Superintendent's Office

Matthew McDonald
Superintendent of Schools
(315) 638-6043

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

February 2017 Web Message

Dear Students, Parents, Administrators, Staff, and District Residents:
Happy February! Well, I have officially spent my first month as Superintendent of Schools. The time has flown by and so much has been accomplished! In addition to the day-to-day operations of the District, I wanted to share some highlights of my first 30 days with you: 
GOALS:  My goal is to create and foster an environment of collaboration, respect, professionalism and communication. I routinely meet with my administrative team, the Board of Education, Union teams, PTA’s and members of the community. My goal for doing this is to make myself available and have an open door policy, while adhering to the District’s chain-of-command. I am here for the students, parents, Board, administration, staff, and community and I want to ensure that the Baldwinsville Central School District continues to thrive in all areas.
STUDENTS:  On January 6, 2017, I had the opportunity to present to a business class at Baker High School. I enjoyed educating the students on union relations, interviewing skills, and personnel practices. I have been to many of the school buildings during the month of January and I have enjoyed watching, first-hand, the teaching and learning. I am so very proud of our students for how much time and effort they put into their learning. Keep up the amazing work! 

PTA:  On January 19, 2017, I met with the Joint PTA. We began this meeting with a presentation from our SRO’s, Officer Knaul and Deputy Nord, about the “Run, Hide, Fight” concept. The purpose was to show and educate the PTA leaders on what the District has been doing related to crisis situations and what to do if an active shooter enters a building. Following this presentation, we spoke about the District’s Strategic Plan and sought two parent volunteers to serve on this committee. We discussed the need for playgrounds at the elementary schools and the importance and role that playgrounds play in student wellness. We are looking at options for playground funding in support of this effort and have sent letters to Senator DeFrancisco and Assemblyman Magnarelli asking for any assistance that they can give to playground funding.  We scheduled three vendors to present their yearbook/school photo products to us at our next Joint PTA Meeting scheduled for February 16. We are looking at cost-saving measures and vendor representation District-wide for school photos and yearbooks. 
STRATEGIC PLANNING: I met with the Strategic Planning Committee on January 4 and January 17.  I am very proud of the work this committee has done and continues to do. We have received responses back from our survey and are in the midst of reviewing those responses. The purpose of the survey was to get feedback from our employees and families. It is important to the committee to hear from everyone. Additionally, we have recently added two (2) parent volunteers to the committee and look forward to them bringing their perspective to this already outstanding group. In the past, the Strategic Planning Committee would meet and put a five (5) year plan together and not touch it again for another five (5) years. The plan that we are currently developing will be a living document that will be reviewed and assessed every year. It is also the hope of the committee, which consists of teachers, teaching assistants, students, non-instructional employees, Board members, administrators and now parents, that it continues to grow and that we continue to learn from each other and our constituents. The three (3) District goals are:
  1. Achieve educational excellence and high levels of learning;
  2. Promote collaboration, innovation, and flexibility to prepare students for their futures; and
  3. Ensure equal access, opportunity, and choice for all students.
BOARD OF EDUCATION:  The Board of Education is having a “Board Retreat” on Monday, February 13, 2017. Board Retreats are a time when the Board of Education and my Cabinet come together to get educated in a certain area—Professional Development for the Board and Cabinet. The presentations and reports scheduled for the Retreat on February 13 will consist of an update from the District’s Strategic Planning Committee and our District’s learning coaches. It should be an informative evening.  
STAFF:  The best part of being a Superintendent is the opportunity to be in buildings and spending time with students. I am very impressed with the learning that is happening on a daily basis. Our teachers and teaching assistants do an exceptional job bringing learning to life, creating engaging activities while using 21st century best practices.
COMMUNITY:  As we continue to build the 2017-18 school budget, I plan to be out in the community with my Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Jamie Rodems, to talk about and explain the proposed budget. I am confident that the District will develop a budget that keeps our programs intact while meeting the 2% tax cap.   
NEW TIP LINE:  If you or students are not comfortable talking directly with staff at the school level, the District’s online Tip Line is available on the District’s website to anonymously report bullying and other situations. Look for the Tip Line button on the top right corner of the home page. The Tip Line replaces the online bullying button.
In closing, I’d like to wish everyone a happy and healthy end of the winter. Spring is a welcome time of the year. Spring brings sunshine, the trees and flowers start to bloom, and we feel a sense of rejuvenation! As we continue into the remainder of this school year, I hope that you feel as excited as I am about the learning that is taking place, the experiences and opportunities that are presented, and the goals that we’re all striving to attain. We’re all in this together, and I am proud to have all of you on my team. Happy Spring!

Matthew J. McDonald

Last updated on 2/3/2017