Monday, August 27, 2012

The Final Stretch

Once we have had our Marching Band Preview and our Football Blue and Gold scrimmage, you know that the first day of school is right around the corner. Things are coming together nicely.

I had an opportunity to tour all of the buildings late last week, and we are ready for students. I would like to thank our custodial and maintenance crews for their efforts this summer that have our buildings and grounds looking fantastic!

Food Service Update - I had promised that I would give you an update on changes in our Food Service Department regarding meals for this year. If you click here you will be taken to a page that presents a picture of what the new nutritional requirements will be. Even with these changes, you will see that for our first lunch day, September 7, pizza is being served.  Encouraging your children (as I will mine) to give eating healthier a chance is very important, and I appreciate your open mindedness as our Food Service staff works to manage these new Federal guidelines.

Anti-Bullying Program - It was great to see our West Genesee student developed (and operated!) anti-bullying program, Stop the Hate, Spread the Hope have a presence at the New York State Fair. If you get a chance stop by and see them in the Time Warner Cable Building. I am very proud of what they have accomplished, and we are trying to find ways to work their programs into our anti-bullying education programs. Nice work!

Thanks for a Successful Supply Drive - I would also like to thank the West Genesee PTA/PTO District Council (and coordinator Tracy Corcoran with her band of very generous volunteers) for sponsoring the school supply drive that was held this past Saturday. Many West Genesee students were able to get school supplies thanks to the kindness and generosity of this group and the community at large. Events like this one continue to be more necessary as the economy puts pressure on hard working families in our community. Again, thank you to the community for the effort!

Remaining Initiatives - I will be spending this week putting the finishing touches on how we will implement our redistricting plan, how we will organize and operate our Principal and Teacher evaluation system, and how I will be welcoming staff back to school for their opening day.

I also hope to sneak out to the Fair a couple more times. So have a wonderful week and look for my next post that will be on the cusp of the beginning of another great school year.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Almost There!

Well, here we are into August which means that summer school activities will be coming to an end soon and we are deep into planning for the fall. As we prepare for the return of our students and staff, here are some quick updates:

The redistricting letters have all been mailed, so anyone being impacted should have received their letter by now.  The Frequently Asked Questions portion of our redistricting link will continue to be updated, so check that page on a regular basis. The street and map lists that are to be considered final as of Monday, August 13, have also been uploaded to the website. 

Annual Professional Performance Review:
I am working with the building principals to create goals for each building for the 2012-2013 school year.  The principals in turn will be working with classroom teachers impacted by the new evaluation system (not all teachers have to be evaluated under the new system).  The goals will center around growth areas for each building (those areas might be different by school) and will funnel back to the Strategic Plan for the District. 

Nutritional Guidelines Update:
I mentioned that there would be some menu options for you to take a look at for school lunches this year under the new nutrition guidelines, but I will have to save that for later this week or weekend because they are still being finalized. I did want to mention that a focus on wellness, allergies, and nutrition will also be a part of some of the changes that are being made in each building.  Last year East Hill Elementary School made these changes and that success will be used as a model.

That's all for now, but look for more frequent posts as we get closer to September!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Mid-Summer Update

I hope that you have found ways to enjoy all of this warm weather that we have had. I probably should have broken down and bought some short sleeve dress shirts!  Maybe next year.

We continue to have a busy summer at school. You should have received my letter that gives an update on the many different initiatives that we are working on and things are still moving forward at what feels like a lightening pace.

Redistricting Maps and Street Lists - Our website (click on the redistricting link from the home page) does have all of the updated attendance boundaries for our 2013 redistricting project in two separate files; one with streets listed in alphabetical order, and one with the actual maps.  Anyone who will actually be impacted by the redistricting can expect to receive a personalized letter in the next two weeks. If there are any questions, please be sure to contact me. A list of frequently asked questions will also be created in a couple of weeks and placed on the website.

School Begins on September 5 (as a half day-Students Attend in AM) - Also, please remember that school begins on Wednesday, September 5 and that September 5 and September 6 are half days for students in grades 1-12 with students attending in the morning. Our Kindergartners (our last group of half-day Kindergartners in fact) will begin their journey on Friday, September 7. (Please note:  all calendars for the 2012-2013 school year are now available from the website by clicking here.)

Marching Band Highlighted in New York State School Boards Periodical, On Board - In case you missed it, there was a wonderful article about our Marching Band recently in a publication called On Board that you can find by clicking here. (For the version that includes pictures, click here.) I liked that the article was more about how many students are involved in our band, how they accomplish their goals, and the value of working together; instead of articles that has just referenced wins. I continue to appreciate all of the hard work with our Director of Fine Arts, Bill Davern, our Marching Band Director, Mike Stachnik, the Marching Band staff, and all of our "bandies" put in.  Congratulations, and I am looking forward to another inspirational effort this year.

New Nutritional Regulations - Food and I go way back, and I have been eating school lunches since I was in first grade (a long time). I can even remember a time about fifteen years ago when our lunch lady made another math teacher and me our own pan of lasagna. Those were the old days when our food service staff could cook and prepare just about anything they wanted. Those times have changed due to increased regulations surrounding childhood (and adulthood, I suppose) obesity. The ingredient list has shortened, the flexibility has been compromised, yet our staff have continued to invent meals that our students like to eat and enjoy.

There are some additional nutritional regulations coming into play for the 2012-2013 school year that will provide even more guidance in terms of portion size, meal content, and recipe choices. Our food service staff have been working within these new guidelines this summer to prepare menus that our children will eat. All of our meals will be healthier, imaginative, and tasty but they will probably not look the same as what children have eaten in the past. I would ask you to help me reinforce that even though the food might be a little different and healthier, it still tastes good.  In my next blog I will include a sampling of these new meals so you can get a taste (pun intended) of what is to come.

Continue to enjoy this weather, and I will post again in a week!