Monday, December 10, 2018

A Little Bit of Everything

Last week felt like a whirlwind. On Monday, I had an opportunity to visit with people at the Camillus Senior Center. Meeting with them is a highlight of the school year for me because I get a chance to soak in more history of our community from the experts and I get an opportunity to talk to them about what is happening in our schools. I always like to answer questions as well. Probably the most prominent question I received was about the Marching Band and the direction we are headed. I assured them that they will want to pay attention to this upcoming campaign because it will not disappoint. In retirement, my dad has been working a few days a week there during tax season to help people with their tax return filings and it was funny to watch the reaction when I connected him to me. It was a "small world" moment. Good stuff!

West Side Support Network Update: We held a very good West Side Support Network meeting during the week as well. We have a really diverse group of people who have joined our core group and we are in the planning stages of offering a night called "Lived Experiences" on January 14 at West Genesee High School. It will center around substance use disorder, mental wellness, juuling and vaping, and NARCAN training. As the official agenda comes into focus I will be sure to share it. Our previous forums and get-togethers have been well attended and informative, and I hope to see you there.

School Resource Officers: Chief Tom Winn and I have been working since the spring to find a pathway to increase the number of School Resource Officers in our schools. It sounds easy, just hire some officers, right? Not quite. Inter-municipal agreements (between the Town of Camillus and the District) take buy-in from both governing boards (done); all the legalese you would expect in a sharing and employment agreement (done); and then an understanding of what we are trying to accomplish (done). Oh yeah, you also need to have the resources in place (done).

The shared vision is to add retired police officers (called School Patrol Officers by Civil Service title) to West Genesee Middle School and Camillus Middle School. They will also serve the elementary schools that feed the middle schools. We would like them to build relationships with students, staff, and parents, provide another layer of safety, as well as help when the need for their expertise arises. We currently have two officers at the high school (one is a regular patrol officer and one is a School Resource Officer). These additional officers will help to bolster a secure presence in our school buildings.

You will begin to see advertisements for these officers, so if you are a retired police officer or know of a retired officer looking to return to work, please contact the Camillus Police Department. We will fill the positions once we have the people who will be the right fit for the Camillus Police Department and the District.

A Busy Time at the High School: I spent a lot of time last week at the high school, just meeting with students and staff. I learned that the popular online game Fortnite is losing some of its shine, and kids are looking for the next thing (they think Call of Duty will go back to being really popular again). I learned that the Apple Airpod headphones are a worthy opponent to the Beats brand that I see most kids using. I also reaffirmed that this time of the year before break is stressful for a lot of students. All noted, and you should too, as we dig into the holidays and then the darker part of winter. I really do enjoy my time with the students and I always learn a lot. I hope they learn a little from me every now and then too!

Saturday night was the High School Semi-Formal Dance and the theme was the "Enchanted Forest". The students did an awesome job of getting it all set up, and it was a wonderful night for about 850 of our students. Unfortunately, more than 850 students wanted to attend, so the dance was officially a "sell out". If you are a musician or athletic team, you celebrate playing in a venue that is sold out.  For us, there was no celebration. You never want to turn kids away from anything but in this case, there was no other option. 

The high school advisers and administrative team have worked tremendously hard to build a positive school culture and it showed during ticket sales and again on Saturday night, and there was no time to make a venue change. Even though it was a high school event, everything with West Genesee on it is my responsibility and I will work with the team to make sure that they can continue to ride the wave of positivity and student participation with the right tools to do so.

If you are looking for a good, fun, holiday thing to do, I would recommend Elf the Musical at Syracuse Stage through January 6 I believe. I went on Friday night and it was light and a lot of fun.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the week!