School officially opened on Sept. 6 for the 2017-18 school year. It was a perfect day to see our students and many families coming back to school after the summer break.
The Office of Human Resources has hired the best and brightest staff for positions throughout the district under the direction of Michaela Perrottto, assistant superintendent of human resources and labor relations. Administrators, teacher leaders and teachers have prepared aligned curriculum; the school nutrition staff have prepared breakfast and lunch menus that provide nutritious meals; the grounds and maintenance department has worked to make our buildings and grounds beautiful and welcoming; the transportation department has developed bus routes that are efficient while maintaining safety; and the clerical staff have prepared the many forms of information that are so critical for our families as they prepare to send their child off to school this fall.
We are very proud of our Gates Chili Central School District, and appreciate the dedicated and loyal members of our professional learning community that always have the best interest of our students at the forefront of all that they do.
The fall athletic program has started. Be sure to join us on the middle school and high school campuses for competitions that include cross country, field hockey, football and cheerleading, soccer, swimming, tennis and volleyball.
This is also the time in which we welcome the newest inductees into the Gates Chili Central School District Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Frank Allkofer, Class of 1964; Christopher Bevans, Class of 1991; Joanne Keltz Brokaw, Class of 1982; Kenneth Buckle, Class of 1964; Thomas Haschmann, Class of 1966; Naima DeLain Judge, Class of 1994; and Steven Martin, Class of 1982.
Our first Superintendent’s Conference Day will be Friday, Oct. 6. There will be no school for our students on Friday, Oct. 6, along with our Columbus Day holiday on Monday, Oct. 9. Our staff, districtwide, will participate in professional development aligned to our quality school rubric goals for 2017-18 with a focus on instructional practices that engage, and even better empower learners. George Curous, national speaker and author of “The Innovator’s Mindset,” will be spending the afternoon in the district talking about engaging our students through the use of instructional tools that include technology integration.
Our theme for the school year is to “Dream Big, Take Risks and Believe!” Staff will learn more about how to explore the individual interests of each child to personalize learning. This is our first look at personalized learning, and hoping that with baby steps we can help every child succeed. The teaching staff will also be taking a close look at benchmark data points to inform instruction throughout the year. Our assessment results are in and cause for celebration in many areas, but also provide opportunities to drill down in areas where results are not meeting expectations for high performance.
Our elementary back to school nights were well attended this September.
The board approved the annual audit performed by our external auditors on Sept. 26. This process sets the stage for the district to begin preparing the 2018-19 school budget. We are already receiving projected increases in health insurance and retirement benefits that will impact the budget process. This is especially difficult with the property tax cap levy limit.
The board of education recently approved the district goals for 2017-18. These goals align with the quality school rubric, and speak specifically about the critical elements needed to become a high performing school district, student centered to improve academic achievement.
We will use the dimensions of the QSR — student development, learning environment, educational — program, and school culture as a compass to guide our work. The goal-setting process at each level will provide a framework for action that focuses on rigor, relevance and relationships. We have much to be proud of, but we also have work to do. Our students and their families deserve this; it is our commitment to this that will improve our district and likewise help our communities grow and thrive. Be sure to check out my Twitter feed @gateschilisupt. In addition, be sure to visit our website for new and updated stories, announcements and calendar of events and activities.
The capital improvement project design phase is in full motion. We have submitted the first of Phase 1 improvements to the New York State Department of Education. Our hope is that approval this winter will position us to begin construction in the spring. This work will include roof work at the high school and the installation of the multi-purpose turf field located closest to the field house, a brand new track and natural field to the west of the turf with some changes to the roadway and parking along the west side of the campus. Ongoing discussions and review of the middle school improvements are underway and will continue through the calendar year. We hope to submit those plans to NYSED in early 2018; the elementary improvements will be next. Current discussions include the design of each of our health offices, including the elementary buildings and the middle school. This is an exciting time for the district. We are very thoughtful with design to provide quality, 21st-century learning spaces to ensure that we do this right, to sustain high expectations for programmatic improvements focused on improved academic performance.
Best wishes to all for a great start to the new school year. Thank you for supporting and trusting the Gates Chili Central School District in providing an educational environment that enhances, empowers and engages all students in the learning process. My sincere gratitude to be serving as the district’s superintendent.