Tuesday, September 4, 2012


You might be surprised when I say that I find the first day with staff more stressful than the first day with students. This has always been the case for me, and I think it has to do with how important setting the tone for the year actually is; especially in an organization as large as ours. All staff e-mail messages may reach everyone, but nothing beats human interaction and actually speaking to them in person.

Opening Day:
This will be my fifth opening day at West Genesee and my thirteenth overall as a Superintendent of Schools. While I do support recycling plastic, paper, and glass; I do not support recycling speeches. Our staff deserves a fresh message each and every year that is exactly tailored to what we have gone through and what we are about to experience.

What will be the theme for this year?  Revitalization. The formula to our success is not complex, but the components are essential to both personal and professional relationships. We value trust, communication, collaboration, unification, composure, and consistency. Trust is trust and is developed over time, and you either mutually have it or you don't. All of the other traits can come and go if you let them and sometimes when a relationship has been established and moving forward for a period of time, it is necessary to go back to what made those butterflies appear in your stomach the day that you met that special someone, or in my case that special group of 900 employees, nine Board of Education members, and many thousands of community members.

Revitalization does not necessarily mean change. It means appreciating what is there and collectively finding different ways to make things even better for our students and for each other. That is the message and the goal for this school year. I am very excited to help make it all happen and I sincerely appreciate your continued support.

First Days of School:
Please remember that Wednesday and Thursday are half days for students grades 1-12. (Kindergartners will start on Friday.) I am appreciative of your patience as we work our staff through state mandated trainings during this time. We have awesome substitute teachers, but there is extreme value to consistency in the classroom and without these training times you could expect to see your child's teacher out of the classroom probably 10 to 15 times this year. Thankfully, we can address our needs through the half days and things can remain consistent in the classrooms.

Also, please remember that beginning on Wednesday there will be school buses and student drivers out on the road again for the morning and afternoon commutes. A few extra seconds of paying attention can go a long way. I will reinforce this with the students as well during the first couple of weeks when I meet with them in student assemblies.

Save Modified Sports Update:
On a very positive note, the Save Modified Sports Boosters were able to accomplish their goal of raising enough money to operate a full schedule of modified sports for the 2012-2013 school year. They have also planned some awesome events for this school year to prepare for the 2013-2014 school year including laser tag, dodge ball, three-on-three basketball, and several other activities to help keep our modified youngsters on a field or court for another year. I could not be more proud of their efforts and their organization in general. By the book, determined, organized, and for a good cause. Simply awesome. Check out our Facebook page and the Save Modified Sports website (http://savemodifiedsportsatwg.com/) for the exact dates and times of their upcoming events.  You can also follow them on Twitter (https://twitter.com/SaveModSportswg).

Speaking of Twitter, now is the time to sign up and follow me on Twitter at @cbrownwgcsd as I look forward to another year of keeping everyone very informed.

Enjoy the first week of school and I wish all of you the very best school year!