Sunday, June 4, 2017

Finish Strong...

It is that time of year where many schools, teachers, and students want to "coast" to the finish line. A lot like that NFL team that has their playoff birth locked up weeks before the end of the season so they start resting players to avoid potential injury as the regular season comes to an end; some schools have traditionally modeled this mentality. Difference being is that we are in a race, not a season. In a race, if you let up at the end, your final outcome/product will suffer. Even if you are in first place in the race, you don't slow down as you approach the finish line do you? You don't see the jockey on the thoroughbred pulling on the reins so that the team doesn't set a time record. Those thoughts would be unthinkable. So why do we pull up the flaps at the end of the school year on our kids' learning opportunities. Yes, the weather is nice. Yes, it's been a long year. Yes, we've just made it through State testing and AP testing. But, we only have 10 months out of the year to work with our kids to help them progress. Seems like it would be silly to waste one of those 10 simply because it's been a long year. The best athletes, the best organizations, they never slow down. Being great isn't good enough, being the best isn't even good enough. They are working toward perfection and becoming the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). That should be our goal, that's what our kids deserve. Every moment that we take it easy between now and the end of the school year is a moment where our kids will start next year with a gap in learning. We have all worked hard over the past 9 months to get to this point, don't take the easy route out and slow down now. Keep pushing our students to obtain their very best and keep pressing them to work harder and be stronger than even they expected that they could. Our students will do amazing things, but only if we provide them with the opportunities to do such. There's no reason why you can't be the GOAT or develop one of your students/children into a GOAT; but we have to finish strong!!

Restructuring Update

During the past week, we have been working to finalize the staffing for Academic Intervention Services, Special Education, Teaching Assistants, and Special Area's staff. While I believe we have things to a point where they are fair and sensible, we continue to work with the various unions to make sure that the reconfiguration is in alignment with contract language. 

Transportation and special permissions continue to be the main concern that we are hearing from the community. As we finalize the transportation grid, we are giving consideration to having students who need special permission due to child care be transported from their child care provider back to their catchment area home school. All of our building projections are based on where a residence is located and it's impossible to project current or future enrollment impacts on a building when students are attending schools other than their assigned school. Also, we continue to hear many families openly telling us and others that they will lie about their residence or need for child care to ensure that their child goes to the school that they desire. Once we have finalized the regular transportation routes, we will be reviewing the process by which special permissions are allowed.

Our final piece that we continue to work on is the master schedule. Our administration is working closely with the special areas staff to ensure that we develop a schedule that provides students with the amount of learning time necessary to increase their skills in the arts and physical education. Of importance with these schedules is the addition of instrumental music into the elementary schools. Regardless of the challenges, we still anticipate to have the master schedule developed earlier than in previous years. 

DimensionU Successful Again

As in years past, the Staley DimensionU team has proven successful again at displaying their talents in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Abigail Bates, Jacob Cosentino, Santino Campanaro, Gwen Caro, Cooper Engelbert, Collin Gannon, Caden Giardino, Micah Humphreys, Richard LaTour, Collin Mummert, Jacob Premo and Jacob Swavely, took first place in two out of three Mixed Grade Division categories at the 2017 DimensionU Department of Defense Math Games held at the Griffis Institute last week. Our students competed against 3 other schools from around the country to display their knowledge and ability to work as a team. Congratulations to the students and staff involved with this accomplishment!!

District/Superintendent Evaluation

As mentioned last week, we are seeking input and feedback from families regarding this past school year as we continue preparations for next year. A link to the 2016-2017 feedback survey is below if you are interested in providing feedback to the District. The survey will be completely anonymous and should take roughly 5 minutes to complete. The survey will be open from now until June 23 at 5:00 p.m. Please take the time to provide us with your thoughts so that we can continue to improve our organization for kids.