Monday, September 26, 2016

A Time of Change...

Losing a Great Talent: "Wembley Stadium." This was the answer I got when I asked two-time Grammy winner, Camillus resident, and former drummer for the Robert Cray Band (1978-1989), Dave Olson, about the largest venue he had ever played.

He quickly downplayed himself and asked how he could help the school with percussion or anything else to do with our Fine Arts program. Moreover, he gushed about his wife Nancy, who works as a teaching assistant, and his daughters Sarah and Anna. This was seven years ago.

Because of a mutual love for music, we struck up a friendship that remained very solid until I received a call on Saturday night that he had suddenly passed away. His snare drum snap was unmistakable, as was his time and tempo. There are a lot of talented people in Camillus; and we lost a great one.

I mention his passing because it certainly jolted my system and writing about it helps me to process everything. More importantly, however, there are lessons to be learned about his time in our community. As a world traveled, award winning, professional musician, Dave could have spent his time basking in his successes.

Instead, you would have never known he had the experiences and success that he did unless someone pointed him out to you, or you liked Robert Cray music. He spent his time enjoying music; but never let it get in the way of being the best father and husband he could be. Nothing ever got bigger than his family. Food for thought. Rest in peace friend.

Final Race for Respect: In much better news, we had a wonderful turnout for our eighteenth and final Race for Respect. Special thanks to Dr. Copeland who helped to get this effort underway years ago, and it was great to see his whole family join him for one last spin around the course. We are going to be focusing our efforts now on the non-weather dependent Culture Fair, which takes place in late winter. Thanks for attending and for your support!

NYS Education Department Listens: In other good news, the New York State Education Department listened to the "field" (that's us folks), and made some DRAFT changes to the Common Core Learning Standards for English and Math. Obviously, there is more work to be done, but in my book the increased flexibility, loosening of time constraints on assessments, and the inclusion of more fiction in reading passages represent a move in a positive direction.

To see all of the changes, and to comment on them, just click here.

Commended Scholars are Announced: Congratulations to our National Merit Commended Scholars Jesse Elmer, Julia Musengo, and Amelia Ryan for their academic efforts, you are certainly making us proud!

This Blog is Recognized: We are also proud as a District that this blog has received both state and national recognition of being "high quality".  This is not the first time we have received these awards, but I did want to take a moment to thank all of you for reading and for my team for making sure that what I write looks like something you would want to read. Congratulations to all!

Spirit Week at the High School: This is Spirit Week at the high school, followed by our annual pep-rally, homecoming football game, Marching Band half-time show, and dance on Friday night. I hope to see you there.

Have a great week!