Superintendent's Brief


Good afternoon,

As National School Counseling Week comes to a close, I would like to express a sincere "thank you" to all of our school counselors. I know you work extremely hard and you play a vital role in our work to ensure student success.

School counselors are part of the school support team. They have a significant responsibility guiding and supporting students through their academic journey and sometimes through challenging situations. Their work includes addressing academics, social skills, mental health, scheduling, mediation, helping students explore interests and potential career options. They also work to identify issues affecting school attendance and performance in school. School counselors have a role in the school improvement process and the development, management and evaluation of a comprehensive school counseling program. The focus of their work is to ensure students have social emotional and other supports so that they can be successful in school, on the playground or when they head off to college or the workforce.

We recognize the important role of our school counselors. Each of our schools has at least one school counselor. We are proud of the work that each of them does to support our students.

Our Student Support team will be doing a presentation on our school counseling program at the next Board of Education work session.

Thank you to school counselors

The Impact of a School Counselor

Listen to Amari, a student at Schenectady High School, speak about the impact her school counselor is having on her life. https://youtu.be/-YQS-6mgEjI

I had the great honor and privilege of being invited to participate in the U.S. Deputy Secretary to Education's roundtable conversation on education policy and practice and to engage in the Department of Education's new "Raise the Bar: Lead the World" initiative in New York City on Wednesday. Attendance was by invitation only and included leaders from across local, state, and federal government, school systems, business, labor, philanthropy, civil rights, advocacy, and community groups to engage in conversations about the issues most pertinent to education in New York. The topics of discussion included "Achieve Academic Excellence," Boldy Improve Learning Conditions," and "Create Pathways for Global Engagement."

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona kicked off the "Raise the Bar" tour last month. He laid out the U.S. Department of Education's vision, his continued priorities to promote academic excellence and prepare for global competitiveness, and the President's commitment to ensuring states, school districts, and schools have the support they need to prepare students for the 21st century global economy.

I was truly honored to be invited to be a part of this discussion.

Raise the Bar:  lead the world

Photo with Deputy Secretary of Education

Pictured with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten (gold jacket).

Our community school efforts have been moving along swiftly. We have had a presence at many events and are finding that there is a lot of interest in the work that we are doing. Some just want to know more about it and others want to learn how to be a part of it.

Last week, The Daily Gazette and News Channel 13 came by King Elementary School to do a story on the Unique Boutique which is a clothing closet available to students who need it. This closet is made possible because of the support of The City Mission of Schenectady. It's a perfect example of community partners coming together to address a need in the school community. That's how community schools are formed and function. Thank you to the City Mission for their partnership and News Channel 13 for coming by to learn about our efforts.

Many representatives from our district, including administrators, parent liaisons, and our community school coordinators, participated in Community School Advocacy Day earlier this week.

Advocacy Day is a great opportunity to meet our elected officials as well as join with others who are passionate about community schools and the needs that they meet in our community.

Community School Advocacy Day

Community Schools Advocacy Day

Community Schools Advocacy Day

On Monday, Dr. Cotto and our Community School Coordinators Kayla Ambesi and Ryan Williams, joined me for a presentation at the Schenectady County Legislature's Committee on Education and Libraries meeting. Committee members were excited to learn about our Community Schools initiative. I provided a general overview of what led to our initiative. Dr. Cotto and our Community School Coordinators spoke about our work and what we have going. Click here for the presentation.

Schenectady County Legislature Committee Meeting

Earlier this week, district administrators came together in the early evening for our monthly Leadership Council Meeting. Mr. Russo, District Director of School Climate and Safety, spoke about the work of the Community Engagement Officers and the progress that has been made. Thank you to Police Chief Clifford, Sgt. Plowdon, and Lt. Dalton for attending the meeting and answering any questions. Dr. Chisolm spoke to our administrators about iReady, a program that we use to assess student reading skills. Mr. Gillooley reviewed the budget process. Thank you to all of our leaders for taking time to attend and engage in this meeting.

The Blue Roses Theatre Company opened their production of Passage Thursday evening. You can catch the show tonight at 7 p.m. or Saturday at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. For details click on the flyer here.

It's still Black History Month as we continue to celebrate Black history. There are still many activities taking place in the community including the Black History Month Movie Series at Proctors.

Board of Education Updates

  • A public hearing on Capital Repair Expenditures will be held prior to the Board of Education Work Session on February 15.

  • The March 1 Board of Education Meeting has been moved to the Mont Pleasant Schenectady Room.

Have a great weekend. I'm sure many of you will be tuned in to the Super Bowl. Enjoy.

I'll see you next week.


Anibal Soler, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools



This week's featured alumnae, Judith Dilallo, has worked in the district for more than 25 years. Currently a paraprofessional at Central Park, she credits her mother's involvement at Lincoln Elementary with helping her "feel safe and connected to school."


Would you like to be featured?

If you are an alumni of SCSD and would like to be featured, let us know by completing this online form.

You can view Alumni Profiles here.

Photo of the Week

Young artists at Woodlawn Elementary worked hard on a mural that stretches the entire hallway. The mural should be complete next week.

Photo of the Woodlawn Mural

Sgt. Plowden stops to thank a student

Sgt. Plowdon thanking a student for doing the right thing.

When Sgt. Plowden was making his rounds one day this week, he stopped by Oneida to visit, and thank Aaron Russo, an Oneida student, for doing the right thing.

Flyer:  Mobile Pantries

Flyer:  Girls Inc. Eureka!

The Plug

Black History Month Movie Series At Proctors

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PREVIOUS BRIEFS: For the index of Volume 1 and Volume 2 Briefs, click here.