WEEK ENDING JANUARY 27 2023 | VOLUME 2 ISSUE NO. 22
It's hard to believe that today is the last day of the second quarter marking period and the school year is at the half way point. Next Thursday report cards will be sent home with elementary school students and mailed for those in grades 6-12. I encourage parents, guardians, and caregivers to please contact your child's teacher if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child's progress. You should be in communicating regularly at this point, so there should be no report card surprises. Monday is a fresh start with the beginning of the third quarter. Some students will be looking to keep momentum from the first two quarters and others are looking to make improvements. It's never too late to turn things around. Let's help students develop a positive attitude and let them know they can tackle any challenge and start the new quarter off in a positive way. We are in this work together so let's all help our students start the third quarter on positive footing.
Yesterday we held our district-wide spelling bee at Mont Pleasant Middle School. The competitors in this bee finished in the top two at their respective schools. I offer congratulations to each of them and have listed their names below. As I told the students yesterday before the contest started, I'm proud of all of them and regardless of how they finish in the bee, they are all winners. Congratulations to Amir Miles from Central Park Middle School who spelled "Miraculous" to finish out the spelling bee and take home the first place trophy. He will participate in the Regional Qualifier and have an opportunity to advance to the 2023 New York State Regional Bee on March 15.
Thank you to Rebecca Gleason, Erika MacFarlane and Jessica Valente and other members of the Office of Teaching and Learning for their hard work coordinating and planning this event. It's a huge undertaking and they did a great job. Thank you also to our transportation department, namely Nicole Stabinski, for arranging student transportation and Joe DiCaprio for emceeing the event. It was an exciting morning and was great to see all the parents and teachers in the seats cheering and supporting your students.
Earlier this week, I had the great privilege of attending the SUNY Schenectady's ribbon cutting to unveil the brand new Welcome Center at Elston Hall. Rondacia McPherson, a senior at Schenectady High School and SUNY Schenectady as part of the Schenectady Smart Transfer Early College High School Program spoke to those in attendance. She's an impressive young women. I love seeing our students out there shining bright and representing our district. Thank you to Dr. Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady, and his team for continuing to be such incredible partners with us and providing amazing opportunities to our students.
We were proud to participate in the After School Advocacy Day 2023 yesterday in Albany. Participants, caregivers, program providers, and other supporters of after school, summer, and expanded learning programs advocated for our children and families. Thank you to Dr. Carlos Cotto and the Office of Innovation, Equity and Engagement for representing our district.
Alex Torres, the district senior parent liaison, brings the team of school parent liaisons together each month for professional development. Earlier this week, School Board President Bernice Rivera, met and spoke with the team about board governance. She provided an overview of the scope and responsibilities of the Board of Education and decision-making. It's helpful for our parent liaisons to have a good understanding of this in their work as they often help parents problem-solve and navigate the system. Thank you to Ms. Rivera for taking time to meet with this important team in our district. I love seeing our parent liaisons smiling, engaged and enjoying their work. It makes a difference to our families.
Eighth graders from around the district came out for Future Patriots Day yesterday at Schenectady High School. It's exciting for our incoming freshmen to have the opportunity to explore the various clubs, sports, academics, JROTC, arts and so much more that is offered at the high school. #Thrivein9
This morning I was honored to present and advocate to local legislators at the Capital Region BOCES Legislative Meeting about the importance of fully funding Foundation aid and expense-based aids.
While Governor Hochul has promised to fully fund New York school districts based on the formula, it's important for us to continue to talk about why it's important and to stress that this funding is imperative for high-need school districts to provide the resources needed to educate our students. It's also important to talk about revisiting how funding is determined so that it ensures equity, access, opportunity, and high quality programming. As a result of the significant increase in Foundation Aid this current year, we were able to increase our budget to add necessary student supports, including ensuring that every school has at least one school counselor, without impacting taxes.
February is Black History Month. For the past several years, the New York State Education Department has partnered with My Brothers Keeper (MBK) program and The Education Trust-New York to share students' stories with our #MyHistoryMyFuture social media campaign. Students are invited to share their voices in this campaign by submitting 100-150 character tweets that answer "What do you want the future to look like?" They are also asking students to reference how their participation in MBK is helping to shape their future. Click here to participate in #MyHistoryMyFuture
We look forward to sharing more and celebrating Black History Month in February.
I wish to offer a huge shout out and thank you to SEI Design Group who donated $2,000 worth of Stewarts gift cards for us to give to students as a #projectbehere attendance incentive. Students across the district were excited to be recognized for their efforts to improve attendance. Little things go a long way. This is a huge initiative of ours so we appreciate the support. After all, if students aren't in school we can't engage and educate them.
I hope you have a great weekend and find time to relax. I look forward to seeing you on Monday.
Anibal Soler, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools
This week's featured alumni is David Edwards, a 2019 graduate of Schenectady High School and Steinmetz Career and Leadership Academy. David credits his teachers and classes at SCLA with equipping him with the life skills he needed to succeed. "SCSD prepared me for my career by improving my public speaking and presenting skills, which I use everyday at Cedar point. Ms.Macey was my biggest inspiration, taking her classes showed me my love of cooking and baking."
Photo of the Week
Cooper, the Schenectady Police Labradoodle, visits with King Elementary School students. Cooper is training to be a therapy dog that will visit the police station and tag along to community events.
SPIRIT WEEK AT HOWE
This week was Spirit Week at Howe Elementary School. On Thursday, students had fun dressing like a staff member. Check out the students who dressed like Mr. Sitts, the principal and Mr. Ros, a member of the safety team. Third grade teacher Mrs. Veldhuis went above and beyond to dress lik Mr. Crane, the physical education teacher. Looks like they had some fun.
Mrs. Veldhuis looking like Mr. Crane.
Above: Students dressed like Mr. Sitts
Below: Students dressed like Mr. Ros
District Wide Spelling Bee
Congratulations to the following students who finished in the top spots in their school spelling bees to advance to the district wide bee on Thursday.
HAMILTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
HOWE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
KEANE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
LINCOLN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
ML KING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
PAIGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
PLEASANT VALLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
VAN CORLAER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
WOODLAWN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
YATES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
ZOLLER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
CENTRAL PARK MIDDLE SCHOOL
MONT PLEASANT MIDDLE SCHOOL
ONEIDA MIDDLE SCHOOL
The DEI Climate Survey will launch on February 1 and the first focus group session is scheduled for February 7. Please check your email for details and links to participate.
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