Monday, March 20, 2017

March Comes in Like a Lion

Snow Days: Well, last week was like a mini-vacation for the students with all of the snow days plus the staff development day on Friday. March is a long month and in February I spoke to the principals about making sure that they were creating a couple of opportunities for the students to have a little fun (spirit weeks, etc.) and each building did do some fun things. Add in the snow days and April is right around the corner now! For the record, we do have one snow day left in the calendar before we have to start getting creative.

Fine Arts Director Receives Outstanding Educator Award: We are in-between student events so I wanted to take this opportunity to write about a few adult things. First, if you see our Director of Fine Arts, Bill Davern, please congratulate him. He was selected by SAANYS (School Administrators Association of New York State) to receive their Outstanding Educator Award. This award is certainly well deserved, and we have been very fortunate to have had him steering our Fine Arts program for many years. Congratulations to Bill and his family.

Federal Funding: I am keeping an eye on the Federal budget. As I mentioned in last week's blog, our local budget is in good shape, but we do rely on Federal monies in part for students who have disabilities, or who are living in poverty; as well as for a small portion of our professional development budget and for a small portion of salaries for at-risk counselors.

If the government were to cut all of our Federal funding (which they won't), we budget conservatively enough where we would survive it with less pain than we felt during the last recession; but one area that would be really challenging to make up is in the area of reimbursement for free and reduced lunches. One of the magical things about West Genesee is that even as our poverty has increased, so too have our academic results. A part of this, of course, is making sure that our students are fed and happy. With over twenty-five percent of our students (and climbing) qualifying for free and reduced lunch, losing that funding would not be good. I will continue to keep a close eye on what is happening outside of West Genesee and will help us to navigate anything we need to as we have done in the past.

Tips Make a Difference: We have a great relationship with the District Attorney's office as well as the Camillus Police. We were together last week to catch up on a few partnership opportunities and as we got to talking, we thought it would be a good time to remind everyone of our tip button (for bullying, crimes, etc.) which can be found by clicking here as well as the Camillus Police Tip line by clicking here.

We discussed how the number of drug-related issues in our schools have dropped drastically over the past three years due to our partnerships, communication, and visibility of our administrators; but that some people may not feel that way because we haven't written about it in a while.

If you have tips or things you think we should know about, please use the links above. It may look at times like there is no outcome, but every tip we get creates a report and file that all parties build upon. You should also be very proud of the students who have no problems coming to us to let us know if they hear of anything that they think we should know about!

Diplomas on Order: We have ordered diplomas and I plan to start signing them shortly. This means that if you are the parent of a senior, you are now in the channel to graduation. Hard to believe, but it is true!

Hoping for some sun and snow melt this week. We need to get ALL of our sports teams outside for some fresh air! Thanks for your support and enjoy the week!