The Thanksgiving holiday has officially kicked off the holiday season that will culminate in a new year’s celebration, ringing in 2018. It is this time of year that we reflect on all that we have done, all that we are grateful for and on optimism for the future of our schools, our district and the communities of Gates and Chili.
Never have I been lucky enough to reap the rewards of outstanding partnerships with our community leaders and organizational resources. We are truly a school community that pays it forward; so many of our students in each of our school buildings participated in charity work during the month of November and in early December. Nonperishable can goods and other food items were collected and donated to the local food cupboard, donations were collected to help local charities and currently holiday food baskets and gifts are being processed for late December deliveries. Thank you to all who helped to brighten the holidays for local families and community members. Our students demonstrate the Spartan Way every day, but especially during this time of the year — respect, responsibility, compassion and hard work.
Thank you to all that helped to make our fourth annual Coat Drive successful. This was truly a partnership between the school district and community. We had many visitors on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, during our second annual Wellness Fair. We have many things still available for our families in need. If you are a family in need or know of a family in need, please contact the Central Office building. Be sure to keep us in mind as the winter season closes by setting aside any winter clothing items you would consider donating to our fifth annual Coat Drive in 2018. Donations will be collected in October 2018, or you are welcome to drop them at the Central Office building here in the district all year long. Thank you again!
Our instructional days during December include the first three full weeks of the month. The staff and students will break for the Christmas and new year holiday on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. Staff and students will return to school on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. The district will conduct parent teacher conferences in December. There will be no school for our P-5 students on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017; this day is designated for parent teacher conferences. In addition, our P-5 students will only be in session on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, in the morning. This day will be an early dismissal day. Our middle school and high school staff and students will be in attendance for full days on both of these school days. Parent teacher conferences provide time for our parents and teachers to discuss student academic progress and to partner together to ensure success throughout the school year. This year, we are spending time with parents/guardians to become familiar with the new standards-based report card. Please know that you can meet with teachers throughout the school year to discuss how your child is doing by contacting each building’s main office to schedule a conference.
December is a busy month for our student musicians in grades 4-12. You will find a full schedule on the district website for all our holiday concerts. Our vocal and instrumental students have been working very hard to present music of the season as we celebrate this special time of the year.
Our winter athletic season has started. Practices began in November, and competitions have been scheduled for December. Be sure to check the website for team schedules. We wish our winter athletes and coaches the best of luck as they officially begin their season.
On Nov. 21, 2017, we recognized the school-related professionals, and acknowledged their contributions in helping every child find success both in and out of school. SRP members perform a variety of roles in the Gates Chili Central School District that include bus drivers (head bus drivers), bus attendants, bus mechanics, custodians, cleaners, maintenance mechanics, grounds, office assistants, food service workers, cafeteria monitors, teacher aides, teaching assistants, security and all other job titles that impact a child’s life each day. Thank you to our SRP employees, you have impacted the growth and success of our students, you demonstrate the Spartan Way. Together, we teach and inspire excellence for all learners.
‘Tis the season to begin our focus on the 2018-19 school district budget. Our early projections regarding health insurance premiums and other employee benefits predicts another tough budget process. We continue to focus on strategic efforts in areas within the current budget that will help us meet the requirements of the tax cap levy limit, without a negative impact on students and best instructional practices. Your thoughts regarding the budget are always welcome by calling the superintendent’s office.
Be sure to check out Twitter — @gateschilisupt. We are always looking to improve communication and to share the remarkable things happening in our schools. Be sure to check it out.
Thank you to our Gates Chili Education Foundation for all that you do to provide something extra to help a classroom teacher and/or student(s) with special needs. Please consider donating to the Education Foundation (gceducationfoundation.org) during this holiday season, perhaps in lieu of a gift. All the funding stays here in the district and acknowledges many innovative ideas and creative projects in the classrooms, along with student scholarships.
Best wishes for peace and joy this holiday season, and a new year of health, happiness and prosperity.