Monday, June 6, 2016

Everyone Matters

End of Year Receptions: I had a really tough time getting through our retirement reception without showing my sadness for the "brain drain" and overall superior role models that we are about to usher into retirement at the end of the year. Every retirement "class" is special to me, and this "class" in particular included a lot of people who really helped me to get off to a good start at West Genesee; I wish them all well!

Equally emotional was the Fine Arts Reception. The students have done a tremendous job removing the Fine Arts vs. Athletics stigma that used to exist. There are really positive and strong relationships between students and all of our staff taking place at the high school.

Our Fine Arts program is always very successful. When we get a chance to celebrate success and each of our staff has an opportunity to say a few words about the students, you can really hear the genuine care that exists. Congratulations to all of our Fine Arts awards recipients and especially to Madeline Shuron, who was named the Best Overall Musician for 2016!

Although our community is still getting to know our new Executive Principal, Mr. Morton, those in attendance were treated to a very powerful speech. He talked about his ties to music and his feelings about our District from the perspective of someone coming in from the outside. This is a home run in my book!

Testing for Lead: You might remember us announcing that we were going to test for lead in the water in each of our buildings. We did, and everything came back normal and below the level of concern. These levels will be even lower once the capital project is completed because we are changing out nearly all of the "bubblers", which are the main guts of water fountains, and a source of lead.

Questions from the Community: During the budget vote I had a chance to interact with hundreds of community members. Some community members inquired as to what our bathroom procedures are for transgender students. At the time of the vote, President Obama had just issued a directive which several states in the south are fighting. It stated that transgender students can use the restroom that they gender identify with. The issue was trending on Facebook until a child made his way into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and the gorilla was killed. Now that is trending.

I am a very inclusive person, and our District is very inclusive. We have a very active LGBTQ club in our high school, and we have had openly transgender students for the past three years. As I would expect, the students and staff have been very accepting of one another, and we have been very sensitive to the feelings of everyone.

Three years ago, our buildings and grounds began to establish single restrooms in each building. We call them community restrooms and they are available in conjunction with our standard boys and girls restrooms. Also, in our capital project, our locker rooms are being reconstructed to include more privacy for ANYONE, should they need it or want it. At the end of the day, we have been able to meet the needs of ALL of our students, in any combination of ways. We will happily continue to do so. We are proud of ALL of our students; and we as people are ALL different, and in my opinion, that is what makes life great.

School Year Winds Down: Speaking of being proud, this week we have the senior high Academic Awards and the Athletics Reception.  All good stuff. Time to finish my graduation speech as graduation is just two weeks away!

Enjoy the week-