Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Recognizing our brightest

In addition to presenting the proposed 2016-17 school budget during the April 19 Board of Education meeting, recognizing the top scholars for the Class of 2016, applauding our hard-working and successful varsity wrestling team and congratulating teachers who are receiving tenure this year are also on the agenda.

Class of 2016 top scholars

During the meeting, the school board will recognize the top two high school seniors: Lauren Zakrzewski is the class valedictorian and Lydia Anderson is the salutatorian. Lauren plans to attend either Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute or the University of Michigan in the fall to study chemistry, while Lydia plans to study pre-law at Hartwick College. Both young women are members of the National Honor Society and have been involved in many extracurricular activities throughout their school careers, including Character Education/No Place for Hate and Student Council. They also have participated in interscholastic sports: Lauren ran track and played softball, while Lydia played varsity soccer. I am confident both will be highly successful in their future endeavors!

I also want to recognize the balance of the Top 10 scholars of the Class of 2016, which includes Samad Abdul, James Creaser, Sarah Skinner, Brendan Austin, Arianna Greene, Seamus Manning, Samael O’Brien and Ian Brown. Congratulations once again to all!

Wrestling a successful season

The varsity wrestling team and Coach Dennis Lane will be recognized for their hard work, determination and skill. The Cannoneer wrestling team with an overall record of 7 wins and 1 loss was second in the league, was named Class C Sectionals Champion, and earned the Section 2 Sportsmanship Team of the Year Award. Wrestler Collin O’Brien was Section 2 Champion with a season record of 38-3 at the 145 pound weight class and he advanced as a New York State Qualifier at the Times Union Center, where he went 1-2 in the state tournament. The wrestling team also had four Class C Champions, including Collin O’Brien, Connor Lyons, Charles LaBelle and Hunter Weaver. A stellar season!

Teacher tenure

We also celebrate and congratulate the following teachers for earning tenure this year and for their commitment every day to the students of our district: Denise Cusack, K-2 Special Education, Kara Taylor, kindergarten teacher, and Rebecca Hewitt, 9-12 Spanish teacher (who received tenure in January).

Budget proposal unveiled

At the April 19 meeting, school business manager Keith Heid and I will present the proposed 2016-17 school budget to the board for ratification. When state legislators passed the state budget earlier this month, they provided an increase in foundation aid for schools greater than that proposed by Governor Cuomo in his executive budget in January.

For our district, it translates to a year-to-year increase in aid of 4 percent, or approximately $450,000. I am, of course, grateful to our local legislators for fighting the good fight to increase school aid, but am reminded as we continue working to develop a balanced budget, that we face a 0.24 percent tax levy cap, which severely limits our ability to raise additional revenue. I will have more school budget information to share in my next blog before the school budget vote on May 17.

Student musician takes center stage

In the meantime, I want to mention a very exciting opportunity for our music students that will take place earlier in the day on April 19. High school junior and Delta Force singer Xavier Reyes will receive membership into the Barbershop Harmony Society, and as part of the celebration, a regional Barbershop quartet and music director will present a workshop for all Delta Force chorus members that will be followed in the afternoon by a performance. Congratulations to Xavier, who is not only a talented singer/musician, but also earns high marks in the classroom and is role model for his peers. Kudos as well to music teacher Terry Bradway who inspires and challenges her students every day.

Thank you

Finally, April 27 marks Administrative Professionals Day. I know I am a few weeks early, but I want to publicly applaud the dedicated clerical support staff who work in our schools and our offices and thank them for all they do each and every day to assist administrators, faculty and students!

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