Monday, March 14, 2016

Thruway Pride

Proud to be a Wildcat: Could you imagine if you lived in a community with a District that in ONE WEEK had a school concert with a nationally recognized conductor, one sport team playing for a state championship in Buffalo, another group of athletes competing for a state title in New York City, a young wrestler competing for a state title right in Syracuse, and an academic club (already New York State Champions) fundraising to compete for the national championship in the same place they hold the Iditarod? That would be crazy right? It happened.

I thought about all of this while I was running and wearing my St. Patrick's Day West Genesee shirt. We are pretty fortunate to say the least. Wear your Wildcat clothing with pride as I do. NO other school in the state had the week we just did. Never take what you are a part of for granted. For any of you who have students in the District or have had one while I have been here, thank you for choosing Camillus and for letting us work with your kids (some are now adults and have children of their own starting Kindergarten next year)!

Our Community is Changing: In past blogs I have shared statistics about how our community demographics are changing. More students living in poverty, more abuse in the community, etc. I think we read those reports and have difficulty applying it to real life because we continue to be successful regardless of our changes. Kids are kids. I did run into a situation last week where I can demonstrate to you the challenges that some of our students face every day.

Early in the week and as you heard, read, and saw, a person found himself in the parking lot of Onondaga Road Elementary with a BB gun. He was arrested. Just a bad choice by a graduate I have known since middle school.

All of our grounds are open to the public after school hours. Most people use the basketball courts, baseball fields, etc. very respectfully. On that particular day there were six older students hanging around the grounds. I decided to speak to them face-to-face in school, and then follow up with their parents.

The conversations with the students were simple enough. Be a role model even when people aren't watching. They all were very respectful to me and have always been respectful to me. Guess how many of the six students had parents I could actually call. It was three, half of those involved. Those conversations went really well. The others have parents who have left them, passed away, or are incarcerated. They spend the day at school and then their afternoons and evenings bouncing around.

This is real life. We need to circle the wagons around these students and find ways to help them feel wanted ALL the time; not just while they are in school. I will lead the charge on that. I hope you will follow.

Hoops for 'Hedge: I was really honored to be asked to be one of the coaches for the Stonehedge PTA Basketball "Teachers versus Teachers" fundraiser coming up in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to brushing the dust off of my old playbook and having a great evening. We would love to have you join us.

Have a great week!