Fall has finally arrived, just in time to celebrate the holidays of the season. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays; there is nothing better than the smell of a turkey in the oven. We have much to be thankful for in the Gates Chili Central School District — we have wonderful students with supportive families and dedicated staff committed to helping every child find their potential for success. I am truly grateful to be a part of this district, and to work with a board of education that has adopted the innovator’s mindset. We are asking a very important question — I innovate, what is your superpower? This is an effort to engage and empower every learner.
We have been fully engaged, for the second year of our partnership with the Rochester Broadway Theatre League, with the introduction of the Broadway musical “School of Rock” and “The Little Mermaid.” In November, we will be working with students at the secondary level in preparation for “Fun Home.” Be sure to check our website for highlights. We are so thrilled to align curriculum to these shows, already demonstrating that our students are gaining in literacy and math with this new approach to instruction. In addition, many of our students and families are experiencing the theater for the first time. We continue to hear from the public how well behaved and fully engaged our students have been once the music begins, the lights go off and the curtain opens. This season’s big show will be “On Your Feet,” the Gloria Estefan story. We anticipate very big things from this show and some special opportunities for just our Gates Chili students. So exciting! This program and our partnership with RBTL is just the beginning of our full arts integration initiative districtwide. It is not just about the show.
Our fourth annual coat drive is already in full swing. Thank you to all who have donated new and slightly used winter clothing items. This is truly a partnership between the school district and community. The support of our community volunteers, businesses and organizations is greatly appreciated. Our hope is that each needy child will walk away with a coat, boots, hat, mittens and/or scarf to keep them warm through our chilly winter months.
Our fall athletes have completed a successful fall season, and our winter athletes are preparing for the upcoming season. Be sure to check out the athletic schedules on our website. ‘Tis the season for our music department to perform holiday concerts throughout the district during the months of November and December. We hope that you will join us in celebrating the holidays, and most importantly the many talents of our vocal and instrumental music students. Save the date — Dec. 1, join us in the Chili Holiday Light Parade.
In honor of all the men and women who have served our great country, the district will be closed for the official Veterans Day holiday on Nov. 10. In addition, our elementary-level teaching staff will be conducting parent teacher conferences on Dec. 11. There will be no school for grades pre-K-5 in the district; however, our grades 6-12 students will be in attendance. Additional parent teacher conferences will be scheduled for Dec. 22. Our elementary students will attend school for a half-day, and our secondary students will be in attendance for the full day. We are excited to share with our parents the new standards-based report cards. An informational flyer will be sent home to help guide the discussions as part of our parent teachers’ conferences. School will close officially for the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of the day on Nov. 22. We will reopen on Nov. 27. Please be sure to listen for any weather related delays or closings — it has been forecasted to be a very cold and snowy winter.
November is the month we officially begin developing the 2018-19 school district budget. The work of our board of education facility/finance committee will guide the board of education through the process of building a budget that stays within the property tax cap levy limit while maintaining/sustaining educational programs throughout the district. We are always ready and willing to hear your thoughts regarding the budget. Please do not hesitate to call the superintendent’s office with ideas, suggestions and/or questions.
Our capital improvement design team is on campus every Thursday working with our user groups to identify the needs for renovation and improvements in each of our buildings. The fifth-grade task force continues to meet every two weeks to explore the opportunity we have, while designing the improvements needed at the elementary schools and the middle school, to ensure a plan for longevity in program and facility well into the future. Following our May capital improvement vote, we have been faced with additional facility challenges that warranted reopening the conversation regarding moving the fifth grade from elementary to the middle school. Our elementary buildings are overflowing as we continue to see an influx of new students and families needing special education and/or ENL services. In addition, we would like to accommodate our UPK program classroom needs, as well as provide instructional spaces that can be leased by BOCES to service our students and others in surrounding districts with the same and/or similar learning needs. We thank the task force and all that responded to our survey. The discussions have been thoughtful and respectful as we work to make the best decision for what is best for our students.
Thank you, again, for your support. I continue to be filled with gratitude and optimism for the Gates Chili Central School District. Our challenges are many, but know that the Spartan way guides all that we do — respect, responsibility, compassion and hard work. Happy Thanksgiving!