Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We are days away from the end of another successful school year, but you would not know that if you walked the halls of our buildings. Staff and students are busy preparing portfolios, conducting exams, and organizing events. Our support staff are keeping our facilities clean and attractive, and they are working through an energy performance contract to help continue some of our green initiatives. We seem to be a busy as ever. In a few weeks, though, the hallways will be empty and those who remain will be working to prepare us for another exciting school year.

Since my last post in May, I have been able to attend and participate in many different events. Children's Day was held at Split Rock Elementary School and highlighted the legislation that was written and pushed by Tina Norton, a long time school teacher. She worked with her classes and elected officials for over 10 years to finally have legislation pass to establish a Children's Day. She and many elected officials spent a couple of hours at Split Rock talking about the creation of the day and celebrating education and children. It was a great time.

It was then on to the High School Academic Awards. From my spot on the auditorium stage I was able to look out at almost 180 seniors who received awards and accolades. I was incredibly impressed with the entire event. I am also very proud of the hard work of our students and staff, along with the generosity of the community. Well done.

Then there is of course, "The Mayor", Andrew Bowman, who received the New York State Excelsior Award for Excellence. This award was given to Andrew by Governor David Patterson after being selected by Assemblyman William Barclay because Andrew consistently demonstrates success despite his disabilities. I can personally tell you that my heart feels warm each time I get a chance to talk to Andrew, and he takes time out to speak to me whenever I am at the West Genesee Middle School. Great job Andrew!

Next came the good news regarding our Grades 3-8 Mathematics Assessments results. We achieved our highest scores to date. We are not completely satisfied with these results, however, because we feel that the state lowered the bar on passing standards and we would prefer to compete against the highest scale possible. I can tell you that when we combine the Mathematics scores with the equally high English Language Arts scores, we are consistently successful. I will take that any day.

Sports are winding down as well but not without a fight. Boys and Girls Lacrosse teams as well as Outdoor Track are moving into state-wide competition and play after winning Sectional Titles. I am looking forward to their upcoming games and events and I would love to have a Marching Band title and a couple of State Championships during my first year!

Next was Kaleidoscope. Awesome. Only way to describe it. It was a very proud moment to be part of something that special. It is rare that I am moved to tears, but the strength of Jess Pardee's voice and her range made the packed Civic Center emotional. My congratulations to all of the participants and especially to Bill Davern, our Fine Arts Director, and all of his staff on such a successful event.

I have also really enjoyed reading all of the yearbooks from each building. They are all student centered and packed with photos and momentos. People can now watch my hairline receed from year to year!

Lastly, we finally experienced our first case of Swine Flu. In an organization of over 6,000 (larger than some cities) we were bound to have someone contract the illness. Good old fashioned hand washing and staying out of school when sick seem to be the best tools to combat this illness.

I will probably post one additional message before the summer vacation as I am experimenting with Twitter and will let you know how to connect to that if I can find a way to make my "Tweets" meaningful to you.