Tuesday, January 17, 2017

S..W..A..N S..O..N..G

Swan Songs throughout Senior Year: There are only a few times in our lives when we get to do something for the last time. For some, like senior student and singer Caitlin Barry, those last experiences, or swan songs as we call them, will be on the biggest of stages. No pressure.

She began her farewell tour on Saturday at the Carrier Dome in front of over 20,000 people singing a perfect National Anthem. Boom. She commanded the challenging song with ease and punch and was rewarded by a loud ovation from the crowd. Crouse Hospital featured her life story in a touching article that can be found here and there is another story about her on syracuse.com here.

She is destined to do great things with her gift, but more importantly she is someone who younger students can look up to and learn something from. Kaleidoscope isn't until May, but it should be on your calendar as something not to miss if you want to see a talented person "before she made it big".

Spellers Advance to Next Level: The title of the blog this week also speaks to how well students involved in the The Post-Standard/WCNY Spelling Bee handle themselves. I would guess that most of you reading this have been involved in a spelling bee at some point in your life so you know what it looks and feels like. Now imagine advancing to the next level with more and more on the line, and fewer and fewer competitors to outlast.

Ava Propper and Emily Pattermann from West Genesee Middle School, along with Laura Alvaro from Camillus Middle School, have done just that, and we wish them well as they advance into public competition on February 11 starting at 2:00 p.m. live on WCNY. If you are fortunate to be one of their parents and you are reading this, RELAX and enjoy the moment; trust me, and good luck to them!

Great Question on Class Rank: Thanks to all who attended our "Dialogue with the Superintendent" sponsored by the West Genesee PTA/PTO District Council. It was very well attended, and I got some great questions. One of particular interest because it is a hot topic around the country had to do with class rank and whether we would consider moving away from class rank as other equally successful schools have done. National research shows that more colleges are considering the total body of work for students rather than where they rank in their class.

For students, studies have shown that moving away from class rank creates a more collaborative environment for students and more students will challenge higher level courses because the result will not impact their rank. In schools like ours, the separation between the tenth student in the class and the fifteenth can be one hundredth of a point.

I do not make decisions in a vacuum, but I am very interested in this topic. If there is interest in our strategic planning sessions to advance the topic, I will certainly keep you posted.

Boys Basketball Team Still Undefeated: On Saturday, our boys basketball team continued their undefeated streak. Whenever a team is undefeated this deep into a season you have to look back to the root cause. People can argue that coaching and talent are the key factors, and there is truth to that. I always look at two other things: the depth of the score sheets to see how many players are contributing, and how the students put in front of the microphone at the end of the game handle themselves.

Right now, the boys are as tight as I have seen a team in a long time. They share the ball and the spotlight, and each young man who gets interviewed never talks about themselves. They spend the time talking about coaches and teammates who are working together to make things happen. Best of luck to them!

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.: We had yesterday off to recognize the impact that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had on our lives. I am most respectful of what he did because he was able to completely change the path of the nation regarding acceptance of all people, without violence.

During my building visits last week I was really proud to see the work of Dr. King being celebrated and understood from kindergarten on up.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the week!