Monday, October 19, 2015

Walk the Line

Snow in CNY in October? Many of you said the "S" word over the weekend and that is okay. Snow happens in central New York. Luckily it was just a quick dusting and a blast of cold air. It was enough for me to find the hat, gloves, winter coat, and snow brush. Now if the weather holds true for Syracuse, I will be "too hot and too cold" over the next three weeks before we really get a season change. I will take it considering the alternatives that are out there.

Walking the Line with New Education Commissioner: Johnny Cash wrote a song called "Walk the Line". The lyrics describe how he is hopeful that a person in his life would be trustworthy, dedicated, and loyal. In return, Mr. Cash would be willing to help "turn the tide". This is where I am at with our new NYS Commissioner of Education, MaryEllen Elia.

She promised to listen to all stakeholders, involve teachers and administrators in the decision making process, and be more communicative and transparent. So far she has lived up to those promises:
  • She is involving teachers in the writing of this years' 3-8 NYS assessments (twelve of our teachers are participating). 
  • She is on the Governor's commission to study the Common Core Learning Standards.  
  • She has started her own focused review which will include a survey that ALL New Yorkers can participate in. 
  • She has reorganized her top staff so that  schools are getting quicker responses to questions and communication.. 
When will I "Walk the Line"?  If this continues through next spring, I will begin to have hope that the dark days of New York State education are slowly giving way to a new dawn. We will see.

Celebrating a Playground: This Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. will be the closing ceremony for the East Hill Elementary School playground. Some things have changed since our original communication that is important for you to know.

First, the event will be held outside next to the playground. Why? Two reasons. First, the playground was opened outside in 1989; and secondly, many people I have connected with have not seen the playground since the early 1990's. You will have an opportunity to get some pictures and a last look at the playground before we begin construction on the new one.

In 1989, Friendly's had a shake wagon available. They no longer have these, so we have asked another long time community partner, Cam's Pizzeria, to provide their mobile food truck. They are more than happy to help. Sunset will be around 6:35 p.m. that evening and that will give us plenty of time for the event. Please dress for the weather that day.

Second, during our historical research we discovered that the original time capsule was unfortunately crushed and broken about ten years ago when the bridge on the playground broke and all of the contents were ruined by water. While we will not have any time capsule to open, we will certainly have a fitting ceremony for a great community fixture.

We hope to see you there. I will be there by 5:30 p.m. if you would like to come a little early to really take a look at the playground before the ceremony which will promptly begin at 6:00 p.m.

Four sixteen hour days in a row this week with hopefully a regular Friday. Are you ready? Bring it on. Enjoy the week!