Monday, February 1, 2016

The Circle of Life

A Math Project: I was a math and computer science teacher before entering administration and eventually the superintendent position. I really enjoyed my time with my seventh graders, especially when it came to teaching real life lessons about math (to answer the question "when are we ever going to use this"). My teaching days were long ago, but the lessons live on and I am very proud of that.

Yesterday while walking the dog I found a bird's nest that looked to be a near perfect circle. I immediately thought about the "old days". I brought it inside and took a picture of it. I then found some string and measured the diameter (distance from side to side as long as you are going through the center). I made three strings of equal length out of the diameter and laid them end to end around the birds nest. BINGO, they wrapped around three "and then some" times, or 3.14 times; pi.

Big deal right? In the education profession, there are no bonuses, no parties for selling the most of something, and no commissions. We teach, lead, and educate for the betterment of children and hopefully the world we live in. Our reward is when we hear from graduates who tell us that we made a difference in their lives.

I posted this little exercise online and heard back from one of my former students who is now a teacher. She remembered the lesson from so long ago and used it with her sixth grade classes. She then moved to second grade but made sure to leave the lesson behind for the new sixth grade teacher because "it is the best way to teach pi". Good stuff!

Events From Last Week: We had some great events last week. First, and unfortunately in the same evening, we had the "Dialogue with the Superintendent" and the Camillus Optimists Oratorical Contest. Both events were fantastic. I had a chance to catch the speeches from the middle school students and they spoke as well and as passionately as anyone you would see on television. The future is in good hands.

In my Dialogue with the Superintendent forum people in attendance were invited to write any question they wanted answered on an index card and pass them forward. I took each card and read them sight unseen and answered them. Many were about our substance abuse forum (which I covered in a previous blog) and several were about mid-term/regents week at the high school as well as the use of Schooltool. We constantly trend to get better so feedback of any kind is much appreciated. Thank you to the West Genesee PTA/PTO District Council for sponsoring this event every year.

Mr. Morton, our high school executive principal, recently started a blog himself that you should check out if you have a high school student or a child about to enter high school. He addresses in detail some of the questions we receive about the high school. Please take a few moments (after you finish here of course!) to check it out at

This week we will be holding our strategic planning sessions. Our strategic plan is the main decision making driver for the District. Our strategic planning team includes stakeholders from every group you could imagine (including parents and students). The results will be shared later in February so you know what you can expect to see from the District next year. People always ask why I never look rattled, and I always point to having a solid strategic plan as one of those reasons!

Some great weather coming up. Cannot wait! Thanks for the continued support.