Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 2014 Blog:

The school year is off and running.  Doesn’t seem possible but we have reached the 5-week point of the 2014-2015 school year . . . time flies when you’re having fun!  At this time, parents and teachers have began talking about the interactive conferences where discussions should focus on students and their respective needs, expectations, and support necessary for reaching the academic, emotional, behavioral, and social goals.  As I get around to each of the school buildings, it is exciting to see the interactions between students and staff.  I am also very encouraged to see the implementation of many aspects of a “problem (or project)- based learning” environment.

Since August, the Athletic Department and all of the fall athletes have been working hard as student-athletes; each team practicing, competing, and sharpening and honing their skills.  Last week was especially exciting as we celebrated our Homecoming festivities.  Many Liverpool alumni returned back to see the various attractions and events scheduled throughout the week including the tailgate party, powder puff football game, pep rally, bone fire, school dance, and especially the rivalry game versus Cicero-North Syracuse.  Certainly, a learning opportunity came about as a result of the excitement and high-spirited rallying . . . following the game; a couple photos of the student attire and face paintings were shared via Syracuse.com.  At the time, the photos were presented by the media as an indication and identification of Liverpool’s school spirit and support for one another.  Since that time, many folks have weighed in regarding the issues surrounding photos and how the students and district should respond.  The Liverpool students, staff, and administration have had several conversations regarding the incident.  We fully understand the sensitivity surrounding the photos and what could be depicted from them.  We also feel that this situation presents itself as a prime learning experience and this should be utilized as an optimal opportunity to discuss cultural and ancestry respect.

When we created the school calendar for the 2014-2015 school year – an important goal for meeting the college and career readiness expectations was incorporated into the design.  Previous school calendars utilized 4 professional learning or Superintendent Conference days over the course of the school year.  With this year’s calendar – we have reduced the professional learning initiatives from 4 full days to 2 full days and 4 half days, essentially equaling the same time commitment.  But, by making better use of time and keeping the students the essential focus for our instructional and academic expectations, I believe we are better equipped to support and guide all students.  The various building-level and district-level professional development initiatives are designed to assist in delivering instruction that is aligned with the Common Core.

Speaking of the school calendar, last school year . . . we used an abundant number of emergency days unexpectedly.  Given the fact that weather conditions in Onondaga County are fairly unpredictable and the upmost concern for the safety and security of our students and staff guides our logical and common sense thinking for decisions regarding school delays and closure, the following information identifies our intent for emergency/snow closing scheduled use.  Hopefully this is an opportunity to fully communicate the plan for meeting the 180 days of school (SED) requirement.  The Commissioner’s Regulations allow public school districts to convert “up to” four (4) professional development days into days of instruction for the purposes of meeting the 180-day obligation.  If we close, each of the first five (5) can be converted as follows:

EMERGENCY DAY #1: Utilizes the first Sup’t Conference Day (September 2nd)

EMERGENCY DAY #2: Utilizes the first Sup’t Conference Day (September 3rd)

EMERGENCY DAY #3: Utilizes the first Sup’t Conference Day (October 24th)

EMERGENCY DAY #4: Utilizes the first Sup’t Conference Day (March 20th)

EMERGENCY DAY #5: June 25th (Rating Day) provides for the 181 student days; this day makes up the 5th and final day with no giveback requirement.

Any further emergency days will require the following:

EMERGENCY DAY #6: Thursday, June 25th (Rating Day):  Student and Staff will be required to attend school;

Thanks, Mark F. Potter

Superintendent of Schools