Lancaster Central School District

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  • COVID-19 Update 05/15/20

    Dear Lancaster Families,

    We here at your schools miss your children and look forward to the time when we can once again get back to “normal” and help your children learn, interact, and grow in traditional ways. As a father of four children here in Lancaster (one of them a senior), I am living and navigating this “new COVID-19 normal” with you and … I feel your pain!

    I last communicated to you on May 1, 2020 when Governor Cuomo via Executive Order 202.10 closed all NYS schools for the remainder of the school year. However, that Executive Order did not set a specific date for instruction to end. Since the announcement, every major professional group i.e., superintendents, school boards, business officials, teachers, etc. has requested clarity on this issue to ensure that each district receives their full share of state aid that is connected to the NYSED 180-day requirement.

    While nothing has 100% certainty during this unprecedented COVID time, all Erie 1 superintendents are announcing their final dates of instruction and teacher workdays today. Please see the following based on Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order:

    • Friday May 22, 2020, originally scheduled as a day off will have to be changed to a day of remote instruction.
    • Monday, May 25, 2020, Memorial Day, is a national holiday and will remain a day off for staff and students.
    • Friday June 12, 2020 will be Lancaster CSD’s last day of remote instruction for students and the last teacher work day will be on June 17, 2020. Your child’s building principal will communicate plans regarding the process for closing out the year, collecting personal belongings from school, and returning school property.
    • Lancaster CSD’s breakfast and lunch meal distribution will continue to operate through June 26, 2020.
    • Lancaster CSD’s child care plan for healthcare workers and first responders will continue to operate until June 26, 2020.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these unchartered waters. Please social distance and stay safe.

    Michael J. Vallely Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Schools

Welcome

  • Dear Lancaster Parents, Family, and Friends...

    If the Covid19 pandemic had happened even as few as 20 years ago, it would have thrown us into our own 20th century version of the Dark Ages. Often scorned as the scourge of the modern world, mobile devices have enabled us to stay connected as a human family in ways that were never possible before.

    Life can change in almost the blink of an eye. It has been nearly two months now, but prior to the first cases of illness in New York, we all went about our daily business as usual. Parents went to work, children went to school and after school activities, and a third marking period came very close to ending when we got the word that schools were closing because of a new and particularly devastating virus. The best instructional team in Western New York sprung into action and readied a plan for what we hoped would not last more than a week or two. 

    When the school closures began on March 16, our first priority was to fulfill our mission by ensuring our students’ safety and by meeting their instructional needs. Additionally, we put an immediate plan in place to meet the nutritional needs of some of our students by providing breakfast and lunch pick-up from day one. 

    Instructional packets were delivered to nearly 3,000 elementary students by district buses while secondary students began in earnest to carry out their assigned work via the internet. Before the first week was complete, we assembled a cadre of staff volunteers and distributed more than 1,300 Chromebooks for the continuation of instruction. No one described the legendary effort of 'drive-by delivery’ of Chromebooks and instructional packets better than our own Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction, Karen Marchioli, Ed.D., when she said, “If you aren’t an educational leader right now, you’ll never understand the pride that comes from watching your team execute a wholesale change in a manner of days, all because we love kids.” 

    As nourishing the body is just as important as nourishing the mind, we have been providing drive-up breakfast and lunch service every day between 10am - 12pm since March 17 with pick-up at Lancaster Middle School. Our hard-working food service personnel, led by Tami Augugliaro, along with our dedicated principals and school resource officers helped prepare and distribute more than 43,000 meals, even through the spring recess. Our meal service has been extended to any Lancaster family with school-age children during this period. Most days, we prepare somewhere in the range of 1,100 packaged lunches and breakfasts for the following day. Our bus drivers have been delivering meals for families who are unable to provide their own transportation. 

    The quick turnaround and ongoing efforts of our food service staff and volunteers as the need for nutritious meals continued to grow has been nothing short of miraculous. As Board of Education member Glenn Jackson said, “No one circles the wagons like the Legends.” 

    There are some community partners I would like to thank for helping us with supplies and extra hands when in need. Wegmans, Tops Markets on Transit Road, Tops Markets on Broadway, and Restaurant Depot have been generous in supplying bags. Additionally, we have received assistance from Heather Dellafave at U-Haul and Vicki Lang. We’re also grateful for our partnership with the YMCA for providing child care for essential employees. 

    We have many thanks to give, from our own administrative and teaching staff that, on a dime, transitioned to fulltime eLearning as though it was second nature. Truly remarkable. We thank our Lancaster Police Department as well as our first responder community and local health care providers who have helped to comfort our local patients, their caregivers and families, in addition to providing direct help to our school district. We would also like to thank you, the community, for your patience and understanding during this time as we continue to build our capacity around eLearning. 

    In regard to eLearning, an eLearning resource tab has been added to our website. The connection has sustained both our students and our teachers through this unprecedented time. eLearning is not just assignments and programs accessed through a Chromebook. An integral part of the equation is the connection our faculty continues to make with our students, albeit remotely. We have seen digital meetings preserve music education, elementary teachers engage in scavenger hunts, and videos to present science lessons as a few examples. Our exemplary teachers continue to stoke students’ creativity through writing and art prompts and exercise their bodies and minds through physical education and reading challenges. 

    With New York State being one of the ‘hot spots’ for Covid19, there is no telling when things will return to what we define as ‘normal.’ For now, the governor has declared schools remain closed until May 15. In the meantime, please take comfort in knowing that all of our teachers have your children’s best interests at heart. We will continue to communicate with you via lancasterschools.org, Facebook @LancasterCSD and Twitter @LancasterCSD. In the most sincere way possible, on behalf of our entire faculty, staff, and administrative team let me assure you, we are all looking forward to getting back to “normal” and seeing you very soon!  

    Sincerely,



    Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

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