Monday, October 31, 2016

QUITE a Busy Week

With Grace and Class: Last night I got to witness sportsmanship at its finest. After a marching band performance that came up short to Arlington and Victor, our student performers, always under tremendous pressure to win, congratulated their opponents with grace and class.This should remind us that while winning is great, the life lessons that solid programs teach students are much more important than winning. 

At the same time, we know what the community expects from our Marching Band program, and we are already at work to continue our strong tradition of success.

Wildcat sustained success was celebrated last night when Bill Davern, our Director of Fine Arts, and Nick Baratta our designer, were inducted into the NYS Field Band Conference Hall of Fame. It was a great moment to see them be recognized and applauded by all in attendance!

Fun Events: We had QUITE a busy week last week. It was great to see so many of you at the Harvest Dinner and/or the Halloween Carnival. We estimated that between the two events over one thousand people joined us. The Harvest Dinner is offered by the senior class and the proceeds (after the costs of the dinner is covered) are donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The Halloween Carnival is put on by the Respect and Responsibility Club at the high school as a way for the older students to offer some of our younger students a fun and safe place to trick or treat and take part in games and fun!

Speaking of trick or treating, today is Halloween and I want to thank ALL of our employees for the care they take to make sure that everyone remains safe while having fun; especially at a time when some people seem to use every opportunity they can to cause disruptions and ruin things for others. We ALWAYS take the high road and today is no exception. Some of the costumes I have seen are beyond creative!

Substance Abuse Coalition: I had the opportunity last Thursday night to speak to the Camillus Homeowners' Association. Usually I am there to speak about the school but this time they asked me to talk about our Substance Abuse Coalition and what we have done in the community and where we are headed in the future.

I got some great questions and probably the most rewarding part of my night came after it was all over. A community member, who I did not know, came up to me and wanted me to see something in her purse. She opened it to show me her NARCAN kit that she got from our NARCAN training last year. We are making progress!

What is ESSA? There is federal legislation called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that is going to change how we train our teachers and principals. The act also outlines how we will assess students, how those assessments will count in the future, and what we can expect a graduate to have completed by the time they graduate.

Fortunately our education commissioner is taking the time to listen to parents, students, school employees, and Board of Education members around the state. Last week I attended a "listening and work" session with one of our Board members, a teacher, and an administrator. We were joined by many others and had a positive session. We have others coming up, and I will share the final results with you when they are completed. I am pushing for academic rigor, support for ALL students, multiple pathways to graduation, and as little emphasis on state assessments as possible.

Thanks and enjoy the week!