At Mid-Year, A Look Back and Ahead
Allison Brown, Superintendent of Schools
As we pass the mid-point of the school year, I would like to review our wonderful year so far and offer a look ahead to the next few months.
What always stands out the most for me among everything that happens during the course of a school year are the accomplishments of our remarkable students. We take the time at almost every meeting of the Board of Education to recognize students, from Regeneron Scholars and National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, to All-State musicians and high-achieving student-athletes, to the elementary students who brought the "Beautiful Me" program to their schools. We also show our appreciation for the exceptional effort of their teachers who nurture the talents and abilities of our children. As always, I was blown away by the extraordinary performances our children gave in this year's winter concerts and fall shows, and I can't wait to see them shine again in the spring.
At this time of the year, the administration and Board of Education are concentrating on the budget for 2020-21, which will be presented to the district's voters on Tuesday, May 19. We had some good fiscal news lately from the New York State Comptroller's office, which, in its annual report about "fiscal stress" in local schools and municipalities, once again found that Roslyn's financial position remains very strong. As the district's educational leader, I make a concerted effort to focus on the budget process as a means of increasing opportunities for children. This means thinking strategically about exciting and smart ideas for new and expanded curriculum.
This year, for example, we have grown the entrepreneurship program at the high school from the enormously successful first year of Incubator and have now added Accelerator. This program has also provided a model for private-public cooperation, as many wonderful community members have volunteered to work with our students to develop their business skills. Look for another exciting evening of business plan presentations from our students in the spring, and to even more curriculum development for next year.
On a more sober note, we continue to address a variety of health and safety issues. Our district, like others across the country, is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and maintaining communications with health officials at all levels. If the epidemic should appear in our area, we will take whatever recommended steps are necessary to protect the health of students and staff. Of course, since we are in the midst of flu season, we are already taking extra precautions in cleaning and disinfecting our schools, and encouraging sensible hygiene among all members of the school community. While this is happening, we have not taken our eyes off the security needs of our buildings. We continue to employ outstanding security personnel, nearly all former law enforcement officers, and are continually reviewing our security protocols, infrastructure and technology. Safety drills have been taking place throughout the district since the start of the school year and will continue.
Earlier this year, I had the great pleasure to preside over a ceremony to re-dedicate the Horse Tamer statue at Roslyn High School. This event was the culmination of many years of effort by a number of Roslyn alumni and other residents who worked with us to have this important historical monument restored and returned to the high school. The statue came from the Mackay estate which once occupied a large area within our community, including the land on which the high school campus is now located. If you've seen the beautifully restored statue in the circle in front of the high school since the fall, either basking in the sunshine or illuminated in the evening, you will understand why this project was so meaningful and worthwhile. It is a tangible connection to Roslyn's fascinating history and a reminder of the debt we owe to generations past for building the foundations of the school and community we enjoy today.
Parents may wish to take a look at the updated Communication Protocol on our website. We revised it since it was published in the school calendar last summer with an eye toward making communications work better for you. It is designed to guide you to the staff member who is in the best position to answer your questions or resolve issues in the most timely and effective way possible. You can find it in the “Parents” section on the district home page and on each school site, as well.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many parents and other members of the community who are actively engaged in the parent associations and other groups within the schools. This is truly a partnership, and we could not achieve the amazing results for our students that we do without the involvement of many individuals.
Looking forward to an exciting and successful second half of our school year!
February 3, 2020