Monday, June 4, 2012

When A Community Comes Together

What an amazing, busy, short week we just had that was jam packed with meetings, concerts, and sporting events. In the classrooms the big push to begin to prepare for finals is on and graduation is right around the corner. People always tell me that they can't believe that I would want to do this job, that it has to be the worst thing ever. It is fair to say that as the boss there are times when things are very challenging to deal with. However, if you were able to borrow my eyes for a day and see all of those "A-ha" moments, the power of empowering others, the results of teamwork and cooperation, and the pride in each member of our organization, you would hop out of bed each day as I do and be as excited as I am to get to work.

Save Modified Sports at West Genesee Event: One of those "A-ha" moments came over the weekend at the Save Modified Sports at West Genesee 4 Mile Walk/Run. The weather was overcast but the spirits sure weren't. Over 800 people registered to participate in the walk/run event that was followed by food (mostly healthy of course!), music, raffles, and a Wiffle Ball game between middle school staff in the gym. It would have been a softball game outside if the weather had cooperated.
The Wiffle Ball game was DJ'd by our own staff member Mr. Burke, and actor Alec Baldwin was on hand to deliver some motivational words of support for the cause. He remained to meet with people, snap pictures, and thank those on hand for working towards a very good cause. He passed along the first-pitch duties to WGMS seventh grader Grace Schnorr who plays on the modified softball team. She is pictured at left being asked to throw the first ball by Alec Baldwin and his sister, Jane Sasso. Grace got the job done with class and style. 

At the end of the Wiffle Ball game there was a tug of war between students from West Genesee Middle School and Camillus Middle School that ended with victory for West Genesee Middle School. The absolute highlight for me was not my personal best time in the four mile race (and not having a heart attack), but the singing of the National Anthem. I have probably heard the Anthem delivered a thousand times, but when West Genesee Middle School seventh grader Caitlyn Barry finished singing, the applause was deafening. What an INCREDIBLE talent. If someone has a video or recording of her performance I would love to get a copy to link to a future blog post.

Events like these cannot take place without the support and coordination of many people and I sincerely appreciate all that the Modified Sports Committee did to make the event an organized, well thought out, and enjoyable success. Thanks also goes out to our Athletic Director Mike Burns, our custodians Jerry and Phil, and all of our other staff, students, and volunteers who helped out.

Redistricting: I know that there has been a lot of talk about the redistricting study that is coming to an end. Much of that talk has centered around change and a feeling that maybe less financially fortunate families are being singled out in the redistricting process. As you know, I have stayed out of the work that the committee and the consultants have been completing. Now that the consultants have created a final report and final presentation (click here for both),
I have taken some time to dig through the data so that I could form my own opinions based on the facts. 

The graph above shows 351 total students may be impacted by the redistricting option that will be presented by the consultants (172 total families). Of those 351 students, 112, or 32% receive free or reduced lunch. The data shows to me that the redistricting does not single out the less financially fortunate by a margin of 3 to 1. At any rate, the Board of Education will hear the full presentation by the consultants on June 6 and WILL NOT make any decisions until AT LEAST June 20.  

If you use the redistricting link that is on our home page you will have access to EVERY file, document, report, and presentation that the Board of Education has to work with as they narrow down their decision for not only redistricting, but for full day Kindergarten as well.

Upcoming Week: This week is busy with awards for seniors and we also have a reception for our staff who will retire at the end of the school year. The week ends with the girl's lacrosse state semi-finals in Cortland on Friday, as they hopefully pull one out and head to the state championship on Saturday.

I have several more topics to inform you about but I am going to wait until later in the week so you have time to digest all that I have written so far. Your home work assignment though is to come up with your own thoughts (don't use Google) about what it means to be "college and career ready".  We will go over your homework on Thursday.

Have a great week!