Monday, March 2, 2015

Being Ahead of the Curve

Re-Connecting with Colleagues: I hope that you all had a great week. I rarely get a chance to travel for this job, so when I had the opportunity to attend a national conference on education I jumped on it. Not only did I get to re-connect with colleagues from across the country, but I was also able to listen in on what issues they are facing in their home districts.

It was expected, yet still interesting to hear that schools in other states are facing many of the same issues as we are. Every superintendent I spoke to is struggling with receiving money from their state governments, trying to keep their food service departments in the black due to the federal Healthy Choices initiative, and the usual struggles that are associated with sports and fine arts programs.

One thing that was interesting was that we are certainly ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing the Common Core Learning Standards. Many superintendents I spoke with are about two full years behind where we are today. I was able to shed some insight on how to make the implementation a little less painless. Interestingly, I discovered that we were the only state forced to test to the new standards in the first year of implementation. Figures.

Academic Decathlon Team to Compete at National Championship: On a SUPER exciting note, our high school Academic Decathlon team advised by teacher Scott Duda WON the New York State Academic Decathlon Championship. This is the second time in four years for West Genesee, and I am very proud to be talking about winning another academic competition!  

They take the show on the road to California from April 16-18 in a quest to win the Academic Decathlon National Championship. We will be able to find resources for flights, hotels, and competition fees. However, they will need some help with other expenses, so you can expect to see some fundraising efforts from this fantastic squad in the near future. Congratulations!

A Big Week for Students:  
  • We were very proud to announce our academic top ten for the Class of 2015 and by absolute random coincidence, a student named Chris Brown (no relation) is our Valedictorian! You will hear the names of these acclaimed students very often from now throughout the remainder of the year as they receive awards for their hard work. Congratulations to the families of these students as well. Click here to read an article about this.
  • Last week several of our middle school students participated in the Camillus Optimists Speech contest. Click here to read an article about.
  • Students in the high school participated in the “Mr. West Genesee” contest. 
We have a lot to be proud of in this District. 

First Draft of Budget is Unveiled this Week: If you are looking for something to do this week, I will be presenting the first run of the budget this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in the high school library. The spending plan has been created to keep our tax levy below the state imposed tax cap while preserving existing programs. This may be slightly subject to change if the governor and the legislature cannot reach an agreement for a state budget, but we will not know any impact of that until at least April 1, which is the deadline to have an on time state budget. 

In planning for the worst, I can tell you that I do not plan to suggest reductions to educational programs if an accord cannot be reached. Reductions, if any, would come from non-classroom programs and opportunities, as well as operations. I have faith that the governor and legislators will reach an agreement at some point however.

Enjoy the week. We might even hit forty degrees. It will feel like a heat wave!

Take care-