Thursday, May 27, 2010

Almost There

Anyone who has lived in Syracuse for any length of time knows enough not to complain about the weather being too hot. That being said, it has been a challenge for students and staff in a few of our buildings to beat the heat these past few days. We are not running a "Sweating Off the Pounds" program in case anyone asks you.

I recently finished signing all of the diplomas for graduation. I sign all of them in the hopes that all of our seniors will graduate in June. The process of signing diplomas takes about 6 hours.  People ask why I don't just use a stamp and save the time. Providing a personal signature on every document I sign, including diplomas, to me is a non-negotiable. Our children have spent 13 years getting to the stage in June and the last thing I want to give them as a memento is a piece of paper with a rubber stamp signature. I just looked at my diploma from 1989 the other day and my Superintendent did the exact same thing; I just didn't know who he was ;>).

Stan Davis came and spoke to our staff, students, and community about bullying. I found his presentation to be very helpful. He introduced new research that will help us to depart from many of the things that we have tried as school leaders over the years that have simply not worked. 
As we form our committee to refocus our efforts and develop a new direction for our District, we will apply some of his techniques including involving students in the process (at all levels), increasing communication with the home, finding ways to hold parents more accountable for the behavior of their children, teaching strategies to children so they have a better understanding of when something should and shouldn't be brought to the attention of an adult. I am pretty excited to move in this direction and I am hopeful that we will be a better District in this regard when our project is completed.

I am really excited for Kaleidoscope this evening. What a great way to see all of our Fine Arts talent in one location! Good luck to all of our sports teams that have entered Sectional play and have a wonderful weekend capped off with a great parade on Monday.


Friday, May 21, 2010


If you have been following my Twitter feeds at (, you have seen that I finally got the camera on my phone working and able to upload pictures!  This has been a blast. 

From the Senior Ball (which was elegant), to the after-party (thanks to all of the parent volunteers), through the budget vote, the various concerts this week, several games, and the Special Olympics, you can see that we have our children involved in a lot of very worthwhile activities.  As I get better with the camera, I will certainly share more pictures.  The pictures from the Ball for example, had over 500 views in the first 2 hours that they were posted.  Amazing.

Speaking of amazing, thank you once again for your overwhelming support on the budget. We had close to a 75% pass rate which really exemplifies the trust that the community has in our school District. I certainly respect that trust and will do everything in my power to keep it.

I am hoping to enjoy a beautiful weekend watching my youngest play AAU basketball, and I plan to attend the opening of the aqueduct in Camillus if I can rally and shake this cold that seemingly will not go away!

Enjoy your weekend and I will post again next week.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Senior Ball

There have been a lot of things happening lately and sharing them all would be something that I could probably bind and publish. The long and short of it is that we are now 29 days away from graduation.  Advanced Placement Exams, Grades 3-8 Assessments, and benchmarking are all in full swing. Spring sports are well underway and just about all of our teams are performing very well. It is always a pleasure to watch the joy that success brings.

We also held the Honors Dinner at the high school, have held many concerts, and are preparing for Kaleidoscope and a Blue Ribbon School Celebration.

We have done all of this while elected officials bicker over sales tax, the Governor furloughs workers and holds back State Aid, and 5,000 gallons of oil spill into the Gulf each day. We are handling our business.

Today we held a simulated DWI crash at the high school. Words cannot express my gratitude to the many emergency volunteers, students, staff, Town Board and School Board members who participated in this very important activity. Part of being a teenager is making poor decisions, learning from them, and moving on.  Drinking and driving, or getting into a car with someone who has been drinking, is a poor decision that just cannot be made. With the Senior Ball tonight and graduation right around the corner, please help me help our children to make the right decision.

Speaking of the Senior Ball, I am very excited to be attending this evening. I have a beautiful date who has attended 17 dances with me going right back to before we were even married. The dance and the All-Night Party at the high school should be a great time. Thanks to all of the parents and companies that have donated time, food, and prizes for this event.

On a very positive note, I had the pleasure of attending the Senior Breakfast with one of our students with special needs. I asked her about her dress and if she was looking forward to attending the dance. She is very excited. I then asked if I could get my picture taken with her, and she told me that I had to ask her boyfriend first!

I also got to meet a senior who will be the first in her family to receive a High School Diploma. How could my day end on a more positive note than that?

Have a great weekend-


Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

Time to give thanks to all of the moms.  Speaking for myself, I would say that my mom is a very special person, and I probably wouldn't be where I am today if it was not for her guidance and up-bringing. Thanks mom!

On another note, we are happy to announce that West Genesee has once again been named "One of the Best Music Communities in the Nation".  Congratulations to Mr. Davern and all of his staff for providing our children with quality music programs.

If you have been keeping track of the sales tax situation, our sales tax revenue will be trimmed over the next few years. This is not ideal but is certainly better than receiving nothing; which is how the proposal started.  We will manage our budget and slowly trim it down to reflect the change in revenue over the next couple of years.

Enjoy the weekend.  Next week is the Honors Dinner and then the Senior Ball!