Sunday, November 13, 2016

My Response to the Post-Election Comments at Liverpool High School:  

If you’ve been following the recent developments regarding the article posted in response to the post-election talk given by a Liverpool High School teacher . . . to her high school students -- you may have been shocked, surprised, or disappointed – by either the reaction for or against the situation as it unfolded. 

The article included a transcript of the entire message shared with students.  The teacher’s intention [in my eyes] was to convey to each and every student that we [Liverpool] will do our utmost to make everyone to feel safe and protected.  Given the behavior(s) observed throughout the election process, our students, community, and our entire country need a subtle reminder to be respectful of each other's differences and continue to create a sense of community through dignity.

Given the fact that not everyone holds consistent points of view specific to politics, I believe we must all search for solace, benevolence and humanity as we continue to support our future changes.  President-Elect Trump exclaimed, “Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division.”  He continued,  I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help, so we can work together and unify our great country,”

I believe we have an obligation to provide all of our students with connections; we must also continue to ensure emotional safety and security for all students – now and into the future.  I will continue to strive for educational excellence for all of our students in all of our classrooms. Thank you for your confidence and commitment supporting the school district and the challenges before us.
As the 2016-2017 School Year unfolds . . . you may be aware of significant changes that have been enacted as a result of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act . . . the new reauthorization entitled: “Every Student Succeeds Act” – replacing the previous ‘No Child Left Behind.’  As the school year continues – I will provide updates and mandate expectations which directly impacts both the law changes in Washington DC – was well our students and programs locally, in Liverpool.
As we approach the completion of the first ¼ of the school year, I want to thank everyone for their continued support of our students, our staff, our programs and our school district.  We are very fortunate to have an incredibly caring and supportive community willing to share your students with us. As we continue to move along through the school year, we will undoubtedly continue to ask for your partnership in many areas.
Safety and Security Planning: The New York State Education Department has directed school buildings to modify the previous fire/evacuation requirements (included in our Building Safety Plans) to now include 4 lockdown drills (in addition to the 8 evacuation drills). To increase the effectiveness of drill our planning . . . and, in response to potential intruders -- we will vary these drills with different specific scenarios and details. As we began the school year, we prepared our youngest students for these drills in an effort not to scare or frighten them; as the year progresses - these drills will be unannounced.
2017-2018 Budget Focus: A critical part of building safety and security is to reassure everyone that those individuals inside of the building are not at risk while in our care. As we encounter more and more social, emotional and mental health issues within our students, we have the responsibility to respond and react in a proactive manner.  As such, planning for the upcoming school year will focus on additional counseling staff, social-emotional services and alignment of our existing staff to optimally serve all of our students. I have asked our administration, faculty and staff to make additional efforts to get to know our students, continue to build relationships, and work in collaborative setting so as to reap as much benefit as possible keeping students at the forefront of our planning, programming, discussions and dialogue.  Please take time to reach out and get to know the counselor, social worker, or psychologist in your child's school(s).
Water quality testing: As you are probably aware, New York State recently made significant changes in the water testing expectations at all school building locations.  We have tested all of the various sinks, drinking fountains, ice machines, etc. for water quality. As test results were returned back to the district – some areas were identified with levels slightly higher than acceptable levels . . . as determined by the Department of Health and the New York State Education Department.  In all cases where this condition was found, we have replaced the water fountain, water faucet, or other potable water equipment.  If the equipment was determined unusable – we have discontinued using the source.  As such, we will continue working with the Onondaga County Department of Health to resolve any further issues.

Presidential Election Impact:  As we all are aware, significant changes in our world will likely follow the shift in national leadership from President Obama to President-Elect Trump.  Many of our families have followed the recent developments regarding a couple of our Liverpool High School teachers sharing a speech/comments with students.  I will provide another blog with my thoughts/comments.