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Superintendent's Office



CONTACT:
Matthew J. McDonald                 
Superintendent of Schools
(315) 638-6043

29 East Oneida Street
Baldwinsville, NY  13027
(315) 638-6043

Schedule for Coffee & Conversation with the Superintendent of Schools


 
Superintendent Matthew McDonald
Superintendent Matthew J. McDonald

 

April 2018 

Mental Health Education
We continue to include mental health education as part of the district’s wellness program and our safety and security initiatives. The district began its dialogue regarding mental health about two years ago, and we will continue to build on what we have done to raise our students’ comfort levels with discussing mental health issues and seeking help if they need it. Our goal is to erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues, at least in our schools, so that no one is ever afraid, embarrassed or ashamed to ask for the help and supports they need.
 
We are exploring the possibility of expanding the counseling program that Liberty Resources offers at Baker High School, Durgee Jr. High School, and Ray Middle School to other schools within the district.  We will continue to host speakers for our students and staff regarding mental health issues.  In March, the district hosted Jacob Mars, a certified QPR (Question-Persuade-Refer) Suicide Prevention Instructor, who provided students in grades 8-12 with information about the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and suicide risk factors. Thank you to SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices in Education – for sponsoring Mr. Mars’ presentations. Our mental health committee continues to explore resources for our Baldwinsville students, such as the mental health presentation delivered by Mr. Mars.

School Safety
We are always reviewing our safety protocols and procedures to determine if we need updates or improvements. We recently developed a list of security improvements for our buildings that we feel are necessary. The improvements total a little over $6 million. To pay for this safety project, we plan to use $2.1 million of our NYS Smart Schools funds as well as $3.5 million in state aid (depending on state approval). However, we need your help and voter approval in order to spend $830,000 from our capital reserves to pay the local share of the cost of the project. To that end, we have placed a capital project proposition on the budget ballot this year. Again, we do not anticipate a tax increase to cover the local share of the cost since we are requesting use of the capital reserve.
 
The safety and security capital project will include the following improvements:
 
*Installation of secure lock down capability in school corridors;
*Secure vestibules at the elementary schools; and
*Upgrade all classroom doors to lock at the touch of a button.
 
The proposed 2018-2019 budget will include the addition of two school resource officers. One will be located at Ray Middle School, and the other will act as a team lead between our elementary buildings.
 
Since student safety is a priority for Baldwinsville, we continue to train our staff on how to respond in various emergencies, including an active shooter situation. A portion of the district’s March 16 professional development day was devoted to training conducted by Armoured One, a security company. This was the second part of training that staff began on the professional development day held this past October.
 
Because we believe it is very important for all of our students to know that all administrators, teachers, and support staff members are always working to keep them safe, I conducted student presentations in March on safety at Ray Middle School, Durgee Junior High School and Baker High School. Chief Michael Lefancheck of the Village of Baldwinsville Police Department joined me to speak with students and answer their questions. If you are a parent of a Ray, Durgee or Baker student, please ask your child what we discussed. I encourage all parents to speak with their children about the importance of reporting anything disturbing or suspicious.
 
On Tuesday, April 10, the district will hold a community presentation on school/student safety in the Baker auditorium from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. I encourage you to attend this event to learn more about how we are keeping our students safe and to learn more about our plans for increasing security in our buildings. Chief Michael Lefancheck of the Village of Baldwinsville Police Department will join me to provide you with information and to answer your questions.
 
Budget Vote
Mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 15 (the annual school budget vote). We will hold voting from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Baker High School auditorium. Besides the budget, we will have a proposition for a capital project for safety upgrades, the annual bus purchase proposition, and the school board elections on the ballot. In early May, the district will mail out a special budget newsletter detailing the proposed 2018-2019 budget, the propositions, and the biographies of the board candidates.
 
In addition to the budget newsletter, we have scheduled a public hearing on May 8 in the Durgee Junior High School cafeteria at 6:30 p.m. You can meet the board candidates before the budget presentation, which will include information on the bus purchase and capital project propositions. After the presentation, there will be time for questions from the public.
 
Thank you to the Baldwinsville community for supporting the district’s efforts to provide students with a safe and healthy learning environment.
 
Sincerely,
 
Matthew J. McDonald
Superintendent of Schools
Achieving Our Full Potential Together

   

Last updated on 4/4/2018
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