Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Things That I NOW Understand

In 2008 I attended my first Kaleidoscope. I had no idea what it was about or really what it entailed. As an incoming superintendent I was more concerned with the management and operations side of the evening. Is there enough parking, will grandparents be able to find seats, who are these people shaking my hand? Remember that I came from a much smaller school district (how small was it?) so small in fact that I used to pull the bleachers out for basketball games and set the final alarm for the night. I had to take care of all of everything at every function. So I really did not get a chance to enjoy the actual student talent the first time I attended Kaleidoscope.

The next year I realized that my role in a larger school is much different, and I got to really watch the student talent and then understood why the evening was called Kaleidoscope. Last year was a treat because I would actually talk to people, know my role, and enjoy the show.

This year I got a little adventurous and explored back stage, the balconies, and the basement before the show. There is a lot going on to make this show happen. There are groups rehearsing in about every usuable space, students in each one of the buildings, staff coordinating what goes on when and where, and how they will get from spot to spot. Now that I think I have a full understanding about ALL that goes into Kaleidoscope, I owe Mr. Davern and his staff an ALL CAPS THANK YOU for making such a production come to life. While ever pleased with the talent and our students, I just am in awe of how it all gets put together...while I comfortably sit in the audience.

Last week we had Channel 9 come to school to do a feature called the "School Buzz".  Chris Brandolino featured a BOCES/West Genesee student who helped me cook breakfast, the Girls Lacrosse Team, our Academic Decathlon Team, and our Marching Band/Alumni Band as they prepared for the Memorial Day Parade.  The links to each feature can be found here:

Last week we also had what has now become known as "The Silly String Incident" at our high school which also made the news. The long and the short of it is that about 18 students decided to spray silly string everywhere and on everyone during a class change. That probably would have been it if they had stopped when they were told to,  but they did not. This lack of respect and act of insubordination, not to mention the disruption to the building and safety issues that it caused, resulted in suspensions.

I have been criticized by some for even talking to the media about this incident and not just either denying that it happened or giving a "no comment".  People need to understand a few things. Since the invention of text messaging the concept of the "no comment" is gone. When something happens within our organization it is seconds before I hear about it from the media. Giving a no comment when it isn't a matter of personnel or confidential in nature number one isn't true and number two would not be in our best interests. 

We have developed an excellent relationship with the press as seen through the hundreds of positive articles and news spots that we have received. We are a large organization and it would be pretty irresponsible of me or the media to think that we would NEVER have a negative incident occur. Lastly we are very successful and very large. This combination makes us a media magnet no matter what. I am just happy that we have such a great relationship with all of our media outlets because when something happens good or bad I am contacted to I can provide the facts. Believe me, I would much rather stay away from the cameras and headlines, but it is important to control the message or the message will control us. The next time a situation arises and I give the facts keep track of how long the story is in the media cycle. Do the same for any other organization that hides information, provides the "no comment" quote, or is generally not helpful and see how long their story remains in the media cycle. Enough said.

Lastly, the Memorial Parade was outstanding. Every five years our Marching Band Alumni gathers and marches in the parade. This was my first year being able to see this take place and it was outstanding!  Just under 500 alumni marched and they were loud, on time, and in tune.  It made me very proud to be the leader of such a great organization. The student marchers were also equally impressive and they quickly made their way back to show center to watch their role models finish the parade.

Enjoy your week. I am going to be bouncing between sporting events, Board meetings, and assemblies so I should be plenty busy!

See you around-