Monday, November 28, 2011

The Blur

I have heard the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year described as many things, but "the blur" seems to be the most appropriate. One blink of the eye and we will be in January. Testing, concerts, sports, holiday plans, get-togethers, dances, and white knuckle driving (keeping fingers crossed that this current weather holds up though) will test the will and patience of all of us. If we all take a moment to actually enjoy this time and put things into perspective, I think we will all stand a better chance of remembering that each day is a gift.

Our redistricting study is moving along at a strong pace now. Consultants Dr. Silky and Dr. Pole came to my office last Friday and collected a large box of information to sift through as they begin the process of completing the study. Every piece of school community information that you could possibly imagine was collected: census information, schedules, street maps, course catalogues, building condition surveys, building maps, and grade level configurations to name a few. 

While they are collecting and analyzing the information, we are assembling a redistricting focus group consisting of two members of each of our PTA/PTO/PTSA and PTSO volunteer organizations, as well as three Board of Education members (Deb Simon, Neil Widrick, and Karen Fruscello). This 19 member task force will work with the consultants as the study is completed.

There will be approximately five public meetings where the focus group and consultants will meet and which will be open to the general public. The general public audience will be given an opportunity to comment at the end of each meeting. The first public meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, January 5, at 6:30 p.m. in the Stonehedge Library (each meeting will be held at a different building). As this date and time are solidified, I will keep you updated.

On another topic, the Board of Education is considering an offer for the wooded lot on West Genesee Street. Because the matter involves a real estate transaction, the conversations have been held in the Executive Session of our Board of Education meetings. When the time comes to accept an offer and move forward, that announcement and Resolution will be made at a public meeting. I do not have a timeline at this point for a recommendation and Resolution to be made public.

Our anti-bullying task force is meeting this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the large group instruction room at the high school. The task force will be finalizing our anti-bullying policy that meets the requirements of the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). The committee will then be screening a video that may be shown to high school students about the effects of bullying.

In the meantime, some of our students through English classes at the high school are reading a book titled, TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY,  by Jay Asher. This book is a New York Times Bestseller and is about a girl who commits suicide because of bullying. Before her death, she sent tapes to thirteen people who she felt responsible for her decision. I am reading the book myself and it is gripping. It is one of the few books that I have seen a wide cross-section of students read from cover to cover. When it comes to bullying and helping students make better choices about words and actions, you need to blanket them with themes and topics that hit home, and this book certainly does that. As a parent of teenagers, I would consider the book a "must read".

On the athletic front, Laura Leff  took 5th place at the Footlocker Northeast Qualifier Competition this past Saturday. Laura led the cross-county race through the half-way mark before relinquishing the lead on the infamous "Cardiac Hill." She ran one of the toughest 5k's of her career and was the only sophomore to qualify, and she finished it in 18:26.1. The top-10 runners advance to the  national race in San Diego's Balboa Park on December 10. Laura also led the New York runners to first place to the states championship as they edged Pennsylvania by one point. Footlocker information can be accessed at:

Have a great week and my next post will be in...December!