Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Hello to All-

The past two weeks have been a flurry of activity. This is the week that I purposely try to stay out of buildings (especially elementary) because I have a tendency to get students all riled up and then leave. Students are already riled up, and if I want the continued support of our staff I probably shouldn't add to the excitement!

I won't be sitting around though. I am trying to deal with all of the negative news out of Albany. At last count they have taken about $1,310,000 from our school in promised aid this year, and we could be looking at upwards of $2,000,000 in reduced aid for next year if everything that has been legislatively proposed holds true. This will obviously mean more belt tightening for us when we already clicked our belt a few rungs tighter last year. We will make it happen but it is going to be painful and there is no way around it unless some miracle happens and more money is released to schools next year. I am not holding my breath.

I am also working on regulations for a Board policy regarding recognizing distinguished individuals. At the heart of the policy is whether or not facilities or fields will be named after anyone. This has presented challenges because it is one of the few issues that comes up in a career where everyone is not on the same page, and may not be after the policy is finalized and approved. My job is to write some language to help me manage the policy that the Board enacts. This will be tricky because what ever I write, as comprehensive as it might be, will probably not erase some of the feelings around the base policy. That is why I get paid the "big bucks" I guess.

I want to give thanks to our staff and students. They have given their time, money, and talents to help those who are less fortunate through this holiday season. More importantly they understand that poverty and need don't go away after the holidays and many of the programs that they have started, or are currently working with, will continue on through the rest of the school year. This will certainly come as good news to those who have benefited from their generosity.

The positives in this District still massively outweigh the challenges and many of our neighbors would love to trade challenges any day. Part of our growth and success is being hyper-critical of our own operation so don't take anything that I say as negative. Look at it as an honest reflection of what I think needs to get better or an honest look at the facts surrounding a challenge.

I am looking forward to the holidays, but I am also looking forward to facing the rest of the school year. There are some major challenges that need to be conquered!

Happy Holidays-


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Student Accident

Usually, I use my blog to deliver good news. This time, however, I am sad to report that an 11th grade student was hit by a car on West Genesee Street that then drove away. Thankfully, the student will recover and be "ok", but the police still have not caught the driver of the car. The information that we have at this point regarding the vehicle is that it is a sedan and that it is possibly aqua-green in color. If you have any information that might help break the case, you are asked to contact Sergeant Wise from the Camillus Police Department at 1-315-487-0102. Thank you for your cooperation.

Also, please take this opportunity to remind your high school child (if you have one) of the importance of using crosswalks when crossing West Genesee Street. We stress the importance of this each day to our students and also often have adults outside after-school, but kids are kids. Helping to reinforce from home always helps.

If I receive additional information I will post back to the blog and update everyone.


Mid-December Tale

Probably the highlight of the day was being asked for my autograph by a 5th grade student. I told the student that I wasn't important enough for an autograph but sign a piece of paper I did! Signing autographs is one of the many fun things that you get to do as a Superintendent, so start your classes today....

A brief review of our Strategic Plan indicates that we are making excellent progress towards our goals. We have several different initiatives K-12 on the table to keep making our District functioning at a high level. One thing that I have mentioned to staff is that through the Strategic Planning process this Winter we will probably have to take another year to nurture our new programs instead of adding more. This doesn't mean that we let our guard down or lessen the vigor. It actually means that we will get more engrossed in our programs such as reading, spelling, CTE, at-risk, diversity, special education, technology, and all of the other new initiatives that began a year and a half ago.

Speaking of technology, we are completing our Promethean Board installation project and hope to be done by the Christmas holiday. This will give us time to re-train and begin a new training cycle for teachers looking to go to the next level. If you haven't asked your children about this new technology, please do. You will be pleasantly surprised to hear what they have been doing. I call it, "learning without even knowing that they are learning". Works for me.

Please take a moment to visit the following link: http://www.westgenesee.org/ for information about the Winter Special Olympics. It is rare that I help advertise, but the Special Olympics have given thousands of children with special needs the opportunity to express themselves through sports. The Winter Special Olympics are being held in Syracuse for the next two years, and they are looking for 500 volunteers. If you are able to help that would be great. I will certainly be there.

Busy rest of the week but will get something out on Friday as we head into the middle of December. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Here We Come!

First let me extend my personal thanks to Dr. Morrow, her staff, and all of our student, staff, and parent volunteers for conducting an exceptionally smooth H1N1 Clinic at the high school last evening. I had the opportunity to stand at the exit for most of the evening and did not hear one negative comment. The professionalism, the caring and helpful attitudes, and the precise organization helped the clinic to be conducted without a hitch. From our exit polling, the longest wait from the time someone got out of their car until they saw me at the exit was 28 minutes. Amazing. Over 2,000 children were served. Simply outstanding.

December is full of concerts, sports, holiday celebration, and stresses. I caught myself last night letting it all go by without enjoying the moments (except for the stress of course!). This can really be a cool time of the year if you let it.

For young parents this is a great time of the year to start traditions that will carry on. Maybe lights on the lake or a football game in the snow (if it ever does). For parents of teenagers (like me) refocusing on what is important which is time with the kids while we still have them around the house. For more seasoned parents, they are preparing to spoil grandchildren or preparing to host sons and daughters home from school (with five or six of their closest friends most of the time!). Whatever it is that you will be doing...do it. Take the time. Enjoy our school events and your kids but also enjoy two seconds to yourself and keep focusing on the bigger picture!

Off to a Spelling Bee and then to observe a student teacher, which is a very enjoyable part of my job for sure! I will be back to post some operational updates later this week.