WEEK ENDING March 03 2023 | VOLUME 2 ISSUE NO.26
I'll start my brief today by recognizing that our school community experienced loss and sadness this week. There's no way around it. Immediately upon return from winter break, we learned about the tragic loss of Samantha Humphrey whose life was taken way too soon. The news deeply affected all of us. We remain heartbroken as Samantha's potential will never be realized. She will be greatly missed.
On Thursday evening, we learned that Mary Hoffa, a beloved 20-year science teacher at Schenectady High School passed away in the hospital after battling an illness. Mary was known as a smart and kind woman who was adored and loved by all who knew her. She will also be missed dearly.
As we continue to mourn the loss of Samantha and Mary, we encourage parents to talk with their children. Keep in mind that death impacts each of us differently. There is no right way or wrong way. Kids may need to talk about it. Regardless of a child's age, you can help by listening carefully, not overreacting, and accepting their feelings. If you have any concerns about your child, or feel that your child needs additional support, please do not hesitate to contact your child's school.
We will continue to work together as a school community to support our students, staff, and families during this difficult time.
On behalf of our school community, I offer sympathy and prayers to the loved ones of Samantha and Mary.
At Wednesday's Board of Education Meeting I provided a status update on our Schenectady Revitalization Plan in regards to the development of a Family and Community Engagement Center. A few months ago, I asked the board for permission to pursue a facility within the city that could potentially serve as a one-stop shop center for parents that would give them access to a variety of services including registration, transportation, parent resources, access to technology, training and opportunities, special education resources, onboarding for employment and much more. Our goal is to focus on creating a warm and friendly location that is a one-stop-shop for our families.
I'm pleased to say that we have identified a potential location that is available for this type of atmosphere. The location is the former OrthoNY building on Liberty St. in the center of downtown. It's near the library, city hall, on the public transportation route, and there is plenty of parking.
The board did grant me permission to consider this location for a lease or purchase option. I will be bringing more details back soon.
Former OrthoNY building for sale or lease
I also shared with the board that we met with the Albany Diocese regarding Keane Elementary School, which is a building we currently lease. I made the recommendation to lease the building for two more years and then we can re-assess as we move forward with planning and construction.
Both items, the lease or purchase of OrthoNY and the renewal of the Keane lease, would be required to be on the ballot for a community vote in May.
Congratulations to Damari Holder, a senior guard/forward on the Schenectady High School Basketball Team who was selected to NewsChannel 13's Basketball All-Star Team. Damari averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds this seaon for the Patriots.
I'm pleased to share that on Wednesday, the board of education approved the appointment of Edgar Glascott as Athletic Director. He has extensive coaching and athletic program and leadership experience. I look forward to what Edgar will do for our athletic program and student athletes. Athletics are an important part of how we continue to uplift our district and community. I am confident that under Edgar's leadership we will continue to move in the right direction.
We had a successful STEAM camp over the winter recess with more than 350 students participating each day. This is up from 60 students last year. We were impacted by the weather on one of the days. By all accounts students had a great time. It's a warm place to be with meals provided, tons of fun activities and it helps lessen the burden for parents who have to work. Thank you the to the Office of Innovation, Equity and Engagement for their work making this program a success. Thank you to those who gave up their break to work the program and make this opportunity available to our students. We look forward to our next camp which will be held over the April recess.
Tuesday was Read Across America Day. On this day, we recognize the value of reading and celebrate the books that inspire children to dream big, expand the limits of their understanding and explore diverse perspectives and culture through the eyes of others.
Thank you to Schenectady Police Community Engagement Officers Rivera and Kopczynski who spent the morning reading with students.
Our community partners at Jahnel Group visited our STEM Leadership Community at Schenectady High School and welcomed our students to their headquarters in downtown Schenectady for multiple visits. Recently, Jahnel Group highlighted one of these visits by speaking with Cohort Principal Preston.
There will be no school and the district will be closed on Wednesday, March 8 in observance of the Holi Holiday.
Holi is an ancient Hindu tradition sometimes referred to as the "Festival of Love," or the "Festival of Colors." It is considered one of the most revered and celebrated festivals in India. On this day people are encouraged to unite. I am proud of our district for recognizing this holiday on our school calendar and grateful to the Board of Education for supporting it. This represents a decision and change that is aligned with our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy. It's a day off but it's also an opportunity for us to learn about the Hindu holiday. We plan to include it as a holiday on our calendar next year as well. Additionally, thank you to those who spoke, sang and danced at the board meeting providing insight and creativity to this special holiday.
This month is Women's History Month. We will honor and celebrate women who have fought for equality, justice and opportunity and to advance rights and opportunities for young women and girls. It provides a great opportunity to teach children about the role women have played, and continue to play, in advancing art, science, math, law, education and other fields.
The Future Chef Competition will be held on March 10 from 4- 7 p.m. at Schenectady High School. It's a cooking competition where elementary students create their own culinary dishes. Part of it will be live-streamed so if you can't make it over to the high school, tune in. I'm excited to a judge which means I get to taste what I am sure will be delicious cuisine.
Have a great weekend.
Anibal Soler, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools
This week's featured alumnae, Nafeesa Koslik, graduated from Schenectady High School in 1994 and currently works as Director of Workforce Development & Culture at AIM Services. She is also the owner of Nani's Indian Kitchen. She credits relationships built in Schenectady schools for her success. "Dr Stahl was instrumental in my success at school and settling in my new country."
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
March is Women's History Month and Miss Ray's ENL classroom at Central Park is decorated for the occasion.
Teen Mental Health Awareness Day
Thursday was National Teen Mental Wellness Day.
Our 9th Grade Center City Students celebrated by writing affirmations and engaging in reflective discussions with their classmates.
Schenectady STEP Team
Thank you to Mr. Green for this great clip of the Step Team practicing at SHS earlier this week.
Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/WeSv_sLgomQ
Edgar Glascott, Athletic Director
Louisa Boehler Vaughan, School Social Work, WIEC
Alexandra Dombrowski, Lincoln
Siera Guzzo, Art, CPMS
Ann Palmer, Remedial Reading, Howe
Operations and Maintenance
Arkies Alexander, Cleaner, SCLA
Mark Coluccio, General Equipement Manager, Facilities
Tiffany Fields, Cleaner, SHS
Rabindranauth Hardial, Cleaner, MPMS
Onkar Mohan, Cleaner, SHS
School Safety Officer
Matthew Cufari, SHS
Registered Professional Nurse
Lydia Loney, OMS
Projet Aid-Parent Liaisons
Randolph Earle, SHS
Shane Foss, Yates
Melissa Althiser, MPMS
Xavier Cruz, MLK
Jennifer DeJohn, Howe
Jasmine Dunckle, SHS
Diamond Robinson, SHS
Carlos Sutton, Jr., MLK
Alexis Wisniewski, MPMS
Noel Mangru, PV
Trinity Parker, Yates
Dawnae Parsons, Paige
Nelida Rosario, Van Corlaer
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