Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Appreciating teachers

Teacher Appreciation Week

Around the country, this is National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6-10). Every student needs and deserves a champion. Our students depend on us to care for them, educate them and challenge them. I am proud to recognize and thank all Watervliet’s educators who not only teach but also care for and serve as role models for students in our schools.

I often remind teachers that although we cannot control the environment that our learners come from, we can be authentic and empathetic while creating a welcoming and nurturing environment so students can succeed during the time they spend with us at school. It is important to keep in mind, too, that the final weeks of the school year can be a restless and hectic time for students. I encourage teachers and staff to continue to be the positive and caring adults that our students can count on for support!

Tenure granted to five district educators

Five educators were recognized during the April Board meeting for earning tenure. Congratulations to grade 6 teachers Nikki LaBossierre and Anna Marie Magyar, elementary teacher Jennifer Williams, and high school science teachers Hillary Brochu and Cecelia Nicolaescu. Thank you for inspiring, educating and challenging every student, every day!

National Teacher of Year an inspiration to urban educators 

Speaking of teachers, it is inspiring to hear the words of Rodney Robinson, the newly minted Teacher of the Year. His is perhaps the most challenging – but I would bet also the most rewarding – task an educator can have. Mr. Robinson teaches social studies at the Binford Education Center, which is part of the Richmond Juvenile Detention Facility in Virginia. He believes ALL students, including those whose life experiences growing up in an urban environment have been difficult or greatly influenced by trauma and led to poor choices, deserve a high quality education and great teachers. He acknowledges that his students have made mistakes for which they are now paying, but he is committed to ensuring they get the second chance they deserve to overcome their challenges and succeed.

I applaud Mr. Robinson who says that as Teacher of the Year, he will use his voice to advocate for equity in education, which means making sure that all students receive the resources to achieve what they deserve, and cultural responsiveness to recognize the importance of including students’ culture in all aspects of learning. With these two principles, students can be empowered to achieve their goals. Read more about this amazing and dedicated educator

Top 10 students

Time now to recognize the Top 10 scholars of the Class of 2019! Congratulations to valedictorian Jared Sierra and salutatorian Waleed Ahmed, Alexis Dykes, Madyson Sawyer, Zagham Shah, Dylan Fumarola, Mustafa Raza, Dez’Jah Mitchell, Angelina Rodriguez and Hannah Linacre who round out the Top 10.
In addition to their outstanding academic performance, these students contributed to the school community in other ways: leadership, music and athletics. Although their intended college majors vary ‒from accounting to physics, and international trade to nursing – I know these Cannoneers will continue to make us all proud. Read more about the Class of 2019 Top 10

Remember to vote Tuesday, May 21

The annual school budget vote and Board of Education election takes place Tuesday, May 21 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., during which Watervliet voters will consider a $28 million budget for the 2019-20 school year. Under this budget proposal, we are able to preserve our educational programs, services and opportunities for students, and remain within our allowable tax levy “cap” as determined by the state's formula. More about the budget proposal

Every resident of the community 18 and older has a voice in the funding and elected leadership of our school district. Whether you’ve been voting for years or will cast your first ballot on May 21, whatever your opinion may be, I encourage you to vote. I only ask that you learn as much about the proposed budget as possible before you head to your polling location. Please visit the district's budget web page, where you can find details about the proposed 2019-20 school budget and its impact on our schools and community.

End-of-year events

As the end of the school year approaches, I am excited to share some important upcoming dates and events that are scheduled during these final weeks of school:

  • Wednesday, May 8 – Grade 6 Transition Night, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 9 – National Honor Society Induction Ceremony, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 11 – Junior/Senior Prom, 7-11 p.m., Walk-thru, 6 p.m.
  • Monday, May 13 – Grandparents and Special Persons Night, 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 14 – Public Budget Hearing/Board of Education Meeting, 6 p.m. 
  • Thursday, May 16 – Garnet & Grey Spring Concert, 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 21 – Annual School Budget Vote/Board of Education election
  • Friday, May 24 through Tuesday, May 28 – No School, Memorial Day 
  • Thursday, May 30 – Spring Sports Awards Night, 6 p.m.
  • Monday, June 3 – NYS Regents Exam, 8 a.m.
  • Thursday, June 6 – Elementary Spring Concert, 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 12 – Senior Varsity Dinner, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 13 Board of Education Meeting, 6 p.m.
  • Friday, June 14 – WES Field Day
  • Tuesday, June 18 – Regents Exams begin
  • Monday, June 24 through Wednesday, June 26 – WES Half Days  
  • Monday, June 24 – UPK celebration, 9 a.m., 10 a.m. 
  • Tuesday, June 25 – Grade 6 Graduation, 9:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, June 26 – Class of 2019 Commencement, 6 p.m., WHS gymnasium