Sunday, August 27, 2017

Start Your Engines...

It's that time of year everyone!! Time to reset the internal clock, adjust the schedule of life, and prepare for the opening of school. If you or your kids are anything like many others during the summer, they have probably been out of a sleeping routine, eating on a different schedule than normal, maybe eating differently than normal, and just plain and simple been enjoying some freedom unbound by a school schedule. Amidst the fun of summer, we have been able to accomplish quite a bit within the District to prepare for the start of school next week. 

We have transitioned our elementaries to k-6 buildings, continued the work at Strough on their renovation project, successfully recruited a new leadership team for Staley, had the opportunity to hire new team mates throughout the District and within all bargaining units, our staff has spent considerable time in professional development to shift our reading/writing approach, launched a new website with a release of our first mobile app coming soon, and we have officially adopted corporate colors of orange and black (believe it or not the official colors were blue and green) beginning the transition of the entire District color scheme to orange and black.

As you can see, it has been a busy and exciting summer throughout the District. I am excited for the start of the 2017-2018 school year and look forward to all of the successes that our children will achieve. As we enter the last week of the summer, please take some time to chat with your child and prepare for the upcoming year. The simple, basic tips that everyone says will lead to a successful school year include getting enough rest, communicating with your child's teacher and your child, and being involved with school activities as your schedule allows. Below is a link to a couple articles related to starting the school year, if you are interested. Have a wonderful final week of summer everyone and see you back in the buildings soon!!

Immunization Requirements

With the start of the school year comes with it the reminder of school vaccination requirements. Each year, schools deal with many many cases of students not having their mandated vaccinations for participation in school. Unfortunately, by law, we are obligated to bar a student from school who does not have the mandatory vaccinations within 14 days of the start of the school year. If your student does not have the required vaccines, please make every attempt to get them ASAP and/or speak with your school nurse and principal so that the school is aware of the situation. 

The following notes are from the New York State Department of Health:
Children in a prekindergarten setting should be age-appropriately immunized. The number of doses depends on the schedule recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). For grades Pre-k through 9, intervals between doses of vaccine should be in accordance with the ACIP-recommended immunization schedule for persons 0 through 18 years of age. (Exception: intervals between doses of polio vaccine DO NOT need to be reviewed for grades 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12.) Doses received before the minimum age or intervals are not valid and do not count toward the number of doses listed below. Intervals between doses of vaccine DO NOT need to be reviewed for grades 10 through 12. See footnotes for specific information for each vaccine. Children who are enrolling in grade-less classes should meet the immunization requirements of the grades for which they are age equivalent.
A copy of the required vaccinations can be found through the link below:

Need to Know Transportation 

The process of restructuring the elementary schools has provided a significant savings to the District financially due to changes in transportation routes. As a part of this process, the individual schools no longer have buses traveling outside of their catchment zone. Along with getting our routes in order, we have learned that a common practice in the past is families having their students ride an unassigned bus home at the last minute for one reason or another. This practice is both against policy and education law, thus we will be putting an end to the practice this coming year. If your child needs to be transported to a different address than the address of record, a WRITTEN NOTIFICATION MUST BE PRESENTED TO THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL at the beginning of the school day. A note to the teacher, a phone call to the office, an email to the teacher, etc.; is not acceptable communication. There will be a significant learning curve associated with this practice, however, student safety and knowledge of where they are going is of utmost importance. The principal will be the only point of contact for transportation changes during the day, the notification must be in writing, and the notification must occur early enough in the day so that the principal can communicate effectively to the staff so mistakes aren't made. Having a missing student is the last thing anyone wants at the end of the day.

School Lunch Information

School lunch is always a topic of discussion amongst people as regulations can change almost overnight and many inaccuracies can occur in the community about what is what. This summer, the FDA and State Education Department required school districts to review and make changes to their school lunch policies to provide more clarity to the school lunch process. In doing this, we uncovered an aspect of our policy that we have been disregarding related to the purchasing of school lunch items while an individual's school lunch account is in arrears. Please know that our policy clearly states that if your school lunch account balance is negative, a student cannot make a school lunch purchase of snacks, ice cream, food, etc. with cash. This practice will be enforced for the 2017-2018 school year to ensure that the school lunch program remains a viable option for the District in the future. You may not know that the food services program is a self sufficient entity and not supported through the District general fund. For this reason, the strict adherence to policy and expectations is necessary to ensure that the program remains fiscally solvent.