Monday, October 22, 2012

In the Long Run

Time Spent in the Community: The highlight of last week was getting a chance to visit the Camillus Senior Center and speak with our senior citizens. I was very happy with the format. They wanted me to come in and talk. Nothing to sell, no offices to run for, and no pressure. We had a wonderful time talking about Camillus and the way things used to be. One gentleman told me that he has lived in Camillus for 70 years and walked from Munro Road to the Camillus Senior Center (it was formerly his school) each day. He said a classmate would drive the school bus and then attend class (don't get any ideas, twelfth graders). I am looking forward to visiting the senior center again.

I spent Sunday morning with about 1,400 others running the Empire Half Marathon along Onondaga Lake. I won't bore you with all of the details, but now that I have participated in a few races in the Syracuse area I must say a big thank you to all of the volunteers who hand out water along the various courses. There are "big name" volunteer organizations, faith based organizations, and sometimes people who just want to help. This is another great example of how our community works; people pitching in to make things happen. Thanks again!

Redistricting Transition Team: Many community members are pitching in right now at West Genesee on our redistricting transition team, and if you have not had a chance to check out their work and are interested you can find everything on our website by clicking here. We meet again tonight and are feverishly working to plan some very beneficial activities for our students and parents who are affected by the redistricting. We hope to have these plans complete by October 29, at which time I will share them with everyone so that we as a community are all on the same page.

In the Classrooms: I am very pleased at what I am seeing in our classrooms. Teachers and administrators have had a TON of new things to work through from the state and federal government, but you would not see the stress caused by all of that if you were to pop your head into a classroom. Teachers are working at full capacity to provide quality instruction, true professionals. We are more fortunate than you might think considering we are still one of only a couple hundred schools in New York State (out of nearly 700 total schools) to have our Annual Professional Performance Review plan completed. Our teachers are nearly done completing their goals (a significant time commitment) while many schools have not even had their plans approved. That will make for a much smoother late fall and winter for our teachers, which is a good thing.

Schooltool Parent Portal: We also began the process of opening up our student management system, Schooltool, to parents. The program generates an email to any parent/guardian with an email address on file. To login, you must use your user name and password to access the system. If you have not received this e-mail and are interested in using the new online system to access student information, please check our website by clicking here for some helpful pointers as well as some key people to reach out to for assistance.

Fall Extra-Curricular Seasons Come to a Close: Our student players and performers are nearing the end of the fall season and they are really doing well. So well in fact, that this week and next weekend are going to be very busy for all of them. Please check our website for the most updated schedules from the Athletics and Fine Arts pages. Right now I know that our West Genesee Wildcat football team plays Christian Brothers Academy in the second round of post season play, and our Marching Band performs at the Carrier Dome on Sunday in their quest to bring home another state title. There are many, many other exciting events as well so again please make sure to check our website.

Also, congratulations to high school seniors Shawn Davern and Nicholas Piato, who have been selected as members of the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.  They will join an elite group of musicians who will perform during halftime of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

This is also the time of the year when I get to speak to seniors in their Participation in Government classes. It is a great opportunity to connect with them as they begin to make some life choices as graduation gets closer and closer.