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Superintendent's Office

 


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

July 2019

Dear District Residents,

On June 23, 2019, I had the privilege of attending graduation as a superintendent and as a father of a graduate. I am so proud of my daughter and her classmates. The Class of 2019 will go on to do remarkable things in our community, nation and around the globe. I can’t thank our community enough for the support you have given to the Class of 2019, as well as to all of our students.
 
I am also fortunate to have been invited to a special event at Baker High School for members of the Class of 2019 entering the military. The school hosted a celebration for 20 students who will be serving our country. I admire the strength and courage of these young men and women as they step up to protect our rights and freedom.
 
I wish the Class of 2019 all the very best in life, but most importantly, happiness, health and strong ties with family and friends. Come back and visit us because once a bee, always a bee.
 
2018-2019 Achievements
 
We had a fantastic school year, filled with many accomplishments and achievements. Some of the highlights include:
 

  • The boys and girls lacrosse teams won their regional championships.
 
  • Girls lacrosse was the runner-up in the New York State Championships.
 
  • The marching band was invited to participate in the 2020 Rose Parade, and in May, Laura Farber, president of the Rose Parade, visited the district to meet our students and staff. She was quite impressed with our music program and the dedication of our students and staff and the community’s support.
 
  • The district was named a Best Community for Music Education for the 10th consecutive year.
 
  • Ten students earned the NYS Seal of Biliteracy by demonstrating fluency in a language other than English.
 
  • Junior pitcher Jason Savacool was invited to attend the inaugural Major League Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline (MLB PDP), which is a great honor and an indication of his talent and abilities.

 
You can find a list of 2018-2019 achievements HERE.

Fifth-Grade Celebration a Success
For the second year, we hosted a fifth-grade celebration at the stadium and the fields on the district’s main campus. All of the district’s fifth-graders (over 400 in total from five elementary schools) celebrated the end of the year together with games, swimming in the Baker pool, and lunch at the stadium. The event provides students with an opportunity to meet with their peers from all over the district before they enter sixth-grade at Ray Middle School in September.
 
Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped to make this a great day for our fifth-graders. Thank you to Brian Wright, director of Food Service, and his staff members who prepared a delicious lunch. I’d also like to thank Mr. Ray Luysterborghs of Costco for donating food items for the lunch. Thank you also to Baker tech teacher Jamie Cuyler and his students for building games for the fifth-graders to play. The giant Jenga-type game was awesome!
 
Construction Update
Work on the new transportation center is running on time and on budget. We anticipate moving the department to its new home in late December 2019 or early January 2020.

In June, right after the school year wrapped up, we began work on the remodel of the Baker High School kitchen. The kitchen remodel is part of the 2016 capital project. The kitchen is original to the building and is in need of new coolers and new floor and wall tiles. We are reconfiguring it to provide more room for meal preparation and for serving our students.

We expect the kitchen to reopen in January 2020. Feeding our students nutritious meals is our top priority during the kitchen remodel, so we have plans in place for meal preparation so that students will not experience any interruptions in service. We will be serving breakfast and lunch, as usual, at the high school. Until the Baker kitchen reopens, our food service staff will prepare Baker’s meals at Durgee Jr. High and at the concession stand, and the meals will be delivered, hot and ready, to Baker. You can watch a short video to see what the remodeled kitchen will look like HERE.

New Playground Equipment
Over the summer, new playground equipment will be installed at Elden Elementary School and McNamara Elementary School with the aid of the schools’ PTAs and volunteers. Funding for the playgrounds is a combination of a $57,000 grant from former Senator DeFrancisco and $100,000 from the district’s 2019-2020 general fund budget.

Even though our students and instructional staff are gone for the summer, the district remains a busy place. Over the summer a great deal of work is necessary to prepare for the opening day of school. I’d like to thank our administrative team, teaching staff, special education department, clerical and technology staff, facilities and ground crews and our transportation and food service staff for keeping everything running smoothly as they work to ready the district for a new school year.

Diversity Committee Begins Work
Our newly established Diversity Committee met for the first time on June 11, 2019. The purpose of this meeting was to introduce the committee members to Mr. Derrick Dorsey, the committee facilitator. Mr. Dorsey, former head of the CNY Interfaith Community Wide Dialogue, will guide the committee’s discussions. He has extensive experience working with groups, including students at Baker High School and Durgee Junior High School, to teach them how to promote diversity awareness in communities. Committee members are representatives from the different stakeholder groups within our school and community, including students, parents, and staff.
 
This committee will meet over the course of the next six months to identify committee goals, establish a plan to implement educational opportunities for our students, and to plan professional development for staff, in order to foster community awareness regarding diversity. We have a very motivated group of stakeholders on the committee, and I am confident that the committee’s work will generate positive dialogue and action that will ultimately benefit our students and our community.

In closing, I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy summer. Enjoy the sun and the warm temperatures!

Sincerely,

Matthew J. McDonald
Superintendent of Schools
Achieving Our Full Potential Together