Monday, February 6, 2012

Beginning to Plan for Next Year

This is the time of the year when we begin to plan for next year. We have started building the budget presentation and supporting documents. We have made sense of the tax cap and how that will affect us. We have also looked at ways to keep our teachers in their classrooms next year.When we took a step back and assessed all of the mandatory initiatives that we are responsible for in the next 24 months, it was pretty staggering. Aligning to the Common Core Standards, training for implementation of the Dignity for all Students Act, preparing for the new Annual Professional Performance Review process, and implementing a new student management system that can track all of the data that are required to be reported are just a few of the things that are taking our teachers out of their classrooms. 

If you put these things (and some other mandatory training items) together it is not uncommon to walk by a classroom and see a substitute teaching the class. We have incredible substitute teachers, but for the sake of consistency, we would like to have the regular classroom teacher available to students as often as possible. The only way to meet all of the mandates and keep teachers in their classrooms is to provide time for them to complete their training sessions and planning during some strategically placed half-days during the course of the school year.

Beginning with the next school year, we will have a total of four half days that will be incorporated into the calendar. We have not set these days in stone yet, but at first glance we will probably place two of the half days close to the beginning of the school year, one part-way through the year, and then one in the spring.  We will get these days established shortly and will let you know so you can make childcare arrangements well in advance, if necessary. Thank you for understanding.

Laura Leff is at it again. Our track and cross-country star ran a mile in 4:48:96 (current Section III record and second best time in the country) and earned herself a spot in a very competitive field at the New York City Armory Track and Field Center on February 11.  Best of luck!

Our Academic Decathlon team did an admirable job in competition which earned them a spot in the statewide competition. The team came up just short of last year coming in second place, and they are fired up to finish what they started at the next level of competition. West Genesee team members that competed were Kenneth Brill, Andrew Fordyce, Lindsay Grome, Kristina Konfederat, Megan Nolan, Alexander Pompo, Michael Richards, Jerry Roy, and Emma Ryan. Alternates on the team that participated were Lauren Brieant, Callie Campbell, John Lisi, Megan Petty, Tatyana Shakhov, and Dakota White. Their coach, Scott Duda, is a WGHS science teacher in the Learning Center, and he has been meeting with the team since the fall to prepare for the Decathlon. Thanks for making us proud and best of luck moving forward.

We held our second redistricting meeting on February 2 and it was excellent. The presentation that was given ( click here to view ) was excellent and I highly suggest that you at least sift through it.  The presentation outlines all of the necessary data that will be used to make redistricting recommendations, including enrollment data projected through 2018-2019. The next meeting will be held at Camillus Middle School on February 9 at which time the committee will begin the process of looking at attendance boundaries and what some changes might begin to look like. I have not offered any opinions about potential changes so I am very interested to see what the committee and consultants propose. After attending both meetings, it has become obvious that full day kindergarten is a high priority for committee members, as well as community members.

Have a wonderful week!