Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sun sets on the 2013-14 school year

When school begins each September, it seems like June and the end of the school year are so far away. Yet here we are … it is June and again we join together as a school community to celebrate as our prekindergarten, kindergarten, sixth-graders and our high school seniors mark important milestones in their young lives.

It is truly a bittersweet time of year for educators—as we prepare to say farewell to students that we have nurtured and watch grow over the year or years—and as we welcome summer and the opportunity it offers to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.

Our UPK (photo gallery) and kindergarten (photo gallery) Moving Up celebrations took place on June 23 and 24, respectively. Our sixth-grade students will graduate from the elementary school on June 25, and then on June 27 the Class of 2014 will receive their diplomas beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Harry Tucker Gymnasium at the high school. Pictures of all these milestone celebrations will be available on the district website.

It is with pride that I recognize Muhammad Khan and Brittanie Clickner for earning top honors as valedictorian and salutatorian of the Class of 2014, respectively. Muhammad plans to attend Siena College in the fall to study biochemistry, while Brittanie will pursue a degree in chemical engineering at RPI. Both students are National Honor Society officers and were involved in several extracurricular activities throughout their school careers. I have no doubt they will be highly successful in their future endeavors!

I speak on behalf of the faculty, staff and administrators when I congratulate all of our graduates as each moves on to the next stage of their lives, whether that means first grade, the junior high school or pursuing college and careers!


Staff kudos

The challenges we face as a small urban school district are ongoing and numerous. We continue to have to accomplish more with less resources—even so, I have witnessed so many of our educators and staff rise to the challenges. Throughout the year as I visited classroom after classroom, I saw highly engaged students learning rigorous material under the instruction of highly trained, dedicated teachers and support staff.

Clerical staff have pulled together to collaborate as more and more responsibility has fallen on their desks with far less help than was available in the past.

Custodians have worked hard to ensure our buildings are clean and safe for children and adults (without the assistance of a full-time night crew) and administrators have burned the candle at both ends wearing many hats (instructional leaders, evaluators, and ensuring a safe environment that is conducive to learning and teaching).

Above all, our students have demonstrated the ability to think critically and even if they were struggling at times to learn certain skills and concepts, they maintained a “never surrender” attitude. Teachers have commented on the higher-level thinking skills students are developing as well as their love of learning. This is a tribute to our educators and our administrators who never lose sight of our mission to educate every student, every day.

Finally, I thank our retiring teachers and staff for their years of service and dedication to the district’s children, and wish our students, educators and staff a safe, relaxing and fun summer vacation! I look forward to welcoming you back in September.