Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Dream Continues...

As most of you know, February marks Black History Month in our country and this week is the perfect confluence to keep Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream alive. This week we celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birthday (who also had a dream for our country that we continue to struggle to achieve), Valentine's Day which is meant to be about love, and Black History Month celebrations abound. I bring this up because there is subtle irony in these things since they all require one common thing to even be remotely possible; respect. All of the anger in our existence can be rectified with a simple showing of respect, which leads to kindness. For eons, humans have had conflict and disagreements, but it is the lack of respect that leads these conflicts to become violent. Disagreement is a normal life event; however, disagreement without respect leads to conflict, which leads to hate, which leads to violence. The unfortunate thing about all of this, is that history at times paints a picture that is not 100% factual and is based on the bias or favoritism of the individual sharing the history. The reality is, we are still struggling for equal rights for every human being in our country; black, white, brown, yellow, female, male, tall, short, special needs, or general education. The struggle is real and it will never end if we aren't willing to realize that equity does not mean equality. I don't profess to know the answers, nor do I think the solutions are simple. They also can't happen overnight. However, if we begin with a simple concept of respect for each other and understanding of the perspective with which each individual comes from. If, at the very least, there is a common respect for all individuals; our differences become less and less intense and violent. Solutions are bred out of respectful disagreements and it's our responsibility to make sure that the dream continues. 


RFA Athletics Round Up 

If you have been following our winter sports, you would know that all of our teams are experiencing success this winter. The girls bowling team took home a victory in the recent Tri-Valley League tournament and the boys bowlers also rolled to a winning season; boys swimming and diving competes in sectionals this week; the wrestling team takes a 6-2 team record into sectionals later this week; boys indoor track and field had a Section 3 champion with Ryan Swavely winning the 25 lb. weight throw; girls indoor track and field continues to impress with another Tri-Valley League championship, a Section 3 relay championship, and Tekitha Posey-Barry becoming the Section 3 champion in the 55 meter; the ice hockey team has earned their way to a home sectional game this Friday and a #2 seed in the tournament; and the boys basketball team has trounced their way to a 17-2 overall record and already sealed the Tri-Valley League Championship as they close their season this week to prepare for Sectionals. Congratulations to all of our student athletes and good luck throughout Sectional competitions. 



Redistricting


This past week, the Board of Education met as a committee of the whole to discuss the budget and redistricting. During the discussion, which was an extension of several other Board discussions, the Board has decided that they would like me to develop a solution to space concerns housed within our district. If you have been to any of our dialogue events, then you are aware of a few of the ideas that have been discussed and/or gone through my head. One of our goals is to have a plan before March 15 so there will be a presentation for the Board of Education at their regularly scheduled meeting on March 16. At that point, the Board will discuss what they are presented with and make a decision about what direction to go from there. 




Digital Learning Environments


On Monday, February 13, we are planning to host a partnership meeting with the Oriskany School District and Holland Patent School District to discuss what we can do to improve the digital learning environment and experience within our school districts. As has been a topic of recent budget conversations, how can we move away from the use of astronomical amounts of paper and outdated textbooks in our schools and move toward an environment that is more in line with what colleges and the professional market are utilizing. Online textbooks, research experiences, and activities are no longer a thing of the future; in fact they are becoming a thing of the past. The goal of our meeting is to see if the districts can develop a partnership together to benefit all students and reduce costs/waste in our communities.