Monday, March 21, 2016

Living in Excess of Excess

Well, my NCAA bracket is BUSTED. It is probably as ruined as any bracket I have ever made, and I am destined for finishing in the basement in the "Brown Family Bracket Challenge". That is okay though, because I have a day job to fall back on.

Capital Project Update: If you have been in and around our school buildings you are really beginning to see progress on our Capital Project.

  • At Onondaga Road and East Hill Elementary Schools they are almost ready to pour concrete for the new additions. 
  • The East Hill playground area is being graded and prepared for the installation of the new equipment. 
  • We removed some trees at West Genesee Middle School in order to make way for the new parent pick-up and drop-off area.
  • At the high school we told some student drivers that we needed to move some spaces to make way for construction trailers and equipment. As you might imagine, a few did not react well to the news, but I reminded them that they actually had a car to drive while many do not and if the worst thing to ever happen to them was that their parking space had to be moved they were having a pretty good life so far! Watching kids grow up keeps me young and on my toes, and I sincerely enjoy my time with them. 
Cell Phone Use: I am sure that you enjoy time with your "student" as well. One thing I am going to bring to your attention regarding your children, especially those who have cell phones, is that they may be using them when you think they are asleep. Our administrators work on cases from time to time where someone said something about someone else via text or social media in general.

When it is investigated, they are finding that these posts and text messages are taking place very late at night. On a school night it is not uncommon to find time stamps of between midnight and three in the morning. When they follow up with parents, they often hear from mom or dad that they had no idea that they were up that late using their phone in that manner.

I have two suggestions for you. The first would be to check your cell phone bill and the line that your child uses. If you look at the bill detail you can see when text messages are sent and when the data plan is used. If you find that they are using their phone when you think they should be asleep, you can take any action that you feel might be appropriate.

Second, you can have your child turn their phone off and give it to you before they go to bed and have the phone charge in your room overnight. The delicate thing about middle and high school students is that their room and now their electronics are how they have "freedom", followed by a car if they are fortunate enough to have one. I always tell people that being a parent is the hardest job ever so I wish you luck but know that you are not alone!

Water Quality in Schools: About six months ago you might have read about water quality issues in Flint, Michigan. Government officials allegedly knew that water quality was suspect but covered it up until the situation was finally exposed. Closer to home, a community near Ithaca was having water issues which prompted the school to test their water and they found that the water contained more lead than recommended. Similar findings have occurred in a community in New Jersey, and one more in a Rochester suburb.

United States Senator Chuck Schumer recently declared the public water supply a top priority and is making grant monies available (water testing is very expensive) for schools to test their water for lead (water testing has not been required and remains not required). While we do not foresee issues with our water, we have decided to participate in the grant and test our faucets and drinking fountains.

The testing will begin the week of April 5 and will be conducted by the OCM BOCES Health and Safety Department. If we find any high levels of lead from any faucet or drinking fountain we will let you know. The remedy is to replace the pipe or connector that may be causing the sample to test positive. The Onondaga County Water Authority tests the water constantly and our area of Syracuse is not known for lead pipes, but we are taking the better safe than sorry approach.

Lastly, and due to the relatively mild winter we had, there will be no school on Friday, May 27. There will also be no school for employees on Friday, June 24, but students will already be on summer break.  If we have to have an emergency closing between now and May 27, May 27 will become a regular school day once again.

Events this week include the National Honor Society Induction Ceremony tonight and the Sports Boosters Dinner tomorrow night. Enjoy the week!