Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I’ve had several community folks ask about the concept or initiative entitled:  EDUCATION 2020.  Last year, I had shared a blog that described the process for developing capital improvement projects and how aspects of the scope/work are selected.  Here is some of that discussion:

As I mentioned last year, over the past 10 years or so, the Liverpool School community has fully supported district facility improvements through building renovation projects.  During that time period, we have exceeded $150,000,000 in capital improvement costs.  These projects have included construction [in various degrees] at many of our building sites:  Liverpool Middle School, Liverpool Elementary, LHS Stadium, Chestnut Hill Middle School, Chestnut Hill Elementary, Morgan Road Elementary, Soule Road Complex, Liverpool High School Annex, Transportation Center, Wetzel Road, Donlin Drive Elementary, Long Branch Elementary, Nate Perry Elementary, Craven Crawford (District Office) and now [with Phase 3] the Liverpool High School.  These SED-approved projects (mentioned above) do not include the numerous local projects that our LCSD Maintenance staff have embarked on over the past decade as well.  Most of these larger projects were created based on the SED-required "Building Condition Survey" - a state mandate which requires school districts conduct facility evaluations every 5 years.  Most of the focus for these evaluations is based entirely on infrastructure needs, windows, doors, boilers, and roof replacements - the majority of upgrades and renovations that go unseen . . . but positively impact the efficiency, safety and long-term building needs.

As we approached the upcoming facility improvement plan – based somewhat on the required Building Condition Survey for school year 2020 . . . as I mentioned last year - we have decided to divert from the previous traditional model of prioritizing building and classroom needs to a more beneficial and realistic process that focuses on an educational values, beliefs, and needs of each school setting.  We have entitled the initiative:  
Education 2020.  Through these committee discussions, our effort is to share how schools have changed over the past years; discuss how the Liverpool School/community has changed (specifically with regard to demographics); and, talk about how our student needs have changed with regard to career readiness, higher education, and career pathways and options.  Last school year, everyone – both school staff and parents/community members had access to a survey - the survey focused on several prompts.  Specifically, we wanted to know, "What do you believe are the needs and priorities for future facility planning leading up to our next Facility Improvement Plan (Targeting School Year 2020).  Additionally, What do you value as positive school experiences; What do believe are the most essential aspects of your child's education (or students in general); and, What needs or improvements may be necessary as we evaluate the instructional resources within Liverpool?” 
With the on-going tug-of-war for funding (whether it be staffing, programs, supplies, equipment, or facilities), there continues to be a finite amount of money available within our budget.  As such, we want to be frugal and fiduciary responsible . . . yet responsive to student's needs as we continue to prepare them for tomorrow.  

The Phase 3 Liverpool High School Construction Project has been split into two separate chunks of capital work . . . the High School Physical Education/Athletics Wing (being worked on now with completion expected by August 2020) and the High School Fine Arts Wing (including the Auditorium) expected to be bid out this late Fall/early Winter with a completion date of August 2021.  In an effort to be proactive and not alter schedules at a later date – we have changed all of the building arrival/dismissal times by 10 minutes.  This was done in response to the Fine Arts portion of the Phase 3 project.  It will affect the bus line-up and traffic flow in and out of the LHS complex after Spring break 2020.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

As we begin a new school year, I want to wish everyone a happy and successful new year with many awesome opportunities for our kids!  Starting a new school year is always an exciting time, and as we enter the 2019-20 school year, I want to personally thank you – parents, teachers, principals, administrators, school counselors and social workers, food service staff, bus drivers, bus mechanics, custodians and maintenance staff, coaches and of course – our students -- for all the hard work you do every day educating, supporting and learning on a daily basis. As adults, I know you are all busy preparing for children to come school and return to the classroom this week, and I truly appreciate the investment of your time, energy, and effort to make to be sure students have a great experience [especially] on the first day of school.

As always, please remember that there will be a significant number of school buses returning back on the roads . . . As such, when the RED lights are flashing – please do not attempt to pass the school bus.  Children may be entering the pathway, roadway, highway or walkway boarding onto or departing from the bus.  I appreciate your cooperation and understanding as the safety of our children is our utmost important priority as we transport children to and from school every day!

Have a wonderful and successful school year!