief "State of the District". I think that people really appreciated seeing the impact of their feedback. We received a comprehensive report (http://westgenesee.thoughtexchange.com/card-welcome/welcome/), and reports for each building. Feel free to look at the comprehensive report.
The building results will be presented at upcoming PTO/PTA/PTSA/PTSO/SEPTSA meetings. At the end of the day, we had a 3000% percent increase in feedback about our District, which is very impressive. We will use the information we collected in our Strategic Planning process at the end of the month. Whatever makes it through that process will be completed as time and resources permit. Again, thank you for taking the time to provide feedback, it is turning out to be very helpful.
Everyone Can Make a Difference: As we come off of Martin Luther King Day, I wanted to put in a quick plug for why we need to continue to teach that "Other People Matter", as we do as a part of our Positivity Project. Why would you trust or value an opinion about rights and value for all from me? Because we have built a relationship on trust and sharing our different views makes us all grow and makes all of us better.
In an era where we watch videos of brutality and maltreatment of people and then question what was edited, or what led to the mistreatment that we didn't see that would in some way justify what happened, I would ask you to consider two very true stories, as seen and heard through my own eyes and ears.
I have a very tight inner circle of friends. I have to, due to the nature of my job. One of those inner circle friends is black. We travel together and attend events together. You can call it coincidence, but we are treated differently. At airports, we build in extra time for him to be "randomly selected", while I glide through security. At sporting events that have security, I breeze through the metal detector, while they stop him and wand his whole body. Life changing events? No, but humiliating and unnecessary nonetheless. Not equal also comes to mind.
My son has a close friend who lives with us when he is not at college. He is black. Over the summer we ordered take out to be picked up at a very popular downtown restaurant. We went to pick up the food and it wasn't quite ready. I ran into a parent and was having a conversation so my son and his friend went outside to sit and wait for the food to be finished. It was going to be about ten minutes, so when I finished with the parent, I walked outside and there was a person motioning for "Dre" to not sit at his table, and to get away. As I walked over, I asked the person what the problem was (as politely as I could while my blood pressure was rising). He wouldn't talk to me and kept looking away. I asked Dre and my son what the deal was and they just shrugged their shoulders and said that the person wouldn't let Dre sit at his table (a large picnic table with one person at it). A table opened up so we sat down. About five minutes later, the person came over to me and spoke quietly into my ear and said that he didn't want him sitting at his table so that the person's food wasn't "accidentally" given to Dre, or my son for that matter. I responded with "whatever". I turned to Dre and told him I was sorry. He said, and I will never forget, "It's not your fault, this is how it is" in a very depressed voice.
If I do not continue to use my voice and platform to bring these situations to light, then it certainly is my fault, just like everyone else's who can make a difference, which is EVERYONE. This is not how it has to be or should be. Before we can truly say that we treat everyone equally, we have to get real with ourselves and recognize that while there we have come a long way, there is still plenty of work to be done.
Sad News: Lastly and sadly, our longtime Boys Junior Varsity Basketball and Boys Modified Lacrosse coach Joe Adams passed away after a ferocious fight against cancer. If you never had a chance to meet Coach Adams, you missed out. His players respected him without him having to say a word, they all raised their personal expectations for themselves without Coach Adams telling them that they had to, and he always knew everything about every one of his players. He was a total class act. Even more importantly, he was a tremendous husband and father.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the week!