NYS Every Student Succeeds Act
Please take a moment to view NY State's plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (new window).
The food service department has recently updated its website. Through the new site you can learn about pre-payment options, view menus, access the district wellness policy, nutrition information and fitness tips. You can visit the site here or via the Food Service icon in the black icon ribbon above to the right.
Section 409-1 of the New York Education Law, which became effective January 17, 2017, requires schools to post English and Spanish information for the toll free number operated by the New York State Office of Child and Family Services.
For the last decade or so, the Lancaster Central School District has been on a steady upward trajectory of what the business world likes to call “Continuous Quality Improvement.” This is in large part due to our talented teachers and the professional development (PD) that we have been engaged in as a district.
In March, we are charting a new course for PD that we hope we can build on in the future. I am very proud of the administrative team, technology mentors, and faculty who stepped forward to create one of the best staff development days imaginable. Once again, Lancaster is stepping out of its comfort zone to provide a world-class conference-style event with more than 500 attendees—faculty, staff, and administration. This event is the first of its kind in the area and word of mouth has garnered interest from nearby school districts that are interested in coming to observe, and perhaps replicate, our model.
Titled, “Legendary Learning in Lancaster,” the day features multiple tracks to choose from. Using an online scheduling system, teachers were able to register for seven sessions, one of which is lunch served by local food trucks. Each of the sessions, organized in-house by our professionals, offer more than 25 choices, equating to more than 160 sessions throughout the day. I am proud of the teachers who have stepped up to present to their colleagues on topics they are passionate about. As many as 200 educators will be presenting at least one session, giving them time partake in other PD opportunities when their session concludes.
We have many options offering technology demonstrations, from beginner level all the way to advanced and experimental uses. There are several sessions that focus on serving students with special needs, from using assistive technologies, to working with English Language Learners, as well as students with social and emotional issues.
Perhaps even more impressive about the day’s lineup is that we have students who will be teaching teachers. Leadership students will be offering two sessions of “The Butterfly Effect,” a program that they have also been asked to present at a national conference. Additionally, leadership students will be conducting a session titled, “Got Problems,” a workshop using games and video to teach effective ways to communicate, problem solve, be a part of, and lead a team.
Meanwhile, our talented student techsperts will be mentoring faculty members ‘on the fly’ as teachers pass from one session to another. Using mobile devices, techsperts will be offering bite-sized technology tips and tricks. “Would you like to hold the universe in your hand?” they might ask a teacher, and then demonstrate Merge Cube, an app capable of delivering that experience and more. Technology Mentor, Mrs. Jill Santoro, said she is proud of the techspert program, which she began five years ago with a handful of students. March 15, at least 20 of this year’s 40 techsperts will be on hand to support in any way necessary. They will be involved in setting up technology for presenters; handing out Chromebooks to teachers as they arrive; and providing ‘on-call’ tech support through out the day.
Health Care Academy Director, Mrs. Angela Brooder, will share her experience using a program called ‘Quizizz.’ Much like another popular resource, ‘Kahoot,’ Quizizz offers additional features that Mrs. Brooder said she thinks teachers will benefit from. For example, the app connects to Google Classroom and has a mobile platform so students can review for tests or do homework on the bus. What she finds most useful, Mrs. Brooder said, is that rather than projecting questions on a screen and students answering aloud, the system runs on individual workstations and questions can be randomized so that students aren’t all working on the same question(s) at the same time. Data can be collected on the success of individual students and questions so that the teacher can identify areas of weakness or topics that might need additional review.
There’s a phrase that you don’t hear very often anymore, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” I’d like to put a Lancaster spin on that and say, “It takes an entire school district to educate a student.” We have built a culture in which from the very first day a child walks into his kindergarten classroom to the final day when he walks the stage and receives his diploma, EVERY person in this school district has that child’s best interests at heart. Whether the student is a top performer or is one who needs additional support to make it over the finish line, I can assure you Lancaster children are educated in a caring, supportive environment by some of the best educators in the country!
Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.
One of only four in the nation