Reflecting back on a busy 2018-19 school year
As the 2018-19 school year comes to a close, I want to take this opportunity to look back on the year that was, and take note of several successful initiatives that were launched this year.
We expanded the What I Need (WIN) program, which has been greatly beneficial for elementary students, to junior high school students (grades 7-8). The Win program offers additional support to students who need it in English language arts and math.
Also at the junior high and high school level, we introduced a school mentoring program for all students in grades 7-11. Every teacher and administrator, as well as instructional support staff, agreed to be a mentor to at least one student this year. The purpose of the mentor program is to build personal relationships with students and provide positive supports that will help them feel more connected to school, and in turn, improve attendance and student engagement in learning.
School Based Health Center continues to serve students
Whitney Young began operating a school-based health center in our school district in September. The program currently provides health services to about 60 percent of our students. As mentioned in my previous blogs, the school-based health center is located at Watervliet Jr./Sr. High School, but serves all students, prekindergarten through grade 12, whose parents enroll them in the program. The school-based health center provides immunizations and physicals required for school, and there is never a co-pay or an out-of-pocket cost for any SBHC services! We are hoping to expand the enrollment so that we can provide a health center on-site at Watervliet Elementary School. The health center is possible through a partnership between our school district and Whitney Young Health.
PTECH to begin year two
Eleven of our students recently completed their first year in the Capital Region Pathways in Technology Early High School (P-TECH) program. I am so proud of our students who are on their way to earning both their high school diploma and an associate’s degree from HVCC in information technology through this four- to six-year program (grades 9-14).
About a dozen incoming ninth-graders will enter the PTECH program in September. To prepare for the program, the students will participate in a week-long Summer Bridge program during where they will have an opportunity to get to know their classmates better, meet the program’s business and education partners, and be immersed in fun STEM-based and team-building activities.
On the Move
The Board of Education, upon my recommendation, recently appointed Don Stevens to the position of assistant superintendent from director of curriculum and instruction. In this new role, Mr. Stevens will continue to administer all things related to curriculum, instruction and professional development with added leadership responsibilities.
Also, you may recall in January Kelly Webster moved from assistant principal at Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School to principal at Watervliet Elementary School ‒ and she is doing a fantastic job there!
In other administrative news, beginning July 1, Michael Foust will become the assistant principal at WES, and David Wareing will return to the assistant principal position at WJSHS and take on the role of Athletic Coordinator. Over the summer, we will hire an assistant principal to fill Mrs. Webster’s former spot at WJSHS.
Farewell to our retiring educators, staff members
It is also a time to say good-bye to this year’s retirees and thank them for their years of service to the district and commitment to our students. Congratulations and best wishes to WHS social studies teacher Scott Burke and technology teacher Joe Facin; WES reading teacher Michaeleen Backus and cafeteria worker Elizabeth Sutherland.
Before they officially head out for a well-deserved summer vacation, I want to recognize our teachers and instructional support staff for the dedication, talent, energy and care they bring to educating our diverse student population. I value your efforts and your commitment to making a positive difference for every student, every day.
Thanks for supporting education
Finally, on behalf of the Board of Education, I thank everyone who took time to participate in the school budget vote and Board of Education election on May 21. I am grateful for the continued community support for our schools.
To our students, teachers and 10-month staffers, please enjoy a relaxing, safe and fun summer! We will do this all again starting in September.