Superintendent's Brief


Good afternoon and happy Friday,

I'm going to start my brief this week by sharing a beautiful video that the students and staff at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School produced and shared last weekend in honor of their namesake, Dr. King. This is a fantastic tribute filled with passion and clearly took a lot of collaboration and hard work. Thank you to Kissair Savage, Andy Yauchler, King School leadership and everyone who had a hand in creating this video. You make us proud.

As you know we've been working on the development and implementation of our Secondary Schools Redesign. We are excited to share that a leadership community, called "Big Picture Schenectady," will be be introduced and part of freshmen offerings in the fall. This leadership community is focused on kids learning how to learn and putting them directly at the center of their own learning. Watch for more on this very soon as we will be sharing information on this exciting model which will be part of the high school options, opportunities and experiences in the next school year. We are excited and look forward to having our first class of ninth graders enrolled in "Big Picture Schenectady."

I want to give a huge shout out to the Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation (SCSDEF) which recently awarded nearly $52,000 to 35 teachers in 15 schools in our district to fund projects and learning activities for classrooms and our students. Click here to see the list of 2022-2023 Grant Winners.

Photo:  Presentation of grant award to three teachers at WICE

Photo: Presentation of grant award to three teachers at Washington Irving Educational Center. Alexis Rytel and Mikey Dady received a grant to implement a business plan with a guest speaker for a combined middle and high school project. George van der Wouden received a grant to build raised garden beds and seating which will be a combined effort with Adult Ed Construction students, and middle and high school students to support farm to schools initiatives. 

Since 2006, SCSDEF has awarded over $435,000 to Schenectady educators. The funding for the grants comes from donations. To learn more about the foundation, visit here. If you or someone you know would like to donate, please visit the SCSDEF donation page here. Again, thank you to SCSDEF and to all the donors for all you do for our teachers and students.

As part of our Community Schools initiative, our district is a pleased to support Schenectady Shares, a volunteer effort dedicated to restocking Schenectady's food pantries following the holidays and raising awareness of food insecurity. If you are able, please consider donating non-perishable food and/or personal hygiene items. We have Schenectady Shares collection boxes in five of our schools including Hamilton, Woodlawn, Van Corlaer, Paige and Keane. We appreciate your generosity and help for our families who struggle with food insecurity.

Also regarding Community Schools, a reporter from Spectrum News was at Hamilton Elementary School this morning learning about our community school efforts and seeing how things are going. Several members of our team participated and spoke about the journey, goals, and work that continues to go into this effort. I'm proud of our team and the passion that they pour into this every day. I'm excited to see this shared. We don't know when the story will run but will be sure to share the link when it is published.

Next week is Regents week (Tuesday through Friday) at Schenectady High School. All high school students report for school and follow a normal schedule on Monday, January 23. Regents begin Tuesday, January 24 and continue through Friday, January 27. During these four days, high school students only report for scheduled Regents Exams. Please note that the end of Regents week is the end of the second quarter marking period.

Regents Exam Notes: Electronics are not allowed in testing rooms (Phones, Airpods, Smart Watches). The Regents exam schedule is here. The transportation schedule is here.
All CTE/BOCES students report each day as usual. BOCES is running a regular schedule.

Last week I mentioned that we have an exciting option for families over February recess. We are pleased to share that we will be offering STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) Camp February 21 through February 24 for students in grades 1-5. The five camp sites will serve all our elementary schools as follows:

  • ML King Elementary School: King and Pleasant Valley Students

  • Hamilton Elementary School: Hamilton and Van Corlaer Students

  • Paige Elementary School: Paige and Woodlawn Students

  • Keane Elementary School: Keane and Lincoln Students

  • Yates Elementary School: Yates, Zoller, and Howe Students

There is no cost. See flyer for details. Click here to register.

STEAM  Camp Flyer

Congratulations to 13-year-old Elizabeth Wolf, who rolled a perfect game during the Varsity Girl's Bowling match against Niskayuna on Wednesday. Elizabeth is the granddaughter of team coach Bill Nolan.

Photo:  Student bowls perfect game

The Schenectady Wrestling Invitational was held last weekend. We had a great turnout. Thank you to all the families, fans, and competitors who came out in support of the wrestlers and event.

Our Traveling Art Show has left City Hall and is now at the Electric City Barn until February 27. If you have a chance, please stop by and check out the work of our student artists.

Traveling Art Show

Traveling Art Show

Traveling Art Show

Each of our schools completed school-wide spelling bees this week. The top two winners of each school bee will advance to the District Spelling Bee which will be held Friday, January 26 beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Mont Pleasant Auditorium. Parents are invited to attend. The winner of the district-wide bee will be registered for an Online Regional Qualifier. Top finishers in the qualifier will advance to the 2023 New York State Regional Bee that will take place via Zoom on March 15.

Also coming up next week, a Board of Education work session will be held on Wednesday, January 25 in the Mont Pleasant Schenectady Room. There will be two presentations and discussions, one from the Office of Climate, Culture and Safety, and the other from the Business Office. The meeting will also be available via livestream.

Just a reminder that the end of the second academic quarter will be closing on January 27. Report cards will be distributed for elementary school and mailed fo secondary families on February 3.

Have a restful and enjoyable weekend.


Anibal Soler, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

Photo of the Week

In honor of Martin Luther King: Equality, Inclusion, Diversity, Peace, Love

Photo:  MLK Day Photo of two students from Paige

Martin Luther King Day Photo of Paige students Solai (Grade 2) and Skye (Kindergarten)

Sweethearts and Heroes Visits Mont Pleasant

Mont Pleasant students were invited to this powerful assembly to hear a message of Hope and Action. Watch their quick lesson on perspective by visiting our YouTube Channel. https://youtu.be/Cm-2PmoWeUM

Sweethearts and heroes will be at Paige on January 27.

National Mentoring Month

MLK Breakfast

National Mentoring Month at MLK

Farm to School Logo

It's winter but Farm to School is still rolling! Next week we are incorporating the Harvest of the Month, Butternut Squash, into our macaroni & cheese! This will be served for lunch on Thursday, January 26th. Be sure to encourage your scholars to try it and fill out the taste test survey to let us know how they like it.

On Saturday, January 28th from 12 pm to 3 pm, the 2nd Annual Schenectady Seed Share will be held at the SiCM Community Hub located at 837 Albany Street. Farm to School will be there along with local growers to hand out seeds and lead short 15 minute workshops about all things growing - Ms. Henriksen will be teaching how to grow microgreens, an activity she does often with students. We hope to see you there! This is part of our Farm to School "Seeding Schenectady" initiative, which aims to support our schools and larger community in local growing activities. Reach out to henriksenr@schenectadyschools.org with any questions.

Flyer about Schenectady Seed Share

Capital District Urban High School Invitational

The Capital District Urban High School Invitational Art Show is a collaborative effort from the Visual Art Departments of Schenectady High School, Troy High School and Albany High School.  This art exhibit is an opportunity to highlight the artwork of our urban art students and explore their unique view as it is reflected in their artwork. See Flyer

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