Monday, June 11, 2012

Being True to Yourself Never Goes Out of Style

I borrowed the title of this blog from a young lady who was speaking at her BOCES graduation last week. She was receiving her GED, or General Education Development completion certificate, as were seventeen other students from a variety of other area school districts. If you thought that "college and career" ready got under my skin in the last blog, don't even get me started about how New York State defines a drop-out. As I watched these seventeen students complete their work and receive their GED, they were tearfully proud of their struggles to beat education and make their way to the next level.

Every student had a different story as to why they could not complete their studies in a traditional school program. Some had to do with just plain old laziness, but many had to do with family health issues, needing to be responsible for earning money for the home, and a variety of other paths. At the end of the ceremony I learned that all seventeen of these students were employed and that more than half of the group was planning on going on to college. I was proud for them and their families. At the end of the year when all is said and done each home school has to mark them as a drop-out, per the New York State Education Department definition of drop-out. Again, don't get me started. They all have value to me, and I was pleased to be a part of their celebration.

Late last week I also had the honor of participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony for a memorial garden that was planted at Stonehedge Elementary to honor the life of third grader, Sophie Kawejsza. The ceremony was attended by her class, Mr. Gerst and Mrs. Keevil, her building Principals, the Kawejsza family, her bus drivers, and many others who were associated with Sophie in some way. It was a true tribute to a strong young lady and we will all remember her each time we pass this wonderfully flowering garden.

Over the weekend the Lady Wildcat Lacrosse team made us all proud by winning the New York State Class A Girls Lacrosse Championship. Senior leadership and an overall team effort helped the Lady Wildcats to bring home the title. The team will be graduating 16 seniors, each of whom will have a lifetime memory. Congratulations!  Also on the lacrosse field Junior Vicki Graveline was named the ESPN Eastern Regional Lacrosse Player of the Week. Thanks for keeping us on the National radar!

The sports season will culminate this Thursday with the Athletic Reception that recognizes outstanding seniors and their contributions to our athletic program.

The Board of Education also heard the entire redistricting presentation from the consultants hired to study the issue. They interacted with each other, the consultants, and the audience as they began the process of formulating a final decision on redistricting and full day kindergarten. I cannot speak for the Board, but I would estimate that they would reach a decision point at either the next Board meeting (June 20) or at a meeting in the near future. Once a decision is made, the logistics and other considerations related to the initiative fall into my lap, and I expect to begin transition planning by August 1 for a 2013 roll out. Stay tuned and all supporting materials to the redistricting plan can be found by clicking here.

Believe it or not, the next time I write we will have completed our 2012 High School Graduation, and I will then be the parent of a  high school senior. I have no idea where the time went.  Have a great week.