Monday, November 14, 2011


Laura and Martin Leff continue to represent West Genesee in cross country competition.  Laura finished second in the state (a first for West Genesee) and is continuing her fall running campaign at the Federation Championship on December 19 at Bowdoin Course in Poughkeepsie, NY. Her brother Martin came in 27th place and will also compete at the Federation Championship. This will be his fourth consecutive appearance; his previous three were with West Genesee boys team qualifications. Great work! Also, Good luck to the swimmers competing this coming Thursday at the State level.

Because so many students read this blog and follow me on Twitter, I would like to take this time to thank the members of the Wildcat Nation for their school spirit and respectful behavior. The Nation has represented themselves at all of our fall sports (with the exception of golf I think, but in their defense cheering at a golf match would probably get us a two stroke penalty!)

I am especially pleased and appreciative of the older students who have welcomed the younger students (including elementary children) to join them. In our Sectional Championship game at the Dome I was approached by a security guard who complimented me on the behavior of the group, especially considering the size (around 600 for that game). It is just another example of how well our students represent us. The challenge that I give our students as we enter the winter season is to keep up your reputation of providing a huge dose of school spirit in a respectful way. I know you are up to the task, and I look forward to hearing you at the rink and in the gyms.

In other news, interested parties have until November 15 to submit offers for the wooded lot that is currently for sale on West Genesee Street. Once all offers are received, we will carve out some time at a future Board meeting to discuss which offer is the most advantageous for the District and move forward with a decision.

Also, Castillo, Silky and Martin were approved by the Board of Education to conduct our redistricting study. Dr. William Silky will be on hand at the November 16 Board meeting to outline the process for the study and answer any question that the Board may have. This group was selected over others in large part because of their desire to interact with the community through focus groups throughout the process. We expect a recommendation to be available by April of 2012.

You may have heard that West Genesee Middle School has made a state list as a School in Need of Improvement in the area of Students with Disabilities. This was something that we knew was going to happen over the past couple of years due to our extremely high percentage of students with varying disabilities in that particular school (Camillus Middle School has fewer than 30 identified students while West Genesee Middle School has 100).  Personally, I have been pleased with the progress that our students are making, but the state has raised the bar for all students and taken away all of the "safety nets" for our learners that struggle the most. This combination has caused WGMS to fall below the state mark along with nearly 2,000 other schools in New York State. Because I am not a politician and do not need to sugar coat anything, I can tell you that unless the state recognizes the unrealistic goals that have been placed on some of our most profoundly disabled youngsters, not only will we remain on this "list" but thousands of additional schools will be added next year.

We are working continuously with all of our students to help them find success. So if you were to accompany me through the halls of all of our schools, you would see that list or not, our students are making substantial progress.

Concert season is beginning, so be sure to check out our website ( for our most current schedule. I know the students would appreciate having you at one of their concerts.

Have a wonderful week.