Sunday, March 25, 2018

What They're Watching...

The advent of the internet and the ever increasing evolution of technology has allowed people to have more information than ever at their fingertips. It has also allowed an avenue for perpetual entertainment. On a daily basis, you can find people huddled around a screen somewhere showing off the most recent funny video or story they have stumbled across on the internet. This situation is no different for our elementary children as well. As parents, the tablet/iPad has become a fantastic tool for learning, but at time has also become a pacifier. Above that, our children (including my own) have become a part of a generation called "YouTubers" where virtually everything (videos, learning experiences, mini-episodes, live events, how-to directions, and much more) are easily accessible. One of the dangers of YouTube is that once you are in it, there can be links pushed to your device and it becomes very easy for one to wind up viewing channels that most adults would not approve of. On an increasing basis, we are seeing kids come to school using language that is not acceptable in a public location. When speaking to kids, it has become apparent that most of them are learning their negative behaviors are being learned through various YouTube channels. A list of the top YouTube channels that children should not be watching can be found HERE. Atop this list is a channel called Super Mario Logan and a show on the channel called Jeffy. This is the show that our students, mostly boys, are coming to school and attempting to recreate. Unfortunately, most of us as parents have minimal understanding of the shows that our kids may be watching on the internet and YouTube. I frequently have to either block channels, websites, or remove privileges from my own children if they find these shows on YouTube. However, it is important that we take the time as parents to pay attention to what our kids are watching online, and on occasion take the time to sit and watch with them. Most kids don't have the capacity to understand that what they are watching could be inappropriate and be teaching them bad behaviors. Please take time each week to spend time with your children while they are viewing things online and ask questions. It also doesn't hurt to review their browsing histories and research the shows that they are watching as well. In the end, the benefit of finding something that they shouldn't be watching while they are young and having the ability to talk about it with our kids and help them learn appropriate vs. inappropriate is time well spent. 

2018-2019 Health Information

Each year, New York State reviews their health screening requirements and on occasion will make changes. For the 2018-2019 school year, there are changes to the immunization requirements and health screening requirements. For a copy of the updated immunization requirements from the Department of Health, please click the link below. Other changes to health screenings include:

Health Examinations required in grades pre K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.
Vision and Hearing Screening required within 6 moths of entering school and in grades pre K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.
Scoliosis Screenings are required for females in grades 5 and 7, and for males in grade 9.

Please speak to your school nurse or family physician if you have any questions regarding these new requirements.

Go Home Early Drill

Each year, schools in New York State are required to conduct what is called a "go home early" drill. In our region, schools attempt to have this event occur on the same day to minimize disruptions for our local BOCES. This year, the go home early drill will be occurring on Thursday, April 19. For this drill, students will be dismissed from school 15 minutes earlier than regularly scheduled. Please make sure that necessary arrangements are made for students to arrive home from school earlier on that day.

Dialogue Event

On Monday, March 26, 2018, we will be hosting our second Dialogue with the Superintendent event at Staley Elementary School from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium. Following last year's tour through the District to provide families an opportunity to chat informally and get questions answered, we have continued the practice this year, however in fewer locations. The event is intended to provide families an opportunity to ask questions through the submission of a question card and elicit an on the spot response. All questions are anonymous. This event is open to ALL parents in the District and is not specific to any one given building. For more information or if you have questions, please contact the District office.

Utica OD Teen All-Stars

Who's your Teen All-Star?

The O-D is currently accepting nominations for its 2018 Teen All-Stars! Each year, dozens of local seniors are nominated by friends, family, school officials and members of the community.
Teen All-Stars is an annual awards program created by the Observer-Dispatch to recognize local students who excel both academically and in their extracurricular activities.
The nomination period will be open from Sunday, March 4, until Wednesday, April 4.
To nominate a local high school senior, please fill out this form in its entirety. The nomination must include:
* A letter of nomination (no longer than 500 words)
* A list from the nominee of his or her Top 10 school/community activities
* A statement from the nominee describing one accomplishment he or she is most proud of.
Additional requirements and details can be found on the form.