Superintendent's Weekly Message 3/6/20

We started the week by celebrating Read Across America Day in many of our school buildings. At Porter, some lucky kindergartners were selected to read to the whole school at the weekly Panda Palooza, and members of the school’s Academic Leadership Team visited classrooms throughout the day as guest readers. At Van Duyn and Delaware, community members visited the school to read to students. Syracuse Latin kicked off their “One Book, One Student” campaign by distributing a book to each family in the school. At Frazer, teachers and students were encouraged to dress as their favorite character from a book, and students enjoyed Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) time and guest readers throughout the day. Bellevue students enjoyed taking part in a ‘book tasting’ to help expose them to different types of books! I had the privilege to read to Ms. Pich’s first grade class at STEAM at Dr. King this morning as well.  Literacy is so important, and I appreciate all the planning that our schools took to make the day a special way to encourage students to develop a love of reading.
I wanted to take a minute to congratulate to Nottingham Physical Education (PE) teacher Alissa Staub, Henninger PE teacher Diane Weismore and Van Duyn PE teacher Alfonzo Whitehurst, who received awards from the Central North Zone of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Inc. (NYS AHPERD) last night. Ms. Straub was honored with the Cheri Stevens Service Award, recognizing her for her dedication, hard work and hours of service; Ms. Weismore was named the 2020 NYS AHPERD Central North Zone Secondary Teacher of the Year; and Mr. Whitehurst received the Helen’s Heart Award for first year educators.
As you may know, March is Social Work Month. While we appreciate our school social workers all year long, this month we are highlighting a few exceptional social workers on social media. Don’t miss this special feature on Lincoln social worker Tim Phelps, and keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages as the month continues to learn about some of his colleagues in our other buildings. I appreciate the commitment of our social workers and all of our staff – we each play a critical role in the success of the SCSD.
We’ve seen some excitement in #SCSDAthletics this week. On Monday, the Syracuse Cougars boys ice hockey team was named Section III Division I Ice Hockey Champions!  They travel to Rochester to play Victor in the Division I State Regionals at 5:00 PM Saturday at RIT.  Also this weekend, the Corcoran boys basketball team will be competing against Baldwinsville in the sectional finals at SRC Arena on Saturday at 8:00 pm.  Good luck to both our teams!
This week’s #SCSDLookBack video features Brighton Academy scholars attending an SU Women’s Basketball game, ITC P-TECH students gaining workplace experience at a local business, Grant Building Men scholars learning how to dress up in a tie and more. Please keep sharing your good news with us on Twitter by tagging @SyracuseSchools and using #SCSDSuccess.
This week my senior leadership team has been meeting as we continue to hear reports of the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID 19).  My goal is to always keep you informed in a timely manner.  Earlier today we began discussions about making changes to the upcoming Superintendent’s Conference day next Wednesday.  Ultimately, we decided to keep it as planned but unfortunately word began to spread that we were bringing students in.  I apologize for any confusion and want you to know that next Wednesday will be a regular Superintendent Conference day and students will not report.
My team and I are in regular communication with the Onondaga County Health Department regarding the latest developments with the COVID 19.  Should the virus at some point impact SCSD students, staff or families, we will notify the community immediately and will provide appropriate next steps.  The best thing we can all do at this time is remain vigilant with precautionary and preventative measures, including frequent hand-washing, disinfecting frequently used surfaces such as doorknobs, keyboards and cell phones, and staying home when sick. For more information, please keep an eye on, which will be updated as circumstances warrant. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Health Services directly at (315) 435-4145.