Monday, March 5, 2018

Repeat Champions!

Athletics Updates: I rarely say this, but I think we all needed a snow day on Friday. I am not sure that the Girls Basketball team agreed with me that day, as they were supposed to play Cicero-North Syracuse for the Section III title Friday night. Their game got shuffled to 9:00 a.m. yesterday morning at the Carrier Dome and it was an instant classic. Down the stretch, our Wildcats were able to pull away and win the section title for the second time in a row. For any team or Marching Band to repeat a championship these days is not easy, and for a team sport like basketball with so few players, it is on the edge of being remarkable.

Our Girls Basketball program has talented players for sure, but more importantly, they have a vision and dedication for success as a program. Hats off to all and congratulations! They will begin their quest for the New York State Championship (I wouldn't count them out) next Saturday in Troy, New York. Congratulations to the coaches and players; you continue to make us very proud!

Our winter Cheerleaders ended their season at the New York State Championship on Saturday after a great campaign. They finished with a strong performance overall and their future looks bright as well.

In Track, Esaias Brumfield took home a medal in the Indoor Track State Championship as a member of the the Section III Intersectional Relay team placing 5th, with Wildcat relay member Esaias really helping out. The 4X400 relay team of Meg Delia, Kelsey Fox, Abby Kuppinger, and Caitlin Mills also placed 13th overall in New York State Competition. Again this is in ALL of New York State. Congratulations!

Culture Fair 2018: The weekend was also busy with the Culture Fair at the high school. I really enjoy that event. In its tenth year, I always have a great time watching community members celebrate their culture. I was one of the first people there this year so I got first choice at all of the great food! Thanks to our volunteers, committee members, students, and attendees for another wonderful event. Click here to view a photo array of some pictures from the event.

Discussing Safety: Earlier in the week we held a public forum/Board of Education meeting to discuss school safety.  The meeting was very well attended at close to 90 people, including community members, parents, students, and employees. For about two and a half hours we listened to each other, shared concerns, potential solutions, and realized that we are in this together. I found the meeting to be powerful, emotional at times, and completely valuable.

I think everyone who attended walked away feeling heard and comfortable that we have a plan moving forward. What is the plan? This isn't the place for me to share it with you. All parents in grades K-12 are going to get a physical letter from me that contains everything you need to know to get you up to speed. Also included will be a "one pager" to help parents work with their children if they have anxiety about school safety, what they see on the news, and just life in general. Aside from that resource, ALL of our counselors and social workers are available to provide additional resources.

Students Share their Views: I would like to end with a student story. Last week, several high school students and I had a meeting with Congressman Katko. These students, unbeknownst to me, had expressed themselves outside his office during February break. Senior Anna Kate Waters had initiated a paper backpack initiative where students had written ways to feel safe at school. An assistant for the Congressman came out and took their names down and also collected about 200 of the backpacks from them. Fast forward to last week, and I received a call to meet with the Congressman after school, and with the students, at his office.

The meeting lasted about an hour and the dialogue that the Congressman and the students had was open and frank, both ways. The Congressman was truly impressed with the knowledge and research the students had done about him, and the issues. Several times he openly commented that he had to remind himself that he was talking to high school students. The students truly felt heard, and I was able to get a head start on some grant money for some additional resource officers. You would have been as proud as I was to watch democracy in action and how well our students represented themselves and our community.

Budget Presentation: I will be presenting the budget this week on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. in the high school library. On Thursday I will be attending my first meeting of the "School Safety Task Force" that was created by District Attorney William Fitzpatrick. I am happy to be one of three superintendents selected to work with all elected officials, emergency management personnel, and law enforcement to see what we can collectively do as county and region to keep students safe.

Thanks and enjoy the week!